Walk Together

“More than anything else, I long so much that we will become the country that we have it in us to become. A caring [country], not maybe hugely successful – we may become that – but one where every single South African actually feels they matter.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

We stand at a tipping point. A new consciousness is emerging throughout the world. You and I have greater power today than ever before to enhance or diminish the overall well-being of society. The world has become a village. With technology we are able to fly across the world in no time at all or communicate with anyone at any time, no matter where they may be.

Adam Kahane in his book entitled Solving Tough Problems tells the story about “a man who wanted to change the world. He tried as hard as he could, but really did not accomplish anything. So he thought that instead he should just try to change his country, but he had no success with that either. Then he tried to change his city and then his neighbourhood, still unsuccessfully. Then he thought that he could at least change his family, and failed again. So he decided to change himself. Then a surprising thing happened. As he changed himself, his family changed too. And as his family changed, his neighbourhood changed. As his neighbourhood changed, his city changed. As his city changed, his country changed, and as his country changed, the world changed”.

Can you change yourself in a way that allows you to contribute to changing your country and then ultimately the world?

You are where you are so that you can learn to grow. Both pleasant and unpleasant circumstances contribute to your growing as an individual. You learn through both suffering and great happiness. You do not attract that which you want but that which you are. Good thoughts and actions can ever only produce good results, just as bad thoughts and actions will culminate in bad results. A peach tree can only produce peaches, just as weeds can only produce weeds. You can change yourself by continually changing the way you think. If you continually put an end to immoral thoughts and encourage good thoughts, then the world will soften towards you, opportunities will come your way and the world will reach out a helping hand to assist you in your endeavours. South Africa is a microcosm of the world. We have dark skinned and light skinned people, we have the rich and the poor, we have eleven official languages and many different cultures.

Become aware of the impact each of your habits and actions has on the people around you and your environment. If you know your own strengths and weaknesses and you desire to live and work with joy and ease instead of living with fear, power and domination, you will have to choose your thoughts to shape your circumstances. Although simple, it is not easy to develop. It requires that you practice again and again to train your mind to be filled with thoughts of goodwill, compassion and acceptance. The opportunities to put your thoughts into practice present themselves in our conversations and in our interaction with others in both our personal and business lives.

There is a rising wave of awareness affecting everything we do in our lives, including our businesses. Conscious Business is a term used to describe a business enterprise that seeks to be aware of the effects of its actions and to consciously affect human beings and the environment in a beneficial way. Muhammad Yunus, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, said: “The World is crying out for a new way of doing business. When the social enterprise concept becomes known and begins to spread through all free market economies, the flood of creativity it will unleash has the potential to transform our world”. When you look at the world today, the one country that gives hope to all of humanity is South Africa. South Africans can lead the world by pioneering “living consciously” as individuals, communities and in the way we do business.Many communities already practice conscious living through the implementation of Ubuntu.

South Africans have experienced some wonderful moments of pride and unity, a few of which are the euphoria of the birth of the Rainbow Nation in 1994, winning the rugby World Cup in 1995 and hosting the Fifa 2010 soccer World Cup. We need to entrench this spirit of unity – to join hands with other South Africans, pick up the baton of goodwill and pass it on. There is an African proverb which says, “If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to
walk far, walk together”. By walking together, we have the ability to create a society where people are not judged by
what they own or by the colour of their skin. Every individual will be recognised for who they are as a person, for what they have contributed to society, and for the actions they have taken to make this country a better place for all those who live in it.

We will live in a country where we will be safe, have a secure home, attend a good school and be able to make an honest, good living for ourselves and for our loved ones. Appreciate, respect, love and be proud of South Africa’s achievements, its national character and different cultures. Identify with other members of society and appreciate our cultural diversity, rich and unique.

Do what you know you must – in your home, community and in your workplace to build a future that was the promise of 1994. Do the thing that has to be done, because it has to be done and for no other reason.

“I truly believe it is our diverse nature that makes us a country of survivors. I am an Afro-optimist. We have come a
long and difficult way and it amazes me that no matter what is thrown at our emerging nation, we still progress and prosper with every unfolding year.” – John Smit