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  • Juan Pablo Barrantes

The Under Rated Value of Coherence

By Juanpablo Barrantes

Leader's Approach

5 min read

“There’s so much wasted time in thinking about

how life could be explained.

Cause you already knew everything was partially realized,

since there’s no map that shows about how to travel.

Cause it’s the soul who’s asked to dream about.

And any time that fear comes in,

time itself is served in its own liquor.

So let the taste in my glass to become bitter

whenever I’m being deaf to my heart”

—Lyrics from Spanish rock song “Si no oigo a mi corazón” from Pedro Aznar

As Gandhi preached some time ago, happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. To me, being coherent with your thoughts, words and actions is a cornerstone for continued success in life. Think about coherence as an art related discipline, in the first place you inherently feel it deep inside your soul, then you are always striving for reaching and perfecting it, since it’s a never ending quest. So your emotional muscle is continually working out in the pursuit of coherence, and it will eventually drive your life into consistency.

Here’s a true story brought to a famous movie. You may recall Leo Dicaprio as Jordan Belfort, starring the Wolf of Wall Street. Let me use this movie as an insightful way to explain the under rated value of coherence in one’s life.

So hoping you’ve seen the movie... there’s the climax scene where Jordan, under huge pressure of being arrested by the FBI, makes a decision of giving a final speech at the Firm to personally announce his early and unexpected retirement.

Highly stressed by all the accusations against him and his profitable but illegal brokerage firm, Jordan asked for legal advice about what were the chances he had to get out of such legal mess. He must quit, period. So there he is, in front of everyone in the brokerage firm with microphone in hand to communicate his renouncement. But before quitting, he addresses an emotive approach on the reasons he had to create his trading stock empire. It’s unavoidably obvious that while speaking, he’s getting full and unconditional support from his audience despite all the aberrations and illegal transactions performed at the Firm. So Jordan keeps touching their most sensible emotions when suddenly, he changes his mind, hence being coherent with himself and his principles, just before resuming his speech, emotionally overloaded with his own bold and inspirational message, he decides to stay up front and in charge of the Firm, no matter what comes up ahead. His last minute choice overcharges everyone in the audience with euphoria and excitement (everyone except his lawyer and his father). Such passionate approach towards his “gang” is the irrefutable evidence of someone who’s full coherent in thoughts, words and actions. He has demonstrated consistency of character, leave aside his business is pretty much outside the law, however he’s being true to his dream, to himself and to everyone who decided to follow him.

Here are the lessons I’ve learned from this story:

Don’t betray your Essence

If you’re an introvert, do not fake an extrovert’s behaviors whenever feeling pressure from your peers or from society. Take care and even fight for your own essence by showing the world your sense of purpose. Those who are faithful to their essence will inherently gain good reputation in the form of authenticity and insightfulness.

Learn to listen to your heart

When I think about coherence I think about perfection, so we may never be coherent at its fullest expression even though we might be in constant fight to reach it, because there’s always so much to improve into ourselves. Being introspective is the ability you develop to look into your inner self to strive for your own improvement by acknowledging your weaknesses and leveraging on your strengths. Once you master introspection most likely you will join a selective group of those very few individuals who display coherence in life.

Nourish your Character

Whenever you witness an injustice or a threatening situation, you must step up to cut any hostility and speak up to avoid any further recurrence. Being bold and having determination especially in difficult situations are true evidence of the character anyone needs to have in life. Great leaders nourish their character by being bold without arrogance, and by walking their talk everyday.

Live and show up coherence like a 360 degree approach

Going back to the Wolf of Wall Street, despite Jordan clearly followed the wrong principles, he certainly displayed coherence like a 360 approach. Let’s see:

- with a blind and no-limit ambition;

- but also with an extraordinary talent for selling,

- he manipulated and deceived as a means to get excessively rich,

- and by assuming an aggressive approach as the head of a high profitable Corporation

- he grew hundreds of “wolves” like him, thirsty by the ambition of easy money and lacking any moral code to help him rocket such an illegal business.

- And he did all this while living amongst luxury, sex, drugs, manipulation and deception all around.

Again, being aware of and putting apart the dark side of the story, you might acknowledge on Jordan’s boldness and determination to follow on his own purpose. He was loyal to his followers, to his dream and to himself.

All the harm caused and any of the frauds committed undoubtedly remains into our minds as lessons learned too, since blind ambition, greed and deception will always travel by the route of fake success until they reach their final destination of true failure.

So Iet me give you a final advice:

Reflect on your daily habits and gauge each of them with your principles and values. You might find some yellow or even red flags whenever some of your most simple behaviors antagonize with the image you want to reflect outside yourself, like the neatness of your room (or your car), your personal o family level of debt, the degree of stress you suffer when your couple sneaks into your phone or your social media, or the level of engagement at your job, and so on. The thing is, as long as all these small daily habits are in line with your moral code and your life’s aspirations, I’ll assure you without any fear of being wrong, you’ll find inner peace as an effect of your strive for coherence in life.

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