I always was the shy kid; yet somehow I became President.
To be honest, it caught me off guard. I had been minding my own business, quietly going through life trying not to engage too much with humanity. And then it happened.
More accurately, it hadn’t happened. The college department society just wasn’t doing anything. It existed in name only. I mentioned this to the Department chairman, a huge man in both body and intellect, who at first looked at me like he had never met me before, which is how camouflaged into the background scene I had been. Then he encouraged me to do something about it. I pushed another person to become president, with me hiding behind as the trusty VP. Then I was President and we were incredibly active. I had been transformed.
Later I found myself falling into the same pattern with the regional chapter of an international professional scientific society. Nothing I thought should happen was happening, and despite my natural disinclination to power, I took over. Twice, as it happens, because ten years later I was asked to step in again. And again, reluctantly, I did.
Now I’m with another regional interest group in a completely different field. Not long after joining I found myself being drawn into yet another vice presidency, then a second. Where it ends nobody knows.
The transformation from the shy quiet kid to repetitive reluctant leadership isn’t complete. I’m still quiet, still prefer not to take responsibility, still wish others would do what needs to be done. And yet here I am. Again. Transformed.
David J. Kent is a science traveler and the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, in Barnes and Noble stores now. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.