Everybody is not meant to be a protestor or to champion a cause. We romanticize leadership so much in our culture that we don’t realize that we may be undermining and undervaluing the commitment that it takes to be a strong follower. I have been guilty of that in this very space at times and have made a few questionable decisions in my life on that basis. As a young man I quit a sport I loved because I lost my leadership stripes. It was a hasty decision based on this misguided focus.
By definition, the greatest majority of people are going to be followers. If we are smart we know that the strong, committed followers are actually who makes things happen because their numbers overwhelm the opposition and execute the game plan. And almost always when victory is won, the deciding blow is struck by a member of the rank and file, not by the recognized leader.
The men pictured at the top are Tommy Smith and John Carlos. They gave the “Black Power” salute at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City that was literally the shot heard round the world in the Black Power Movement. And prior to that moment, neither of them had been known or recognized anywhere as a leader in that movement. They were not even captains of the team they were on. But they made the difference. The entire world came to know the depth and breadth of the Black Power Movement because of them.
Just know that whatever your lot in life may be and whatever you may do, at some point, you will be called on to stand. Don’t miss it- you may end up changing the world.