Navigating an uncertain world

Updated 03 February 2017
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Navigating an uncertain world

We live in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. The rapid pace of change led by technology, events with geopolitical impact, demographics and other key drivers is bewildering. Navigating our way in this turbulent sea of change requires great care and greater skills. The arena is no longer regional or national, it is global. Events in the farthest corners of the planet can impact our lives significantly.
What hope does this hold for us, who have such an abysmal track record of coping with change? But cope we must, and cope we can, if only we pull our heads out of the sand. Men leave their footprints in the sands of time, ostriches bury their heads in it. The choice is ours and it is stark: Go the way of the dodo bird or succeed in this world.
Success has four key ingredients: Attitude, creativity, productivity and stretch. When attitudes are positive, the realm of possibility is infinite. When they are not, nothing seems possible except shifting the blame. Creativity is a precious gift from God, yet most of us let it lie dormant because we are too lazy to exercise our imagination. We have straitjacketed our minds, fettered our thoughts and held creativity captive.
Productivity is about getting the most mileage from available resources. Given their scarcity, leveraging them to achieve the maximum possible output is vital. The space for slack does not exist. Stretch is about setting ambitious goals then stretching out to achieve them. This applies as much to personal life as it does to one’s profession. It is important from childhood to try to achieve something that seems a bit beyond one’s capacity. That is the way to grow.
Can things be different? Change is a function of dissatisfaction with the status quo and the stimulus necessary to precipitate it. When dissatisfaction is low, a large stimulus is required to produce change, but when dissatisfaction is high, even a small stimulus will suffice. It is hard to believe that we can be anything but extremely dissatisfied with our present situation.
What is needed to turn things around? Where will the required stimulus come from? This is where we need thought leadership to be the catalyst. For that to happen, we have to provide an institutionalized platform to bring people and ideas together. Unless we make thought the springboard for action, our responses will be confused, contradictory and counter-productive. — Hasan Ghias, Jeddah


Cartoon in bad taste

Updated 07 August 2017
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Cartoon in bad taste

I wish to use my “right of reply” to complain about the unfortunate caricature that appeared on Aug. 5, 2017, in your well-known newspaper. The cartoon represents President Nicolas Maduro sitting on a military tank and a hand coming out of the tank’s cannon writing on a book titled “New Constitution.” Such a caricature is offensive to my country.
What the caricature seems to imply is that President Maduro wants to rewrite a new constitution with the power of arms. This is totally false. It is immoral to give your readers such a forged image of Venezuela and its constitutionally- and democratically-elected government.
The revision of our constitution, which is among the best in the world, is mainly to reinforce it and make it more adaptable to the new times. It is not an imposition of our president; it has been backed by more than 8 million Venezuelans and has the objective of re-establishing the peace process that has been trampled by a violent opposition backed by interested foreign countries that pretend to give orders to our sovereign populace.
I fail to understand why some international media report fake news about my country, with the purpose of undermining our sovereignty, and the people of Venezuela’s absolute right to decide, in a free and independent manner, how it wants to conduct its internal affairs.
I invite your newspaper to inform about our country with the truth and the same respect that we, in Venezuela, treat to our brothers of Saudi Arabia.

Joseba Achutegui
Ambassador of Venezuela
Riyadh
Saudi Arabia