Our Inner Black Swan

I was grateful for an opportunity to share my leadership journey with more than 50 high school students and school administrators at Qatar Leadership Conference (#QLC15) in Doha this past weekend.  The QLC annual conference provides quality workshops in leadership skills and tools to high school students and teachers, and this year, more than 700 participants attended #QLC15 in Doha.IMG_1923

I was so impressed by the smart and courageous high school students in my session who shared their insecurities and how they would embrace these instead as their uniquenesses and strengths.  I wish I was half their bravery and open-mindedness when I was at their age.

My leadership workshop was about myself, being a black swan in a corporate environment, and how I turned my self-perceived weaknesses into strengths.

Up until the discovery of Australia, people had always thought swans could only be white.  Instead of accepting swans in black color, people tried making sense out of why swans should only be white and even tried explaining black swans as turkeys.  This is what Dr Nassim Nicholas Taleb refers as The Black Swan Theory – something that is hard to predict and can’t be explained by our knowledge.  We should adapt the differences, instead of spending all the efforts explaining why things aren’t the way we think they should be.

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As human beings, we crave to fit in and be perfect.  We spend so much efforts to copy successful people’s styles and leadership traits, and at the end, we forget who we are.  There are 6 different types of swans (black swans, mute swans, white swans, etc) in the world, and we need them all in their own unique ways.  Just like swans, we need all unique human beings in this world.

Shouldn’t we embrace our inner black swan?  Learn to adapt our differences and embrace our uniqueness.

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