Here I share a story some of you might have heard before. It is about a little schoolboy who had bright mercurial mind. He would try everything that came his way with a “Why-not” attitude. He would try it, analyze it, learn from it and move on to something bigger.
By the age of 16, he was earning a little amount by teaching primary classes. At the age of 17, he fell in love and then finally was married (bound in a formal marriage contract, Nikah) at the age of 18 to the girl of his choice with a promise of sendoff in five years, after completing his formal education. To keep his promise of becoming independent in five years, he worked in a computer college, washed dishes in a local five-star hotel, and worked in car workshops, with an electrician, at a body shop, in a school as a teacher of primary classes. He would accept challenges; prove his worth and then challenging the status quo leave the job for something bigger. His friends, family and associates used to call him “weird”. He was not satisfied with the quality of life. He knew he was missing something but did not know what. At the age of 19, he owned his personal car. By the age of 20, he had learnt about ten trades in addition to continuing his formal education very successfully. On an average, he worked about 12 hours a day. With all the hard work and struggle, in the fifth year of his MA program in English Literature, when he was 22, he realized that it would require at least two more years to complete his studies if he followed the formal university-pattern. It could delay keeping his promise of a sendoff in five years. This was not acceptable to him even if the delay was due to the education system and not his incompetence. To avoid this, he took just three months to appear in MA Economics examination as an external candidate. He knew if he made it, it would save him two years and he would also be able to keep his promise. He prayed to God for his success. He passed the MA at the age of 22. At the age of 23, in December 1986 (three months before the expiry of his five-year promise), he married the girl. At that time, in addition to having a Masters degree in Economics, he had a handsome amount of money to fund his further education in the USA.
He got admission in all the three universities he applied to. He chose the one in Oklahoma. He decided to join the summer school starting from May 1987. But with USA, it is not always in one’s own hands. With all the difficulties regarding the advance fee payments, he was still at the mercy of visa officer for a visa. Instead of worrying about it, he started preparing for it. He wanted to take his wife along with him. People advised against doing so for to them it would almost ensure a rejection. With all the miracles in his life and with his strong faith in God, he knew that his job was to try hard and leave the result to Him. He sold everything he owned, applied for the student’s visa for himself and a spouse visa for his wife. During the interview with the visa officer, he convinced him that he had no intentions of staying in USA as he loved his country and right after his studies, he would come back. Regarding his wife, he told the visa officer that either she would accompany her or he would stay back. Seemingly, his honesty and confidence coupled with his strong belief and faith in God convinced the visa officer and they got the visa.
He knew that he had funds only for the first semester. One day, he was passing through the campus, when he witnessed a sign reading “Now Hiring Drivers”. It was a fast food chain opening a new restaurant in that area. Suddenly it occurred to him that this was the opportunity for him. He went inside, was interviewed and got selected. He started as a pizza delivery boy. With all his hard work, he became the star of the team. He was declared as the fastest and safest delivery driver. He also became one of the fastest pizza makers of the company. Because of his friendly personality and exceptional customer service and relationships, he soon became very popular with his customers in the neighborhood. He started making good money in tips, in addition to his paycheck. Throughout his about four-year stay in USA, he stayed with the company. The money he made from there was more than enough for him and his wife to enjoy a very comfortable living in addition to paying his school fee. He reached at the managerial level and became a respected and trusted name in the restaurant chain. He developed a reputation of “problem-solver” of the company. Whichever restaurant was in trouble or wherever the management thought they were losing money either due to a potential chance of fraud or poor customer service, he was deputed to diagnose the problem. The management developed a “blind” faith in him due to his honesty and integrity. His major contributions to his company were his creative ideas and suggestions to improve the service and efficiency of the restaurant, saving them thousands of dollars, as a result.
Throughout his job, he never took a day off until the day of his “graduation”. He worked and attended the graduate school fulltime. In addition, he was the vice president of Pakistan Students Association and the Muslim Students Association of the university. Despite his graduate studies and extracurricular activities in the school, he was available to work at any time, even in severe weathers when all others would decide to stay at home. Financially he was so sound that almost everyone thought that his family supported him. He was the only Pakistani who was pursuing a Masters degree in Economics unlike all others who were either in business or computer studies. He wanted to serve the Government of Pakistan after coming back. Everyone thought he was crazy because there was no need for spending so much on a foreign degree if the intention was to serve the Government of Pakistan in BPS 17, but he was happy with his plans. However, by the time he had graduated with a Master’s degree, he discovered that he loved working with people and would go for another career instead where he could pace himself and make his place because of his capabilities and hard work. Right after his graduation, he was offered a very lucrative job in the United States, but he knew he had a promise to keep, the promise of coming back.
The love for the country brought him back to Pakistan in the early 1990s, at the age of 26. The warnings from his family and friends about the poor economic conditions and unemployment in Pakistan did not change his plans. For seven months, he tried hard to find a job. He would wander in the city, from morning till evening, looking for a job, but no one seemed interested. He was willing to take up any job and any position. Some people would tell him he was overqualified while others said he was too young and raw. After seven months of struggle, he was offered three different jobs on one day. He accepted the one with a very small management consulting company and the lowest salary but the work of his choice, with a big challenge of setting up a professional human resource training and development practice.
Despite initial challenges and setbacks, he rose to the position of a director and partner of the company within two years. The company by that time had become a member of an international network. He was the youngest partner and director in the network spread over one hundred countries. In the next three years he became a recognized name in the consulting and training profession in Pakistan and the international network. Soaring to the height of his profession, he was a role model for his young colleagues. However, his exceptionally high lifestyle and a very lucrative compensation package could not win him the satisfaction and happiness he was striving for. He was not at peace from within. He felt unfulfilled but never knew why?
In 1995, he planned an eight-week educational trip to USA. He wanted to find out what was missing in his life through meeting various people and his mentors. He knew the trip would consume all his savings. Finally, he thought what good the money was for if it could not bring him happiness and satisfaction. He discussed it with his wife who supported him, and persuaded him to proceed. He wanted to find answers to a few simple questions:
- What is the meaning and definition of “true success”?
- What is the secret of a “happy and successful life”?
- What are the “common traits and habits” of all the successful people?
- Are the resources required to be successful “God-gifted” or can they be generated?
- What is LUCK and what role does it play in life?
To find answers to these questions, he met hundreds of people he thought could be helpful. He also read over two hundred biographies of various successful people. He also took part in a number of seminars and programs and met his old mentors. He read many authors including Dr. Norman Vincent Peale. With each passing day he became clear on what was missing from his life. On this journey of discovery, he spent many sleepless nights trying to discover true-life values. When he was clear on what exactly he wanted from his life, he was scared. What he discovered was that there was a big gap between what he wanted in his life and what his current job was providing him. He discovered that what he was and what he wanted to become were two different worlds altogether.
He was sure that if he wanted to recreate his life with peace, happiness and satisfaction, he would have to pay the price by leaving this job and starting all over again. Within 24 hours of this discovery, he decided to leave everything behind and start a journey to an unknown destination. His near and dear ones opposed his idea of leaving this superficial but so-called “wonderful” life. He convinced his family of his decision. Most of the people thought he had gone crazy but he was quite determined to do it. He had no business plan, no money but only a strong passion and a dream. A dream of doing something very different than what he was already doing. He wanted to make a difference in the quality of life of people by replacing their wrong beliefs about life with positive beliefs.
He knew the cost he might end up paying to achieve his goals, but he concluded that it was worth it. He left his job. Having nothing in hand, with just a strong passion and a dream, he started once again from a scratch. He lost everybody. All of his friends backed off. Everyone wanted to crush him. There was no one to support him but God. He talked to Him every night. Having a very tough first year with hundreds of setbacks, the dust settled down and he found his path, the “right” path, but definitely not an easy one. However, that was the only way to realize his dream. By now, you must have guessed whom I am talking about. Yes, it’s me.
In the last four years of my “new” life, I have come a long way from whatever I was, to whatever I am today. It was not an easy task. I went through the worst of the crisis of my professional career. Financially, I was at the rock bottom, but my work kept me alive. Everyday I started with a new hope, with a renewed optimism, a renewed energy and confidence. Two things that helped me survive through this crisis were:
- The faith in the Creator, and
- The satisfaction I drew from teaching, and conducting free talks
There were no material rewards. I even sold my personal belongings to fund my work. I can never forget those early days when all I had in my office was a dinning table set and a computer. Even in those days, when I had nothing much to do, I stayed in the office till midnight. I was totally cut off from my friends, who, whenever we met, reminded me how big a mistake I had made. It was an uphill task, but it was worth it. You see that was the sacrifice, the price for the new life, without that, it could never have happened.
I have very closely seen the miseries of men and women. I have seen the miseries of poor and the so-called rich. I have seen God and “demi-gods”. I have seen friends and worst enemies. I have seen the “trusted-ones” changing overnight. I have seen “no-bodies” becoming best “buddies”. I have seen the changing colors of friends and family. I have seen “so-called” professionals becoming totally un-professional, overnight. I have seen the “givers” turning into “looters”. I have seen angels in few, and the devils in most. I have seen “lousy” as well as the “real” role models. I have seen so much contradiction and hypocrisy in people that I might write a separate book on it. I have seen “ethnic” and “sectarian” discrimination. I have seen people compromising on their character and principles for small personal gains. I have seen people turning their faces away just because someone wants to live with character.
I have seen people changing their loyalties overnight just to please their demigods. I have seen people working day and night to take away someone’s living. I have seen people working so hard for their reputation that I am sure that even a tithe of that effort, if spent in building their character could have changed this nation. I have seen many “people”, all sorts of people, but unfortunately, very few, we could call the “real” human beings, with feelings, emotions, a compassionate heart, character and morals.
Nevertheless, I am very thankful to all these people for giving me this “new” life; a life full of love, happiness, satisfaction and respect, a life where I can feel for and give something to my fellow beings; a heart so strong that can forgive, love and respect my fellow-beings; a soul with a strong faith in God and being always thankful to Him for all His blessings and guidance; and a team of people who share my vision. These are my achievements in the last four years. This new life could not have been possible without all the opportunities and experiences this society provided me to learn from. The purpose of my seminars and writing this book is to share my experiences with all those who believe that their life could have been better.
This new life and my work have given me a new identity. I have experienced every single word of what I teach in my seminars. Now for the first time I am producing it in black and white for those who, for some reason, could not attend our live seminars. People say that my seminars are powerful. Every word comes from deep inside me. I can feel for your pain and experiences. I have seen this society very closely.
This work will take you to an “unknown” journey deep inside you. It will change your life altogether or at the minimum shake your beliefs and change your paradigm about life. This book is about my life and about the life of thousands of people around the globe, who have been through all these experiences to be successful. I sincerely hope that this work does not go astray. I have no doubt that you will succeed like Bernard Shaw, who said:
“You see things and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were and I say, ‘Why not?”
And like me I believe all of us have a tremendous potential to be the masters of our own destiny. And we all are ready to dream things that never were and say: “Why Not?”