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The Ten Commandments for Gamechangers

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Commandment One says, “I am Lord your God who took you out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Gamechangers start with themselves, freeing themselves from limiting mindsets. The Hebrew word for ancient “Egypt” is mitzraim, literally “the narrows” or constraints.
From Nero to Hitler to Kenneth Lay of Enron, leaders lacking self-awareness wrought havoc. First check your own assumptions. Are you enslaved by outdated beliefs or blind-spots? Are you a victim reacting to circumstances, or a proactive author of your destiny?

Commandment Two: “You shall have no Idols.” Gamechangers don’t follow false gods or external expectations, but their own, authentic vision. Money, power or fame are not ends, only means. 18th-century Rabbi Zusya said famously, “In the world to come, I shall not be asked, ‘Why were you not Moses?’ I shall be asked, ‘Why were you not Zusya?’” It’s incumbent on each of us to reveal our unique purpose and create something unprecedented.

As Proverbs says, “Where there is no vision, people perish.” Without a future, you and those around you die, if not physically, then at least as stakeholders. Gamechangers need to see the future before others do. But few spend enough time or resources on co-creating the future; they are consumed by running the present—which is based on the past.

One man who had a rude awakening from his idols was Alfred Nobel, who had amassed a fortune with war ammunition, including dynamite. When his brother died, one newspaper confused the two. So one morning, Nobel got a rare opportunity: to read his own obituary. It was not pretty. The article described him as a man responsible for killing more people than anyone, ever.

Nobel realized: The world would remember him for this death-laden legacy, and he was loath to leave such a legacy. He established the Nobel Prize, which soon became the ultimate honor in the fields of literature, science—and peace. Today Nobel’s legacy is not chiefly his contribution to war and death, but to peace and life.

Commandment Three, “Don’t use my name in vain,” shows how to lead through language. We tend to use words carelessly, in blame or slander, excuses or complaints. But the Hebrew word davar means both “speak” and “thing,” so our language brings about the reality we speak. Our words are either bricks that build, or weapons that destroy. Gamechangers succeed or fail not primarily through technical skills or even strategic thinking, but by communicating effectively, which makes the difference between a vision achieved and a fiasco.

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