My brain has been rowing and rowing down a river of confusion for the past few days. I’ve been developing a concept that I found really hard to articulate, but finally figured out a way to articulate it. I wanted to show why and how the simplest of people who at first sight might not seem to be leaders at all are in fact better leaders than idols we might be inclined to imitate in Hollywood movies.
In a way, with this article, I want to add to my previous statement that anyone can be a leader. In fact, many of us who are often mocked for being geeks are in fact some of the most influential leaders in technological innovation and have had more impact on the human species than real kings from medieval history. Think of the inventor of the electronic keyboard, whoever that may be, and think of how much has come out of that one invention. I daresay the electronic keyboard arguably has had more of an impact on human progress than, certainly, Vlad the Impaler.
Vlad the Impaler may have been a medieval king of sorts, or a lord or whatever, and he may have invented some cool torture devices and been looked up to as a leader in his day among his followers; but the invention of one small geek working anonymously in the 20th century was able to have more of an impact on Western civilization with one small invention.
Leaders like the appliance geeks who developed the microwave oven may not be the same kind of leaders as a commander who leads troops into battle, but they’re leaders nonetheless because they spearhead innovation and force other people to follow the path they have created for humanity. Indeed, you can go back and watch all the best medieval movies and study every word that every king utters and be inspired, wishing to imitate their illustrious greatness, but you’ll very rarely go and watch a movie about geeks working in a science lab and wish to emulate them. This is the point I’m trying to articulate, so that maybe we can show more appreciation to the geeks leading the way for human advancement behind the scenes.
And we can take this realization even deeper, to the households of your local community, say Victoria BC for example because I was there recently. Ask yourself which leader has more of an impact on the daily lives of citizens in such a city, the pen-pushing politician up in a the Parliament Building writing letters about how he’s so good at golf to other pen-pushing politicians in Ottawa, or the appliance repair geek working every day to make sure your neighbors don’t have to dig a firepit in their yard to cook dinner for their family? I dare ask you again, in different terms, should a public leader in your society truly deserve more praise than a private leader doing appliance repair Victoria BC services behind the scenes? In my mind, a small business like that is a hero worth of a medieval king’s crown. Think about this as you consider my next point.
We never hang pictures of modern geeks in gilded frames on our walls! I’m not necessarily angered by this but I found it shocking after thinking of it enough. Truly, there’s a good reason for this though. While hanging a portrait of Napoleon up in a university library might be deemed appropriate, we’d never think twice about hanging up a portrait of the guy who invented the microwave or the guy who invented the escalator. For sure, we do hang pictures up Tesla or the Wright Brothers and other famous inventors on our walls, but only because they’re famous. And this brings us to why things are the way they are, because while the real impactful leaders of everyday life in our society aren’t public leaders unlike the great military leaders of the past, they deserve just as much attention. They’re not in the public eye and so, while they might get recognized in small circles, they never get brought into the public eye in the same way. But I mention all this because I argue that, because they’re just as impactful if not more so than famous leaders of the past, they deserve to be brought into the limelight–they deserve to be praised and appreciated just as much a king in a Hollywood movie…