On Diversity

Personal Growth Insights
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I am in Moscow walking the walking machine, watching a video screen. I am watching CNN. They have a program on diversity.It occurred to me that diversity is approached from a political and ethical angle- that it is politically correct to promote diversity, political in the sense that we are all equal, have the same rights etc. and ethically that it is immoral to discriminate.It occurred to me that a very important point is being missed: diversity is good for you. We should pursue diversity because it is a win-win proposition. It serves our self-interests.How?Start with the assumption that no one is perfect. Thus we need others to complement us. But to complement us, those “others“ have to be DIFFERENT. Thus, diversity, differences, are necessary for growth, for learning, for synergy.Years ago I was listening to a blind person delivering a motivational speech. What impressed me was what he said to the audience: “I am blind from birth. I have a deficiency. But how about you? Do you have any limitation? How about some emotional limitation, or intellectual limitation?”In other words we are all “blind” in something.The question is what are we doing about our limitations?This blind person was telling us how he became a motivational speaker, how he learned to play music in spite of being blind. How about you, me, anyone else?Who is the hero? Who can overcome his own liabilities?I have a first cousin. His father and my father are brothers. He carries the same name as I do except he spells it in English differently: Yitzhak Adijes. He was also born blind. But he won the world championship for blind sailing. Yes, there is such competition which blind people hold annually and one year he won that world championship. He overcame his limits.Does this inspire you? Does that motivate you to overcome your limits too?It sure inspired me.We learn from diversity because those “other” people have by definition what we don t have. Afro American people, or the Africans in Africa have a soul in their laughter, in their music, in their dancing we westerns whites lost…Again: diversity enriches.I find gypsies inspiring too. They live the moment. They know how to enjoy life to its fullest. Much to learn from them.For me, this learning does not stop just with people who are physically handicapped, or with those whose color, religion or sex is different.One can learn from horses, from dogs and from stones.I remember how studying a stone I realized the difference between chronological age and conscious age. We human are the only ones who by being conscious can impact our emotional age. Stones, trees, animals have no control over their age. We can be chronologically 75 (like I am) but feel and act as if they are 45 (which I do). I can control my age by what I eat, how stressful is my life, what I do (love what you do and you do not age as fast, for instance…) etcWe can learn from everything.The old testament says: go to the ant, you lazy bum, and learn from its ways“Diversity is the source of learning. Sameness is barren.Embrace diversity not only because it is politically and ethically correct but because there is so much for you to learn and thus benefit from.Sincerely,Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes

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Dr. Ichak Adizes
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