Jacinda Ardern’s Aristotlean Lesson

On resigning as Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern was asked how she would like to be remembered as a leader. Her reply was almost directly from the philosophical teaching of Aristotle.

Ardern said this:

“You can be kind, but strong, empathetic but decisive, optimistic but focused. And that you can be your own kind of leader”

What powerfully inspiring (and challenging) words from this amazing global leader!

In my academic philosophical studies, I became an advocate of Aristotle’s approach to living a ‘good’ life.

And it just goes to show, ancient wisdom, when applied in a modern setting, can provide us with clear guidelines on how to strive to be at our best.

Aristotle spoke of the ‘Golden Mean’ … the middle ground between the two extremes of excess and deficiency. For example, courage is the mean between timidity or cowardice (deficiency of courage) and foolhardiness (excess of courage).

What I personally like about Ardern’s quote is it embodies her personal values in action – or at least as I can observe, without personally knowing her.

The lesson here for you, me and all of us is this: Striving to live a ‘good’ life, and striving to be at our personal best, isn’t easy to do, but it’s our moral duty to give it a real crack. Starting with an intention to be kind, to make life better for others in some way … whether at work or in our personal lives, is the foundation for trust-based relationships.

And what we know from the evidence-based research, above most, if not all other contributing elements to our well-being and life satisfaction, What Really Matters is our relationships in life (with ourselves and others).






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