An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each other’s hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: ”UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”
‘UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: “I am because we are”. It embraces the idea that humans cannot exist in isolation. We depend on connection, community, and caring — simply, we cannot be without each other. As South African social rights activist and Archbishop Desmond Tutu explained, “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.” He understands that the potential of human beings working collectively to achieve goals is infinitely greater than the potential of any individual.
As individuals, we are equipped with particular talents and strengths. Though it is natural for us to want to use these for our own self-progression and success, if we use these qualities to better our community, we reap both personal and societal benefits. We do not have to sacrifice personal success for the community’s success, but we must strike a balance between the two.
Something to Think About
To ask everyone to practice Ubuntu seems like an unrealistic feat. But we can start by asking ourselves this: “What if what you want to be will only come about when you ensure that others get to be that as well? And what if all of humanity was on your team, working toward your good?”
What can you do this week to actively help someone else achieve what they want?
Words of Wisdom
The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed. – Henry Ford
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. – John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay. – Dalai Lama
Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. – Dr. Seuss
Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections. –Unknown