Magazine article Real Estate Issues

Leadership from the Depths: How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life

Magazine article Real Estate Issues

Leadership from the Depths: How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life

Article excerpt

RECOMMENDED READING LEADERSHIP FROM THE DEPTHS How RONALD REAGAN CHANGED MY LIFE by Peter Robinson How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life: Peter Robinson (Former Speechiuriter to the President), Harper Collins, 2003, 263 pages.

The respected management consultant, Peter Drucker has written that to be a successful leader in the future one must be in harmony with oneself, love his fellow workers and have a passion which draws one out of oneself. Furthermore, according to Drucker, a leader of the future must also have the emotional maturity to remain calm in periods of stress, change and anxiety. In recent years books on leadership have stressed the need for that emotional maturity and stability which arise in one who is centered and capable of sustaining relationships which draw on the intimacy and trust formed out of the deep levels of personality.

Leadership out of the depths is nothing new. The concept is covered in the Bible. For many, Peter Drucker's thoughts resonate with one of the great underlying written premises of Christian, Jewish and Islamic religions that one must be in harmony with oneself, with one's neighbors and with a form of ultimate reality which calls us outside of ourselves and which many chose to call God. Many would agree that a major purpose of all religions is to draw one out of oneself and into relationship with the other, including the Divine Other.

Dante drew on this when he wrote to his protector while in exile from Florence, Can Grande of Verona, describing how he wished his great poem Divine Comedy to be read. First, there is the surface level, describing what appears to be going on. Then comes the allegorical level, where one makes meanings through the stories and heroes that move them. Then comes the moral level, which depicts the legal and normative values of the day. Finally comes the fourth level, the depth of spirituality and religion, where the deepest meanings and connections are made. Such a method of thinking was derived by Dante from the lectio divina, the method of deep contemplative prayer utilized by medieval monks.

Centuries later, Soren Kierkegaard utilized similar methodology is arriving at his three levels of living: the aesthetic, the ethical and the religious. For him the aesthete lived on the surface level of self gratification and leisure. As one matured and took on the responsibilities of marriage, family, career and the like, one became ethical. The final religious stage was achieved only when one could let go of oneself and be responsive to the claims and needs of others, including the Divine Other.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian and a leader in the underground movement to eliminate Hitler, wrote of "religionless religion" or "hidden religion" in " a world come of age". By this he meant that in a secular society which no longer treasures, and even disdains, outward religious symbolism, one may still remain deeply religious and spiritual by acting out one's faith in little acts of everyday kindness and grace.

The 20th century theologian, Paul Tillich, wrote in The Courage To be of the self confidence required to bring our spiritual natures into everyday life. University of Southern California professor, Ira Mitroff, reports the results of surveys indicating that, more than financial compensation, most people treasure work that fulfills them as people and that allows them to realize their full potential.

We need current day examples reminding us that great leadership comes out of the depth of our being. In his book How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life, former Reagan White House speech writer, Peter Robinson, repeatedly reports on the positive impact of the inner calmness and serenity of the former President on those around him and, indeed, on the world at large.. Despite a life that had all too many of the common causes of misery-divorce, lack of professional success, an alcoholic father-Reagan sustained an almost theological sense of hope, strength, resiliency and an innate sense of the basic goodness of creation. …

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