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’Ole George’, human resources and national development

’Ole George’, human resources and national development


by Maxwell Haywood

Vincentian Earl Ole George has done something that is way beyond the ordinary. He walked for seven days without sleep! He displayed a strength of mind and body that is not usually seen. In my view, Ole George’s example speaks to us about the science of the possible, and what we could accomplish in the context of the quest for individual, community, and national development.

With many urgent national developmental challenges facing the nation, Ole George’s achievement becomes more radiant. The community of interests that the nation has been addressing and nurturing over the years since independence has been strengthened by the example of Ole George’s accomplishments.{{more}} The internal resources Ole George called upon to accompany him while walking through seven sleepless days in Jamaica are what the nation should examine to extract the lessons. For a person to plan and execute a walk for so long without sleep demonstrates that he must be filled with some mighty inner human resources.

I have to view his accomplishment as a symbol of his attributes or human resources within the context of his humanitarian philosophy. The first attribute is his love for humanity. If one listens to him closely, one could hear Ole George wanting his walk to inspire people to love life and seek to accomplish good things which will elevate our level of humanity.

He is concerned about the well-being of young people, and he seriously believes his efforts will teach them to learn the human elements that make a person persevere regardless of difficulties. Maybe even the West Indies Cricket Board and the team should have a chat with Ole George about determination, will-power and perseverance, in the face of difficulties. Besides young people’s well-being, his strong desire is to see people live in peace with each other, to love and care for each other. And here again, he believes his efforts will also help us to reflect on these values.

The second attribute or human resource that helped Ole George is his self-confidence. He must have excellent knowledge of himself and his possibilities and limitations. He really believed he could accomplish that task because of this self-knowledge. This gave him the self-confidence to walk seven days without sleep. No one with weak self-confidence can do what Ole George did without bringing serious harm to his/her body and mind. He was mentally and physically prepared for accomplishing this difficult task. Also, without preparation, Ole George would not have even reached to Jamaica and used the facilities there. So he knew that nothing could stop him once he had all those things in place. This preparation consolidated his self-confidence.

The third and fourth attributes or human resources he made use of were his self-control and strength of will. Ole George was loyal to his goal. Without self-control and strength of will that goal would have been missed by a far mark. He defeated negative habit and routine and won with creativity. Quite often, habit, routine and dogma delay and in many cases prevent progress from occurring. It is habit for many of us to doubt our potential and the voice of the soul within us. It is habit for many to get weak when confronted with difficulties. It is habit to think that we as a people cannot create a new society where love, focused work, and unity reign supreme. Ole George has demonstrated to us what could happen when we break habit. If he was not creative and did not have a humanitarian philosophy, by the end of the first or second day of walking, Ole George would have surrendered to the wear and tear of such a venture.

We can transfer the lessons of Ole George’s individual experiences to a national scale. The human element or factor is the essential one in accomplishing development strategies. Therefore, it is of high importance to create a conducive environment for human beings to realize their full human potential. As pointed out before, Ole George prepared for his walk. I must also add that public attitudes were in his favour, which is also a vital ingredient for full success of development strategies. Once this supportive and facilitating environment is there and Vincentians have a positive philosophy of life, self-confidence, self-control, and strong will power, Vincentians can accomplish great things as individuals and as a community and nation of people. Oh how good it will be when this becomes the norm. It is within this context I appreciate and respect the profound accomplishment of Ole George. Thank you for your example.