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A Leader’s Top Weapon Against Complacency, Stagnation, Plateau, and Settling for Average


On the night of June 13th, a fisherman was fishing in the Mekong River in Cambodia. The Mekong River flows from the Tibetan Plateau and winds a great distance through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and all the way to Cambodia. The river is currently facing many challenges due to overfishing, pollution, and dams but on this night it was about to yield a historic catch.

Upon returning to the Koh Preah island, the fisherman called the conservation group Cambodian Fisheries Administration to inform them he had caught a “very big” stingray. Immediately, Dr. Zeb Hogan, a biologist who leads Wonders of the Mekong, visited the site.

To his surprise, Dr. Hogan then discovered the stingray measured 3.98m long and 2.2m wide, and weighing a stunning 661lbs. The stingray was the largest freshwater fish ever caught in recorded human history. He said in this article, “In 20 years of researching giant fish in rivers and lakes on six continents, this is the largest freshwater fish that we’ve encountered or that’s been documented anywhere worldwide.”

It was what Dr. Hogan said next which caught my attention as a leader.

He said, “The stingray find is evidence that the natural world can still yield new and extraordinary discoveries, and that many of the largest aquatic creatures remain woefully understudied.”

A Top Weapon

For leaders who curious and have a personal-growth mindset, there are still countless things understudied and left to be discovered. Lessons can still there to be learned each and every day. New experiences are still left to be had.

The fictional character Forrest Gump once said, “Been there, done that.” While this is a memorable quote, this attitude can result in complacency, stagnation, plateau, and settling for average. Curiosity is the antidote to complacency and the catalyst for personal growth, self-improvement, and discovery.

I feed my curiosity by reading books. It is my favorite way to grow and get better as a leader. I have come to realize through books that the more I know, the more I know how much I don’t know and how much there is still left to learn.

Learning creates a positive feedback loop. The more you learn, the more you want to learn more. Curiosity multiplies itself and the result is personal growth and discovery.

A Personal Challenge

Jim John once said, “Every life form seems to strive to its maximum except human beings. How tall will a tree grow? As tall as it possibly can. Human beings, on the other hand, have been given the dignity of choice. You can choose to be all or you can choose to be less. Why not stretch up to the full measure of the challenge and see what all you can do?”

The Mekong River teaches leaders to stay curious and keep fishing, you never know what you may discover or become. This stingray grew to 661lbs. As leaders, we must ask what we are capable of growing to?

This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.