Jose Illana, founder of Quiero.
A little over a month ago I was with my mother in the car. In our conversations about the State of the Nation, she told me that she had seen a retired woman on the television criticizing the rise in pensions, saying that with what she received, she could not make any trip or go to the hairdresser.
“Ridiculous. This woman is ridiculous. How can one worry about these things when one must pay rent, house tax, electricity, water and other bills?” My mother, put plainly, was scandalized.
At what point in time did we surrender? How can we allow our maximum aspiration to be paying electricity or housing tax or property rent, that we have been paying for a lifetime? At what moment they have defeated us?
My mother feels that she cannot afford the “luxury” of giving herself a little treat to pamper herself, or have a beauty treatment, or go on a few days’ trip somewhere. Impossible, with which the way things are falling all around us. Just no way. One’s whole life making damn sacrifices.
At what point have we started to feel that enjoying life is almost pornographic? Who can be offended by someone wanting to go off on vacation after a lifetime of endless giving for one’s children, due the Spanish post-Civil War situation, because of rules and regulations.
I’m not thinking, solely, about retirement pensions. I’m not thinking, solely, about austerity policies. I’m not thinking, solely, about inequality.
A few weeks ago, Mr. Roig, President and maximum shareholder of leading Spanish supermarket chain, Mercadona, in a meeting on Family Business, invited businessmen to feel proud of being one. I agree with him. I am a businessman and I feel that I have a lot to contribute to our society. I’m proud of our little company, Quiero. And the female and male employees of Mercadona? And the female and male employees of Quiero? And a day labourer in the greenhouses of Almería? And the nurses at your clinic? Do you they feel proud of their work?
A few weeks ago, at the closing ceremony of the fourth edition of Sustainable Brands in Madrid, I shared my thoughts on pride. The theme of this edition was ‘Redesiging the Good Life’.
Anyone, anywhere in the world needs to be proud of the way they earn their living. What is the opposite? Submission, grief, resignation, alienation, agony, indifference, survival …
How can we build a better life, a better society if we do not even feel proud of our work, of the companies we represent, of the projects we lead? How can we pretend to build purposes without the energy that pride gives you? Can you be an activist without pride?
Making a living by stealing from another is shit. I do not want it. I cannot tolerate it.
Where is the pride of a woman who does not allow herself to think about the right to go to a hairdresser after a lifetime dedicated to others?
We are letting pride be stolen for us. And yes, foolishly. In the name of security, tranquility, comfort. Survival.
A model that aims to perpetuate thanks to our mere survival is doomed to die. Life is much more powerful than this. Nature is wonderfully overwhelming. And it is what we are.
I have not come to this world to survive. You have not come to this world to survive.
We are here to create, to enjoy, to vibrate. You are here to do unimaginable things. Dream and go after each dream as if you were never going to sleep again.
We are here to question, shout, change, do. We are here because we have right to be here, the one that we have been given by the simple fact of being born, to feel proud of the way we earn our living. We are here to live.
We cannot allow anyone to steal our pride of how we earn our living. Our lives depend on it.