In search of shortcuts

Painted in Waterlogue

There are not many actual shortcuts.

There are merely direct paths…

Most people do not like direct paths, because they entail being honest, putting the hard work and being patient.

Things that look like shortcuts are actually detours [disguised as less work]. 

Shortcuts actually takes long.

If you don’t have time to do it right, the first, what makes you think you will have time to do it over.

Here is the best shortcut that is sure to work:

– Take the long way.

– Do the hard work, consistently and with generosity and transparency.

And then you won’t waste time doing it over.

Being Human: Filters and reality

Mod-Sent-Blog (1)

  1.  I have been having flu for the past two weeks which resulted in an infection, which means every morning I wake up with a headache. [I’m much better now]
  2. The manuscript for my next book is on hold for now.
  3. My personal project is not moving because I have been having a lot on my plate, I had to halt it for a while.
  4. I had to fire a service provider because they were just a pain to deal with.
  5. A speaker sent me a nasty email complaining about how we are marketing his brand [prima-donna tendencies].
  6. I ignore friends and people I care about because I don’t have the mental energy to keep up with everyone. In fact, I have 14 unopened personal Facebook messages–and the thought of going through them all exhausts me.
  7. I am 20 pounds heavier than I should be because there are too many days that I can’t pull myself away from my work.
  8. I get anxious when I don’t feel like I’m doing enough, or trying hard enough, or something’s gone wrong, and I unconsciously pick at my fingers obsessively–to the point where people have to hold my hands down.
  9. I get so obsessive with work that I sometimes forget to eat and as a result I have been losing weight unaware, [it might be good give #8 above]
  10. I’m so overloaded with things I want to do and very little time to do them.

You know why I just told you all of that?

I’m tired of people always trying to always be prim and proper through filters.

There are too many filters.

Sure. Filters make us look good.

Filters make you sound good. [Nice Facebook post you re-wrote 14 times]

Filters make us seem good.

It is easier to curate your life online than to work on it in real life.

But filters are ruining us.

Because they are filtering out reality.

And when you filter out reality, you know what you get?

One big lie.

Followed by hollowness.

So today is a no filter day, because guess what? We are human beings, and the only way we are going to stay human, is by getting human.

I don’t want to hear about how great you are.

Or how much money you have made. How “well-connected” you are. Or from what continent you are snapping a picture of yourself on some beach.

I want to know what is going on behind the smiles.

If you just saw any of our Facebook feeds, you would think we all had perfect lives.

And we all know it is not true.

We are filtering so much in our lives, it is difficult to ask for help when you need it because you have created an impression that you have got it all together.

It is only by removing the filter that we can actually say something meaningful, and  move the conversation forward.

It is about getting raw.

And sharing what our actual experience is like on this planet, not just where we succeed, but where we fail.

And how we change because of it.


Being Human: is the only way to win


Business is people, and when we focus on taking care of the feeling of life and the humanity in the people in the enterprise, business will take care of itself.

When business serves life, business also serves community, it serves art, it serves nature and our common life together.

When we grow the ‘enterprise of humanity’, it is possible that our work will generate results greater than anything we could have imagined.

The fact that humanity has to clarify any lives matter, should be concern enough.

I think ten years from now, all good jobs by any measure will be jobs where you have to be human.

Human not only as in not being a robot, or a human being, but being humane, being able to connect to your clients, having the empathy to do work that matters.

I think ten years from now, all successful organisations will be staffed by a large number of people who are more humane than just human.

I think ten years from now, any job where the person has to follow systems and procedures, do as they are told, ask no questions, will be replaced by robots.

Robots will take your job. Yes you with the university degree. For real.

Robots follow instructions far much better than humans. Plus Robots don’t go on strike, Robots don’t take sick leave, Robots don’t ask for overtime pay.

If it can be put on a manual, a robot can do it.

In a world where artificial intelligence and robotics are the next frontier in business, this means that the majority of jobs will be done by robots.

Being human is the only only option we are going to be left with to be competitive in business. 

Today you can get away with “I’m just following instructions” or “I’m just doing my job” as an excuse not to be humane.

But the future is about how willing are you to be real, to connect, to matter, to be vulnerable, to be missed when you are gone.

Being human is the only way to win. 



Being Human: We don’t need more stuff


Traditional companies, particularly large-scale service and manufacturing businesses are organised for efficiency. Or consistency.

But not joy.

Joy comes from surprise and connection and humanity and transparency and new.

If you fear special requests, if you staff with cogs, if you have to put it all in a manual, then the chances of amazing someone are really quite low.

The greatest shortage in our society is an instinct for businesses to touch humanity inside and connect to the humans in the marketplace.

The greatest irony is when we can’t feed the poor but we can fund a war.

The greatest challenge is we are living in technology that is exponential, but humans are not.

We don’t need more stuff, we need more humanity.




Being Human: Do work that matters


Caring hurts sometimes, and that is inconvenient.

The good news is that more than ever, value accrues to those that show up, those that make a difference, those that do work that matters.

The good news is that digging deep and fighting that voice that begs us to shut up instead of show up really pays off now, in more ways than we can count.

If you show up regularly with generosity, everything else is going to take care of itself.

We think too much and feel too little.

More than machinery, we need humanity.

More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.

Faith in yourself, in your friends, in your colleagues and most of all, faith in your ability to impact our future is the best strategy I know.




Being Human: Why is it so difficult to be human?


What does it mean to be human anyway?

A key part of being a real person, a human being, is showing up, especially when it is difficult, particularly when it is frightening to do so.

Showing up counts for a lot.


Because it is scarce.

Someone who will comfort you on the phone in the middle of the night, then throw on a bathrobe and drive to your house. That is precious.

Someone who tells you the truth.

Someone who exposes herself, is present, connected and willing to let you hurt them.

Someone who calls you when you are sick, visit you at the hospital and goes to check on your kids, if they are keeping well.

These are the things we seek out as people, and yet we rarely find them.

People are too busy chasing deadlines and goals to have a moment to check up on you.

We see humans, but we don’t see humanity.

And yet we are rarely willing to be this person.

We built institutions, organisations and religions to make it easy to avoid being this person.

The rules and principles and jobs and buildings and code words and admonitions… they all exist to protect us from the truths we are afraid of and from the interactions we would rather not have.

They organise us, and organisation is a wonderful way to be protected.

We are not allowed to bring emotions and feelings to work, we are not paid for that, we are paid to follow rules and procedures, to produce reports, formal reports, reports without a soul.

People are stats at public hospitals, stats at road fatalities, stats for census, stats at unnecessary wars fought to prove who is more powerful.

People are stats to a sales consultant, his job is to increase the numbers so that he can get a bonus.

People have been turned into a number of followers on social media, a number that is meant to be increased to show popularity.

We go to work and we hide. We hide behind policies and procedures.

We hide behind the religion of our brand or our team or our employee manual.

We go to a foreign country and we play tourist, because actually going there is too difficult, too risky, too exposed.

Showing up counts for a lot.

Once upon a time there was humanity.

When we show up, we connect, we make change, we are transparent, and yes, we are human. 


One of us is wrong…


“One of us is wrong… and it’s not me.”

That is the way every single conflict begins. Of course it does, because if it did not, it would not be a conflict, would it?

So, given that the other person is sure you are wrong, what are you going to do about it?

Pointing out that they are wrong does not help, because now you have said the second thing in a row that your partner/customer/prospect/adversary does not believe is true.

The thing that is worth addressing has nothing much to do with the matter at hand, and everything to do with building credibility, attention and respect.

Only then do you have a chance to educate and eventually persuade.

We cure disagreements by building a bridge of mutual respect first, a bridge that permits education or dialogue or learning.

When you burn that bridge, you have ensured nothing but conflict.

Communication has the power to build bridges, to enable encounter and inclusion, and thus to enrich your partner/customer/prospect/adversary.

I have learned that a long walk and calm conversation are an incredible combination if you want to build a bridge.

Life is about building bridges.

Maybe it’s time for that long walk.

The Ego Diet: Great talkers, little doers


It is a temptation that exists for everyone, for talk and hype to replace action.

The empty text box: “What’s on your mind” Facebook asks.

“Compose a new tweet,” Twitter beckons.

Tumblr, LinkedIn, our inbox, our iPhones, the comment section on the bottom of the article you just read.

Blank spaces, begging to be filled in with thoughts, with photos, with stories, with more talk.

With what we are going to do, with what things should or could be like, what we hope will happen.

Technology, asking you, soliciting talk.

Almost universally, the kind of performance we put on social media is positive.

It is more: “Let me tell you how well things are going in my life. Look how great I am.”

It is rarely the truth: “I am scared, I am struggling or I don’t know.”

Many people think that if they just talk long enough about their dreams, that they will come true.

Going through the motions of blabbing about our goals is much different that putting that first foot forward and stepping towards our goals.

At the beginning of any path, we are excited and nervous. So we seek to comfort ourselves externally instead of inwardly. We seek to get as much public credit and attention as we can. That side is called ego.

We don’t keep silent.

We seem to think that silence is a sign of weakness. That being ignored is tantamount to death [and for the ego, this is true.]

So we talk, talk and though our life depends on it.

In actuality, silence of strength, particularly early on in any journey.

Anyone can talk about himself or herself. Most people are decent at hype, marketing and sales.

So what is scarce and rare? Silence.

What is scarce and rare is the ability to deliberately keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation.

Silence is the respite of the confident and strong.

Talk depletes us. Talking and doing fight for the same resources.

Talking makes us think that we are making progress closer to achieving the goal. Even though we haven’t even taken the first step.

People who are doing work that really matters, rarely talk about their work because they are busy doing it, busy mattering.

They work quietly in the corner. They turn their inner turmoil into a product, and eventually to stillness.

They ignore the impulse to seek recognition before they act.

They do not talk much.

They do not mind the feeling that others, out there in public are enjoying the limelight, and are somehow getting the better end of the deal, and they are not.

They are too busy working to do anything else.

When they do talk, it is earned.

The only relationship between work and talk is that one kills the other.

Hard work is an attractive quality.

There are talkers and there are doers, you just need to work out which one are you.

Let the others slap each other on the back while you are back in the lab, or gym, or library, or room, or in the streets, quietly working.

Plug that hole, that one, right in the middle of your face [underneath your eyes and nose], that can drain you of your vital life force.

Watch what happens. Watch how much better you get.





The Ego Diet: Work hard, stay humble


What replaces ego is humility, rock-hard humility and confidence.

When we remove ego, we are left with what is real.

Ego is stolen. Real confidence is earned.

Ego is self-anointed, its swagger is artifice.

Most successful people are people you have never heard of. They want it that way. It keeps them sober. It helps them do their jobs.

Sometimes you have to keep the good news to yourself. Not everybody wants to see you blessed.

Those who have subdued their ego understand that it does not degrade you when others treat you poorly, it degrades them.

Greatness comes from humble beginnings, it comes from grunt work.

It means you are the least important person in the room, until you change that with results.

Silence. The ability to deliberately keep yourself out of the conversation and subsist without its validation.

Silence is the respite of the confident and the strong.

The Ego Diet: The reason you resist change


Let’s face it. Our biggest obstacle to change is what is staring back at us in the mirror.

The main force that feeds us misinformation and prevents us from changing is our egos.

We are afraid we will be humiliated and our ego will be bruised when we we fail.  

As a result we settle for keeping it safe, we do the safe things, things that will insulate us from failure. Unfortunately keeping it safe is no longer safe anymore.

It is easier to fit in and be like everybody else. When I’m wrong, we are all wrong, then the humiliation is bearable because it is shared with everyone around.

Your ego is the factory where narrative fallacies are manufactured, preventing you from doing what comes first in creating change: confronting reality.

“Why haven’t I approached that girl yet?” Your ego does not want you to feel rejection.

“Why haven’t I started that businesses, wrote that poem, recorded that album, shot that video?” Because if I fail, my ego will be bruised and I will humiliated for the rest of my life and choke to death.

“Why haven’t I emailed that person I would love to work with?” Your ego is afraid that they would actually say yes.

“Why can’t I stop [insert bad habit here]?” Because then you would actually have time to, you know, do something.

Of course, there are systemic and personal issues at play here, but your ego plays a large role in helping you create excuses that prevent you from taking that painful first step.

We are all afraid of change. It is on us to fight our ego every step of the way.

Life is there ahead of you and either one tests one-self in its challenges or huddles in the valleys in a dreamless day-to-day existence whose only purpose is the preservation of an illusory security and safety.

People who are more concerned about their image, their brand and their ego, are likely not to take risks. Taking risks exposes your image, their brand and ego to danger.

You see failure, bruises your ego, the more you fail, the more your ego is bruised. The more you are rejected, the more your ego is hammered.

But let’s say you go on an ego diet and eliminate your ego. The more you fail, the more you learn, and the more you grow.

Get rid of your ego, it is holding you back.

The Ego Diet: Knowledge and ego


It was Albert Einstein who said more the knowledge lesser the ego. Lesser the knowledge, more the ego. I have realised this statement through my own journey as well.

Einstein’s equations of “Ego=1/Knowledge simply means:

“More the knowledge lesser the ego, lesser the knowledge more the ego.”

Knowledge and ego are directly related. The less knowledge, the greater the ego

Egotists pretend all that they are all that, humility acknowledges all that we are not.

We all possess the same reptilian brains so none of us is free of the temptation to be egoistical. Experts, to protect their self-esteem, are more frequently tempted to protect and preen their feathers.

Other professionals such as politicians, journalists, teachers, engineers, lawyers, and physicians etc. are also more prey to egoism.

When you learn a little, you feel you know a lot, but when you learn a lot, you realise you know very little.

There is no much danger with little knowledge, maybe this explains the behavior of arrogant politicians. They think they know a lot, hence the ego, while they actually know little.

Socrates once said: ‘One thing only I know and that is I know nothing at all’

Our quest and thirst for knowledge will leave you extremely frustrated. Each new thing you learn will lead you to another new thing, and another, and so on.

The more you uncover, the more remains hidden, that needs to be sought out and exposed. It is ultimately impossible to know everything. That is what makes life so fascinating and humbling.

Learning is a life long journey as well as a spiritual path. The more you learn the more you realize how much you don’t know and as a result you humble yourself.

The true measure of a man is the degree to which he has managed to subjugate his ego.

Next time you encounter someone with a King Kong ego, remember what it means about their level of knowledge.

That arrogant politician who thinks he is the sharpest knife in the drawer, that professor who is an intellectual snob need the ego diet.

The King Kong ego can be cured by going on a ego diet.

If A is a success in life, then A equals X plus Y plus Z. [A = X + Y + Z].


X is work,

Y is play, and

Z is keeping your mouth shut.