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Is it true that:
– what we do is influenced by what we have done?
– how we and our #capabilities are perceived lies within the frame in which those looking at us, have seen us perform?
Why, then, are we trying to escape our history when it defines who we are. Do we not like who we are deemed to be based on our history?

The latter begs the question of who deems us to be what? Surely, it is you yourself that imposes that #frame in the first place.

Traveling around the world I’m proud to be South African. It is only in South Africa that the additional context of race could be added to that feeling. But if I don’t add to that feeling, it is only a #label that one does not have to assume.

Furthermore, I suggest that the knowledge that poverty is colorblind is One that One can not forget or stop perceiving while in a box that differentiates around color and ethnicity. Both of these are not sustainable. Many small and large wars bring temporary ‘peace’ but that is really only on paper and rarely in people’s minds. Traveling and experience around the world usually shows you that the knowledge is a truism, yet it is only the mind that unlocks that box.

Diversity should bring strength when one builds on it. Carlos Ghosn, when merging Nissan and Renault argued that espirit de corps is the most important asset, one where nationality, race, colour, creed, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation and generation are part of diversity. The ability to collaborate in teams would be the key differentiator in addition to motivation of individual employees. Why is it that corporate’s have started using this in their DNA yet countries still find it difficult to not leave their box of history in even thinking one can regulate standards that threaten acceptance of diversity.

Boxes do make us comfortable and leaving them can be seriously uncomfortable and threaten you in many ways. But then, change only lies within you, the individual (“personal change must precede or at least accompany management or organisational change”, Stephen #Covey), as organisations and countries cannot move by themselves. They need to develop the right muscle.

I applaud initiatives like #Yowzit, which try to bring the voice of everyone to be known to governments building new muscles. Well done Pramod http://www.makingallvoicescount.org/news/establishing-a-community-of-practice-in-liberia-south-africa/ .

By looking for events that provide springboards to change you can chose to make your box larger or move to another box. It makes no sense to board any train coming past but at the same time you can board a train that brings change and based on your motivation assume a position of passenger or driver. Quite often that is outside your control and being open to change allows you to participate in ways previously not within your reach.

Recently, when starting to look for a new job, I found that talking to many different people in and outside my network provides tremendous feedback and listening carefully helped to colour the box that I am in. That experience felt a bit like ‘art’ as a lot of qualities are attributed and subjective. When applying and calling on parties to get an opportunity for an interview, I wish to paint a picture that suits the job opportunity, yet my history already defines me. I am in no illusion of control but continue to build muscle ready to get on the right train.

Where does history define you, challenge you and support you in your quest? Which muscles are you building? Only you will know the why.

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