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Frans Nel

It should be a good thing to acknowledge our shortcomings.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a ‘blind spot’ I can’t fix. Every time it happens, I’m oblivious. When a family member or friend has had a haircut, I rarely notice. I’m not saying I don’t see drastic changes. A newly shaven head from a previous bushel of curls, or going from blond to pink and green stripes, is hard to miss. I’m the same with clothing. I don’t register what a person is wearing when I see them.

We like to put people in boxes and…


I’m a big supporter of common sense.

It’s common sense that gravity exists. It’s common sense the earth is round. It’s common sense that being nice gets better results than being unkind. It’s strange how often we ignore common sense and choose to do the opposite.

I called my friend and mentor last week struggling with a concept. I wanted to know:

Why can’t any organisation become exceptional?

As one of the visionary leaders in an international corporation with over 20 000 employees and offices in 120 countries worldwide, he’d know. In the almost 4 decades I’ve been working for…


Do you ever wonder about heaven?

What’s it like? Besides the streets of gold and pearly gates imagery of someplace ‘up there.’ How will we ‘feel?’

In his motivational talk entitled, “Even Sparrows Soar,” John R. Powers describes growing up in Chicago in the 50s . One of the great memories of his childhood is that his grandfather lived with them. Every evening after dinner, they would go out to sit on the small front porch. Before his grandfather sat down, he would exclaim, “Wow! What a beautiful sight! You can see the world from here.” And John believed his…


Families should stick together.

I’ve always believed a family is a microcosm of a community. To function, they need a common set of rules, and they all abide by them. Everyone buys into the vision. Collectively, they’re on a singular mission. Everyone is clear on the objectives. The culture is entrenched and strengthens through every action and transaction with the outer world. United they become impenetrable.

A family home should be a place you can go to re-group. You should have someplace you can call home, where everyone knows and loves you. You’re always welcome there, no questions asked. Someplace…


I come from a family of storytellers.

Most families have a storyteller or two. Folks all gather around to listen and to learn from them. It’s through the art of storytelling that messages are carried through generations. Every nation and culture have storytellers whose stories have helped shape and steer their country’s narrative . The ability to tell a compelling and memorable story is the best way to ensure its longevity. Good stories live long lives.

Any child will tell you they love story time.

I was fortunate to have a Mother who read to me from a young age…


I love simple yet clever solutions to problems.

There’s a story about the early days of the New York rag-trade after World War II. The district in lower Manhattan, with all the famous luxury couture brands in a square mile. Midtown Manhattan from Sixth Avenue to Ninth Avenue and 35th Street to 40th Street.

During the district’s heyday, vehicles jammed the roadways, prepping to ship clothes across the country. Workers pushed and pulled around hand racks. Clothes hanging and stacked all over as they scrambled to haul materials to the next factory.

A gang of thieves had been doing the…


This well-known quote is often incorrectly credited to Mahatma Gandhi. What Gandhi said was,

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”

Living by a mantra or a quote…


In his book Sometimes There Is a Void: Memoirs of an Outsider, Zakes Mda remembers his grandmother instilling the principle of Ubuntu in them as children.

A person is a person through other people.

There’s a tale of a Hindu boy who grew up on a farm in rural India. His father had two fields. On one he planted crops and he let the other lay fallow. After school each day, the boy went outside to play in the un-ploughed field. One day as he was walking, he found a small nest of ants. They were all busy, each with…


Who do you wish could be your lifelong mentor?

Imagine growing up privileged to have Mozart as your music tutor; Albert Einstein helped with your science and maths homework; Leonardo da Vinci gave you art lessons; after school, you played one-bounce with in the garden and; the Apostle Paul was your best friend . What a head start your life would have.

If the Three Rs -reading, writing and ‘rithmetic-form the foundation of our schooling, mastering them is essential for proper learning to happen . Without these in place, learning would be difficult at best. There are many elements that…


Our actions need constant renewal to prove our values.

Our actions become habits after we’ve consciously reinforced the behaviour through repetition. The constant renewal rendering the behaviour reflexive. To do anything worthy, you must make a choice. The choice is not to do what is easy, but to do what is difficult. When a child does well at a certain subject in school, she’ll tend to spend more time on that subject. Ironically, the subjects that need it most end up getting the least of her attention.

Gaining a healthy habit is no different to picking up a bad one…

Frans Nel

Curiousor and curiousor

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