Lockdown Day 40 – 5 May 2020 – Rights!

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Forty seems to be a significant number. Perhaps a miracle will happen today.

The story of Paul Potts is very inspiring. Here is his first audition at Brittian’s Got Talent 2007. Speak of a man who needed a hand up, and got it! It is the stuff dreams are made of. Goose flesh stuff.

But I rather listen to a concert performance of Nessun Dorma.

Yesterday I shared, what may seem to be a radical standpoint. I may even seem harsh and heartless. Not so. I am surprised, though, that nobody challenged my generalizations! Controversy is supposed to get reaction.

I am fully aware that, as Forrest Gump said, “Sh*t Happens.”

Many people standing at the robot is not standing there because they are incompetent. They could be highly qualified people, like fitters and turners or boilermakers. Unfortunately, industrial development and technology made their skills obsolete. Robots (artificial intelligence) are doing their jobs better than they ever could. If you think your job is not threatened by this trend, think again.

The question is, what is the responsible way to handle this problem? Surely just retrenching people is not the best way? We cannot just discard people like old clothes when there jobs become obsolete.

I am also aware that in South Africa we have a history that we need to address. Sadly, we have lost many good years of the redressing process because of people in Government acting irresponsibly. But it is also time to move beyond that and start acting responsibly – with government leading. The question is, how do we address this responsibly? To me it seems that many people acted responsibly and began to escape the terrors of our history. I would try to empower the people who show that they want to rise out of circumstances. That is why I am very outspoken about schools and education. We need to do whatever it takes to ensure a good quality education. A good, quality education does not mean everybody should go to university! A good quality education prepares somebody to make an economically successful life by contributing.

I also think the idea of education for the first 21 or so years of your life is rubbish. We should make it easy for people to continue learning and upgrading skills. We constantly need new skills in the economy. Business would benefit a lot by not only allowing, but by getting involved in, programs to keep their workforce (who wants to) on a continuous development plan. Even personal development, such as domestic science!

Years ago I wrote a monthly financial planning newsletter for a big company who paid me to do it. The HR manager and myself discussing the content regularly. It was published in a monthly staff newsletter. I often asked the HR Manager if it works. He was convinced it works, because of the changed financial behavior of the staff. A simple thing, but it made a difference.

And that is what I am talking about. It need not always be million Dollar projects!

Once we replace Rights with Responsibility, the whole issue changes.

As a society we have a responsibility to help those that are in trouble. But help means help to recover and get back on their feet, so to speak. Some people really are victims. We should help them with empathy.

If everybody acted responsibly, everybody would have rights!

One thing to me is non-negotiable. If you reject the rules of society and consider yourself above such rules, you are arrogantly irresponsible. And you immediately forfeit any rights, however basic, that you may have had. In this regard I think of the story of the boy who murdered his parents and claimed mitigating circumstances, because he is an orphan.

Let me conclude with a story or two or more.

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In Worcester we had a lady who helped the poor people. She dedicated her life to that. She insisted on some rules, though. Nobody was allowed to send a child to ask for something they needed. “I do not want the children to acquire a culture of somebody will provide or a beggar’s attitude.” Helping responsibly, conveying values.

One day my wife and I drove down Russel Street in Worcester and saw two ladies walking with big bags. I recognized them as congregants and offered a lift, which they gladly accepted. I asked about the packages. They tell us they resigned from work, since they did not like it. They were coming from “welfare” and the packages consist of food and clothes. “It is much better than working.” What would the responsible way be to treat this situation?

I told you I read 3 books about helping the poorest of the poor. Inspiring reading. The message is the same – help the people to help themselves. Do not impose your ideas of what they need on these people. Often they do not need money, they need the basic material or seed to get started. In one case in Zambia a woman told the author of the book, then an aid-worker, they do not need and neither can they use the things the organization wanted to give them. What they needed was security for the girls to fetch water. Because of thugs hanging around at the well and molesting the girls, it was unsafe to fetch water. Providing security solved the problem and saw a successful vegetable garden growing.

The message is the same – empower a man, and you empower one person (and probably create more problems, thinks I). Empower a woman, and you empower a village. I will not tell you here about such an effort I had the privilege to visit in Malawi. Societies where a respect for women is cultivated also benefits economically, according to one of the books (with examples),

My last story. Until about 18 months ago, I taught people how to invest in property. At the beginning of this business, I had a planning role as well. I had to visit the Eastern Cape. It was one of the best experiences of my life. Many of the people who came for planning planned to work overtime to buy their first Wendy house to rent to somebody. What touched a nerve, was the GENUINE URGE To Succeed with those people. They just needed a leg up. They dreamed big dreams and were prepared to work for it.

After lockdown there will be more people at the robots. More victims of the Coronavirus. How will we help them responsibly to get them started again?

I am acting responsibly and preparing myself for a reduced income after lockdown.

As I go through my own process, I have written an e-book that can help you find an idea and start your own business. It comes as a package with The GUTSy Newsletter – people like those I met in the Eastern Cape – with a Genuine Urge To Succeed.

If I act responsibly towards myself and others, we will all have a better life.

The bottom line is this: if we change the idea of human rights to human responsibility, the perspective change. We become involved as opposed to being spectators.


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