The Way Forward

 ” Leadership means give-and-take, not going into negotiations with your ego in play.”

Amanpour

Human beings are the most complex creatures on Earth. When it comes to the spectrum of our actions and feelings, we are capable of doing both great and destructive things. We can become the most caring, loving, compassionate and selfless individuals . At the same time, we are also capable of turning 180 degrees and carry out the most selfish, evil and barbaric acts ever imagined.

We are full of contradictive and conflictive emotions and actions. It is this combination of mixed and opposite extremes that makes us so complex. However, most of our actions are predictable because even  the most unpredictable of us become predictable because of their unpredictability. Hence there is always a pattern to our behavior and actions.

Can you imagine a world where more than 7 billion people live in and where resources are “scarce” and each and everyone of those people are trying to survive and make a living. Where each community/individual is trying to get an  edge over others so that they can secure their future and the future of many generations to come. This is exactly the world in which we live in today. No wonder that we always witness dirty politics which causes  wars, suffering, despair and hardships since not everyone of us makes a living in a fair and balanced way. Everywhere you look at there  are conflicts and constant struggles. I guess Charles Darwin was right when he said in his theory of evolution that “only the strongest will survive.”

There have been many talks, debates and books written on the clash of civilizations, Holy wars and the eternal struggle between good and evil. I believe that all these suggestions are pretexts for declaring and waging wars on those deemed less worthy and weak when in fact the major reason for waging those wars and creating conflicts is for  basic economic interests. I am not denying that there are other factors too, but those are only part of the picture, not the full picture. For instance, lets talk about religion. What do you think and say when you see President Ahmadinejad of Iran saying that America are the enemy of Iran because Iran are an Islamic country and after few weeks flies off  to Venezuela which is also a Christian nation and calls President Hugo Chavez his brother and ally? You see the irony that I am talking about?

Coming back to our country we always talk about the problems of tribalism and how it is the root cause of our divisions. However no one ever talks about  what causes tribalism. You already know the answer. Our chronic tribalism and divisions are caused by our wrong believe and thinking that resources are scare. This thinking made us very greedy and led us to fight each other for the control of resources as each tribe wants to make sure its own survival and as result of that advance its own position. Since all of us have our own self interest at heart which of course you can say is understandable , it is always inevitable that our interests will clash and that is the main cause of conflicts.

What we need right now are leaders who can understand this dynamic and see things from this perspective. Only then can we work on how to match our  interests or at least bring them closer to each other  and as a result of that come to common grounds. We need leaders who don’t  have “a winner-takes-all attitude”  and don’t see things as a zero-sum game and finally don’t  go to the  negotiation tables with their ego.

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Your Attitude Determines Your Latitude

“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he never existed.”

-The usual Suspects

Today we are living in a world dominated by great inequalities. Everywhere you look there are staggering disparities in income, education, standard of living, science and technology. Nothing is new about this trend. Social and economic inequalities have existed since the beginning of time. What is unique about this trend is the psychological effects it has had and it is still having on the so called “Third World Countries.”

Many people think or are thinking now that maybe people in the developed world are more intelligent than people in the less developed countries. There are many reasons for this distorted perception. First, the European colonization played a huge role in this ill-conceived mindset. It created a sense of inferiority from the side of the governed since they were mostly backward in terms of civilization, legal systems and science & technology.

Second, a freshly graduate with a smart idea from an underdeveloped country sees his/her counterpart that happens to be in the developed countries implementing ideas and running a successful business in a short period of time while he/she cannot do it at the same time.

These two cases coupled with the fact that they have been dominated for so long with respect to economics, politics and science & technology have created and instilled a sense of inferiority and self-defeating thoughts in the minds of many people from the “third world countries.” This fact made them question their own intellect and capabilities and as a result of that it left a seething doubt in their conscience.

The fact is that there has been no single scientific research that proved without a reasonable doubt that one’s intelligence is determined by his/her race. In other words, there is no strong positive correlation between intelligence and race. I also strongly believe without a shadow of doubt that God is just. He gave everyone a capable mind and the ability to realize and achieve one’s own potential . One thing we know for sure now. We know that they are not more intelligent than us. If that is the case, then why some communities/nations perform better than others? Are they more intelligent than the rest? Of course not.

When you see someone that is outperforming you it means that person is doing something that you are not doing so in order to bridge the gap you have to figure out what is it that they are doing. Of course today we are living in an era where your success  is most likely not determined by your hard work rather it is determined by your nationality and where you happen to be. That is why the bright, hardworking and freshly graduated student from a third world country can’t understand and digest why he/she is struggling with life and everyday trying to make ends meet while their counterpart on the other side of the court has a support system, access to cheap credit and many other opportunities.

The reality is that life is not fair and many of the things that happen to us in life is not of our choosing, like where one was born and which nationality you belong to. But we have to remember that God has given us a free will and that we always have a free choice. We can either feel sorry for ourselves and accept our fate or we can get up,  make the most out of what we have and take our destiny into our own hands. The choice is always there for us to make.

If we truly want to leave our mark on history we have to first get hold of our minds and fix our compasses on the right bearings. We have to tune in to our inner voice. That sneaky voice in our head. We have to listen to it very carefully because as it turns out 90% of our fears never comes true, hence we become prisoners of our own fears and insecurities.

Nothing in this world ever materializes on its own. It takes the collective commitment, will power and determination of the people to make things happen. It takes the collective creativity, ambition, resilience, tenacity and steel of nerve of the people to create things. If you do this and luck is on your side then surely nothing in the world can ever stop you. we have to realize that the world is out there for us to grab.