Those of us who are veterans of the human potential movement in the 1970s may well remember one of the popular mantras of the day urging us to “be willing to be totally responsible for creating our reality.” Remember that?
If I look around today and scan the horizon for who are amongst the most socially responsible people in the world, I’d be hard pressed to find anyone putting “more skin in the game” than the people who are risking their lives each day standing for democracy. These people – most notably those in the Middle East and North Africa - not only include those who are demonstrating in the squares and circles, marching peacefully against totalitarianism, and showing their faces to the cameras publicly, they also include the many ex-patriots who could afford to flee their countries who are now returning to their homelands to be part of this pro-democracy revolution. They know they are at risk doing what they are doing and they are doing it anyway. They are standing on their values and willing to risk their lives in their stand.
Who would have thought we could find so many models for the courage of responsibility we are seeing in our media today? People from Syria, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen, Pakistan and Afghanistan are serving as models for leadership from the rank and file.
The paradigm of leadership is changing. We are shifting from a paradigm of a leader in an elevated position of authority with a following, a parental model you might say, to an emerging paradigm of universal responsibility – we are all responsible! Stated more poetically perhaps – It is time to stop looking for leaders “out there” and start looking leadership within ourselves. Said another way, it is time to stop looking outside and start looking inside.
This is the revolution we wrote and talked about years ago – no charismatic leaders, no Churchill’s or Roosevelt’s leading the charge. Just ordinary people willing to say, “No – that’s enough. We aren’t going to take this anymore.”
The Arab Spring is a collective stand by our fellow brothers and sisters putting their lives on the line, reminiscent of a collective stand taken over 230 years ago here in North America.
The founders of these United States of America were willing to pay a price to stand for freedom and liberty in the 1776 version of a pro–democracy movement. It might be worth a brief review of what it cost them to fully appreciate what risk really means. This summary is courtesy of Rush Limbaugh (you can read his entire essay – “The Americans Who Lost Everything” here):
Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were, at one time or another, the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor and the nation they sacrificed so much to create is still intact.
Now that’s putting your butt on the line. That’s putting your money where your mouth is. That’s putting skin in the game!