Graduation 2018 – Speeches

Prof Edward Kieswetter
President: The Da Vinci Institute

MANDELA: A PROTOTYPICAL LEADER WITHOUT A TITLE

This year we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. This centenary celebration of Madiba has allowed us to reflect on his life and importantly the valuable lessons from his life.

Mandela’s journey from Prisoner to President is hailed as a victory for the human spirit and stands unequivocally as a demonstration of remarkable commitment to a worthy cause. The essence of his leadership story did not commence with the Rivonia Trial and did not end when Mandela retired as President. His leadership example goes back a hundred years ago and leaves a legacy that will outlive us all. Mandela needed no title in order to be a leader. He exemplified the attributes so rare in many who so publicly bear the title, but miserably fail to demonstrate the desired behaviour. For many, their leadership has become a means to egregious self-enrichment, often at the expense of the vulnerable they purport to lead. We have witnessed several such examples in the immediate past.

Born on 18 July 1918, in the small Eastern Cape village of Mvezo, in Qunu, Umtata, Rolihlahla was the son of Nonqaphi Nosekeni and Chief Henry Mphakanyiswa Gadla Mandela of the Madiba clan of the Xhosa-speaking Tembu people. He first came face to face with the harshness of Colonial rule when his family was forced to move to Qunu where they lived a simple life, living of the food from the land they planted. He lost his father when he was only 9 years old. After his father’s death, the young Nelson was raised by Jongintaba, then the regent of the Tembu.

One can imagine the young Nelson, reported to be a good stick fighter, playing in the fields of Qunu and on the banks of the Mbashe River slightly taller than his peers and standing out in the crowd. Surrounded by ancestral and contemporary examples of great leaders, one ought not to be surprised that already as a young boy, Madiba, a name he was given later after his clan, was thrust into leadership and responsibility. Educated as a prince, he continued his love for learning, going on to study law.

His parents had named him Rolihlahla (“troublemaker”) as if somehow they had the idea he would cause much trouble during his lifetime. The “trouble” he would cause though, was to fiercely challenge the status quo and relentlessly fight for freedom for all people on the basis of social justice, human dignity and racial equality.

So what is the leadership legacy left to us by Nelson Mandela?

For me there is a single moment that defines Mandela’s leadership. It is the moment that is eternally captured as he concluded his famous Rivonia trial speech when he said:

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

During his entire lifetime Mandela also demonstrated a pragmatism that drew on a range of examples with no unconditional enslavement to a single ideology. In his Rivonia speech he makes several references to what inspired his role in the struggle. Extracts from his speech highlights this single-minded commitment to his cause on the one hand, yet his pragmatic eclecticism to achieve it.

“I turn now to my own position. I have denied that I am a communist, and I think that in the circumstances I am obliged to state exactly what my political beliefs are.

I have always regarded myself, in the first place, as an African patriot. After all, I was born in Umtata, forty-six years ago…Today I am attracted by the idea of a classless society, an attraction which springs in part from Marxist reading and, in part, from my admiration of the structure and organization of early African societies in this country. The land, then the main means of production, belonged to the tribe. There were no rich or poor and there was no exploitation”

He continued:
“It is true, as I have already stated, that I have been influenced by Marxist thought. But this is also true of many of the leaders of the new independent States. Such widely different persons as Gandhi, Nehru, Nkrumah, and Nasser all acknowledge this fact. We all accept the need for some form of socialism to enable our people to catch up with the advanced countries of this world and to overcome their legacy of extreme poverty. But this does not mean we are Marxists.

The basic task at the present moment is the removal of race discrimination and the attainment of democratic rights on the basis of the Freedom Charter. In so far as that Party furthers this task, I welcome its assistance. I realize that it is one of the means by which people of all races can be drawn into our struggle.

From my reading of Marxist literature and from conversations with Marxists, I have gained the impression that communists regard the parliamentary system of the West as undemocratic and reactionary. But, on the contrary, I am an admirer of such a system.

The Magna Carta, the Petition of Rights, and the Bill of Rights are documents which are held in veneration by democrats throughout the world.

I have great respect for British political institutions, and for the country’s system of justice. I regard the British Parliament as the most democratic institution in the world, and the independence and impartiality of its judiciary never fail to arouse my admiration.

The American Congress, that country’s doctrine of separation of powers, as well as the independence of its judiciary, arouses in me similar sentiments.

I have been influenced in my thinking by both West and East. All this has led me to feel that in my search for a political formula, I should be absolutely impartial and objective. I should tie myself to no particular system of society other than of socialism. I must leave myself free to borrow the best from the West and from the East…”

Criticism directed at Madiba is almost always about his approach, but never about his commitment to the plight of the African people and the idea of a classless society.

Mandela exemplifies what I consider the core essence of leadership which I summarize as follows:

• A dedication to the service of others, often at the expense of oneself
• Absolute clarity of purpose and vision
• An unfailing commitment to the hard work required but also reliance on others
• Not to be enslaved by any particular doctrine, but only by the cause to which one is committed
• A willingness to pay the ultimate price for one’s conviction
There is so much we can learn from the Leadership of Mandela. Since this graduation celebrates the achievement of scholars, I wish to also draw on Mandela’s timeless convictions about the transformative power of education. He not only said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the World”, but he personally lived by this conviction as a life-long scholar and an avid reader. “It is not beyond our power to create a world in which all children have access to a good education”, he said, expressing his desire not merely for himself, but every single person in the world.

To those who receive their qualifications today, I extend our warm and sincere congratulations on your achievement. You stand out in a crowd. Many of you have had to overcome great adversity and beat often insurmountable odds to get to this point.

Today you may draw on the legacy of Nelson Mandela, as you bask in this much deserved moment of glory. Like him you have achieved one of your significant dreams. See this though as an important milestone on your journey towards your own legacy of making the world a better place. A place we would be proud to bequeath to the next generation.

As Madiba did, be pragmatic in your approach. When you glean from a countless array of doctrine and philosophies, as you are encouraged to do, but may you remain unwavering in the commitment to discover and fulfil your life purpose. Like our beloved Tata Madiba, may you enjoy the sheer joy and contentment from knowing that “when a man (woman) has done what he (she) considers to be his (her) duty to his (her) people and his (her) country, he (she) can rest in peace”.

Whatever you set out to do, remember that a true leader holds on to her (his) dearest convictions against all odds. True leaders knows that “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.

Congratulations!


 

Prof Ben Anderson
CEO: The Da Vinci Institute
Graduation 2018

Since the inception of The Institute a life sized, multi-coloured painted cow was spotted at the da Vinci campus. It was however, only after my engagement with the work of Seth Godin, that what is now referred to as the purple cow, took prominence in the life of The da Vinci Institute.
The idea was born that, whilst we state very clearly that we intend to co-create reality with all our people (including staff, students, service providers and other stakeholders), all of us as people should allow ourselves the opportunity to be remarkable. To show up in such a way that people will make comment about our actions and ideally be inspired to follow suit.
In many respects we have spent a lot of time during the past 18 months to re-think, re-consider and re-imagine who we are as an Institution of Higher Learning, what we stand for and how we intend to embark in a remarkable way on the next trajectory of our journey into the unknown. In essence, to what extent we are ready and able to show up as a purple cow within the education landscape:

• We revisited and explored the understanding and implications of a Mode 2 learning methodology, the benefits of a Mode 3 engagement and that of a well-embedded, yet closely defined Mode 1 reality
• We reviewed the requirements for accreditation of higher education offerings as stipulated by the Council on Higher Education and made an investment in acquiring expertise to ensure alignment, consistency and integration within the academic programme, whilst upholding the agility and innovative energy from a design and development perspective (something for which The Institute has been recognised for during the first 14 years of its existence)
• We developed expertise and mechanisms within Registry to secure a well-integrated, engaged and responsive governance system on all regulatory matters to ensure consistency, continuity and quality
• We redefined and expanded the business development focus to include Business-to-Business , Business-to-School and Business-to-Consumer segments in an attempt to secure engagements with a more diverse student population
• We re-aligned our business operations with good governance practices and guidelines as provided by, amongst other, the King 1V Commission, the South African Board of Personnel Practitioners and the South African Institute for Chartered Accountants to facilitate systemic engagements across The Institution and alignment of implementation plans
• We established a well-integrated secretariat function across all business operations to ensure alignment of decisions and timelines
• We dedicated expertise and resources to marketing, communications and public relations which should allow us to take a more prominent seat at the higher education table.

However, today we celebrate your success as graduates, the remarkable ways in which you have showed up, the commitments which you have made to successfully combine working and studying and the unique voice which you have developed during your time at Da Vinci.

To coincide with this celebration we decided to show up at this graduation in a more playful way. Each one of you with a smart phone would have registered the Purple Cow Application on your phone during registration. On the back of each programme we printed a purple cow QR code – some of you may be required to share your programmes with each other.

We invite all of you to keep your phones on during the ceremony and to join in celebration every time someone walks over this stage, by hovering your phone over the purple cow code at the back of your programme and to enjoy the encrypted message. Play with it as much as you want to, both during and after the ceremony.
Going forward all students and alumni will receive a purple cow sticker to be pasted on your laptop or desktop computer, where you will have ease of access to receive similar messages from Da Vinci in future.

In participating we offering you an opportunity to be part of something positive, to consider what solutions you could contribute to society, to co-create a playful life journey for yourself and the people surrounding you, to show up with confidence, and to take comfort in the fact that people will make comment about your actions.
Enjoy the journey!


 

Elzer (Jack) van der Merwe
2018 Da Vinci Laureate Award

Acceptance Speech

President, Professor Edward Kieswetter and the esteemed members of The Da Vinci Institute’s Conclave, Members of the Council of The Da Vinci Institute, Academics present, all the recipients of Diplomas and Degrees today, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I want to express my sincere appreciation to the Council for selecting me as the recipient of the 2018 Da Vinci Laureate Award. I am greatly honoured.
Part of the citation reads “the recipient,…has made a singular contribution to the re-definition of society”

The question is what are the challenges that society in South Africa is facing? The two main challenges, now and for the foreseeable future, are:
• Fighting unemployment; and
• Fighting poverty

But what type of jobs will we create and how will we re-skill our current workforce and our yet to be employed workforce?
These challenges will have to be addressed within the global environment we operate in:
According to Professor Nick Binedell, of the Gibbs Business School, we are globally driven by the following three “C’s”:
1. Change, we are living in a world that is continuously changing, with the rate of change accelerating. These changes are presenting new challenges to the workforce, especially the chaning of the skills-set that is required. It is said that:

  • People Who Change after Change – will survive;
  • People Who Change with change – will succeed; but
  • People who Cause Change – will Lead

2. Complexity, we are living in a world that is extremely complex, with an overload of data and information, the so-called :big-data”, how do you convert data into information?

– Based on a study in 2015 by Aureus:

  • 90 percent of the data in the world had been created in the last two years alone; and
  • The world’s data volume is expected to grow by 40% a year.

– Very few traditional methods of addressing problems and issues are still applicable. Again, this will require new thinking and concomitant skills requirements.
3. Competition, we are living in a competitive global village where processes and procedures must be upgraded continuously to ensure growth and survival – and of course job creation and job retention.

I would like to add two more “C’s”:

4. Collaboration – we cannot work in silos as we did in the past. In future we will have to focus on people, profit and planet and we could be required to take a less profitable decision for our company or organisation if that will have a greater benefit for a sustainable world.
Problems in future will have to be approached and solved in a multi-faceted way, bringing together a multiple set of skills, knowledge and experience.

5. Communication and Consultation – How do we operate in an environment where members of the community demand to be constantly informed and to be part of the decision-making process? How do we handle social media that has shown that it could be sued to topple Governments? How do you ensure that incorrect text messages are not spread and reacted upon through social-media platforms?

The following forces will shape transport and all other disciplines in future:
– Globalisation:

  • It is estimate that by 2015, 60% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas, this will result in:
  • Rapid urbanisation and economic development that will increase the demand for the movement of people, goods and services;
  • The emergence of “smart cities”; and
  • Greater dependency on ICT solutions.

– The Environment, pollution and Greenhouse gasses:

  • There seems little doubt left that climate change is one of the most significant threats to the future of humanity. There is also a great consensus on the important role that the transport sector plays in this matter, since it is responsible for 18% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The fourth Industrial Revolution
– The First Industrial Revolution (1784) Mechanization
– The Second Industrial Revolution (1870) – nearly a century later the emergence of a new source of energy: electricity, gas and oil. As a result, the development of the combustion engine.
– The Third Industrial Revolution (1969) – nearly a century later a third industrial revolution appeared with the emergence of a new type of energy: nuclear energy. This revolution witnessed the rise of telecommunications and computers.
– And here we are…we are living in The Fourth Industrial Revolution that is unfolding before our eyes. Its genesis is situated at the dawn of the third millennium with the growth of the internet. This is the first industrial revolution rooted in a new technological phenomenon – digitialisation – rather than in the emrgence of a new type of energy. This digitilsation enables us to build a new virtual world from which we can steer the physical world.
o Disruptive technologies;
o The internet of things.

In a recent study of the World Economic Forum they predict that by 2025 robots will handle 52% of the current tasks, almost twice as many as now. Humans will have to revamp their skills to keep pace with this “seismic shift”.

The WEF study found that; “a major challenge will be to retrain workers, who will themselves be pressed to update skills especially in areas of ‘creativity, critical thinking and persuasion’ they identified an overall trend towards lifelong learning and adaption.

In closing; I believe there are only two types of people in this world:
– Those who have an open mind and are continuously willing to learn new things – these people are young; and
– Those who have a closed mind and are of opinion that they have sufficient knowledge and don’t need to learn anything new – these people are old.
So, you can be old at 25 or young at 75!
My wish for the Graduates of September 2018 is:
“May you always stay young!”
I thank you.


 

Vusi Sindane

Speaking Notes at Da Vinci University’s Undergrad Graduation Ceremony
INTRO: 2:30
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJW9VQwynD0
(The Four Secret Roads of Marco Polo – Yuan Li, Tan Dun and Lang Lang)

I thought I should open with that weird and unusual piece of music for two reasons: first of all, let’s face it… it’s weird and unusual that I’m standing here as a non-graduate addressing graduates…

and secondly, there is a parallel that I would like to draw between that music and what I think of education – which is what I want to talk about today.

It strikes me that a lot of the music we hear today is meant to entertain and make us feel good – musicians these days obsess over developing a catchy melody or a phrase that will appeal to everyone and getting us bobbing around, rather than expressing a message that would help us take a step forward as people.

In the same way most of us go to school in order to become economically valuable, rather than to discover the magic of how things work – and hopefully share that magic with other people.

Let me tell you what I mean by sharing the story of Charles Goodyear.

GOODYEAR STORY

Charles Goodyear is known for inventing the process of making rubber (the milky stuff that comes out of trees) into the durable material that we know it as today.

A long time ago, some of the ancient tribes poured the rubber into containers to make them water resistant… and there were other applications…

But the magic started when Charles travelled to New York sometime in the 1830’s and saw the poor quality of life buoys (life preservers) and connected the dots — he thought he could use rubber to make them more water resistant.

So, he made some samples and pitched to the Roxbury rubber company. They cut a deal.
Part of the deal was that the products would be tested for a year but they would take up a lot of stock from him.
Ecstatic, he went back home borrowed money from investors to produce more stock.

But some months later all his products were returned because they were rotting and decomposing.

After a while, the guys who loaned him money got him arrested because he couldn’t pay them back.

Suffice to say, while he was in jail he experimented with more rubber (no idea where he got it) … but he added funny things like turpentine and magnesia and it removed the stickiness in the rubber and made it last longer.

Bingo! When he got out of jail he asked his wife and kids to manufacture water resistant shoes.

Thereafter, he went and found more investors and clients – they were impressed – and they gave him money to manufacture more products.

But again, after some months the boots became sticky again and decomposed. And again, his investors sent him to jail because he couldn’t pay back the money.

He went to jail 6 times because of debts.

Eventually (some 10 years later) he hit a major breakthrough. First, he added Sulphur and nitric acid and all sorts of stuff that almost killed him.

You know where he got the money to buy these chemicals? He sold his children’s school books and furniture at home…

However, the real breakthrough came one winter day, when he was working next to a stove.

He accidentally spilled his precious concoction into the fire and feverishly tried to get it out. When it cooled down a bit he discovered that it had cured and took on the texture he had been looking for years.

Then what did he do? He produced asked his wife and kids to produce rubber products and sent samples to investors and clients. By then he had developed the reputation of not servicing his debts so no one wanted to fund him.

Being the man that he is, he sent samples to the U.K and went on a roadshow in France. Some of his samples got into the hands of Thomas Hancock who reverse-engineered the rubber and registered a patent 8 weeks before Goodyear could.

He was devastated – his life’s work was stolen from him. On the 1st July 1860 he travelled to New York to see his dying daughter in hospital. When he arrived, they told him she had just died. Upon hearing that devastating news and he also collapsed and died at the age of 59.
END STORY
Unfortunately, I don’t have a Hollywood ending, but here’s a man who spent his whole life learning and inventing something but never got to taste the fruits of his labour.

So my question to you is a simple one: Are you prepared to labour your whole life to discover the magic of how something works for the benefit of the world – even if (like Goodyear) you never get to taste the spoils of your labour?

I’ll leave that to you to think about

SUB THEMES
I would like to draw some themes from Goodyear’s story.

1. Which school or what education or learning system can be associated with the spirit with which he discovered the vulcanisation process? School vs Education vs Learning

2. What was his process of learning and discovery? Experimentation, Trial and Error, researching…

3. What must a person learn? Learning valuable things rather than fluff.

GREETINGS & ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Before I carry on, I would like to thank Prof. Bennie and Dr. Mabunda for conjuring up this weird idea of me speaking here. Maybe this idea came to them because they are also a bit weird and unusual in their own ways.

I would also like to appeal to everyone here that is comfortable with being different to continue having the courage to be different. Now more than ever, the world needs the square pegs to show the round holes that there are different shapes out there…

Let me also thank my wife who, in spite of being heavily pregnant, decided to be here to hear the extent to which her husband is weird and unusual.

And lastly, thank you all for indulging me in this address.

THEME 1: What is the difference between School vs Education vs Learning?

This is a question I contended with when we introduced home-schooling back in 2015.

In the first year I administered schooling myself but the first month or say was frustrating. the kids refused to listen, I didn’t know whether I was coming or going… we had to deal with material… you name it.

Then I reached out to a friend in the U.S – her name is Annie Syed. She was born in Pakistan. For political reasons they went into into exile in the U.K and eventually ended up in the U.S. In the interim, her father had to develop a home-schooling programme for her and her siblings.
After they settled down in the U.S, and they were re-introduced into a normal school, they were found to be a cut above the rest so they continue with their own weird way of schooling.

Today she is a teacher with an excellent track-record for improving the performance of her learners.

So I asked her to help because home-schooling was simply not working. Then she shared a quote by William Butler Yeats – he said: “Education is not the filling of a pale – it is the lighting of a fire.”

Initially I had no idea what she meant but eventually the penny dropped.

I realised then that my job was not to pour knowledge into my kids heads. Rather, I was supposed to change my paradigm and imagine us as being in a dark room that’s full of treasures.

In this new paradigm, my responsibility was to light a candle and give it to them to explore the room and make their own discoveries.

This resulted in developing a model for our little home-school, which I would like to share with you.

First I had to decouple the idea of school vs education vs learning. We tend to use school and learning and education interchangeably but I found this to be a problem.

Therefore, in trying to untangle these ideas I was confronted with a few basic but important questions – one which I would like to pose to you.

How do you know that you’ve learned something?

The conventional means of ‘knowing’ is measured by the extent to which we pass our assignments and exams. This method wasn’t going to work for us because instead of using exams and assignments, we wanted the whole world to be our exam room.

Then it dawned on me that: You have learned something when you have found your own truth about how it works.

This lead to developing a learning system, which we applied every single day, in every thing we did.
School Education Learning
An Institution that develops systems for helping you learn System of helping you learn i.e. helping you go through the 5 steps. 1. Acquire new information
2. Internalise & develop an hypothesis
3. test the new knowledge
4. Analyse feedback / results
5. Develop own truth.

In summarising our theme – let’s look at the life of Goodyear to test whether his learning system applies to the model we had created.

• Did he acquire new information about rubber? Yes.
• Did he internalise and develop his own hypothesis? Yes.
• Did he apply the knowledge? Yes
• Did he analyse feedback and results? Yes
• Did he develop his own truth about rubber? Yes

Nevertheless, the secret is that he went through the learning process again and again. More often than not, his truth was wrong and he had to go back and go through the learning process again in order to arrive at another truth.

I would like to challenge the linear notion of education – the idea that you start here and end there. Rather, let me propose that learning is an iterative process. You develop your own truth through an iterative process as you try something (or go through this process) again and again and again.

In closing this theme – if learning is like walking with a candle in a very dark room, let today signify the day in which Da Vinci handed you a candle – and let the world and even the universe if you so dare be a dark place, which you will explore and learn from for the rest of your life.

There is a danger in carrying oneself with the attitude of “knowing.” The day you say “you know” is the day you extinguish that proverbial candle we were talking about just now.

So as graduates – and drawing from the life of Goodyear, I want to propose that you take on the attitude of not knowing: the attitude of a student of life itself.

THEME 2: What was Goodyear’s process of learning and discovery? Experimentation, trying, researching…

Let’s go back to our home-schooling days. My daughter was 5 when we started and we introduced subjects such as history, anatomy and biology (over and above the normal English and Mathematics).

I know this sounds scary but the content was relevant to what they wanted to know. We studied the history of cartoons; with anatomy we got a big sheet of paper, they lied down and traced each other out. Then every time they learned about a body part they would draw it on the paper.

We also built a bug-hotel: They had to choose a bug and build an environment that they thought the bug would love to stay in and then put the bug in there and see how long it lived. That way they discovered what spiders like, what worms liked, what they ate etc.

We learned about plants by planting them in different conditions so they could see for themselves what water does to a plant; what the sun does… etc. The whole world was our class-room.
The point I want to make is that we were making it up as we we were going. We were trying things out just like Goodyear did and when they didn’t work we tried something else. We were developing our own learning process and it was closely linked to the problems we were trying to solve.
Perhaps it is worth sharing the story of how my my daughter learned how to read. She just couldn’t string together multiple alphabets to make up a word – but she knew the letters individually.

Her brother, who was 8 years old then came up with an idea. He said “Aziza imagine this letter is playing at home alone. How would it sing?”

Then she would sing “MMMmmmm” for the letter M

and “OOOOooooo” for O

and another “MMMmmm” etc…

Then he said, “Now they are bored because you can’t sing alone at home the whole day right? So they went to the park to sing together. They made up a song where they sing one after another… How would they sound?”

That’s basically how she learned to string words together like MOM

I’m not saying all this to blow my horn and tell you how wonderful my kids are. The truth is that all of us are brilliant in our own ways but in order to embrace our brilliance, we have to embrace being weird and unusual first.

What I’m trying to say is that you can also invent your own system of learning, and in fact Da Vinci’s existence hinges on this principle. The is what Mode 2 is all about – a more practical way of learning to solve practical problems.

So let me close this theme by sharing some research published in the Association for Psychological Science journal, by Adolph et. al (2012). They were fascinated about how we learn how to walk and they found that, and I quote:

“twelve – 19-month olds average 2,368 steps and 17 falls per hour”

it gets better… here’s another quote.

“novice walkers traveled farther and faster than expert walkers”

So in the spirit of Goodyear, you were born with the ability to learn by falling 17 times an hour. Most importantly, you were born with the ability to even harder at the beginning – when you are a novice.

Going forward, look at life as one big “learning how to walk” experiment and embrace falling as many times as possible.

Unfortunately, growing up we are punished when we do something wrong, and we are rewarded when we do it right. So we are taught to avoid failure and embrace success without necessarily going through the process — I think this is the wrong way around.

Embrace failure – in fact fail even more now that you are beginning your career (just like you did as a baby) so that you can later you can discover your own truth about things, even if it means walking funny.
THEME 3: What must you learn? Valuable knowledge vs fluff.

Enough about home-schooling. Let’s take this one to the jungle. I was watching a leopard the other day on national geographic and it was raising its cubs.

As you know, leopards are loners. Therefore, at some point the leopard would abandon its cubs and by then they had better know how to hunt for themselves otherwise they would starve.

I watched as she did the normal thing of stalking the prey… and the cubs, intrigued, would copy what mommy was doing. Then she would suddenly pounce on the poor animal and sink her jaws in its neck to suffocate it.

After eating, the cubs would play with each other… and stalk and pounce playfully – mimicking what mommy was doing.

As they got older, the mom pounced on another animal but half-killed it, expecting the cubs to finish off the job. However, guess what they did – they scratched around at the legs and did all sorts of funny things except clamping down on the throat. After a while, the prey got up and ran away. Save to say didn’t eat that night! Very important to note: they didn’t eat that night.

Therefore, it’s very important for us, in pursuing our passions and goals, to acquire knowledge that also creates economic value…

It may come across as though I am contradicting myself but hear me out…

It is equally important that you learn valuable skills – and these may not necessarily be technical skills – but you need the skills that will allow you to create economic value for others because that’s what will give you the sustenance and the presence of mind to be able to work on your big idea.

Music as we should learn from what Goodyear did, we should also learn from what he did not do.

So when it comes to what we should be learning, I think Paul Harris (the former CEO of First Rand) put it best when he said:

“Every young person must know something about everything and everything about something.”

IN CLOSING

It is worth mentioning that although Goodyear never tasted the fruits of his labor – in 1976 he became among 6 people in the U.S to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of fame.

In one of his writings he said:
“The advantages of a career in life should not be estimated exclusively by the standard of dollars and cents, as is too often done. Man has just cause for regret when he sows and no one reaps”

But most importantly, the lesson that Goodyear teaches us is quite simple: do the weird things and find the courage to continue being unusual.

Also remember that “there are no statues erected for critics” as Tim Ferris put it.

Today they may call you stubborn but later on, when they finally see what you’ve been trying to do, they will say you were persistent.

Here’s to the crazy ones.
Thank you.