Falling in love with food in Australia

Fresh Australian produce & Gary Mehigan on a Magazine cover - Some things in life are just right!
Fresh Australian produce & Gary Mehigan on a Magazine cover – Some things in life are just right!

Buying fresh produce early in the morning could be the best way to start the day when you have some time on your hands. Continue reading Falling in love with food in Australia

The Effect of Purpose Branding on Brand Equity

My Masters thesis focused on the effect of purpose brands (i.e. job-specific brands) on the resulting equity of the brand. The abstract of the thesis and the link to the thesis can be found below.

Purpose brands create powerful means of differentiation in the minds of customers as they are tightly associated to the job for which customers hire them. Continue reading The Effect of Purpose Branding on Brand Equity

Homemade (DIY) Rustic Dining Table

Table EdgeI am intrigued by how taken I am by the idea of a dining table. Perhaps the fact that I grew up in a house with a formal along with an informal dining table has to add to my love for dining tables. We are presently living in a villa which took over a year to build and over 2 years to plan. The dining area is the central facet of the open plan living area. Inspired by industrial design, our new home had to reflect a little bit of us and what we like – tons of whim, a rustic and eclectic appeal, and absolutely no gloss. Continue reading Homemade (DIY) Rustic Dining Table

What I have Learned at 35

Giving is good. If I could just live my life with two words, they would be “love” and “giving”. When all else fails, its love and what you have given to the world that keeps you going. When all else is going good, love and giving make you happier and sleep peacefully at night. At peace with yourself and the world around you. Don’t believe me? Think I am exaggerating goodness, keep reading and you might change your mind.

There is nothing more powerful than personal experience so here goes. I lost a few library books at a University where I served for 8 years with my heart and soul. I asked around for the books and everybody seemed clueless. Sadly I didn’t even get to read anything from some of the books that I borrowed because I didn’t find the material to be worth reading. As I have now left the University, I am going through a clearance process and the lost books acted as a liability – a hindrance standing in the way of me walking away with a big fat cheque.

I have accumulated too many books (if there is one such thing in an era that is largely digital) over the years for two reasons: the sight of books makes me content (having a library of sorts at home has been a dream from my teens); secondly buying books became a much needed sanity trip in a country where bombs blew off so often that many started avoiding local news. The former was done to save one from depression and the dreadful feeling of helplessness. As I looked at the heaps of books on the floor of my study now, I felt I had spent way too much money on books that I didn’t get time to read and nobody else benefitted from them either. What a waste, I thought. We all know how valuable a free text book is for a student. I had so many text books because of being in the academia that I felt a responsibility to share and donate.

So I resolved to attempt an Operation Cleanup and decided on giving away books. I kept a large pile of books as reference for my book that I am working on these days and I decided to give away and share a large part of the remaining collection with the world. What better place to give than the library of the very institution where I served for a significant portion of my life. I went from being committed to engaged to married to a mom of two – all while serving at the same institution. So I filled up 2 cartons with books and headed off to the University. While I was willing myself to feel good about the donation that I was going to make to the library of a 140+ year old University, I also felt pangs of pain in my stomach at the thought of spending another few hundred dollars on books, that too, the ones I had lost by trusting people to return them. It was my fault but how did I manage to goof up – again?!

The Library folks accepted the donation graciously but did not have the power to call for a compensation for the loss of books. I wrote to someone who had more power and voila! I received inarguably one of the sweetest emails I have in my inbox; recognising my contribution and good work, thanking me for my donation, and considering my donation to be a compensation for the lost books. Could I ask for more? I was not expecting my donation to do more good than what it was – a donation. Could I have imagined that my donation and commitment would pay off in such amazing ways if I had lived my life with a self-centered, everything-for-me ethos?

When you give your heart to your work and to those who deserve it, love finds a way of coming back to you in ways that can overwhelm you with joy. When you give, the world conspires to give more back to you. Unfortunately many think that selfishness, sometimes even at the cost of harming the welfare and happiness of others, is the way that leads to professional and personal success. I think people who live with the belief that they are entitled to more in every facet of their life and refuse to be thankful for what they get are entirely at a loss. It is important that your purpose in life is anchored in the right place. Your definition of ‘right’ makes all the difference here. But do give a little, give anything that you can. Someone living somewhere can benefit through an act of giving – from old clothes and other things you might not need to teaching someone a skill that you master and can help a person make some money. I am reminded of the famous quote by a Spanish philosopher from ages ago: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Giving away your birthday

Happy birthday to Seth Godin! Giving away your birthday sounds fantastic. Personally I feel that as you grow older, its more fun doing something for someone else and what is better than improving lives by safe water, education or whatever cause it maybe. Time to put on the thinking cap and consider what will we ask our loved ones to pledge to.

I am sharing with readers Seth Godin’s message posted on July 10, 2015 on his blog http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/07/happy-birthday.html?fb_ref=Default

Happy birthday
When I was fifteen, I wanted a bike for my birthday. I dropped a few hints, and about a week before the day, I asked my mom for a hint as to what I could expect. “Well,” she said, “it has feathers.”

I was getting a parrot.

What could be cooler than a parrot? Alas, I got a down blanket. Can’t win them all.

Today’s my 55th, and it would be great if you wouldn’t send me a gift, a card or even an email. Not because I have birthday issues, but because I think we might be able to plant the seed for a very significant culture change, something bigger than a bike.

Is it possible for your birthday to change the world?

Instead of dropping me a note, I’m hoping you’ll join 5,000 other blog readers and give your birthday to charity:water. (Note: I’m not asking you to make a donation, at least not at first. Something more difficult but important: I want you to start a change in our culture with just a few clicks. Read on…)

This might sound a bit familiar. Five years ago, I gave away my birthday and asked you, my astonishingly generous readers, to make a donation. We ended up raising nearly $40,000 (and it’s gone up since then) and ten villages, families with children, now have water as a result (try to imagine going just two days without clean water…)

The donations made a difference, but let’s go further and establish a pattern, a standard where lots and lots of people give away their birthdays. What if it becomes normal for everyone over 22 years old to ask for donations instead of presents or cards?

So far, 65,000 people have given their birthdays. But with just three generations of friends telling friends can take that up by a factor of ten. 5,000 people telling ten people telling ten people, and we’d change the world.

5,000 people pledging to give their birthdays to charity:water would mean that when your birthday rolls around, you’d ask the people in your life to give their birthdays to charity:water as well. And then a few months later, they’d ask the people in their lives… In just a few cycles, perhaps we could change the expectation of birthdays from, “I’d like a bike,” to, “Can we save someone’s life?”

The mechanics are simple: go to this page and sign up to donate your birthday. While you’re there, I hope you’ll consider donating $10 (I’ll match the $10 donation from each reader who pitches in). Done.

One more bonus, in case changing the culture and saving lives isn’t enough: if 1,000 people sign up to share their birthdays today, I’ll update this post tomorrow and release the audio from a speech about bravery (a recent gig I did for Endeavor) on the bottom of this post…

Change the culture, change the world.

Thanks. And happy birthday. Even better than a parrot.

The Gift from The Other Side

Interpret death however you want but at a certain level the event of death unites us. We bury our differences, hatred, distances to reach out and be there for the one who has died by being there in person, supporting the family who just lost someone dear, or a message that might cheer someone up however little but sometimes that matters so much. Death comes as a strong reminder that as humans we might have many different aspirations and unique journeys but in the end we have a common destination. Death reminds us the importance of people who are living and they love or support us no matter how we mess things up, or dislike us so that we can make much needed amends, and most importantly (for the believers) it reminds us of God. It makes you question your strategies and plans. How rich are our relationships with the creator and those we consider friends and family, how much have we done for humanity, how much money did we make and what did we do with it. If one has children, how would they remember us when we are gone. One might be tempted to write a will that might change a thousand times, over the years, but what if one never sees those many years that one anticipated to live. Its said that “the good ones die early”. I think it’s not merely that they are good so they die early. The reality is that because they were so good to you and appeared so amazing in the stories narrated about them that we miss them endlessly. Isn’t it amazing how we tend to look back and hunt for any negative events that happened or words that were exchanged that we cannot remember them in their harsh reality. Everything is clouded with mostly positive emotions painting our memory of the departed.

So many questions arise endlessly in our heads that wouldn’t be muted no matter how hard we try. What if we could spend more time with them? What if I could hug them again? What if I could wake them up from their eternally peaceful sleep and say a few words of kindness of love that would make them happy? What if I could have stopped it? What if I could have stopped time, all important meetings and generic things to do, and spent a moment just looking at them smile as they talked to me about something completely ordinary? Alas we cannot turn back time. So what do we do? We learn to love harder, work harder, make sure that people who matter know our sentiments exactly. While doing so we prepare ourselves for the final destination where we will stand alone and at that time we are not scared of what awaits us. Because time flies by and before we know it we are already in that unknown dimension.

RIP Dave Goldberg

The story of Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg has inspired many in the tech world in the US and beyond. Seldom do women cheer their husbands as much as Sheryl does in her powerful book “Lean In”. I consider Lean In to be a must read for women. Rest in peace Dave Goldberg. Anyone who has read the book has amazing memories of you.