Questions are always good, even when they don't come with answers attached. And the messages you got from your near-fatal accident resonate for me, too, John. You've worked with people for decades. Nevertheless, you learned a lot about yourself and the Ugandans you met on your trip. You found that they are very like us and yet also very different. Can you expand on that?
Universally, people are very much alike, although you have to take into account cultural differences.
Ugandans, just like us, want to have a chance at a full and rich life. They want to be able to take care of themselves and their children. They want to be able to speak and know that they will be heard. They enjoy being part of a community and contributing to community. The like to laugh, to sing, to dance and to feel the warmth of the sun on their skin, and to walk proud as men and women.
Yes, there are always exceptions, as deviant behavior, mental illness, and ignorance as well as intelligence deficiencies are also everywhere to be found in the world. And suffering is also a universal experience. Disease and death, accidents and tragedy strike everywhere and everyone.
It is the pursuit of excellence in the face of adversity that distinguishes one person from another. It is also the drive that allows humans to push back the frontiers of knowledge, and human possibility.
Sometimes, even our best efforts result in failure, but failure is an event and we must never allow it to define us.
Personally, I am proud to be a human being because I know how great humans are and can be. I focus on that, and not on our failures and the inhumanity of man towards man. Only seeking a better way can we ever experience the glory of the result, which is defined as maximizing the human potential for goodness and decency.
Look, I am no fool with rose-colored glasses. I teach a course in human motivation and how to use the 10 magic principles of human motivation to get help from others for those projects that are important to them. In that course, I teach about human scorpions who are the most dangerous people on the planet. So, I am fully cognizant of the dangers of the human jungle.
Ultimately, however, I have learned that we become our best by focusing on what the best looks like or could look like. That's why I want to tell the stories of human angels. They are today's Good Samaritans, and they are Good Samaritans on steroids. So, in the end, I am merely a story-teller looking for great stories to tell as I prepare to leave this life.
If I succeed in building a robust storytelling platform, and leave a legacy of these stories for the generations that follow, then my heart will rest in peace. My invitation to everyone reading your article is, "Join me. Become a human angel seeker and bring us your stories, and let us help you tell them."
by John Shimer
African saying by fair use