Leaders, Followers, Oscar Wilde and Me – This Time, It’s Personal!…

[ Reading time ~ 4 minutes. ]


Here are a couple of ‘funny’ (awkward) questions, you might never have considered before:

  1. You likely know that the answer comes from ‘within’, but what does that actually mean?
  2. Also, where is this ‘within’, and how do you listen to the answers that lie there?

Well, practically speaking, I think it means that a) you DON’T NEED to follow a guru/teacher/leader and b) it’s always BETTER to find a way to find out for yourself. And NOT always listening to others, gives space for you to listen to yourself.

The best advice I could ever give you, then… (Again)

If there was ONE PIECE OF ADVICE that I would give myself, as a younger man, it would be this:

  • Learn from others, but teach yourself

What I mean by this, is – simply! – find a way to find out for yourself. E.g. does that new faddy diet work, FOR ME? How about the latest self-help strategy or breathing technique or spiritual understanding?

Do they work, FOR ME?

And Is the latest guru or expert or thought leader training me to listen to them, or to listen to myself?

That’s what I’d tell him, the youngster that went by the name Nashy.

Instead, that ‘awkward’ and ‘troubled’ Nashy listened to everyone else – friends, girlfriends, siblings, parents, anyone (including himself) – as if these people actually knew what they were talking about.

As if these people didn’t have their own problems at the time – they just preferred to tell someone else how to live life properly, rather than live properly themselves.

(Yes, my inner voice was often the harshest critic I had. And if it hadn’t been that way, chances are I would have paid much less attention to those other advising voices that agreed with my inner critic.)


Big mistake.

That I am still learning not to make, alas.

Because I see now that their advice at the time didn’t help. Mostly. Instead, it told me so much more about their concerns rather than mine. Indeed, in some cases, I now see that I only had a problem because they told me I had a problem (and I believed them!).

Worse than that, though: it trained me from an early age to look outwards for help, rather than inwards (‘within’).

Which is why I turned to self-help and spirituality some 20 years ago. To assist with my feelings of unhappiness, of not fitting in, of not getting “it” (people, relationships, life). I turned for inspiration and guidance to the likes of…

Guy Finley
Jeff Foster
Michael Neill
Sydney Banks
Michael A. Singer
Byron Katie
Khalil Gibran
Hale Dwoskin
And others (Rupert Spira, Francis Lucille, Jiddu Krishnamurti, Tony Parsons, U.G. Krishnamurti…)

They spoke of the human condition, spoke of its universality; they revealed that we all have the same struggles; they told me that nothing was wrong, if only I could see that for myself.

And ALL of these guides helped me, it’s true.

In small ways, and big.

And, eventually, I learnt to take what was useful from them, and leave the rest.

Eventually, I saw that the real purpose of the teacher was to see that I did not need a teacher.

I learned to be my own guide, to listen to my wisdom, to feel what was right for me.

I learned to do the same with my friends, partners, siblings, and especially with my own inner critic. To take what’s useful, and to leave the rest.

These ancient words from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu say it all, really – for me, anyway:

“When the student is ready the teacher will appear. When the student is truly ready… The teacher will Disappear.”


Leaders are necessary, and leaders need followers; we all need help from time to time; and the wisdom of others is useful. Still…

  • It’s more important to be your own leader rather than someone else’s follower.
  • Asking for help is often the wisest course of action, and often the hardest thing to do – but surrendering to a dependence on that help is NOT why you were created.
  • And the wisdom of others is only useful if it stimulates your own wisdom into action.

Do You Think for Yourself?

As ever, this is what I think, how I see (and articulate) things. How about you? How’s it going learning to know who and what to listen to, and who and what to leave alone? And how good are you at finding a way to find out for yourself?

I’m curious what you might think about this piece, and the rather pointed words of one Mr Oscar Wilde. I’m also curious how much you think you think for yourself…

  1. How to Think for Yourself is a self-hypnosis download to get you started in “tuning into yourself” better. Provided by HypnosisDownloads.com, the session has been carefully and professionally designed to help you develop a more independent approach to life. Nice…

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