I was a butterfly, flying contentedly.
Then I awoke as Chuang Tzu.
Now I don’t know who I really am
a butterfly who dreams he is Chuang Tzu
Or Chuang Tzu who dreamed he was a butterfly.
~ Chuang Tzu
All leaders must at some point question their own awareness of a situation. They must ask themselves if they are dealing with what is really happening, or are they lost in the illusion of what they wish were happening? And, can they tell the difference?
A true leader must be objective. They must conspicuously detach from the subjective and forget their preferences. They must leave behind distorted perceptions and become indifferent to their dreams. They must not indulge in delusions of power or attachment to specific outcomes. They must only worry about doing what is right in the reality of the moment.
To achieve this brilliant awareness, the leader must cultivate mindfulness. By calmly and quietly examining each moment, they can see things with astute clarity. Then, relying on their accumulated knowledge, the leader can respond meticulously to the situation.
The mindful leader must be willing to confront unpleasant realities. This can be painful. But by freeing themselves of illusions, they can move beyond false hopes. This will allow them to see all the parts and players for what and who they really are. Then, with unhindered insight, they can navigate toward whatever action, on inaction, that is prescribed.
Being truly aware and open to other viewpoints proves the worthiness of a leader. Their peers, followers, and even their rivals, will acknowledge their dedication to doing what is appropriate rather than blindly staying committed to unworkable plans. A leader’s ability to stay enthusiast and overcome obstacles when things go against them also proves inspirational to those who share their mission.
In chaos there is confusion. In clarity there is truth. Even so, the wise leader acknowledges that there is no real separation between what they think and what they dream. It is all one thing. Everything is connected. It is the basis for business and for life. By being aware and fully awake to all possibilities, the mindful leader peacefully falls into the synchronic rhythm of each moment. And flies.