[October 10, 2017] A number of my old college buddies disagree with me. They disagree that leaders are never victims … but my buddies are, perhaps, talking about something different. I believe that good leaders are never victims because leadership means having a positive outlook and possessing a be-prepared approach to life.
“There are hunters, and there are victims. By our discipline, cunning, obedience, and alertness, you will decide if you are a hunter or a victim.” – James Mattis, U.S. Secretary of State
Being a leader or being a victim is thus a matter of how we view our role in things. If we see ourselves as having no control over our own fate and that of others, we are victims and we are regrettably also creators of other victims. If we are in command of those things around us, are alert and resourceful, responsible and prepared; then we can never be a victim.
Humankind has historically developed a number of ideologies that are based on victimhood. Communism, socialism, and fascism are some of those that were more successful in the 20th Century. Each rejected religion and each was based in the belief that government would protect and help all victims; in essence, government became the religion. Ultimately, they were based on the hatred of others (the bourgeoisie, capitalists, or inferior peoples) and to protect the “the chosen ones” (e.g., victims).
A psychologist would call “never-be-a-victim” outlook on life a form of psychological self-defense. Those who practice it however know that it is much more because victimhood is both encouraged by others and rewarded by government. It takes significant personal effort, practiced resilience, and a lot of spunk to see one’s self as being in control.
Only you can make yourself a victim. If you’re part of the solution, you’re a leader, but if you’re part of the problem, then you’re the classic victim. Here at theLeaderMaker.com, this is a common theme1 that I occasionally expound upon. I do this because every day I seem to meet folks who see themselves, their friends, and family, and their lives as being in one tragedy after another; an inescapable reality of the victim.
There are steps a person can undertake to stop being a victim; for example immediately stop blaming others for your problems, provide kindness to others, forgive and let go, build self-confidence and resilience, and learn what makes you happy. Simple? Yes, but not easy. It takes time and effort to build up the right personality and to recognize that the right people can help. The first step is to try.
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- During sports – we all played or supported the sports team – we were taught to “suck it up.” Whether losing, injured, or the coach not letting us play, we were taught to take charge and make things happen for the team. Unfortunately, our current society, in contrast to my generation, rewards those who play into victimhood values. See some of my past posts on this here and here.