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I’ll never forget the reappearance in our Johannesburg offices of the Afrikaans South African farm boy, who was not the sharpest knife in the draw. He returned from his first 8 day trip to the United States decked out in cowboy boots and Stetson, and speaking some outlandish gibberish which, on closer examination, proved to be English with a fake American accent. We fell about laughing.

In this video, Ravi Zacharias says, “In Hindi, we have a phrase: when somebody who is totally Indian and goes overseas for a week and comes back and lives like a Westerner for the rest of his or her life, we have an unkind description, we call them Desi murghi pardesi chaal – a local chicken with a foreign walk.”

Far away is not always far better. Embrace who you are and improve on what you have. Unless, of course, you’re running away, changing your name, and reinventing yourself in order to avoid being found out for who you really are. Unfortunately, the truth with out, you take yourself with you, and your false persona mask with slip sooner or later. Or you’ll bump into a former “lover” who will reveal what a slut you were back home. Or a policeman will eventually come knocking.

Unless the place you live in is a place where it’s no longer safe to live, such as the “new” South Africa, I have found that it’s far easier and better to build where you are, to be yourself, and to enjoy your own unique culture. Xenophobism is true at different levels in all societies, and joining the new Old Boys Club doesn’t mean being accepted into the Old Boys Club. It takes a long time to learn all the nuances, peculiarities, and mores of a new society, especially if you aren’t well traveled and reasonably intelligent. Wearing a Stetson, being able to ride a horse,  and talking funny doesn’t make you a Texan.

Bottom line, before you flee to seemingly greener pastures, consider what you have at home. The price / cost of moving is usually vastly underestimated. Having said that, moving to Canada in 1997 from South Africa is the best decision I made after marrying my wonderful wife of 30 years. I love living here and I will always be grateful for the privilege of Canadian Citizenship and living in what I believe is the best country on earth.

Robin Elliott    LeverageAdvantage.com

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