Has the world gone mad?

Sometimes it feels, lately, as if the whole world has gone mad and that we, as individuals, have been left with no direction.


I recently wrote an 80-page publication (together with my colleagues who contributed and deserve credit) on Africa in a changing global environment. The research I did included reading sixteen documents prepared by various institutions including the World Economic Forum, the United Nations and the World Bank. All of these documents are sending the same message – populism is on the increase. The increase in populism is not doing the world any favours. It is resulting in an increase in trade barriers, a decline in innovation and business sophistication due to a reduction in global sharing and heightened political tensions, world-wide. The ultimate effect of this will be a lesser ability for all economies to grasp the opportunities presented by the fourth industrial revolution and a global reduction in competitiveness, particularly in developing economies where becoming more competitive is vital for future growth and improvements in education and healthcare for their people.

If you interested in reading more about this, you can download the publication here: https://home.kpmg.com/za/en/home/services/advisory/deal-advisory.html

If you are interested in my short television interview in this regard, you can find it at this link: http://www.enca.com/media/video/how-sa-can-attract-foreign-investors

My advice to developing and emerging market economies is to take control of, and improve, the areas that they have control over in their individual capacities as countries. A country on a stand alone basis cannot change the global outlook but it can control activities within its own borders such as ease of doing business, corruption and use of available funds.

I am now offering this same advice to readers of this blog. We cannot change the world. We can only influence our own lives and those of our family members and people we work with and interact with on a daily basis. It is a pointless and unrewarding exercise to feel depressed by world events. Channelling your energy into improving the lives of those around you is much more fulfilling.

Here are my tips on what we can all do to achieve a better immediate environment:

  1. Smile at other people – there is nothing like a smile to uplift your own spirits and those around you. I generally find that when you smile at someone, they look pleasantly surprised at a minimum and usually smile back;
  2. Greet people and find out a little about them – I always greet everyone I come across and I try to find out a little bit about the people I work with, from our CEO to the cleaners. People like to feel that you are interested in them and their lives and children and one frequently finds opportunities to offer a little bit of support and help to others just by learning a bit about their circumstances;
  3. Give to charity to the extent that you can – obviously you shouldn’t give to charity to the detriment of yourself and your own family, but there are many small things that we can do to help others in need. Donating good condition second hand books to schools, charities and Churches is one thing many of us can do and the same applies to unwanted clothing;
  4. Try to see a need and act on it – in South Africa there is a lot of poverty. There are needy people on the streets who are in need of basic food. I have tins of food in my car which I give to certain beggars on a weekly basis. I give to the same people every week as it feels more useful that way;
  5. Appreciate the small things in life – enjoy your family and your children. Make time for them and listen to them. I try to have a news session with my boys before bed when they can tell me all their tales of their day at school. It really works well; they appreciate the time to chat to me and the interest taken in their daily lives and I love to know what is going on and to have an opportunity to provide [very subtle] advice; and
  6. Do something for yourself that you like doing – have a hobby that you enjoy and that lifts your spirits. Work in the garden, bake or read. Choose your poison and take some time for yourself to relax.

I hope this doesn’t sound preachy and self righteous but I really do believe that a lot of our own happiness comes from external factors. Dwelling on your own personal fears and anxieties and being inwardly focussed seems to lead to a downward spiral. I have found, through my interactions with people, that those who focus outwardly seem to achieve the greatest personal happiness.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and relaxing Easter break (regardless of how you celebrate it!).

Robbie and Michael Cheadle are the co-authors of the Sir Chocolate Book series

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Plus.google: https://plus.google.com/105609586198905397891

Facebook: @SirChocolateBooks


46 thoughts on “Has the world gone mad?

  1. First I would like to tell you that I love the photo of the candy and marzipan couple, especially the lollypop skirt.
    Your post is unsettling, however, I have known most of what you posted for quite some years. Unfortunately, monies and supplies that are sent to Africa do not get to the needy, it is confiscated by the wealthy leaders and that goes for almost all of the third world countries. What is really disturbing to me is that we have children right here in the U.S. that go to bed hungry every night, families that are homeless and living in their car or a shelter. My question is why? Why in a country like ours is this happening and the senators are making and spending millions of dollars many of it for their personal use. They are salaried at approximately $174,000.00 per year not including their expense accounts. Why?
    I could go on and on about this but I won’t. The only thing I will say about myself and my family is, we do what we can for the less fortunate and you are right about getting to know someone before you judge them. A smile and a little kindness go a long way in this day and age.
    You know that old quote; “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer”, is so true, and very sad.
    I’m getting off my soapbox now and wishing you and yours a Happy Easter as well. ☺☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for contributing to the post, Patricia. There has definitely been a reduction in ethical behaviour in recent years. People are aware of this, that is why trust in media, government and organisations is so low. Lovely to hear about your contribution to society. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.


  2. I think that a lot of what you say is easily achievable in the immediate areas of our lives. There will need to be a lot of people making the changes for it to have a global impact, but hey, big things start small, don’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Robbie. I will definitely download and read and also check you out on the TV link!

    Just this morning I was hearing on the radio about the rise of populism.

    I too am heartened by the peaceful protests happening around the country. We’re all finally getting the message that SA is a great country and there is MUCH that can be achieved within our borders. Ease up on restrictions, corruptions, work towards unity within diversity and ‘n boere kan altyd ‘n plan maak. Smiling at others, giving within our means, being kind and civil all makes for stronger and healthier people.

    Thank you for a great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment, Susan. Populism has become a bit of a buzz word lately and I don’t think people really realise the negative impact it may have going forward. I was also very encouraged yesterday.


  4. Robbie those were most excellent tips, and I just finished watching your TV interview.. First Lovely to see you in ‘real time ‘ lol.. Love your voice..
    But what you were saying is so relevant… Encouraging and investing in the younger generation a most important thing..
    The world at the moment is on the cusp of major changes.. Fears are being created left right and centre..

    And what you said here “Dwelling on your own personal fears and anxieties and being inwardly focussed seems to lead to a downward spiral.” Si=o true,, Which the media are also thriving upon.. When we are in fear we are more submissive thereby more manageable..

    An excellent post and a remarkable interview.. ❤


    1. Thank you, Sue, for your kind words. I do agree with what you have said about fear making people more submissive and manageable. Powerful people with their own agenda’s exploit this human weakness for their own ends. It is vital to educate and uplift the youth so that they can contribute meaningfully to society. I firmly believe in the old saying “the Devil makes work for idle hands”. I hope that you have a lovely Easter.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed your TV interview, Robbie – well done! I am impressed as well with your message of positivism as we all struggle with economic and humanitarian issues in our own countries and around the world. Have a wonderful Easter!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really love this post, Robbie. I do tend to get discouraged, and you’re right, it’s pointless and accomplishes nothing. I love your advice – a wonderful reminder that we do have the power to change things for the better, and it’s not hard to do. Have a lovely Easter weekend. This post brightened my day!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful advice Robbie. Who knows, you may be in the running before long for Prime Minister, or is it President?
    Wonderful tips. I’m happy to say that I practice all of them, smile, chat, give to the needy, but keeping tins of food for the many homeless we pass on street corners is a wonderful idea. Thank you, and Happy Easter again. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I find my day goes better when kindness is around me. It’s why I greet people I see during the course of my day, even if I don’t know them. That simple act might make a huge difference to someone. And I’m constantly aware of being grateful for all I have. Hope you had a good Easter break.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You have said exactly how I feel and described the path I have chosen for change. My advice to friends who get overwhelmed with “what can I do?” is make your own small world an example of what you want to see in the bigger world. It is all about the ripples and they do make a difference! Wonderful post!


  10. What a lovely uplifting post. I do do a lot of similar things to you, ie smiling at people, giving old clothes, toys and even kitchen implements to the two children’s homes near where I live and I spend a lot of time with my sons and listen to them and try and give as you say (subtle) advice. What is different about my life to yours perhaps, is that you have a loving husband and perhaps other relatives who live nearby. I am a single parent and unemployed which does cause downward spirals of depression sometimes. But I have my blog now and following and reading other people’s blog posts, like yours, do go a long way to brighten my life. Thank you for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sorry to hear that you are a single parent and unemployed, Kim. You do have your beautiful writing and blog which I really enjoy. I am glad that enjoy mine too. I am most fortunate, I have a loving husband, both my parents and my siblings and their families. If you ever come up to Joburg, let me know. I would love to meet with you for coffee and a chat.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Robbie, I really enjoyed your enlightening interview ( I felt I had met you at long last) and this blog post. I feel that you are absolutely right in that we need to not get overwhelmed in global events that we cannot change but try to make a difference with the people we encounter every day.
    History shows change does spread through the planet and the most successful changes are grass roots movements – unfortunately some of those changes are not for the better! Although the vast majority are!
    I want to say something controversial… so bear with me. I think people need to be careful of big charities. They are corporations. I worked for a highly regarded UK charity and saw how marketing strategists were targeting people’s bereavements to increase revenue- like any business and how contributions given in good faith were wasted. In one example a director’s secretary got a bonus of 30K- more than her salary because she had worked hard!!!! And there are others.
    I prefer to only give to local charities where there is not a huge administrative structure sucking up people’s donations – such as local hospices or sanctuaries. Anyway I know it’s not a popular thing to say when charities spend so much money telling us what a good job they do, so I will step off my soapbox… to a hail of rotten tomatoes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have very adroitly put into words, exactly what I think. I would not give money to large charities, especially in my home country, as the funds frequently do not reach those they were intended for. I support my Church and I sit on the outreach committee at my place of work and we chose our own charities and deliver the items we collect personally. I also have my own personal charities that I support such as the Gift of Sight and I have 2 pensioners and 5 beggars that I help. Thank you for reading and adding you thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Robbie, I think you and I are singing from the same hymnbook. I appalls me that people give to ‘corporation’ charities because they have been affected in their life and that money goes in a bonus or something. It is wasting money given in trust for a specific purpose.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, Paul, we definitely are. I am very circumspect about giving to large charities as I said. I laughed at your comment and the use of “singing from the same song sheet”. I used that in one of my non-fiction works and the reviewer asked me to take it out – said it wasn’t professional [smile].

        Liked by 1 person

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