Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower
I’ve been posing the question, “Are Professions taught or born?” for a while now. As Kyle matures, I see glimpses of his future self, his true nature shinning through and I tend to wonder if a chosen profession is a part of the person from birth, or is it just simple education and environment. Not that I want Kyle to grow up too fast, but he has shown serious signs of being an engineer and/or a businessman. This hasn’t just happened recently, this behavior has been peeking through Kyle’s personality since he was a baby. Yes I said baby! While observing Kyle over the years, it really gets me thinking.
About two months ago, during one of our hikes through the woods with the dogs, Kyle went off on a tangent – Lego Obsessive or Driven?. Listening to him ramble, posing specific questions and coming to his own conclusions, he really made me stop and listen to him. His observations and speculations where spot on. He has a very business like mind and way of thinking.
Kyle was saving up and earning money that weekend to purchase a new Lego, which apparently just came out in May, and he had to have it for the last day of school that Monday. Not only did Kyle repetitively detail the Lego and describe his excitement over the anticipated purchase, but he also deviated slightly to understand marketing and different business models of retail stores, specifically Wal-Mart and Toys-R-Us. Kyle began talking about Wal-Mart, how they have toys but not the entire selection that’s offered in the marketplace, along with groceries and other things. Then he did an immediate comparison to Toys-R-Us stating they only offer toys, “but nothing really for adults”. He said,
“And Aunt Heather, Wal-Mart always seems to be cheaper, but they don’t always carry everything, so you have to go to Toys-R-Us anyway. They may cost a little more but they have more of a selection. It seems like, Wal-Mart is cheaper and there are more of them, but they don’t have everything, but Toys-R-Us is more expensive but they carry all toys, even rare ones, and ones that just came out. Wal-Mart has a little bit of everything even for adults, and Toys-R-Us doesn’t really have anything for adults, well I guess they do. Some things like video games ’cause adults like those too. And Wal-Mart is open 24 hours, well most Wal-Marts, some aren’t open all night and Toys-R-Us is only open during the day. They close early on Sunday’s.”
Yep, this one sided store comparison went on for the duration of our return trip through the woods. He kept reiterating his dissertation, almost as if he was really organizing his thoughts to truly make sense of the business models. Do all kids think in these terms? I was actually quite intrigued with his thinking and I made no effort to sway him one way or another. I just kept listening, wanting to hear his conclusion. Then I did say, “Wow you have it all figured out.” with him responding, “Yep Aunt Heather that’s the way it is.” Laughing at his candure I said, “Well buddy, you just did a comparison of two different business models.” With a blasé “Ya” he dismissed my thoughts before I could even get them out and continued talking about the new Lego he wanted.
While on vacation, “Aunt Nikki and Kyle’s week of fun” my sister texted me saying…
They just saw a commercial for used cars. It said that you shouldn’t buy used cars from strangers and then it said to basically buys used cars from them. Kyle said, “They just said not to buy used cars and they are selling used cars. That’s just poor business.”
When I got that texted message, I about fell over laughing because I could totally hear Kyle saying that! He is an observant little bugger and a thinker. Nothing gets past him. If it doesn’t make rational sense, then he will call it out and discuss it. When Kyle was younger, if we told him not to do something he didn’t care. But if we exclaimed the consequence or the outcome if he did what he was instructed not to do, he would listen, maybe ask a few questions, remember that conversation, later abide by the rules, and decide to take on the role of rule enforcer. Example, I told Kyle that he was not allowed to ride around in a car without his seat belt. He used to argue, that is until he knew it was illegal and I could get a ticket, not to mention it was more dangerous. Ever since then that seat belt is on immediately and he has questioned my parents, who aren’t such sticklers. It made sense to him that we weren’t just dictating orders, we were following established laws.
Being business-like minded isn’t the only skill that Kyle has demonstrated. He is always thinking about building or the logistics of structures. While watching Journey 2 The Mysterious Island, the entire island was about to go under and Kyle began to think about the structure of the land. He said, “Ya but how is the island going to go under water and still be the same with all the big cracks in the land? It wont be the same when the lava fills in the cracks. And how is the city going to stand? It will fall over when ocean covers it.” As I sat there with my family watching the movie, I will admit at first I shushed Kyle. I wanted to see what was going to happen in the movie, then it dawned on me where he was coming from. He didn’t seem to care everyone else was not wondering the same thing and that I asked him to be quiet, because he went off saying, “It doesn’t make any sense, the island is breaking up.” Then finally my stern voice bellowed, “Kyle it’s a movie! Just watch it.” Then I realized, in a way, I was dampening Kyle’s curiosity and his way of thinking. So I gave him a wink, patted the top of his head and said, “O my little engineer. Kyle you are a thinker!” trying to encourage this behavior, well maybe not talking through movies, which he does all the time, but allowing him to think differently.
After that, I’m guessing Kyle took my little words of encouragement to heart because he went off on a another tangent. You see, he is also concerned with time management and technical details. Now the next logical train of thought included doing a comparison between Journey to the Center of the Earth and Journey 2 The Mysterious Island. He started to come to his own conclusions, which movie was easier to make and which one took longer. Can you believe it? This is Kyle’s thought process. He is amazing! He began to site specific scenes in each movie and give his explanation why they would be difficult scenes to shoot and which movie was more complex. Please keep in mind, Kyle does not know the slightest thing about making movies, especially on green screen. Now that I’ve said that, I could stand corrected. Kyle’s pretty intuitive and he may have watched some behind the scenes episode of making movies that I am not aware of. There is no doubt, he knows more than I realize.
Now, let me entertain my way of thinking. Since Pittsburgh has become the new hot spot for Hollywood, I wonder if Kyle should get into the film making industry? I’m not saying acting, although with some training and coaching he might be good at it, he is dramatic and animated. But there is so much more behind the scenes, technically speaking, that he might really enjoy. Note to self: explore options locally to introduce Kyle to the movies.
With the posed question, Are Professions Born or Taught? and Part 2. I read this story a while ago and I wanted to share it. I agree with both gentlemen to a degree, but I tend to sway toward Michael Carson’s theory. There isn’t one secret concoction for making a great leader, but there are specific qualities that one is born with. I also believe those qualities are shown at a young age, but I do believe as Christopher Early stated, they can be honed in on and developed more. I feel, being a natural leader is a part of a person’s DNA. Kyle for example has shown to be a leader. In fact, we do joke around calling him the supervisor or the consultant. But it’s true, he does posses “(1) self-awareness, (2) personal conviction, (3) courage, (4) creativity, (5) curiosity, (6) ability to inspire, (7) ability to listen, (8) ability to innovate, (9 & 10) eagerness to experience and willingness to reflect.” But it’s not to say that some of these attributes need coaching and to need to be matured, such as Kyle’s ability to listen. I do believe that comes over time. He shows that he listens now, but only when it suits his argument.
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses in our personalities, and we should identify them, if for nothing else, just to be a better person. But I don’t believe that a person can practice and practice at a trait and develop it out of nowhere. If a person is not charismatic, then, in my opinion with some coaching you can become an eloquent speaker, but never truly be charismatic. Of course, this is my opinion and by no means do I have facts to back up my theory. Being a leader seems to be in Kyle’s blood, although I would be happy if he was a follower, a worker bee. But I don’t see that in his future. Like I’ve always told Kyle, in order to become a good leader, you need to be a great follower and know when to step up to the plate. I guess time will tell what Kyle’s future holds.
From Beginning Until Now…