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“Quick and Clever ways to Overcome Difficulties”

I am very grateful to Manu Bhaskaran for suggesting this subject

“A society develops successfully when it is resourceful.” What does a community need to become resourceful – and how does it get it? Can every society become resourceful? What is the individual’s role in building a resourceful community?

Economically the United States is the most resourceful society in the world. You may not care for some of its present politics but you cannot fault its singleness of purpose in becoming the world’s largest moneyspinner. It may be about to reject its responsibility for the commercial and political peace of the world. Putting America First can also be said as Putting Everyone Else Last. But the US is still prosperous and is still propping up the world’s finances.

China is resourceful. It has lifted millions out of poverty in the last ten years, has grasped the potential of technology and has turned itself into an economically capitalist society. Its disciplines are different from those in the West and whether they are more – or less – irksome to the average citizen is uncertain.

Singapore is also resourceful. Geographically small and with few natural resources other than human brains it has demonstrated what can be achieved by being smart and disciplined. Its growth over its sixty years of independence is spectacular by any standards. It needs that position of being outstandingly, visibly resourceful for its own stability. The world protects its icons. When resourcefulness breaks down, antagonism and violence follow. Test that statement against any of the political clashes taking place today.

Resourcefulness is a combination of creativity, resilience, problem-solving, adaptability, initiative, flexibility, curiosity, perseverance and positive attitude. Which are the most important of these attributes? The ones you haven’t got or in which you are weakest, of course. Which are those for the country or political affiliation you support? When you answer that question you describe what should be the basis of your country’s higher education system.

There are seven quotes that together I think best describe resourcefulness. I have related them to the questions I posed at the start of this Daily Paradox.

What does a community need to become resourceful – and how does it get it?

‘A society which is mobile, which is full of channels for the distribution of a change occurring anywhere, must see to it that its members are educated to personal initiative and adaptability. Otherwise, they will be overwhelmed by the changes in which they are caught

and whose significance or connections they do not perceive.’ John Dewey, educational reformer (1859-1952)

What is the individual’s role in building a resourceful community?

Top organisations want curious individuals who can adapt to new roles.’ McKinsey

‘Be curious, not furious.’ Anon

‘To achieve success requires that you be reasonably clever; to help make your society great requires only that you persevere’ My own philosophy.

Can every society become resourceful?

‘Civilization is the encouragement of differences’ Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

‘For a great payoff, be especially curious about things you are not interested in.’ Anon

‘To delight in war is a merit in the soldier, a dangerous quality in the captain, and a crime in the statesman.’ George Santayana, philosopher (1863-1952)

The new technologies, especially AI and its implications for health, welfare and energy, demand a major reset of our approach to participation in how the world works. We are today more of a work-in-progress than at any other time in humanity’s development.

Perhaps the best quote for our present needs is from Winston Churchill.

‘Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.’

Good morning

John Bittleston

Do you have a favourite quote to fit the subject?

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01 June 2024