Knead the Need: Move the Needle!


You step on the accelerator and the speedometer needle moves.  The expression ‘ moving the needle ‘ was inspired from motoring. No prizes for guessing that.


In a distraction obsessed world, the biggest skill that we can acquire or improve on is to keep, retain and control our attention. It’s one thing not to fall prey to distraction and another to find the best use for your time, attention and effort. That is based on what is of the most significance to you. It is a calling that you will begin to recognise- focus, attention & effort on something that will actually ‘ move the needle ‘, to take things from where they are, to where it ought to be.


Pardon me for stating the obvious. The whole world is in constant motion. The earth moves, the clouds move, the waves move and we too must move. Move and reach the destination of your choice.

The three Ps will help us find our needle its vein. A physical goal, a personal goal and a professional goal. Together they achieve balanced productivity and regardless of what is going on in your life, if you accomplish these three things every day, you will move the needle in your life.


Most people set goals at the start of a new year. With a clean slate and fresh start, we’re optimistic, excited, and enthusiastic about the possibilities that lie ahead. But then reality sets in.


It’s harder than you thought it would be.


You don’t feel like you’re making progress.


Through no fault of your own, the world is in disarray (Pandemics, civil unrest, economic fluctuations, job loss, ruinous relationships etc.)


The goal you wanted to accomplish feels so far in the future or so far out of reach. You figure: why bother?


Does any of this sound familiar to you? If so, don’t worry. You’re not alone.


The best way to be where you want to be a year from now is to do something today you’ll be glad you did-Seth Godin


And it doesn’t have to be something big.


We underestimate the impact and potential of starting small and taking consistent action.


By breaking any endeavor up into the smallest manageable parts, you make visible progress, increase your motivation, and gain momentum.


Maybe you want to write a book, build a business or start a podcast. Writing elaborate business plans and conducting extensive research might make you feel productive. But these activities won’t necessarily move the needle forward.


The paradox of designing the future is that what you get done today is the only thing that matters. Tiny actions pile up and amass to something big and awesome.


If you need it, knead it. Move it. Move the needle.



The Temporary Nature of Permanence!


Happiness is understanding and accepting impermanence.

That said, even happiness is impermanent, like everything else. Without impermanence, there can be no life. Impermanence is one of the essential doctrines and a part of three marks of existence in Buddhism. Asserting that all conditioned existence is transient, evanescent, and inconstant, impermanence is a concept found in various aspects of Hinduism and Jainism.

Cutting edge technology becomes obsolete. Medical breakthroughs avert certain disasters. Music goes from futuristic to contemporary to nostalgia. Idols and celebrities whom we revered but never met die young.

The Time Machine is a recent phenomena(of the 1800s). A thousand years ago people had no inkling of what today would have been like, Just like, we, the present generation, will have no inkling of what it would be a few hundred years from now. Except some crystal ball gazing or educated guesses.

Impermanence is the law of the universe. Our experience and relationship with time keeps changing. The concept of time zones was a derivative of clocks. (As an aside, Sir Sanford Fleming, a Canadian engineer, was the first person to propose the use of worldwide time zones back in 1878. His idea was to divide the world into 24 time zones that were each 15 degrees of longitude apart. The reason for this is that the earth rotates 15 degrees every hour, or 360 degrees in 24 hours). And mind you we didn’t have clocks till such time we invented cities.

Our idea of history is vague(what has been told to us- the concept of some people walked the earth some aeons ago)…and probably it is the same with our future. Whether we have a role in it, and will it shape up in the manner we envisage.

If the future were to be looked upon as an ‘ impressionist painting in landscape mode ‘, a couple of things will come to fore:

– The future will never stop surprising us and any control of it is only a myth in our heads.

– That said, we can have a greater role to play in the future and endeavor to make and leave an impact. Change is a culture thing and culture( and the way we can change it and therefore our future) can be only be changed by us, we, the people.

We will never have a stop watch to switch on and switch off the future, as and when we desire to. Nor can we request the future to lie still and wait for our nudge to get moving. Future is not an obedient toddler, unfortunately.

What definitely is in our control is the work we do, the stories we tell ourselves, the connections we establish, the paths we follow, the art we ship out- all of it determines our culture. And culture will echo what’s next!





Goodbyes are good buys!


As the saying goes(by Moira Rogers), the two hardest things to say in life are hello for the first time and goodbye for the last.


That said, saying goodbye also means looking forward to new encounters. In a few years from now, you will have new skills, a new title, a new profession or business, new customers and a different level of influence.


All of this forward ratchet requires that you celebrate less – all the things that you are not doing any longer. Things that you have left behind. Let go. Disengaged with. Walked away from. Said ‘goodbye‘ to. In a sense. Past.


To land a new job, you leave behind your old one. The adult emerges upon the child being said goodbye to.

Much as we would like to believe that growth comes with no goodbyes, but it does. It is better to reconcile to the fact that what we begin will likely come to an end. Every beginning has an ending and every ending has a new beginning. When we go into it with eyes wide open, plan for it, then we will do it better.


Even book titles go by the names like Sorrow and Bliss, by Meg Mason, which while charming and lacerating in its humor but is also studded with all these moments of small-scale tragedy that make it feel hard to breathe. The price of being awake to life is being also awake to mortality. 


” Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


What will you leave behind? What will you embrace?








GPS Signal lost?


The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Often we allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should despise and forget. Preferring to hang onto its coat tails. And happy to play victim.


Grievance as the crutch to making things better is a disaster. Because if that is the preferred status quo, exploring possibilities and therefore resolution and progress becomes a non starter.


As Booker Washington put it ” Let our opportunities overshadow our grievances “.


Holding onto a distant past to justify a present grievance is baseless. Possibility rides on the bedrock of uncertainty. Because nothing in life is ever sure.


The assertion here, however, is that there really is no creativity without uncertainty. Put another way: dubito ergo creo. This is Latin for, I doubt therefore I create.

The outside world provokes, persists and insists that we change the story we tell ourselves. Our attitude doesn’t have to be driven by the outside world, but sometimes they overlap.


Specifically, when we experience uncertainty – no matter how uncomfortable and unsettling and destabilizing it can feel – the good news is that it opens vistas of possibility for new thought and action.


Organizations are created, powered, and led by people. To lead organizations well, we train people in disciplines such as marketing, finance, and leadership. But uncertainty presents a special challenge since few of us have received training in how to deal with it. As a result, although we may call for innovation, transformation, and change, most people back down at even the hint of risk, falling into a series of behavioral traps that limit organizations’ ability to grow and adapt. The challenge is that all growth, change, and transformation inevitably come paired with uncertainty. We have to go through the uncertainty to get to the possibility.


“In detachment lies the wisdom of uncertainty…in the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the prison of past conditioning. And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.” ~ Deepak Chopra.


As a possibilitarian ( its possible to create new vocabulary, you see!), may I direct you to this article from BrandKnew which talks about unlocking your inner futurist?



Sooner than Sooner or Later than Later ?

Crystal ball gazing can be a good hobby. And a better one would be actually seeing the future. A present forward to a scenario that will come about in a few years time. Ohh..ptimism !


William Pen once famously quoted ” Time is what we want most but what we use worst.”


What is history but a fable agreed upon? And the future happens slowly and then all of a sudden. History is a recent concept, the future even more so.


An impressionist painting of the future may not look rosy, but at least we are having them. With a possibility of doing something to change(for the better) what is on the anvil. On the flip side, the great strides in medicine, technology, energy production etc are sure salve for our nerves.


Of course, future generations will be mature enough to think even further ahead.



Fables and storytelling started off with ” once upon a time…”. The past was as much a mystery as was history. ” When I grow up, I want to be…” was the indoctrination that most of us received as kids. The fact that very rarely do our past and future align is a different matter altogether.


But, once you have made up your mind to create, construct, collaborate, contribute, to make art or do work that impacts, then how you look at time becomes sacrosanct. Time is either your friend or your opponent. Time is either something you use as a tool or something that works against you.


It is often used as an adage – time flies – that may not be exactly true, but it does move along. And a lot depends on whether you are using it as a tail wind or a head wind.


Small drops..make an ocean. Drip by drip by drip…show up, ship out. I started blogging ten years ago with no idea that I would be doing it a decade later. But here I am. And hoping to continue, learning, unlearning and striving to get better.


I am taking the liberty of directing you to what I feel would be a relevant read from the blog at ISD Global on ” 20% time ” – the most valuable time you can spend.



Go Luck Yourself!

In short, Luck’s always to blame..


It’s good to be cognisant of this saying about luck..


” You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from. You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help. Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck “.


Nothing is a mistake. There is no win or no fail. Everything is MAKE. Betting on lucky isn’t nearly as productive as simply establishing a platform where you can benefit from the occasional arrival of good fortune.


Life is full of luck, like getting dealt a good hand, or simply by being in the right place at the right time. Some people get luck handed to them, a second chance, a save.

Luck might not be a strategy, but setting yourself up to be lucky might be. The luck as tactic can be a workable tool if you are bringing in your deep work, resilience, showing up and shipping out and be on a perennial path of exploration and discovery. If you maintain that consistency, chances are high that you would get lucky more often than not. But that is very different from the default mindset that there is a correlation between past behaviour and lucky outcomes.


If you show up with good work and generous action, again and again, sooner or later something that appears to others to be luck will appear. So, go for it!


I urge you to read this article on Relentless Optimism in BrandKnew




Ring out the wring, bring in the ring !

Rings a bell?



Ringing relays, delivers, fulfils. Keeps up on a promise.
Ringing strikes a chord( no pun intended), builds momentum and resonates.
Ringing potentially signifies care and empathy. Ringing sets the stage for the next, the future. 
Ringing is a promise to continue. It leaves you with a lure to engage more, later. It keeps a bridge to help you go back, re-connect.
The very act of bell ringing is symbolic of all proselytizing religions.
Wringing marches to a different beat. It has different ambitions.  And makes no bones about it.
You can’t prepare for everything life’s going to throw at you.
And you can’t avoid danger. It’s there. The world is a dangerous place, and if you sit around wringing your hands about it, you’ll be out on all the adventure.
Wringing gets terminalExtracting the last bit there is. There is no scope for continuity or further engagement.
When you seek to wring every dollar out of a transaction, you’ve probably and unfortunately, engaged for the last time.
The desire to wring out a few more drips of happiness almost always destroyed the happiness you were so lucky to have, and so foolish never to acknowledge. – Jonathan Safran Foer
So, what’s your view? Ringside or Wringside?

Being An Employee Of Our Own Myth!

We are all frauds.


Creating is hard for every last one of us( including those from the allegedly superior Aryan race). Yes!


Coal mining is harder. Do you think the miners stand around all day thinking about how hard it is to mine for coal? Certainly not!  They simply dig.


Throughout life, you collect data points or dots. And you probably don’t have a clue as to how these dots will connect in the future. As Steve Jobs said, you can connect these dot only by looking backward. But you have to collect them moving forward.


Without the mistakes we make, the decisions we regret, and the experiences that didn’t live up to our expectations, we would be woefully short of material and ammunition for our creative work. These things are all ingredients for your soup, material for making meaning and creating art.


The creative life, just like the creative process isn’t linear. We don’t know how each of our life experiences will impact us down the road. With each step forward, the landscape differs, the view changes, and the most insignificant experiences of our lives at the moment can serve as the most informative ones in our future.


Our creativity is not something that someone can give to us or take away. It’s always something within us. Happily domiciled. Whether it’s the degree we earn or the job we hate,  every experience provides us with seeds to plant for the stories we tell.


Life doesn’t pause to make room for our precious creating time.


” There is an unknown room in the soul that is constantly turning the stuff of daydreams into myths for us, helping us to get at meaning we can’t get to through the front door “- Phil Cousineau



AWEptimism V PAUSEmism

Ideally, conventional phonetics would have called this out as Optimism V Pessimism. That being said, ideal is only wishful thinking. Better get used to shock and awe.


A posture. A stance. A position. About what to expect.


response(or reaction) to external events or triggers.


Sensing the reality on the ground, an obligation to make a decision based on what to expect.
That does not though explain why different people, similarly informed, adopt an optimistic mood or a pessimistic one.
In fact, that mood is a choice. And it’s one that determines how we will behave.
Optimism is a tool that permits us to solve problems more effectively. If used wisely, it brings enthusiasm, inspiration and hope to projects that benefit from them.
And pessimism(believe it or not) is a tool as well– it can help you with budgeting, scheduling and other projects. If it works for you, that’s great.
Choose your tools wisely

That said, either mood will lead to misguided energy and poor decisions.

But if we can be thoughtful about optimism as a tactic, the focus and energy it brings can solve problems that others might simply walk away from. Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.


Our pessimism might not be an accurate diagnosis of the past. Baggage carried forward. It might simply be a way we’re using to produce a future we’re not happy with.


“What people forget is a journey to nowhere starts with a single step, too.








Hope is more than a four letter word

Making a Cape  sorry..Case of Good Hope!


We all know 2020 has been quite the decade (and we all have the stress wrinkles to prove it), so here’s hoping that this blog on hope is a boost.


Wisdom of the crowds.


Collective bias.


Herd mentality.


Birds of the same feather flocking together.


All of the above exemplifies the force and velocity of a human collective.


Why not add hope to the mix? The power of collective hope.


Unabashed capitalism has never been a great ally of either faith or hope. But our hopes, not our hurts, shape our future.


If we can combine accepting finite disappointment without losing infinite hope, we would all be in clover.


Writer and essayist Lu Xun has this to share on the power of collective hope:


” Hope is like a road in the country side..where there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence “.


It’s not too late. The space of possibilities is endless. The most interesting terrain remains unexplored. Hope is like the sun. Never fails to rise.


Hope is a powerful four letter word. And collective hope is a fource to reckon with.