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A lesson from the Rough Rider

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

In 1895 at age 36, Teddy Roosevelt became a member of NewYork City’s police board. He approached the job with such energy that a journalist named Jacob Riis asked him if he wasn’t angling to become president of the United States one day.

Roosevelt went nearly berserk and told Riis that he had just asked him a terrible question. He then went on to explain to Riis, who was actually a close friend, that if he began to consider how every action he took might affect his political future, he would become paralyzed and actually defeat himself, whether he ever became president or not.

Lesson: Cultivate the courage to act in the present, without considering how those actions might affect your political future.

—Adapted from Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership, James Strock, Prima.

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