Because leadership demands excellence of whoever exercises it. One cannot be a leader and hide in their comfort zone while coddling themselves with self-indulgence. It forces one into the vulnerable space of public attention, and demands their radical self-expression.
I once read an article the training of Navy SEALs. They interviewed a Drill Sergeant about what makes a great trainee, asking “which people fail the training, and which succeed?” My prediction was: the most athletic and fit people would succeed, followed by the toughest. The Drill Sergeant answered that neither athleticism nor toughness seemed to determined who was able to complete the training. Rather, it was their connection to the group. In other words, if they were able to build a relationship and stay connected with their teammates, even through the most grueling of ordeals, they would succeed.
Leaders are those most connected with a group. They are people who serve the highest cause within their tribe, and are thus elevated by their peers.
Human beings are lazy, myself included. We have evolved a brain that’s nature is to streamline everything we do. When out for personal gain, it can be hard to get motivated. But just about every human on the planet is capable of doing extraordinary things for people they love. Take the case of Angela Cavallo, who held a pickup off of her unconscious son for four minutes until help arrived.
Acting for others gives us strength we can’t access on our own. Leaders are called into action for those they lead, and therefore have access seemingly super-human virtue (in theory anyway). It is the only professional field inspiring enough for people to transcend their limitations, and call them powerfully into new ways of being.
Leaders are creative. Michael Ellsberg’s new book Education of Millionaires leadership is defined as “creating a future for others which wouldn’t have happened otherwise.” Can anything be more valuable than changing what is possible in someone’s life? I think not- therefore leadership is the most valuable thing in the world.
I believe creating is the highest expression of ourselves as humans, and leadership may be the highest form of creation.