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Coalitions, Inhibitions and Prohibitions



We live in interesting times, and in South Africa, there are deals to be made. Said deals will influence the future of the country in a real way, and people are nervous. And rightly so. The dominant ANC finally splintered, bad boy Jacob Zuma is back baby (or is he?), and our ruling party needs to bring in one of the challengers for a coalition government. There seems to be a global theme of bad boys not going away quietly, even when they are in their 80s. I like this perspective from comedian Schalk Bezuidenhout: Like them or loathe them, you need to respect the resilience of some of these cats.


It is highly likely that South Africa won’t take a quantum leap forward, but rather a timid step backwards and let JZ and his Zulu dissidents back into the club. Not much will change, and global markets apparently will like that. Personally, I would love it if the ANC let the DA in, but that would mean cleaning up the house, firing the people who are corrupt/incompetent… and actually focusing on running a good country instead of shoring up power and influence. Hope is eternal, but I don’t see it. I hope I’m wrong.   

  

And it’s because we are human, and we like our treats. I just spent an amazing week in the USA, and man, it’s been an overload of incredible learning at the Entrepreneurial Masters Program at MIT Endicott House, great moments of reconnecting with old friends in Boston and New York, and quality time spent with my amazing wife Caroline. We love our kids, but these little business trips are good for us too. Thanks, Granny for helping out so we can do this.  



The good times have a cost, though. When you are in an environment where all the food and hospitality are amazing, where you are hosted with 3 Michelin star level meals in a week, and everyone around you is as excited as you are, the inhibitions kind of go. I find myself once again uncomfortably settling into my favourite shirts, and the return home will, typically, be a movement from no inhibitions to high prohibitions.  

  

Prohibitions. That will be me activating my system 2 mindset to strictly controlled eating habits, a higher cadence of exercise and probably a blanket ban on alcohol for a bit. This feels like a familiar post-trip pattern, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in the struggle of moderating behaviour. And isn’t that the problem with politics too? When you’re the governing party and you have unfettered access to the kitty, it’s got to be hard to make a conscious decision to stop being a fat cat and go on a diet.   

  

But if you don’t, there’s a cost to that too. You become less attractive, people stop inviting you to parties, and you don’t feel good about life in general. At some point, your health will get so bad that you’ll be forced to take drastic measures, and by that time it’ll be too late, and all that’s left to do is wilt away in misery, as opposed to a longer more fulfilling life.  

  

I would love it if the people in charge would make decisions that are filled with temperance and intention for a longer, better life. That they would forego short-term pleasures for long-term gains. It’s ok. We know it’s hard. It’s been your time to eat, and it’s been a nice big meal, but now can we please stop feeding at the trough, take some hard medicine and get back to full fitness?   

  

Ah, one can but dream.  



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