Desperation – The Cornerstone Of Leadership

Desperation can make a person do surprising things.

Veronica Roth

The above quote, borrowed from the wisdom of the talented short story writer and novelist helps us identify the impact of desperation on us in general. It is also true that majority of the modern-day inventions would never have seen the light of day but for the desperate brains working to find solutions to specific challenges, to create better systems, devices, methods, and experiments for all-round growth.

Understanding various traits of success across multiple sections of human society, we come to the conclusion that every self-proclaimed expert is ready to push forward his or her own version of priorities. However, certain essential traits always occupy the prime position, no matter what. Besides honesty, integrity, in-depth knowledge of the subject at hand, as well as a pleasant demeanor, we can add a few other points, same as I am trying to cover in this series.

Desperation, or the resulting fall-out of it, is a two-way sword that can work either way in building or ruining someone’s position, prestige, or pride even.

An act resulting from desperation, without proper analysis, is bound to bear negative result. On the other hand, desperation to get our point across, can at times, help us go out on a limb and perform an act of defiance that we never thought possible without help.

I am reminded of a statement I read somewhere a long time ago: “A dog in desperation will leap over a wall.” I am sure most of my readers can relate to this possibility. We know for a fact how animal trainers force even the fiercest wild animals to dance to their tunes by leading them to desperation for want of food.

A hungry person can choose to cook a meal, buy it ready made or steal it, depending upon his or her circumstances. It is the growing inability of this person to satisfy the need for food that leads to desperation.

Desperation can easily be either destructive or constructive. Those in a balanced frame of mind go for the creative option. On the other hand, the ones looking for a more comfortable, faster short-cut to reach their goal resort to unfair means including, but not limited to petty, or even heinous crimes. A hungry person can choose to cook a meal, buy it ready made or steal it, depending upon his or her circumstances. It is the growing inability of this person to satisfy the need for food that leads to desperation. Even a homeless, penniless person, in this situation, can use discretion to make use of others’ generosity or steal from the unsuspecting. More often than not, it is the well-to-do among us that resort to unfair means than the ones fallen on bad times. What is the cause behind their desperation to resort to unfair means, if not an insatiable urge to keep on amassing wealth by hook or by crook!

When discussing the role of desperation as an essential trait of great leadership, we cannot help but keep in mind the growth channels one must traverse to get to this role. Nobody has ever claimed success as a true leader only because of his/her birth in a family of prominence. Why? Leadership is never inherited. It MUST be cultivated, nurtured, painstakingly fed with the positivity of both thoughts, and actions. This is where one’s desperation helps to go beyond the norm to achieve success in a given field and to help others out of their challenging situation/s.

Desperation is a necessary ingredient to learning anything or creating anything. Period. If you are not desperate at some point, you are not interesting.

–Jim Carrey

The world-renowned Comedian/Actor/Producer of outstanding Hollywood movies as well as a television personality gives us a valuable insight into the role desperation plays in both learnings and creating. How can one ever hope to become a great leader without these tow capabilities? We must first learn, and then create the means to transmit our own energy, experiences, and our viewpoint in an executable fashion to the ones that follow.

Who knows where inspiration comes from. Perhaps it arises from desperation. Perhaps it comes from the flukes of the universe, the kindness of the muses.

–Amy Tan

The American writer from Oakland, California feels desperation could be one of the root causes behind the inspiration. There is hardly any element of surprise in her belief because history continues to be a witness to the desperation of not one, but multitudes of inventors through ages that all strived to get out of their desperation through their inventions. Extreme poverty happens to be one of the moving forces in the vast majority of these cases.

Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.

–William S. Burroughs

The 20th-Century American writer and the visual artist makes a strong point. Through these words we understand the need to get out of the rat race, stand tall and make an impact through our desperation, using the same as the raw material. We all know for a fact that one bereft of the talent to bring about a change for the better can never be a leader. More drastic a turn for the better you can bring about, the more influential leader you would become. As such, change born out of desperation helps trigger leadership.

Desperation makes men fearless

–Jocelyn Murray

A travel writer, and historical fiction novelist. What would you call a leader that gets easily scared? A non-leader, if anything, right. Leaders dare to go beyond the obvious, to explore new avenues, and to tackle challenges day-in and day-out. If desperation holds power to push us down to the rock-bottom, it does also hide within an immense capability to bounce back. It is the transformation arising out of our reversal of circumstances that gives us a new meaning of life, a new perspective, an urge to break the imaginary barriers and to explore avenues yet unexplored. Naturally, the indirect gift of desperation acts as the foundation stone of great leadership.

It is my sincere hope the highly talented, discerning, as well as curious readers will find some value in the above submission.


Bharat Mathur
Bharat Mathur
WHERE goal setting and systematically achieving each one of them has been the ‘Mantra’, where earning trust by delivering value has been an uncompromising principle and where deeply impactful experiences have made an indelible impression to look directly into the eyes of toughest problems and tackling them head-on has been a major cementing glue in the foundation, Bharat Mathur fits the bill, hands down! Creating value for others, out of the challenges his career in the “C” Suite kept throwing at him left, right and center, Bharat now finds solace in being a ‘Guide by Your Side’ rather than a ‘Sage on the Stage with An Eye on What You Buy’! Past 4 decades of Bharat’s life have been no less eventful than that of anyone else in similar circumstances. However, the way he lived from one challenge to another and stayed focused on his goal is clearly visible as much in his Coaching as in his #1 Best Seller Book: “you Are YOU-nique: Realize Your True Worth”! His next book project tackles ‘Internet of things’ (IoT) from the viewpoint of a layman and helps understand this fast-approaching revolution in simple, easy-to-understand language with live examples: “SMART PHONE + I o T = INCOMPARABLE OPPORTUNITIES” Nurturing a number of successful businesses, mentoring a lot more towards astronomical growth and helping them identify and eradicate trouble spots, Bharat has rightfully earned the nickname: ‘Achiever’ Send him Bouquets or Brickbats, Bharat loves it all!

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    • I wonder how many people actually realize this fact. In my own case, there was an instance when I was cheated out of over 6 Million Dollars of my hard-earned money. Believe it or not, the night that followed was the best night since I could lose no more. I slept with my doors open. I could see the future beckoning me to restart and grow with greater strength, and here I am, back in the game.

      Thank You, my dear friend, Larry!