It´s time for society to wake up. We should stop looking with suspicion at the one who has skin too black, or not enough white, the one who is too old or disabled… At the same time, we shouldn’t ignore our differences either. And stop saying that difference is automatically good thing. To become a strength difference should come from a strong desire to succeed together. To have a common goal.
The French skipper Eric Bellion is the instigator of COMME UN SEUL HOMME (“Like a single man”) which claims that difference is a strength. After 15 years of sailing adventures with teams composed by valid and disabled people, Eric Bellion came to the conclusion that together we can push the limits of difference and reach summit, “like a simple man”.
His message: our differences are an added value, diversity is strength and handicap does not mean incapacity. With his project he promotes the value of differences in a European context, in a time where nationalism sentiments are vastly growing.
Bellion has decided to take the floor to counter the spread of fear and rejection of diversity and to bring a new perspective to diversity. He said: “This extreme situation has allowed me to realize just how far this message about difference has taken me. Thanks to this adventure, I have reached more people in a year and a half than in fifteen years of crewed sailing.”
THE UNKNOWN IS NOT A GREY AREA
By nature, we are suspicious of people which are different. We are gathering with people who look like us, this is without a doubt more reassuring than the unknown. However, difference is neither a weakness nor a threat. This could, conversely, be transformed into an advantage, or an inestimable strength. It is to defend this crazy dream that Eric Bellion decided to launch the #APPELPOURLADIFFERENCE (Call for difference) and embarked on the adventure of the Vendée Globe 2016.
Eric and his team have been creating projects that beat common preconception about visible differences like handicap, but also gender, differences between generations, cultures and social backgrounds. The idea is to convince people that diversity is strength and a wealth.
But for difference to become a strength, we must be patient, benevolent and persistent. We have to go beyond the times of doubt and despondence, be confident and have the certainty that difference could be positive. Difference between people stimlulates creativity and opens new opportunities. We must have a strong desire to succeed.
THE INITIATORY TRAVEL
With the tetraplegic adventurer Laurent Marzec, Bellion embarked on the Défi-Intégration (Integration Challenge) to form a crew composed of three disabled athletes and three valid athletes. They set the record for sailing in sixty-eight days. It is the only mixed team to have a world record. A challenge in the challenge…
“I discovered the value of difference with a teammate named Oliver. Oliver was a blind person. At the beginning of the travel, he was not the best sailor but at the end, he was our best helmsman. He was the fastest, as is disability forced him to feel the wind and it became an asset. His difference becomes a strength.” said Bellion
“TAKING CARE, IS KNOWING THE OTHER”
Weakness in a team often creates a kind of rejection or contempt. Do you remember at school, where you had to create sport’s teams? There was always someone chosen in last. Why? Because their visible frailty made them a less competitive person.
Bellion: “A few years ago, I had the opportunity to participate in survival training to learn sea rescue. I was in a pool and I had to escape from a false helicopter frame. Several disabled people were with me and they were all comfortable with this training because they all practiced swimming. Conversely, a camerawoman, who was valid, but claustrophobics, failed the training. She was the one who needed help, and not the disabled people which were with us. This demonstrates that our vision of weakness is often wrong.”
This is when all the members of a team are able to accept their weakness that the performance is coming. Each person complements one another and weaknesses become strengths.
“We are looking to protect people but this is a mistake. Protecting and taking care are two different things. When we protect someone, we isolate them; however, taking care is knowing each other”. Eric Bellion
THE VISION OF PROMOTING THE WEALTH OF DIVERSITY SUGGESTED BY ERIC BELLION BREAKS WITH THE THE GROWING NATIONALISM IN EUROPE…
Nowadays, the world is becoming globalized and people tend to be more and more scattered and mixed, but at the same time societies are in the way of becoming more self-centered and some people seem not to accept diversity.
The world has seen a sharp rise in support for authoritarianism, jingoism and racism, with a pro-Brexit vote in the UK, Trump coming to power in the US, Erdogan and Sisi further clamping down on their citizens in Turkey and Egypt, Marine le Pen and Geert Wilders making prominent gains in France and Holland, and far-right parties in Poland and Germany suddenly rising to the fore. In a global situation where ordinary people seem to be losing trust in their leaders or even traditional government structures, the risk is that they will opt for authoritarian leadership…
“Even if I am currently on the open seas, the news of Donald Trump´s election has come to me. For me this means to curl up and to build borders, when we should, on the contrary, take risks and go toward the others. This is the price to get rid of our fears, and believe me, this is fabulous.” Eric Bellion
Through his projects, Eric Bellion is promoting the idea that diversity brings dynamism and wealth in a group, and this wealth is the key to success. His message: we should stop focus on our visible differences and start concentrates us on our invisible likeness.
At DUTCH PICTURE INDUSTRY, we create concepts born from our personal experience, our vision to create inspiring content, building cross media concepts and innovative media productions to make a difference in the world around us. Our productions are based on the unique story behind human beings, their experiences and their spectacular surroundings.
If you want to read more about the project, visit COMME UN SEUL HOMME
It´s always seems impossible until it´s done – Nelson Mandela
Of course, no matter what you want to achieve, you will be confronted to many obstacles, you will doubt and be afraid to fail. However, don’t be afraid of failure, successful people often describe failure as a condition to succeed. You can learn a lot from failure. Failure is a need to go further. And that’s clearly true; you’ll never know how far you can go unless you try one more time. If people keep failing it is only because they give up at some point… Because at the end, when you try again, you only have two possibilities, fail again or succeed. And if you keep going, you will certainly find the path to success.
Don´t wait this moment of your life when you´ll realize that nothing will never be like before to fulfill your deepest dreams and desires as long as you can. As long as you have the physical capabilities, do not let yourself being stopped by any obstacle.
Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm – Winston Churchill
We dreamed about a new Mt Everest adventure, and were working on it for the last 1,5 years. But no financial partner was really willing to take the risk, neither a broadcaster. In February we launched a Kickstarter campaign. After this failed we felt like giving up. It wasn’t meant to be. Was it not the right time? Is it not possible? We could only answer this with no and we decided to just GO! Not giving up and make it happen anyway. We had already spent a lot of time and money on this project, so not going there was not an option for us. We just had to find different ways to do it.
I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have – Thomas Jefferson
So here we are, last Sunday our cameraman and sound engineer left for Kathmandu. There they teamed up with Lynne and Noel Hanna and will spend 2 months on Mount Everest together to realize this incredible production. We still don´t know if it will be a success or not, if people will like it or not, but at least we didn´t stay on a failure and kept going. And we believe in it!
With never giving up you have to keep believing and hoping. It goes hand in hand with failure’s acceptance. You are the only one that can put limits, barriers to yourself. If you keep believe after failures it will bring you further…and then, you’ll learn to never give up. You cannot give up on something that counts for you only because you failed at it once. It would avoid you to torment yourself with those “What if…?” that we all know. These “what if?” will prevent you to fully enjoy and appreciate your life. And guess what? I believe that the best way to prevent them is … to never give up!
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas A. Edison
It is funny to think that this production is in a way to giving also others the opportunity to experience an Everest’s expedition, a true experience of perseverance. It makes you suffer, doubt so you can go beyond your limits to achieve what you want to achieve. You’ll see that once you crossed all obstacles: face extreme cold, adapt yourself to the low oxygen level,… standing on the top of the world make you feel more alive than never. You will forget all you have been through to arrive there so you can fully enjoy the moment; the relief, the beauty around you, immensity. You’ll see that all your efforts, sweat, fears can lead to something that really worth it. That is why we hope we’ll be able to share with you all these unique sensations through virtual reality.
Fall seven times, stand up eight – Japanese proverb
Working to fulfill a dream gives energy to your life…
Nothing should stop you to build the life that you want. Make projects that make you feel alive and never giving in on them. Never let a place for regrets and complaints in your life, it’s too short and fragile for that. Nothing is impossible, the best like the worst, keep that in mind.
Without knowing we take advantage of others people ideas’ every day. Whether it is as simple as a fork or as elaborate as a major scientific breakthrough as the last discovery at CERN with the particle Z(4430). It ALL started with the conception of an idea. We can imagine that someone in ancient Egypt or the Qijia culture (2400-1900 BC in China), had the brilliant idea for a fork and courage to speak out. He thought that the idea would make life better if we would have a fork, and he spoke with his neighbor…and he or she found the concept of a fork a great idea and gave some suggestion of what materials to use or how to make it. And so the first fork was made. Maybe not the best….but it was the start of an evolution, to make something better.
Many philosophers have given their input of ideas and how to understand the world around us, and this is still needed to interpret the actualities of the present daily life. Idea has the power to have impact for the future in the positive sense. Ideas although it is something untouchable can be very powerful.
This power is only created if the idea is shared, and transmitted and communicated in some way. If it is not shared the idea keeps imprisoned in its concept chamber. Ideas need to be shaped and nourished, as anything that grows in this world. Indeed, evolution is not about protecting ideas, it is about connecting them together. Like bees pollinating flowers, people spread ideas to grow something new.
What is incredible today is that we are more and more aware that the whole world forms one global entity in which we are more and more connected to each other. Technology and innovation bring us endless possibilities of sharing ideas; and that’s for our best.
One of the possibilities is by participating or following TED.com. A place where you can read that Ideas are like a virus but with inspiration instead of sneezing. Through the diffusion of short talks, this platform offers people coming from different places in the world and having different backgrounds the possibility to share their ideas to the whole world. And the unique purpose of this is to spread ideas to inspire people. We can never have enough inspiration; inspiration is the cradle of new ideas and creativity.
In short, ideas cause ideas.
And March is the International Ideas Month, so let’s just celebrate and appreciate all those ideas burgeoning all around the world. I challenge you to use this month to listen to people’s ideas, get inspired and finally, share your own ideas. Coming spring is a good time to explore your creativity. So grab your notebook everywhere you go because as we all experienced it, ideas often strike us like a flash and then just go away.
Two weeks ago I went with my friends from the Dutch Climbing Association for a bivouac weekend in the Ardennes in Belgium. Houfallize was the place to be and so we decided to meet up in a local pub from where we walked together to our first resting place in the forest. Weather was mild but wet, just like last year. It must have been an eight degrees Celsius and nights around freezing temperatures.
We had to walk for an hour or so before we could all chose our own space to spend the night. As I had only a bivy sac with me I was searching for the tree with the biggest crown to give me shelter during the night and protect me against rain. This meant I had to sleep a bit upwards as the ground wasn’t flat at all.
Every hour I woke up and turned a bit to find the best spot and felt asleep again. In the morning you always have the ritual of starting the stove to boil water for breakfast and whilst it is doing so you will pack your stuff so after breakfast you can start your day. As we had to do a 35km trip on Saturday with a 15kg backpack this means with an average of 3km per hour that you have to move for at least 12hours without breaks. That is a pretty long day. Most of it is off road and in this season the rivers mostly are over the banks and paths so you have to find your way on a map with coordinates and a compass.
During the day you are full of excitement as there are so many obstacles to overcome and so many times you think; why I am doing this? You know that the night will be cold and wet with less sleep than is good for you after such a long day walk!
When I arrived back home Sunday evening everything was crossing my mind again and a few things came up. There is a mental and a physical element in bringing yourself out of your comfort zone. From the applicants there is always a percentage canceling their trip for many good reasons. Mostly it is not the real reason why people giving up on themselves. It is hard, it is not comfortable and warm at most of the time but just by setting that one step before the next is the start of a new adventure. Any adventure big or small, in cities or in nature.
The physical element is mostly direct linked to the mental state. When we are young we learn to cycle and then when it rains and is cold we still need to cycle because our parents say so. When you are getting older and deciding for yourself suddenly life becomes easier as you are making the calls. Many of us, trying to walk the easy less steep route through life. The route that is not giving you that extra when you succeed but lets you be average. Most of us don’t see the parental strength anymore that we sometimes just need, to do and believe in the outcome and feeling a little of pain. We lost our inner strengths and trust that we can survive on our own with that extra glory moments that come along with it. No matter what choice you make in life, what walk you walk as long as you do it hand in hand with nature you will be surprised about the outcome!