That’s me, Monojoy, with my nose all scrunched up, and these are the two most important people in my life, my wife and daughter.
You can probably tell — for me relationships matter, people matter, love matters. And that is the same philosophy that I bring to my work. After all...
People do business with people they like.
I read that a long time ago—possibly in Reader’s Digest—when I was in school. (Yes, people used to read magazines back then. You didn’t have Facebook. Heck, you didn’t even have mobile phones!)
Anyway, the idea stuck with me ever since, and has been one of the guiding principles by which I live and work… putting each relationship to the “Like test”:
Do our worldviews hug, or shrug?
Life is short, and after over 15 years of working with various multinational brands like Amazon, Heinz, Motorola, Star TV and the Singapore Government, now I choose to work only with highly motivated, creative entrepreneurs — the dreamers, the makers, the innovators… the ones for whom the legendary Steve Jobs waxed eloquent:
When you work with creative, intelligent and fun people who resonate with you, incredible things happen!
Firstly, you get to work with clients who become more like friends. When you have their best interests at heart, they too love you back. Consequently, business flourishes at both ends.
Secondly, in an environment of mutual trust and admiration, magical results and joy abounds. As one of my dear clients once exclaimed, “Sometimes I believe you are a magician!”
And so, if our common interests—in advertising, marketing and creative expression—have brought you to this page, it’s only fair that you know more about who I am. Not a dry bio sheet, but a peek into what defines the human idea named Monojoy; a story that can be summed up in…
5 simple words.
Traveler. Storyteller. Marketer. Meditator. Maverick.
If any of that freaks you out, you’re probably in the wrong place. (“Like test” fail.)
And if… that’s a big “if”, your eyes light up with a mischievous sparkle and your soul recognizes a secret handshake, welcome to my world!
And onward to the 5 words…
5 compass points guiding my experience on Planet Earth.
By the way, you can click on the photos to expand.
Traveling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.
― Ibn Battuta
At the end of life’s journey, the best legacy we’ll have to share is amazing stories for our grandkids. Stories of adventures gone on, of trials undertaken, of victories won.
I have spent years collecting such “moments” all over the world. I’ve peered right into an active volcano with bubbling lava on Big Island, walked across the Swiss Alps, turned into a snowman (literally) in a Jungfrau blizzard, experienced the “warmth” of an igloo, meditated with monks in a Tibetan monastery, braved shearing high-altitude winds in a doorless helicopter along the Napali coast, snorkeled in the Pacific Ocean, cruised along The Seine in Paris, sailed on a romantic cruise on Dubai Creek (of all places), and even risked touching a stingray!
I’ve sang together and become pen pals with a living legend in Kauai, clowned about in the hallowed halls of the Louvre, surfed the waves in Waikiki, celebrated New Year with a throng of thousands at the Eiffel Tower, sat on a Mughal Emperor’s throne, become a living lory-bird perch (and a minor tourist attraction) in Jurong, gone white water rafting at the foothills of the Himalayas, been swallowed up in snowdrift on the way to Liechtenstein, and even braved the roads of Shanghai without an English speaking guide!
My “scientific curiosity” had me shamelessly poking around the homes of Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla and Steve Jobs… While my “life curiosity” had me dancing in a haze of tequila shots on a remote, tropical paradise island tucked away in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand, with some of the world’s leading thinkers, entrepreneurs, speakers, authors, mavericks, artists, visionaries and change agents. I’ve gone Game of Thrones “location scouting” all across the beautiful land of Croatia, while also daring a rapid excursion into the war-ravaged nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In a nutshell, I’ve been up to no good… but my backpack’s overflowing with memories of a lifetime. As the great Robert Louis Stevenson said, “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”
The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller… the storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.
― Steve Jobs
As you may have figured out, I’m on an epic mission to make my life into a story… a story worth telling after a life well lived. But a story is only interesting for it’s highs and lows, conflict and drama, unpredictability and surprise.
When your own life becomes a roller-coaster, it’s an exhausting yet exhilarating ride. I’ve seen the heights of ecstasy and the depths of despair, and have lived to tell the tale. But that story is still unfolding, so we’ll keep it for another time.
Nobody looks back on their life and remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep. So here’s to remembering even more interesting nights, Arabian or otherwise. That’s where the stories lurk, waiting to be found by some intrepid soul.
No wonder I fully subscribe to Hunter S. Thompson’s philosophy, “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
― Simon Sinek
Marketers often get a bad rap, but if you’re not selling your soul, marketing can be one of the greatest expressions of love.
Marketing, at it’s core, is nothing but effectively showcasing your offering to the world, leading to an exchange of value so that you can keep creating great stuff… things you were meant to do, things that bring joy to the world, things that might have been forgotten, unsung, unappreciated, without the aid of this powerful force of marketing.
Yes, marketing can be, and often is, a force for good. Just like dynamite, it’s neither good not bad… it all depends on who it is that’s wielding the power. And so I go around the world, looking for other “mad men” (and of course, women) like me, who delight in marketing and making a difference in the world.
Those are some of my escapades that you see above. By the way, that lady in peacock green… that’s the bestselling author and master motivator Lisa Nichols, from The Secret. That’s what the divine feminine looks like when she dons the garb of a marketing maestro!
Even if I say so myself, I happen to be one of the light bearers for this amazing force, practising "spiritual marketing” and pushing humanity forward by helping creativity thrive. Naive? Sweet? Impractical? Who can tell?
I didn’t go looking for the marketing muse… it found me. While my friends were reading “romance literature” in school, I was thumbing through the classics of advertising and marketing. Even then I did try following the beaten track for many years, but there was no escape. It would keep finding me, and silently beckon with a siren call only I could hear. Till I gave in, and finally sunk into its warm embrace.
And now I do nothing but follow my highest excitement in exploring the frontiers of marketing and advertising, and using that knowledge to help creative entrepreneurs find their tribes.
True creativity flows only from stillness. When stillness becomes conscious, the spiritual dimension enters your life and you begin to be guided by an intelligence far greater than the human mind.
― Eckhart Tolle
As a champion of the creative expression, what often intrigued me was the question of where creativity comes from. After years of research, I believe I’m close to the answer, and you’ll probably read about it in my book someday.
Hint: Meditation is key to creativity. Silence and stillness happen to be the conduit through which art finds it’s way to the physical plane. Osho said it succinctly, “First meditation, then out of meditation there is a spontaneity of creativity.”
Meditation is an integral part of my being, my daily existence. It’s a fount for creativity, knowledge, personal power. No matter what the ebb and flow of life may bring, meditation wraps you in a protective blanket of peace, so you can navigate the “treacherous” waters of existence with aplomb.
Some of the greatest marketers I know also happen to be passionate proponents of meditation, and somehow I don’t think that’s a coincidence. And oh, it need not be a solitary practice at all. Meditators have this weird knack of finding each other and bonding in soul families, and I found many phenomenal friends simply as a consequence of closing my eyes and sitting still!
The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars!
― Jack Kerouac
"Creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence.” That’s the spiritual rebel Osho holding the flag for us mavericks. We are the glitches in the Matrix. We’re incorrigible.
Incorrigibility can be a pain though, especially when you do crazy stuff like prancing about in Parisian bookstores without many a penny in your pockets, or seeking out Steve Jobs’ vacation home in Big Island to pay your respects (yes, Jobs used to stay there, on the beachfront behind the coconut grove) or even weirder, carving out your wonky identity on the Hawaiian sands at Kauai, under a couple of visibly displeased gorillas.
But seriously, those aren’t really the greatest hits of maverickism, simply those I could find pictures of. Being a maverick is how boldly, creatively and unapologetically you live your life. What you learn, what you share, and what changes you bring about in your world. It’s about constantly answering the question Mary Oliver posed, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” To which Steve Jobs would’ve simply answered, "We're here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”
Creative Marketing is one of my hammers for making that dent.
If you made it so far… Kudos! You’re most definitely/quite probably one in a million. (I’ll have to check the traffic stats to confirm, though.) 😜
Needless to say, you’ve passed the “like test” with distinction. Drop by to say "Hi!" on Facebook. Check out my latest creations @ UnCopywriting (Happy Copy 🦄). And if you really like my style, subscribe to my email updates. We’re sure to share many a laugh (or at least some amused chuckles) in the days to come.
Hugs, happiness, and a healthy helping of hilarity,
When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.
— Mark Twain
P.S.: Most of the amazing photographs on this page are taken by Suchanda, Calcutta’s maverick Bumps to Babies Photographer, aka Niddledy Noddledy.
P.P.S.: [Full Disclosure] I also happen to be married to her. Massive savings on photography expenses. 😉 Don’t mention I said that.
P.P.P.S.: My clients come to me because they love having a steady flow of customers coming through their doors. Get in touch if you're looking to amplify your leads and revenue generation.
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