We Are One


George Yeo, the former Foreign Minister of Singapore, shared the following story in his new book, ”Bonsai, Banyan and the Tao”.

The late Cardinal Jan Schotte, who had served as Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican, was drafting a speech for the late Pope John Paul II. In one of the sentences, Schotte wrote,

“despite our differences, we are one.”


When John Paul II saw it, he replaced “despite” with “because of”.

because of our differences, we are one.”


For me, this ranks as one of my favorite simpler ideas.

We often focus on our differences, and we draw lines that divide us. Actually, noticing differences is not a bad thing in itself. For our differences make each of us unique, and they allow each of us to bring something unique to the table. It becomes a problem only when we use those differences not to strengthen ourselves but to divide ourselves.

And in trying to divide ourselves, we become a lesser one.

George Yeo’s story also shows how profound change can be achieved through subtle shifts in how we think. By simply changing a few words, we can see the possibilities of a better world.

And to close, here’s another simple idea :)


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