The world isn’t always a nice place and the competitive nature of the work environment can sometimes be brutal. Many people in the business world have a “succeed at all costs” mentality. Unfortunately, this usually means doing less about bringing oneself up and doing more about tearing other’s down. Some of these types do find success, but for most it’s fleeting, if any success is found at all.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a desire to succeed. The downsides to ambition occur largely as a result of our own human nature, which can often drive us to do things that we normally wouldn’t. It happens. But truly good leaders learn to recognize their own errors, learn to correct them, and then try even harder to do it “right” the next time around. But doing it right isn’t always easy, especially when it contradicts our natural human responses to the environment around us.
Dr. Kent M. Keith illustrates this battle between good leadership and human nature in his 10 Paradoxical Commandments of Leadership:
- People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
- If you do good. People will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
- If you’re successful, you’ll win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
- The good you do today will perhaps be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
- Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
- The biggest man with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest man with the smallest mind. Think big anyway.
- People favor underdogs but follow only hot dogs. Fight for the few underdogs anyway.
- What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
- Give the world the best that you have an you will get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best that you have anyway.
These are not just business leadership principles, they are life leadership principles. These are lessons in overcoming the worst of our natural tendencies learning how to find success in everything we do, and how to win friends and influencing people along the way.