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My 21/30!

Image by Leo Rivas

Still Water Stagnates. No Different for Life.

When We Stop Learning, We Stop Growing.

When Growth Stops, Life Stops.

In the last four decades of my life, I’ve met people from all strata of society. I’ve seen the ones who achieved accolades in terms of positions and titles, and something snaps inside eventually. The lights go out. They go through the motions but in reality, are just automatons. Somewhere along the way, they either lost or did not develop the ability to keep learning.


Though scientifically speaking learnability is vital to growth and success in all walks of life, at its very basis it is nothing but curiosity coupled with the ability to observe, absorb and apply.


Simple? Perhaps.

Vital? Absolutely.

If there’s one obsession in my life it would be “learning and applying what I learnt in real time”. The pursuit of lifelong learning was not for glory or medallions but for the inner satisfaction and lasting impact and relevance it got me. The successes that followed were a natural side effect.


In the formative years of my childhood, I grew up in a house that had two massive walls on which were mounted two large dark brown wooden shelves from the floor all the way up to the ceiling, stacked with a variety of books. My dad had read them all, some even more than once. He was a gifted and eloquent journalist, loved and respected at home and at work. My mom, an English teacher adored by her students, cared for them beyond the curriculum she was teaching. She committed herself to help the children become a better version of themselves and did so relentlessly with compassion and love.


Between those two remarkable people, it was only natural that I developed a passion for learning that kept snowballing unto this very day. Suddenly, I discovered that opportunities for learning and growth seemed to be all around, not restricted to academic sources alone, books, articles, movies, nature, friends and family… life is rich with learning.

Since my teenage years, life in all its glory had made sure to send me every possible experience to test my beliefs, question my values, everything I knew to be true, and not all of these were pleasant. In every crisis, is an opportunity waiting to be unleashed. In retrospect, each of these experiences in life came at a moment it had the greatest possible effect. It’s like what the Dalai Lama said “Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck”. I needed to learn fast, learn well. This eventually helped create RISE, the company I head today.

Here are my 21/30.

Twenty-one observations from the last Thirty years of my life:

  1. Life communicates always. It finds a way to get your attention. First it sends a message. When ignored, it sends a crisis. When ignored, it sends a disaster. You need to decide what gets your attention quickly.

  2. Sometimes, well-meaning people with good intentions could end up hurting you. It’s not about fault picking. The sooner you can establish yourself as a solid, self-regulated person -the better it is for all.

  3. “Common sense” is unique to each person. That is common!

  4. The outer world is a mirror to the inner world. GIGO, like with computers. Garbage In, Garbage Out.

  5. The world will not bend on its knees to make anyone happy. That is not its purpose. It is not even a sensible expectation of the world. However, it is packed with opportunities and resources. A closed door is not necessarily a locked door.

  6. Garbage has its place, better kept there. In yourself, in people, and in the literal sense of the word.

  7. Great things and important people are taken for granted sometimes, until they are missed. Learn to treasure, value and care for what matters. People who need to know, need to be told. There is not enough time in the world to postpone such things.

  8. Fear of the pain is worse than the pain itself.

  9. Proving self-worth to others is a vacuum for time and energy. It’s like that poster I saw, it read “Don’t go around telling people your problems. 70% don’t give a shit, 30% are glad”.

  10. Mess can be cleaned up in a room. Not always the case in relationships.

  11. Being articulate and eloquent could backfire without empathy. Empathy without appropriate expression is ineffective. Remember to gift-wrap a present.

  12. Driving is easier after the storm has settled. Unless, of course, you are a supertanker on the high seas. Are you?

  13. Superman and Superwoman are characters from a comic book series. Not everyone who wears a cape or their undies on top of their pants can fly. I can stop a speeding bullet, once. Idolizing oneself or others has a comic strip ending.

  14. Shaking hands is not binding, not even a contract is binding. Things can always go south. Character persists despite the passage of time.

  15. The future is formed now. What you do now determines your future.

  16. Attachments are often a recipe for drama and best belong in an email.

  17. Breathing is a medicine. Breath is Life.

  18. Our human body is a machine without a catalogue.

  19. The shortest way is a straight line. Works with people.

  20. The time to prepare for the rain is before getting outside. But if you don’t mind the rain, don’t whine about it.

  21. Attitude eats intelligence for breakfast.

My 21/30 helped carve a set of solid principles that allowed for contributing to two successful businesses, healthy relationships, sustainable wellbeing; physical, mental, and emotional. 

My five principles that I am sharing with you today are:

  1. I am responsible for my world, and what I create in it.

  2. I am driven by my own vision of the future.

  3. One plus one equals more than two.

  4. Communication is an art.

  5. “Timely” Action has no substitute.

This principle-based way of living made things easier and more predictable for me and those around me. When I started my coaching practice, I helped individuals create a foundation for themselves that brought them clarity on the direction they needed to take, and allowed for building momentum with energy and enthusiasm.


As I witnessed the success individual clients made along the way, a burning desire was born within me to bring this approach to groups for a larger impact. Despite the unfathomable effects of the Pandemic of 2020, it also opened up the space for me to partner with Jose to complete the design of a “one of a kind program” to support individual and organizational effectiveness. Today it is called the “Culture Catalyst Program©”, this program came to life because of the exceptional creativity, dedication, and patience of our Creative Director, Ezer. The program offers organizations an experience that will enhance their culture and accelerate their sustainable growth.


What made the process of creating the Culture Catalyst Program© exceptional is the people, all of them: our team collaborating to bring alive this one-of-a-kind project, the outsourced support that we’ve got, our families and friends standing by us sometimes cheerleading on the side and sometimes forgiving us for being unavailable a lot of the time.. and now our potential clients who often state that our program is the first of its kind in the region.

This, is my new beginning!

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