Let me take you on a journey, one that the entire Africa travel and tourism industry gathered to experience at the prestigious Durban ICC, International Conference Centre, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It happened the day after May Day, a holiday annually dedicated to the effort of labourers.
Labour Day, also known as International Workers’ Day in some countries, is a celebration of the working class that’s promoted by the international labour movement. Day one was business opportunity day (BONDay) and I had the privilege to be engaged by South African Tourism, as the restart, recalibration of the tourism and hospitality industry.
African countries have in recent months invested a significant amount of time and resources in convening platforms of thought leaders to reimagine the tourism sector in a world drastically changed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pulling participants – people and professionals – during my opening keynote, I asked a question about the day, in a bid to turn them inwards, in what is, “unlocking uncommon experiences through personal leadership for performance.”
Every day, prior to touching the earth with the soles of my feet, I affirm: “Something great is going to happen through me and to me today.”
You, me, every one of us can unlock uncommon experiences simply through how we enable or energise our day from the very moment we wake up; turning out mindful words into our world weaves it into our very consciousness.
There is a “Law of Control” that says you feel positive about yourself to the degree to which you feel you are in control of your own life. It also says that you feel negative about yourself to the degree to which you feel you are not in control of any part of your life.
In the world of Psychology, it is called, “Locus of Control Theory.” Each person feels that their life is controlled by either internal or external factors. A person with an internal locus of control feels that he or she is in charge and is making the decision that determines the direction of his or her life.
The person with an external locus of control, on the other hand, feels that others are in charge, and that he or she is controlled by external factors and influences about which he can do very little. She or he often feels that her or his life: Is controlled by her or his boss, bills, her or his childhood experiences, and her or his current marriage or relationship.
Having an internal or an external locus of control is the difference between feeling empowered and positive or powerless and negative. And both are states of mind over which you have considerable control.
Let the good land, regardless of the longer work hours, to increased demands at home; the Covid pandemic introduced new stressors to nearly every domain of life. As the world heads into the third year of the pandemic, these stressors have become persistent and indefinite, heightening everyone’s risk of burnout.
According to the UN World Tourism Organisation, “the pandemic has set back the tourism industry by at least three decades,” making it one of the hardest hit.
Complaining keeps you, me, we, all captive, while remembering the good that’s landed leads one towards tasting, experiencing great freedom, for there will always be beauty about to emerge in us – you and me.
Let me conclude with this story. A counselling couple visit prisons around the world when they travel. A prison that has touched them the most, according to them, is in Lusaka, Zambia, built in 1950 for 250 men, but which holds over 1,300 today. The cells, which were built to hold 50, are now home to over 150 men. They are locked in these cells from eight o’clock at night until eight o’clock in the morning. There isn’t enough room for all of them to lie down at the same time. They have to take it in turns. The stench and the heat in those cells must be almost unbearable. Regardless of their lockdown, during morning meditation, one of the inmates, who’s been languishing in the prison for four years, unconvicted, without trial, not knowing when his release would happen, if it ever will, opened the morning meditation with heartfelt gratitude saying: “God is good – all the time,” expressing absolute confidence in the goodness of God, not because of his circumstances, but in spite of them.
Moral of the story: The condition we find ourselves in should not determine our response. In other words, we should, daily, let the good land in us; then it truly can emerge from us to others the world over. So, in John Wesley’s words: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
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