Ubuntu

“An Anthropologist proposed a game to the African tribal children. He placed a basket of sweets near a tree and made the children stand 100 meters away. Then, he announced that whoever reaches first would get all the sweets in the basket.

he said, ‘Ready, steady, go!’

Do you know what these children did?

They all held each other’s hands, ran together towards the tree, divided the sweets equally among themselves, ate the sweets, and enjoyed it.

When the Anthropologist asked them why they did so, they answered ‘Ubuntu,’ which meant ‘How can one be happy when the others are sad?’

Ubuntu in their language means, ‘I am because we are!'”

I received that story in a message sent to my clan’s group. It reminded me of how we, as social beings, can progress by working together. We were able to build roads, buildings, businesses, and more.

Further reading on the story above led me to this website with the following quote:

“A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.”

From the anthropologist’s perspective from the story, he could have only seen the children working together toward a common goal. However, based on the quote, the concept of Ubuntu starts with each individual. One person is open, affirming of others, has self-assurance, etc. In other words, it starts with one being selfless.

It’s so sad to see that sometimes, our obsessions and possessions take the best of us.

As children, we envied those with the newest toy. If we were the ones who had the new toy, we would brag about them and felt proud when others acknowledged our new toy. It was hard to grasp the concept of sharing.

In school, we envied those who got high marks. If we were the ones got the high marks, sometimes, we refused to share to others our knowledge.

At work, we compete and step over people to get the promotion. We forget that helping others actually display our ability to lead. As a result of helping, we promote teamwork and grow the business at a higher rate.

The best thing to do is to acknowledge and let go of selfishness. Let go of possessions and share what you have. It’s not about getting to the basket of sweets first.

Let go of selfishness and let go of things that you are so clinging on to that do not add value to your life. Instead, build relationships with people you value. Spend time with your family, your friends, and business partners. You wouldn’t know what those relationships can bring to your life.

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