From a journey around the world

By Dr Mandeep Kaur Rai Dhillon

Photo: Inauguration by Stephen Wilkes. Commissioned by Obama for his own and the recent inauguration of Biden which was taken with flags, during the pandemic, as opposed to people.

Like remembrance (of the divine) I feel as though I am always re-connecting and never more than now, after the pandemic. Re-connecting with my inner self, re-connecting with the community around me, and re-connecting to the values within us in a more profound way, and with greater clarity. This is a process succinctly detailed in my book; The Values Compass – What 101 Countries Teach Us About Purpose, Life and Leadership.

The re-set moment that the pandemic has been needs to be taken advantage of, and is best done with some reflection, a deep dive and then effective communication. There are five chapters within The Values Compass, including community, core, change and continuity, with the third being connection. In this chapter you are taken through 17 distinct countries which have connection as part of their DNA.

Connection and even more so re-connection, is easier, when one can be true to their word, and you see this practiced effectively in Albania through the principle of BESA – To be true to one’s word, which according to BESA is worth more than gold. The mateship we see in Australia or very specific friendship in Croatia where the power of kindness to strangers and those you know can almost replace a social security blanket. The helpfulness seen in Jordan is truly inspirational, for it is based on a fundamental Islamic teaching that, if a stranger comes to your house, you give them what they need and don’t even ask their name for the first three days, out of respect for what they may have been through. You can see this principle throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and it is compounded by the fact that trust is strong where communities are small and tightly knit.

When resources are scarce the bonds amongst people become all-the-more important. ‘We are from one cloth’ and ‘stronger together’ and perhaps this is just a few of the reasons why connection is prized even more since the pandemic. When everything was stripped away it became easier to appreciate the smaller things, and dare I say it, it became easier to appreciate. Full Stop.

The role of Values

Then there are values that enable and enhance re-connecting, and they are not to be underestimated, for they are almost the foundation of connection in the first place. For example, when a person, community, or society value harmony, it can facilitate connection which might otherwise not be present. In Malaysia there is a seeming harmony between the Malays, Chinese and Indian population, but in practice it might be a more a case of biting one’s tongue to keep the peace, or honouring harmony and peace above being acknowledged as being right.

Then there are other values, which seem the opposite almost, but are also as fundamental to re-connecting, and they are values like directness – such as the type that we see practiced so well in the Netherlands. If you are able to be direct, and more importantly, it can be taken in the way you anticipated or hoped, then you have the freedom to communicate effectively and with the clarity good communication requires.

Re-connection is based on communication, compassion, and community and we saw all of these proliferate during the pandemic for their importance was so visible and their absence so missed.

I can take you around the world illustrating the practice of certain values, and also become personal about the practice of re-connecting in my own life.

In person

I love people, community, and the expression of connection in all it’s forms, but even I am finding the world opening up a challenge. Suddenly we are expected to partake in the physical world, whilst maintaining virtual commitments. Sounds easy enough, and there are definite advantages, but I do find that the physical world, and perhaps the vibrational energy emitting from within it, makes a big difference to how connected I am. Sometimes, physically being there, even if for 5 minutes, can make a bigger impact than speaking virtually for however long. A hug or physical love can bring untold advantages to one’s heart and heart rate, and similarly eye to eye contact can say more than a thousand words, at times.

I do hope that our children are able to re-connect fully also, for there is a concern that two years in such short lives, can leave a lasting impression, and that they find connection more difficult, always.

As much as technology has proliferated to allow more ‘connection’ or ‘communication’ there is still the need for physical connection, in my humble opinion.

Re-connection is like remembering, and the aim of life, it could be argued, is to be in connection and remembrance of the divine, at all times. You then are calmer, more peaceful and more understanding, otherwise there is always a back out clause.

Values are a lived experience so if the connection that we see in Panama is not reflected in it’s geography as well as it’s history and national psyche then it wouldn’t be paramount within the population, or it’s industry, or even it’s pull worldwide. Indeed, it (? Connection?) is one of the most fundamental values and should be treated as such.

If anything I have said seems offensive, that has not been my intention, and feel free to reach out.

With gratitude and respect.

About the author:

Dr Mandeep Rai is a global authority on values, working with companies, institutions, and individuals around the world. She has travelled to 175 countries and reported as a journalist for the BBC World Service and Reuters, amongst others.

Leave a Reply