A modified excerpt from the forthcoming bookito Bohemia in Suburbia (and Beyond):
I’d like to pause a moment here to suggest something radical in a book abounding with the themes of creativity and originality and living life for an ideal.
It is this: It is OK to be a follower.
It is most excellent and purposeful to be a follower.
It’s admirable to want to be part of the mainstream of an era, doing your part without seeking to take the lead. The world needs passionate followers as much as it needs path forgers.
Were it not for the masses of humanity doing their jobs well and as expected of them society would break down.
I’m Gandhian in that way. Every job is a worthy contribution.
Maybe we can come up with a new term for followers. Here’s my suggestion:
Because every job from garbage man to hostess to corporate denizen contributes in sometimes imperceptible yet necessary ways.
Also, passionate followers — contributors! — sometimes delve into the most interesting pursuits off-hours.
You’ve probably noticed this too, it’s not the leaders that glue a community together.
It wasn’t corporate titan Jack Welch personally helping make an after-school event happen. He worked obsessively and expected those under him to do the same. Or he fired them. So you didn’t see those guys at Tae Kwon Do practice.
Think back to the people who were there when you were growing up, whenever you needed someone, in the family or out of it. The people who were there for you as emotional support — I can guarantee it wasn’t someone of great renown.