Could you do a George Papandreou?
By which I mean could you take a really big decision that would be deeply unpopular with others – or with key individuals?
My reading of his actions was that he realised at the penultimate moment that if he had gone ahead, implemented the challenges ordered by his European ‘partners’ he would have gone down as the most unpopular man in modern Greek history, and no doubt his family name would have been similarly tarnished.
From the gallery we can sneer in our bewilderment over Papandreou’s actions – but what we would do in similar circumstances?
When are we ever brave and stand up for our principles and beliefs, protecting what we think is right?
In my innovation and creativity workshops I emphasise the importance of your Adversity Quotient – your inner rocket fuel to help you bounce back from setbacks.
If you are being creative, inevitably there will be times when people say ‘No’ or even worse, may hold you in lower esteem as a result of what you believe to be right.
I’m guided in life by two great sayings: the first from rock legend Frank Zappa
When he said: “Just because several million people think you’re wrong, it doesn’t mean they’re right.”
The other, is from my favourite film and play, ‘The Harder They Come’ with the lines from the title song: ”I’d rather be a free man in my grave, than live my life a puppet or a slave.”
But even I have recognised, either from growing maturity, or just one too many times of banging my head against a brick wall, that actually you need to be selective about your battles: you can’t take on the whole world.
There are many times when you just need to grit your teeth, take a deep breath and smile at the latest example of ‘the world doesn’t recognise your brilliance’.
There are other times however, when you need to be brave, be prepared to have several million people think you’re wrong, and fight the fight you believe to be right.
Maybe George Papandreou was brave and didn’t want to live his life a puppet or a slave to his European partners.
The truth he has highlighted however, whether it is the world of politics or innovation and creativity, is you can’t be popular all the time if you want to achieve the change you want to see in the world.
Now, where was I with my latest idea for…..