What should a young leader seek? Imagine that you are suddenly elevated to a leadership role. Perhaps you have been painstakingly prepared for leadership by others for years. Perhaps this was something you pursued and achieved against all odds. Perhaps this was something that was thrust upon you suddenly by unexpected or rapid events. However it happened — you are now in charge. Congratulations. Now what?
A young man once found himself leading a large nation that had recently weathered a long civil war, was surrounded by other nations with an uneasy peace, and faced internal strife over the his own succession to the throne — achieved only by thwarting a coup from his own half-brother.
This young man was very aware of both his own inexperience and the impossibility of success, even for the most experienced individual. His task was to fill the shoes of a national hero, and he was very aware of his own feet of clay. He had one thing in his favor.
He had just learned that he had “one wish” that might possibly grant him whatever he asked. What should he ask for? The certainty of long life? The protection of personal riches? The death of his enemies? This was Solomon’s Choice. I believe young leaders face it still today.
If you have forgotten what Solomon chose, read here. Would you choose this?
In retrospect, Solomon’s request for understanding to choose between good and evil so that he could accomplish the mission that he had been given was a fantastic request.
My dad (one of my personal heroes) tells about a game that he used to play with his brothers. The game went like this. The players would ask each other, “What would you wish for if you had three wishes?” Once someone person actually suggested a wish, the other players would look for all the different ways that the wish could go wrong. The game finally ended (for my dad, at least) when he stumbled upon the wish, “To be happy.”
This game taught the truth that life is uncertain and unpredictable. Rather than asking for one outcome or another, we are much wiser if we seek an understanding of how to live each moment and face each new challenge. A sailor does not seek to control the waves or wind, but seeks to sail the most seaworthy craft available with the all the skill he has, regardless of the weather. As a result, he gains the freedom to go almost anywhere in the world. In life, I believe we must seek to live “seaworthy” and pursue understanding to choose between good and evil so that we can accomplish the mission that we have been given as leaders.