Author Archives: optimusrhyme79

To the man who gave me an opportunity

This is personal entry, but I feel the contents of it should be shared. This was a eulogy I wrote and delivered for my late uncle, James Narain. May he Rest in Peace.



I’d like to start off by saying thank you Dada.


I’ll miss you.


Anyone who spent time with my Dada knows that he loved to tell a story.


I’d like to pay tribute to him by sharing a story of my own.

This story starts before I was born, before I could have ever imagined living the type of life I know today.

There are a lot of things I am thankful for; many of those things are a result of having an opportunity.

The type of opportunity that only exists after a trail has been blazed.


James Narain was a trailblazer in every sense of the word.

He was brave enough to come to this country and confident enough to succeed in it. He helped my family and many others come to Canada in search of a better life.


This was only the beginning of understanding a new world. I was only 2, but my first memory is with Dada, it involved me spitting out of a car window, at least that’s how he told it.


As I grew, his influence continued to guide me, even if I didn’t know it. He taught me how to tie a tie, how to type on a typewriter, how use a photocopier and how to work an office phone.

I should mention I was about 5 when he taught me these things.

It wasn’t just those practical skills that stuck with me though; it was also his uncompromising set of values and personal standards. At a time when it was common and expected that immigrants, particularly Fijians take low level jobs, he demanded nothing less than a corner office. When he didn’t get one, he made his own. He valued education and often encouraged me to pursue knowledge.

I can’t remember very many times when he wasn’t wearing a suit. I admired that. Many of us today work in offices and use computers, and have opportunities we may not have been born with; I’d like to think he had something to do with that.


When I got the news, I was shocked. I denied it. I guess we all think our heroes are invincible. Dada, you may no longer be physically with us, but one thing is for sure, your legacy will live on.

Through me, through all of us.


Thank You.



When I decided that I wanted to go back to school, there were a host of motivations – improve my standing in my professional career, make me feel better about my social status, set a good example for my kids, fill some empty wall space in my office… etc..


Along with the motivation came with an equal amount of apprehension. I’m not 19 anymore, I have more than a full time job, I have a family – so time commitment is a tradeoff, then there is the financial investment… But much like the feeling of sitting on the edge of a pool with my feet dangling into the water, there is a point where you have to decide whether you jump in or towel off.

I wasn’t ready to walk away from the opportunity to better myself. I am so glad I took the step. There is something that happens when certain energies are activated, whether it happens chemically in our brains or there is a metaphysical occurrence, the proverbial light goes on. I love that feeling.

The feeling isn’t necessarily isolated to school or education – try taking a vacation from anything in your life. When you come back to it, there is a rush of new found appreciation and enthusiasm for that thing. I have subconsciously been doing this music for years. I would classify myself as a hip-hop head, but I go for long stints of not listening to any hip hop – most recently I dove deep into the current alternative music scene and I was really starting to dig it. As the music stopped on my ipod, I was flipping through my albums and decided to listen to an old hip hop classic, and I was transcended to another time and space – this is the only way I can explain the feeling. Thats the feeling I felt when I stepped into a classroom for the first time in a decade.

It made me think of the old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. This might be true, but what about old tricks that haven’t been used for a while. Newton’s Law taught us about an equal and opposite reaction in a physical sense, but what if emotion was also subject to a similar law. We’ve heard absence makes the heart grow fonder and that familiarity breeds contempt. Think about those statements – they are diametrically balanced, opposite, but equal.





Trust me, I’m a Doctor

Percival “Perry” Ulysses Cox, M.D. (Scrubs)

You’ve been there… juggling multiple requests, providing guidance to those who look to you for advice, politicking with upper management, fighting for the justice of the deserved, all while managing a mean hangover…. yup. Enter the flawed and vulnerable reality of being a leader. Everyone expects you to know everything – why else are you there? Everyone expects you to be able to handle pressure, you’ve done it before… Everyone expects you to understand when they make mistakes, because you’ve made a million. We have their list, but what about you? What do you expect from yourself?

Uncompromising Values. This is less of a skill and more of a behavior. We all have our own belief systems, deep down inside we know what we believe in.  What are you willing to lay out your life for and what are you not willing to do for any amount of money? Those are things you can’t and shouldn’t compromise. TRUST ME, you will be asked to test your limits, you might even go there on your own, but crossing the line is something that can have a profound affect on how you continue to conduct yourself and how you treat those around you.

Dr. Cox – HDIC on Scrubs, has a well shielded code of personal ethics, which were often juxtaposed by his larger than life personality. At the heart of every decision, he always put the lives and health of his patients first. Now, he probably could have used some Style-Flex lessons from Cliff Huxtable, but no one is perfect. I like using him as an example of someone who exemplifies a very overt value system. I don’t necessarily agree with the way his character goes about upholding that value system, but the real take-away here is that he’s not borrowing someone elses.

As a manager you will face very tough decisions, often times you cannot rely on a textbook or even peers to give you the answer you already have in your heart. Don’t shut it out, embrace it, wear it on your sleeve, it is who you are.

Now wasn’t that sanctimonious!

More than a sweater and a smile


You can’t really go very far into the topic of TV Dad’s and Male role-models without talking about Cliff.

How’s he a manager? Try having 5 Kids, being a doctor and be married to a lawyer. He did set a pretty high standard – not just for a person of color in the mid-80’s, but for men, period.

Style -Flexing is a topic you will hear in any corporate management training program. It’s a skill that human’s are not necessarily born with, but one that ends up separating successful leaders who can influence a variety of personalities, in any situation  from those who can only influence those with similar motivational tendencies. Throughout the course of the Cosby series, you will see Cliff use different value systems and motivational techniques to get the most out of his children, his marriage and professional life.

Many people can misinterpret this skill as being disingenuous, but this is why I like to use Cliff as the example, because he was anything but sneaky or underhanded. If your intentions are to understand what motivates an individual and you incorporate that understanding into a tailored message, you are insuring the highest potential outcome. That’s good management.

How many of you can recite the “regular people” speech? This changed my life



Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor

“How good is Tim Allen” is a direct quote from someone I know, and a segway into a path I want to go down when I’m talking about management. One of my key influences for life in general has been television, namely TV dads, bosses and leaders. They made the role look good.

I’ll break down why I think they were they were successful and how they helped evolved real world leadership styles.


After the Prologue

I’ve been looking through some pretty cool looking blogs on wordpress… most have one thing in common: Pictures. I really picked a crappy topic if I wanted to ride that train. I guess I should do a little bit more digging to find some relevant imagery to get some hits.

I guess it would be appropriate for me to include a picture of my MacBook Air. Never has one device been admired and mocked with such conviction… kind of like managers I suppose.

Wow… this looks like a picture from a really sketchy craigslist ad.


Manager: Wikipedia cannot define it without using the word Manager or Manage or Management…

That really blew my mind. With the relative ease of access to a thesaurus or the web to look up synonyms, they couldn’t come up with a better way to define what many list as their “job title’?

I decided to look a little further… had this to say:

“Regardless of title, the manager is responsible for planning, directing, monitoring and controlling the people and their work.”

#HOP I don’t get to control anything… or anyone! I must be doing this wrong.

In recent memory, almost all managers/bosses have been depicted as dim-witted, unreasonable, over-compensational and generally un-cool. Why?

Well, I’m going to look into the reasons why, while trying to convince anyone reading this that not ALL managers fit into that stereotype… (google image search “Manager” and you see a bunch of 30-40 something white guys in boring suits… ok, that part might be fairly accurate)