Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 0:16
Once upon a time, there were 10s of 1000s of makers struggling every day they built for hours and hours but didn't ship and didn't earn enough income. One day, the no Caldwells podcast came to help them find the way because of this, makers became founders and live the lives they deserve. Because of that, founders live lives of abundance, freedom and creativity. That's what I'm really all about. Hello, my name is Aziz and from being a poor boy, born to a single mother in North Africa, with no opportunities, just sheer hard work to failing multiple startups, yet learning a whole lot to barely escaping alive the war in Ukraine, even living as an illegal immigrant. I've lost everything twice. And now, I'm rebuilding my life one more time, 1% a day sharing the wisdom of luminaries I've interviewed on this podcast from Google executives to Amazon, Microsoft, Forbes, Technology Council, Harvard, Financial Times, and even a priest from the Vatican church. Everyone is welcome, here. So let's begin. My guest today is Tavian Jean-Pierre. Tavian, is the author of the paradox of leadership, as well as a writer's guide, which is due to be published soon. Tavian writes on the topics of leadership, self development, and building a society that encourages individual flourishing. Tavian, How are you today?
Tavian Jean-Pierre 2:06
Very good. Thank you. And you.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 2:08
I'm feeling happy, honored, optimistic, and ready. And so to begin this conversation with what's on top of your mind these days is, is there a topic in Insight, a decision or a problem that seems to be demanding your attention, and thought the days that is important for you?
Tavian Jean-Pierre 2:31
Yeah. So currently, I've been sort of data with the problem of how we can encourage leadership in the younger generation. I think today with the amount of power they have through social media, I think we can see it with things like tick tock and Instagram reels. It can be somewhat challenging to, especially as a young person, myself, somewhat challenging to maybe inspire them to use the power and tools that they have to encourage others. And instead of posting potentially negativity and things that can push people away or down the wrong path, encouraging them to inspire each other and inspire the next generation, but also the generation that came before them.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 3:19
Thank you. I love this topic. And I'll play the devil's advocate a little bit doesn't mean it's too serious. But our life is, if everybody is a leader than who's a follower. Is everybody supposed to be a leader? Are we all meant to be leaders, and therefore we're leading home? Everybody is trying to lead others?
Tavian Jean-Pierre 3:43
Yeah, that's definitely a very good question. And I am on the other side of the fence, I don't, I don't think that everyone can be a leader. I think that is something that a lot of people do sometimes advocate. And I think it's something that we need to be careful with advocating, I think, leaders are those who really take on a lot of demand. And they listen closely. And I think these are very unique skills that not everyone has, and not everyone desires to pursue. So I think it's important that we distinguish between leaders and those who should still have a voice. So this topic of using our social media or whatever it is to, to push out positivity doesn't necessarily mean that everyone is a leader. But it does mean that everyone should have a voice and contribute to, to the full picture of what society should look like.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 4:39
Thank you. Let's, you know, continue with the devilish questions that people have power through their social media. Do they really have power? Or is it an illusion of power that distracts them from the real centers of power that can do whatever they want? Because They're not being so obvious. What's your definition of power? Is it real power? Do young people really have power and a social media presence, even power?
Tavian Jean-Pierre 5:13
A lot of questions don't pick that. I do, I do think that power is, is influence and its influence over over others. But I also think that there is a deeper sense of power, which is influence and control over oneself. And I think a lot of the time, when we think of power, we sort of look at from a extrapolated view. So of course, the platforms that people post on, we will inevitably have have power over an influence over what people can do. However, I do think that we all within our own small community and our own small world that we do live in, do have power to change ourselves and change those around us in our own capacity. And an example of that is when we wake up in the morning, and we decide to, you know, go drink all morning coffee, or we go out and we decide to buy a snack. These are things that these are choices that we're making, and it doesn't seem like we're influencing a whole whole lot. But the butterfly effect is a wonderful thing that I like to look at where these small choices are, the small changes that we make in our day to day life can can lead to two big changes. So maybe we don't have influence over the whole of society or over the in of our entire companies. But these small things can lead to, to bigger changes, that if people spot and people look into and people realize what we're doing, they might pick up on some of those patterns, and it could lead to something bigger.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 6:58
Thank you. So deeper down. Do you believe that if people did positive things, there is somehow a bigger plan or a manifest destiny or some kind of goodness in this world that would create the right thing? Or do you believe since it's all random, everybody will be tugging and pulling to their own direction, leading to a random outcome. And we're not like leading or being led or leading ourselves through the valley of death to the promised land, but we're just randomly walking in circles thinking?
Tavian Jean-Pierre 7:42
That's an extremely good question. And sometimes it can definitely feel as though we are sort of all scattered in our own missions and goals. And we will pull in different directions. And I think this is why the leadership is so important. I don't think leaders leaders just point in the direction that we should go, I also think they create the environment that allows for positive contributions within societies, within companies and within our everyday lives. So I think that as much as leadership is about pointing the way and showing us a way to I guess that promise land, it's also about creating the environment that allows for people to feel as though they should pull in that direction. And that means creating positive environments, environments that allow for people to, to express themselves in a positive way and have an influence, which pulls us closer to I guess, the Promised Land. As you as you put it,
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 8:40
thank you, what are the conditions requirements or necessary things for an environment to be conducive to that growth and moving in the right direction to the Promised Land? What is necessary? What should we look for what is required?
Tavian Jean-Pierre 9:00
Now? That's a really good question. I think it's one that I've been definitely thinking about a lot. I definitely think that one massive requirement is how we firstly approach leadership and what we define leadership to be. And I'm a strong advocate of sacrificial leadership. And that's a model of leadership. That means that leaders eat last leaders are the ones that stay behind while while everyone is progressing forward. And leaders are those that you know, will take the crumb while they let the team eat the whole biscuit. And I think having this this environment allows allows people to, I guess, allows the majority to feel nurtured, to feel cared for. And in doing so it. It hopefully incentivizes people to do the same. It incentivizes people to instead of having a greedy outlook on Life, they may look at leaders and say, Okay, well my leader is is sharing. A leader is always willing to take the smallest bite. And hopefully, that encourages people. But I think another requirement is, is also this idea of purpose. So allowing people to have a good environment to explore what they believe they are here to be, or what they believe they are here to become. I think purpose is, is a big thing. And I think it's, it's it drives us every single day. And whether whether knowingly or unknowingly, we are all striving towards an ideal for our lives, and ideal for society, and our actions all contribute towards that. So ensuring that people are in an environment where they can explore and pursue a beneficial purpose, which allows them to feel as though they are helpful to society, but also feel fulfilled within themselves. So I think how we define purpose and also how we define leadership plays a key key roles in how we create this pursuit towards towards the promised land.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 11:22
Thank you, and keeping with the devilish theme, is it really is it a foolish goal to try to do this path towards change towards the Promised Land towards creating such an environment, because there are actually thinkers when it comes to systems thinking, who gave up, because they find that systems have this one prime directive, which is to perpetuate themselves and to survive, and therefore if you try to change the system, all its power will go towards homeostasis, keeping the status quo and not changing. It's like, I don't know if you remember the first Matrix movie where there is cipher, who was part of the resistance, and he hated that new life, and they're not winning, and the matrix is too strong. So he went back to the agents. And he's like, I know, this steak doesn't exist, but it's so delicious. Same time. So there are actually people who began from the beginning system thinking thinking about change, some of them gave up because they say, unless you start a system, right from the beginning, that every system is dependent on the initial conditions, if you created from the beginning to be conducive, and to promoting leadership, promoting change, promoting inspiration, alignment of people towards that purpose, it will work, if it has a different goal, you are killing that system by changing it, and therefore, it will fight you with all its might in order to survive. What's your perspective on this?
Tavian Jean-Pierre 13:06
I think I think there is definitely a lot of truth in it. And unfortunately, is is is something that we have to fight against. I think when you look at sort of the carbon emissions of of the world, and how we have to change our economy to suit supporting a future world, which would hopefully reduce carbon emissions and save our planet, we can see the already the resistance of the current system. People are unhappy about fuel prices, oil prices, we see it's harder to produce things inflation. And we can see wars as well. So when we, when we start to try to change, I guess the current system, I guess that that is a problem that there is a result, there is a natural resistance that will be the have, I enjoyed the work that's going on with with the circular economy, I'm not sure if you've heard of it, but it's a project that is hoping to create an economy that allows for the environment to feed into our products and us to feed into our environment and sort of create that circle, which allows for never breaking chain. And one of their biggest problems is Is this is this very, very thing, which is the current system just doesn't support it. And it is a problem that we definitely have to look at. But I do think they is as as you would say it's definitely worth the attempt to, to push for it because I think that it's often in these in these drives and in these attempts to make the world a better place that more fruitful things come out of it and we learn more and we learn more about ourselves and through that strive we might not be able to completely achieve or completely I'm hit the promised land or, or completely get to the goal that that we initially set out. But through setting out on that journey, we can learn things and we can hopefully encourage. So we can hopefully take those lessons and pass them on to future generations who may be able to get an inch closer to what we were trying to achieve. But the goal at the at the, at the end needs to be desirable and needs to be one day as is, is good.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 15:29
Thank you. And when it comes to leadership, a lot of people will feel an impostor syndrome, so they won't even contribute or attempt because they feel well, who am I to be that person? And even if you take it to an extreme, yes, you said, you create an environment that helps shape the vision and the purpose and all that. But in reality, if there are 8 billion people now on this planet, we have 8 billion worlds, 8 billion universes, a billion personalities, thoughts, desires, preferences, that might even contradict each other purposes. And therefore, what you're doing is let's say you have 100 people or 1000 people, even if it's true that something will emerge as their purpose and their vision for the promised land. How can they be representative of a million people or a billion people, or something like that? So it's a two sided argument where each individual thinks, Well, I'm not special enough to take on the leadership role. And on a bigger scale, if even if it's 1 billion people, you can say, well, you're 1 billion, you cannot speak for all the other six or 7 billion people. What are your thoughts about this?
Tavian Jean-Pierre 16:50
Yes, and that's, that's, I think, this is where collaboration comes into play, isn't it? Where we were, were unique. And that's, that's beautiful. And we, we should, we shouldn't actually take that away. And I think, explore this idea, especially in the paradox of leadership, where we have, where we have many different personalities, and many different characters. And they're all sort of, as you said, pulling in, in different directions. And I guess, once again, it's the leaders. It's a two sided coin, as you said, it's the leaders job to listen to those voices, but also consider the goals of the holy site, whole society, but also try to create this environment. And we have paradoxes everywhere. But it's in those paradoxes, we can also find beauty in our uniqueness that we can find creativity, and we can find unique experiences that allow us to improve society and improve ourselves. As as you mentioned, that the at the beginning, you were raised by a single mother, I was too. But hearing stories from people who weren't, weren't raised from a single mother has definitely influenced my outlook on what families should look like. So having different experiences having different stories are essential for building a society as well. So I definitely agree that I think collaboration and uniqueness is definitely something that we can't take away. In fact, it actually adds to this overall picture. And whoever is defined in that overall picture of the Promised Land, and unfortunately, it is the role of leaders to do so once again, has has to listen very closely to all of the voices and ensure that everyone has been represented, and whether that's on a micro scale. And that's just you and your family, or that's a macro scale, and that's the government, or it's a company. All of these play, play a role in creating or summing up to a final goal for human flourishing as a whole.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 19:05
Thank you. And maybe you mentioned it, maybe you haven't yet. But what's the paradox of leadership?
Tavian Jean-Pierre 19:13
I think, in a nutshell, the paradox of leadership is what we innately want to do, is what leaders shouldn't do. So, in the beginning of of my book, in the beginning chapter, I sort of point out five things that we more than likely would innately want to do and we do these do these things as children and one of the examples is pointing the finger at someone else. So normally, if you do something wrong, or if you've done something shameful, or, you know, and your mom's caught you or your dad caught you, you're, you naturally want to say it was someone else's fault, or you naturally want to deter the blame. Now, as a leader This would be probably the worst thing that you could do. It would harm your team's spirit. And it would, if you know, it would completely crushed the people in your team and take a manager of a football game. For example, if if the after, after losing the game, the manager just decided to point out every single player and said you did this wrong, you did that wrong as this is done all and in that sort of attitude to defer blame onto the team, you can see how the team morale would be would be destroyed. So innately, the manager might feel embarrassed, because that was the team that he put out. And that was the team that he wanted to succeed. And he could push the blame, you know, leaders do have the power to push the blame. However, he has to do the opposite. And as a leader, he has to decide to instead not necessarily take the full blame, but take account of the of the actions that he's done. So I think the biggest paradox is that what we innately desire to do, is, is actually damaging. And that's one of those. That's one of the paradoxes I've identified, especially with leadership.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 21:13
Thank you. I like this. And I will, like, ask you questions that keep me in the role of the devil's advocate will base you mentioned, you know, leadership, and that you're really in favor of sacrificial leadership or the leader will eat last. And actually there is even in writing and storytelling and screenplay, the notion of a reluctant hero, the idea that if someone one wants to be a hero, they're inherently mistrusted. People don't like them, they become not at all sympathetic. But if someone you know, like, Hamlet, he wasn't, you know, chasing greatness, but greatness was thrust upon him, then people like him, and he's like that. But if you look at biology, and you'll look at mammals and all that, the higher status individuals are the strongest and the most capable of protecting the tribe, and therefore they eat first so that they have the strength to defend, in case their attack, and therefore they don't eat lies. Because if they're weak, or you know, as they say, there is that self development, saying, Oh, it's, if you're an aeroplane, and it's gonna crash, you put your mask first before you help other people and all that stuff. Because if you're going unconscious, you cannot help anybody and all that. So tell me more about sacrificial leadership in terms of these ideas? And how Why shouldn't a leader like, take care of themselves first, so that they are stronger? In order to take care of others? Yes, for morale, it could be cool. But is that an innate desire? Or is that more of an inheritance of a religion of some cultures that were saying? Oh, yes, we are worthless, we should be punished. We're, you know, we should all that. So what are your thoughts about this?
Tavian Jean-Pierre 23:14
Yeah, I think this is a really good idea that you're pointing out here, that definitely they were in nature, we see loads of loads of examples, where the strongest have to ensure that they remain the strongest. And I think, I think for sacrificial leadership, the idea is that the leader seeks to ensure the tribes overall health and whatever that means, for that situation is what that leader does. So of course, potentially, in in the example maybe eaten first is is good to stay strong. And for, I guess, us as humans, that doesn't seem to always be the case, especially when we look at team sports. We see that leaders are the best leaders seem to be the ones who are willing to take a back seat and allow the other team members to grow and develop. However, I do think that there is there is an importance in ensuring that the leader does remain strong. And I think we've sacrificial leaders leadership. This model is reinforced by the idea that the team members see that the leader is sacrificing and as a result, through through this idea of reciprocity, want to do the same for the leader. So in a model where potentially the leader is always eaten first, for example, or the leader is always done Um, you know, taking charge or as you said, wanting to be wanting to be great. This is this is the culture that defines what the team does. So when the leader is potentially out or needs a bit more support, the team may not be as willing to do that. However, in the sacrificial leadership model, the leader can be reinforced or be re strengthened by the team, as the team understand that the leader would do the exact same for them, if they were in a weakened scenario.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 25:31
Thank you, and what I'm hearing deep down, and this comes from a paradigm of believing in the goodness of human beings, that reciprocity is very, very powerful. But I remember I won't mention the country or the person, but I interviewed the philosopher and a thinker who grew up in one of the USSR countries, and when it broke down, everybody, he said, became selfish, like fathers were, like, people were raping, and women were prostituting themselves, and people were stealing each other's goods and things like that. So his belief was human beings are evil, and we need to control them, in order to make them goes through the straight and narrow path to goodness, and that if you leave them roaming to their own devices, they will be selfish, they will take advantage of you, they will find every opportunity to do that, and his country in the 90s as well, although it's not 100% related, but it was voted as where people like the highest level of distrust in each other of any country in the world, and therefore, people assumed, expected, desired and looked to, you know, to take advantage of each other and to find opportunities to take advantage of each other and do that. And therefore, if someone came and he was a sacrifice, so like leader and sacrificial leader in this way, they will definitely, at least in that moment, just take all the food, eat and let them starve. What are your thoughts about this? Do you believe that? Because some people again, they will say, Well, if there is a place where people are mistrusting of each other, you should definitely let the generation die. And for the next generation, it could be better what what are your thoughts about this?
Tavian Jean-Pierre 27:39
I think this definitely goes back to the environment, doesn't it? There are certainly environments that we can put humans in. And we've seen psychological test, there are certain environments that we can put humans in, that will allow us to behave in a more animalistic, selfish way. And these environments tend to be negative, they tend to be ones that I guess, are full of suffering. And I know for a fact that if I hadn't eaten for 2728 days, if there was a place full of food, I would definitely not think about my friend who hadn't also eaten for 26 days, I will probably run after the food and I'll probably not think about sharing. However, in environments that are rich and full, full and are and promote human flourishing in in a positive way, we see that sacrificial leadership can be beneficial. There's I think environments definitely shape how humans behave, going going to that point of our humans innately. Innately bad, I think that goes back to the to the point of that was trying to make especially in the first chapter of the paradox of leadership, which is the idea that innately, what we might want to do is, is detrimental to what we should do. And so, yes, to some extent, I actually do understand that I do agree that innately I think, without this positive environment to to nurture humans in a correct way, we will turn out to be self seeking and selfish. And that's why the role of a leader is so is it's so hard to really take a point to really try to build this environment, but also build a goal that allows humans to be the best that they can be.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 29:38
Thank you. This was such a wonderful conversation truly enlightening and enriching. And if people want to learn more about you, where should they go, as well as please share more about a writer's guide? What's the vision for it? What's expected for it? When will it be out if they are concrete plans and just speak about it a little bit.
Tavian Jean-Pierre 30:04
Yeah, so with the writer's guide. So a writer's guide is a little book. It's a ebook that I'm trying to put together to help writers become better at creating passive income through their writing, but also improve their craft as writers. And that book I'm hoping to release, hopefully around June or July. So keep your eyes out for that. And if you want to learn more about me, you can always find me on medium. And if you want to see more of my writing, you can always search Tavian dot blog. And my my writing is on that blog as well.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 30:38
Thank you so much. This was my pleasure. Thank you