PROJECT 1% – The Power of Small Actions

Have you heard the story of the young man who, while walking down an empty beach spotted a person throwing beached starfish back into the sea?

Since there were millions of beached starfish on that particular coast, he went up to his man and asked him why he was doing this. The man explained that starfish were very important to the ecosystem and that he did this when he went down for his daily walk. ‘That’s pointless’- exclaimed the young man “There are millions of them and you can never make much of a difference”. 

Our starfish hero picked up a starfish on the ground, flung it back into the sea, smiled and said – “Made a difference to that one..”

Similar to that story, we believed that our small actions would help to make a better world.  So in late 2013, as a group of friends we After experimenting with a few projects, we have now embarked on a promising light weight project – Project 1%. 

Introducing Project 1% :

Project 1% as the name suggests includes each of us pledging 1%.  We pledge 1% of our incomes, time and energy to helping worthy causes.. because we believe that small things can often be the big things. We meet virtually monthly to channel the resources to a partner of our choice. That’s it!  (Perhaps, our favourite part of project 1% is  how easy it is to explain)

Since we began, we’ve made our small impact with the 1% Pledges. Here the causes we funded between Mar and Jun’15 with various great NGOs:

  • SOS Childrens’ Village: a year’s education for a child

    The 1% impact

  • Project Khel: 3 months of sports based life-skills course for 50 children
  • Vidyarambam: 4 months of English classes for 40 kids in Chennai & child’s full year education (Shweta’sobservations)
  •  Bridging the Gaps (partially sponsored) – a sport-art camp for 120 underprivileged kids to learn about leadership, gender equality and many other things. (Myobservations on transforming lives)

The world is changed one starfish at a time & Project 1% is our step in that direction.Share 1% Care 100% .


This is also posted at We’re very proud of the work we’ve done so far and would love to hear from you. Are there causes you would like to fund?  Would you like to share 1%? We’d love to hear from you.


Nudge Nudge Nudge – to the finish

In an ideal world, if we need to go from A to B – I would make a grand plan, execute it to perfection and we’ll go to the party.

In our world though, a lot of execution depends on people. People have different agendas, people have different emotions. Nudging i’ve found is very useful. I now plan to go from A to “somewhere close to B” – and each step of the way nudging people towards B. There are 2 outcomes:

1) If time is not urgent, this allows the other passengers to enjoy the journey to B. Better still, they start finding better ways to get there.

2) When people are initially hesitant to come with you on your journey – It helps keep the relationships while yet nudging them to the finish line.


My super-public habit tracker – (looked through my archives  & the no-snooze shall be successfully retired) 

May: Exercise 0 Blogging 3

Public Goal Tracking

Earlier this year, I was counting 3 habits – Daily Exercise, Daily Blogging & waking up without snoozing. To my blog posts, i added a daily count like below:

My super-public habit tracker –

Mar: Exercise 4   Blogging 3   No snooze 4 

Feb: Exercise 13 Blogging 13 No snooze 28 

As you fall off the habit wagon, you stop reporting your numbers 🙂

The good thing with such “Super public” habit trackers is that it is “Super public”. Eventually someone asks sheepishly – “What happened to your super public habit tracker”. Good reason to bring it back 🙂

My super-public habit tracker – (looked through my archives  & the no-snooze shall be successfully retired) 

May: Exercise 0 Blogging 2

Apr: Exercise 5   Blogging 9   No snooze 30

Mar: Exercise 18   Blogging 11   No snooze 30

Feb: Exercise 13 Blogging 13 No snooze 28

Look up at the tower, and keep going towards it 

Yesterday I went for a trek to Sinhgad – a fort that was a strategic possession because of its location between other important strongholds.  It was considered one of the hardest forts to capture and witnessed great wars (including people scaling the fort walls using monitor lizards).

Today though, it is the trek up to the fort that appears to pull crowds. Loads of people scaled up the fort and the trek takes 45mins to 60 mins up to about 4000 ft elevation. There were perhaps two highlights to the trek. The first was a gentleman named Ghokale who appeared pretty old and many people knew him. He was quite the character – not afraid of sharing his views with people who looked at him strangely. Once he got to the peak he then started singing loudly – very soothing when mixed with the strong winds at the height of the peak. The highlight though was a his wisdom to the tired trekkers perhaps quarter his age – “Don’t sit down, keep going”.

The other highlight happened on our return journey. We were scared to come down the slope, so we took the easy road that is used by vehicles. Unfortunately, as we discovered a few minutes (40-50 mins) later, this was a supremely long way down. So we asked a shop keeper for the shorter way down (We had just passed up the shortest – which was the same path we used to go up).  She told us to walk through the forest . Given there aren’t too many signboards in a forest – we asked how we would find our direction. She asked us to look up to the telephone tower and keep walking towards to it.

The combination of Ghokale & the shop keepers words  were pretty deep… or perhaps those are just my tired legs speaking!

View from the top – across the Western Ghats & Khadakwasala lake

The trekking paths – rocky, muddy & crowded

The way back down – look at the tower and keep walking.

Deliberate Practice & PDCA

Deliberate practice is spoken about as a way to help build your skills. It is the routine that great sporstmen and musicians go through. It can be used to build any skill across work and personal life. Deliberate practice must be: intentional, aimed at improving performance, designed for your current skill level, combined with immediate feedback and repetitious.

PDCA is a common term in manufacturing industries – Plan, Do , Check, Act. It goes along with the agile methodology (and of course scrum). It is an iterative four-step management method used in business for the control and continuous improvement of processes and products.

I find the similarities uncanny. Both aim for small improvements – but continuous improvements.Both depend heavily on great feedback cycles. There is more… just wrapping my head around it.