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Adrian Gore offers the antidote to SA’s national depression

By Alec Hogg

When Adrian Gore goes public, it’s worth paying attention. Not just because his growing commitments have made him less accessible. The man is a living biography, a master entrepreneur whose vision and discipline has created a business worth R100bn. And at 54, the best years are still ahead of Gore and, naturally, his rapidly expanding Discovery outfit.

Adrian Gore, Discovery, Sumitomo Vitality, Japan
Adrian Gore at the launch of Sumitomo Vitality in Japan, July 2018.

Gore’s address to his group’s Leadership Summit on Thursday was overshadowed by the stellar reputations of presenting guests like the Clintons, Cameron and Christensen. But its message was potent. And a reminder that the way a nation collectively thinks has the power to either drive its economy into recession – or pull it out of one.

A kindred spirit for every entrepreneur, Gore is an eternal optimist, which the cynical mistake for naivety. Because there is no touch of the pollyanna for this devotee of behavioural economics. On Thursday he leaned heavily on this science to unpack how “declinism” bedevils public perception – with the level of such misguided pessimism directly proportional to ignorance.

The Roslings argue the same point in their groundbreaking book Factfulness (read it, please) which provides compelling evidence of how the world has gotten better – but ignorance of which drives global pessimism. The antidote, Gore maintains, is vision-based leadership: acknowledge progress, create hope. Attitude drives fundamentals, not the other way around. Exactly.

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