Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Following > Leading

There is a billboard that I saw in a video game that was at the Sebring race track. The billboard stated that "Lead > Follow". In a race I would agree 100%, but everywhere else I argue that this is false.

I moved offices this week and am now in the opposite corner of the building. I no longer have a traditional office and now have someone that works behind me. This led to a revelation that following is, in fact, better than leading.

For all my life I have tried to put myself in positions of following. My favorite place in the classroom was the far corner, when I walk with someone I always follow, and in restaraunts I will always put my back to the rear so I can see the entire place. Why do I do this? I feel there is control in following.

If I am in the front I don't have control. If I have a person behind me I can't see them and my mind has to always process what the person behind me is doing. Because I can't see them my mind is caught in a trap of a never-ending processing game of trying to guess what the person is doing. Are they looking at me? What's their mood? Are things about to change? What was that noise?

I have a high need to know what is going to happen next and by following someone, or being in a position to see the entire room, I have control. If I am walking somewhere I will always follow. Why is this? If I am leading I may have to decide which way to walk should a fork in the road be met. If someone comes up to talk to us I will be the front man. By relinquishing control I have control.

This isn't to say I am a control freak. I have to limit the type of control to keep my anxiety level low. I wonder what my younger school years would have been like if I was always in my optimal spot. I do know in 7th grade when all the desks were arranged in squares of four I had a hard time because I was always looking one person straight on while everyone else was behind me. That was not a good year!

Perhaps we all try to control our environment to a certain degree. We all have comfort zones and situations that make us uncomfortable. Furthermore, I am sure other people on the spectrum would rather lead as to not worry that the other person is there. In other words, whatever the case may be, in may be amplified in a person on the spectrum.

I am adjusting right now as I do have people behind me while I write this. I have had to use all my mental power to write while tuning out the words I can hear. When I was in school I was unable to do that so I have more control than I used to. That may be here, but should we ever be walking somewhere I will not be out front. There is control in following so I will always say, "lead the way".


  1. Hehe, I think we shouldn't ever take a walk together XD 'you lead' 'no your lead' 'no I insist!' XD
    Oh that'd be a nightmare! Haha!
    Sometimes you scare me how much I can identify myself with you. I know not every aspie is the same, but it's really just scary just how much I can identify with myself...

  2. There are advantages of leading and there are advantages of following. Not going to argue with you over that. But one thing I would like you to think about is- you mentioned about your dreams in an earlier blog, right? Well, being a leader can help you achieve these dreams because you will be at the table of discussion when changes may happen. I learned it very well in my OT school education... as leadership is a crucial component.