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    Message of the Week 3 - 7 August 2020

    Week 32
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    Building Resilience

    COVID-19 is not just a major healthcare crisis affecting countries worldwide, it is also having a devastating impact on business. 

    In recent years, the VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) model has gained popularity as a term that covers the dimensions of uncontrollable environments. Today, it provides an apt description of the types of challenges businesses face now and into the future.

    But what if VUCA is not something to fear? Scholar and risk analyst Nassim Nicholas Taleb sees it as an opportunity to become “anti-fragile” — to not only withstand shocks to the system but to actually get better; to not just mitigate the effects, but leverage them. The alternative, he cautions, is to become irrelevant. 

    That is where resilience becomes critical. 

    Martin Seligman, a US psychologist, has identified what he calls the Three Ps, ways of seeing the world which can delay recovery and limit resilience:

    Personalisation: the belief that you’re at fault for everything that goes wrong

    Pervasiveness: the belief that an event will affect every area of your life

    Permanence: the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever

    His research has shown that overcoming the Three Ps requires us to move beyond our natural negativity bias, which is heightened during a time of crisis. People tend to focus more on the negative as they try to make sense of the world. Our tendency to pay more attention to bad things is a result of evolution. Earlier in human history, paying attention to negative threats and dangers was a matter of life and death. Those who paid more attention to the bad things around them were more likely to survive.

    Seligman suggest four practical things you can do to shift your focus away from the negative and towards the positive:

    • Look at emotions as data and question their accuracy as you interpret them
    • Be deliberate about seeking out the positive aspects of every experience
    • Make a point of engaging in and enjoying positive experiences
    • Instead of allowing yourself to be affected by negative feedback, build on positive responses and reactions

    As Dr. Kazuo Inamori’s philosophy reminds us, although we may often struggle, it is possible to surmount all obstacles. If we have a strong desire to succeed and visualise this success in our minds, then we achieve it. 

    His philosophy offers a solution to challenges confronting all of humankind, and his influence is stronger than ever, with his wisdom extending beyond Japan and China. More than 4.2 million copies of Inamori’s 2007 book “The Way to Live” have been published in China. Most of his others have been translated into Chinese, with more than 10 million copies of his works having been printed in the country. China Central Television has broadcast programmes featuring Inamori many times.

    This is most likely because his principles offer hope and contribute to the improvement of common welfare. “What is right for a human being?” he asks. The answer lies in simple and sound principles such as “Be honest” and “Don’t tell a lie”. These universal ideas are acceptable to everybody and not susceptible to change with the passage of time. 

    Werner Engelbrecht - General Manager - Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa

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