Time to Disenthrall

I am a big fan of Sir Ken Robinson. In his book, “Out of Our Minds,” Robinson remembers these words of Abraham Lincoln, spoken to congress in 1862. “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country.”

Robinson comments, “I love the word ‘disenthrall.’ What he (Lincoln) meant was that we all live our lives guided by ideas to which we are devoted but which may no longer be true or relevant. We are hypnotized or enthralled by them. To move forward we have to shake free of them.”

When it comes to your leadership world, where are you enthralled these days? That hypnotic place where you have married yourself to what used to work. Perhaps it is time to wrestle with what is relevant and make a commitment to “shake free” of something that is holding you back.

Disenthrall literally means, “To free from bondage.” 

If the status quo has you in chains, it is time to disenthrall.



Why do you think leaders are so bound to ‘what used to work?’




Leave a comment

Coach Brown

8 years ago

Fear of change. Fear of making a mistake that will identify them as the cause. Leaders in business and the community generally are captives of the past because they were chosen to lead because they represent the same values that have always been ideal in the past. It seems only in desperate times are desperate measures taken to select leaders who are disenthralled with the past and lead with fresh new, innovative vision for what is truly needed. Thanks for the reminder.


8 years ago

Great comment Coach. Thanks!

Patricia Freeman Nesberg

8 years ago

Thank you so much for that. There are those miraculous times in my life when my mind comes to a great shift. I worry then, that I’ll soon lose the awareness into the thick mud of habit. These words you’ve written were no less than the breath of God in remembrance of what I’ve just come to know, but haven’t yet seen evidence of in my actions.


8 years ago

That is great, Patricia. I pray you will have the conviction to follow through. Have a blessed day!

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