Learning From Bono | Changing The World

I wish I was at TED 2013. I followed Bono’s talk on Twitter and the TED blog. Wow Bono, the U2 front man, is passionate about music and world change. He is also co-founder of the ONE campaign, a movement fighting the injustice of extreme poverty.

I’m sure when U2 started Bono never dreamed that his music would give him the platform he has today. It is not only his music that has allowed him to fight poverty. He understood the influence or the platform his music gave him beyond his performance.

Means and End

I am not aware of Bono’s motivations when they started U2. It may have started out as a means to get their music out to entertain people and make a living. As with many things, you never realize the true potential of an endeavor until you actually pursue it.

The potential impact of endeavors gets more obvious when they are pursued

From Bono, we can learn not to make our vocation the end but a means. Dare to make your career more than getting cheese on your table. It is important to provide for your family but you have to live for something more than just fame or your career for the sake of it.

We have more to give to the world than our selfishness

Not having money, skills, time and other resources like Bono, does not excuse you from not contributing your share to world change. To leaving posterity with a great future. Reading this is evidence that you have more than enough to give.

Stop looking at what you don’t have and use what you do have to play your part in changing the world.

You may not grace the stage at TED like Bono and many others, but that is not the point. The point is leaving something for your children’s children’s children that you will be proud to give. A world where poverty is something read from history textbooks. A world where posterity looks back in history in shock and disgust at the levels of corruption in our time because it will be foreign to them.

leaving a greater world for posterity is a choice you must make

changing the world is not reserved for few rock stars. everyone of us has a part to play and we can do it passionately and big like rock stars

image by World Economic Forum | cc



Consider how much influence you have. You may not have a rock star’s platform but there are people you influence. Leverage your influence.  Influence is currency and catalyst for world change, but only works when it is traded. Dare to make big asks in making the world a greater place. Do it like a rock star and be unashamed and unapologetic about making the world a greater place.

What else can we learn from Bono and other rock stars to help us make the world a greater place?



How To Silence The Critics

For every attempt there are a million critics. Critics are chickens. Most of them criticize to bring you down to their level: being too scared to dare to do anything. Critics are too scared to do something and want other people to join them in their fear.

Critics never see possibility. Some of them criticize people for pursuing something, which they have never attempted themselves.

Critics are great to point out the odds. They are great at magnifying the odds and challenges and not the possibilities. They often hide behind ‘being realistic or pragmatic’. Heretics understand that bringing about significant change involves you being unreasonable.

Critics are all just talk. Action is what brings about real change.

Bringing about change already has its own challenges. Chasing something that normal people, you know the ones who love the status quo, consider unreasonable is only going to bring criticism more intensely.

Giving in to the critics, those who love the status quo, will cut you to something worse than them. For you to succeed you have to silence them.

You do not silence a critic by lashing out at them. That only energizes them. It gives them ammunition. Ignoring critics is not a guarantee to silencing them but it reduces the sting of their attacks.

The best way to silence critics is to do exactly what they say is impossible. When you defy the critics, they will become your greatest evangelists. Silence your critics by focusing on your work. Do your work. Stay on your hustle.

Your cause is too important to direct any energy at attacking critics. Save every ounce of energy and focus on making your vision happen, not the critics.

If they see that their criticism will not make you quit they will eventually get tired, leave you alone and forget about you. They will forget about you till you prove them wrong, of course.

If you never achieve anything in your pursuits, at least you had a great ride trying ;-) Be bold. Be /ˈherətik/.

Dare. Start. This is how to silence the critics.

Why Not Doing Something You’re Passionate About Is Killing You

I had coffee with some great people this morning. Something Andrew Coles said about dreams got me thinking… Living in the realm of clear sight will strongly move you. Clear sight is often the first step. By clear sight I mean more than just vision. I mean having a sense of purpose that your vision will give. Not only that, but being able to see what goes where to make your vision. Absolute clarity is not always going to be.

It is not always that we pursue what we feel strongly about. You may feel strongly about a cause and never get round to actually doing something about it.

live, don't just breathe to death  || image  Robert Couse-Baker | cc
live, don’t just breathe to death || image Robert Couse-Baker | cc

How strongly you feel about something does not change anything until you actually start doing something about it.

Limitations will always be there. The successful still wrestle with limitations. Somehow we see those who inspire us, by virtue of their success, as not having them. If anything, they may just have more challenges. It is those challenges, limitations, barriers, whatever you call them, that we make reasons for not acting on the dreams we carry.

Not doing something about what you’re passionate about will kill you. Obviously not a physical death, but it is scary that it could be so strong that it can affect our physical health. Compartmentalization is a myth. Every part of who you are is connected. What affects you in one area of your life or organization will affect another.


One of the reasons not doing what you are passionate about will kill you is that it takes more energy to fight what you are passionate about than actually doing something about it. It will draw mental energy from you. When dreams for your life, cause or enterprise are vivid and strong enough, trying to focus on something else instead of them will actually cause you to focus on them.


When we do something that we are passionate about that is when we are truly alive. All of a sudden the universe makes sense. Pursuing our dreams is a big part of living them. It is not only when ‘we arrive’ at the place we’re striving for, it is also the journey there that breathes life into it. You are dying because you are not living.

Living, being fully alive, is pursuit of the things that come naturally and strongly for us. Choose to live and not just breathe to death.


How do I start bridging the gap between my limitations and my dreams? I’m asking myself the same question but I can give a shot with suggestions:

  • Stop fighting your focus from going to the dream. Allow your dreams to breathe and vent. Start documenting them if you have not or have stopped.


  • When your dreams do not make sense to people don’t dwell on it. Skeptics sometimes disguise themselves as realists and pragmatists. They can only stifle your dreaming further and kill you only if you allow them. Do not give in.


Very few people, if any achieved significant things by being reasonable. 


  • Share your dreams with someone who will agree to believe in them even if they do not make sense to them all the time. Their responsibility will be to smack you when you stop believing in your dreams, because there are times it will get so hard that you will stop believing in your own dreams yourself.


  • Get your hustle on. Ensure that you are doing something everyday, even the smallest steps to get to a step closer to seeing your dream a reality. If it is not yet practical for you to pursue your dreams to the extent you want to, you can take solace in that you are doing something to get closer.

Why does not following your dreams kill you? What do you suggest to do in bridging the gap between reality and pursuing what people are passionate about?



So That…

Vision can never become reality without pursuit. While the picture of vision may be romantic, its pursuit is often far from it. Vision without any action to make it a reality is, at best, a great daydream.

Heretic leaders are separated from day-dreamers by pursuit of their vision

Realizing vision is creating change. Change involved activity that we may have not previously been involved in. Leading change may mean starting a few new things.

while actions enable vision being realised, ensure that they do not get in the way
while actions enable vision being realised, make sure that they do not get in the way || image by barryskeates | cc

Many leaders, and enterprises lose plot not only because the clarity of their vision became a blur but also because there is no alignment to the pertinent actions.

A no brainer:

Vision, in its essence, will can only be realized when every action closely works toward it.

The more complex systems get, the easier the temptation to serve the system instead of what it is supposed to do. In order to keep vision clear sight the leader must constantly challenge himself and his team with “So that…” Change must ‘be’ so that…

For every activity you must be able to say, “We are doing x, y, z so that…” Every action, system, strategy, acquisition must ultimately point to the vision. Not only that you must focus on having as few hops to the vision as possible…

That is, though every action makes part of (what should be) an important chain link to getting to vision, it must do so with fewer steps between it and vision. One action must enable another that is close to the ultimate goal.

Complexity compromises vision

Keeping everything to a simple, “we are doing this so that…” is one an easy way to keep vision right in front of you. Focus on your systems and strategies must always be secondary. Vision must be the reason for everything. Before embarking on your next activity ask yourself and your team, “We are doing this so that…”

If there are too many hops between the activity and vision, it is time to simplify. Also, if the answer the answer does not lead to vision, be ruthless with the activity by cutting it off immediately. Be bold. Be /ˈherətik/.

The Power Of Clear Sight

People are moved by what they see. We live in the most visual time humanity has ever known. Technology is focused on creating vivid pictures using high-definition lens and screens.

We have binoculars so we can bring distant things closer and see them with a clarity distance robs from our unaided eyes.

We do not just tell stories, but also show them. If the visual things did not matter, Hollywood would not be as big as it is.

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