Fifteen toddlers of a government school in Gaya enacted a play for us based on a folk tale from Bihar. They were behind handmade masks. Lions. Foxes. Crows. Elephants. Deer. Two lions came running to greet me. One said, ‘I have a lion mask’ and the other exclaimed, ‘I am a lion!’. I made a note to look up the difference between having (I have) and being (I am). I did and found an interesting explanation a Portland English Language Academy (PELA). Having is possessing. I have paint. Being is experiencing. I am a painter. Now that I have become sensitive to this difference, I see it all around me. Having an idea is good. Being the idea is great.
When I interact with young social entrepreneurs on weekend mornings, we exchange notes on progress and challenges. They are curious about my obsession with platform thinking.
Every time they say, ‘I have a platform’ we pause to reflect, ‘Do I have a platform or am I a platform?’ If I have a platform I will use it to make my program better. If I am a platform, I will bring people together and help them solve the problem that we are all trying to solve. That is an important difference. That is the difference between having a lion mask and being a lion.