Who are world leaders? Is it the richest? The most famous? Or is it the Most Powerful?
Leaders are people who LEAD. Who take the people they influence into a journey that nurtures them into being better human beings and at the same time achieve a common goal. So, I would define World Leaders as people who have positively changed the trajectory of people around the world, evolved their consciousness, set a precedence to what wasn’t considered a possibility and have taken the World to a better place.
There is no doubt that to achieve such an outcome, the person has to have a golden heart, a good intent and strong motivation. But what is often overlooked is their Superior Capabilities to be ABLE.
For any unprecedented shift in the WORLD trajectory, two things have to come together. The Intent and Capability! A Capability is a poly-contextual skill that has become so innate that it gives the illusion that the results are happening without any effort. This is one of the qualities that separates the artistry of a master from a novice. And most achievers have mastery over the context where they are successful. And they would be so good at it, that most would take that trait they have for granted! Be it someone who is great at coming up with a business idea, or influencing people or designing machines… you know someone has mastered that art when it feels effortless and the results are superior each time. Now, with World Leaders they have several such capabilities, that are rare and yet so artfully mastered that it is not easy to notice these superior capabilities in play that actually lead to the impact that we have all felt and feel. Some superior capabilities are like gravity, like the bass line on a song, you may feel its impact but not necessarily see, hear or recognize it. When you hear the same song with and without the bass guitar’s work, you’ll feel the emptiness in the latter. In the presence of the bass line, it all feels more complete and compelling – yet most people can’t singularly isolate or see, hear, feel it as obviously as the main melody.
My work along with my partner Harini is in helping people design how they want to evolve. To achieve this, We help them identify and rapidly develop those capabilities that will allow them to evolve impactfully within 2 – 3 years instead of 10 – 20 years. It has been a delight during this journey to track and help develop real, measurable capabilities for people. And from this experience we know how elusive capabilities are to track, it is like those toys you see during exhibitions, or that card trick you purchased in a toy shop, or that boomerang that seemed to so easily and effortlessly float back, it all looked so easy when they were demonstrating it, but when you actually got to doing it yourself, you realized that playing with that toy required some fine skills. And superior capabilities are just like that and there are an innumerable of them that has given world leaders an unparalleled edge.
We know from the experience of helping people from all walks of life, design how they want to evolve over the next 10 years and helping them develop real, measurable capabilities, that capabilities are elusive to track. In the sense when you compare the difference between a genius in a field and a person who isn’t a genius in that field, it is easy to spot their strategies, their habits but capabilities on the other hand, since they are so innate, it is often the most over looked.
And I want to share with you today, three such Superior Capabilities of World Leaders:
- Predicting Future Consequences
- Intuition that Learns
- Preceding with Reputation
1. Predicting Future Consequences
The most deceptive thing in the world is the gap between what people say they will do and what they actually do. What they think will make them happy and what makes them actually happy, what they think will motivate them versus what in reality motivates them. And you may have noticed that for a lot of people, this could be a challenge with self, with a family member or even teams. So many people want to do so many things but they don’t ever get to it! And the reason this happens is because there is a parallel layer of priority and motive which I like to call as ‘unconscious priorities’ and ‘unconscious life directives’ that supersedes what a person consciously thinks he will do.
And that is why for most people attraction isn’t a choice. They don’t know why they like someone, they don’t know why they spend money on certain things. And often, you may find people feeling confused about why some people behave in a specific way. And this is a puzzle that; businesses have to figure and innovate around to grow their reach. Families also have to be perceptive about this phenomenon in order to grow together blissfully. However, this is a much bigger challenge for World Leaders given the scale and complex dynamics of societies.
World Leaders who are in situations where they can influence a large population, have the responsibility to consider: what is the impact of the work they do, their communication, the installations they might do without knowing installations, across societies, cultures, ethnic groups across TIME.
And they key here is ACROSS TIME.
Consider the example of Nelson Mandela, when he was fighting for respect for the black community, he decided to put his attention on the rugby game. And that little shift or adjustment in focus, contributed significantly to how the society grew and came together united and eventually leading to equal rights. How did Mandela know? How did he know that the game would gather the IMMEDIATE motivation to get people working together. And how did he know that ACROSS TIME, it would lead to the results he was going after?
Such wisdom is more complex than it appears on the surface. It would have required a minimum of 3 things:
Prerequisite 1: What drives his people?
What drives his people is different question from the question what drives people. The former is about calibration, its about spending time with the people in question and understanding their deepest desires more than they do. The latter is a theory, philosophy and generic study. World Leaders don’t get fooled by generic study of people, instead they bring in their ability to listen, understand and bring out of people their inner most thoughts to understand how their community responds. Just like every finger is different, every individual is different, every community is different. They have their own biases, blind spots, strengths, motivation and ways of communication. A true leader is able to dynamically adapt and understand the shifting nature of his community. Because before you EVOLVE anything, you have to understand and respect the masterpiece that it already is!
Prerequisite 2: Systemic Impact of a Change
The fastest car in the world has a speed limit. And the limit does not come from what is the capacity for speed, but from what is the capacity to brake. It would be foolish to design a car faster than it can handle the wind, the heat or the ability to brake when required. If you were to find the most beautiful eyes (to you) from a person, and the most beautiful nose (to you) from another person and the most beautiful ears (to you) from another person and if you were to construct them all together in a single face, you may actually end up designing on photoshop a pretty ugly face. You cannot design individual elements of a face without taking into consideration the full aspect of the face. In the world, everything is like this. Everything is connected to everything else. The flapping of the wings of a butterfly can cause an hurricane somewhere else. If we eliminated all the frogs in the world, it will severely affect the entire chain of food and the green house effect will increase and affect the Earth’s atmosphere as it would have led to insects that eat trees and plants multiply without moderation. In another article, Harini has already written about how a small shift in a family member can impact multiple family members and the importance of systemic thinking in business and family, and such an impact of one entity impacting another things is even more magnified when it comes to world leaders.
In chess you only have 16 pieces each side, and only 6 type of pieces and yet there are a million possible set of moves in each position. In life, you don’t have 16 pieces, you have infinite parameters, and like the cells in a body, they are all connected to each other and making a change in one affects another. And a World Leader has to carefully understand the impact of each shift on one another as well as the society as a whole. Given that society is always evolving, there will be never be precedence to look back into the exact same situation from the past and follow a template. Yet, they can learn from the patterns in the past even if they are not the exact same situation and contexts. The World Leader just understands and intuitively predicts future consequences considering the inter-connected web of system of systems and how all of it function together keeping in mind the patterns from history that can repeat along with the unique differentiators in the present.
Prerequisite 3: Ability to Run Precise Mental Simulation
Great engineers and legendary composers are known for running an entire machine or orchestra in their minds and predicting the end result. They say, Nikola Tesla, the American-Serbian inventor could run an engine in his mind and accurately predict the output, point of failure and repeat it with several modifications until he was happy. And when he had a satisfactory mental model, he would implement it. It’s very easy to think of this as what the modern world calls ‘visualization technique’, but this is Not! This has to do with Calibration. Imagine a piano, if you press a particular key, you will always get the same sound, even if you press it a hundred times. To run a mental simulation, the laws have to be respected in the simulation every single time, which means, you hear that same note, when you imagine that specific key in the piano being pressed. It is different from wishing for what has to be the outcome to letting your unconscious mind, simulate the outcome of a particular arrangement. And the rules don’t bend in reality. If you hit a particular key, it will play the same sound. Or in the case of a electrical machine, if you send extra power, the wires will burn out. A mental simulation is a simulation only if the rules don’t change in the simulation.
Having this capability means, a person can construct the machine in the end and test the outcomes, and thereby can cycle through thousands of variations in a very short period. Legendary composers do this with music, they can hear an entire arrangement of Violin, Viola, Guitar, Piano, Sitar, Percussion all playing different things at the same time in their mind, and they can tweak individual pieces to feel and hear how it sounds different with every tiny variation. And this allows the composer to play with multiple possibilities and choose the most interesting and satisfying arrangement, all from the creative iterations within the mind. While most musicians can hear a tune or a melody and a couple of instruments, a legendary composer hears them all together and knows the impact of what each addition and deletion will do to the feel of the entire piece.
The World Leader has much more complex simulations to run. And instead of instruments, he has economic, social, wellness, security and attributes like this to consider and how they all impact each other and how the transformations he is baking in will impact all of this individually and the society together.
And it is a combination of these 3 that allows a World Leader to predict future consequences and arrive at the most effective actions that has an impact which snowballs into every aspect of the society. But even this capability is not as powerful and useful without the next.
Capability 2: Intuition that Learns
All simulations deviate from the anticipated when it involves humans :)
No matter, how good you are, there will always be failed attempts. While most people don’t learn from their failed attempts and instead feel like a failure themselves, the smart ones always try to learn from their failed attempts. But a World Leader goes further.
They have the ability to accurately break down exactly what went wrong. And this is much much more difficult to do than what it appears like. We have met thousands of people from all walks of life who come to us feeling absolutely certain about what needs fixing in their life. And 90% of the time, we have found together, after solving their problem for them, that their initial diagnosis was absolutely wrong.
In my article on the Mother’s cure to Schizophrenia, I had highlighted how the brother’s abusive behavior led to a girl’s Schizophrenia and how when the mother and daughter came to me, they were trying to solve everything else. And this has been true whether they are trying to solve a culture issue in the leadership team or resolve a conflict, people tend to misdiagnose and then try a dozen solutions to solve what wasn’t even the source of the problem in the first place. How does anyone know when they have accurately identified what is stopping or causing a particular outcome? Everyone will have opinions and hypothesis, that they may truly believe is the actual problem. Not, everyone understands that their conclusion is merely one of many possible conclusions and only one or some of them could represent the reality of what is actually happening.
Imagine the magnitude of the trap given that, people can think that their diagnosis is always right. And that leads to a circular belief system. Often, in our consultation there have been instances, where in the first five minutes we understand what exactly had happened and then it took us another 25 minutes to present that information in a way the other person understood.
People often perceive that they have a good intuition and so their conclusions are always right. Arriving at the right diagnosis requires that the person is open to the possibility that their diagnosis could go wrong at times!
Such a recognition, will open you up to the possibility of setting up systems in place to validate your diagnosis. And often diagnosis can be validated quickly. If your diagnosis is accurate, then the solution will work easily and effectively. Otherwise, the person will find themselves not getting the results and trying to implement the not working solution in different ways hoping that it will eventually work. When we present our diagnosis to a family in conflict and implement our solution, then the proof is the fact that the family gets to a happier space immediately and they continue to grow stronger together.
The best way to validate your diagnostics is to implement and check the results – its effectiveness now and in the long-run. The contrary to this would be to give excuses to why something didn’t work. There is a thin line between giving excuses and diagnostics. The difference is that in a diagnostics, you are willing to validate its accuracy based on the results of implementing the actions that needs to be taken based on your diagnostics.
With the amount of variability and things at hand, it is easy for World Leaders to blame or give excuses (to themselves) but a true leader is always learning accurately by validating and diagnosing their own failed attempts and implementing the right solutions to turn them into successful outcomes.
The reason we meet our participants continuously for years is because every 3 months when we consult them to figure what has to happen for them to get the growth in the next 6 months that they would have otherwise gotten only in the next 2 years, we want to validate, how much of what we predicted has happened, after the set of targeted installations we did when we met them last. And even though it has consistently worked for thousands of people across all aspects of life, we still always work with the mindset, that we have to always validate our diagnostics, and the only real validation is the ACTUAL results it has produced ACROSS TIME.
Just like the previous capability, ACROSS TIME is the key factor here, because even a misleading diagnosis could produce results temporarily but it is the results ACROSS TIME that validates diagnosis. And it is also important, that every time, there is a change in the results produced, it is important to validate what ‘direction’ is it in, and continue to steer it forward in the right direction, with just the minimal changes that need to happen iteratively, for it to continue to steer towards richer outcomes. So every time, with the set of adjustments you make, you measure systemic results periodically and recognize, that along with the new outcomes, there are going to be new challenges and new puzzles to solve. This is why the intuition that learns and the diagnostic approach is quintessential to continue to evolve and it has to happen iteratively, to avoid regressing back to an earlier situation after the initial success.
Consider the example of the startup scam that happened in the last 10 years. While there were startups that grew by growth hacking, by truly providing value and innovating ways to reach people, a few startups set their agenda to simple raise funds and exit profitably. And those startups, starting faking growth by burning investor money to acquire customers without building a real profitable model of customer acquisition, so within a particular time frame they would look just as successful as the real genuine startups, but if you took a longer time-frame, you could see how their strategy lacked real strategy and depth.
Everyone likes to learn from their mistakes. But to learn, you have to accurately diagnose what really went wrong. And to know how accurate is your diagnosis, you have to implement the new solution based on your diagnosis and validate it across time. While this may look like a lot of work, World Leaders leverage emotions, loyalty, shift in consciousness and many other parameters as measurement to know when their diagnosis is accurate. And they are such naturals at it, that it wouldn’t even appear that they are doing it. But a way for you to know they have this capability is if you study how these leaders evolve. If you were to watch their video every 2 – 3 years or go through their written work across time, you will be able to see clearly how they evolve and change and enhance every 2 – 3 years, more rapidly than other people.
I like to re-visit the question of who are world leaders. And bring to your attention they may not be the richest, the most famous or the Most powerful but people who have changed the course of the world positively through their contribution and impact.
You may have noticed sometimes, how during a reality show that spans across a year, you will find a contestant, maybe a singer or dancer, evolve rapidly. If you take the first performance of that contestant and the final performance of the same contestant, you will find a world of difference. The same thing happens with World Leaders in a much larger context. And such an evolution happens to the contestant because of the context and mentoring from people who are legends in the field. But a world leader has no precedence often, so they don’t have a mentor to evolve in that way. Yet they evolve so fast because of their ability of Accurate Diagnosis even when there are failed attempts. And when they do such iterative learning naturally, they may even combine that with the capability to run accurate simulations. This will allow them to enhance their intuition even during their sleep.
An intuition that learns is priceless. Because someone who is not good at something knows they have something to learn. But when you are at the top, you don’t know what you don’t know! And no one might be able to tell you what it is, that you don’t know yet. And when you are accurate most of the time, you have the risk of overlooking the validation aspect. And this is one of the reasons you find so many geniusus who stop growing after a particular phase in their life. The validation is not for people who are bad at something, it is for the people who are great at something, because it becomes the only way they can continue to evolve and get better.
Capability 3: Preceding with Reputation
What makes a person’s reputation go ahead of them? Is it simply what they do? I wish the world was that simple! As humans we are storytellers. And what makes reputation precede someone is how one person tells a story that the listener carries and tells to another and so on… Conventionally, story telling is associated with high drama, eloquent choice of words and narrated in a special form, but the best and most powerful forms of story telling are the ones that don’t even appear like a story.
A good story that spreads reputation, has to have the character, intent, why a person did what they did, a learning point all packaged without boasting or talking about self. And often, with all the above coming together, you will find other people who don’t know you telling your stories to other people who don’t know you because they are so moved by your story.
When Phani Kumar’s family approached me to help him after his tragic accident that made him unable to move any part of his body below is shoulder, I didn’t know him nor did the friend who told him about me. But he had heard about me although helping people affected with medically impossible challenges to regain health like they had before or any bold request such as that was not in my realm of work or business at that time. I was actually a techie at that time, having published two books with Packt, London and working as a CTO in an IT organization.
The same things used to happen when I was freelancing during college. Someone wanted some help with PERL for building a domain service provider platform. And we didn’t agree to work together. And when he contacted 3 other people, 2 of whom I didn’t personally know, they both referred him back to me.
And this doesn’t come or happen in my opinion, by trying to tell stories that positions you. It instead happens because of WHO you are. And storytelling is a natural outcome that happens. In our event Charisma Intensification, I don’t teach people how to tell stories. Yet, when we compare their video of them talking about themselves, between the first day and the last day, you see a strong charismatic improvement in how they communicate their values, ideas and vision.
Story-telling is a natural process. And you wouldn’t require a conventional story-telling training to do that. But the capability one requires is to have an accurate self image! Accurate is the key word over here. Not just an accurate image of who they are now but also who have they been and an accurate backstory of how things that happened in their life shaped them in a particular way and the various unique possibilities ahead for them.
Charisma Intensification is just a 4 day event because we use their unconscious resources to sort through and re-learn from their life events. And a significant portion happens in a nice altered state aided by Harini’s awakening the artist installations and generative music. During the event, we help the person sort accurately millions of past events and re-code the story of their life. And often, you find that once they have their story in the right light with themselves, the charisma starts to show even before they speak. And when they do speak, they share not just what they have done but why they do what they do. And the charisma somehow makes it memorable and sharable.
But here is the catch, we never invite anyone to this 4 day event, until they have adequately demonstrated, to some degree the first two capabilities of Predicting Future Consequences and an Intuition that Learns.
A child may think when the father is firm, and that the father doesn’t love her. But 15 years later, when she revisits that moment she thought that, she may have a different conclusion. And in my opinion, and from the work we have done, it is correcting the meaning to your backstory and avoiding the biases, that sets up both your trajectory and how authentic you appear to people. And true story tellers are not trying to tell a story, their message is just authentic because of how they learn and who they are and who they think they are.
Abdul Kalam is an excellent example of such a person. He shaped and inspired millions of people to pursue science and engineering. He didn’t officially learn ‘storytelling’. But who he was and his accurate understanding of why people did what they did, allowed him to share his experience in a way that even people he didn’t know personally shared it with people who didn’t know him.
Not everyone is born with all the capabilities that they require, and world leaders develop it on their journey and most people fall short on some. Sometimes, just adding one ingredient makes a dish even delicious, Harini and I take immense pleasure in accelerating the time it takes to develop some of these capabilities and to even identify what needs to be sharpened for an individual and what requires a fresh start.
In this article we discussed 3 superior capabilities of world leaders. As I had mentioned earlier, there are several such superior capabilities that world leaders have evolved, over time, that gets them to align the results of their work to their true intent. There is popular belief around the world that when you are around legends, you tend to pick some of their ‘essence’. Although conventionally, such a thinking stems only from traditions and folklore passed down for generations, there is a logical and scientific explanation to prove that capabilities, beliefs and many unseen qualities can be unconsciously assimilated. So, if you find yourself in the company of a world leader, embrace it, who knows what other super capabilities they have and how you evolve when that combines with the rarity that you already are!