Where Are Our Leaders?

What happened to civility? How did lying, gaslighting, character assassination, and bullying become normal?

Where Are Our Leaders?

This behavior is not only disrespectful; it is a cancerous spark that leads to grave consequences. The 'us vs. them' demonizing of the other is primitive thinking best left for the history books, and those chapters are grim. The United States of America has been the world leader and beacon of democracy, civility, and freedom. Yet here we are.

A decade ago, I delved into the subject of Trust. After spending three years interviewing political, business, and religious leaders, my intuition led me to believe that Trust could easily be considered the most important issue in the world. Little did I know how accurate that insight was. Trust is not a "nice to have”; it's a basic requirement of human existence. Trust and, with its sister, respect allow the sharing of knowledge and resources. Without mutual Trust and respect, not only would we not thrive, but we would not survive very long, as our systems would break into war and chaos.

Another contributing factor plaguing us is the massive change brought in by an acceleration of technology, giving us Godlike powers. We can create, manipulate, and destroy life on an unprecedented scale. We must adapt to new social norms and legal agreements to keep pace. The technology that was supposed to help bring our best and brightest together to solve these complex problems has been turned against us by bad actors. These people are having a field day using disinformation to manipulate the minds, hearts, and wallets of unsuspecting good people.

All these changes in behavior and technology are making people feel overwhelmed, fearful, angry, and separated. I can share an example of this stress from a recent breakfast gathering. A group of friends was talking about world events, and I was surprised to learn three of the eight people were investigating citizenship in other countries, just in case things worsened. Wow, that is a lot of fear! Can you imagine the fertile ground this creates for autocratic leaders to convince us to trade our hard fought freedoms for their version of protection? Now we know how this happened in other parts of the world.

So what can we do?

a picture of the earth on a wall
Photo by Gaël Gaborel - OrbisTerrae / Unsplash

Let’s take a second to remember who and where we are at this moment. We live on the crust of a molten lava planet speeding through space at 67,000 mph, spinning on its axis at 1,000 mph. We have the privilege and responsibility of being the most conscious and intelligent beings on this planet. Unfortunately, our current science is not yet able to explain where we came from or where we go when we die, although there at least a dozen major religions with very strong opinions on the subject. We live with the reality that at any time, there are uncontrollable events that could happen inside and outside our bodies that could end our lives. We must eat other living things to stay alive. We are susceptible to psychological pain from words or deeds delivered to us by others. These can even be delivered by the people we love and respect. No matter how tough we train to be, we are very vulnerable and sensitive organisms. Given all of this, you would think we would work together, help and support each other. After all, we are all in this together. How could we have anything but great compassion for our collective tragic plight? We are on the same team, right?

Ironically, it turns out the greatest threat to our well-being is…. each other!!

On a somewhat humorous note, my long-held vision of an alien invasion finally bringing us all together as one world was shattered. This happened as I observed our collective reaction to the pandemic. I now believe an unsettling large percentage of my fellow humans will volunteer to assist the aliens in the take over.

I have had friends and colleagues tell me I should work on a more pragmatic problem. You can't do anything about the dark wave that is coming. Humans have been fighting with each other for all time. However, I as a tenacious life long entrepreneur, I believe anything is possible. The more difficult the problem the more exciting it is to solve. Not to mention, if Trust is the world's biggest problem, the people who solve it would likely be well cared for. Of course, the opposite could also be true. I am cognizant of the quote, “No good deed goes unpunished ”. So, if you decide to join in, I make no promises :)

Here is my simple but hopefully poignant message. The quality of our lives, and that of the people we love, are in direct proportion to the levels of Trust and Respect in our communities.

If you agree, then let's get to work on it. Maybe start by finding your voice on this topic. Maybe you connect with me and or other leaders to collaborate. Whatever you choose, I ask for your Leadership because we need you, and we need you now.

Yours truly,

Todd Welch

CEO of Charter Partners

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