Thursday, December 13, 2007

Al Gore

With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. Consequently he who moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed.
- Abraham Lincoln

I was looking at the wikipedia article on best and worst presidents in history, there is scholarly and public sentiment, the consensus is generally that Lincoln is number one.
My personal preference would probably go -
1. Abraham Lincoln
2. Thomas Jefferson
3. FDR

And the rest in marketing terms, is inconsequential. But for once, maybe the first time I will quote myself, probably as inaccurately as usual, but I was thinking about Al Gore's recognition by Nobel, by the Oscars, by Time Magazine's environmental hero's edition etc. and thought of something I said, because I had a tilt at being school captain of my highschool, infact a put a lot of deliberate and calculated effort into it. And got arrogant, and ruled myself out of the running.
I thought I'd lost my power to effect change, this was untrue for two reasons, one I had greatly overestimated how effective a school captain can actually be, infact the constraints placed on something as trivial as a school captain by would you believe it vested interests is actually quite incredible. The other reason is that effectiveness often has very little to do with title or position, they are yet another classic example of correlation rather than causation. Effective people have a tendancy to get recognised by their peers, and it is my esteemed and humbled priveledge to have recieved such recognition on numerous occasions, whether it have been by being elected to some office or simply having my fellow o-weekers place their hands on me in a team building exercise.
But what I said was at the occasion of our year 12 validictory speech was -

try to transcend title, and base your success on your achievements, not recognition
or something to that effect. This was the invaluable lesson I learnt from not becoming school captain, not even being humoured in the final stages of running. It was that not attaining the position didn't let me off the hook from making the changes that I wanted to make.
And it is all precisely because of what Abe Lincoln pointed out over a hundred years ago. And drucker dedicated his life to the study of, it is a question of effectiveness, and digging deeper, "the calling". Our inspiration, which comes from our knowing of ourselves, our valuing of ourselves.
What we come to accept that we know we can do, and the discipline to accept nothing less. Power is the ability to act or do, and once recognised it becomes a moral obligation for us all.
I have felt my calling, I feel it constantly right now. I feel ill at ease when ever I am not acting upon it.
But let me reassure you.

the taste is in my mouth.

Furthermore Al Gore whilst he may never be recognised as president, he may be the most influential statesman of the current era.

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