Obama (part 2)

Obama (part 2)

Let’s continue a bit more on what is interesting about Obama and the way he has processed his life events.

His unusual life journey – one that others might consider a true psychological hardship – led him to appreciate diversity and to have a more acute understanding of others.   It also left him with a great curiosity and desire to move towards people.  Rather than dwell on the lack of stability of his childhood years, Obama speaks of the variety of experiences he had at a young age, and of the inquisitiveness that it engendered in him.

He has been able to make the very most of his experiences of life abroad, and of having an African father, all of which today gives him an exceptional openness to the diversity and cultural richness of our world.

In terms of his upbringing, the US president is certainly not unique.  Millions of people have difficult childhoods, for a wide variety of reasons, or grow up poor and disadvantaged, or move often in their formative years.  In other words, Barack Obama does not have a particularly unusual or extraordinary early life story.

What is always interesting for me (and for all of us!) is to ask the question “why do some individuals emerge as leaders while others do not?”  Why are some individuals strengthened by the trials of life, whereas others are unaffected or even weakened?

Of course, as we have seen over the past few weeks on this blog, the answer to such questions does not lie in the specific life experience of individuals, but in the way individuals learn to process their life experience.

Effective leaders become proficient at processing the experiences of their lives; they come to understand the lessons of their experience, and they express these lessons to others though the personal stories of identity they tell.

Regardless of one’s political views, Barack Obama stands as an outstanding example of the storytelling leader.  He has managed to create something very rich from his experience.  His reflection on his own life, along with a deep understanding of his beliefs and values, has led him to a unique point of view and vision of the world, a vision which he shares readily with those around him. And, he expresses his own points of view, over and over, by telling his personal stories of identity.


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