When I first visited the big island of Hawaii, I was particularly impressed with the volcanic rock fields the road we traveled on cut through from the airport to Kona. Hundreds of white stones had been carefully placed along the way, in stark contrast against the black rock of the lava field. These stones spelled out the names of people, and often the date of when they had passed through: “Bob & Sally, 11/88,” “Jean, Spring Break ’91.” It reminded me of what so often happens when graduating classes assault bridges and water towers and graffiti artists practice their public art.
All of us want our lives to be significant, to believe we’ll do something, somehow, that will be remembered. Sometimes leaving a legacy can be as simple as placing stones in the lava. But for most of us, the best evidence we can leave that we passed through life is to lead when we are able, and follow when we can’t. Leadership isn’t a mysterious art practiced by only a select few. It is the daily response of each man and woman who wishes to make a positive difference in the world, and make it a little bit better place as a result of their efforts.