Growing Up

The Big Questions

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maputi atota blog the big questions

Get that guy. GET THAT GUY!

3 policeman are in hot pursuit of a tall gentleman. They are sweating profusely, breathing as if their lungs are going to just say “i’m out!” like a on overworked employee 

…and… you are there. Bewildered. Completely clueless as to what’s happening.

Pretty soon the streets get lined up with people. As you know, where there is action, a crowd magically appears.

The policeman manage to nab the guy and you see them return with the guy in chains.

THIEF. It quickly dawns on you that the whole spectacle was about a thief having stolen some valuable goods from a good shop and the policeman swinging into action to bring the villain to justice.

“He’s a scumbag - like all other thieves. He deserves to rot in prison and never see the light of day again!” You can’t help but agree with this sentiment. After all, you had your phone robbed from you a couple of months ago and were bitter about it for days.

Thieves are evil people.

Are they?

So, I was listening to this guy, Trevor Noah. He has this awesome audiobook I was listening to a couple of weeks ago - Born A Crime, and it had me entertained for days. 

He explained how you get born, grow up, and then leave school. And struggle to find a job. His life story brought up things that i’ve never really spent enough time thinking about. 

Question 1: What do you do when you graduate from school, and fail to find a job?

Most people would say that not getting a job is as a result of not looking hard enough. Trevor broke this argument down, explaining how in his country, South Africa, you can get labeled because of where you are from, your skin color and how you speak. If your prospective employers choose a certain group of people and you don’t fit into that group, getting a job will be pretty hard.

So here’s how it works.

You go chill with friends. But you’re broke. And you need swag and money (every normal young person needs these).

So what do you do?

You start hustling. You get stuff cheaply and sell stuff at a price higher than you got the stuff. The ‘stuff’ is anything. Anything that will get you a quick buck. You never question where the cheap stuff you get comes from. Nobody ever does. Because nobody wants to know. Because any animal with a brain that works will figure out that the ‘stuff’ is stolen goods.

After having gotten a bit of money and having felt the power money gives you, you start to hustle harder. By this, I mean that you look for something that is slightly less legal.

Bit by bit, you venture into stuff you would have never thought you would ever do. And all is OK. Until you get arrested.

The society labels people as either good or evil. There are never any gray areas. According to the society, life is binary.

And it is this audiobook that clearly showed how this way of thinking is deeply flawed. 

A thief isn’t some 100% evil guy who was born in hell and teleported to earth. Behind the word ‘thief’ is a person. A person who was actually born, went to school, and later made a dozen poor decisions which cascaded into a life of crime. 

His story taught me the importance of doing something we’re never taught. Understanding people. What I learnt is to take the typical labels society gives people with a grain of salt.

I learnt to acknowledge that behind every label is a real human being. Different people are exposed to different circumstances. And people react differently. 

Instead of judging, empathize with the person, and then see how you could have done things differently given the set of challenges that person had to face. And most importantly, try to learn from the situation.

hey hey hey - Is Trevor Noah paying you?

No. But his book was pretty awesome, and I believe you will find it pretty entertaining. Which is why i’m talking about it so much.


Well, that brings us to the end of the blogpost. 

Enjoyed it? I knew you would! Be a good person and share it with your friends : ). You can also follow me on twitter @maputiatota

Didn’t enjoy it? Perhaps this wasn’t a good fit. Try going through these and see if there’s any you’ll fancy.

See you next week Wednesday!