Fred Kiel addresses leadership throughout his book Return on Character and he constantly relates leadership and decision making back to our character development. Kiel focuses on self-awareness and the ability humans have to recognize their decision making and their environment and to grow and change within those frameworks. Kiel writes, “We aren’t born great leaders, after all; we become great leaders by training ourselves to think and act accordingly.” In this quote he is directly explaining the importance of reflection along our journey to ensure that we are growing in the right direction to help us become great leaders.
Kiel’s quote reminds me of Colin Write’s book Act Accordingly
and a post I wrote last September
. In my post regarding acting accordingly I wrote about the importance of self-awareness and recognizing why we make the decisions we make. That careful consideration requires a dose of self-awareness to help us see not just why we make decisions by why we think the way we do about decisions and how those decisions fit into a framework that we create to explain who we are.
When we focus on leadership we must develop a way of thinking about our actions that is in accord with the vision we have for ourselves. If we lack self-awareness then the vision we have for ourselves will not be aligned with what we ultimately want to achieve. This means we could be bogged down in self-interest and that we may be more focused on our own success than the success of those arounds us, diminishing the quality of our leadership. Thinking critically of our actions as a leader will help us create habits based on integrity that can guide us and those who are around us to maximize our moral character, building it into our decision making framework. We can continually grow into this role through practice, and our actions can actually help others learn to develop into leaders of high character as well.
I recently read Colin Wright’s book Act Accordingly which he begins with the following quote: “You have exactly one life in which to do everything you will ever do. Act accordingly.”
I love the idea of acting accordingly that Wright lays out in the beginning of his book. He acknowledges that acting accordingly and understanding that we only live once will manifest differently in our lives depending on the type of person we are. The way we chose to spend our time on this planet and the decisions we make while we are here are shaped by an infinite number of factors, but keeping Wright’s quote in mind helps us see the importance of maximizing the decisions we make.
Wright continues and ends the introduction of his book by writing, “Far more than jus a phrase, acting accordingly is a framework for decision-making that places importance where it belongs: on you and how you spend your time within the context of your life.”
I believe that the first step to living a life where one acts accordingly is a dose of self awareness. Thinking about how to act accordingly and then evaluating your life and the decisions you make will start to build that self awareness. This is a process that requires honesty, and you must be able to step back and evaluate your choices and actions in different areas. Choosing to spend time watching television or being distracted by social media may not be the best way to act accordingly, but if you are not practicing self awareness, you may not realize how much time you are spending with those activities.
The area I have struggled with lately is balancing my time to make decisions that will allow me to live a life that is full and enriching. Constantly moving, interacting, and thinking can be very taxing, and after a full day of work and a lot of time spent reading, it is very tempting to turn off the mind with a tv program at the end of the day. What compounds the difficulties for me is being in a relationship and finding time to be with my significant other while still engaging in all of the activities that interest me.
I think that Wright would solve my problem by encouraging me to follow the ideas that I have had for starting my own company. By creating my own venture I would become my own boss and could build a more flexible lifestyle for myself. This would open up the world to me to create an environment and routine that allows me to maximize my decisions and still create time with my fiancé, focused on her desires, and being close with her. This is a large step, and for many it would not be the right decision. I think there is value from being in a secure position, and I think one can still maximize their choices. What it may require is taking control of those small moments where constant dings and alerts keep us distracted by social media or useless television.