In West Europe we entered the 21st Century full of hope and expectations. Hope for peace and expectations for prosperity. Especially for me the last years of the 20th Century and the first few of 21st Century were very promising and hopeful.
My motherland Poland, after becoming free from communistic rules, began marching towards the European community. Becoming a member of the EU and NATO, being the only green island of economic growth in the years of crisis.
Unfortunately, the last few years with the resurrection of Putin’s imperialistic and nationalistic philosophy have put my optimism and hope on the state of alert.
Yesterday I found my favorite seminar by Jim Rohn: “Leadership Weekend” where Jim is talking about civilized behavior and I think his thoughts are even clearer today than during the change of millenniums. In his seminar Jim Rohn said that civilized behavior means restriction of power as power has the ability (temptation) to corrupt and absolute power has the ability to corrupt totally.
In the course of history we have seen people who could not resist this temptation. We know them as they have influenced the history of our planet. Who does not know Stalin, Hitler, Mao etc…
But for me the words of Jim have quite a different dimension. Maybe an even more important one! The restriction of power is the basic for civilized behavior not only in military or political aspects. It is true for our daily human activities!
It all starts with one of the most important jobs on Earth which is parenthood. How we will act as a parents towards our children makes a huge impact on what our future will look like. Are we as parents really there to educate our children? To show them what is good and what is bad? Do we have / take time to explain what civilized behavior is and why?
Then we have the second frontier which is school and our education system. Are the teachers ready to curb the power of our children? Do they have the right tools and skills? Have they been taught to not misuse the power given to them by the job they are performing?
What about the workplace. Are the managers and leaders conscious about the role they play in the shaping of civilized behavior of the workforce? Do they understand that the temptation to misuse the power given to them by the job description can make them uncivilized and can push their employees to defense?
What do you think about spiritual and political leaders? Is the hope of winning the next election or getting a better position a legitimate excuse to misuse the power?
Well, all these are small things that have no huge impact on the history of the World. So one could wonder why we should care.
My answer would be: because this is important for our future! Restricting power in all the different places will not protect us from tyranny, crime or another form of abuse all the time. However it can make it more difficult and sometimes impossible for abusive use of power. It will also make us more alert and it will make us more conscious so that the next time when temptation will present itself we will think twice! Being aware of the power we have, being alert of power abuse and being willing to act when necessary is one of the most important aspects of civilized behavior.
I also believe that this is one of the most important lessons of Jim Rohn on this subject.