Why Do We Follow Leaders & How Can We Be Part Of Movements For Change?

I am fascinated by the nuances of leadership. What makes a good leader? What makes us follow them? What inside us are the qualities of a leader we might ourselves admire? Seth Godin takes us on an inspiring journey through some of these questions in the video attached above. Jade and I watched it recently and couldn't help but agree that we ourselves aspire to form 'tribes', to connect, to join together. At it's simplest level, people like to be recognized, to feel a part of something, and to have fun. I know I do. 

At Fed By Threads, we are doing our best to incorporate our deep beliefs in what living right means to us. This, however, exposes us, leaves us vulnerable, to those who prey on cracks in the armor: I admit it, we aren't perfect. There, I said it. Instead, we continue to take baby steps in the the right directions to protect human rights, the environment, animal welfare, and the economy. Those tiny steps, however, add up to a magnificent work of art as I look back over the past 5-10 years and realize how much has changed for the better in my own life. I am composting my food waste, basically stopped buying leather shoes, shifted my purchasing of food to the local co-op and farmers markets, found my garbage can empty and my recycling can full each week, and more and more my closet is filled with clothing that was made by workers in America. 

That is all fine and dandy, but the vastly more exciting truth is that we are not alone. In fact, thousands of other people want to live this way too, it turns out. It is easy to feel on an island: how many apparel companies out there are making the hard choices to absorb the extra costs associated with paying for American labor, to be sustainable, to be cruelty-free, to be sweat-shop-free and to feed hungry Americans? Wouldn't it be easier and more profitable to close our eyes and do what most other apparel companies do and simply source non-sustainable materials from questionable manufacturers in far-away lands? 

The point is, it takes courage to be different, to go against the grain, but when we do walk this walk, we are finding that others will take our hands and join us. Why? Because they too share our beliefs. That's all. We don't need to convince them of anything because they already are like-minded. It is through this connection that, as Seth Godin notes, we quietly become a movement. 

-Alok Appadurai

Founder :: Fed By Threads

Alok Appadurai
Alok Appadurai


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