Writing to learn, learning to write. With practice comes clarity of purpose. #100days
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Day 177 - Unexpected Sources

The argument is that most problems can be addressed in one of two ways. Either it's "Let's get this done" or "Ok, it's time to give up"

Imagine you're back in high school and you're standing at the start line for the 100 Meter run. Either you'll think "Ok, let's do this", or you'll look around, size up your competition, and think "What's an excuse for walking away".

Starting affords you the chance to realize what the essence of the problem you're trying to tackle is.

This in turn, allows you to course correct, and work on the right problem.

I think this goes for personal projects as well. Just try it, what else will you lose besides the time you'll likely waste considering your options.

Day 176 - The mantra of dreams

Let me know what this stirs within you

How to live your life like a waking dream.


are typically melodic, mathematically structured meters, believed to be resonant with numinous qualities

In more sophisticated forms, mantras are melodic phrases with spiritual interpretations such as a human longing for truth, reality, light, immortality, peace, love, knowledge, and action.[3][11] Some mantras without literal meaning are musically uplifting and spiritually meaningful.[6]

The Sanskrit word mantra- (m.; also n. mantram in Tamil) is derived from the root man- "to think".[14][15][16][17][18]

The Chinese translation is 眞言, 真言; zhenyan; 'true words', the Japanese on'yomi reading of the Chinese being shingon (which is also used as the proper name for the prominent esoteric Shingon sect).

According to Bernfried Schlerath, the concept of sātyas mantras is found in Indo-Iranian Yasna 31.6 and the Rigveda, where it is considered structured thought in conformity with the reality or poetic (religious) formulas associated with inherent fulfillment.[19]

Mantras, suggests Frits Staal, may be older than language.

There is no generally accepted definition of mantra.[20]

Renou has defined mantra as a thought.[21] Mantras are structured formulae of thoughts, claims Silburn.[22] 

Farquhar concludes that mantras are a religious thought, prayer, sacred utterance, but also believed to be a spell or weapon of supernatural power.[23] 

Zimmer defines mantra as a verbal instrument to produce something in one’s mind.[24] 

Bharati defines mantra, in the context of the Tantric school of Hinduism, to be a combination of mixed genuine and quasi-morphemes arranged in conventional patterns, based on codified esoteric traditions, passed on from a guru to a disciple through prescribed initiation.[25]

Day 175 - The great Salloum Qoutes

If you own the vision, there's nothing you can't do.

Day 174 - the future of work

What is the future of work? What does that even mean? 

Buzz word, fad, trends….(indifferent eye roll) yet more snake oil, now turned snake lotion kickstarter.

Whatever your take may be, it's going to impact you a lot sooner than climate change..and in some ways, it already has.  

Think of the present…

Are you a part of a large organization? 

Are any of the following familiar? 

Engagement surveys

Annual performance appraisals

Team building exercises

Voluntolding (mandatory volunteering).  

Congratulations, you've had the misfortune of experiencing tools from an era where productivity was measured by the individual output of 'workers'. These tools I mentioned are sometimes commonly referred to as "Best Practices". 

If you've had to implement them, then you've simply followed a rubber stamped process by way of policy based on legalese that few understand (read: dehumanising). If you've experienced bad policies....you're either enforcing them and still have a job, or you've been made to suffer until you exit, or you’d built up enough courage and savings to leave on your own terms.

So what does the future hold?

TLDR: Problem solving even over repetitive tasks

TLDR: Creative contributor even over corporate consumer

TLDR: Empathy and Collaboration even over siloed frustration 

  We believe the following to be true:

Workplaces and tasks are by definition going to change changing, and there won't be excuses allowing for repetitive tasks to terrorize a person's day.  - The age old question of "What came first the chicken or the egg?" (Read: what comes first? Job experience? or an experience on a job?) will be answered by a generation that has grown up handling it's own social media marketing, automated banking/accounting, etc.

What it means to design is rapidly evolving, conversations espousing Agile and Human centred design have democratized tools necessary for innovation.  This will impact what leadership is, isn't and what it needs to be for organizations (read: teams) to be successful.

Day 171 - The boy Pt.1

created_at: 2019-11-17 19:08:05

Merchant, widower, went away on a business trip, while he was away bandits attached and burned his whole village. When he returned he couldn't find his house, here saw the charred body of a child near by. He cried and cried, he beat his chest and pulled his hair. The next day he cremated the body and made a little velvet pouch so he could keep his child next to him. Wherever he went he had that bag of ash with him, eating, sleeping, working he always carried it with him.

In fact, his child was kidnapped, and three months later he escaped and found his way back to the village. He knocked on the door of the new house his father had built. The poor father was crying his heart out on the floor holding the bag of ashes.

He asked who is there
It's me Daddy your son
That's not possible my son is dead, I cremated his body and I carry his ashes with me. You must be some naughty boy who is trying to fool me, go away don't disturb me. He refused to open the door and there was no way for his son to come in. The boy had to go away and the father lost his son forever.

Story from The Art of Power

Day 170 - IS: Your Impact


created_at: 2019-11-15 19:08:05


Here’s today’s reflection: If money and time were no object, what in the world would you most want to impact? What steps would you take to pursue this passion or interest?

oh ma lord, I’d like to ramble using a voice note, SO. MANY. THINGS!

But if it’s one thing. Systemic change management for a nascent government by subsidizing targeted educational opportunities linked to apprenticeships for public services related to health, and education.

Can you explain this more? Sounds interesting!

When I was working for an NGO in England, about a decade ago, I had a habit of taking a different path to my desk each morning. I tended to wander around the book shelves in the open air office, and on one of these mornings, I came across Paulo Freire’s book, the Pedagogy of the Oppressed. I started an hour later than expected, the book had pulled me in to an extent that I, in a way, experienced a sort of unsheathing of the mind.

The idea I mentioned briefly, is premised on the assumption that people seek to better their condition, be that physical, psychological, or otherwise. If the right conditions are created, the possibility for a larger number of people to access a “limit situation”.

In Somaliland, an unrecognized nation with a fairly peaceful democratic society, there are young people growing up with access to mobile banking, and high speed internet. With the understanding that, the pillars of education and healthcare are necessary for the growth of a young nation. Access to easily accessible financial services and the internet has allowed for unprecedented access to education, that has outstripped the ability to access health services.

The government is young, seeks investment, and expertise. Imagine being able to apply systems design within a pockets of a willing government alongside a young population eager for opportunities. There are some traditional operators like the World Bank and the UN, but to effect change amongst the younger generation, you need to involve, attract and retain entities with goals similar to Mest as well as support, train and guide entities like SPN, to create interconnections between peoples and systems that are parallel in purpose.

The blank canvas is attractive, because the possibilities are endless.

Day 173 - Destination therapist

A full service therapy vacation for a month, in a destination that is affordable.

Forget silent retreats that leave you feeling more confused and lonely than you were before.

You acknowledge that you need help, and you seek privacy, you seek trusted capable therapists, You want relaxation by day, therapy by night, you want no names, no records, no phones, no tracking, just to be picked up, delivered, taken care of, the only people allowed to ask you questions, are the therapist, and the people requesting your meal options for the day.

People will pay, says introverted, private person.

People will pay, says person from collectivist shame heavy culture.

People will pay, says human experience conscious designer.

Will you pay?

Day 172 - What Leadership development isn't

I used to describe what I do for teams in ways I thought would get my message across accurately. I was prioritizing harmony, belonging, Relatability.

When other training or development professionals respond with "oh, we do the same thing" I noticed that I grimace internally, and respond with a flat, "yea, I guess..." immediately feeling a sense of dissatisfaction, almost self-betrayal.

I don't care to provide teams with a Tony Robbins experience. I want them to acknowledge their flaws, their strengths, and the tensions they stuff into their organization's closet.

I told a friend, they should call out those who do others who care about their craft a disservice, by selling their snake oil. That the impact of staying silent, is the probability of people, teams, department, and organizations, being misled by the loudest voices who seek to profit through perversion.

A friend then reminded me of this saying: "Omnia mea mecum sunt!” an iteration of the meaning can be "I carry all I need with me"

Day 169 - To breathe

I went on a long walk, and it was the first time in somewhile, that I didn't feel lonely. Two things happened. I had a goal, I was walking to pick something up from someone, and I was listening to an audio book, that kept reminding me to breathe. It encouraged me to breathe in over 3 to 4 steps and breathe out over 3 to 4 steps.

Practicing this while walking allowed me to notice things like the petals of jasmine on the floor, and the child whose mom I asked about the toy she was using. I think my lightened state made me feel more cognizant of others, and they related to me as a result, and took a few moments of their time to converse.

I played with my son, and kept consciously snapping back to his reality, with each moment of awareness, reducing the seconds I spent on things that didn't belong in that moment.

I folded my laptop screen closed, and turned my phone over when my wife approached me with a request to be heard.

I acknowledged my body and it's need to be hydrated, noting the dryness of my lips, and the tension in my jaw.

Tomorrow, I will note the feeling in my body, and exercise. Inshallah

Day 168 - My foray in to service design pt1

It's Dubai Design week, I attended a session on the future of Design careers hosted by a local design college. At the end of the talk, a member of the audience came up to one of the speakers and asked them about graduate education options for service design, for context, they had experience in architecture and wanted to gain enough exposure to practice service design, something that is difficult.

Their question had me thinking about the rough seas, islands, and icebergs I needed to traverse for a chance at a career in service design.

Doodle - rough seas

“Therefore do not deceive yourself! Of all deceivers fear most yourself!”
― Søren Kierkegaard

When I was recovering from my time in "H.R.", I only knew that I should apply for H.R. roles; after all these roles are what defined me, it made me who I was, and my value was inextricably linked to me being able to perform in these roles for someone, in some company. I'd invested years of my life in this, what else could I do?

Those thoughts had me stuck in a loop of interviews, rejections, mindless applications and eventual depression. These are the rough seas my friend, where the nights will be dark and leave you feeling cold, thrashing violently between waves of despair, apathy, and rejection. This is going to be 80% of your journey, because the validation I sought, is the one that was least useful.

It took me sometime to look past the waves, and see the guiding star, which led me to an island.

Day 167 - Cr... curiosity

There are stories you read, of billionaires in garages, and a lot of them, are accompanied by stories of them as children, and their first experience with a computer.

In most of these stories, you learn that the protagonist was encouraged to learn, to read, and to experiment with the desktop computer by their parents. Through guidance, and deliberate mentoring, they went on to build applications and a life in the technology industry, albeit with some access to privileged networks.

I like my life, I also try and stay away from sitting too long at a desk, so I don't regret this life I have.

If memory serves me right, I remember my father's desk, with an ugly grey box, that had boxes of books of something he called daws. I remember that I had to stay away from the daws. Sometimes, I'd get caught being on the daws, fiddling with a floppy, that had what looked like people going up and down the screen, it was that era's state of the art soccer game.

That curiosity remained, and in later years utilized to get free internet, fix people's PCs and reboot their modems, amongst other things.

Day 166 - Craving community

Transcribed by the wonderful Brandon. Thank you for finding value in what I shared.

“I just sent a long email to the mapping people, Sutra, can't remember what it was called. Kumo.co out something. They have a weaver app. I've been trying to map this community forever and in my mind, I know why I need to map it. It's because so many things have happened between members and till date, some people meet each other and they're like OH! And I'm like how do you guys not know each other! You’re in the same group! how do you guys not know each other.

I want to offload my knowledge through this mapping exercise. And at the root of it, its just trying to get people to connect at a more human level. Especially when our lives go into so many different directions and places and you can't all identify each other in the work that we do and how it relates to each other.

So I wrote them a long huge email, being like please give me access, give me support, I would want to do this before I leave. Because it would be such a waste, and I think especially within organizations they, the kumu/coho people identify it as. You've got two people on either end, you've got the bottlenecks that take on all of the information and (don't share it) and become bottlenecks, that's within organizations. And also you've got the quiet heroes that nobody knows that they do these things to facilitate.

I'm not looking at this from the organization, I'm looking at some of the things that were written about just mapping organizations. But how do you map community, one that is not self-organizing.

It's just one or two or three maximum four nodes in this community that are able to connect people together and are selflessly giving their time.

HOW DO YOU MAKE THAT MORE VISIBLE so that people understand the kinds of behaviors that have been benefitting them and in that manner EMULATE that behavior and GENERATE it becomes GENERATIVE EMPATHY?”

Day 165 - Who is your hero?

This is a question, that bothers me every time I hear it. A part of me feels guilty, because I don't identify with the common answers people regurgitate (parent, celebrity, religious figure).

Another part of me feels that anytime I hear the above trinity of hero figures, it's a cop out. I also have trouble defining what a hero is, I can only assume that everyone has a definition that is personal to them, and so I let the above thoughts ebb away.

Here's the thing, I think I figured out something that could work for me. While chatting with a friend, I encouraged her to do what I thought she did amazingly well (website down). I told her that she was my self-accountability hero.

It clicked for me at that moment! I have many "heroes", they're just really great at the something I most appreciate about them. The thing that humanizes them, and makes me believe that I could do this too!

Day 164 - What is anything?

How could one define values, thoughts, ideas, movements, initiatives, morals, goals, motivations, energy, needs, dignity, desires etc?

Could we move forward based on shared understanding of our experience?

What is necessary?

Day 163 - Task stacking

I managed two days this past week. The second time was a little more interesting.

I intended to run on the spot like a friend suggested. But this time, outdoors since the weather is getting better.

I didn’t feel like leaving the house so I made some coffee, I couldn’t drink the coffee because we ran out of milk. So I left to get some milk, on the way, I spotted our nanny with lil dude, so I stopped by to say hi, he reached out so I took him for a speed walk session. That was a good 5 mins. Then I remembered that I initially intended to get milk, and remembered that I also wanted to get a beard trim. So I decided to run the 50 meters to the barber, only to find them closed. I remembered there was another barber, 150 meters away, and I could get milk from near there. So I ran the 150 meters, to find that barber also closed. Since I was already out, I figured I’d sprint the 100 meters home.

I forgot to buy the milk, I didn’t drink the coffee, but I learned I was super out of shape because I started seeing stars in the elevator.

Somehow task stacking vs habit stacking worked in this instance.

Maybe I’ll run the 200 meters to the bakery tomorrow morning.

Also I just caught up on almost 6 posts. yay.