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Same Difference

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Originally posted on February 22, 2012 by John Dessauer

I had the opportunity to work with some colleagues a few weeks ago in Florida. They were a husband and wife team from Russia. Throughout my trip I found out a few very interesting things.

They were brought up in a country very different than mine. But was it really that different? As I shared with them the idea of tornado drills we had as a kid, they shared with me the idea of the preparations they had with regard to nuclear bombing.

I explained the idea of fallout shelters and the hope that if the Russians had bombed us, we could somehow survive underground until it was safe to go out. The Russian government had propagated that we were “evil” because of capitalism.  I explained that there was a fear that because the Russians were “evil” we would be wiped out by them. We had one caveat however. We could launch just enough bombs to annihilate them. As we were discussing this absurd idea, Oksana was making a chicken dinner.

When you are eating chicken, it is most efficient to eat it with your hands. It was there as we were all eating with our hands and doing the almost barbaric things that you do when you eat chicken (the techniques and noises that you create as you are getting all of the meat off the bone) with your hands, I realized an important thing. We are the same.

How could that be? Here in America we were given information that our ideals as a country and a people were so different. Over two decades after the cold war officially ended, people still carry some curiosity of Russia regarding their people, governments, and beliefs. Well, one of the shocks for most people after meeting Russians or anyone else for that matter is that we are more alike than we are different. That realization comes with tolerance and perspective.

Tolerance and perspective as we grow older seem to be traits that we lack in two things: government and everyday people. Tolerance is the art of accepting people for who and what they are. Understanding our differences is the art of applying diversity that we all possess as humans, in order to solve the worlds problems. Perspective is looking through the eyes of that diversity and understanding that those differences usually highlight our similarities. We do not do that enough.

I hope that as we continue to make strides in business, healthcare and world hunger we not only identify our differences, but our similarities. As we discover news ways to treat some of our most troubling diseases, such as Cancer, we know that we are treating human kind and not just one particular group of people.

In addition, we need to keep these ideas in mind when we are considering race, National origin, religion, and/or sexual orientation, among others. I see us continuing to not use tolerance and perspective when considering groups of people.

Remember that as you are creating your new plans for business or your career. It probably goes against the grain of what many people think about to use tolerance and perspective, however, it may be the best tool you can you to create a business that thrives. A path less traveled that will bring you different results!

As dinner was ending, I had mentioned to Gary (Igor), Oksana’s husband, that I had a birthday coming up. He mentioned he did to. We found out that we were born on the same day and the same year. The only difference: Gary in Russia and me in the United States. I knew I had to write this blog.

Remember, “wealth has nothing to do with money, success has everything to with failure and life is as simple as you make it!”

– John Dessauer


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