A True Leader | Daily News

A True Leader

“Leadership is not a crown that we wear.  Leadership is about serving others. It is about fulfilling responsibilities. When making choices, you need to understand that there are consequences. The world today and tomorrow demands intelligent leadership.”

The Head Boy of the WP/KE/ Gurukula College, Kelaniya, Ashen Jayasooriya, is not too proud of the crown he wears. Perfect Prefect features Jayasooriya who leads by serving his team. That is his leadership style.

He goes on to explain that we cannot make a world and a country in just one attempt. Attitudes and perspectives need to change. Jayasooriya believes that, first, you need to build a generation of law-abiding young people who are disciplined. It does not happen overnight. Piety cannot be ingrained overnight.

When it comes to leadership, there are key attributes we should look for in a team member or a follower. Jayasooriya is a versatile leader who possesses key attributes such as passion and humility. Indeed, without passion what is life? Great leaders have passion and are driven. They are so determined to achieve their goals or be successful, and hence all their behaviours are directed towards that aim. Jayasooriya is one such leader. When it comes to passion, he points to Anagarika Dharmapala, a doyen and a patriot during his time on this Earth. From childhood, Dharmapala was one of Jayasooriya’s childhood idols.

“Anagarika Dharmapala has been a much loved and respected figure since I was a child. He was born in a very different era than today. At a time when the country, race, religion, and culture were threatened by foreign domination, he made a real difference in the lives of many people through his bold leadership. In fact, it was Anagarika Dharmapala who launched a campaign under the slogan – ‘Awake Sinhalese, Save Buddha Gaya’. As a Sri Lankan and a Sinhalese, I have great respect for him for his great contribution to the cause. He revitalised Buddhism and awakened Sinhalese nationalism,” points out Jayasooriya.

Jayasooriya understands that in this world you need to have some humility. It is an attribute that great leaders possess. He is open to criticism because he realises that it is one way to learn and grow.

“I am excited about the various challenges and criticisms that come along my way in life. Challenges are necessary for life. Success can be achieved by overcoming challenges. Mistakes can be corrected through criticism. Criticism is important to minimise mistakes and move towards success. So, challenges and criticisms make my life exciting. I am a person who fulfils the responsibilities assigned to me and someone who always follows the right path; I am a person who always heeds the advice of the principal, the monks and the teachers and works tirelessly to bring respect to the school; and also a person who works collaboratively with lower-level siblings, as well as someone who thinks carefully when making decisions, while respecting the opinions of others,” he says.

Jayasooriya calls for intelligent and farsighted leadership. He feels that the abuse of power is a social evil that corrodes the human spirit, relationships as well as society.

“It is my understanding that we all should act wisely and prudently. Leadership is not a crown that we wear. Leadership is about serving others. It is about fulfilling responsibilities. When making choices, you need to understand that there are consequences. The world today and tomorrow demands intelligent leadership; not leaders who protect the crown that they wear. As leaders, we have to face challenges calmly, with insight and calmness, and overcome them. Patience and moderation are very important,” explains Jayasooriya.

Jayasooriya has many dreams; the biggest is to pass the GCE Advanced Level Examination with distinctions for all three subjects and enter the Sri Jayewardenepura University, where he hopes to pursue a degree in Business Management. Through his career, he aims to serve the country as well as lead a successful life. He studies Kandyan dancing and takes an interest in the field of art, especially dance as well.

“I am a Kandyan Ves dancer. I have achieved all island level achievements in dance since childhood. I also represent the school dance troupe that won the All Island First Place in 2019. I also do extracurricular activities in the school such as Wushu and badminton.

In addition to Anagarika Dharmapala, Jayasooriya admires another outstanding individual who represents the present day. That is Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook who is also an inventor, a successful entrepreneur, and very much a global leader.

“Mark was a former Harvard University IT student. He started Facebook in February 2004 with four of his roommates at their dormitory. Originally, launched to select college campuses, the site rapidly expanded beyond the university and by 2012, it had reached one billion users.

In 2008, he became the youngest billionaire in the world. Even today, he is one of the richest men in the world. He is a great role model for young people. That is why I really admire him,” says Jayasooriya.

For Jayasooriya, the biggest inspiration in his life is his parents. “They raise me and allow me to come this far in life. They take care of me and teach me all about the world. They work hard for me day and night, and always encourage me to go out there and achieve my goals. They always tell me to believe in myself. They always remind me that it is important not only to be a great scholar but also to be a virtuous man,” adds Jayasooriya.

He concluded by saying that as human beings, we must never forget the importance of compassion and kindness. Humanity is important, and unfortunately, we do not see this in many of those who rise to higher positions of power.


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