Yesterday Kathy and I went on a hike through the Cahuita National Park along the Carribean coast of Costa Rica. We had a guide who had an amazing eye to pick out wildlife far off in the trees. The diversity of life that we saw was remarkable, yet everything fit together and you had the feeling that it all belonged together
Why do we always strive for things to be the same?
This park is located along the Carribean coast near Panama. This area was settled by turtle hunters from the Carribean islands about 150 years ago. These settlers have roots in Africa so they do not look the same as either the indigenous natives or the native Costa Ricans.
The lore is that the Costa Rica Carribean coast is more dangerous because of these Carribean natives and widespread drug influences. Well, we were approached by the Rastafari peddling their stuff but this is not much different than any Carribean beach town. So why is there so much talk of this area being so dangerous? What is the reason that there is this fear and apprehension about this area?
Because they are different.
Costa Rica is not immune from discrimination. The native Costa Ricans complain about the Nicaraguans as well as the African Carribean people. A wise lady told us that she believes that the discrimination is based on money. The Costa Ricans feel that they have these illegals and others costing the country money, much the same as our current conversation in the U.S. I think this is part of it. There is a self centered element in nearly every discussion and this logic is consistent here. Yet, I think there is more to this.
I think much of the struggle for diversity is based on fear.
We want things to be the same. We want things to be like us. Anything else brings a sense of discomfort. We like things vanilla. We like security and the predictable. Yet, this is not the design.
Nature screams diversity. The design of everything from our Creator is abundant, rich, and diverse. So what can we do as leaders?
Fight the urge for conformity. When choosing your team, make some bold choices. Choose the ones that are not like you, or the ones that don’t fit the mold. If you are analytical, choose the artist. If you are an introvert, maybe the conversationalist. A diverse team will always be superior. This is the design of nature. Different is better. You will see!