Michael Kouly’s Lecture
Micheal Kouly’s recent lecture was one of these few lectures that truly makes you stop and think about what you want to do with your life. Do you want to be a success or you want to be a failure? Do you have a goal that you want to achieve or do you want to live and die unknown? Do you have a plan for the future or are you just wasting your life living in the moment day by day? The lecture’s importance was that it aroused all these questions and more but delivered much less answers. I went out of that lecture hall questioning my purpose in life. It made me, and I think it is safe to say my colleagues as well, redefine my priorities. And it gave me a peek to the future.
The lecturer was right when he used the “in your face” method to tell us that all of us, at some point of our lives, will face failure. All of us will get fired or will have to fire someone. All of us will do work that our boss will not like. This was something that really shocked me. Then I realized that what he was saying, regardless of how cruel it might be, was right. This is life. You face failures but you stand up to them. Getting fired is not a failure. The real failure is to give up when you get fired. To lose your self-confidence is failure. That was one of the really great things I learned from this lecture.
He began the lecture by giving us a fundamental question. What will you do if the authority in charge doesn’t act in the way it is expected to? He actually demonstrated this by standing still in front of us for a whole 30 minutes, doing nothing but watching our reactions. Some students reacted by threatening to walk away. Others, including me, just waited in silence. The largest portion reacted by mocking and making jokes. It turns out that this was his way of teaching us a lesson I will never forget. If every time the man in charge, the authority, the boss, you name it, doesn’t act in the way it is expected to and you respond by throwing jokes, walking away or waiting in silence, then you will not achieve anything in your life. To be a real leader you have to take the initiative and stand up and say, “no, this is wrong, how can we make it work?” Walking away, waiting in silence or throwing jokes will not get you anywhere.
Another important lesson we learned from this lecture was what he calls the three P’s: Purpose, Priority and Professionalism. To succeed in life you have to have these three things clear. Your Purpose should always be clear and you have to always work to achieve it. No matter how insignificant your Purpose may be to others, you should always be confident that this is what matters to you and that this is what you want to achieve. Having said that, this relates directly to the second P, “Priority”. You should always set your priorities in a way best calculated to achieve your Purpose. And you should be professional, the third P, in the way you work to achieve your Purpose. That is the only way you will successfully achieve your Purpose.
All in all, that lecture was an example of what we “Tomorrow’s Leaders” learn here. It is not all about academics. Yes, academics are important. But it is also important to have the Leadership mentality, to have these experiences and to meet these kinds of people, people who are willing to share their leadership experience with you and to give you some lessons that university is never going to teach you. This will surely help in making us leaders of tomorrow.
Written By: Mohamed Gohary.