Business Culture Learning Mentoring Transformation

When you’re on the wrong bus, well, get off it!

In 2015, I got close to an opportunity to collaborate with Seth Godin, who does not need introduction in innovation circles. However, the opportunity did not materialise, and for me it was one of those opportunities missed in my professional career. Seth is a change maker to whom I look up. Many of his doses of wisdom have, over time, crystallised into principles that I live by.

Seth talks a lot about change. Meaningful and persistent change is hard. So there is no surprise that a genuine thought leader in Seth talks a lot about it.

This is how he helps us visualise the need to change.


Your first mistake was getting on the A53 bus, the one that goes crosstown instead of to where you’re going.

Mistakes like this happen all the time.

The big mistake, though, the one that will cost you, is staying on that bus.

I know it wasn’t easy to get on the bus. I know you got a seat. I know it’s getting dark outside. But you’re on the wrong bus, and staying on the wrong bus won’t make it the right bus.

If you really want to get where you set out to go, you’re going to have to get off the wrong bus.

Those who know me well also know that I take no prisoners when it comes to identifying the need to change for myself, and for people and organisations who are ready for honest advice. My methods either employ classic emotional triggers rooted in fear and greed, or borrow and extend from ancient Tibetan techniques. But I have never been able to explain the need to change, in a generic and simple way, better than Seth. I hope this imagery of the wrong bus helps you as much as it has helped me and my work.

After committing to the need to change, identifying and experimenting with how to change is another challenge altogether. Solutions to complex problems are rarely straightforward. The solution to fixing the damages caused by deforestation might not be in growing more trees. The solution to reversing the effect of grey matter leakage might not be in attracting more population to certain regions. The solution to reducing late hours crime rate might not be in introducing curfew for bars and discos. The solution to embracing blockchains and adjacent emerging technologies might not be in the active building of a lot of blockchain based applications. That is the domain of another article, that I expect to pen before long.

📸 Studio Ghibli, My Neighbour Totoro, 1998.