I am convinced we must enable students today to be self-motivated. To cultivate initiative and self-motivation as a skill set. To find a way to be internally provoked instead of depending on the external stimulation of a smart phone, a video game or a YouTube video. Why? Leadership really comes from within. It doesn’t start on the outside with a badge or a position. I believe it has less to do with a position and more to do with a disposition. It’s about the drive to right a wrong, or ease a pain or improve a desperate situation.
Let me illustrate. When Helen Keller was 19 months old, she got sick and lost her sight and hearing. But she believed that “true sight and hearing are within, not without.” With the help of her lifelong teacher and assistant, Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller learned to read, write, and speak. During her lifetime she graduated from college; became a best selling author; traveled around the world; met with Presidents, world leaders, celebrities, and ordinary people; and serve as an advocate for social justice and for people with disabilities. Her accomplishments as a deaf, dumb and blind person were an inspiration to millions.
If Helen Keller had been more like us, she would’ve given excuses for not achieving more in life…and we all would have felt it was natural. After all, she’s disabled. She’s disadvantaged. She could’ve lived her whole life on welfare, needing others to feed and clothe her, to provide for her and to stimulate her. After all, she didn’t possess the fundamental abilities to see, hear or think well.
But someone forgot to tell her that.
And Helen Keller led the way for an entire generation of disadvantaged people. How did she do this? By believing that leadership begins within not without.