Do you have a purpose for your life?

Some people believe they are on this planet for a reason and other people believe they have no reason for being here. But it is clear that whether one believes in the former or the latter, it is going to have massive impact on their life.

And as Henry Ford once said - “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” In this case it would be ‘whether you think you have a purpose or not--you’re right’. Ultimately, it is a decision that one must make themselves and from this place, they will be able to create a life of purpose.

This outlook will then define what they experience and how they interpret the experiences that they have. The inner belief that their life has meaning and purpose will be reflected back to them.

Through having a purpose, it is going to give one something to focus on. And as there are so many things in the world for people to focus on, this is incredibly important. Without a focus, ones time, energy and attention can end up being wasted.

When one has a purpose, they will be able to be distracted, but not for too long. They will be aware of their priorities in life and their point of focus will soon change. So when one has a sense of purpose they are going to be able to handle distractions better, and when they don’t, they are likely to be an easy target.

As human beings are interdependent, it means that when one follows their own purpose they are going to make a difference in other people’s lives. And ones contribution might be recognised by a lot of people or it might go unnoticed by the majority of people.

But what matters is that one is playing their part and the reward will be the fulfillment this gives them.

19:50 hours
Saturday 22 December 2012

Finding your real self, don’t play the blame game.

Whoever did whatever to you more than likely had a problem with their authenticity?

Mostly, this problem comes from our childhood. Imagine yourself as a child. Were you expected to always be in control of your emotions, and now you can’t feel your life the way you know you’d like to? Were you a science student expected to get to some engineering or medical college but you were really a creative at heart? Expected to be tough, but you’re really tender hearted?

If you feel the real you lives behind a façade, or worse, you aren’t even sure who the real you is any more.
Compassion has its place here. Knowing who did what may help you process, but hitching your life onto blame will never help you progress.

Write a letter to the person and burn it so you get some of your anger out. If you try to let them off the hook too soon, you may take on the blame.

Understand, as Barbara Sher stated, “We all try to prove our parents right.” This means if you thought you could make an unhappy parent or caregiver happy by being other than you were born as, you’ve had a frustrating time.

The key is to ask yourself, is it still who you thought you had to be for them, or who you really are? Are you still trying to fit the person’s mold for you?

Who do you have to be from this day forward to align with what you desire and deserve in your own life? What would you have to adjust? Do you need more structure, less structure? Do you need to work harder, work less? Do you need to laugh more, to allow yourself to feel more, to have more joy, to have playtimes; to aim at fulfilment instead of just achievement?

2145 hours
Friday 2 November 2012

Tea and Dunhill

You cannot detach a Pakistani from tea and political gossip. They just like talking about politics because it’s in their nature - you know, just like normal people like to eat, drink and sleep!

Broadly speaking, there could be two kinds of Pakistanis you come across – and both kinds are poles apart. The first is the most common type – the ones who believe in all sorts of conspiracy theories. For them, every thing that goes wrong in Pakistan is an American, Indian or Israeli conspiracy. From Baluchistan unrest to trade with your rival country, from cricketers’ swindling to freedom of expression, intolerance towards minorities, protests that only end up harming public property - there is an easy to process, simplistic explanation to all – a conspiracy. Sometimes I think they are better off this way, they don’t have to use their brains in researching and finding out painful facts. They may, in their right minds, be able to challenge you one day that extra sugar in their cup of tea is a Zionist conspiracy, or split milk is some kind of direct consequence of giving MFN status to India (Indian hypocrisy!) After losing many arguments, I realised it’s best to let them live at peace with themselves - reading a copy of Daily Ummat and watching another episode of Aalim Online.

The other kind - the ones who are informed. Liberal Pakistanis as they may like to call themselves – that translates into many things for their counter parts, the conspiracy theorists like: ‘kawwa chala hans ki chaal (a crow imitating a swan forgets being crow),’ ‘angrezon se bhi zyada angrezi (more British than whites) ’, ‘dhobi ka….. (Do you really need a translation of that?) ’ But don’t listen to the conspiracy theorists – they can’t even tell obscenity from other things let alone define it. The liberals would almost smoke out a pack of Dunhill (what is with them and cigarettes, anyways?), debating 10 different reasons behind radicalization in Pakistan or tweeting about the latest riots or pettiness of conspiracy theorists while sitting in some high end café in the town. What they may not realise, knowledge is not meant to be kept to their like-minds only. It may be of better use when shared with people who have to dig out conspiracy theories because of lacking it. The liberals may not realize that debates over Dunhill don’t help moderating fuel prices or inflammatory acts. They don’t either help with collection of taxes and widespread illiteracy. They only help a British American Tobacco Company. Only if not being able to see through the impact one can make through their knowledge could be called sleeping, the liberals may be sleeping while wide awake.

Anyways, it feels so peaceful with distant sounds of crickets and katydids under a starless sky. I might as well sleep!

P.S. don’t take Dunhill in the literal sense.

00:28 hours
12 October 2012

Not the drone debate

Somebody asked me a questions a while ago about the increasing following of the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI), as to ‘why a huge urban-educated Pakistani population is following an anti-west and pro-Taliban leader in a march against drones?’ Now, I am not a huge fan of the PTI or their stance on war on terror in Pakistan. But I think I am able to look into a fraction of why a huge urban population, who do not necessarily sympathise with Taliban, are following the PTI leader.

To majority of Pakistanis, terrorism doesn’t look like a problem bigger than lack of basic utilities, unemployment, inflation and a hundred others that they think are the outcome of ‘bad governance’.

According to an independent research site maintained by Dr.Zeeshan Usmani, a full bright scholar, total deaths from suicide bombings in Pakistan till last year were 5,067. Also, data obtained from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals that so far there have been 349  drone strikes in Pakistan that has reportedly killed around 2,593-3,365 people, out of which 474-884 were reported civilians and 176 were children.

Compared to that, 40% of the 1.8 billion Pakistanis are living below poverty line. According to 2009 census of Pakistan, 43% of Pakistanis do not have access to education. Pakistan’s rate of unemployment is 25%. 1.8 billion Pakistanis are also facing worst of its kind energy crisis in Natural gas, Power and Oil that will only get worst in the coming years. Pakistan has a total hydro potential of 40,000 MW against which it generates only 6500 MW. If the dams are not built, the power shortage will be up to 11,750 MV per year. 

But where would Pakistan get funds and resources to solve these problems? Our people may question robustly rental power and Hajj corruption cases but basic utilities’ wastage and stealing by common people, which is major cause of Pakistan’s energy crisis, are merely considered a reaction to government’s corruption. They may question the helipad at Prime Minister’s House, but would not like paying their taxes, as they have no doubt this will go in the ‘Swiss accounts of Mr. 10% and his friends.’

No matter how helpless the current government is for resolving economic and energy crisis and no matter how much they do for curbing Talibanisation in Pakistan, people would never forget the 1998 New York Times investigative report revealing a network of bank accounts of Zardari and a series of documents revealing corruption and commissions attributed to him, his parents and siblings who had modest assets at the time of his marriage with Bhutto. Though, never convicted during eight years of his imprisonment in a VIP hospital, the cases were withdrawn by the government after the Pakistan Peoples Party returned to power of in 2008.

This probably explains why even an educated and apparently moderate lot is blindly following a philanthropist with a transparent record of personal assets. When a political leader comes in power winning people’s trust, and not through buying votes through feudal lords in exchange of flour bags, he is most likely be able to convince people going against common wastages and stealing of resources. People are likely to thrust him with their tax money because they would trust the benefit would come down to them eventually.


21:57 hours
Monday 1 October 2012

Questions don’t always get answers

Sometimes, it seems that nothing would make most of us happier than getting the answer to our questions, such as how to improve our relationships, how to get a best job, and how to get anything else we want in life.

But answers are a type of belief. They are a solution to a problem, the way to do or get something.

And like all beliefs, answers are limiting, whereas questions are constantly pointing us in the right direction. In fact, answers actually prevent learning and change. Questions make them possible. Why? …

What do you ask a lot of when you don’t know how to do something? ... You ask questions, right?

What happens to the questions when you discover how to do it? … They stop, don’t they?

If you think you already know the right way to do something, how open are you to learning a better way? ...

You aren’t, are you?

That gives us a clue to an alternative for “answers.” Instead of trying to find the “right” way to do or achieve anything, look for the best way at the moment. And then keep asking the same question regularly.

There is no “right” way to do anything at all times under all conditions. There is only the best strategy for the moment. And as circumstances change, the best way to deal with them changes also.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Use fear to your advantage

Yes, this is a fact. You can use fear to your advantage.

Fear is a flow alarm, those things that warn you something is wrong in your life. Anxiety, sickness, anger and worry are also fear alarms. This is actually a good thing since when fear appears you can immediately know that your success is being blocked. When you experience fear take a self inventory — what is going on in your life? Where is this fear coming from? Why does it reoccur? 

We’ve been conditioned not see fear as a warning but something we should accept. We have to fight this programming until we can eliminate it. Why? We are always going to face challenges in your life. Fear does not need to be part of them.

Knowledge is the key to success. Once you know why things are happening you can then take charge and find ultimate success. Ignore the doomsayers, especially in the media, although pay attention to their game. News programs want higher ratings. Politicians want more votes. Religious types want more donations. And so on - All at the expense of your success.

Treat fear like the virus that it is and you will be able to accomplish things beyond your wildest dreams!

0930 hours
Saturday 28 July 2012

But first, fall in love with yourself

Lucille Ball once said “Love yourself first and everything falls into place” and I have found this to be true.
When you like and believe in yourself, you allow others to do the same. You teach people how to treat you by how you treat yourself.

Bestselling author Louise Hay wrote the powerful and inspiration book, You Can Heal Your Life and in it she explains that no matter what the problem is, the only thing she works on with anyone is “loving the self.” She says loving ourselves works miracles in our lives. She explains that it is not about vanity or arrogance or being “stuck-up,” it is about having a great respect for ourselves and a gratitude for the miracle of our bodies and our minds.

A helpful thing to do here would be to raise your awareness of what sort of things you say to yourself. Do you belittle or doubt yourself, or underestimate your abilities? You can become wildly successful if you learn how to be your own best friend and how to tell yourself positive and inspiring things.

When you are grounded, focused, and self-assured, you will be unstoppable. You will be free to express yourself, share your unique skills, talents and gifts with the world. You will be able to accomplish things in your personal and professional lives that you never even knew you had in you.

1440 hours
Saturday 2 June 2012

Reminding me that perfection doesn’t exist

There was a time, when preparing to speak in front of a group, I used to rehearse over and over again so that I could get everything down just perfect. It was a long time ago, and I can’t help laughing at myself when I think of that time.

I was so focused on having everything go exactly as planned that it prevented me from really being “with” the audience. A huge turning point in my speaking career was when I realized that people prefer “realness” to “perfection.”

In fact, many times people will become more endeared to you when you make a little mistake because they will see you as a human being, someone who they can relate to, and as someone who is comfortable enough to be themselves. When you are free from pressure to perform and free from self-consciousness, you create the space for others to be themselves with you, which is a real gift that you can give to others!

It is incredibly difficult to come across as confident if you are terrified of making a mistake, saying the wrong thing, or embarrassing yourself in some way.

I liked a thing in movie Hitch, starring Will Smith and Kevin James. Will Smith’s character, Hitch is a dating coach and Kevin James’ character, Albert is his client. As Hitch prepares Albert to attend a fancy party with the beautiful woman he has a crush on, he tells him to meditate on the image of an iceberg. Hitch tells Albert that he wants him to visualize this image because ninety percent of an iceberg’s mass in beneath the surface. Hitch wants Albert to be confident and grounded with his feet firmly planted on the ground. That’s how grounded and confident you can be if you invest a few second to mentally prepare yourself. If you do, you will carry yourself with confidence and power. Use the image of an iceberg if it works for you, or find another empowering thought or image to focus on.

Find a way to get grounded – Before you begin your day, before you walk into that meeting, or before you stand up to give that presentation, always take a few moments to collect yourself, get present, filter out any random and distracting thoughts and focus on the task at hand.

2225 hours
Sunday 20 May 2012

Negative thoughts will get you

Negative thoughts can sabotage ones success if we let them. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that we can do something to prevent those negative, doubtful thoughts from shaking our confidence and bringing us down. In fact, we can transform them into positive empowering thoughts that will increase our likelihood of success. It just takes awareness and practice.

By means of personal experimentation and observation, we can discover certain simple and universal truths. The mind moves the body, and the body follows the mind. Logically then, negative thought patterns harm not only the mind but also the body. What we actually do builds up to affect the subconscious mind and in turn affects the conscious mind and all reactions.

Practice listening to the little voices in your head. The little voices that say things like, “I can’t do this,” “I’m not ready,” “What if I mess up?” When you catch yourself entertaining these thoughts, stop and realize that you don’t have to accept them or hang on to them. Then, reframe the negative thought. Replace it with a positive and empowering thought. For example replace the negative thoughts with the following: “I am competent and capable,” “I am so ready for this,” or “I can handle whatever comes my way!”

The inability to get something out of your head is a signal that shouts, “Don’t forget to deal with this!” As long as you experience fear or pain with a memory or flashback, there is a lie attached that needs to be confronted. In each healing step, there is a truth to be gathered and a lie to discard.

0125 hours
Saturday 7 April 2012

Standing up for yourself

Have you ever had to face a bully head on?

The tactics of the bully can be so subtle, manipulative and confusing. Before you know it, your self esteem has plummeted and it begins affecting your connection with yourself. Other times they are neither subtle nor confusing. You know exactly what is happening as it happens and it's horrible.

Bullies are often master controllers who look for weakness and prey on an individual's sore spots and buttons. They slowly or quickly begin to dismantle the person, feeding on the Victim's victim energy.

Throwing barbs or abuse back, blaming them, hating them, vilifying them, arguing with them, telling them how they hurt you, and asking them to stop are all ways in which you are engaging with them in THEIR GAME and on THEIR TERMS. All of the above actions are really just reinforcing you as victim.

Whatever game they have going, it’s not your job to fix it or help them. It’s your job to stop playing victim. If you’re not engaging, you don’t pick up the rope, you don’t get involved with the energy exchange. You don’t get hit, you don’t catch it and you don’t throw it back. Period.

This means staying calm, ignoring their attack or removing yourself from the situation. If you don’t pick up the rope, it can’t go on very long. Depending on the bully, they may stop, get confused, escalate the attack or take a different tack.

They still want that energy they used to get from you, from your interaction. They are addicted to those chemicals that their brain released when they affected you or when they wield control over your emotions. Again, it’s not yours to figure out. Your job is to love yourself enough to know the truth about you and to live in it, no matter what the world says or tries to get you to believe.

Deciding your highest truth about yourself and how you’d like to show up in the world is your job. Futzing around with someone playing mind game, is only your job if you make it your job, if you say yes. You always have a choice. Always.

There is no justification juicy enough that relieves you of your responsibility for yourself. You can run from it for years and blame everyone else but in the end you will find, you are the captain of your own ship. You are the master of your life and always have been, even when you give your power away.

2315 hours
Friday 16 March 2013

‘Not ashamed’ of being a Pakistani

Most of my acquaintances would jeer at me if I say that ‘I’m proud to be a Pakistani.’ So, I have rather chosen a title that sounds more ironical, ‘I am not ashamed of being a Pakistani.’ Irony is the only thing that makes sense to us in a dangerously unstable country, currently facing its worst ever political, social and economic crisis. Thanks to our media that recklessly focuses only on crises, heedless of the fact that for selling their channels they are painting a somewhat inflated picture. The reckless reporting is doing us the biggest harm as it is diminishing our self esteem as a nation. Among the absolutely horror news, it’s very easy to overlook the reasons that make us feel proud as Pakistanis.

Yes, there still are many reasons, and they are no exaggerated textbook facts, just as:

~ Pakistan’s Karakoram Highway, the highest paved international road in the world, is the 9th Wonder of the World because of its high elevation and the unmanageable conditions in which it was constructed. The route of the Karakoram Highway traces one of the many paths of the ancient Silk Road, a fairy tale like travelers' dream route from Central Asia to the rest of the world.

~ Pakistan is truly the Rooftop of the World with the grand mountain ranges that holds 4 out of 14 highest peaks in the world. Pakistan’s K2 is the second highest mountain in the world and Nanga Parbat the ninth highest Peak in the World. In comparison to Everest, K2 is more remote and has more unpredictable weather. Naturally that makes it one of the world's most coveted prizes for top pro ski mountaineers.

~ Haleji Lake in Thatta is the Asia's largest bird sanctuary. It is an ideal refuge for wintering and home of thousands of birds and regarded as one of the most important wintering areas of migratory waterfowl in Eurasia. Haleji is a bird watcher's paradise. As many as 223 bird species have been recorded in the environs of Haleji Lake.

~ Thar Desert is the world's 9th largest desert, well known for its colorful culture rich in tradition, brilliantly hued costumes and enchanting folk music, dance and poetry. Its desert festivals, celebrated once a year during winters, are worth seeing. Due to the diversified habitat, the vegetation, human culture and animal life in this region is very rich in contrast to the other deserts of the world. About 23 species of lizard and 25 species of snakes are found here. The region is a haven for 141 species of migratory and resident birds of the desert. The beautiful resident Indian Peafowls can be seen sitting on Pipal trees in villages.

~ RaniKot, The Great Wall of Sindh is the world's largest fort with a circumference of about 26 km and striking similarity with the wall of China.

~ Indus Valley Civilization is spread over an area of some 1,260,000 km², making it the largest ancient civilization in the world. It is also one of the world's earliest urban civilizations, along with its contemporaries, Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. To date, over 1,052 cities and settlements have been found. Among the settlements were the major urban centres of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. The ancient Gandhāran city of Taxila is considered to be the earliest university and center of higher education in the world.

~ Sitting in the foothills of the Salt Range, Khewra Salt Mine is the second largest salt mine in the world and the oldest in the South Asia. Salt has been mined at Khewra since 320 BC following its discovery by Alexander's troops.

~ Gwader is said to be the world’s largest deep sea port - surrounded by around two-thirds of the world's oil reserves.

~ Pakistan is world's 9th largest English speaking country. Despite not being their mother language, almost 11% of Pakistanis speak English as an additional language. Our love and aptitude for languages is evident with the fact that over 300 dialects and languages are spoken in Pakistan today and each one is distinctly differently from the other. So, next time when you have hiccups while speaking English; just remind yourself of your multilingual achievements.

These are just a few examples; otherwise the list is long, as those of you who travel around Pakistan would know. The point is, don’t give up on Pakistan!


2245 hours

26 February 2012

Killing yourself for success

Sitting here on the terrace of my home, I am observing the skydiving by egrets. They shoot up to the sky and then, spreading their wings, take a dive into the valley. They seems to enjoy the free falling - entrusting themselves to the winds and free of all cares. There is a peace of mind in entrusting yourself to the wind-blown clouds and losing control.

But that’s not how most of us live. We live to kill ourselves with worries and stress – all in the name of chasing success. Mostly, the stress in our lives is not because of the actual problems we have, but because of our continuous efforts to control things, situations and people around us.

Most of us carry the fearful baggage of our past on our shoulders and become so cautious, that anything that seems not under control looks like a threat or end of the world. ‘Your past is not to live, it is to learn. School teaches you for university, university teaches you for your profession. Once you are in professional life you set your future goals. Everything is a stepping stone,’ including the current problem in hand. No difficulty is there to stay or to take you away from your success; it’s only there to lead you on to it. And it is the law of nature that hard work always pays you off, whether you worry about it or not. As humans we are in love with worries, and will even dig out one on our own if we don’t have any. But like my favorite poet Rumi says:

If I were the plaything of every thought
I'd be a fool, not a wise man.


11:36 hours

Saturday 28 January 2012