|WHY EMBRACING THOSE WHO THINK DIFFERENTLY IS THE BEST THING FOR YOU?
|“Embrace positivity and empathy as a life and business strategy.”
Since childhood, I have loved tractors, sprayers, and virtually anything that makes noise, moves, and reshapes the environment.
However, I had an edge because, unlike most of the kids, my dad was the Kibbutz’s orchards manager and had a tractor, actually many tractors, at his disposal.
It only made me love and desire more of anything related to and powered by tractors, including sprayers.
No wonder I grew up admiring and thinking that technological equipment and spraying chemicals are the most outstanding achievements of humankind.
NAPPING ON THE BARE SOIL
Years later, after completing my military service, I returned to my Kibbutz farm to work in the deciduous orchards.
I began by leading the transfer of crop protection from Conventional to Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which in reality turned out to be with more monitoring, yet still with many sprays.
I was dedicated to my duties and literally put all my effort and time into work. This is a gentle way of saying that 20 hours straight working days were not unusual.
If you have never sprayed, you should know that the nighttime is the best for spraying because there is no wind, and humidity is at its highest (best if over 60% RH).
That enabled me to use all 24 hours available in a day efficiently; daytime was dedicated to pests monitoring and taking care of the tractors, sprayers, and other equipment.
And the nighttime was kept and dedicated to spraying, which means driving a green, red, or white medium size tractor for 8 to 12 hours at 1.5 to 4.3 km/h, with the engine running at 2000 RPM.
The noise, the tiresome slow drive, the monotonous vibrations of the engine, the gas mask… How can you not fall asleep? So I fight to keep my eyelids open.
I had spent so many nights spraying from sunset to sunrise after a day with no sleep that it became my habit to catch a nap around 4 am.
Not to lose precious time on the hustle around sleeping, I would save time by not going home, not getting to bed, and not getting decent sleep.
Instead, I would stop the tractor at the end of a row, and while the tractor’s engine was still running (to keep mixing the chemicals), I would put my legs up on the wheel and stretches back in the seat.
Ten to twenty minutes later, I would open my eyes, step on the clutch pedal, push the gear stick into the second low-slow gear, and continue spraying.
At other times, when I had the urge for more comfort and space, I would step down from the tractor, put my head over my hands’ palms, and while the tractor’s engine was still running two meters from me, I would get my sweet nap on the bare soil.
That period in my life was rough, but what I learned during those long days and nights helped me gain valuable knowledge and experience, which eventually changed the course of my life.
MASTER OF SPRAYERS
Still, while pest monitoring, spraying, and improving spraying techniques, not a day passed without me studying, progressing, achieving new professional goals, and mainly changing.
Before too long, I became an expert in spraying, particularly low-volume spray. I began lecturing and teaching other farmers how to improve their pest control by applying better spraying techniques.
Then I began publishing articles on spraying, IPM, and crop protection in the Israeli professional magazine.
Those days I was naive and did not imagine crop protection was possible in any way other than – spraying.
So, I advocated the concept and even wrote to my Kibbutz members’ a short article about why there is no problem, safe, and legitimate to spray for fruit fly control in their home gardens.
TURNING THE PAGE
It took me time to realize how wrong I was.
I then invested 15 years in the academy until I became an expert in fruit flies’ meta-population ecology.
Afterward, I founded a company, Biofeed, to develop technologies, protocols, and solutions for zero-spray crop protection methods.
Then I founded Dream Valley, an international initiative to support nations and farmers to grow more and better quality produce, free of sprays (as much as they can), and sell their products to premium markets for premium prices.
In this past year, I have been fortunate to lead the IBMA conference, designed to help over 550 million farmers in 175 underdeveloped countries improve their incomes based on novel business models and the values of sustainability, health, and social awareness.
Do I agree today with my crop protection approach in those days? NO! NOT AT ALL!!
Would I do it again today? NO WAY!
Today I know that without my “spraying period,” without the passion and dedication which led me to be one of the best in the field, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
I owe my life change to the double-edged sword attitude of being 100% sure and confident in executing what I do (in that time, spraying) while simultaneously being 100% sure “there must be a better way to do it.”
Looking from a distance and through 25 years old Nimrod’s eyes, I realize that Nimrod’s life circumstances led him to spray.
I thank young Nimrod for that period, which, no matter how challenging and wrong it was, I wouldn’t be who I am and where I am now without it.
The ability to look at reality through a stranger’s eyes, even if that “stranger” is a past version of you, is powerful.
It enables you to turn the page by understanding, forgiving, accepting, and proceeding to a new clean page. Apply it to yourself; apply it to others.
Empathy enables you to turn the page as often as you wish so you can continue impacting the world your way with tranquility, inner peace, and self-confidence.
Empathy – is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. Wikipedia
Empathy is strength; embrace it.
If I can understand and forgive myself, I can further nurture empathy to understand others.
This is when I value and thank my many life experiences, making it even easier for me to empathize with and understand others in many other positions and activities.
With zero anger, I nurture my empathy to –
The general public – unaware of the dangers of excessive use of agrochemicals.
Plant Protection and the Extension Service personnel and experts – confident that agriculture cannot survive without pesticide sprays.
Doctors and professors, i.e., experts, in and out of universities – do not envision that anything can be better than sprays.
National leaders – who listen to their experts and hence see limited versions of the possible future.
Investors – convinced that investing in Africa’s agro sector is “toxic” to their portfolio.
Business people – underestimate ideas that are not theirs or have not been implemented by them.
Farmers – brainwashed into thinking agriculture can’t exist without the massive use of chemicals and machinery.
Employees of agrochemical and technology companies – trying to sell “just one more litter/unit of chemical/product.”
Traders and exporters in underdeveloped economies – ready to sell anything to break even and stay in the “game,” including low-quality produce.
Friends, acquaintances, and family members – trying to dissuade me from risking my future in developing “impossible” zero-spray crop protection solutions and then aiming my marketing efforts at underdeveloped economies.
Good people – fighting for a better, safer, healthier, and more sustainable world.
Remove anger and embrace empathy with zero judgment as a tool to change yourself and others. If you can do this, you can change the world.
Wherever I go, whatever I do, I take with me the empathy and zero judgment attitude.
Because if my goal is to bring CHANGE, I need to act with moderation, respect, and understanding of the other!
When I understand the other, I change, and when I change, I can change the other. Change starts from within.
Here are three examples –
IBMA – The International Conference on Business Models in Agriculture is the most important conference for the future of agriculture and farmers in non-developed economies. Period.
The conference management is young, full of life and energy, aiming to bring an eco-friendly/Green attitude to agriculture.
At some point, voices suggested enabling only “Green” companies to present, excluding the agrochemical companies. However, that would be against our approach of accepting everyone, including those with which we don’t agree. Don’t forget, by joining the conference; they would also hear us and others.
I hope that, like the IBMA management team, all participants would come with open minds and hearts ready to hear, understand, embrace new ideas and mainly cooperate to bring the long-needed change.
IBMA, with its empathy, helps stakeholders switch from old, inadequate business models to new dedicated ones.
BIOFEED – Biofeed’s technological solutions, i.e., the Freedome series products, enables fruit fly management without sprays. However, when farmers ask about spraying, I answer, “Of course, you can, if we see a need.“
This kind of response is genuine and helps the farmer feels safer, secure, and more comfortable shifting from sprays to zero-sprays solutions.
Biofeed, with its empathy approach, helps farmers, extension services, and scientists to switch from old, inadequate crop protection technologies, protocols, and methods, into new age improved ones, with less or no sprays and health hazards.
DREAM VALLEY – For ages, the agro sector in non-developed economies has been at a stand-still. Those agro economies wish to change but after repeatedly failing with the silver bullet of; “Technologies and Funds would solve all of our problems,” they are left paralyzed, without any clear visible way and direction to proceed.
History repeatedly proved that regardless of the technology and funds, no one can transform a nation’s agro sector without empathy and understanding of the current state and the dreams and vision it has for its future.
Get this – Technology and Funds are not a plan, the road, goal, vision, or solution to anything. They are merely TOOLS for those already having a plan, route, purpose, vision, and resolution.
Dream Valley, with its empathy motive and well-designed method based on the Israeli agricultural model, helps nations transfer their agro sector.
Dream Valley takes those nations from their undesired and unwanted current state into a state of prosperity.
This is accomplished using tailor-made state-of-the-art ecosystems, business models, and technologies, resulting in an improved, brighter future for all involved.
|TAKEAWAYS» EMPATHY, understanding, moderation, patience, and acceptance of the other will help you advance your agenda, especially if it matches the overall trend and needs to change.
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