Category Archives: Uncategorized

How the little act of giving, can mean so much to so many

A chance meeting with Helen Campbell eight years ago when I established Business Transformation Solutions (BTS), unleashed for me, the enormous power of giving initiated through the simple but profound concept of Buy1Give1 (B1G1). Paul Dunn and Masami Sato the architects of B1G1, enabled me to realize something that I wanted to do, but did not know how to.

I had established my business to create brighter futures for individuals, corporates and countries. As a sole trader, the pathway for me to do so for individuals was clear. I would do that through mentoring and lecturing. For corporates, I would facilitate this through corporate consulting in management, leadership, strategic planning and risk management.

But I had no idea of how I could influence countries and this seemed daunting.

Helen suggested I look at B1G1 and what Paul Dunn had created. I was struck by the simplicity of the thought, the process and the reach to make lives better for so many in need in so many countries around the globe.

More importantly, as a sole trader, with ebb and flow of income, I knew that I could not commit to the hitherto monthly contributions to aid organizations as I had been accustomed to.

B1G1 had the perfect answer- contribute when one can, and in bite sizes, and to tangible projects that one can relate to.

And, each contribution shows the linkages to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Thanks to Steve Pipe and Paul Dunn for asking me to express my thoughts, in the Foreword of the book “Our Time to RISE”, on why I believe so strongly in the B1G1 concept.

“Our time to Rise” sends a powerful message and I hope this inspires others to think of how they can contribute, in a small but meaningful way, towards the betterment of an individual in need and through the masses, the betterment of so many in need throughout the world.

Covid 19- let us not lose this unique opportunity to reshape work and society

The End of Work, by Jeremy Rifkin, 1995

It has been the greatest opportunity since the Industrial Revolution, for a change in how we view work, hours of work, location of work, the way work and life should interact, the meaning of work, the societal responsibility for distribution of work, restitution of a class structure of the haves (employed) and the have nots (unemployed, underemployed), resolution of the dangers of consumerism and exploitation of the destitute at the expense of empathy, etc. but it is being frittered away with meaningless words such as the New Normal, the Post Covid Normal, and the like.

Sadly, it is more of the same.

The hasty return to a New Normal to date has centered mainly on how many days the currently employed will be required to work from the work place and how many days to work from home.

There has been minimal thought on those who have suffered the effects of job losses, depression, loss of their businesses, loss of identity, as if this is merely collateral damage that one needs to accept as inevitable.

Return to work in many cases has been to a casual position, with underemployment looming large, but the statistics show employment in Australia on the rise irrespective of whether it is on a sustainable income.

This could have been a time when one ponders whether structural changes such as reviewing the change to a 3-day working week could be advocated by company executives, with the aim of improving the livelihood of those on the long term unemployed by employing them for the remaining 2 days of the week, so that there is a chance of full employment.

This might seem to be too radical or not sustainable.

However, Covid 19 should have shown us that the pursuit of wealth for its own sake or for power or seeming security, was no guarantee for being spared from the viciousness of the virus.

It should have showed us that we all can do more with less and still have a sustainable livelihood.

It should have showed us that having enough is more important than herding into offices daily for a 40 hour a week, which often turned into 60 hour a week, was taking its toll on our health, social connections, and general well being.

The argument will be that one cannot sustain oneself on a 3 day a week wage. The rising prices of homes, the higher standards of living, the need to keep up with the Joneses, the need to have not one, but two, or three or four investment properties, the need to buy brand name goods, flashy cars, the need to travel overseas often, the need to have a bigger home irrespective of whether it is way beyond ones requirements, etc. are all arguments for earning more.

Covid 19 should have shown us that all this is relative. Security is not in wealth, but in health, not in the rush for more, but the pursuit of less, not for borrowing beyond ones means but living within ones means.

Covid 19 should have shown us that however hard we feel impacted by the pandemic, there are always others more badly affected having lost all due to the pandemic.

It should have shown us that now is the time to extend our thoughts to those who have suffered through years of unemployment, underemployment, or just bad luck.

We can, and should give up something so that we can lift society from pure sustenance to decent livelihoods.

Eight years ago, I felt the need to embark on a new life, one that I termed the Earning, Learning and Giving (3+1+1=10) Life Work Model. This was to be an experiment to see whether the 3 day working week was just a pipe dream or can be a reality. It was also to address the very issue of underemployment and unemployment in Australia and overseas.

This was influenced by me reading The End of Work by Jeremy Rifkin way back in 1999, and deciding that one day I would make an effort to find a new Life Work Paradigm.

Eight years on, I am living a happy and meaningful life using the Model as a baseline.

Today, more than ever, I feel the need for governments, executives, influencers, radical thinkers, social scientists, thought leaders and entrepreneurs, to rethink work, society and the role and meaning of work in modern society.

Maybe if the idea of the split 3 day + 2 day working week is too radical, governments can look at the use of the Universal Basic Income (UBI) to complement those who are working the 3 day + 2 day working week so that the burden of paying unemployment benefits can be shifted to a new paradigm.

For executives who have been talking about the Triple Bottom Line Indicators, the social benefits of employing more people and bettering the livelihoods of so many, can be realised through this change.

This is a radical shift in thinking, but unless we start thinking differently in a post Covid 19 world, we will have wasted the once in a life time opportunity that has come to haunt each and every person in the universe- an event that will be remembered as a novel opportunity lost unless we dare to be different.

Let us look at how we can use and go beyond the 3+1+1= 10 Earning, Learning and Giving Life Work Model ( ) to create a new wave of opportunity for the world.

Let us Dare to be different.

Setting life goals- Dare to be different, dare to be you

Setting goals should not only be for businesses, governments and entrepreneurs. Our lives should also have some goals, so that there is something to aspire for, something to inspire and motivate us, and something to give us the drive to pursue our dreams.

“Dare to be different, dare to be you” is my life journey through goal setting, management and leadership and shows that dreams at an early stage in life, or later in life, can come true.

But…there must be a plan, and a goal. Without these ingredients, we can meander through life, having a great time, but it may not necessarily be the life that one was capable of attaining.

My life journey began at the age of nine, when in 1962, my dad asked me to dream my life. This was at the source of the River Nile in Uganda on the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the source of the River Nile by John Hanning Speke.

I dreamt that one day I would be a hydro engineer, as my dad used to take me to the nearby hydro power station and I loved the sound of the turbines and generators.

My second dream was to one day go to the other end of the River Nile- in Egypt.

I realised both dreams as in 1976 the first job I took up in India, was as a hydro power systems engineer.

In 1982, I went to the other end of the River Nile, in Cairo, Egypt.

Being in the Arabian Gulf at Al Ain, UAE at the time, I decided to set career goals. I decided that I would change careers from engineering to management by 30, then from management and hopefully leadership to education at 45, and free fall at 60 and do whatever took my fancy at the time- but it had to benefit society.

My careers followed those timelines with me taking on management and leadership roles in transport, and later in education and executive roles in insurance and finance, and finally entrepreneurship at 60 undertaking social and community work.

I also decided to write my autobiography in three stages the first at 30, the second at 45 and the final one at 60, and the first two goals were achieved as I wrote the first book “The Quest- My First Thirty Years” in the deserts of Al Ain, and the second “Before and Beyond The Quest My First Thirty Years- To Forty Five” in Melbourne, Australia. Both were not to be published as I considered them too private.

Although I had set a target to write my third autobiography at 60, life was too exciting at the time and at 65, I embarked on the final autobiography but was encouraged to include my careers in management and leadership and entwine my life history within.

On 26 November 2020, I held my first published book “Dare to be different, dare to be you” and it was the bringing together of the two previous autobiographies and more.

This book takes one on a journey through life in the 50’s and 60’s in Africa, India in the 70’s, UAE in the early 80’s and later in Australia, and examines the cultural differences, lifestyles and ambitions of people in the different countries.

It also relates the challenges of migration, assimilation into new countries, the ups and downs of changing careers and balancing life, family and ones ambitions.

It takes a birds eye view of the world through travels in all continents including the adventure to Antarctica.

The highs and lows of management and leadership and events in the power, transport, education, insurance and finance industries locally and globally as well as the establishment of a business at the ripe age of 60 is examined in order to show that difficult as change may be, the rewards far outweigh the pain.

Through notable events, it shows the challenges managers and leaders face, and their need for integrity, values, morals, courage, determination and drive. Without those qualities, mediocrity sets in and change almost becomes impossible.

It highlights that we must dream, and dream big as the attainment of true happiness lies in setting ambitious goals and making them happen.

Dreams come true for those that dare to dream.

Covid 19 highlights the benefits of social media

It was just some months ago that social media was under scrutiny for the negative effects it could engender in society.

How times have changed as it is being lauded as the saviour in these unprecedented times of social distancing.

Communication has never been so accessible and welcome as is now.

Imagine going back in time and experiencing how life would have been in yester-years when messages had to be relayed…

490BC – Pheidippides, the Greek soldier, ran 25 miles from a battlefield near Marathon, to Athens, to announce the defeat of the Persians to the anxious Athenians.

Word of mouth communication through toil, sweat and tears!!!

1775 – The US Postal Service is established by the Second Continental Congress and mail distributed. Origins of a postal service could be attributed to the Persian King Cyrus the Great in 550BCE and the Egyptian Pharaoh’s in 2400BCE.

I cannot see you, but I can read what you have written.

1830’s – Samuel Morse invents the Morse code and telegraphy through code makes an entrance in communication.

I can decipher what you want to say. I neither see you nor hear you.

1876 – Alexander Graham Bell invented the first working telephone.

I do not see you, but I can hear you loud and clear.

1895-96 – The first practical radio transmitters and receivers was invented by Marconi from Italy and radio went commercial in 1900.

I can hear the news of the world but only hear you if you become newsworthy. My world has suddenly opened up.

1950’s to 1960’s – Television evolves to become an international phenomenon developed simultaneously in many countries.

I can see and hear the world news and see and hear you if you become newsworthy. I now feel part of a wider world.

1971 – Ray Tomlinson invented the email.

I can communicate instantaneously with you but cannot see you.

1997 – First social media site, Six Degrees, created by Andrew Weinreich.

Our world has changed forever. I can see, hear and communicate with you in real time.

Thanks to all those wonderful inventors, who have made our life so bearable in this current crisis.

Information in this post has been sourced from Wikipedia.

Life after COVID 19- what lessons can we learn?

In recent times, there has not been any global event that struck with such stealth, speed, venom, and fear as has COVID 19.

The health and welfare of so many in the world has been shattered, gloom and doom pervades as reports of so many people succumbing to the deadly virus comes to light from countries far and wide. Companies have shut down operations resulting in unemployment rising exponentially, the jobless figures soars, stock markets have crashed, the financial institutions are under strain, and more countries have gone into lock-down, closing their boundaries and restricting people to their homes.

It is hard to see any silver lining to an event that has yet to play out its deadly course.

Yet, we need to ponder and reflect on how such events will shape our future.

We need to ask ourselves how we may all need to change our way of life, our values, relationships and see the world, people and nature in a different light.

Foremost in thought, must be how we will interact with people close to us, our family, friends, our neighbours, our country folks and indeed the world at large.

Too often, in the hurly burly of life, we do not find time for our family as we take them for granted – after all, we think, our main purpose must be to earn a livelihood to be able to take care of the needs of our family, and only after amassing what seems like a reasonable financial position, do we then think of spending quality time with them.

With aging parents and the infirm, we may think that there will be time to catch up. The forced isolation teaches us that destiny may choose otherwise.

We must seize every moment, every opportunity to show our loved ones that we care, and no amount of work or other chores should take precedence over caring for them.

COVID 19 has been non-forgiving and non-discriminatory. It has not looked at wealth, position, nation, village, status, and has chosen its victims with disdain for any contrived pecking order that nations and people have created over generations of existence.

It has leveled the wealthy with the poor, the disadvantaged with the advantaged, the sick with the healthy, the haves with the have-nots, and taken on a path of destruction that appears to have no quick end in sight.

The stock market crashes spiraling out of control should be a wake up call for all to realise that the unrelentless pursuit of wealth for its own sake, or for domination, or status has its downsides. The need to live within ones means should be a lesson for us all.

Peace of mind and the dog eats dog attitude of some that capitalise on the misfortune of others should not continue. Ethical and moral living must be the norm.

No longer should we have respect for those that merely pursue or have the monetary wealth without any social conscience. Those who have the wealth and do good for society, need to be respected. Those that scavenge and strangle others in the pursuit of their wealth must be chastised by society.

We need to take a long and hard look at how we are treating the environment and acknowledge that climate change is real. Whilst there are still so many that argue whether it is instigated by the actions of the human race or not, the floods, droughts, famines, intensity and increased duration of bush-fires, weather pattern changes require us to take whatever steps are necessary to reduce our contribution to the disastrous changes in the climate.

The need to look at increasing the use of solar, wind and wave energy to power our grids makes more sense in a world in lock-down, as solar and wind plants operate with minimal human intervention.

We all need to review the distribution of work, the distribution of opportunity and the distribution of wealth for all. Work should not be the prerogative of those with connections, or education levels, but a striving by governments to reduce unemployment to minimal levels.

A review of the working week and days for earning must be fast forwarded so that there is the opportunity for the currently unemployed to gain employment. The three day working week should be instilled in the workplaces so that the other two days can provide the opportunity for the currently unemployed to be part of the workforce.

Work should consist of times for earning and giving, and leisure and the pursuit of that which matters to one, seamlessly blending in the working week.

It is seven years since I began advocating for a change in the way we look at life and work and extol the benefits of working from home.

Today, working from home as a result of COVID 19 is a reality.

Today, finding ways to keep ones mind active during forced shut downs is the challenge.

Today, social media has enabled us to stay connected and work from home.

If ever there was a time for the world to look at new models of work and life, it is now. COVID 19 has pushed us to a new life paradigm.

Let me advocate for a world of change.

Let the 3+1+1=10 Earning, Learning and Giving Life Work Model that I embarked on in April 2013, be a challenge for the world to think differently of how work should be post COVID 19.

Quantum leaps of change come out of significant life events.

Let us not waste this opportunity to change the world of work and make life to be more meaningful for all.

Age is no barrier to innovation and change-SBS Viva Radio interview

Lake Nakuru, Kenya, East Africa, 2018-19

Ageing need not be daunting, as it is not how old one is but rather what one has done in the intervening years, and what one aspires to do in the future.

The opportunities to explore other facets of life grow as one is less burdened with youth, and the pressures that work has on one’s ability to pursue interests that are not materially focused.

My interview with SBS Viva Radio takes me down a journey that commenced in 2013 and has been the most fulfilling career in my life.

The unfinished business of publishing my book, Dare to be different , Dare to be you on management and leadership with my life experiences and journey wound in, is yet another aspect of what age enables one to do more of – reflection.

Leadership, intrigue, intuition and imagination


Colin Powell when asked about the “Essence of Leadership” stated that advice from his sergeant at infantry school was very powerful and had a great impact on him – “Lieutenant, you will know when you are a great leader when people follow you if only out of curiosity”.

Indeed, leaders seem to draw people to them as there is a sense of intrigue, anticipation and hope and being part of something larger than themselves.

Leaders inspire others to follow them as they have a strong sense of what lies ahead and imagine futures that are brighter, and something worth striving for as they are able to articulate a vision so clear and simple that people can feel the road-map ahead, even though the challenges may seem insurmountable.

Roselinde Torres in her research on “What it takes to be a great Leader” found that “Great leaders are not head down: they see around corners shaping their future not just reacting to it”. This characteristic of leaders is one that is nurtured over years of development and self-reflection, of looking at possible futures and using their intuition that is the accumulation of what they have read, seen, assimilated and reflected upon. They use their head, heart and gut to see around corners and have the courage to do something about their beliefs.

Collins in “Good to Great” found that great leaders have courage and humility and the steely determination to follow through on their intuition despite potential ramifications on their lives. They believe and follow through: action follows thought.

All this comes with a potent combination of Emotional Intelligence, empathy, trust, authenticity and energy.

Leaders have great intrigue, intuition and imagination and attract people to them.

The world is a better place because leaders dare to dream, and dream big, but importantly take action to ensure that they give hope to all.




The role of humans in 2066- Fifty years on..


In fifty years, “3D printed food” will be the norm, robots caring for and transacting on everyday needs will be common place, the first humans will have settled comfortably on Mars, agribusiness will be totally automated, alternative green energy will power all our needs, auto-propelled and driven transportation systems will abound,and generally all “work as we know it” will no longer exist.

The Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) in a 2015 report stated that 40% of Australia’s current workforce could be replaced by automation within the next 20 years.

In 50 years, this could mean the end of work as we know it.

Money may no longer be needed as trading of services between robots will create an environment of bartering of specialist robotic services between robots rather than monetary transactions for rendering services.

With work being done by robots, and thinking machines taking care of all other needs, will humans have a role to play or will we be a species in decline and without purpose?

What will be the role of humans in a world dominated by robots and thinking machines?

There are many alternate scenarios for the human race but 2 contrasting scenarios could be:

Scenario 1: Robots dominate the world and humans are moved into reservations with no sense of purpose.

Scenario 2: Humans have a higher order purpose and will have an even more meaningful existence negotiating and interacting with robots.

Scenario 1 is a scary proposition and one we need to strategise into order to avoid becoming a reality.

We need to think about how Scenario 2 will be the norm and humans will co-exist with robots and thinking machines but still contribute to and be part of a meaningful world.

Humans will need to capitalise on their intuition, lateral thinking, feelings and emotions and delve deep into their souls and spirituality in order to enable peaceful interaction with smart machines and robots. The latter will be able to think in multiple dimensions as well as converse between themselves and arguably bring about a new world order devoid of the need for human beings.

The robotic world will however need mediators, issue resolution expertise, conflict resolution skills, reflection and a sense of well-being; all qualities that humans have and can bring to a mechanistic world.

Thus while the focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills is the current buzz, this will enable the creation of the ultimate thinking machines, and extend the meaningful purpose of humans for a limited time – probably till 2046.

Robots and thinking machines will think beyond humans and excel in the creation of mechanistic solutions for worldly problems – better than humans will in due course as the deeper levels of self programming will unleash higher order thinking machines.

Focus on the non-technical and arts skills as well as the esoteric creative skills, reflective innovation, well-being and happiness, mediating and conflict resolution skills and being in touch with the inner soul and spiritual sense of calm, will be key to humans still be able to contribute to the world in 2066.

Indeed life will be very different in 2066, but let us contemplate how humans will still be an integral part of that world and skill ourselves to be higher order beings with purposeful existence in the brave and challenging new world of the future.

Let the thinking begin.












But you are not Bill Gates…

The climb

“But you are not Bill Gates”. Those words were uttered by Arlene, my wife, three years ago  in April 2013 when I told her that I wanted to give up a successful life in the corporate world and pursue my new-found burning passion to work on “creating brighter futures” for others by working on social and community causes. Arlene followed her first statement with “And you do realise that you are now 60 and social and community work is a low paying industry”.

And so true Arlene’s words were.

We did not have wealth nor enormous savings, had all the mundane expenses of a normal household, four kids, and needed a flow of funds in order to meet the daily expenses of life. Added to this, although I had undertaken management and leadership programs in the social and community arena, I was still an unknown in that area.

Yet the desire to launch into this unknown but needy space defied logic. I considered the definition of “having enough” was relative. After all, I had lived in Africa and India, and remembered that wealth is a state of the mind. Material wealth can open doors, but if I was to make an impact in this new endeavor, I would have to improvise and think differently.

My measure of success would not be the well trodden ROI, but a new one – EPL (Enriching People’s Lives). Not dipping into savings would be a bottom line indicator – my KPI. The Business model and activities for the company I created (Business Transformation Solutions) would have to be self-sustaining with a growth target in order for me to continue on the mission. I quickly thought of the need for an “Earning, Learning and Giving” model as volunteering (“Giving”) my expertise in management, leadership, risk and strategy in the social and community field was going to be a key plank of the new life. “Learning” had to be an integral part of the offering as currency of expertise is critical. “Earning” had to ensure that the business was self sustaining.

I also knew that lifestyle had to be a key ingredient of the new career.

The emergence of the 3+1+1=10 Prosperity Model ( ) was the way I would conduct my newly chosen vocation and career.

Fluidity in thinking and adapting to the challenges that have to be confronted has been a wonderful learning experience and this shows that small business is deep into the VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity- US Army War College, 1990’s ) world. The entrepreneurial skills that are gained through operating at this level  has been phenomenal.

Social media is such a boon to small business and has enabled spread of the purpose well beyond what was possible in past years. Networking (both e-networking and person to person) has been expanded through use of social media and technology and these are relatively low-cost investments for small business. Creativity and lateral thinking is facilitated through the new contacts made and the innumerable conversations over a cup of coffee, as there are so many people with brilliant ideas and also looking for new models of work and life.

Volunteering has amply nurtured the primary purpose of working in the social and community and been such a spark as well as lit new secondary purposes. This is a low-cost venture with phenomenal benefits. The gratitude from the organisations has been uplifting and the impact of giving ones skills to organisations doing extraordinary work globally means that your contribution to strategy, leadership and management is an enabler for the organisations to focus on their core purpose and excel in it. Learning through volunteering has been a two way interchange. In many ways, volunteering has enabled a one-person business to spread its contribution to the global environment through the organisation being served.

Earning will always be the key pain point for small business. Having a portfolio of offerings has ensured the revenue pipeline to be sustainable. Thus consulting, lecturing, and mentoring are key to gaining new business. The networks created through volunteering, social media connections and one-on-one meetings has enabled word of mouth marketing.

The 3+1+1=10 model fits so neatly into the Japanese “Ikigai” concept on the “reason for being” as it is the confluence of doing “What you Love, What the World Needs, What you are good at, and What you can be paid for”.

The 3+1+1=10 model is also an attempt in finding the “sweet spot in work and life” and in a microscopic way seeking a new work life paradigm in line with the “Gross National Happiness” concept that the former King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, proposed in 1972 and promulgated for the State of Bhutan.

Indeed, it is a case of “But you are not Bill Gates..” but minor steps to make the planet a better place can be made by anyone with minimal outlays.

Our purpose needs to be “enriching the lives of others because we cared and did something about it” – even if is a tiny drop in the ocean. That must be our legacy.