21 November 2017
Throughout the years, we have seen many noble leaders step up to maintain peace and order in a country's population. The two individuals that come to mind when thinking of such renowned leaders, are Mandela and Reagan. Nelson Mandela, the first black president taking office in South Africa who promoted peace and equality was one of the most impactful visionaries of the 20th century. The most impressive thing about Mandela was his powerful presence which he used to bring people together in unity as seen by his campaign to unite South Africa as it dismantled apartheid. On the other hand, Ronald Reagan led a great American comeback that transformed a struggling U.S. economy into a rocket of growth during his time in office. These individuals, along with other successful leaders throughout history share quite similar qualities like optimism, selflessness, and passion. It is these qualities that Shakespeare's King Lear lacks that inhibits him from utilizing his power effectively to become a better king.
Optimism is an emotional competence that leaders need to inspire and overcome conflict when trying to unite a nation. Mandela showed optimism despite the many obstacles he had to face when trying to bring the civil rights movement to South Africa. Being thrown in jail for conspiring to overthrow the state and sentenced to life imprisonment, he refused to back down even if it meant a chance at getting out of jail. He thought so highly of his actions that his freedom was the least of his concerns. In the film Invictus, Mandela saw how divided the country was as the black people in the stadium were cheering for England, as the mostly-white Springboks represented prejudice in their minds. He made it his ultimate goal to unite and inspire the nation through the game of rugby despite how tough the idea seemed. Similarly, when Ronald Reagan was elected in 1981, America was recovering from the loss of a war and two presidents. Criticizers said he was too unqualified and too inexperienced to lead. Under these circumstances, he still stayed positive and aspired to make America great again. Reagan's optimism was particularly on display during his historic 1981 tax cuts. All the naysayers attacked him for his decision until it sparked prosperity and the longest peacetime recovery in American history. Mandela and Reagan were both optimistic even in the toughest of times. However, the same thing can’t be said for King Lear as he often looks at everything in a negative light. For example, when Goneril sends Lear’s servants away as a result of his irrational behavior, he doesn't take it as a wakeup call. Instead, he curses his own daughter and calls on nature to make her childless. This shows his weak mindset and lack of optimism as a king.
One of the most valuable qualities a leader needs to obtain in order to lead effectively is passion. The leaders who are successful and achieve great things...