Monday, July 01, 2013

Mandela's World Class.

Robin Sharma tweets, 'When you leave the "Crowd of Average and start playing at world-class, you'll face laughter and cynicism. Know that's the price of leadership.'

I don't know much of Sharma - whether he's a guru, prophet or world-class mountain biker. Perhaps he simply excelled in writing (these slogans), or perhaps he is like David Molapo - an excellent motivational preacher. That seems to be more or less what Wikipedia thinks of him.

In the world of Facebook and YouTube, I suppose all of this doesn't matter. What matters is that I 'like' (and RT'ed) that tweet. In my view, this kind of thing does happens. Perhaps this is the reason why most of us stay in the 'crowd'. That crowd. For most of us its a social thing - who wants to be the object of ridicule and cynicism anyway. So, perhaps it would be critical to look deeper into the psychology and validity of this tweet, but also, better to continue to ask the questions about the notion of 'world-class'. We must ask who decide, who sets the standards, but then also, does 'world-class' matter when you stand to risk your credibility? Or, should we ask the prior question: does 'laughter and cynicism' point to you loosing credibility? Why does 'world-class' matter?

It seems that at face level. Sharma equates 'leadership' with 'world-class'. Is that the thing ('world-class') that drives some-one like Nelson Mandela, specifically when he was standing up for justice and incarcerated for that? Surely there was something else. World approval or validation can be very precarious and dangerous. It may even degenerates into a popularity contest or becomes the product of savvy marketing. Beyonce is 'world-class' World-class can also mean dancing to the tunes of a First World market, so, if Apple's latest gadget sells, then its 'world-class'.

What would it mean when Nelson Mandela is called a world icon? Can we say, he is 'world-class'? Of course, he is not facing laughter and cynicism today (especially not today). He certainly faced many dangers and incarceration back in the days-indeed that is the price of leadership. The question then remains what happened the last few years of his life. Did he lose that leadership edge, as 'the world' started to idolize him-as he became a saint of sorts. If laughter and cynicism is the acid test, then he failed it- especially in a time when the political party he lead, degenerated into a den of robbers and haven for political ideologues. Or, perhaps he was way out their league. Perhaps, he consciously started to focus on all the 'charities' and mobilizing the world's stars to make philanthropy sexy. Perhaps this was a new 'world-class' he edged out-to bring us back to each other, to value compassion, care, and the concern for justice. So, in that world-class you will face ridicule and cynicism - so in this sense, Sharma has a point.    

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