I had a very inspiring discussion with one of my superiors few weeks ago, and we discussed about leadership and succession. In that discussion, we talked about how many people try to become someone they idolized by becoming a shadow to that person and following whatever that idolized personality do.
The expression we used in that discussion was, to be number one by becoming number two.
Number one, is the one who inspire the existence of the collective. The number one is the leader of the pack. He or she does not only lead the group on whatever they do, but also determine how the right thing to do is differentiated from the wrong one. It is also the number one whose absence will put the collective into risk of disintegration, or even worse, oblivion.
Number two, on the other end, is the skilled complimentary of the number one. While she or he are often time very skillful and reliable, number two are lack of inspiration by him/herself. Often times, number two is either a devoted fan or an ambitious candidate with ‘will-do-anything-to-become-the-heir’ attitude. While the devoted fan is a personality lack of intention for replacing number one due to his or her naive devotion, the ambitious candidate is more complex with his or her own self-contradiction. The ambitious candidate type of number two tries to distance him or herself from the number one, while keep imitating number one to compete on exposure and to prove equal ability, and yet, have no genuine inspiration on his/her own.
Number two can have a lot of good things that makes him or her special and stand out in the crowd, but always lacking on one thing. One thing that only a number one possess: A genuine and passionate energy to inspire others.
That energy, can only be exist if it is genuinely from the person, driven by his or her personal values. It also can be seen through a strong self-conviction a number one has in each of his action and decision. Everyone can sense that energy through the tenacity a number one in daily life.
And, it is not something you can learn by becoming number two. You can learn all kinds of skill and tactics by becoming number two, but you will not get the soul of a number one. It is not something you can copy from others. It can’t be transferred through training or readings. While those things may help to evoke the energy, the soul of a number one is an energy emerged from within the person, emanates through passionate action and self conviction.
There is no model to be a number one. If there is, then it is not number one, but number two. A number one spark his or her energy by itself. A number one starts, not follow. A number one sparks his or her light to illuminate others, not the other way around.
You can’t learn to be number one by becoming a number two. You have to crack yourself, find your soul and practice to be a number one.