Friday, March 31, 2023 | Ramadan 8, 1444 H
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From reliability to resilience: A journey worth appreciating

With a current population of around 4.5 million, approximately half Omanis and half expatriates, the Sultanate of Oman is fortunate to have a tolerant, respectful, and compassionate population, so many of whom reflect the objectives of their Ibadi faith.

It is of significant credit, that amidst the instability and turmoil of the Middle East North African (MENA) region, a geopolitically diverse one from any perspective, Oman has remained free of terrorism, and with settled hierarchical governance complemented by populous representation based on elections to a House of Representatives, the Majlis. In so many respects, its socio-political model is one to be aspired to by much of the world.

In fact, one could be forgiven for casting a sideways glance at the United Kingdom this week as political naivety, incompetence, and chicanery have left their indelible mark on that nation’s history in the form of the Prime Ministerial fiasco. Only with a remarkable level of resilience can that nation recover its significantly besmirched reputation, and its leadership, whoever it is, be taken seriously. Certainly, positive outcomes to such rare and traumatic events require bold, authoritative, and above all, constructive decisions made responsibly, implemented pragmatically, by socially invested individuals.

Ah, resilience. Now there is a word, a measuring stick for the characteristics of humanity. I always thought that reliability was the most desired of God’s gifts, but I have changed over the last decade, finding that being trustworthy, consistent, and dependable was often not quite enough. Yet resilience, the ability to return to shape after being bent, is a metaphorical treasure, and our ability to regain our equilibrium, to get our mojo back,’ to be happy again after sadness, are absolute gold! Journalist Amanda Ripley wrote of resilience as a special skill, and those who have it as having three advantages. The belief that they can influence life events, find meaning and purpose in turmoil, and the conviction that they will learn from their experiences. There is too, a dose of pragmatism, realising that if a solution doesn’t appear today, it’s because a better one will see the light of day tomorrow.

If we ponder for a moment the adage that, ‘if you get the little things right, the big things will look after themselves,’ we should be able to understand the role of human resilience, whether individually, or within society. It is a quality that has so much upside, with an implied ability to remain strong and principled, while meeting the diverse challenges of the 360 degree societies of today that would have us tempted at every turn.

The ‘Janus face,’ of deception lurks behind so many of our contemporary problems, and indeed behind even more solutions, that we must always maintain our dignity, and our ability to reflect upon the consequences, mindful not of the effect upon ourselves, but others. We, those making the decisions, being in that position of responsibility and accountability, don’t need the consequences of those solutions and decisions. However, those who look to us... do.

We can draw a long philosophical bow I guess, and wonder why those invested with the responsibility of decision-making, would want it? Some are born to it of course, but most others seek not the trappings and fineries of the corridors of power. Whether in commerce, industry, politics, or whatever, but the challenges, the contests, the joust, the prize being the knowledge that they have achieved something, and not for themselves, but for others.

You see, greed and avarice are too easily assuaged, and once met, there is no more challenge. No more to compete for, whether in the form of plunder or reputation, and resilience will beat the living daylights out of indulgence, every day of the week. Resilience is, I guess, why the mighty Oak broke, and the Willow bent, with only the Willow surviving.

This most gentle of nations is right to welcome, right to open its arms and its hearts, yet is even more right to maintain its renowned cultural reserve, as resilience is the extant ‘rare earth’ we would all aspire to be endowed with or blessed with. So, does that make it a two-edged sword? Surely, but one you would rather have... than not.

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