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I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.

Jim Carrey delivered this commencement speech to the Maharishi University of Management’s class of 2014. The speech is very inspiring yet funny as Jim shares stories from his childhood, following his dream, courage, faith, among other skills needed to get to the top and other limiting behaviors that could lead to self-sabotage such as fear and ego.


As someone who’s done what you’re about to go and do, I can tell you from experience the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is. Because everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart, and all that will be left of you is what was in your heart.

Jim Carrey’s 2014 Maharishi University of Management Commencement Speech Transcript

“As long as you’re green you’re growing, as soon as you’re ripe you start to rot.”

Ray Kroc was a quintessential salesman with a bias for action before turning McDonald’s into a household name; Ray worked various jobs selling paper cups, as a real estate agent, sometimes playing the piano in bands, milkshake mixer salesman, among other gigs. The 2016 movie, “The Founder,” starring Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, portrays the story of his creation of the McDonald’s fast-food restaurant chain. 

The title “Grinding it out” brings to mind the long apprenticeship of over thirty years during which Ray Kroc worked for others as a salesman and sales manager and later in his own small business. For the great opportunity of his life did not come until 1954 when he was fifty-two, an age when some executives are beginning to contemplate the greener pastures of retirement.

There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures. —Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

After World War II, Kroc found employment as a milkshake mixer salesman for the foodservice equipment manufacturer Prince Castle. When Prince Castle Multi-Mixer sales plummeted because of competition from lower-priced Hamilton Beach products, Kroc was impressed by Richard and Maurice McDonald who had purchased eight of his Multi-Mixers for their San Bernardino, California restaurant, and visited them in 1954.

By the time of Kroc’s death, the chain had 7,500 outlets in the United States and 31 other countries and territories. The total system-wide sales of its restaurants were more than $8 billion in 1983, and his personal fortune amounted to some $600 million.

McDonald’s is the world’s largest restaurant chain by revenue, serving over 69 million customers daily in over 100 countries across 37,855 outlets as of 2018. McDonald’s is the world’s second-largest private employer with 1.7 million employees (behind Walmart with 2.3 million employees). The $100 billion in sales generated by McDonald’s company-owned and franchise restaurants in 2019 accounts for almost 4% of the estimated $2.5 trillion global restaurant industry.

Here are my favourite take aways from reading, Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald’s by Ray Kroc:

Everyman makes his own happiness and is responsible for his own  problems.

“Anger is like a red light flashing on the dash of a car. It indicates that something needs attention.”

The dictionary describes anger as “a strong passion or emotion of displeasure, and usually antagonism, excited by a sense of injury or insult. Anger is a very strong emotion that can be either harnessed positively or negatively utilized.

Martin Luther King Jr. was rageful towards racial segregation & discrimination; he used his anger to lead a movement and dreamt of a nation where people would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character; that dream led to the United States of America to elect the first African American President four decades later.

The same anger drove Adolf Hitler Nazi regime to initiate world war II, the holocaust, genocide of about 6 million Jews and millions of other victims whom he and his followers deemed Untermenschen (subhumans) or socially undesirable. 

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” – James Baldwin

In his book, Anger: Taming a powerful emotion, American author and radio talk show host, Dr. Gary Chapman points out that Anger can be a powerful and positive motivator, useful to move us toward loving action to right wrongs and correct injustice—but it also can become a raging, uncontrolled force.

“Anger is directed inwardly when you bottle it up rather than expressing it constructively to others. Anger is directed outwardly when you criticize or attack other people.”

If you were to look at my cheat sheet, there wouldn’t be a lot on it. There would be a tennis ball, a circle, and the number 30,000. 

Drew Houston of Dropbox is one of my favorite silicon valley entrepreneur; he attributes a lot of his success to his belief that everything is figouratable. In the early days of starting dropbox, when he needed to figure something out, he went to amazon.com and bought the top-rated books on the subject, he read the books, and he then tried to apply the principles to his business.

Andrew Houston is an American Internet entrepreneur, and the co-founder and CEO of Dropbox, an online backup and storage service. According to Forbes, his net worth is about $2.2 billion. He attended Acton-Boxborough Regional High School in the 1990s. He later graduated with a degree in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. It was there that he met Arash Ferdowsi who would later go on to be co-founder and CTO of Dropbox.

During his time in college, Houston co-founded a SAT prep company. Houston and Ferdowsi co-founded Dropbox in 2007. Houston currently is CEO and 25% owner of Dropbox. In February 2020, Houston joined the board of directors of Facebook, replacing Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who left in May 2019.

“Hope is a path on the mountainside. At first there is no path. But then there are people passing that way. And there is a path.” -LU XUN

Jacqueline’s story is an inspiring and refreshing story on starting a sustainable nonprofit organization. She takes the reader on a journey of persistence, adventure across Africa, understanding poverty & world views, becoming passionate about your project, delivering a new model for empowering and funding sustainable projects. She shares heartwarming stories about forming a long-lasting bond with the community she was trying to serve, the need to listen, and determination to get things done against all odds.

Jacqueline Novogratz founded Acumen, a non-profit global venture capital fund whose goal is to use entrepreneurial approaches to address global poverty.

Jacqueline Novogratz left a career in international banking to spend her life on a quest to understand global poverty and find powerful new ways of tackling it. From her first stumbling efforts as a young idealist venturing forth in Africa to the creation of the trailblazing organization she runs today, Novogratz tells gripping stories with unforgettable characters. She shows how traditional charity often fails, but how a new form of philanthropic investing called “patient capital” can help make people self-sufficient and can change millions of lives.

“If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.” -MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN

Here are my favourite take aways from reading, The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World by Jacqueline Novogratz:

“Poverty won’t allow him to lift up his head; dignity won’t allow him to bow it down.”-MADAGASY PROVERB

In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.

Purple Cow by Seth Godin is one of my favourite business marketing book, the key concept in the book is very simple: to convert people to become raving fans in our fast paced world, you need to create something remarkable worth talking about.

Cows, after you’ve seen one, or two, or ten, are boring. A Purple Cow, though…now that would be something. Purple Cow describes something phenomenal, something counterintuitive and exciting and flat out unbelievable. Every day, consumers come face to face with a lot of boring stuff-a lot of brown cows – but you can bet they won’t forget a Purple Cow. And it’s not a marketing function that you can slap on to your product or service. Purple Cow is inherent. It’s built right in, or it’s not there. Period. 

Here are my favourite takeaways from reading,Purple Cow by Seth Godin:

A Psalm of Life” is a poem written by American writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, often subtitled “What the Heart of the Young Man Said to the Psalmist”

Tell me not, in mournful numbers, 
   Life is but an empty dream! 
For the soul is dead that slumbers, 
   And things are not what they seem. 

Life is real! Life is earnest! 
   And the grave is not its goal; 
Dust thou art, to dust returnest, 
   Was not spoken of the soul. 

“I stopped trying to make my life perfect, and instead tried to make it interesting.”

Drew Houston CEO of Dropbox, 2005 graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a degree in Computer Science where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. It was there that he met Arash Ferdowsi who would later go on to be co-founder and CTO of Dropbox. 

Drew delivered the speech at MIT’s 147th Commencement held June 7, 2013.

If you were to look at my cheat sheet, there wouldn’t be a lot on it. There would be a tennis ball, a circle, and the number 30,000. 

Drew Houston’s 2013 MIT Commencement address Speech

Perhaps the best analogy of intelligence is a car. A faster engine can get you places more quickly if you know how to use it correctly. But simply having more horsepower won’t guarantee that you will arrive at your destination safely. Without the right knowledge and equipment – the brakes, the steering wheel, the speedometer, a compass and a good map – a fast engine may just lead to you driving in circles – or straight into oncoming traffic. And the faster the engine, the more dangerous you are.

The Intelligence Trap Book is about why intelligent people act stupidly – and why in some cases they are even more prone to error than the average person. The book focuses on the strategies that we can all employ to avoid the same mistakes: lessons that will help anyone to think more wisely and rationally in this post-truth world.

The Intelligence Trap by David Robson is a great read that sheds light on many cognitive biases we all have; David shares some great strategies for identifying them and some insights on working on them. It is not what we know that gets us into trouble; it is what we think we know for sure that ain’t so. The author gives various examples of how brilliant people make seemingly stupid mistakes.

Intelligence can help you to learn and recall facts, and process complex information quickly, but you also need the necessary checks and balances to apply that brainpower correctly. Without them, greater intelligence can actually make you more biased in your thinking.

Here are my favourite take aways from reading, The Intelligence Trap: Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes by David Robson:

“Nothing limits achievement like small thinking; nothing expands possibilities like unleashed imagination.”- William Arthur Ward

One of the major difference between we humans and other primates is the ability to use our imagination to create innovative products, execute on great ideas and bring to life what we imagined. As the popular saying goes whatever your mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.

We humans are the only mammals that can see things before they happen, we can imagine things before they happen. You can not take people farther than you have gone, your imagination is a preview of things to come.

In her very inspiring 2008 Harvard University Commencement speech, Author J.K.Rowling spoke about the power of imagination:

Many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or to peer inside cages; they can close their minds and hearts to any suffering that does not touch them personally; they can refuse to know.

I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think they have any fewer nightmares than I do. Choosing to live in narrow spaces leads to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the wilfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.

Here are some great quotes on the Power of Imagination:

“With the possible exception of Henry Ford, Sam Walton is the entrepreneur of the century.”- TOM PETERS, co-author of In Search of Excellence

One of my favorite entrepreneurs of all time is Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. Sam was a visionary, cheerleader, great salesman, serial borrower, tough competitor, relentless entrepreneur who built a retail empire without losing his common touch. One of the most interesting things about Sam Walton was his vision for Walmart and his focus on generational wealth. As long have observed the Forbes list of the richest people globally, his offsprings have always been in the top 20 Forbes richest list, which is very impressive.

The Walton family held five spots in the top ten richest people in the United States until 2005. Two daughters of Sam’s brother Bud Walton—Ann Kroenke and Nancy Laurie—hold smaller shares in the company. The Walton family is an American family whose collective fortune makes them the richest family in the United States of America and the richest family in the world.

Samuel Moore Walton (March 29, 1918 – April 5, 1992) was an American businessman and entrepreneur best known for founding the retailers Walmart and Sam’s Club. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. grew to be the world’s largest corporation by revenue as well as the biggest private employer in the world. For a period of time, Walton was the richest man in America.

Walmart is the world’s largest retailer, one of the world’s largest business enterprises in terms of annual revenue, and with just over 2.2 million employees, the world’s largest private employer.
As of December 2014, the Waltons collectively owned 50.8 percent of Walmart. In 2018, the family sold some of their company’s stock and now owns just under 50%. In July 2020, the annual Sunday Times Rich List reported that the Walton family’s net worth was $US225.2 billion.

Sam Walton’s Autobiography: Made in America is one of my favorite business biographies as it contains lots of wisdom, insights, anecdotes, in the trenches advice, a very good read. The book chronicles his starting out, major tough early business lessons, borrowing ideas from others, customer obsession, Small Town Strategy, battling cancer, raising kids, understanding the value of a dollar among other insights.

“People change when they … Hurt enough that they have to, Learn enough that they want to, and Receive enough that they are able to.” – John C. Maxwell

The Catalyst book by Jonah Berger is a great and transformative book for me personally as I have tendencies of wanting to change people (Messiah Syndrome); for example, whenever I finish a book, watch a documentary, or get exposed to new information, I want to share it with everybody but have come to realize people are at different levels and period in their lives (they change when they are ready). Anytime I want to get frustrated with people and change, I remind myself that first: I might be wrong and I also remind myself of the words of Author John C. Maxwell on Change:

“People change when they … Hurt enough that they have to, Learn enough that they want to, and Receive enough that they are able to.” – John C. Maxwell

Jonah shares a great framework called REDUCE (Reactance, Endowment, Distance, Uncertainty, and Corroborating Evidence) for effecting change, and I absolutely love it.

The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind introduces a revolutionary approach to change. Successful change isn’t about pushing harder or exerting more energy. It’s about removing barriers. Overcoming resistance by reducing friction and lowering the hurdles to action.  Discover the five hidden factors that impede change, and how by mitigating them, you can change anything.

Books Theme:

How to overcome inertia, incite action, and change minds—not by being more persuasive, or pushing harder, but by being a catalyst. By removing the barriers to change. Identifying what is blocking or preventing change. And eliminating these obstacles to action.

The book is about finding the parking brakes. Discovering the hidden barriers preventing change. Identifying the root or core issues that are thwarting action and learning how to mitigate them.

Here are my Favourite Takeaways from reading, The Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind by Jonah Berger:

If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.- Jack Dixon

One thing that is hard to argue with is results; it is hard to argue with because, as they say: “you have the right to your opinion but not your own facts.” The thing about results is that it shows up as the truth, and as Winston Churchill once quipped: “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”. Your Results would cancel the Insults, and you would eventually be called to Consult. Your results are the quickest way to access where you are right now and where you want to go.

Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t. check the scoreboard.- Jayz

Result is what gets a young person like Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook) multiple invitations to the white house and Capitol Hill; Result is what makes Warren Buffett pledge $37 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Result is what makes Barack Obama through his manifesto of hope (Yes we can) become the first African-American president of the United States, Result is your six-packs showing up after repeated work out in the gym, Result is graduating with fly colors after consistent study. Result: They don’t Lie.

One of my favorite verses from the Christain scripture is Proverbs 22:29, “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” Your results are a mirror of your discipline, efforts, and sacrifice in life, gym, library, body, and health. As Author & Motivational Speaker Jim Rohn often said: “We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.” Long term success requires paying the price through discipline, sacrifice, and effort.

“You can map out a fight plan or a life plan, but when the action starts, it may not go the way you planned, and you’re down to your reflexes – that means your [preparation:]. That’s where your roadwork shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, well, you’re going to get found out now, under the bright lights.”― Joe Frazier

We live in a world where an entrepreneur does not have a business, an author does not have a book, an artist does not have a single, a web developer does not have a website, a life coach does not have their shit together, a world where anyone can call themselves anything but the thing about results and number is that they don’t lie, like Jay-z said you just need to check the scoreboard.

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” – Winston Churchill

In his great book, Developing the Leader Within You 2.0, Author John C Maxwell shares a great story about getting results:

“Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there.

You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account.” 

John William Gardner was the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) under President Lyndon Johnson. He was recipient of the 1964 Presidential Medal of Freedom and became known as “the father of campaign finance reform”. John delivered the “Personal Renewal” Speech at McKinsey & Company on November 10, 1990. 

Life is an endless unfolding, and if we wish it to be, an endless process of self-discovery, an endless and unpredictable dialogue between our own potentialities and the life situations in which we find ourselves.

“Personal Renewal” Speech Transcript

I’m going to talk about “Self-Renewal.” One of your most fundamental tasks is the renewal of the organizations you serve, and that usually includes persuading the top officers to accomplish a certain amount of self-renewal. But to help you think about others is not my primary mission this morning. I want to help you think about yourselves. 

“Every man dies. Not every man really lives.” 

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful? 
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful? 
Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce, 
Or a trouble is what you make it, 
And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts, 
But only how did you take it? 

You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what’s that! 
Come up with a smiling face.
It’s nothing against you to fall down flat, 
But to lie there-that’s disgrace.
The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce
Be proud of your blackened eye! 
It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts; 
It’s how did you fight-and why?