Why aspire to be a CEO? You are already one anyway


Such an honourable and prestigious name or rather, designation.

If we are in such a position, it usually puts us on such a high pedestal and we will probably never want to step down. Such is the allure and seductiveness of power. In every organisation, there is only one such position. But coveted by many. Isn’t this vying part of the reasons for office politics? Even the term “corporate ladder” has an implication of a “moving up” notion, doesn’t it? Although there’s a possibility of “moving down the ladder”, this is often  ignored or neglected by many. Another familiar term “rat race” gives a more lateral feel of moving forward and surpassing others, another analogy for the unsatisfactoriness of the human condition.

But think of the endless possibilities of “moving down the ladder” or even “slowing down”. What happens to our life? Most of our basic assumptions is that when we move down, we become inferior to the rich world and people in abundance up there. And that when we “slow down”, we are losing out in life. Because there are limited resources out there and we need to be quick and fast to snatch it.

But is this really so?

In my opinion, there are positive aspects to both “moving down the ladder” and/or “slowing down”.  While it’s often great to be placed in a leadership position and supported by many, a leader – especially one in an organisation – are confined by structural rules and at times, corporate bureaucracy. This almost often implies that he/she has to work within a certain set of framework, which stifles flexibility and creativity. When one is not in a leadership position, one is not a lesser person as a leader. Similarly, when one “slows down”, one is able to get a better perspective of issues in his/her life, as compared to a leader who is often overwhelmed by an excessive workload and people management issues.

Let’s face it, we are all leaders in our own ways.

From the moment we are born, we are already given leadership roles. When we have younger siblings, our parents have allocated the task of us taking care of them (rather than babysitters, I hope). When we are older, we are given more choices and autonomy in choosing our academic courses. And when we are even older, we gain almost full autonomy in determining the paths in our lives in our journey to make this world a better place.  Some of us may have certain limitations or restrictions due to life circumstances but on the whole, we do make the call for most major decisions in our lives.

We are CEOs in our own rights. The concept of CEOs in organisations probably begins from the period of industrialisation. Aspiring to be CEOs in organisations has left most of us dazzled and desensitised to the fact that we are already CEOs. “CEO” may be a new term in contemporary societies but the ability to lead and work with others (a team player, in another words) are already inherent in us from the day we are born. Acknowledging this fact will give us more confidence and inner peace when we deal with the daily issues in our lives. 

Knowing that we are born CEOs will also has a tendency to make us entrepreneurs. We tend to be less reliant and dependent on external organisations for our daily livelihood and we will now have a stronger intrinsic motivation to work to better our own lives, as well as others.

After all, corporate organisations do not exist during the times of our forebears, do they?


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