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Distracted By The Opposition

“When left to my own devices, I feel neutral or antagonistic towards X. However, I’m going to willfully transform myself into the kind of person who actively supports X for no other reason than that some people are silly in the way they express their hatred for X.”

“When left to my own devices, I feel passionate about X. However, I’m going to willfully transform myself into the kind of person who actively fights against X for no other reason than that some people are silly in the way they express their passion for X.”

If this is the logic you use for determining your direction in life, you might want to think twice.

Why?

Because there’s nothing you could possibly believe or support that’s ever going to be entirely free from some kind of association with people who express their convictions in a way that seems silly or shameful to you.

If passions and causes were sports teams, everyone would have at least one embarrassing player on their team. And although you may see yourself as not belonging to any particular ideological team, you will almost certainly be lumped into the same category with some very unlikeable people merely because they share certain sentiments in common with you.

Are you really willing to betray your interests, tastes, and ideas just because of those people? Is your sense of ambition so small, your sense of inspiration so weak that it’s only worth following when your convictions are solely shared by individuals who receive your stamp of approval?

There’s a wide and wonderful world of possibility waiting for you out there. There’s also a bunch of “idiots” who enjoy exploring those same possibilities.

What’s more important: getting the most out of your experiences or never being seen standing next to an “idiot” who roots for the same things as you?

Life is filled with many good things. Don’t abandon those things just because your enemies and opponents like them too.

Be a Coach, Not a Cult Leader

To be a great coach, you have to love people’s freedom more than you love being their guru.

When you get your kicks from being seen as the great and glorious guru, you become the kind of leader who instructs people in a way that makes them more dependent on your guidance. After people meet with you, they mostly feel in awe of how phenomenal you are. They see you as a rock star.

When you get your kicks from helping people wake up to the possibility of their own brilliance, you become the kind of leader who inspires people in a way that makes them less reliant on you, more trusting of their inner judgment, and always open to learning from new people. After people meet with you, they mostly feel appreciation for the increased sense of clarity and confidence they have. They see you as an ally.

This is the fundamental difference between a coach and a cult leader.

A cult leader wants people to obsess over his or her greatness. A coach wants people to overcome the obstacles that hinder them from unearthing their own greatness. A cult leader says “follow me, obey my teachings, and don’t question my ways.” A coach says “follow your priorities, trust your potential, and never stop questioning the way things are.”

A cult leader says “I will make your life beautiful and amazing.” A coach says “I will challenge you to take charge of your own life.” A cult leader says “here are my instructions.” A coach asks “what are your plans?” A cult leader says “you need me to be happy and succeed.” A coach says “I am only useful to you when my knowledge is a servant to your goals.”

A cult leader says “don’t leave me or I will shame you or guilt-trip you.” A coach says “go wherever you need to go, do whatever you need to do, and be whoever you need to be.” A cult leader says “be loyal to me.” A coach says “be true to yourself.”

If you want to be a cult leader, keep reminding everyone of the special access you have to some esoteric source of knowledge. And whenever people talk about their own possibilities, always bring the conversation back around to your own greatness.

If you want to be a coach, however, never let a single soul enter your presence without you making an effort to encourage them, empower them and genuinely connect with them. And whenever people talk about how great *you* are, always use it as a segue to bring the conversation back around to their own possibilities.

P.S. If you really want to be a cult leader, please find a coach who can help you overcome your need to be superior to others. And if you can’t find a good coach, then at least try to find a good definition of “greatness.”

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