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An inside job

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The election is over and it’s red wine in the evening and discussing the important things of life. I read a nice article in TIME by Nancy Gibbs about the temperament of past presidents where she contrasted McCain with Obama, and said the latter won “on style and disposition”. Well, I’ve paired up some of characteristics that she included in her article, and I’ve discovered something that surprised me and got me thinking:

heroic – not given to drama
fiery – cool
throbbing with energy – upbeat but relaxed
charismatic – thoughtful
impulsive – disciplined
charming – caring
passionate – reflective

There, all the way down the left-hand side are the characteristics I might classically ascribe to a leader. But looking at the ones on the right we see more of what we’ve got in Obama. And it is clearly just so much better for us.

Talking about “following your gut feeling” the other day got me thinking. Our “gut” reminds us of feelings connected to decisions we have made in the past. If those decisions were well-informed and well-throught through, soundly based on rational alternatives, chances are that our “gut feeling”, too, will be connected to rational decisions. But if we have always taken the easy way out and gone for instant gratification and only remember the short-term successes, that “gut feeling” is going to lead us in the wrong direction. We spend a lifetime working on improving our instincts through experience. And as Alice Walker writes in her beautiful open letter to Barack Obama, real success needs to modelled in a relaxed, happy state, something that is within the reach of everyone.  “Success,” she writes, “is truly an inside job.” That was profound enough to make me miss James Bond last night. Damn 😉


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