As I make my way through this world, I am told by those I trust that forming my values is critical to my success, whatever that success may be.
As I devote time to forming values, I am told by those I admire that to clearly articulate my values is powerful, what I may use that power on I am not entirely certain.
Once I think I’ve formed and clearly articulated a value of my own, in this winding, meandering world, I must immediately choose whether to stand and fight for this value, this professed system of belief, or to subside — let my path be righted by those who want me to see differently.
To change or to trust in oneself. This is my decision.
Can a young person be so audacious, to some, arrogant, as to venture into the chaotic and return with the orderly?
Can I form my own values based on nothing more than what I observe, what I have been taught, what I think I may have taught myself, and what others’ lives have shown me?
Is there any truth I can hope to discover that gives me the right to disbelieve the forcefully contrary truths of others around me?
If the stage of truth holds room for only one victor, who gets to stand upon it?
Out of those few who do take a stand for what they believe to be true, each against all opposing, who shall I follow when everyone believes their truth to be the truth?
Shall I follow at all?
A true artist does not copy, they steal. It does not end there, for the artist melds, molds, and shapes that which they’ve so admirably stolen until they have created their own art.
If then this young person in question elects to steal from all vying victors and hide all in his mind, melding, molding, and shaping until he forms, articulates clearly, and begins to wage war in defense of his art — his values, his truth — what transpires?
Will anyone hear the sounds of his war?
Does it matter? Does the noticing of his clever stealing, tireless melding, molding, and shaping and arrogant defense of his bastardized truth have the potential to positively affect the world around him?
If he wins a war and others see his truth, if they elect to follow, does this not merely make this young leader yet another vying victor contending for the spot on the stage?
If we can say that in life some lead and some follow, then we must question what makes the difference? If it is a cause beyond our control, a heritable trait left entirely to nature, how do we divide ourselves accordingly, followers and leaders, when the cause remains a mystery?
If it is not a mysterious cause but, rather, a decision each person makes whether consciously or not, to be a follower or a leader, who instructs the leaders when to begin to lead and what to lead towards?
Certainly those who vie for the spot on the stage and wage their wars for their values — their truths — are nothing other than leaders who, either through the mysterious cause or as a product of an explicit decision, have become as such — have become leaders.
A follower then is anyone who has not elected to wage a war or, as a product of the mysterious cause, remains disinclined to wage that war that makes a leader a leader.
If we can say there are only two pools of people in life, the leaders and the followers, and none other, then some leaders-to-be must still be with the followers and will remain there until they find or create their war.
Perhaps young people, who are leaders-to-be but have yet to take up their war, remain with the followers until they feel prepared enough to begin their war for their truths — their values.
Perhaps these very future leaders are disguised as followers, only copying others’ art, until that day that they begin their own war.
But what transpires that someone feels prepared to abandon their fellow following peers and begin to wage their war?
Is it hardship in life? Success? Advanced age? Is it a realization that these leaders-to-be do not belong with the followers?
Whatever it may be that sparks one’s war, it must not be a hard line which everyone crosses in the same manner and at the same pre-appointed time.
There does not appear to be a biological or otherwise equally predictable trigger for a follower to become a leader.
Perhaps then when a leader is young this is only remarkable in that most leaders do not begin to wage their wars until they are no longer young.
Perhaps then a young leader should stand by their values as long as they can be upheld.
Perhaps I should believe in what I have melded, molded, and shaped.
Perhaps I will.