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Can Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences help guide life & career choices?

21st March 1965, Kisubi, Uganda, East Africa- “What would you like to be when you grow up?” asks Lord Snowdon. “An artist”, I reply.

When on 21st March 1965, in Kisubi, Uganda, I was asked by Lord Snowdon what I would like to be when I grew up, my prompt reply was “an artist”.

But besides dabbling in painting at a young age, and having 2 paintings exhibited in the Speke Hotel, Kampala, Uganda, an artist I never became.

I followed another dream made a few years earlier, on 28 July 1962, in Jinja, at the source of the River Nile, when my dad asked me to “dream my life”, and that was to be a hydro engineer.

What is it that makes us choose careers?

And what prevents one from pursuing multiple careers?

Are we held back and restricted from exploring our whole set of attributes and dreams by our first career? Or our fear of change? Or the fear of failure?

Referring to Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, “Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences”, 1983), might assist us in assessing our various skills, attributes and arguably dreams and unleash a full spectrum of life and work balance.

It might enable us to conduct an audit of where we are in our life cycle and ambitions and #careers and enable a repositioning in order to fulfil new dreams.

Inadvertently, my 30:45:60 Life Goals Model ( ), triggered in the deserts of Al-Ain, UAE, might have been my attempt to explore new dreams, excitement in life and multiple careers.

Deciding to leave, at 30, an engineering career (logical-mathematical intelligence as per Gardner), and pursue a career in management and leadership ( (interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligence in Gardner’s terminology) till 45, and thereafter, a career in management and leadership and insurance and finance education ( linguistic- verbal intelligence) till 60, and finally an entrepreneur, public speaker and author (continuing the linguistic-verbal thread), all this whilst in early days pursuing sports as an outlet (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence), leaves 2 major gaps and 1 minor gap.

The 2 major gaps are the pursuit of musical intelligence and artistic ventures.

Time to get the rust out of my fingers and resume playing the guitar and piano, albeit by ear, as I learnt to read music at 50 but found it too tedious and will never be a fully fledged musician. But belt a few tunes I will in the non-critical environment of home!!!

And time to get out the paints, easel, and paint brushes and attempt to portray my journey in management, leadership and change through art. This will be a new challenge, but one I hope to explore. I might still be able to fulfil the artist dream…need a lot of luck to do so.

As regards the last minor gap- naturalistic intelligence- my love for the outdoors and gardening, albeit interrupted due to the effects of age, will be kept to time-bound forays into the garden and post Covid trips, initially in Australia, and hopefully overseas.

Time for us all to have our “Gardner” audit and enjoy life to the full.


What if…

What if we stopped looking at #success through monetary wealth and possessions and started measuring success through:

– what one does to contribute to the well-being of the community
– how one gives of oneself to others in need
– how one strives to save the environment and make a sustainable world for future generations
– how one advocates for truth and honesty in dealings with others
– how one sacrifices self for others

Would this make for a more caring and sharing world?

Would it make for better decisions in the world?

With the world hurtling towards possessions at the cost of others, spending billions on reaching other planets when we have increasing poverty, increasing homelessness and refugees here on earth, could we start by acknowledging those who care for humanity and do something positive?

Post-Covid, should this be something to try?

Somehow, there needs to be a circuit breaker to this crazy pursuit of wealth and power.

We need to break the cycle for humanity to have a chance for dignity and respect.

Is it time for a Post-Covid Self-Audit?

With the vaccination programs bringing hope of a Post-Covid world, or at least a change from the hitherto feeling of despair and uncertainty, is it time for a #PostCovidSelfAudit?

There is still a way to go to get to the #NewNormal and there might be a #DynamicTransitionSemiNormal interim state, but there may be merit in preparing for a Post-Covid world.

The opportunity for a step change or a radical change in lifestyle and work, has presented itself, but it appears that the biggest discussions have been whether to have a hybrid model of work, with a few days of the week at the office and the rest working from home. Some discussions have been on changing careers and doing something different.

This is encouraging, but there must be more that we can do or think of doing.

Reflecting on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943, 1954), with so many losing jobs, their livelihoods, their businesses, etc,, there is definitely a need for many to go back to basics- and look at the physiological needs and sadly start again. This is the sad toll of the pandemic.

However for those who were able to retain their jobs, work from home and still earn a salary, and were buffered from the tragic events, there appears to be a rush back to doing what was being done before- engaging in the rat race, capitalizing on the swings in the stock market and rushing into money making ventures, investing in property with a vengeance due to low interest rates, unhappy with what one has and getting into the “I want more, and more, even if I do not need it” mode, etc.. This is essentially circling in the “more is better” race, and not being able to know what is enough in a world dominated by materialism and consumption.

A rush to capitalize on the misfortune of others seems acceptable in such a world obsessed with wealth and power.

There should be a pause.

#Covid should have taught us some fundamental lessons. It struck everyone in the globe, did not discriminate between the rich or the poor, decimated some economies, caused tensions between citizens in countries, and generally should have been a wake up call to what is really important going ahead in the future. It also showed many the importance of family and friends.

It is a wonderful time to reflect on what one should stop doing, what one should continue doing, and what one should do differently in life.

Deciding to do a self-audit was an important step for me and my business, Business Transformation Solutions. This journey commenced 8 years ago in 2013 when I decided to resign from corporate life and devote time to social and community causes.

But it was important to review where I and the business stand.

The self-audit resulted in the inverted pyramid of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to reflect how much time I wanted to devote to the things that really matter.

Hopefully the diagram above is a starting guide for reviewing the future path for a better and more considerate world.

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.