Mirror Mirror - 2020


An Inspiration to Many: Leaders who Rise above and Give Us Hope

By Jennifer Allen

“Legends are not born, they are made with thousands of sleepless nights, tons of struggle and gallons of sweat… It's not easy as it seems to be, but it's possible." ~ Ketan Pandey

I recently fell into an eerie sense of serendipity when coming up with a topic for this month. It seems like a plethora of factors just came to my attention all at once and reminded me that we should always take the time to appreciate those individuals who inspire us to become better people… whether fictional or not. Especially in these troubled times we're all in need of some sort of stability to keep us grounded.

There are many articles out there which have various key aspects to what makes an inspirational leader. Some are more complicated than others but when it comes down to it, I've found that we can narrow it down to four key qualities. Omitting even one of these can disrupt the overall influence that a leader can provide for his or her followers.

Passion

“It's easy to stand with the crowd. It takes courage to stand alone." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Of course, October is also when we all celebrate the birth and life of Mahatma Gandhi and everything he did for India's independence. What inspires me, personally, about him is that he accomplished so much with so little. His dedication to the cause was made through various demonstrations of peace and he held fast to that belief despite many of his constituents trying to tell him otherwise. He proved that peace can be a viable option to accomplish a goal, and in turn inspired future leaders like Nelson Mendela and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Because of his passion, Gandhi is still revered by many cultures as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century and I think he will remain so for many centuries to come.

Communication

"Shepard, let me tell you something that I've learned the hard way. You can pay a soldier to fire a gun. You can pay him to charge the enemy and take a hill. But you can't pay him to believe." ~ Admiral Steven Hackett (Mass Effect 3)

In the Mass Effect game trilogy, you play as Commander Shepard… a soldier who over the course of three games (which take place over approximately four years in game) slowly builds and inspires an assortment of companions who in turn help you with various tasks. One of the biggest mechanics in the game is simply walking around your ship and taking the time to talk to each subordinate. The more you talk to them, the more you get to know about what makes them tick and that in turn helps in determining how their personalities will mesh with everyone else. It also helps in ensuring that each of your companions will survive through the end of each game.

The writing and voice acting are what make every one of these little interactions so enjoyable and effective. Even better is that as Shepard talks with each of them, he/she in turn can gradually become a more potent leader. Watching as all of your efforts take shape is truly gratifying and makes for an inspiring tale all its own.

Gratefulness

“In times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers." ~ T'Challa (Black Panther)

On a sadder note, we were given the news about the passing of actor Chadwick Boseman who portrayed some inspirational people on screen such as Jackie Robinson and Thurgood Marshall but is probably most well-known for his role as T'Challa/Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While it is sad that he will no longer be able to portray the character in future installments, what we did get to see was a character who was forced to become a leader to his people and through struggle came into his own.

What makes T'Challa and Boseman's performance of him in Black Panther so memorable is that he starts off with some of his countrymen not agreeing with his ideals. Over the course of the film he must not only speak with each of the tribes and learn why they don't approve, but later on he must seek their help in order to oppose the main villain. He appeals to their strengths and is truly thankful for what they can provide. He appreciates each of their contributions and diversity, which in turn helps them be inspired to fight.

Integrity

Sadly we have not had much in terms of examples involving “Integrity" lately. With the upcoming elections, we're all being bombarded this year by all the political propaganda. Well… “propaganda" may be a more negative word, but this year alone the politicians have finally figured out that they can shower us with information on so many more platforms other than television ads. Now they invade our very privacy with random calls and texts to our cell phones that we never asked for. I think my call block list has increased by about 100 with all the strange numbers that keep popping up on my caller ID. At least some of the phone providers have started catching on and some of the numbers now pop up as “Political Call" which is easier to navigate.

It leaves a bad taste in my mouth that some of these people running for office are encouraging their staff to even do this. To me, attempting such adverse behavior to get votes is just one step above begging. We already know that most politicians can be less than honest to begin with, but do we really want a leader who spends all of his or her time on everything negative instead of trying to inspire the positive? How about we try something different and say what you plan to change while in office instead of mudslinging your opponent about how flawed they are. That inspires integrity more than anything else.

Who Inspires You?

We all have our heroes, whether they're real or fictional. What's important is how much we let them mold us and make us better people. Just remember that being a good leader takes hard work, patience and a whole lot of heart.

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Jennifer Allen works at Saathee and is also a Podcaster, Blogger, Photographer, Graphic Artist, Gamer, Martial Arts Practitioner, and all around Pop Culture Geek.