Becoming Your True Self: Don’t mistake it for the ego
The woman who cleans our apartment every week did an extraordinary act of support today. While she was cleaning she received a call from one of her Filipino friends to come quickly to the police station to help her out. So she left the cleaning and quickly made her way there. It seems that her friend was caught by the police without a driver’s license and also being illegal in the country. There are a lot of people like this in Malaysia because it is relatively wealthy in comparison to other SE Asian countries. So our maid went there and spoke to the police for about 30 minutes and then they settled on a fee so that her friend would not be sent back to her country. It is easy enough to be judgmental about the fact that she was illegal and that the police were also acting illegally, but then we might miss the extraordinary act of support from our maid.
What I found in the last decade about a great many leaders in the world in corporations and in government is that they are often chosen because they have the ability to sacrifice their friends and relatives. They can give up their families and fire their friends and this makes them fit to be a leader. It is even seen as a virtue, but it seems to me that when you sacrifice for your friends and family, then you are being your true self.
I have seen a lot of leadership make their up and coming junior administrators literally give up their families to the company so that the company can achieve more profits, but I think that most of us are yearning for leaders that are more like our maid, that is, when our friends and family are in trouble, that we support them, find out what they need, and give them some assistance.
What we have come to see as virtue such as the ambition of leadership is actually a quality of the ego, not the true self. The quality of the true self is the ability to stand up for principles, to support and encourage your friends and family, and to find out how you can be of service to others. This is true leadership.
Have we ever been more backwards in human history? Maybe, but probably not on such a grand scale. How many times have you said well I really like the people in the company I work for, but the leaders are way out to lunch or this would be a great country if it had some decent leaders? Our world has come to be led by egos, not by people acting from their true selves.
So what does it take to have a world with the true self at the helm? Today I saw it in my maid. I vote for her.