Perfection…..doesn’t exist

Do you often procrastinate things because you think it is not the right time or situation? You are not in the right mindset to do that? Or not sure if it’s the right thing to do or will bring the right outcome? Thinking that, you feel stuck in one point and not progressing in any direction? Are you a writer staring towards a blank screen knowing not what to type, a painter lost in the plain canvas thinking where to draw the first line, a professional not sure about making a new career move or a business man with an invention on the back burner but knowing not where to start from? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you are one of the many people suffering of ‘Perfection Paralysis’.

If we will use perfection as a measurement tool to determine our success and failure, we can never achieve our goals and will always fail; since we can NEVER be perfect. In one form or another, we all strive for perfection. We all want the right time and right situation to do the right thing. But the reality is that perfection doesn’t exist. Even then we look for it. Let's be honest, no matter how hard you try, your article will have a grammar error, someone will tell you and you will fix it; you will accidentally send a communication to a list you didn't intend to and; yes, your newsletter will have a broken hyperlink. But it’s not the end of the world.

Don't get me wrong, I am not asking you not to go for or do the best possible thing. The world is for doers. But there is a difference between ‘being perfect’ and ‘doing the best possible thing’. We need to realise that every situation we’re in is ideal, the one most right for us. It was meant to be so. Whenever you blame yourself of not coming up to the perfection criteria, just change your mindset and think that it was the best possible thing you could do in that situation and with that little information. In this way, we’ll never really fail because we’ll know everything is ideal, just in the right place for us.

We’re never stuck. It’s only that sometimes we pause at places temporary, just to learn something that needed to be learnt in order to move ahead in the right direction. When we use perfection as a yardstick to determine our success, we put boundaries to our selves. We miss on so many opportunities that were not perfect but just right for us and meant for us. Come out of this perfection paralysis and don’t let go of these opportunities!

Bushra Naz
28 September 2009

Published in The Daily Mail on 30 September 2009

Change or you’ll become extinct

While in my last article, I proved Darwin's theory of 'Survival of the fittest' wrong; I would support his saying, 'It is not the strongest of the species, nor the most intelligent that survives, It rather is the one that is the most adaptable to change'. The only thing that is constant in this life is 'change' it self. The whole world is changing, constantly evolving. Someone who doesn't change becomes extinct. Everything keeps moving in the positive direction be it sun, moons, planets, our whole solar systems. (Sketch above: 'Change' sketched by me).

Why do we humans are so resistant to change then? The more we are exposed to some prevailing source prompting us to change the more we resist, trying to keep in our original form. Friction is in human nature. When we come across a difficult colleagues, teacher or fellow, who seemed to have something that challenges us, our first response is usually an attempt to sustain our egos. We try to convince ourselves that he or the change he is suggesting is not good enough. Why do we do that? Why do we get offended, why do we resist? Whenever we come across something really challenging that has the power to move us, it is always for a reason. It always leaves us with some cause to develop, start over a new path or with a bundle of lessons to learn.

As for those of us who fear meeting different new people and disagreements, I have a little piece of advice 'open up'. In every meeting between two people, both people exchange a part of themselves. Whoever comes across us takes a part of us and leaves a part of him with us. Actually it's not the comments of others that we fear in conversations but we fear our own reactions to it. Only if we can learn to listen to others, calmly analysing what the other person is disagreeing to and let the other person express all his point of view without resisting it. If it is right it will make its way inside us no matter how much we resist, the quicker we accept it, the more we will save our own time. And if it is something wrong, and offends us even then there's no uses bringing your ego in the way. Just let it go, because people usually hurt and recklessly blame others when they're in pain themselves. Whatever wrong they would say about you is reflection of their own minds. It is their problem and has nothing to do with you.

Bushra Naz
17 September 2009
Published in Daily Mail on 18 September 2009

Survival of the weakest

We all are familiar with the world known Darwinian Theory 'Survival of the fittest'. This theory turns out to be wrong when it comes to human beings. Human beings are not the fittest ones on this planet; instead they are a species that needs to be protected above all. A bee is independent after five minutes of its birth and a baby giraffe is autonomous only six to eight months after its birth, however the specialists say a human being hardly becomes capable of surviving on his own after nine years of his birth. If Darwin's theory would be right, we would have been long extinct from the face of earth.

Today, this theory seems to penetrate so much in our everyday professional and personal lives. We've always been told that there is a cutthroat competition among us all and only the fittest survives. At our schools, we were taught to compete with our class fellows. Each child has a hidden talent of his own and he needs to be mentored in the right direction accordingly. Instead the emphasis was always laid on scoring well in pre determined areas of study when it should have been on acquiring knowledge and identifying our unique talents.

At works, we are in a constant practice of a cutthroat competition and we are appreciated for that by our employers. Someone who fails to follow the competition is considered incompetent and de-motivated. Research shows that people bring out the best results when they work in an environment that offers good team working instead of an antagonist environment where individuals fight for competition. Team working is working together, taking everybody along, in order to achieve a mutual objective. It's about helping and developing others - willingly sharing all resources and information. There is a famous saying, 'with competition there is always ego and hubris... competition gets in the way of work'. The only competition worthy of a man is with himself. Try determining your success with the number of people you help daily at work. This approach may not get you the so called fastest journey up in the hierarchy, but there is no fastest journey up. We all get the right stuff at the time most right for us.

This turns out to be right, even at our personal lives. All our lives we try to be in charge of everything, be it our feelings or emotions. We want to be independent. We are not supposed to show others that we are dependant on them otherwise we will be exploited or considered weak by them. The truth is that human beings have always been dependant and weak when it comes to relations. We are born with an essential dependency on each other and we need others support to survive. We only are able to live our lives truly when we are able to express our emotions fully.


14 September 2009

Published in The Daily Mail on 15 September 2009

We can’t change the colour of our skin

A high up trend these days is almost everyone among us has some plans to fly abroad, and leave this country for good. Be it students or young professionals, for some reason we all have this thing as a firm career objective in our future plans. We strive so much after it that most of us would do anything to go abroad.

The blame is not entirely up to us, we are encouraged to do so by every one - our families, friends, employers and society. Although, we have been free from the colonial rule since last 62 years but the mindsets of our people haven’t changed. Anything that has some western label is a cut above for our people. A degree pursued from abroad is worth many years local experience in the eyes of our employers. Nobody bothers to see if anything is actually gained by the individual through this degree or it’s just a label. The clich├ęd perception is that anything pursued from abroad is the best possible standard without any mistake.

Studying is just one thing, people who had been abroad don’t only get good jobs here but they are also supposed to get good spouses from here. Credit goes to the colonial psyche of our people. Everybody wants to go abroad. Going abroad seems like going to some fairyland. Often people forget to even scrutinise the prospective spouse for other basic things, a label of being abroad is more than enough. We willingly follow long lines and pooling of money from all the relatives just to get a student visa, which is easiest to get. Once we get it, we salute the embassies for making us stand in the line and then gladly fly out of this country. Later on, who asks if we are working full time on a student visa? Going abroad is such an attraction that we can even run the risk of going contrary to another country’s rules.

I admit, we do not have their so called standard of living but is that all one needs. What about our adoring families who are always there with us through thick and thin? Does a lonely life without any true relations worth leaving them? A lot of people who live in Pakistan in big houses willingly go abroad and live there in a room actually smaller than their store rooms. We would hate our own people - the way they live, the way they speak, they way they behave, all their ways. But we would absolutely love anything from white skin just because it is from them. We don’t mind even if the foreigners look down upon us, calling names at us as we turn our backs. In any case, beggars or slaves don’t get to choose.

When will we come out of this colonial enslavement and learn to realise our own strengths. Who is stopping us from pursuing a good degree, acquiring knowledge and work experiences there, but having a mind set of enslavement and a hatred for our own people will get us no where. We cannot change the colour of our skin, so it’s better to change the way we think. A country has a greater share in our identity, and we need to learn to accept our strengths and weaknesses, instead of denying both of them and finding a way to escape. We are too busy looking in the beautiful flowers in the other’s garden that we forget to tender the buds of our own garden. We don’t realise that another’s garden can’t be even to ours, because our garden is ours after all!

1128 hours
10 September 2009
Bushra Naz
Published in The Daily Mail on 11 September 2009

Losing real world

There is a famous saying that technology is the ability of arranging the world in a manner that we don't have to experience it. Quite right! If we look at our way of experiencing the world, we will realise that we are becoming more and more virtual? For most of us, a working day consist mostly sitting on an aloof desk, busy taking calls or staring at the computer screen for several hours in a row. As for after work…, there are quite a many things to keep us busy, TV, LCDs, DVDs, home theatres, play stations, broadband and face book. The trend of family outings and friends hanging out is becoming rarer and reduced to weekends mostly. Some of us hardly get to chat with our family everyday.

As the pacing technology has brought the entire world at our finger tips, at the same time we are losing touch with the real world. The trend of exercising and morning walks among young lot is no where to be seen. We exercise only when we want to appear in shape, and for that too we look for shortcuts. So gym or pills would sound a good idea. Outdoor activities are getting replaced by indoor ones. We are losing touch with the nature. Our physical inactivity is resulting into unhealthy body and mind. We have lost our balance between nature and tools. The emerging technology is so addictive that we don’t mind losing our pinch of nature for that.

Despite of the many advantages of technology, its misuse is becoming more common as well. The proportion of constructive use technology to inept use is really bad. The most in demand TV channels in our part of the world are either for movies or music and the most visited website is face book. The clumsy e-mail or forwards and indecent jokes in texts are so common. We’re falling short of the creative and innovative people - writers, painters, musicians - everybody around is just an inept techno.

The cyber world has not only made the business networking easier, it has made the virtual social networking even more easier, and thanks to the face book and chatting messengers, we can even date virtually now. It has become so easy that now even the kids have started to date. Today the 13 years old can put the relationship status on face book as ‘complicated’.

But with the clutter of so many tools and machines around, where are the chirping morning birds and enlightening fire worms; curvy footways covered with trees and the sparkling water of a stream; the fresh sunrise and beautiful sunset; where’s the peace of mind? The technology will continue to evolve this way, keeping us engaged but it is up to us to understand that technology may pace and abridge the things but it’s not a substitute of real world. If we want to stay sane and healthy, we need to stay close to nature, keeping a balance between technology and nature.

Bushra Naz

1400 hours

7 Spetmeber 2009

Published in The Daily Mail on 8September 2009

Drive slower, live longer

A reflection of any nation’s ethics is the way its people drive, and the way we drive shows a lot about us.

When it comes to unethical driving, the list has no end. For most of us, breaking the traffic rules when the traffic police are not around does not come under any offence really. We clearly speed over limit, being slow is not really us. Instead, if a car in front of us is following the speed limit, it’s our right to flash the headlights, to say ‘get out of my way you slow jerk’. But when it comes to us…well, giving way to others is not really us, is it? We can even drive at a speed of 20 mph in the fast lane, where the speed is 80 mph. No matter how urgent and serious the issue is, at times even the ambulances have to wait. As the green signal turns on, if the car in front of us fails to move within 1 second, it’s a norm to press horn immediately. If we are freaked out while driving, we can simply roll down the car’s window and abuse the other driver. Especially now, with countless barrier and security checks on main roads, we have the right to drive completely out of ethics and showing absolutely no mercy.

With the onset of Ramazan, we should be demonstrating some tolerance towards other drivers and traffic, but all we see in Ramazan is an increased level of intolerance and unethical driving. Where are we speeding to? Why are we in that much hurry? And who will get benefited with our ruthless, hurried driving.

Research shows, no matter how fast you drive you will always reach your destination almost with the car that’s driving in front of you, unless you are driving on a highway without signals and barriers. You can try testing this theory yourself. When it comes to barriers and signals, we all get even. Except you’re driving only for the sake of thrill and speeding, it’s insane to take so many risks and upsetting quite a many people, just to reach at work 3 minutes ahead of the car in front of you.

By ruthless driving we are not only frustrating others but frustrating ourselves for most of the times. It is evident that ruthless drivers, starting their day with frustration, usually keep yelling out at work and for rest of the day for no good reason. This way we are only initiating a chain of frustration spreading from one person to other and then coming back to us always in one way or another. According to the universal law of attraction, when we remain upset and frustrated most of the times, we keep attracting things that frustrate us over and over again. On the other hand when we avoid frustration and remain at the state of calmness and happiness, we’ll keep attracting all the good in the world.

Only if we can learn to turn the steering around, set out for work with a smile on our face, giving way to others and enjoying the view, we can make a difference not only in our lives but also in the lives of so many people around. Keep smiling!

Bushra Naz

1600 hours

02 September 2009