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A Unified Theory of Living:Loss. Love. Learning.

On August 16 , I launched a free ( subscription free, ad free, no email list reselling) newsletter as a “gift” of learning and thinking in exchange for the “gift” of the readers time and goodwill. I stated it would be bohemian and eclectic in that it would mix art and science, it would have a certain wanderlust and would roam into different areas and have no fixed format or schedule.

Four editions later it appears to have resonated touching on strategy, leadership, culture but also libraries, jazz and photography. And it has tried to capture how marketing has been re-invented on the back of an envelope.

A particularly popular piece was on Loss, Love and Learning so I have archived that on this blog. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

A Unified Theory of Living: Loss. Love. Learning.

Earlier this week I was featured at a Lunch and Learn Session of the San Francisco Bay Area Innovation Group and one of my answers seemed to particularly resonate.

When you live your life are there some underlying beliefs and truths that drive you or you measure yourself against? If we are to grow where are we trying to go?

I have long believed that if there is a competition it is not with other people but to get better every day and to get closer to what you believe or your ideals. Your success is not housed in other people’s minds (what they think of you) but in their hearts (what they feel about you) and in your mind (what you think of yourself).

I shared that I believe that in many ways Life is about Loss, Love and Learning (the 3 L’s)

Loss is central to the human experience in three ways. The first is we often lose in our attempts to succeed. We lose pitches, Clients, jobs and opportunities. Many times, we win. Some people win little and others win a lot. But we all lose. But these losses are not the big ones. The second bigger losses are the losses we will face of loved ones and friends either because relationships end, or death comes, and our final loss is that of our lives.

How we live amidst this loss defines a large part of life.

The joy we make is because time is precious, and this moment of victory may not last forever. Given that loss is part of human existence it pays to be kind and to think about how to help those in loss for do not ask for whom the bell tolls since it tolls for you.

A big part of what makes life worth living despite the guarantee of loss is the hope of love and joy of learning. Love of people, of work, of art, of culture. Love may not compute but computers do not love. There is a great deal of progress made over generations on who one can love, the ability to do things one loves and because of modern technology to be exposed to new worlds, horizons and things to love.

And learning is particularly joyous. Learning in its first form is building knowledge. With great knowledge and practice we build skills and craftsmanship.   Learning to see things from other perspectives gives us understanding. Sometimes if we are lucky, we can graduate from knowledge, skills and understanding to wisdom.

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Rishad Tobaccowala ( @rishad ) is the author of the bestselling “Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data” published by Harper Collins globally in January 2020. It has been described as an “operating manual” for managing people, teams and careers in the age we live in. Rishad is a sought after speaker and advisor who helps people think, feels and see differently about how to grow their companies, their teams and themselves. More at

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