If you have around 20 minutes to spare, please do check out the below episode from Naruto Shippuuden before moving on.
Naruto Shippuuden is one of my all-time favorite shows. The most recent episode, “Attack of the Shadow Clones” (like the Star Wars pun?), is quite symbolic if you take the time to analyze it.
Responsible Use of Power
If there’s anything I’ve learned over the years, it’s that being a good leader comes with great responsibility. I think Voltaire summed it up best when he said,
“With great power comes great responsibility.”
(You might also know this from Ben Parker’s quote in the Hollywood Spiderman films.)
As you grow in “power,” whether that be natural or supernatural, the fine line between confidence and arrogance becomes thinner. Since responsibility is such a heavy burden for a leader, they can sometimes take those who choose to “follow” them for granted – as was the case in “Attack of the Shadow Clones.” Responsible use of one’s power should always be at the forefront of a leader’s mind. History shows us what happens when that is abused (e.g. Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and many other dictators and tyrants). Just because one can exert power, doesn’t mean one should – this is where true Self-discipline becomes evident.
See Yourself In Others
Another important point that was highlighted in the episode was seeing yourself in others (for Naruto, that was a direct manifestation of his shadow clones). As a leader, it is wise to always try and see yourself in others – that way, you are more likely to treat them with the same respect you feel you should be treated. If you believe in interconnectedness, this is a sure-fire way of treating each other like true spiritual brothers and sisters. Now, of course, it is easy to spot the differences, and it’s also easy to misconstrue what it means to be a spiritual family. Therefore, my belief at this point in time is to:
- Respect the lives and choices of others
- Leave judgement until after you’ve looked honestly within your Self
- Be responsible for one’s own actions and inactions
By the end of the episode, Naruto realized that he was dreaming the dream of one of his shadow clones – who actually saved him out of pure love and loyalty. Although it was a dream, Naruto had the wisdom to understand the importance and significance of the lesson – that, although there may be those who choose to follow, as a leader, we have the greatest responsibility of respecting and honoring our “brothers and sisters” because, in the end, no one likes to feel unappreciated.
Count Your Blessings
Leaders are bred in a variety of different forms, but they do not get there alone. Leaders must always remember those who believed in, and supported, them and, sometimes, even those who didn’t. We become strong by learning from our mistakes, and counting our blessings (which aren’t always “good” at first, because they usually come in disguise).
So, if you are a leader, officially or unofficially, take the time to genuinely give thanks to those who look up to you – and even those who don’t. It is through them that you are able to realize yourself as a leader – always remember that. In my opinion, these are the type of small things that count most – these are the makings of a Self-disciplinist.