The king of the hill

Say you have climbed the highest hill in your locality. From atop this hill you command a brilliant view. You can see several other hills that are higher. You can then pick the highest hill of them all and climb to its top. When you keep repeating this process, you will eventually climb the highest hill your eyes can spot.

At this point, you might be led to believe that you have climbed the highest peak you can, and not realize that this world has several higher peaks to explore.

This is called a local maxima – attaining the highest peak in one’s own vicinity. Yet, there are global maxima outside of that vicinity that are higher still. The height of the highest peak depends merely upon one’s vicinity.

A self-centered person would define the maxima as what is best for themselves. If they broaden their vicinity to include their immediate family, the maxima could shift. On including their friends, colleagues and extended family, it might shift again.

An organization is broken up into silos. The world is broken up into countries. Grades, classes, clans, castes and religions. Every division pushes us to maximise locally. Sometimes, this localization serves us. Most times, they short-changes us.

To find a less local maxima requires us to first climb down from our vantage point. In a large enough vicinity, there is no global maxima. Even the sky isn’t the limit.

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