For uncommon men, commentary & analysis in business, politics, & society to explore on-the-ground challenges in your life.

Leadership Doesn’t Come with a Rulebook, So Stand Whenever You’re Ready

Nov 12, 2020 | Leadership & Personal Development, Short-form

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Reasonable people, including level-headed leaders, are quickly reaching an ideological impasse.


On one side, you have most conservatives. They remain transfixed in a Boomer fantasy world of free markets and personal choice. Yet, many of them are all too willing to defer to extreme government regulations. And bow to corporate vultures and the culture that comes with it. Or they insist we at least all play along with the current hysteria because they don’t want to offend anyone. And they certainly don’t seem to mind taking bailouts like a bunch of cronies.

On the other hand, we have liberals, who have clearly lost the plot in 2020. When they are not nakedly gaslighting and using power politics, they appear clueless to how the real world works. They seem to have a solution to every problem. And that solution is ever-more control by the managerial class of corporate America. And most damning, they’re getting louder and more absurd in their demands.

What’s really the effective difference between these two sides?

At least on corona, it doesn’t appear to be very much different very often. I suspect that’s almost always the case.

Worse, neither side appears particularly aware that the economy was headed off a cliff in 2019. Or that evidence for the pandemic being the Black Plague has been thin since nearly the beginning, if not obviously now. Both sides seem unaware that the vital organizations in our society aren’t functioning properly. Or that we’re making them more fragile.

I think that I can speak for other young families when I say that I’m over it.

Seen from a more neutral place, progressives are true believers in whatever next, insane ideological fad comes down the pipes. And conservatives remain the progressives who are just a step behind today’s curve. But little ever changes as the bulldozer rolls forward.

So, where does that leave you? And when are you supposed to speak out against the insanity?

It will always be more advantageous for you to declare yourself and to wage a vigorous war. If you do not declare yourself, you will invariably fall prey to the winner, which will be to the pleasure and satisfaction of the loser, and you will have nothing nor anyone to protect or to shelter you.


— Machiavelli

There’s something to be said about choosing your battles carefully. After all, you have a limited amount of time, and you must value it. Fighting battles that you cannot win is an exercise in futility. And as Churchill said, “you will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” For my aspiring leaders, you also need to recognize when you have power and when you don’t, as well as where your control lies in the end.

However, there’s also something to be said for having a pair.

And surveying our current year of 2020, there is most obviously a serious lack of courage going around. And I mean this in every way possible. Politicians, business owners, pastors, even regular people. While many simply hope it won’t get worse, they are blinding themselves to their complicity in a deeply anti-social situation.

Of course, good, intelligent people may wonder when everyone else around them will wake up. But my experience has been that this is the wrong sentiment. However long the people around you have been acting crazy and stupid, they’re likely to keep doing it at least that much longer.

Unfortunately, there is no singular answer for when you should speak up about it. Leadership, like many things in life, doesn’t come with a clear set of instructions. But Machiavelli knew, if you wait too long, you will merely become the lapdog of the winner. And if 2020 is any indication, this game is going to have a lot of lapdogs.

Sooner or later, you have to make the decision on your own. And for your own benefit.

What happens if you decide to speak up and no one follows? You lead yourself into the wilderness. And you never look back.

I suspect that I’m not the only talented man with my eye on lost ruins in the forest.

1 Comment

  1. Double edged sword: as a small-biz owner myself (in manufacturing), I worry that being more open with my far-right reactionary stances, esp. on the SARS2 fiasco and the insane enforced-controls of the Left could interfere with my relationships with customers and distributors. Trying to “be a leader” to folks who are not looking for a leader is orthogonal to just doing business.

    I would LIKE to spread the word more widely about the insanity that is the COVID responses. I have a medical background and study the false news and apparently true news on COVID, and it’s agonizing to see all these terrified cattle masking 2-yr-olds and stampeding which ever way the evil govt and ‘names’ send them.

    Where I can, I try to allay the inculcated fears of folks I connect with in the biz world, providing info and hidden truths; however trying to reason them out of a fear they have not reasoned themselves into doesn’t usually go very far… And my focus, esp. in this biz-destroying enforced insanity, to to keep my biz afloat. “Leading into the wilderness” may not help staying above the water’s surface!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.