As a very fortunate human being, who has travelled amongst many diverse groups of people in the world, it always surprises me when people have challenges with "diversity training." I can see absolutely no reason to fear the skills, knowledge and perspective that other human beings bring.
Our own self built blocks to growth.
One of the biggest obstacles to growth, is our natural focus on building our "own identity." This begins the process of separation from people who are different to us.
I am a boy, I am a girl, I am American, I am African, I Portuguese, I am Chinese, I am white, I am black, I am Indian, I am Christian, I am Jewish, I am thin, I am fat, I am old and I am young.
All of these statements ensures a separation from others, as if they were not not your human equal. Because from here we can make statements like, "Why would I want to have anything to do with them - they are not even (add your "identity" here.) No, in fact they are (add their "identity: here)".
And unfortunately, the very same people who strongly identify themselves with their own personal, group, physical, National, colour, religious classifications, are those who invariably limit their experience of people and the world. Many of them will angrily speak out against "diversity training", as if it were a punishment and a mockery of who they are, as human beings. Why should I learn about THEM? Why don't They learn about US?"
And of course the people that they are asked to learn about, are never spoken of as being remotely human. They are spoken of in their classifications. These "whites". Those "Muslims". The "blacks". And a lot of really rude name tags. This always makes it easier to slip back into the comfort of our own personal identity.
Living in the question and in a state of "Wow!"
Those of us who have no limitations to who we associate with, learn from and understand, are so fortunate. We simply love the fact that, as small children do, we can live in "the question." Living in the question allows to spend most of our time asking questions and learning from others. It allows us to have our own little University of life and everyone that we meet, becomes a teacher. And we the students. "Why do you...?", "What does this mean...?", "How do you greet and ..."
This is the state of "wow!" And many children live there. This way of being puts us in the most delightful position of continuously building respect, understanding and wisdom.
Living in the answer - the dangers.
The opposite way of living in the question, is to live in "the answer." The biggest danger here is when one has an absolute impression of one's personal identity and the absolute knowledge that it brings. This is the state of "rightness." I am right and you are wrong. It is at this point that we limit ourselves.
And it is people in power, be they powerful in families, companies, teams or countries, who invariably bring aggression to their interactions. They deeply fear losing their power. And they hate the fact that the may be proven "wrong."They will fight to protect what is theirs. They will fight to keep the status quo. Because the have "the answer." They KNOW what is "right!"
We all add to each other.
When we get to the point of understanding how much we add to each other, we begin to tap into the incredible richness of humanity. The wealth of knowledge and wisdom that is encapsulated in the very difference that cause fear in some of us.
No-one wants to change others, nor take away their sense of personal identity. In fact that is your very unique human value. That is what ensures that YOU add to other people. Show it, share and enjoy it - and add to it with questions. Do not let it limit you. Or cause you to be a source of conflict.
Diversity training, or Celebrating Humanity.
Now Diversity Training has it's positives, however if incorrectly presented, it keeps on separating people as if they were of a different species. Almost as if we are curiosities - to be observed from a distance and "accepted."
This is not true. We are all human beings. We all have something unique to share, even if we are the "same." Yes, the answers to all problems lie hidden deeply within mankind.
And it is at this point where our programmes change the perspective ,from one of Diversity Training, to one of Celebrating Humanity. As Steven Covey says, "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
When we are celebrated, we can celebrate others. These unique programmes are developed to bring that safety and celebration to all of our delegates.Through these programmes, we remove team conflict and build families - through better life skills.
We deliver our particular brand of Team building in South Africa - anywhere in the world. We have worked in the USA, Zambia, South Africa and have Celebrated Humanity with 2500 miners in Namibia. And our principles are simple.
- At the level of respect, all people are equal.
- We all add to each other.
- There is only one race, ad that is the Human race.
We are most unstable, when we continuously seek to confirm our stability and who we are. Conversley, we are most settled when we understand that we do not know everything, and that is OK. And we ensure our sense of well being and value, by continuously seeking understanding.
And that is why we should always spend time learning about others, and attending course similar to the Celebrating Humanity programme. And therein lies our own personal freedom and a new personal identity - as a member of the human race. And with our freedom comes the freedom of all human beings.
Yes, the answer to all problems, lie deeply hidden within all human beings.