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Eric van de Graaff, ilearnr

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Jungle of Chitwan

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” 

― Mahatma Gandhi


““The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” 

― Albert Einstein


Sitting in the seat on the back of Pawankhali and Champikhali, the Asian elephants, we view life from a spacious position. I get rocked back and forth a bit and the jungle of Chitwan passes by. Based on the idea that this spacious position is inviolable, we go on safari every morning and afternoon in search of tigers. 

The camp is open. All animals can walk in and out without having to pass gates. This makes it all the more exciting to go outside in the morning. 

There is a disturbance because there is a rhino walking nearby. Everyone stands on the 4-meter-high porch looking at the rhino. He doesn’t care too much about the curious eyes. 

Nevertheless, the open design of the camp is disturbing. The wild animals can enter the site unnoticed on all sides. Then we are not talking about the trip that we make in the evening when we return from the campfire to our house. 

Is that exactly the house that is furthest away, exactly on the edge where the safari starts? No tiger to be seen and we are sitting on an elephant in the jungle and life is relaxed. We see everything, deer, pigs, birds. In the presence of this giant, they feel unthreatened and show themselves up close. 

Suddenly the guide points to traces in the sand. A fresh print of a tiger, approximately size 48. Very large. A few meters away the elephants start trumpeting and stamping. 

They let pee and poo walk. They no longer listen to the stick commands. Moreover, they make a kind of hum sound, as loud as a drumming on a hollow tree trunk. I feel it throughout my body. 

The elephant clearly shows its presence. In addition, I also sense fear. My fear? Is this search for the tigers so sensible? What if the elephants panic? Or we? Or all? In a basket on the back of a beaten elephant right through trees and under branches, is suddenly less relaxed. 

The behaviour of Pawan and Champi makes it clear that the elephants do not like to contact this predator. Just when I think I have everything under control, I am introduced to the real jungle. 

Corporate life

And how does that work in the Netherlands? Not much else! Starting as a young psychologist at a well-known training agency is particularly inspiring. What a new business world, what an energy, what a pleasure, what personal contacts. It actually feels like family. 

For example, later on I also want to have my own villa with a large garden together with seven trainers / advisors who prepare their next training sessions in the garden or in the attic and then develop one, two or three days people in a hotel. After years of distant scientific studies, I suddenly learn how to speak effectively and above all listen. 

Knowing the importance of real attention. Knowing with which questions I get the right information, knowing how I determine the course of further contact in the first 8 seconds. Being able to show my interest. Jokingly I do business in humming, nodding and summarizing. 

The most important skill for having a good conversation is listening. Active listening, which means that I show that I listen to you both verbally and in behaviour. 

Research shows: “People who speak in conversation about 60% of the time have the feeling that they had a good conversation afterwards. Give it a try. Let your conversation partner tell you something before you share part of your entire story. 

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