Friday, September 7, 2012

New York State of Mind via The Wall Street Journal

My first real introduction to the The Wall Street Journal was last summer when I was living at home in Seattle before heading to Chicago for grad school. My dad subscribed to the Journal so I had ready access straight from my doorstep. Knowing I was preparing to pursue a journalism degree, my dad encouraged me to read what he affectionately calls "a fantastic periodical." Insert snooty tone here.

While the paper's financial sections did not interest me, I made it a habit to read the "Life & Culture" section. One of my favorite articles from last summer, "Depression in Command", explores how depression impacted historically great leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I battle clinical depression so whenever it is a topic of discussion my interest is peaked. This particular article provides a new perspective on how a perceived weakness can actually be the source of great strength.

Excerpt from "Depression in Command":

"Great crisis leaders are not like the rest of us; nor are they like mentally healthy leaders. When society is happy, they toil in sadness, seeking help from friends and family and doctors as they cope with an illness that can be debilitating, even deadly. Sometimes they are up, sometimes they are down, but they are never quite well."

"When traditional approaches begin to fail, however, great crisis leaders see new opportunities. When the past no longer guides the future, they invent a new future. When old questions are unanswerable and new questions unrecognized, they create new solutions. They are realistic enough to see painful truths, and when calamity occurs, they can lift up the rest of us."

"Their weakness is the secret of their strength."

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