Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

13 Nov 2001, 22:30 p.m.

I wore fancy garb today to attend a luncheon for…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2001 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I wore fancy garb today to attend a luncheon for the Alumni Leadership Scholars and donors to the Alumni scholarships. How small and unaccomplished I felt next to people who have started nonprofits and published papers and been presidents of campus organizations.

(I try to comfort myself -- I studied in Russia, I've taught three courses, I'm somewhat up to speed on civil liberties and technology issues, I'm a relatively authentic person -- but see, the MC read out one or two accomplishments by each recipient, and she chose to say that I've taught "Politics in Modern Science Fiction" and "Politics of the Midlife Crisis," and people laughed.)

And then I went to Political Psychology, where the prof talked about leadership (and, incidentally, called Lyndon Johnson's Great Society program "The New Society"). He talked quite a bit. As Billy Joel said in "Shades of Grey," "The more I find out, the less that I know."

What is leadership, anyway? A motive, a means, an opportunity? Why is it important? Why should I think of it as something I want to cultivate in my life? Should I?