Umair Haque is considered to be one of the world’s most influential management thinkers. The Director of Havas Media Labs recently wrote about the importance of taking a broader view of ourselves and our relationship with the world around us. He makes some very good points about leadership that we should all contemplate, about living life meaningfully well.
His proposition is that we have so much materially, yet we’re focused on more, better, sooner. What if we looked at things differently? How could we demonstrate leadership by redesigning economies, markets, and organizations to help us live better, he asks.
Haque wants us to up-end our suppositions and the life concepts we take for granted, to think in new ways. He suggests we consider how our life-experiences can become lessons to help younger generations think in expanded ways about how they can live meaningfully well. He describes three lessons he would give a young person:
Cultivate (your better self).
Productivity, he suggests, is actually a lifelong processes of becoming. Our lives can be more meaningful if we set aside traditional focus on instant gratification and material acquisition and instead work toward a refined moral compass, ethic behavior, a broader view of the world. He suggests we “learn the arts of nuance, subtlety, humility, and grace”.
Create (something dangerous).
In order to be outstanding you have to stand out. That means you have to step out. Why be average? Haque recommends youth be spent pursing one’s passion, to the largest degree. Each of us should side-step the status quo and instead strive to build or create something with lasting value, however that may be defined, based on the pursuit of excellence. The younger we start, the more we can accomplish.
Forgive (and fail).
Fear of failure holds back so many people. Embrace it, advises Haque. Understand that failure – especially spectacular failure – is a given if you’re making any kind of beyond-average effort. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Your biggest limitation is believing your possibilities are somehow constricted.
Leadership means doing something that matters. So harness your passion to live meaningfully well, because as Haque concludes, “one world-changing accomplishment that knocks the ball out of the park is likely to give you more satisfaction than a lifetime of designer jeans.”
What three lessons for living a more meaningful life would you give those younger than you?