Her name is Yohana. She lives in Argentina and she is a teacher of a humble school in a disadvantaged neighborhood of Paraná. These days she is in the news because she wrote a letter on her Facebook wall that, far from her intention, it has become viral. In this letter the teacher asks the football player Messi not leaving the Argentinian selection. In this post I want to talk about the freedom to choose between surrendering or fighting until the end.

Very often it may seem that leadership is about perseverance, struggle, persistence, the ability of suffering, sacrifice, or resilience. And yes, indeed, this is leadership, but also it is about knowing how to stop, dismounting, abandoning, resting, accepting defeat, and even surrendering.

And all this seems so contradictory but at the same time it is very complementary, and it forces the individuals to find the personal balance according the specific moment and the life purpose of each human being.

It is equal important to learn to get up when life knocks us down, as to understand that there are battles that may we are not able to take, or there is a high cost facing them that it does not compensate us at all.

This is an open debate that applies to any change or transition moment in our life. Marketing experts, for example, are very aware of any service or product after a successful introduction into the market faces a process of fluctuations where it looses its impact and influence amongst consumers. When it does happen it is necessary to be ready for any of the following two options: either reinventing the product or service to get a second rebirth, or disappearing from the market.

None of the two possibilities are better than the other one. It is just part of life’s cycle.

Returning to the teacher’s letter subject, the impact that it has had in society it has to be understood from a systemic approach more than from an individual perspective. This is much more than Yohana’s opinion. This is a “voice” of various “systems” (Argentina, teachers, social integrators, etc) expressing and showing their need to keep fighting for their values, dreams and goals they have nowadays.

As Yohana says, it is not only about if an amazing football player is leaving his national team or not, it is about spreading a clear message to kids, but also adults, that it is about the need to stand up to get what we value in life and not giving it up.


And above all of this, there is the man (Messi) who is now under the pressure from these social systems. An individual, like any of us, who assumes its impact and contribution to the society, but at the same time who is legitimated to decide which fronts he wants to take and when.


How to decide when giving up or fighting until the end?


We all are accountable for improving lives of people around us, and we all have the right to choose the channels we use to make it happen.

To do this we must:

Listen and respect our inner voice that guides us and shows us our future contributions. Knowing what moves us from inside, in a pure and instinct way that very often we have no idea how to cope. If we know easily the way to get, maybe it shows us up that this is not the place we really want to go.

Know how to “get away” provisionally from external noise to seek inner peace to reflect honestly on our life purpose, and not falling into compliance to please what the environment wants and it does not resonate to us.

Decide the next steps based on our continued growth as individuals, or as part of our system’s growth, and not as a result of escaping from situations or people who cause us suffering.

Move somewhere. Hopefully it will bring person closer to the place he or she wants; at worst he or she will learn another path to cross it out for the future. Anyway, both cases will always be much better than standing still waiting for having the wind behind us.

In fact, we have the wind behind us only when we are in movement.

Enric Arola