A Leader Reads

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Join me as I focus a leadership lens on fantasy books and series. Current Series: The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan (and Brandon Sanderson) Contact me: s10473@protonmail.com

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The Eye of the World - Chapters 22 & 23 [#100Days, Day 17]

Leader Development: Perrin Aybara

    These two chapters really set the foundation for Perrin as a leader.  Up to this point, he's been the quiet, gentle giant in the background; providing a fixed endpoint on the spectrum in contrast to Rand and Mat.  Perrin is methodical and deliberate: from politely picking his way through the crowd gathered for Padan Fain's arrival in Emond's Field to his penchant for analyzing a situation before jumping into it (as Mat is apt to do).  

    One of the real joys I find in Perrin's style is his deliberate situational analysis followed by decisive action; even in urgent circumstances. 

    Time was the problem, he thought with a sigh.  Dry clothes, with a little time.  A rabbit to roast and a fire to roast it over, with a little time.  His stomach rumbled, and he tried to forget about eating altogether.  There were more important uses for that time.  One thing at a time, and the most important first.  That was his way.

    His eyes followed the strong flow of the Arinelle downriver.  He was a stronger swimmer than Egwene.  If she had made it across ... No, not if.  The place where she had made it across would be downriver.  He drummed on the ground with his fingers, weighing, considering.

    His decision made, he wasted no time in picking up his axe and setting off down the river.

The Eye of the World, p. 276

    For most, the natural tendency would be to follow Maslow's Hierarchy and take care of the personal physiological needs first: warmth and food.  Taking a bit of time, shivering on the bank of a river, Perrin instead prioritizes finding the other Emond's Fielders.  To a young kid on the first read through, I just thought Perrin was relying on brute strength to simply power through a physically uncomfortable situation.  Now, I have a much finer appreciation for the focus and finesse it takes Perrin to step back from the immediate situation and devise the appropriate solution, despite any physical discomfort.  There's a pressure, especially in urgent or crises situations, to be constantly doing something.  It's a balancing act between acting and assessing, both of which are bound by time.  Spend too much time deep in the action phase and there's no feedback mechanism to support continuing on that path.  Conversely, spending too much time assessing delays any decision making and inhibits actual progress.


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