The people who stand out from the crowd and change the world we know, are remembered most for breaking the rules. There are those who break rules for evil and there are those who break the rules for good. Obviously, you want to be on the side who breaks the rules that change the way we think, act, live and move for the better.
We were all put on this planet for a purpose. Many people don’t fulfil their purpose, because it is uncomfortable to break the rules and taking the leap into the unknown tests our emotional fortitude.
Life is about realising who you are, trusting that you have what it takes and allowing the fire inside of you to roar loudly. Your inner drive is the key ingredient to your recipe. Without lighting the flame, you will not know if you are cooking at the right temperature.
You need to take charge, put the pen in your hand and begin writing your own story. Too often people live someone else’s dream, or don’t even have a dream to live. It’s all about owning the dream and not allowing other people to interrupt it.
Until you have become the path itself, you cannot travel the path. You must become one with your story and write it with true conviction. Everything you do and say tells the world about what is going on inside of you. Remember, a tiger hunts best when it is hungry!
The most powerful people in the world are the storytellers. A storyteller gets to set the view, the values and the way we achieve it. They get to set the agenda for the way next generation get to live in the future.
If you own your own story, you get to write the ending. If you leave it to others, you can only be the subject. If you believe in it, you get to narrate it.
How do you want to be remembered?
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When I am out riding, I love to challenge my mind to work out what the world will be like in the future. Here are my six trend predictions that are already in their early stages or I feel will become part of the way we consume, relax, challenge our bodies, belong, use our time and play sport.
1 – LONG CONTENT WILL COME BACK IN FASHION
The world is going through a phase of short versus long content. A lot of businesses changed their approach to meet the consumer wants. However this phase is already showing signs of change back to longer content. Generation Z, also known as Millennial’s, who have been synonymously linked to having short attention spans, are showing signs that with the right environment they are happy to absorb content for long periods of time. E-Sports is a great example of this, where spectators are happy to watch a live event for hours on end. People will tend to spend more time understanding, absorbing and enjoying content.
2 – WE WILL LEARN TO SWITCH-OFF
People are already beginning to move away from the frenetic nature of digital devices, especially mobile phones, where social media apps attract our attention multiple times per day. In the future we will see a decline in digital device use, outside of work and school as people start to naturally adopt more activities that allow the brain and body to recover more effectively. The rapidly stimulating nature of flicking through posts means the brain is constantly firing, preventing recovery and effective thought-processing. It’s kind of like rope-learning for an exam, where you briefly absorb a lot of information, but it doesn’t convert to long-term memory. There is also a major global epidemic brewing where by 2030 mental health issues will be somewhat out of control as our brains are constantly switched on and aren’t getting the recovery they need.
3 – THE RETURN OF THE ENDURANCE SPORT CHALLENGE
Isn’t it uncanny that most things in life have a tendency to repeat themselves? They have a cyclical nature, which quite often is generational. Fashion is a great example where it tends to repeat itself every 25 to 30 years. In sport we are seeing the end of a cyclical trend where people focused more on adventure (Cross-Fit, Mud runs, Spartan, Neon runs, etc..) type challenges versus endurance (marathons, triathlons, cycle races) type challenges. The adventure challenges (similar events with different names) were popular in the 1980’s and returned in the late 2000’s. They seem to be more of a one off type nature compared to the endurance challenges, which act more like traditional sports where people look for continual improvement over a period of time. Cross-fit maybe an exception with its cult-type following that it has generated.
4 – I WANT TO BELONG
As the world has become increasingly complicated and people feel like they must be constantly doing something, they have lost the real sense of community. How often do you go and introduce yourself to new neighbours or hang over the fence and have a yarn with them? There is a real sense that the act of volunteering is losing its appeal and that people are happy to pay for someone else to do it. In the future people will realise their sense of belonging is not being fulfilled and will want to have a greater part to play in their community and be more associated with things they enjoy and like being a part of.
5 – PEOPLE WILL REALISE THEY AREN’T TIME POOR
How often do we hear people say that they are too busy or don’t have enough time? The average number of hours worked per week hasn’t changed, and neither has the number of hours in a day. People are either adding more things to their day or are choosing activities that take longer to complete. Digital device’s have become an addiction for some people and that tends to absorb a lot of our time and attention. People will realise that it is about the choices they make and if the prediction, that people will want to switch off more holds true then we will see a lot more people going back to the simple things in life, such as have a few laughs over dinner with their friends and reading physical books again. They will understand that they have control over the choices they make.
6 – SPORTS WILL CHANGE THEIR RULES
As the world evolves, so will the sports we play, watch and consume. Soccer will realise, like field hockey has, that taking the off-side rule out of the game and introducing unlimited interchanges will create a far more exciting, faster and more technical game.
Cricket will begin to understand that the umpires on-field have to have greater authority to control behaviours such as sledging, ball tampering and other forms of cheating. At present there are no immediate consequences or ramifications for breaking the rules during the game. The “Spirit of the Game” will be enhanced through the umpires having the ability to give a yellow card and send a player off the field for 10 minutes or a red card for the rest of the game.
Rugby League will realise that they need to take a much firmer stance on tackles near the head, like rugby has, before someone is seriously hurt or even killed on the field.
Triathlon will implement a heats, semis and finals format of a short, fast and exciting format, at the Olympics. This will result in attracting exponentially more non-triathlon followers to watch the sport, rather than a one off race. A person loves to follow their nation and connect by knowing that someone, from their country, has made it to the next stage and has a chance of winning a medal.
WHAT DO YOU PREDICT WILL BE THE NEXT TREND?
Leave a comment and let us know what you are thinking.
Nature (our DNA) and nurture (environmental influences) both need to be taken into consideration when trying to understand how a leader is formed. The way I like to look at whether leaders are Born or Made, is by looking at leadership capability through the concept of a bell-curve.
At the bottom of the curve, there are ~10% of people that will struggle, no matter how hard they try, to be a good leader. Their DNA is just not wired to lead and every amount of training is unlikely to get them to a position where they can lead effectively. On the top of the bell curve are the ~10% of people who are born to lead. They are born with an innate instinct to lead. As they grow and develop they tend to continue getting better and better.
The other ~80% of people in the middle have the potential to be good leaders, if not great leaders. They have to be prepared to work really hard on their leadership skills, especially self-awareness. This involves learning how to take a ‘birds-eye-view’ of yourself, be open to asking for feedback and developing great listening skills.
However, I do believe that the world’s most exceptional visionary leaders are highly likely to only come from the ~10% of people who are born leaders.
To try and understand some of the discussion points around whether leaders are born or made, let’s look at some of the theories and evidence that support either side of the coin or both sides.
“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. They are the one who gets the people to do the greatest things.”
Ronald Reagan (Adapted)
According to the Great Man Theory, popularised in the 1840’s by Thomas Carlyle and Trait Theory, people inherit certain qualities and traits, which are aligned with leadership. People are born with different qualities that predispose them to be a leader, which is similar to someone who with the natural qualities of a gifted musician or talented athlete. They will naturally excel and thrive when confronted with the appropriate situations, whereas other people will struggle. The most exceptional leaders, don’t become overnight successes, they were leaders from the onset.
Behavioural Theories emphasise that the process of teaching, learning and observation allow people to become leaders. They believe the concept of leadership is something that can be learnt, like a skill through training, practice, perception and making observations over a period of time. But, to what level can a person achieve, from a leadership point of view, if they don’t have the natural charisma, ability to influence, natural integrity, and ability to motivate and inspire?
“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”
Some people are very good leaders in certain environments, but not others. They may lead well when they know and trust a small team they are working with, whereas they struggle in a larger team of people they don’t know so well. Even exceptional leaders are only effective when they are in specific locations or environments, for example they could be in a family, societal, community, national, or global environment.
Leaders, sometimes, don’t always stand out from the crowd. They are the quiet achievers, who have an uncanny ability lead people away from the limelight and in a very subtle way. Their quiet, softly spoken and under-the-radar approach may have a profound effect on the way people behave, how they perform and decisions they make.
“Leadership is not magnetic personality – that could just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’, that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”
There are bodies of research that imply that 30% of leadership is genetic and 70% is learned. Although the percentage of genetic versus learned is likely to vary quite a lot between individual leaders, but it still implies that there is a major learning component to leadership.
Many leaders, tend to have an extroversion trait. They also tend to have high levels of empathy as well as social and emotional intelligence, whereas IQ is not always an important characteristic for a leader. As I discussed earlier, introverts can also be great leaders.
“Leadership is an observable, learnable set of practices. Leadership is not something mystical and ethereal that cannot be understood by ordinary people. Given the opportunity for feedback and practice, those with the desire and persistence to lead can substantially improve their abilities to do so.”
JAMES KOUZES & BARRY POSNER
Great leaders tend to be in constant growth, as they aim to improve every day. They tend to seek new experiences and a greater understanding of themselves.
People who are adjusted, social, ambitious and curious are more likely to become leaders. Their curious nature leads them to learn through mediums such as books, informal training from coaches or mentors, interpretations of life experiences, websites, observations, listening and formal training in an academic type setting.
“The leader must be able to know what followers want, when they want it, and what prevents them from getting what they want.”
Leadership is a reflection of who you are and how you want to improve the world for the better. No matter whether leaders have come from a background of hardship and personal struggles or they have endured leadership through an abundance of resources, everyone can continue to develop their leadership skills through deliberate practice and experience.
Developing as a leader is no different to any other expert, where they grow through deliberate practice, struggle, sacrifice, hard work, and regular self-assessment.
Why do we fall down the trap of thinking and making things more complex than they should be?
Simplification is Sophistication. Do you find it easy to make something difficult, but a challenge to make it simple? The simpler you make something the more sophisticated it becomes.
KISS – Keep it simple stupid is a great acronym too seldom used. We often make everything very complex, leaving both ourselves and those we are talking to confused and unsure.
As Albert Einstein once said:
“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”.
A common trap people fall into is thinking that it is the people were are talking too’s fault for why they don’t understand, rather than placing the emphasis back on ourselves, as the one (s) presenting the concept or information.
Being able to deliver a compelling message to our athletes or employee comes down to your ability to make it understandable to the audience you are speaking or writing to. It is common for coaches to send their athletes off with a task and for them to return as a failure, in the their eyes. This is not because the employee or athlete wasn’t capable of doing it, but because they didn’t understand what was being asked or provided to them.
It is important that you, as a coach, are able to analyze a situation and determine whether the message they are presenting is actually being understood. If you can’t explain it in less than 20% of the words you used, then it is probably too complex and you don’t understand your subject matter well enough. The ability of an athlete to understand what the coach message is, can have a major effect on the trust and support they will provide.
Richard Branson summed complexity up with the following:
“Complexity is your enemy. Any fool can make something complicated. It is hard to make something simpler.”
How do you check if your message is being understood and whether you understand your message well enough?