Friday, January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day on which Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. Just like his predecessors, he used the occasion to give an inauguration speech (the full text of which can be found in many places, for example here, provided by The Washington Post [retrieved Jan 21, 2017]). Over the coming days, weeks, months, and years, much will be talked and written about the contents of this speech and its consequences for life in America and beyond.
We all carry stuff around with us. Some of it is material, tangible, and more or less heavy, bulky, or cumbersome. Some of it is immaterial – which doesn’t necessarily make it any lighter. Most of the time, I write about the latter. This time, however, I’ll write about what’s actually in my bag when I take off for work.
A rupture is haunting Europe. Less than 36 hours ago, half of a country at the heart of the continent voted to leave the common institutional framework known as “European Union”. Of course, everybody reacted (and is still reacting), from established media to social networks, from financial markets to cash machines in remote places, from politicians all over the world to the proverbial woman (or man) on the street. There are those who cheer and imagine a series of further -exits, prefixed by almost any imaginable letter in our European alphabets.
So now it’s the year of the monkey. For some, even more specifically, it’ll very soon be the year of the male fire monkey. Firstly, therefore, happy new year to those who feel that their year is starting now: May it be colourful, melodious, rose-scented, gentle, and infused with a fine taste of ginger and honey. Secondly, then, it seems high time to reflect on the leadership lessons our simian ancestors have been trying to teach us for thousands and thousands of years, while we were too busy to listen, totally absorbed in our own evolutionary journey.
Alongside many other things, as many of you know, I’m also a parent. The fact that I live with my 5-year-old son does shape a fair amount of how I structure my days, how I prioritise what I do, and how I think about life and its manifold meanings. Now, every day, all the time, all around me on social media, in newspapers and magazines, and in books, movies, and television series, intelligent (and less intelligent) things are being said about parenting. Many of them are true; many of them are nonsense; many are a bit of both, and many are neither.
These days, everybody wants to inspire. For some, this is a job necessity, such as for those leading handfuls, hundreds, or thousands of others who regularly need to be cheered up and motivated. For others, “being inspiring” is today’s equivalent of what was once called “being famous” or “being popular” and therefore a purpose in and of itself. For still others, to inspire means to realise the dream of transmitting their own dreams to followers waiting to be woken up from their respective dreams (or nightmares). Whether any of these descriptions fits your motivation or not: You probably wouldn’t mind becoming an inspiring person, would you?