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The Unstoppable Spirit

I think most of you know that I am passionate about travel and new experiences. Whenever I can, I try to go someplace new and immerse myself in the local culture as much as possible.  Recently, I spent a few days in Cuba on a cultural learning trip (still one of the few permissible ways to travel there). This was my second trip; the first was in 2019. The first trip was focused on cigars; I was there for the cigar festival and was completely immersed in that space during that trip. This time, my trip was more broadly focused on the culture, the people, their resilience, their “jugaad”.

During this trip, we met a college professor turned entrepreneur, a fashion designer (“there is no fashion in Cuba” … her words, not mine), an indie band recording their music, two women Hip Hoppers (they are inventing their own genre and don’t know it yet) and ate at amazing restaurants that are new since I was there in 2019. Don’t get me wrong, Cuba is a still an impoverished country with limited resources and opportunity. Even so, out of necessity, innovation is born and that is evident in what I saw in Cuba. The mindset of the people is “I can always do more”.

Imagine building a clothing fashion line in a country where fashion doesn’t exist and is, for most, an unimaginable luxury. Material is hard to obtain, most people can’t afford to buy your designs, and there is no one to show you the way. Almost everything is stacked against you. Yet, an entrepreneur opened a business doing just that, and is thriving. Her journey reflects the essence of finding a path when there seems to be none. It’s about making something beautiful out of limited resources and challenging norms, a living example of the saying, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

These stories from Cuba are not isolated instances; they’re a collective narrative of a community’s resilience. They remind us that limitations are often just springboards for innovation. On our own, when faced with constraints, we, too, can adopt this mindset. We can choose to see beyond the immediate hurdles and envision what can be. There is always something we can do.

This trip for me reaffirmed the belief that we’re not defined by our circumstances, but by our response to them. Whether it’s building a fashion line from scratch in a resource-scarce environment, or creating music that defies genres, the underlying principle remains the same: there’s always something we can do. It’s about harnessing our inner resources—creativity, resilience, and determination—to navigate through life’s challenges. Even if it’s small steps, we can always do more.

Also, a good message given that the holidays are upon us!!

“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit.” – Wilma Rudolph

What more can you do?  What more can I do for you?

Have a great weekend.