Carpe Diem! What Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society Can Teach Us About Leadership

One of my favorite films is Dead Poet’s Society. In teaching leadership, I sometimes use popular movies to illustrate certain principles. In this video clip, you are going to see Robin Williams (Mr. Keating) deviate from the norm. He is about to enter his classroom for the first time. As you watch this video, ask yourself the following questions:

1. What is Robin Williams (Mr. Keating) doing?

2. Why is that significant?

3. What impact did it have on the students?

After you watch this video, we’ll think about the implications for you and your world.

Gather Ye rosebuds while ye may old time is still a flying, and this same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be dying.

The Latin word for this is Carpe Diem or seize the day.

Carpe Diem

What impact are you having?

Are you having the type of impact that you want to have on people?

Are you seizing the day?

Are you making your life extraordinary?

If not, why not?

Perhaps you are too focused on things that you can’t change?

Steven Covey would call this focusing on your Circle of Concern as apposed to your Circle of Influence. The Circle of Influence includes the things we can change. The circle of concern includes the things that we are concerned about, but can do nothing to change. Never allow the things you can do nothing about to distract you from the things you can do a great deal about.

Perhaps you haven’t truly embraced your potential greatness?

I’d be interested in hearing about your personal barriers in the comments.

In 1991, I had my own wake up experience on the back of a ski mountain when I was stranded during a white out snowstorm. You can read about this experience here. You can see some scans of newspaper articles about my survival experience by clicking here. I learned a little about what matters and what is important. I learned that the things that really mattered are:

1. Have I been who it is that I wanted to be in this life? and

2. Have I had the impact that I wanted to have on people?

Who do you want to be? I think this question is probably the most important life question. I told my wife the other day, “Whenever we are feeling conflict or tension, let’s ask our self or the other person this question. Who do I/You want to be? When we can ask our self this question, then step back into the situation and create the consequences that we want, we can truly…….

Seize the day boys and make your lives extraordinary……

About Dale Perryman

Conduct workshops and seminars on leadership, management, and employee development. Founder of Center for Organizational Learning. Co-founder and creator of MyMeetingPro, a suite of apps for iPhone and iPad that create simply effective meetings. Specialties include leading change, meeting facilitation, developing R&D leadership, merger integration, and social media marketing. Enjoy playing poker and stock investing in spare time.