Just read a lovely little story — about some kids in an African tribe.

An anthropologist proposed to them a game … Placing a basket full of fruit near a tree, he told the kids, “Who ever gets there first, wins the juicy prize.”

But when he told the kids to run, they all took each others hands and ran together; and then they sat together, enjoying their sweet fruit.

He asked them why they had run like that when one could have won all the fruit for oneself. They replied, “UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the others are sad?”

UBUNTU in the Xhosa culture means: “I am because we are.”

Cheers!

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About dilipnaidu

An open mind! Love to share my thoughts and a keenness to learn. An engineer and a MBA I had a wonderful innings in the Army and later moved to consultancy and teaching. My current interests are reading, music, growing culinary herbs and playing golf. I am serious on "Living life less seriously". A warm welcome to you be well and be cheerful always.

46 responses »

  1. Aparna Mathur says:

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for reviewing our article. We got the result today, and the article has been selected to be published in the next edition of MBAskool magazine….!

    Regards,
    Aparna Mathur
    Rashika Bhatia

    • dilipnaidu says:

      Wow Aparna and Rashika my heartiest congratulations. Very well deserved and good show. Well done.

      BTW गेस्ट article ब्लोग के लिये दोगे क्या?? :) :)

      • Aparna Mathur says:

        Yes sir definitely :) Can we give it here before it is published?

        n sir i made a mistake earlier…its Radhika and not Rashika..

      • dilipnaidu says:

        Aparna and Radhika its OK :) Ya do please send it on my email id. Can u think of one apt picture image too? If not I’ll try to search one.

        Hey girls I appreciate your gesture. Way to go.

        Kind regards.

  2. renu says:

    wow..what beautiful mind..wish we had more of their tribe…

  3. That’s a beautiful story and each time I read it, it makes me smile. Yes indeed, we often learn life’s lessons from people we least expect it from. :)

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. Lubna says:

    Yes, we do well when we work as a team. When we try and take all the credit we suffer in the long run. A lovely story, thanks for sharing, Dilip Sir.

  5. daffodil says:

    A true inspirational note..
    But all of us often forget the importance of crafting a smile in someone’s face… Most of us are rather insensitive and in a quest to find some better treasure…
    Unity is a great strength… And It was indeed a great write-up! :)

  6. sriram says:

    Dear Sir,

    What is the moral of the story? – its all about reframing the word ‘victory’ / ‘happiness’….

    This is apparent in collectivistic cultures and not so apparent in ‘individualistic’ cultures.

    The greatest reframing is ‘vasudaiva kutumbakam’ the entire universe is family….including animate & inanimate objects …… and that is perhaps the highest virtue acquired by a ‘saadhak’ in his search for realization – He expands his identity to fit the entire cosmos – so there is only ME and nothing else….

    the movie Avatar tried to explain this concept through the Navi tribe’s interconnectedness …. (ofcourse grossly through ‘hair’ & not subtly as our Masters have declared)….

    But is it that collectivism is a better virtue than individualism? then why is it that japan’s GDP is stagnant for the past 2 decades (almost) whereas US the most individualistic of cultures retains its charm as the ‘place to go to build a life!’? Why communism failed so miserably?

    The answer perhaps is that its not about collectivism or individualism that is at the heart of the debate – as routes to ‘happiness’ – its about reframing our concept of who we are….

    why is it that we limit our sense of identity to the boundary defined by the ‘sense of touch’? whatever we touch and feel as different to our body is ‘not me’ – this ‘gross’ definition of me is what our Masters went after as the primordial ‘ignorance’ and declared that the real pursuit of happiness in life was to rid ourselves of this ignorance….

    Through their experience they found that this sense of identity is limiting and does not allow us to achieve the potential within & hence focused on defining the real ‘I’….

    what these children were demonstrating by their behavior is again a limiting – though expanded – definition of me – if such a definition itself causes us to appreciate it with glee, then what of the true definition of me….

    the question then arises is – why are we – who are able to appreciate such stories – unable to expand our identity in day to day existence? – the appreciation is an indicator that we are able to comprehend the virtue, however are limited by our focus on ‘concrete’ ‘superficial’ experiences rather than diving deeper to comprehend the true reason that makes us appreciate these stories….

    Daniel Kahnemann the Nobel prize winning psychologist says that we are wired in a manner in which we negotiate the world of experiences using 2 systems of thought processes to process information & react…. System 1 is the insta react / superficial / thoughtless / instant one & system 2 is the deeply thought out reaction determinant….and we are wired to be ‘lazy’ – lazy is defined as – a reluctance to invest more effort than is strictly necessary.

    Hence to get ourselves to dive deeper – we need to put in effort – overcoming our system 1 & getting to operate during the larger part of our day in system 2….

    Tim Hurson in his book Think Better talks of system 2 as ‘reflective thinking’ and has estimated that most humans hardly spend 1% of their time in ‘reflective thinking’ & we must make efforts to spend more time here….

    So the cycle is – reframing of identity – requires deeper observation of phenomena – requires more system 2 / reflective thinking – requires more ‘effort’ ….which is nothing but plane jane ‘sadhana’….

    So having sadhana as our better half is a good start point to get beyond UBUNTU to the point where it is just I AM THAT / Aham Brahmasmi….

    Cheers!

    Sriram

    PS – it is interesting to note that people who are willing to put in ‘effort’ are more ‘engaged’ in any activity they do and hence are seen as better ‘performers’ – hence the search in organizations for these ‘engaged employees’…..or in our parlance – sadhaks!!

  7. Shay says:

    What a touching story

  8. Jenn Ji Hyun says:

    What great values these children have! I wish more people could instill this concern towards other people.

  9. Deeps says:

    What a lovely story indeed with a wonderful message!

  10. Ketaki says:

    Dear Dilip Naidu (the previous one had the word NEVER missing)

    this story really touched me, if the same situation was to happen in any metropolitian city in a advanced country … children would say say , mumma has brought be an XYZ brand’s juice, i dont need this … or if they would have ran towards the basket , they would never have NEVER held hands ….

    this small story help me recollect a phrase of Peter Drucker – writer & a management consultant from Austria said –

    “The most Effective Leaders don’t think ” I ” , they always think ” We ” or Our Team , and hence they make the Team function as a whole.

    • dilipnaidu says:

      How wonderful Ketaki to read your comments on Ubantu. What you say is so true in fact in the corporate world or metropolitan towns just the reverse of Ubantu happens. Maybe in villages the spirit of helping and caring still exists hopefully.

      Thank you & regards.

  11. Ketaki says:

    Dear Dilip Naidu,

    this story really touched me, :-) if the same situation was to happen in any metropolitian city in a advanced country … children would say say , mumma has brought be an XYZ brand’s juice, i dont need this … or if they would have ran towards the basket , they would never have held hands ….
    this small story help me recollect a phrase of Peter Drucker – writer & a management consultant from Austria said –

    “The most Effective Leaders don’t think ” I ” , they always think ” We ” or Our Team , and hence they make the Team function as a whole.

  12. Sachin Macwan says:

    Dear Brig. Naidu!

    I was going through the history of this beautiful term “Ubuntu”. The word is derived from the Zulu (African Tribe) community. Some interesting realities came out of my search.

    Liberian Peace Activist Leymah Gbowee describes the meaning of Ubuntu, “I am what I am because of who we all are.” She led a women’s peace movement by which Liberia could see a real peace after several years civil war also was awarded in 2011 for “Nobel Peace Price.” The word “Ubuntu” shows us the essence of being human. In simple words, one can not live without the existence of another.

    Nelson Mandela (A former president, visionary leader and freedom enlightener of South Africa) explains “Ubuntu” this way:

    “A traveller through a country would stop at a village and he didn’t have to ask for food or for water. Once he stops, the people give him food, entertain him. That is one aspect of Ubuntu, but it will have various aspects. Ubuntu does not mean that people should not enrich themselves.”

    The words of Mandela emphasizes on the spirit of Sauno Saath; Sauno Vikas (In English, all together; grow for all). For bringing any transformation Ubuntu is mandatory. The point to be noted is the development should not be self oriented but together we all need to develop.

    In a nutshell, I firmly believe that No-one of us can be happy if all others are sad. A peace can not be brought by smarting others. Let’s start following Ubuntu Philosophy to bring happiness in everyone’s life.

    Hakuna Matata :) (Swahili language which means there are no worries.)

    • dilipnaidu says:

      Wow Sachin this response is just amazing. I was thrilled beyond measure to read the power of the ‘Ubantu way’. Your well researched narration makes be believe that this philosophy of Ubuntu could well be used by HR folk to developing a culture of sharing.

      Thank you my friend. Proud of you.

  13. Bindu says:

    Beautiful story! Have you noticed kids are normally innocent and they slowly start losin that trait as tey grow up?

  14. vimal says:

    nice thought :-)

  15. What a great message about empathy and kindness. Thank-you for sharing this message with us.

  16. soumyav says:

    Great message lies in simple lines of a story, happiness spreads with sharing..

  17. Ajay says:

    thanks dilip for sharing such a beautiful story. I wish we Indian and specially our politician learn a lesson. Imagin life would be a play. Is!NT IT? with warm regards.ajay

  18. Geetha says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story, Sir.

    I love this book:

    http://www.ubuntuthebook.com/about.html

    And here’s another anecdote:

    WINNING
    ..A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win. All, that is, except one little boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back……every one of them.

    One girl with Down’s Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, “This will make it better.” Then all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes.

    People who were there are still telling the story.
    Why? Because deep down we know this one thing:
    What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves.
    What matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.

  19. suhas says:

    Very practical message. Thanks for selecting it. Your blog is getting more serious and more interesting.

  20. dilipnaidu says:

    Oh yes a beautiful message indeed. Thanks for appreciating. Regards.

  21. What a beautiful story. Thank you :)

  22. And this is so very true! What a beautiful story, Dilip. Thank you for sharing it.

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