I grew up on a farm in South Africa, in an area called Mooi River about 2 hours from the coastal city of Durban.
Like most kids from farming districts, I had to leave home to attend university. At the end of my first year I came home about 13kg’s heavier than when I started! I hadn’t been exactly svelte to begin with. In fact, that first year, weight was about the only thing I had picked up, because I certainly didn’t pick up many course credits!
While my parents were delighted to see me home, my father was less than delighted at the sight of the extra girth around my hips. A true gentleman, he tried desperately not to pass comment on my expanded waistline, but at mealtimes his behaviour became eccentric. If there was something delicious to eat – he would make sure he had more than usual, to save me from the prospect of a second helping! Where previously he would offer food to all of us, now he was suddenly helping himself before I had finished my first helping – and gobbling it all up! It was too funny.
Working in our home were two lovely Zulu ladies – Katie and Nombuso. When I first walked into the kitchen they were overjoyed to see me and even more excited that I was now fat enough to be attractive! The conversation went something like this:
“You are so beautiful, you are now Mafuta (Fat)!” (Admiring glances and approving noises).
“Ukhula! You have grown.
“Now you can get married because you are so nice and fat!”
They danced around me and laughed and rejoiced at my abundant shape!
Isn’t it interesting how different cultures view the same events?
My father was horrified because in his eyes I was becoming less attractive. But according to Zulu culture I was becoming more attractive and more suitable to a prospective husband!
Does it really matter what others think about you? Is the interpretation you’re attaching to your current circumstances the only one? Or even the most effective one? If you looked at things in your workplace from a different perspective, would that help you find a solution?
You can choose the meaning you wish to attach to any problem you face. Perhaps what you’re encountering isn’t a problem, but an opportunity in disguise.
Have a great Chooseday!
Create the Career you desire by getting clear on what you really want
Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall. Stephen Covey