Ideas Rule the World, But Then Who Rules Ideas?


It was with great passion I delivered my topic on mentoring at Henry Alex-Duduyemi Memorial Secondary School, in Ile-Ife, Osun state Nigeria. I had rushed out of Lagos to meet the meeting time only to be told that the meeting time had been shifted to the next day, but then, I had to wait patiently. I was not delivering my topic with passion, because mentoring sounded like a nice topic, it was because of the things I thought of before coming.

1. Why people have said ideas rule the world

The popular saying has always been that ideas rule the world, but then that is an obvious statement. Everything you see all round you became tangible because it was an idea in someone’s mind. The equality of race and gender in America was the dream and message of the great Martin Luther King; every time you wear/use Giorgio Armani, Christian Dior, Mercedes, Chanchagi airlines or Dangote’s products; remember you are fulfilling and living in someone’s name-their dream and their passion. We like and operate in the world created by other people’s ideas. When you use Microsoft products, you are living within the limits of Bill Gates’ dream. Therefore, it is an understatement to say that ideas rule the world; it is already the driving force that will define the society and systems in nation building, policy formulation and business practices, even for generations to come.

2. Who are the people who rule ideas?

Those who rule ideas are called mentors; they propagate lifestyle, business models and principles. Therefore mentors are essentially neutral-there are good and bad mentors. It was a subject of debate to choose the TIME magazine man of the year in 1939, but it was given to Adolf Hitler as the man who has influenced the world for that year. This award was not given to Winston Churchill, the man who ended the world war; it was given to the man who started it. It might be easy to say that he lost, having caused more pain and loss of lives, yet in doing so he still changed everything- he only was only propagating a vision that enchanted the German masses. I therefore charged them to question and define their values, which should inform their choice of mentors. Ok, what am I saying? Ideas are essentially neutral, they respond to the values, thoughts, perception and intent of the originators.

3. Neutrality and influence of the PC/TV

I discovered there was no debate however, in the decision collated by a population poll conducted by a popular media station, as to who the most influential person of the last century was-it was given to the television. I decided to list the TV as the most influential mentor on my listing (one singular medium that has propagated ideas, taught and developed lifestyles and has affected civilization in all ramifications). The TV/PC is the medium where the world shapers meet the shaped; the consumer (the e-mail checker, the movie addict, the eBook junkie, the jukebox weirdo and the fun-lovers) are all influenced by the originators (the producers, designers, readers, multimedia architects, psychometric analysts and the process engineers). Whether you will influence the world or be influenced will depend on your positioning around these media.

4. Having mentors are force multipliers

I also went on to highlight the importance of mentoring in achieving set goals; Alexander the great became the king at age 20 and in three years , he had already conquered the known world at that time. Why? He was under the tutelage of a man called Aristotle, who himself was mentored intensely by Plato himself. If Alexander achieved so much in such short years, it was because he stood on the knowledge of the both great philosophers. Isaac Newton, in a famous quote, said, “People have said I see beyond my generation, but if I have truly seen ahead, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of men who have gone ahead of me”. Those who have touched their peak, and did so at a very young age did so because they started early, learning, practicing and delivering when the opportunity came.

5. Ideas, mentors and association

I could not leave without telling them about associations. Those who walk with the wise, even if the person is a fool; he will be thought to be wise-that is good news. The other news is that it doesn’t matter how brilliant you are, if you don’t hone your skills with people of like minds you will soon come crashing down. An old Chinese proverb goes on to say that if you don’t understand a man, check his friends, you will even understand his future.


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