WHY ARE MENTAL BARRIERS RESPONSIBLE FOR GLOBAL POVERTY, AND HOW CAN WE CHANGE IT?
“We are the reflection of our mental barriers.”
BARRIER OF CHAMPIONS
Since the 1896 Olympics, there have been 100-meter running competitions for men.
In its first 72 years, no runner could cover that distance in less than 10 seconds. It was commonly viewed as a barrier to human capability.
At the 1968 Olympics, Jim Hines broke the record and ran that distance in less than 10 seconds. Almost instantly, other runners repeated his achievement.
What happened here? Why did once Jim Hines break the record, the others did too?
It turns out that even the most mentally trained people in the world need someone to help them break their psychological barriers.
Once the barrier broke, they were convinced it was possible and could do it too.
I have often faced psychological barriers both myself and those surrounding me.
Here are a few examples of psychological barriers and the reality after breaking those.
BARRIER 1: Sprays are mandatory for effective fruit fly control.
REALITY: Biofeed developed advanced technologies and protocols, applied those, and showed it is possible to control fruit flies without sprays.
BARRIER 2: You need at least 100 control units per hectare for effective fruit fly control.
REALITY: Biofeed showed it is possible with 70, then 50, then 30…, and even (the unheard of) 10 units per hectare. Once getting to 10 units, we viewed it as the minimal number possible. Then, in 2021 I broke my mental barrier when finding the courage to experiment with less, and I was surprised to see it is possible to receive the same perfect results with 5 units/ha ONLY!
BARRIER 3: Quality agriculture without sprays and fertilizers is impossible.
REALITY: Dream Valley and Biofeed developed protocols, and in 2021, all 100% of the farmers working under the Dream Valley operational concept didn’t use ANY spray or fertilizers. Their produce doubled in quantity and was at EXPORT QUALITY, better than ever.
BARRIER 4: It would take years or decades to double and triple smallholders' income.
REALITY: Smallholders operating in the frame of the Dream Valley/Biofeed program in India and Africa more than doubled their income already in the FIRST year.
In all the above cases, we first had to break our own psychological barriers (scientific, social, conceptual, self-confidence, etc.), trust ourselves, and get over our fears before we could develop a solution and break other peoples’ concepts or theories barriers.
People believe what they see, experience, or hear from what they view as a trusted source.
So, I have made it a habit to document those moments of “breaking the barriers” (mental, psychological, conceptual, or perceived) and share them on the social nets so that others can see and overcome their barriers.
Visit my YouTube channel, where I share many of those moments in +1000 videos.
To see is to believe; everything is possible when you believe and trust yourself and the source.
After watching those videos, if you still don’t believe, talk to me, and if you believe, you can also speak to me. Share with me what and how you would like to do to make this world better now that you have overcome your barrier.
OUR NATIONAL MENTAL BARRIERS
Smallholders in non-developed economies don't believe they will ever pull themselves out of poverty. Looking at their history and present, they view poverty as a Steady State.
Unfortunately, too often, the general public and the national leadership reflect smallholders' beliefs and fears, hence providing the reason for doing nothing to bring A CHANGE.
When many believe this is the “natural state of things, " there is no chance to change. Hence, change may take not years or decades but centuries and even millennia, with continuous suffering.
For a better future, we must break those mental barriers.
I will try to do it by sharing a story about one of the most unfortunate groups of people that suffered more than anyone else and pulled themselves out of poverty to prosperity in a brief period.
After you read this story, I hope your conclusion wouldn't be that this is a unique case, but more like, "If those who suffered the most and had the least were able to do it, we/I could sure do it too.”
Everybody believes that one day smallholders will escape poverty. Some think it can't be in less than decades and others believe it will take even centuries.
There is no reason to discuss the "maximum time it can take," but more interestingly is the "minimum time to turn rural communities' poverty to prosperity."
We tend to overestimate the time to complete unfamiliar tasks and underestimate the time to complete tasks we are accustomed to doing.
My young daughter, Sivan, celebrated her 10th birthday a week ago. If I ask her whether 17 years is little or not, she will say it's a lot of time. She never experienced 17 years in her life.
The next is a YES/NO question, and it is addressed to you.
Do you think 17 years is a lot or a little to do the following –
Turn FROM agrarian communities made of people who survived wars, their families murdered, they are orphans, and with only 3 to 8 years of schooling, destitute, without money, and live in a community that has no electricity, water, and housing, INTO a prosperous community, and world leaders in agriculture?
Do you know in person someone who answers the above description?
What do you think about this script, possible or impossible?
How long do you think it will take to do so?
I won't blame you if you say,
Yeah, sure, it's a rhetorical question for an impossible dream. Please get back to me when you have questions that are not wasting my time.
Seventeen (17) years (ONLY!?) is a short time for the revolution you are describing. I do not believe it is possible, but if so, I want to see it here, in my country, starting from today!
Does your psychological barrier enable you to see the script above with its radical change as a “possible” one?
BORN INTO AN UNIMAGINABLE SCRIPT
The situation described above is not theoretical; it occurred in reality and on a large scale.
In Israel ... with my Family!
I can testify that it is possible, for I was there to see the people, talk with them, and participate in some activities.
I can describe the stages, mechanism, cause and effects, etc. I will now share part of it with you.
I did not have to imagine or invent anything in the above script. I merely described the reality as I knew and experienced it. This script was the reality of my parents, the Kibbutz where I was born, and my country.
FROM POVERTY TO PROSPERITY IN LESS THEN 17 YEARS
My mother was only 15 years old when German Nazis entered her Hungarian village, Barkasovo (now in Ukraine), captured her parents, brothers, and sisters, and sent them to Auschwitz death camp, where they never returned.
Miraculously my mother was not in the village that day, and this is how she escaped death for the first, but not the last, time. Fifteen years old, she was all alone, wandering for months across Nazi Europe before arriving in 1944 in Israel. She was then 16 years old (can you imagine your children at this age going through something like this?).
My mother’s new friends in Israel were World War II survivors. They were teenagers that the long war interrupted their school/study. Some have survived the death camps seeing, experiencing, and avoiding death 24/7.
They had no money, family, former friends, or professional skills and didn't even know how to speak, read or write the local language, i.e., Hebrew.
Three years later, those orphans fought (again) for their lives, this time in Israel's Independence War. Many of those who were Holocaust survivors were killed with no family to mourn them.
In 1948 when the war was over, they wanted one thing – to have a home, but there was no “home.” So they climbed up on a bare hill (not far from those days’ border), with no houses, trees, water, electricity, or roads, set up tents, and called that place Palmach Tzuba.
That day my mother celebrated her 20th birthday and had a place she could call home for the first time after six years.
They decided to engage in agriculture and make it their primary source of income, although their agricultural skills, knowledge, and practical experience was minimal.
The starting point was not promising, but 17 years later, when I was born, few still lived in huts, but most were in brick houses.
We had running water and electricity in every house, and livelihood from agriculture was blessed, kind, and satisfying.
The story of Kibbutz Palmach Tzuba is not unique. Today there are 274 Kibbutz(s) in Israel, many of whom were founded by holocaust survivors in the 40s and 50s of the 20th Century.
At its peak in 1948, the Kibbutz population constituted 7% of Israel’s population. However, as Israel's population increased, its percentage dropped to ONLY 0.2% today.
Still, that 0.2% of Israel's population is doing something worth learning and appreciating, for their economic success is beyond expectation and imagination.
Today the Kibbutz livelihood is diverse and depends on a developed industrial sector.
“The kibbutz(s) produces 42% of the agricultural product, 10% of the industrial product (excluding high-tech industries and diamonds), and more than 16% of the industrial exports of the State of Israel.” Wikipedia
My mother and her friends, who were orphans, having nothing and no soul to care for them, took care of themselves and, with their own hands, built a prosperous future, one which they are proud of, and me too.
It took them less than 17 years to fully transform from agriculture to agro-industry (and industry) and from poverty to prosperity.
Did it happen in reality? Yes, my parents and I were there and part of it.
I invite you in person to come and see it by yourself.
Were they superhuman? NO! They were ordinary people like you and me.
Can we repeat it elsewhere? Not copy-paste, but Yes, with proper modifications. Maybe we can even do it faster and better by learning from history.
THE ISRAELI (ORIGINAL) MODEL
Now that you have the facts in front of your eyes, I hope it will encourage you to believe that everything is possible to achieve.
When we think of Israel’s agro sector success, we better remember it made its giant steps in the 40s, 50s, and 60s of the 20th Century and long BEFORE technology became a synonym for success.
What was it that enabled these poor holocaust survivor orphans with little to no training in agriculture to transform themselves from poverty to prosperity within a blink of an eye, i.e., less than 17, and become world leaders in agriculture?
Be sure it was not because of super advanced technology, huge investments, being superhuman, or a favorite environment.
The success of those pioneers’ was based on people who loved life more than anything and trusted themselves.
Their professional and economic success was based on a three-pillar infrastructure previously discussed:
Ecosystem – tailor-made, developed, and tested by them.
Business model – disruptive, developed, and tested by them.
Technology – basic, as was available those days.
If you want to understand the Israeli Model that enabled the "overnight" agro sector success, you must step 50 to 100 years back in time.
Please pay attention that today’s Israeli Model (based on what I described above) is quite different. Without adaptation and customization, it is inappropriate for use with smallholders in non-developed economies.
When I step into a meeting room, be it in Africa, India, Europe, or elsewhere, I wear my "magic cloak," and then I gain an internal “superpower” forces thanks to where and when I was born and what I witnessed and experienced to be possible.
Wearing the “magic cloak," I have the advantage of knowing what the other participants don't know - I know that the dreams they fear, even dreaming, can be fulfilled. I have seen and witnessed it myself.
It has already been done by people I know and myself, meaning we can do it again, only this time with you too!
This is as if Jim Hines participates in a competition where everybody says they want to break the record and run under 10 seconds in a 100-meter race, yet, Jim is the only one who knows it is doable because he has already done it.
Can you say to somebody, “this is impossible” if they have already done it!?
When I sit with farmers, I wear my “magic cloak” and gain my superpowers, which enables me to know for sure that they can increase their income by many folds.
Thanks to my superpowers, I now know their income is ONLY 1% to 3% of their Israeli colleagues, and nowadays, "possible."
With my superpowers, I know IT IS POSSIBLE to increase their income, and I also know how we can do it together!
Think of it for a moment; if we only increase those farmers' income to 10% of the current Israeli standard, it means increasing their income by hundreds and even thousands of percent.
Do you think this is not possible?
IT’S OKAY NOT TO BELIEVE
A few days ago, I had to wear my "magic cloak" again in a meeting with high officials of an African country.
Those officials are from a country where I have been and worked before. Thanks to this, I know their current practices and income per hectare.
Some officials presented a decent level of not believing things could be improved. And so I said -
We have two options:
One is to continue investing in providing the farmers with more technologies, fertilizers, sprays, and subsidies and not be surprised when the results would remain at their current level.
The other option is to follow the Israeli Model, as Dream Valley introduced. It was successfully used and field-proven for over 50 years in Israel. Finally, with proper adjustments and tailor-made to your requirements, you can use it too.
A participant in the meeting said it is impossible to control fruit flies without sprays or get mangos and fresh produce free of bio-security hazards, i.e., fruit flies. I replied, "Sorry, but we have been doing it for 22 years in Israel and the past five years in Africa, including in your country.”
The same happened when I sensed they don't believe farmers can increase their income by hundreds of percent in a few years or reach export quality. Each time I shared my experience and said, "We have already done it, and even if it was in a different country, this is doable.”
Like the professional runners, those agricultural experts need to overcome psychological barriers before they can help their farmers. My role is to help them overcome it by providing information through my personal life story.
My parents grew up from the ashes and began as poor smallholders. For that reason, I can easily see the potential in any smallholder and the possible future prosperity he can have if he is ready to work with me to create a better future for himself and his family.
Farmers obtain trust and comfort knowing that my parents and I have done what they are facing now. It helps them overcome their psychological barriers, and trust me.
(1) Biofeed, the powerhouse of zero-spray technologies;
(2) Dream Valley, the fruit trading platform; and
(3) The International Conference on Business Models in Agriculture (IBMA) 2023, the meeting place to change old concepts.
My activities reflect my attitude that all is possible and mental barriers are there for us to break.
** If you read it all the way here and enjoyed it, SHARE this column with someone who needs to break some psychological barrier.
Ø PSYCHOLOGICAL BARRIERS stop us from even attempting to change.
Ø SMALLHOLDERS and their communities can transform from poverty to prosperity.
Ø MASSIVE EXPORT of agro products from non-developed economies to premium markets is doable.
Ø AGRICULTURE free of sprays and chemicals has been done, and farmers more than double their income.
Ø SUPERPOWER is when you know you can do something everybody else views as impossible.
Ø I AM HUMAN, AND SO ARE YOU; as I did, so can you.
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*** Mental and Economic Freedom Are Interconnected. ***
See you soon,
Text me: +972-54-2523425 (WhatsApp), or e-mail email@example.com
If you missed it, here is a link to last week's blog, “Can We Make Wise Use of Mutual Risk-Taking To Promote Smallholders?”
Links to earlier articles are on the blog of VALUE CHAIN LINKS.
Please look at the video series, “The Agricultural Gap." With short videos, mostly 2 to 4 minutes long, I explain the historical roots of the agricultural gap between Africa and Western countries.
I see this video series as "uncompleted," as I am waiting to gain more confidence before completing the chapters with The Solution, as I perceive it.
If you like it, don’t forget to share it with those who need to see it and Subscribe.
Change Begins With A Decision
That The Existing Reality Is A Choice
And Not A Decree of Fate