I Want You All to Be Leaders

From a talk by Tim Jackins at the East Asian Pre-World Conference, April 2009

We in RC know a set of powerful things. Knowing and using these things make it possible for people to have their own minds again. This is the first time in the history of our species that this has been possible. We have these ideas. Our work is to get them out to everyone in the world. That way everyone will actually have control over his or her life.

We’ve known these things for a little over fifty years. The first fundamentals class was taught in 1958. There were thirty people in it. Two of them are still in Co-Counseling—my older brother and I. The class was taught by my father. Only two people are left, out of thirty. So when you’re thinking you lose too many people from your fundamentals classes . . . .

We’ve had to learn how to teach these ideas. Re-evaluation Counseling existed only in Seattle until 1968. Now there are Co-Counselors in about ninety countries. I don’t know for sure how many people are participating in RC Communities, but probably tens of thousands. And I suspect two to three hundred thousand have taken fundamentals classes. We haven’t done badly in fifty years, but we still sometimes have difficulty involving people.


Just knowing about these ideas is powerful. If you have a Co-Counselor, that is even more powerful. If you have two or three Co-Counselors around you, that’s even better. If you have a class to be in every week, that’s better still. The more Co-Counselors you have around you, the better your counseling goes.

Our goal is to build Communities, like this group of people, in every place. How well would your counseling go if you had all the people at this conference around you on a regular basis? You know how much more powerful your sessions tend to be here than at home. That’s because all of our minds and perspectives are here together, supporting each other. How fast could you discharge through your distresses if you had this many experienced Co-Counselors around you, and a workshop with them every two months? When I was building my first Community in the 1970s, I kept people in fundamentals classes for at least two years, and for a while I did a workshop nearly every month, so that we would get close to each other and have each other’s resource. After thirty years, many of those people are still in RC. Three or four of them have become International Liberation Reference Persons. So I think it works to keep people together.


Things move faster when we have each other as resource. But it can be a battle to make that happen. It’s hard to take enough time for it. The main problem, of course, is our distresses. It often feels like RC takes too much time in our lives. We forget that every good session seems to give us six hours, because afterward we do everything better and faster. We also forget that in capitalist societies time is continually being taken away from us; we are supposed to be doing more and more things. Sometimes we feel that skipping a Co-Counseling session will give us more time; sometimes we’re happy when our Co-Counselor cancels. But nothing gives us back our lives or frees up our time the way discharge does.

If it weren’t for the distresses from society, building a Community would be much easier. I think Communities would form and grow almost spontaneously. But as you know, they haven’t always grown quickly and they take work.


Communities need people who will lead. They need people who will think about this whole project and the whole group, not just about themselves. People who lead don’t need to forget about themselves; they just need to think broadly. Good leadership is not about sacrificing oneself; it’s about figuring out the best way forward for oneself and everyone else.

We think everyone is capable of being a good leader. Each of you is capable of it. However, many people don’t want to lead. I think this is because of confusion from distress.

Some people think the RCers they see leading were always as effective as they are, but they used to be much less capable. All of us who are leaders were much more confused by our distresses than we are now. But we moved through a lot of the distress, and much of that happened after we became leaders.

Before you become a leader, you are more isolated and can more easily get discouraged and give up. Once you become a leader, that changes. You have people all around you. The struggle against your distresses is not just about you moving forward; it’s about everyone moving forward. You have a new, big reason to fight against your distresses. No one moves faster in RC than leaders do. It’s not because they are different or better; it’s because they are pushing themselves to lead. If you feel small and powerless, teach a fundamentals class and find out that you can change other people’s lives.

We think everyone can be a leader. We think it’s a natural part of being human. People want to try out their ideas and see what they can do.


What we think of as leadership in RC is different from leadership outside. Many leaders outside tell you what to do, and never listen to you. And almost always what they tell you to do is not in your interest. Leadership in RC is quite different. I am the most powerful leader in RC. It’s true. And I can’t make you do anything—and I don’t try to. I try to communicate good ideas to help get your mind thinking. I collect ideas from all over the world and try to think about them. Then I bring what seems like the best of those ideas to you, for you to try. You Co-Counsel—not because I told you to, but because it works for you. You get to decide that and to decide, through practice, what works.

A leader’s job is not to have all the good ideas; it is to collect the good ideas and present the best ones back so that people can try them out. It is also to think about the whole group. In RC that includes helping to make sure that the things done in the Community are consistent with RC. (If you have a Co-Counseling session with someone in Poland or South Africa, that person will counsel like you do, almost.)

I want you to join us and be a leader. It’s a lot of work and a lot of fun, and life gets bigger and bigger.

If you’re going to be a leader in RC, you’ll have to work on your distresses about leadership. You’ll have to counsel on your parents, your teachers, government leaders—all the people who have acted out their distresses and called it leadership. You’ll have to counsel on the feelings that make it hard for you to follow someone else’s leadership.

Would you follow me? You have some picture of who I am, and I hope you understand that I have your interests in mind. If you’re going to follow me, you’re going to have to decide that I might be right—even when you think I’m wrong. I don’t want you to stop thinking, but I do want you to have sessions on why you think I’m wrong. As a leader, I promise to make you uncomfortable. Part of a leader’s job can involve things that push people against their distresses, so I will sometimes have to bring you good ideas that restimulate you.

How do you tell the difference between a bad idea and a restimulating good idea? Partly you think about where the idea has come from. Has that place been a source of good ideas in the past? Ultimately, you have to have sessions on the idea and why it makes you uncomfortable. If I say we should challenge our isolation and all pile up together on the floor, is that a bad idea or a restimulating good idea? Only sessions will let you figure that out.

I want you to trust me enough to take chances on my ideas. I promise that none of them will kill you, but if you try them, some of your distresses may make you feel like you’re going to die. I want you to dare to take that chance. Sometimes trying scary or uncomfortable things is the best way to begin discharging on a distress.

I want you all to be leaders. I’m sure that each of you can be a good leader. I know that we all still have lots of distresses about leadership, but those distresses don’t have to stop us. The sooner we decide to take the necessary steps, the faster we will go.

We have a long way to go together, and you can be as big and powerful in that as you choose to be. I want you to be big and powerful. Everything I know and do, you can know and do. It only takes using the discharge process to get the distresses out of the way. The more we discharge, and become both aware enough and brave enough to get close to each other, the faster it will go.

Reprinted from the July 2009 Present Time

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00