“Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”
Media mogul Ted Turner gave us that mantra in the not-too-distant past, and it served him well. Others have adopted it through the years: politicians, sports coaches in a variety of disciplines, and military personnel from around the globe.
We might suggest that itís time for Chemeketa students to adopt it as well: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”
As we enter week seven of the term, however, we feel obligated to point out that Turner’s mantra is missing a vital element – one that is sorely needed in this time of uncertainty for pending grades and the work, or lack of work, that we’ve done in our classes thus far.
We would therefore suggest a rewrite that goes something like this: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way – and keep your big mouth shut once you do.”
We mention the necessity of adding this last segment because it has become vogue of late to criticize without courage or conviction. It takes courage to lead, you see, and even more courage sometimes to follow.
But it takes no courage whatsoever to sit on the sidelines, pork rinds and malt beverages in hand, and throw barbs at your peers or fellow competitors or traveling companions who have decided to enter the fray.
So how does any of that apply to me, you may be inquiring at this point with adequate levels of modest enthusiasm?
Let’s see if any of this in any way sounds familiar to you:
“I hate this class, and Iím gonna tell everyone I know that it’s stupid.”
“I hate this instructor, and I’m gonna tell everyone I know that she’s stupid.”
“I hate this place, and I’m gonna tell everyone I know that everything about this place is stupid.”
“I hate the food, the books, the course selections, the blah blah blah. It’s all stupid.”
Ah – this rings a bell, does it not?
You hear it in the hallways and in the classrooms around the college – and more frequently as the end of the term approaches.
You hear it from strangers or from friends.
It’s possible that you’ve said it yourself a time or two – or at least you might have said a variation of any of those common complaints.
Too bad: As a speaker or as a listener, you aren’t solving the problem; you are only adding to it. And one thing we donít need is any more pork-rind-eaters and malt-beverage-drinkers lobbing stones from the sidelines.
What we need, in fact, are people who are willing to dig in, to pitch in, to get their hands dirty to work.
We need leaders.
We also need followers, of course – but most of all, we need real, honest-to-god leaders.
So be one of those, OK? Become a doer – someone who actually does something, accomplishes something, solves something, fixes something.
Be someone who becomes something other than a griper. We have plenty enough of those, thank you very much.
And if you must, become a skeptic – not a cynic. The world is filled with cynics; like lawyers, they are everywhere, and we need no more of them.
Be instead a skeptic who questions the nature of things, the order of things, the logic of things. And, once you’ve questioned it – once you’ve found it to be faulty – fix it. Don’t gripe about it; fix it – just as we’ve attempted to do here.