Posted: Wednesday, September 7th 2011 at 6:36pm
By Stan Hall Staff
I was raised on a series of sayings that are apparently outdated or even obsolete. Sayings such as, “practice makes perfect,” “patience is a virtue,” and one of my favorites, “all good things come to those who wait.” The premise of course for all of these sayings is that success does not occur overnight. Success is, or at least it used to be, best measured and earned by a series of accomplishments, from one ascending level to the next up the proverbial ladder. One accomplishment led to the next one and so on and so on. And, more important than the successes, these levels of achievements were dotted with failures that made the successes even more rewarding. Each failure led to a more solid accomplishment at the next level.
This system worked very well until we became a society of instant gratification, instant success, and virtually instant everything. This need for immediacy applies to almost everything that we do. Instant coffee, instant food, instant news, instant communication, all in the blink of an eye and completely instant. We allow our kids to become adults, almost instantly, with what we now allow them to be exposed to at ages that are far too young, even though they are still very much children from a developmental perspective. We even have instant pudding. My grandmother is probably rolling in her grave.
But, not only does this need for everything in an instant apply to the daily conveniences of life, it has now also become a part of our nation’s leadership. When this desire for “everything now” works its way into our country’s well being and who will lead our country, it can become a very dangerous prospect. Historically, our leaders who have made it to the top, have brought with them experience that included former stops along the way as legislators, senators, governors, military leaders and other positions that served well as a training ground for the nation’s number one spot of leadership; the presidency. These times of previous leadership, management, and the ability to face and make tough decisions served them well as the one that we all looked to in both good and bad times. They were well established leaders long before they called the White House home.
Not all of them will be remembered as successful presidents, but their failures were typically politically motivated rather than their preparedness for the job. Those traits were well honed prior to the Oval Office where the decisions that are made there leave little room for error. But, somewhere along the way, some people have decided that experience is no longer crucial for the job as the leader of the free world. With all due respect to our current president, and those who are ardent supporters of his policies, he won the presidency with very little experience or proven track record as a great leader. Intelligent….yes. A communicator….yes. Talented…very. Charismatic….without a doubt. But, as a leader…..not so much. I suppose time will tell whether his abbreviated course to the White House will prove successful. He is an example of one who took the short path to instant success in the form of the White house and the presidency. Why go through all of the trials and tribulations of the one step at a time theory when you can vault to the very top step? Give him the credit that he was able to do so and did it very well. However, many will say that we are reaping the results of this short cut, without proper foundations being laid, play it forward mentality. And, our current President Obama is not the only one who likes everything instantly. Look at the current slate of those, on both sides, who are looking to replace him at the top. Once again, with all due respect to their supporters, how many of them are truly prepared for such a position of authority and power? Their hearts may be in the right place, but the Presidency is not a one organ situation. The heart, soul and mind, and most certainly their previous life experiences, must blend together to make a successful leader.
It’s like the guy who puts the lugs on the cars at the assembly line. He may be good, but is he ready to be the President of GM? A great canoeist is not necessarily ready to be the captain of a cruise line. It is not to say that one day both may be excellent leaders; but, this is best accomplished in a calculated and time proven manner, through experience. Remember having to sit at the child’s table during family gatherings? What do you think the responses would have been from your parents if you sat at the adult’s table without permission? I assure you the outcome would have been uncontrollable laughter from your parents and uncontrollable pain to your backside. You had to wait your turn until it was your time to move up.
It just seems incomprehensible to have someone working on the overall budget of the entire country who has never balanced a budget of a state, or a county, or even a small city. What happened to the learning curve? Is knowledge also now achieved in an instant? How do we expect our leaders to offer advice about unemployment, military issues, and social strife, when they have never truly held a “real” job, have no service in the military, and have never known social strife or had to deal with its consequences? It’s not really an indictment against those who find themselves in these instant leadership positions. It’s more of an indictment on each of us for putting these people in these positions that they can’t get there without our approval.
Some things that occur in an instant are very much a convenience and are not items that we would care to have taken away. But “instant presidents” is one of those things that needs to be taken out of the fast lane projects and needs to be slowed down to a manageable speed. Some things take time to develop, and become the best that they can be; they can‘t be rushed. Opening them before they are ready can cause them to spoil and waste all of that effort that went into their maturation.
Things such as fine wines, seven day Levin bread, home spun ice-cream, and surely the President of the United States are worth the wait.
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