Real Leaders

How To Release Your Inner Hero

The first man who thought about building a fence around a piece of land and calling it his own, had no idea how much he would change the world. As if foretold by a magic elf, in enclosing a part of nature, he also trapped a part of himself forever. Thousands of years later, breaking down our walls to discover our own secrets may finally set us free.

You see, when a part of ourselves has been trapped in a hidden cage, we can’t feel that part anymore. And because we can’t feel our deeper selves, we lose the ability to connect to others on that level. We can only swim over the surface of relationships, both personal and professional. We often go round in circles, repeating the same patterns over and over again… unknowingly looking for an entrance to that mystery within us.

A glimpse at the conversations on Twitter shows how incredibly superficial we’ve all become. Articles about leadership are amazingly shallow. The same quotes are repeated over and over by celebrities, successful business moguls and celebrities. We take our advice from the luckiest people on the planet, whose experience of life is mostly limited to success and popularity. That is how deep we dare to go these days!

True leadership, however, is as deep and timeless as our soul. Medieval symbolism already knew it, with heroes from many cultures and legends going down into deep scary caves to slay dragons. Admirable men penetrated impossible mazes to kill the ghostly beasts who ruled them. We’ve known for hundreds of years that the only path to true heroism and authentic leadership is found deep beneath the surface. Still, we shy away from the dreadful horrors we may find. And so here we are, tweeting and retweeting gibberish.

Luckily for our hidden inner heroes, the world is a magical place after all. Communication bring us an inch closer every day, and resource scarcity is shrinking our world as we speak. We’ve come up with new business models to share. It began timidly, by timesharing our second homes and boats. Now we’re sharing cars, bikes and even phones. Sharing space and objects forces us to become more considerate of others, unless we want to pay big ugly fines. Despite our intention to keep growing our own businesses, our potential, and owning our piece of private land, sharing our stuff may become the future.

As often happened in ancient tales, divine intervention is right on time. Our trapped hidden selves had relentlessly increased their hold on our souls. When heroes lost confidence in their ability to triumph over injustice, men and women stopped reading legends, no longer dreaming of true love, creative passion or Holy Grails. Unfair convenience took over almost everything in life, making each generation grayer, more passive, more focused on pure survival. Feeling deep, real emotion became the obstacle to happiness in somebody’s ridiculous playbook. The playbook of superficial leadership we all seem to be quoting on twitter these days.

Schizoid personality disorder is not discussed very often. Those who suffer from it never get around to asking for help. Those who don’t present it hardly know what it’s about. Yet experts calculate one percent of the population suffers from it, and the number is growing. More than a few high powered businessmen and women have made a lonesome life out of constant travel, important work-related interruptions and just-in-time socializing. Great at small talk, incapable of heart-to-hearts. And our younger generation is even worse.

An inability to experience closeness, deep connection and belonging is as tough as life can get if you find yourself a schizoid (broken) personality. A part of you is trapped on the surface, unable to feel anything real. Another secret part of you is trapped inside an invisible cage nobody can see or touch. A cage that threatens to hold you forever in endless, unfeeling isolation. A mean old dragon guards the door, driving those who get close far, far away.

We obviously need heroes and dragon legends more than ever before. The beastly monsters who await under the surface of our tweets are nothing more than our own unexpressed emotions. It’s true that in the case of schizoid disorders these monsters are bigger and meaner than anything we’ve ever tried to engage in history. The wounds that shape such invisible fortresses are generated as early on in life as gestation in the womb, repeating frequently throughout the first years of life. Small babys’ most primal reactions are surely the most intense emotions to be found on Earth.

Still, they are only emotions. We know how to process them now. We have tools and techniques to work through them. Many experts and weathered warriors of wild emotion are on call to lend us a hand when we get lost. All we need is a will to be better, to live better, to not give up.

Take it from a former schizoid who was once sentenced to eternal invisible jail. It can be done. It takes courage, and it may take longer than you would like. But dragons will give in and walls will topple down. And when you’ve slain the demons nobody even dared to look at, well, you find yourself a true hero. Your jail transforms itself from unfair punishment to the challenge you were always meant to solve. Like all legends tell, you will have become a leader, and admirable warrior, an irresistible force of life.

And you bring faith and strength to others who still battle on. Don’t give up. Don’t give in to convenient moroseness. Don’t listen to advice from those who’ve never dared to climb down into their own caves, or look their own monsters in the eye. It’s time to share, to believe in legends and magic, to bring down old walls and clean out our earliest, most primal wounds.

It’s time to remember there is a hero inside us all. As this year’s Eurovision contest winner sings: “We are the heroes of our time, but we’re fighting with the demons in our mind!”

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