To Lead You Must Stand With

Hello friends,

I believe in standards. I believe in values.

That is the honest truth.

I say so because I have walked the road of learning, and believe that certain values are more virtuous than others. Not cultures nor races nor ideologies, but values.

That being said, I respect others’ pursuits and values, as diverse as they may be.

What is more, I understand that we share the innate desire to not only be heard, but also have our beliefs shared by those who we love and respect.

We as human beings want to pass on our understanding of life to others, for that is what has sustained our species. Not speed or strength or flight, but intellect.

On our journey, there may arise times when we ask ourselves:

How do we teach others what we have learned?

To understand this, we must first understand how we came to OUR understanding in the first place.

As humble as we are, and as humble as we want others to see us, we are not completely open-minded. The reason is natural.

Should your beliefs be as weak as the first piggy’s straw house, your mind would have been blown over and thrown to the wolves a long time ago. We cultivate shelters for our beliefs, and through time and experience those shelters become pillars that we call our principles. People who have weak principles tend to flip-flop on their opinions based on the momentum of others’ expectations. These people rarely achieve fame or infamy outside of politics, and are generally seen as “nice”.

I offer that instead of niceness, you practice TRUTH AND STRENGTH.

We also cannot learn by adopting the loudest and most frequently spoken views of the day.

That is as asinine as piling rocks over the foundations of individual will. All that will create are puppets and mindless zombies. Repeated lies become truths to people who only hear but are not driven to question.

To learn from any media we must consider not only the contents of a media, but also the motive. Go ahead and question my words. If they resonate with you, I am glad. If not, the world is full of knowledge to satiate your curiosities. Apply the same scrutiny to articles, news, and other people’s opinions.

Another trap of learning is to accept the validity of other people’s notions based on our respect for their person.

Selflessness without thought is as destructive as irrational selfishness. In fact, I offer that those two are the same thing.

Friend, you are a human being. You think, you aspire, and you love your mind.

I offer you a notion.

The truest way that you learned something was through TEACHING YOURSELF.

Others may show you the truth as they see it, but you must see it for yourself no matter how obvious other voices declare it to be. Yes, we are told that the Earth is round. However, nothing is real until you convince yourself of the fact.

What is more, I offer that you always distill the question down to its purist form, no matter how complex it may seem.

This is not pure conjecture. To date, I have studied physical chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, and medicine. What I have found is that the most crucial question is almost never the question being presented. For example, a question about the management of a certain disease, for example asthma, may seem complex. But one can simplify the issue into two branches. For asthma they are: Control and trigger. Then one can separate further based on the need of the patient, i.e is the control adequate or non-adequate, and what to do to restore good control.

The same can be said about the molecular pathways of cell signalling. As complex as a protein molecule seems, it is almost always in one of two states: Active or inactive. If activating protein A activates protein B, you have a pathway in a similar fashion as a circuit board. Only instead of an insulated conduit of wires you have a bag of water, protein, and electrolytes.

I offer that whenever someone tells you that a question is grey, seek to navigate through that grayness until you have found the most crucial variables. Then the question becomes simple.

It is often the people who dare to see simplicity amidst declarations of complexity who hold the means to success.

Finally, some things may be presented to you as principles, but even they are not immune to the scrutiny of your mind. After all, not even the most experienced of gurus have lived the exact same life you have.

With these considerations, I offer to you the truest way that you teach and influence others:

Teach others to teach themselves.

You plant seeds, instil ideas, and incept concepts. And then you leave the other person be.

Great ideas need no major advertisement. Great ideas grasp onto the mind like a grape vine, and when the appropriate circumstances and nourishment come, the fruit of that initial seed will arise.

IF the idea is great.

What is more, you must learn to stand with others and see the world through their eyes.

Seek to understand what the other person wants and needs, and show them your perspective to achieve those things.

Inquire as often as you instruct.

Ask: “How can I help you?”

“What can you gain through your service to me?”

“What do you really want,” and find a way to bring those things about through your lessons.

I will share a personal example. I used to teach swimming to a boy with autism spectrum disorder. I did so for four years.

When I started, I was confident in my abilities because I already had two years of public swim instruction under my belt.

However the first lessons were anything but successful.

We splashed around, and he did little to listen to me. I would tell him to do something, and expected that he understood why it was in his best interest. I simply knew what my goals were, and why he should aspire towards those goals. In essence I projected my beliefs onto him.

It was not until I searched for and found what he wanted that I was able to forge a therapeutic relationship. What he actually wanted was fun. This may be obvious. However I was, and still am prone to looking elsewhere besides the obvious.

When I realised what he wanted, I began to treat the lessons as games. We kept imagining that the lessons were games based on television cartoon shows. This way, we found the “fun” in our lessons.

When the four years was up, the improvement was night and day.

But really, I did not mould him into what I wanted. I simply showed him that he could be entertained while learning to swim, where entertainment was more important than the strokes. What he gained was fun, and what I gained was the satisfaction of successfully teaching a child to swim.

When you appeal to a person’s physical or emotional needs, he or she will be more willing to follow your words.

There is an exchange you need to appreciate in order to influence others.

To gain from others what you want, you must offer to others what they want. 

You can extrapolate the same principle to any debate, bargain, or lecture.

What is more, you can offer a perspective as a variation of another’s perspective, and a lesson he may eventually want to learn by himself.

Finally, when you realize the way to influence others is through patience and empathy, you may start to embrace the true meaning of humility.

As Lao Tzu once stated:

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

I hope that you will consider these words thoroughly, but not too thoroughly at first.

In the end, the beauty of someone’s two cents is simple.

That is all that a seed costs.

Until next time.

Your friend,


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