Customers come and go. Some things people say stay in the mind more clearly than others:
Last week a new customer came along first thing in the day – the best time for me to stand and chat.
She and her husband had been living in Malawi for twenty years, but had had to flee, or move. She was sad about this.
Colourfully dressed and laid back, being in St. Albans was a disconcerting experience. She said that this was so, mostly because of the lack of commonalities which people share naturally in Malawi. Hence; ubuntu, “I am because of who we all are.”
I live in affluent South-East England, 25 miles away from central London. What I could share with you right now, even as summer warmth envelopes night’s darkness; what I could share with everyone, is the plants that are around me.
I know the names and properties of most of the natural world around me. Yet, so so many don’t seem connected with this world, their world.
The lady I was chatting with commented something about ubuntu that I’ve heard about in aboriginal Australia’s culture. That whilst sharing everything is expected of everyone, and that this demotes being a winner as a pointless exercise. After all, if you don’t share your wealth, is it really wealth?
We could ask a dragon if they were real! However, when someone expressed a dream of developing themselves within their culture, people would put them down: say that there is no point to trying to achieve a dream. This is the opposite of Western mores that say reaching for your dreams is what society offers.
I like the philosophy of reaching for dreams. Yet within my culture; isolated in suburbs with walls separating everyone, there is little help to manifest those dreams outside of one’s family.
Whilst in a tribal situation we have the opportunity to work more closely for the benefit of each other, within a corporation we’re working for our own benefits and that of the corporation with others, because we have to.
This is why I think I like the process of sustainability as a model for living.
I think modern business can be conducted with the principles of ubuntu as long as those at the top admit that their personal wealth is not the primary goal of their business.
This is unrealistic.