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October 19, 2011

To infinity and beyond?

Eventually, you only have that much energy and finite time. You cannot expect to do everything. You want to have some form of balance? Write a contract with yourself. Decide what your possibilities are and what your necessities are. Necessities are your priorities. Get those done. Possibilities are a liability when not managed well on your get done list. You only have so much resources and your CPU can only run so much. Before sleep deprivation sets in and kills everything. Which black hole is sucking you?
October 18, 2011

How believable can you be?

It is very possible, even your best friend do not always say good things about you behind your back. Perhaps, less than flattering things. Chances are you have also done the same. Sometimes. Your friends don’t always talk good about you, why would you expect your customers to ALWAYS talk good about you? Why worry so much about the bad comments on a blog here and a Facebook there? Now, I am not saying ignore it. I am saying don’t worry too much about it. Give the ecosystem of online communities more credit than that. Eventually, if you are the […]
October 17, 2011

When are you starting a fire?

Disrupting yourself allows you to invigorate. When drastic changes happen either by design or by default? Embrace it. Smile when you get sacked. Laugh when you resign without a job. Disruption by default in life is like a forest fire. Disruption by design is like controlled forest fires. Both invigorate the ecosystem. It allows the forest to renew. Disruption allows new seeds to grow within you too. Those hidden from the sunlight and have never been discovered. Disruptive invigoration. Discover rejuvenation. Which sapling is growing today?
October 14, 2011

When should they take you out?

I am quoting this based on memory. I think Leo Burnett said something like this, “The only indispensable man in the history of mankind is Adam himself.” And how true. How often do we see the huge egos in the marketing and advertising industry strutting around like they are irreplaceable? And most times, those who feel they are irreplaceable are actually the stumbling block to better growth for the organization. Consider this; the constant glow of your ego is blinding you. Keep your ego in a safe. Things may become clearer for you. Stepping away lets other people shine and […]
October 13, 2011

What heroic stories can you tell?

You would have at one time or another been victimized or feel victimized. To be able to move on you need to change your mindset. Forgive and forget they say. Easier said than done. And perhaps so. But what if you changed your story? You are the story you tell yourself. And if you want to move on, you need to tell yourself a better story. Become the mythological hero that you are, it’s written in you. For example, how do you become a famous Roman general (insert your name here)tilius Liberalis? First and foremost, get out of the ‘poor […]
October 12, 2011

What is your price for improvement?

Improvement necessitates change. You can’t fry an egg without breaking the shell. For a forest to rejuvenate, forest fires are a necessary part of the process. If you are the mindful kind, change is purposeful. You seek things to improve. You embrace discomfort in the face of changing fortunes. If you aren’t mindful, you think change is disruptive and bad. So, you want improvement but you dislike change. Sorry, no can do. Buy into change and get improvement free. Are you ready to change for free?
October 11, 2011

Is it perfectly alright to be less than perfect?

I have a nagging suspicion perfectionist choose to be perfect because our society thinks these people have exacting standards. So, it’s cool to choose to be perfect. They are afraid to DO something. So, perfection becomes the perfect excuse. They say, good is the enemy of perfect. I say, perfect is the enemy of good. Often, doing something at 90% and sending it out beats NOT DOING anything and saying I am waiting for the perfect whatever. While you wait for your perfect, I am inching one percent at a time. 10 more rounds I would reach perfect while you […]
October 10, 2011

How much does your raw materials cost you?

When was the last time you sit with your raw materials then decide to do something about it? What are your raw materials? The feeling in you that you want to write something. The feeling in you to start something. Draw. Call your mother even when you have nothing to say. The urge to do something about your willful blindness. Send in the proposal risking looking stupid. But never quite get down to it? That’s your raw material. The primal emotive burst in you that wants to get out? That’s your raw material. Let it get out. Let it make […]
October 7, 2011

Are you inventing your genre of marketing?

In the process of invention, most inventors goes thorough a process of asking who the invention is for? What challenges does it solve? What is the proposed solution? They test out the proposed solution then ask themselves if it can be further improved. Sounds to me much like marketing. So marketing like inventing is a creative endevour. So, are you a marketer who expects inventions coming from R&D department only? And say to your agency that it’s a creative challenge? How creative are you?
October 6, 2011

What numbers do you want?

Let’s give ourselves a scenario. If you are a football apparel brand, would you rather: A professional footballer who is a fan of your brand? You only have one such fan and he wears it when he practices. 11 amateur footballers who have a huge fan base but you can have 11 of these as fans. Or a 1000 fans who does not play football but watches football every weekend and has influence over 10 people each when it comes to sports apparel? Have you figured it out yet?
October 5, 2011

How’s the water, Honey?

I am not much of a fan of coloured oceans. As in I don’t quite understand what’s the fresh oceanic breeze it brings. To compete some people break rules. Others create new rules. Some people challenge the norm, others make new norms. They are normally seen as abnormal. The colour of liquid you swim in does not matter as much as how you swim in it. If your ocean is red, is your river also red? What colour is your river?
October 4, 2011

Is your clock ticking the right to do list?

You cannot create more time. But you can manage your effort. When I finished my 500 questions book this year, friends asked me how did I find the time? I didn’t. I managed my efforts. You and I have the same amount of time. If you stop clinging to the rituals you are so used to, perhaps you will manage your effort better. What rituals? I am always tired. But you pretend you don’t know the cause? It’s because you are still on the computer deep into dawn. I always never complete my to-do list. It’s because when the item […]
October 3, 2011

What is the will of endurance?

Tell someone who is always on the go, rushing to complete a project and pride themselves as a go-getter the word – patience, you will likely get a “What kind of old school softie are you?” look. As if patience is this soft cotton incapable of getting anything weaved out of it. You will likely hear them say, patience is overrated. It’s not a virtue. I don’t want to debate that. I believe it’s far better to make these people realize, patience is an energy they need in their quest for success. Whatever is the success they deem fitting. Patience […]
September 30, 2011

How close to the edge will you go?

Here is something that may make you take a little more risk than you would have otherwise. What if you viewed the price you pay for the risk in every project as adding to your experience and as an opportunity to discover yourself? Will it then perhaps make you see value in painting close to the fringes? Do you see risk of failure or chances for success?
September 29, 2011

Where are you going next?

Exploring what to do next is an act of creativity. But very often, you may explore too far. To the fringes of your imagination. So far off that it takes light years to get there. In fact, it may even scare you. Inundate you with a million ‘what ifs’. What if, you explored nearer. Close to the territory you are familiar with? Close enough to see where you came from, far enough to conquer new ground. Sometimes getting to the next big thing is not launching a rocket. It could just mean walking to the edge of your farm to […]
September 28, 2011

What’s your ROI?

Success of a business is usually measured by how much profit it makes. But what if success is also measured by the social impact it makes. The good it does. Not in some fancy CSR program but in its daily interactions with suppliers, staff and society? A set of ethics it follows and measured based on how much good it has done. Raised standards of living, responsible for actions it takes and rectifies what is wrong? In addition to return on investment, what about return on (societal) impact? Do you measure your personal success based on dollars and sense?
September 27, 2011

Will you do what you can?

You don’t and you should not pretend to know the future. But what you do know is what you can do now and how you can be creative about your own next small thing. And hopefully it will be come bigger and better. Will it be the next big thing?  Honestly, I don’t know. But you can do it. When it sees the light of day then it is well worth it versus an idea that sits in the deep recesses of your grey matter. Or trying to figure out what is the next big thing. What are you working […]
September 26, 2011

How are you balancing?

You feel stress trying to achieve balance because you think balance is an end point. You think it is static. You are not the fulcrum trying to balance both sides. You are the effort that exists in the system of a balancing act. Try this. Balance is dynamic. It’s constantly in a flux because your thoughts and your moods are constantly moving and changing. Add to this the stimulation and irritation of everyday life, the only way balance can appear is for you to be in the flow. That’s when balance is achieved. Now, is balance static?
September 23, 2011

Why are you in the business you are in now?

Business exists solely to deliver profits to investors? Or does business exists solely as a service to the community and that service begets remuneration? The remuneration may result in a loss though. If the service is done well enough and the business managed wisely, then a profit often appears. Businesses built on a platform to serve have more soul because its strategy is connected to its value. The same for your job. What motivates you to serve? To do the work that you do? It cannot just be money. The option to make money is boundless. Surely there are a […]
September 22, 2011

How much can you spare?

There are a lot of people who talks a lot and nothing productive actually comes out of talking to these people. There are those who talks and not give. And there are those who talks and don’t do. They do so for a few reasons: One, they want to take but don’t want to give. So, they pretend that their input is actually talking. This is usually hidden as advice or priceless opinions. They wait for you to produce and they want a share of the credit. These people forget, the more you give – time, effort, execution – the […]
September 21, 2011

How do you get things done consistently?

Discipline seems like a very difficult word to practice for many people. It is waking up at 6am to complete your work when you really want to snooze 5 minutes more. So, some argue it is motivation that gets you up. I believe it is both. It need not be separated. And discipline is not a hard thing to practice. When you know what is right and what should be done to get the life you desire? Then it just happens. Whether you call it motivation or discipline or habit creation is immaterial. “Discipline does not mean suppression or control, […]
September 20, 2011

What decisions held you back today?

You make a ton of decisions a day. But how many of them are of any true consequence? Do you truly believe the thickness of the border of the ad will bring in 30 more sales than if you were just to leave it the way it is? Do you hide under “it’s all in the details’? Sure, I believe in it too. But I also believe we should not be hostage to inconsequential details. And the wisdom of the manager is to demonstrate that she knows what the details to ignore are. Perfection is over rated. How do you […]
September 19, 2011

Have you learned the system?

When you ask a room full of people to put up their hands which do they believe in? Working hard or working smart? It’s almost certain that a majority will put up their hands for believing in working smart. As if believing in working smart makes them smarter. I believe in this – to work smart you first have to work hard. Work hard in knowing the system that you work in. That takes time and effort. So, to get to working smart you need to first work hard. Otherwise, working smart can’t exist. Working smart also means you need […]
September 15, 2011

How far can you go?

If you can, Wake up half an hour earlier everyday? Sleep an hour earlier everyday? Start saying ‘no’ to an impolite request? Learn to say ‘yes’ to an inconvenient request? Read just one book every month? Clear your mental junk for 30 minutes every week? Stop stealing time in the office as if no one knows? Learn to love your work? You can go on to add to the list, small things that makes a big difference in your life. Stop blaming the rest. Stop creating excuses. When will you take responsibility?
September 14, 2011

Why are you resisting?

When you have reached a dead end? When the stress seems insurmountable? One way of finding a way is to accept. Accept whatever comes as phenomenon that will happen anyway. Do not resist. Accepting makes your work easier. Accepting a failure for what it is. Accepting criticisms as a way to learn or reflect. Accepting mistakes as just a part of living. Accepting that to want ‘face’ is just an attachment to your ego. What gifts did your detractors bring today?
September 13, 2011

What does your Petri dish looks like?

Marketers can be great experimenters but most refuse to be. They choose instead to be safe-netters. Some confuse experimenting with gambling. There is a big difference between the two. Of course, there are risks involved in both of them. But one has a written methodology and plan. Set objectives and variables to be tested. While chance is involved, the reliance on it is far less. You of course, already know. You are just too afraid of the extraneous variables. Find out what works then keep going. There is a world of discovery out there. How about the idea of a […]
September 12, 2011

Do you want to know a secret?

Closer. Do you promise not to tell? Whispering is more powerful than yelling. But you must gain trust before you can whisper into someone ears. Where will all the yelling take the relationship? How are you furthering that trust?
September 9, 2011

What work do you do?

Heart work is hard work. Every time I speak about hard work people cringe. As if I am asking them to carry a pile of rocks. But carrying a pile of rocks is the easy part. Anyone can do it. Most people think working hard is old school. Working hard is not old school. It’s classic school. As in ‘a standard’, ‘highest quality’, ‘having class’. It started since the first caveman said, “Let’s just figure out a way to cross this rapids and get to the other side where there are more bisons for us to hunt.” And as soon […]
September 8, 2011

How do you do what you do?

Today while your boss and colleagues are not watching? Take notes, I mean really write down how much time you spend on personal emails, FB, and whatever else you do that is not work related. Now, how much time did you waste? So, it’s not that you do not have time to do the work. It’s that you waste too much time at work. You are not working hard. You are hardly working. What excuses are you brewing today?
September 7, 2011

Are you ready for take-off yet?

Here’s your regular 10,000km check. Are you always seeking permission from others except yourself? Are you more often than not submissive? What has been your truest admission to yourself in your dark corner of the world? Your failures to move beyond these are the reasons why you have not started on your mission. What’s your personal mission?
September 6, 2011

Would a dash suffice?

Conversations, discussions or even the way your organization operates needs your little something. That little speck or sprinkle of yours to make it taste good. Like salt or spice or soy sauce? Too much will spoil the taste. How often do you see someone trying to dominate an idea? A discussion or the way something is run? Seek to contribute to make something better. Not to dominate to proof whatever you are trying to proof. Know what you can contribute and if your contribution will make the most difference. Not your domination. Know what the dish is and what you […]
September 5, 2011

How nervous are you about failure?

Best way to deal with it? Ask if the goal is worthwhile. If it’s not? Dump it. Nervousness gone. No anxiety. Easy. It’s worthwhile? Embrace it. Jump like it’s going to save your life from a burning airplane. When you wait, the anxiety eats you up. You learn to feed on excuses. The habit of devouring excuses drags your life to the 18th level of hell. Climbing out will be difficult. Before long you will be too old to do it. They will call you the “Excuses ATM”. How far down are you now?
September 2, 2011

When are you making a decision?

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what makes you consistently do. I would add commitment is what turns motivation into a habit. Painful words for many. It spells hard work. It spells long spells of sweat. Compromising on work-life balance. The thing is, when you are on a project? Either you are on the team or you are not. You do or you don’t. Are you coming along or not?
August 29, 2011

Are you learning what you don’t know but need?

If you are at a point where you feel very proud of what you can do? It’s time to check for your own skills and knowledge to back up this pride. Without skills and knowledge to back up your pride? That spells arrogance. Pride – Skills/Knowledge = Arrogance Are you ignoring your own ignorance?
August 26, 2011

Which are your moments of importance?

You want to matter. At work and in life. Contribution to whatever organization we function in is important. It gives you a sense of worth. You matter. In mattering, it’s important to give equal detachment to praises as well as ridicule. Gain and loss. Suffering and happiness. Life fluctuates between these. It comes, then it goes. Doesn’t make your contribution less or more. Your contribution just is. Are you ignoring praises?
August 25, 2011

Are the obvious blinding you?

August 24, 2011

Why do you dislike it?

When there are more jobs to do, it’s a good thing. You want more jobs, not less jobs. Because it means the company is doing well. Problems outside of work won’t disappear. Regardless of the existence of work related problems. You want no job related problems? Don’t have a job. But then, not having a job will triple compound all the other non work related problems. Can problems be likeable?
August 23, 2011

There should be a charter for a new standard?

For the past 18 years, I have been the customer of my bank. I never demanded much. Just small expectations. Like, maybe waive my annual fee for my credit card? Without me having to ask Every. Single. Year. “Will you please waive my annual fee?” Surely, a small gesture like that can’t be counted. But it counts with me. Surely, it’s something it can do, not something it must do. One can’t simply be good without effort. Greatness comes when one does the small things right. When my bank needs to be urged and prodded to be here for people, […]
August 22, 2011

What is in your fantasy?

August 19, 2011

Sad because it ended?

Things come, things go. The sun rises, the sun sets. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. Birth, old age, sickness, death. You fall in love, you break up, and maybe you get back together again. Maybe not. You get a job, you resign. Or you get sacked. You build brands. Brands grow. Brands fail. You build brands. You extend your brand. You rationalize your brands. Your market share grows. Your market share peaks. Your market share shrinks. You don’t want to play anymore. Someone buys your shares. Suddenly everyone has a new employer. The Chinese have a saying, “天下无不散之筵席”, taken to mean […]
August 18, 2011

What are you trying to achieve?

Can there be multiple goals for the one thing that you do? Say you are trying to complete this big project. What are you trying to achieve? Fame? That’s one. Fortune? That’s two. With fortune you can have a holiday, afford a nice car for your wife, best schools for your kids. Perhaps reserve a nice old folks home for you and your wife when you retire. Just in case, you know. So what are you trying to achieve? Multiple goals with the hitting of one objective and the rest are nice-to-have that comes with it? Well, if that is […]
August 16, 2011

When is your expiry date?

If you keep talking about what you have done? And what you have done was years ago? You have not many new things you can talk about? You better sit up and listen. Your stories are nice for the younger generation. It allows them to mix and blend those learning and create a new kind of concrete to strengthen their foundation. That’s your contribution. On your part? Listen to some of the dust they have to offer. These maybe the magic bits of rare earth you need to build stories of your own. Are you offering the world a one […]
August 15, 2011

Do you remember your Physics class?

Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed. It only transforms from one state to another. If I remember clearly, potential energy is the force stored in a body or system. Everything has potential energy. Everyone has potential energy. You are born with it. So don’t say you can’t. You can. When you act, you overcome the inertia of your mind. You transform the potential energy into dreams come true. “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” George Elliot. When are you using it?
August 12, 2011

Where is your space between the notes?

August 11, 2011

What’s your mental cataract?

I have no time. But you refuse to change your habits. I wish to learn more. But you refuse to take the pain and put in the hours. I want to make my brand better known. But you refuse to invest, change your pricing, adjust your distribution strategy. I want to be healthier. But you are hungry all the time. Stress is the cause. Ya, we know. I want to quit. But I need the money. My boss sucks. I have no choice. When are you going to operate?
August 10, 2011

What if you can do this?

You want a way to get a 50% discount on the stress you get in a day? It’s a cheap price to pay too. Simple. But not easy. Here’s one. Trade in a 5 minutes snooze. Or however long you snooze. When it is time to wake up? Wake up. That extra 15 minutes means you have a better breakfast. If you are the breakfast sort. It means more time to clear the emails before the rest of the office comes in and needs your attention. Before the phone rings and before the clients need your attention. More time. Slower […]
August 9, 2011

What are people paying you for?

Here are 2 things I suggest in order to be a professional: One. Learn the basics and get the basics right. Implore a change in your DNA if you have to, to internalize the basics that drive your kind of work. It doesn’t matter how much you disagree with those basics. Learn it up anyway. No. Internalize it. Make it part of you. Then with this deep understanding, if you want to innovate? Change? Adjust? Create your own system, go on fire away. But before that, learn it. When you seek to change at least people will sit up and […]
August 8, 2011

How accurate is your assumption?

Control is a perception. Control is an assumption. For all the control you want and need and crave? It’s all based on assumptions. And we know how far assumptions can take you. You will never have all the information you need. Even if you do, there will be new context this new information needs to function in. It’s something you cannot predict. This does not negate the fact that you need to plan. Execute, plan all you want. But do not think that you have ultimate control. You can strive to be in the flow; which is vastly different from […]
August 5, 2011

What is simple but not easy?

Love. Create. Part. Shut up. Act. Stop. Do. Start. What if there are no ifs and buts?
August 4, 2011

How much romance can you take?

Does it always have to be “do what you love”? Why can’t it be “love what you do”? Such romantic statements when you hear people say “Life is short. Do what you love.” Sure. I believe it. The people who say these didn’t tell you, what the process of getting there is. As if work nirvana just appears sitting in the correct cubicle under the right florescent lamp. If you keep focusing on what is not right with your job, you will never know what the right kind of work is for you. You kick up too much dust; it […]
August 3, 2011

Are you happy where you are?

There is an oft quoted line in Mandarin – “Tian sen wo chai bi you yong” (天生我才必有用) meaning heaven has a useful role for me. It originates from a Tang dynasty poem by Li Bai – “Jiang Jin Qiu” (The General Proposes a Toast) – one of my favourite. Understand your role in the workplace. Perhaps, that will contribute another 30% to your happiness at work. The hyenas eat what’s left when the lion leaves the carcass. The vultures come after. Everyone plays their role and each has their share. They all go home happy. If you can’t find and […]
August 2, 2011

Do you really want to know the answer?

What is the point of saying you are very open to opinions when you only seek those whom you think will have a higher likelihood of agreeing with you? You want to quit your job, you will ask colleagues who are pissed with the company. You want to breakup with your partner, you see friends who you know doesn’t like the person from the onset of your relationship. You ask people whom to the best of your knowledge will agree with you. Let’s face it; you want to hear what you want to hear. It’s like the cancer patient that […]
August 1, 2011

Are big dreams confusing you?

For a water vapor to become an ocean, it has to turn into rain. The rain has to flow into the hills, become a creek, a stream, a waterfall sometimes falling hundreds of feet before becoming a meandering river to flow into the sea to become an ocean. A million dollars starts from one cent. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first _______. (Yea, you know that one.) It’s nice to dream big. But big dreams should be a motivation to do the small things. The dirty things. Those that make you sweat, bleed and cry. Without […]
July 29, 2011

How bad is your good thing?

One thing you learn as an entrepreneur is bad may not be bad. We always tell ourselves this story. One day a farmer lost his horse and the neighbor told the farmer how unlucky he is. The farmer replied, “Maybe, maybe.” Sure enough, before long the missing horse brought back a few wild horses. The neighbor this time said to the farmer how lucky he is. To which the farmer again replied, “Maybe, maybe.” As the farmer’s son was training the wild horses, he fell down and broke his arm. You can guess what the neighbor said to the farmer. […]
July 28, 2011

How big is your pond?

Knowledge is like a pool of water. The bigger and deeper it is, the more diversified and the deeper the knowledge. So, when you need it, it is like an unending supply of information you can use to analyze and synthesize. People can walk up to you with a set of dirty utensils and you can clean it. And after cleaning it, it can be used to cook. There will be a meal ready. But if your pond is small and filled with murky water, there isn’t much use. Even if people walk up with clean utensils, you are just […]
July 27, 2011

Would you dare?

July 26, 2011

Who’s your boss?

Eventually, you may want to think about your answer to this question. Regardless, of your kind of work the answer to this question will help you decide. Add a benchmark. Carve a line in your conscience. This line allows the world you interact with knows what you will do and what you won’t. And what you will bleed over to get done. When there are conflicting principles? This is the line you do not cross. Your boss need not be human too. It can be humankind. It can be your precepts. What are your commandments? Who do you serve?
July 25, 2011

How can we change for you?

No one can make you happy. Only you can make yourself happy. So, don’t expect us to do things for you. Or worst still, change for you to suit your taste and your whims and fancies. You are unhappy because you cannot adapt to the unending flux of ebb and flows. Until you can understand that, you will always remain unhappy. Change yourself or stay home. Is unhappiness your constant?
July 22, 2011

Are you a eunuch in a harem?

It is always easier to look at something and express what you do not like about it. How it can be better. Why wasn’t it done in a certain way. Immensely easier. To create? Now that is a different story. Creation takes commitment. It takes raw guts. The sweat of effort. With no understanding of these, you just won’t know how it feels like. You won’t know the how. You won’t know the why. Sure you can try to imagine, project yourself into the situation. But it’s not the same. You can say the way I swim is wrong. But […]
July 21, 2011

How to steal time?

Stop watching TV. Really, two hours a day means 14 hours a week. That’s more than one working day you save. Imagine what you can clear with that. Close your web browser. No Facebook, no emails, no Linkedin. If you don’t believe me, do it for a day and see how productive your day will be. Do it for two days and see how your work will change. Do it for three days and see how liberating it will be. Ignore personal calls at work. No Whatsapp, no smses. If it can be done in 2 minutes? Do it. No […]
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