As the world’s attention is more and more focused on United States of America as their presidential race have now officially begun, I think it is the time to talk about leaders. Though me or you may not have a direct part in the presidential race in America, we all know the choice of American people is going to affect the whole world as USA is, without a doubt, the most powerful country in the world.
Since the beginning of human evolution, man has always looked up to their leaders. As we all know, humans are social creatures who like to live as a group. In the earlier days, a group was necessary for survival. And even then, every group had a leader. However, during that time, the leader was the strongest as it was a world where survival was based on physical strength. Nevertheless, as time passed and humans evolved into much more intelligent creatures who were able to shape the world as they wanted, their leaders also changed because people were looking for intelligence rather than physical strength. They were looking for a leader who could give them a better life. As a result, the role of the present day leader was created.
Who is a leader then? A leader is intelligent enough to understand what is going on around him or her. He or she is also intelligent enough to listen to his or her peers and choose the best solution to a problem. A leader does not lash out in crisis. He or she controls his or her emotions and uses intelligence to find a solution rather than get into hasty decisions that would put his or her own people’s lives in danger. A leader is compassionate. Someone who does not understand the difficulties and problems of his or her people cannot find solutions to them. A leader has to be calm. If he or she is short tempered he or she will create unnecessary troubles for the people. A leader has to be respectful. A leader has to be someone who wants to come to power so that he or she can use that power to do good to his or her people. These are some of the many qualities a leader should possess.
With regard to these qualities do you think you know at least one leader who possesses all these qualities? Such a leader is actually elusive in today’s world especially because most of the people come into power only to use that power for personal gain. However, if your country has a leader who at least possesses some of these qualities, then you can consider yourselves fortunate. A leader can make or break a nation. I hope the American people will understand that when they are choosing their president this year. In the long run, every person in the world should understand this fact and choose a leader who will strengthen and protect their country.
Everyone wants to be successful. They work hard for that goal. However, once success is in their hands different people behave differently. Some choose to become very arrogant and take revenge from whoever did not help them in their way. Some choose to forget all about their past which suddenly becomes a disgrace to their present glory. Some choose to treat people as best as they can without being arrogant. This last category truly understands how valuable this success they slowly achieved is. Sure, the other categories also understand the value of success. However, once they have success they tend to behave in a very arrogant manner as if they had forgotten that basic human curtsy is one of the most important parts of a society.
I have come across some very successful people. There were some who were determined to make everyone else feel inferior in front of them. Then, there were a few who were so humble that my respect for them grew every time I met them.
One of such people was one of my lecturers from my university days. She was a professor. She had reached the highest echelons in her professional career. She was related to some very influential people in Sri Lanka. She was not only teaching us, but also teaching in foreign universities. Yet, when she sees us she would always greet us with a nice smile. She was one of those teachers who would always want to make her students more confident. She never once made any of us feel inferior to her. Her success was just another reason for her to be humble.
Then, the second person I met, who made me very surprised to see how humble he was, is a businessman. His family owns one of the oldest and largest companies in Sri Lanka. He himself is an engineer. He had worked very hard to elevate his company to its present success. He is someone who believes in humanity even in the business world. For someone with such high ranking in the society, I was actually expecting to have a conversation with someone who would be very arrogant and imposing. However, he was very pleasant. He not even once made any comment that would make him sound arrogant or condescending. I was surprised and happy.
Then, I have come across people, a lot people actually, who have become very arrogant with their success. Some people whom I have known even before their success, have become so arrogant and lost in the aura of their success that they cannot remember the people who actually helped them to achieve that success.
What I have come to understand after all of this experience is simple. Success is a good thing. However, they way people react to success would tell you a lot about their characters. Those who would become more humble with success are people with depth.They understand that success should not be a reason for them to start behaving arrogantly. They choose that success to help whoever they can. Then, there is the second kind. The second kind gets blinded by their own success and start behaving with so much arrogance that they forget basic human curtsy is a good thing. Being humble does not mean you somehow become less powerful. Actually, if you become more and more humble as your success grows, you will always be remembered as a wonderful human being. You will not be one of those success stories that people forget after some time. Choose humbleness with your success.
When you hear the word nightmare, do you also think about a bad dream that does not let you wake up until you have tried hard enough? Does it remind you of waking up in the middle of the night, covered in sweat because of some horrible thing you saw in your dreams? Then, you must have thanked your stars for that horrible experience being just a dream and gone back to sleep once you were in control of your emotions. However, did you know that we cannot wake up from every nightmare? That some nightmares are real.
If you look close enough or pay enough attention, you will realize that this beautiful world we live in is full of nightmares; nightmares created by us. No matter where you live , you cannot escape from them. Watching people, who were only a moment ago enjoying fireworks, being mowed down by a truck in Nice is a nightmare. If just watching it was a nightmare for us, how must they have felt when they were actually experiencing it? Seeing a number of people being gunned down in a club in Orlando is a nightmare as we see laughter turning into sobs and cries of pain. Seeing some people holding hostages in Bangladesh and torturing and killing them, is a nightmare. Seeing suicide bombs, bombs of any kind, blowing up around the globe every day killing people and maiming them, is a nightmare. Knowing that we live in a world so full of different religions that preach peace and harmony and yet “war” or “terrorism” are the words we hear more than peace and harmony, is a nightmare. Watching world leaders, the people who can actually do something about this, not coming together genuinely because they do not want to make compromises, is a nightmare. Knowing that we live in the only planet we can live in, and yet we are slowly destroying it, is a nightmare.
Do not these nightmares end? Cannot we wake up from them? No, my friend, until the day comes when people stand together despite their differences and take a stand against violence, the killings will continue. Until the day comes, when people realize they should respect every religion and no religion expects its followers to kill devotees of other religions, the threat of lethal religious extremism will remain. Until the day comes when people, every single person on this planet, start to protect the only home they know, we will still be nearing the end of the world. There are so many things to do. Yet, we are not doing anything because we are not united.
May be now you are thinking of going back to the time when a nightmare was thinking that a monster was under your bed. At least you could wake up from that nightmare…
I have never faced a real storm. I have never experienced a storm that damaged my home or made me lose loved ones. Sure, I have witnessed some very hard rainfalls. However, that is the extent of natural disasters I have personally faced. Nevertheless, that does not mean I have lived a very comfortable life without any troubles or losses.
When I was 19, the biggest storm hit our family. My father, who was a jovial, kind man fell ill. We did what we could, but we all knew that was going to be the end. However, we still had that little hope in our hearts of seeing him healthy and laughing again. That did not come true. He was healthy one moment and in the next he was gone.
He was not there to see my A/L results. I was expecting results at the time. Before his condition worsened he once asked me, “Will you have good results?” I said, ” I did my best so we will see.” I think he thought I would get good results since I have always been a great student. When the results came, I had the highest school results from the Arts stream subjects. I had a district rank and an island rank. I got an opportunity to go to the Temple Trees, the residence of then President Mahinda Rajapakse, with the rest of the highest result holders of the country. But, my father was not there to see any of that. He was not there to see me graduate from the university; he was not there to see my books being published; he was not there to see any of this.
Yet every time, I win something, pass a remarkable goal in my life, I remember him. He was not a perfect father, but he was a really good father, who actually loved his two girls. The storm that took him from my life had one positive effect. It made me a tougher person. It taught me loss was inevitable. It taught me the value of life. It taught me we should do what good we can with the short life we have.
Darkness does not need any explanation. We all know darkness is when there is no light or there is only a partial light. Though darkness may appear scary when we are young, as we grow up, some of us start seeing the beauty of darkness.
When I was young, I used to be pretty upset when my parents switched off my bedroom light after I went to bed. They had to keep it on until I fell asleep. However, as I grew up, I started finding something soothing in darkness. Nowadays, I cannot go to sleep if the bedroom light is on. I guess I am more addicted to the calming nature of darkness.
Think of a moonlit night where there is no electricity. You will see the moon so beautifully because there is no man-made light to decrease its shine. Even when there is no moon, you will be able to see the stars clearly only if where you are is in the dark. We appreciate the light of the stars because of the darkness. We see the beauty of the night sky because of darkness.
Have you ever thought that we appreciate light so much because of darkness? If the world was always full of light, would we appreciate it this much? I do not think so. To appreciate light, to appreciate the beauty of even a candle light, we need darkness. Therefore, we should be able to love both. Respect both. Because one without the other is useless.
If we take this concept a little further and apply it to humans there is lesson to learn there too. Let me explain. If we only had fair-skinned people in the world, would anyone see them as more noticeable? The only reason fairness is given so much attention, especially in Asian countries, is because there are darker skinned people too. In such a situation a fair skinned person becomes proud because of his or her light skin colour. He or she never gives much attention to the fact that his or her skin colour gains even that much attention in that society because there are people with darker skin colours than him or her.
Both light and dark skins are beautiful. Both light and darkness are beautiful. When you realize this, you will be able to see beauty in everything.