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Change Makers


From Success to Significance

I want the money, Money and the cars, Cars and the clothes,  I just wanna be,  Successful.

I want the money, Money and the cars, Cars and the clothes,  I just wanna be, Successful.

Thought for a Hard Knock Leader 

On that paper chase for success we loose ourselves a little & forget about what exactly we are chasing. A common thought pops up "I just want to be successful." Success however carries more of a complicated definition that differs on what we individually place our significance on.   

Perhaps the question should be a discussion two ideologies encompassing individual wealth versus collective value. If I dig a little deeper, the question I would like to pose is whether we are chasing success or significance?

There are a some interwoven complexities that arise from our own moral understanding of the question. These complexities are dependant on our expectations whether we seek success to give us more significance through the accumulation of wealth or whether our measure for success is more dependant on the significance of our accomplishments that have created value for others. 

Conceptualizing the Thought

The thought that is being posed here was best summarized in a the conclusion from an article I recently read on Forbes providing insights on how business can lift people out of poverty. 

"Instead of admiring people who have money, what if we looked up to those who create value? Let's redefine billionaire to mean someone who has improved one billion lives"

The example given illustrates that Social Innovation can build a bridge to redefine success as contribution towards a greater good. Here business is used as a tool to fight poverty and success moved to significance. 

Yes there is hope for the world and it does not only begin with the actions of others. So the question now is how would you start building a model that would help lift others out of poverty? 

Not an easy question to answer is it? Well maybe some reflection tim may help!

The Challenge to Start Thinking More

An additional thought that the article also puts into perspective one of the largest groups that is often underrepresented and usually forgotten. These are the individuals that make nearly one thirds of humanity, earning under two dollars a day. 

My assumption is if your reading this right now the reality could very well be that two dollars does not go further than getting some freshly brewed coffee at your own local cafe (I'm writing this just as I spent a little more than that to get some freshly brewed fair traded organic coffee). While the arguments arise that our North American lifestyle does not allow for to survive under such conditions, I ask you to reflect a little on how you would deal with those circumstances.

If by any chance, you do believe otherwise or are interested in understanding what it is like to live under such conditions then why not put our money where our mouth is: 

Can you survive below the poverty line? Take the challenge!

Can you survive below the poverty line? Take the challenge!

I CHALLENGE you to live below the line, so that others can RISE above it! 

Take the "Live Below The Line" Challenge, an initiative from the Global Poverty Project. This campaign has been changing the way people think about poverty by challenging every people to live on the equivalent of the extreme poverty line for 5 days. 

With the though of moving from success to significance and this challenge that Calls 2 Action, I hope that we can add some significance to the way we grind and think about that paper chase. 

The idea moving from success to significance is part of larger journey taken from the last Hard Knock Leadership workshop I built for a student run leadership summit, which covered aspects of community and selflessness.  

How would you move from success to significance? #Success2Significance 

Share & comment on - Leadership for the everyday hustle 

Contact Sid Naidu to continue the discussion around ending poverty by emailng or tweeting @hardknockleader



HKL: State of the Union Address 2014

President Obama's 2014 State of the Union address 

President Obama's 2014 State of the Union address 

As our news channels started to focus around preparations for last night's yearly state of the union address by President Barack Obama, my thoughts started to focus on my own direction for the year. The first lady graces the balcony to sit with her invited guests of everyday heroes, I think about those everyday hard knock leaders that I have met during my time serving in communities. Dignitaries & politicians with both similar and opposing views join in to chart course on priorities for the upcoming year. The Presidential state of the union #SOTU pays homage to the idea of moving forward. 

Putting the politics aside as critics and opposition members starts to weigh in, I took a second look at those empowering words spoken to be inspired and to dream forward with others who want to make our world stronger. 

So here are four themes highlighting the 2014 state of the union for Hard Knock Leadership

1) Making this a year of action

How much time of our life do we dedicate to just thinking and dreaming instead of acting on those thoughts. While I acted on launching Hard Knock Leadership last year, the first phase of HKL has been focused on building dialogue. The second phase this year will focus on forums for taking ACTION

2) Focusing on education as a tool to reduce inequality 

Access to education has been a vital part of my journey as a first generation student immigrating to Canada. The importance of reducing inequality both local & global comes with the need to provide communities with the same resources for education that empowering to youth. Supporting leaders within under resourced communities  and working around youth empowered models will always be at the heart of HKL.

3) Focusing on the facts of climate change 

We can't ignore it and I'm not just talking about the current state of cold that we are facing here in Toronto. If we want the next generation to live in a better state than we are now, we need to start learning, understanding and addressing the realities of what is affecting our climate. My recent travels has allowed me to witness the necessity of leaving a sustainable footprint & HKL will begin to highlight some of these topics affecting our environment.

4) Creating citizenship that matters

"Citizenship means standing up" for what you believe in and if we are all working towards the same goal of stronger communities then lets stand together. As eloquently stated in President Obama's #SOTU "citizenship demands a sense of common purposes and an obligation to to serve our communities." COLLABORATION is key in navigating the change we wish to see together as people and will be the goal & purpose of how HKL gets involved in communities. 

With these themes in mind HKL's strategy for the upcoming year has been defined to call out fellow hard knock leaders who like the heroes of nations are striving to make change. We have the ability to address our future and in closing, to echo the words of the Presidential #SOTU

Moving forward with our feet planted firmly in today and our eyes casted towards tomorrow I know that what we set out to accomplish is within our reach.
— President Obama 2014 State of the Union Address

Comment on what your 2014 state of the union will be & hashtag #HKLSOTU

Share - Leadership for the everyday struggle 

Contact Sid Naidu to address your youth group around creating stronger communities at or on twitter @hardknockleader




Hard Knock Leader Awakenings

Sid Naidu Photography 2013 (c)  

Sid Naidu Photography 2013 (c)  

He wakes up everyday fighting his own demons. A past where he rose from the ashes of his ignorance & a future where he is still struggles to understand how he made it this far. He wakes up knowing that he has accomplished a fair bit in his age but he wakes up knowing that a fair bit is hardly enough to change the world. 

He awakens tired from a chain of thoughts that he has been carrying in his deep slumber but he awakens unshackled ready to get back to the grind, ready to get back to what he knows best, to what he was built for; chasing dreams in the concrete jungles... he awakens to make those dreams a reality.