Gore makes the case for optimism and opportunity

  • 2A0A1657Adrian
Absa Business Icon Award winner Adrian Gore said he wanted to use his time on the podium to promote optimism, hope, and vision in South Africa.
by MIRAH LANGER | Sep 12, 2019

“I would like to use this award to magnify positivity about our country,” declared the founder and global chief executive of Discovery.”

“There’s a lot of power in this room, and we need to use that power. [To be positive] is not naivete. People aren’t thinking entirely comprehensively.”

Gore said that research showed a paradox of optimism, whereby people are upbeat about their personal trajectory, but negative about their social environment.

“Most people believe that their future will be better than the past; that their best years are ahead of them. Yet, they believe that their environment is getting worse, and they believe this with deep conviction.”

He said South Africans were particularly prone to this pessimism, and while there were certainly serious issues, statistics proved the complete “doom and gloom” scenario wrong.

“We have lifted 80% of people out of extreme poverty; illiteracy is down 60%; infant mortality is down 64%. The world is getting better; it’s less violent,” he asserted.

“We aren’t in decline, but the danger, attitudinally, is if we think we are in decline.”

As such, it would be a much more sophisticated response to our environment to look for signs of positivity and negativity. “That would give us a much more realistic sense of what we can achieve,” Gore said.

As South Africans, instead of simply adopting a wholly negative narrative, we should critically assess its validity.

“We are leaders, and we have the power to change positively,” he said.

The South African Jewish community also needs to make sure that it doesn’t frame itself as one in decline. Its institutions, social structures, and schools are all strong and constantly evolving, Gore said, urging its members to continue their involvement. “We have an amazing opportunity do great things.”

Barry Swartzberg, group executive director of Discovery and chief executive of Vitality group, who co-founded the business that would eventually become Discovery, was also an award winner on Sunday night, receiving the Absa Business Award. On receiving his award, Gore mentioned his delight at their joint honour, saying, “It’s great to share [this night] with Barry, my colleague and dear friend.”

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