This post inspired from Claudia Altucher’s, Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century, Chapter 12.
If you are not familiar with the book, the broad concept behind it is to write down 10 ideas every day. The brain is a muscle and like any other muscle if we don’t use it, it has the potential to atrophy. Me personally have always written ideas down, or discussed them with comrades. This book gives a really nice guideline, with suggestions that you would not normally think about to get the brain working. This being one of them.
Chapter 12 of the book suggests:
LOCATE ONE CHARACTER IN HISTORY YOU ADMIRE (COULD BE JOAN OF ARC, OR BUDDHA OR ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, OR RUMI) AND WRITE 10 QUESTIONS YOU WOULD ASK OF HIM OR HER:
“I ’d like to meet Buddha. And I have a feeling that once I saw him in person all questions would be wiped out, so I would have to prepare. One thing I would like to know is how did he manage to keep the politics of the kingdoms around him and the growing number of followers he had from hating each other. Also, why did he not write down something? Could he not see that his teachings would be a little distorted over time? Did he not care? Who would you talk to and what are your ten questions? Pretend you could really talk to them and ask things that really interest you”.
Without thinking much, I came up with asking the first Prime Minister of Australia a few questions, Sir Edmund Barton.
Kind of random, however reasons varied. I have been born and bred in Australia so that’s one, and to find out a bit more of our history would be another. Other things such as, the knowledge you would be able to gain from a person serving as the first leader of a country. The trials, tribulations and shenanigans of this era would be a combination of extremely educating and somewhat amusing!
This lead to me doing further research. Sir Edmund was known as a ‘Protectionist.’I was like, ‘What the ‘hell’ is a Protectionist!?’
The Protectionist Party was an Australian political party, formally organised from 1889 until 1909, with policies centred on protectionism. It argued that Australia needed protective tariffs to allow Australian industry to grow and provide employment. It had its greatest strength in Victoria and in the rural areas of New South Wales. Its most prominent leaders were Sir Edmund Barton and Alfred Deakin, who were the first and second prime ministers of Australia.
Delving a little deeper and without being too political, I am not 100% I totally agree what the party stood for.
Being a sports fanatic, I found this excerpt cool. Sir Edmund was a handy cricket umpire. While he was umpiring one time, a decision his fellow colleague made sparked the first logged international cricket riot.
In 1879, Barton umpired a cricket match at Sydney Cricket Ground between New South Wales and an English touring side captained by Lord Harris. After a controversial decision by Barton’s colleague George Coulthard against the home side, the crowd spilled onto the pitch and assaulted some of the English players, leading to international cricket’s first riot. The publicity that attended the young Barton’s presence of mind in defusing that situation reputedly helped him take his first step towards becoming Australia’s first prime minister, winning a state lower house seat later that year.
My questions are as follows:
a) How did you get voted in for the big job?
b) How did you balance your supporters against your non supporters?
c) Whats is a Protectionist? What does it truly mean to be one?
d) What is the biggest change you saw in Australian politics at this time in your service?
e) Being the first Prime Minister of Australia and your position established, tell me the single biggest obstacle you came across?.
f) Key similarities and key disparities that you see in today’s politics compared to your time?
g) Describe your work life balance?
h) Did you feel more loved than not in your reign? Or were you all business at the time and didn’t care?
i) Corruption in politics at this time, how was it? And how was it combated, or was it?
j) If you could give one piece of advice on leadership, what would it be?
As I sit back and think about it, there were many people that I could of chose, Elvis Presley, Da Vinci, Captain Cook and so on. Other than being nothing but a fascination, it would be something powerful to have the ability to do this to many.
The overarching thought behind asking these questions to a leader of this time is the rawness that could be harnessed to use today. The learning lessons in my opinion would be invaluable and as stated before amusing.
Who would you chose to bring back and interrogate?