Steve Jobs captures the essence of how to bring about massive change in your life.
In the above clip, Steve says:
When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you’re life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money.
That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.
Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
The One Thing
The one thing that you can learn is to realize your own power. You can change.
And as importantly, realize that we tend to over-estimate the power of others.
Once you get thinking on these lines, the following question can add some juice to it:
I wonder what I can change in my life right now that is hindering my growth?
Isn’t that a powerful question?
I wish you the best in answering this, and achieving the kind of success you want and need. Aameen.
It is a very strange feeling, knowing that there is a group of people out there, waiting for you to take action. If you do not take action, they may sleep hungry tonight. If you do not take action, their 3 year old daughter may not get the medical treatment that can cure her.
Is that group really dependent on me – on li’l ol’ me – to take action? No. God will provide through someone else if not me. But I would have failed at some level if I do not take action.
A very dear, old, trusted friend has been delivering food items every year – to either flood victims or during Ramzaan, to the less fortunate. If you have been a long-time reader of LifeETC, you already know that we have collected and distributed funds before. I distinctly remember a gentleman from Karachi donating 100,000 rupees. I was (and am) humbled that we reached our target of 400,000 rupees last time pretty quickly, Alhumdulillah.
It is Time
It is time, unfortunately, for such fund-raising again. I want to collect a total of 500,000 rupees for the flood victims of Pakistan, and I hope that you will join me in taking action.
If you’re outside Pakistan, you can still donate (our target of 500,000 rupees is roughly equal to 5,000 dollars). With that money, we can deliver basic sustenance to a larger group inshAllah.
It is a matter of responsibility. I want to play my part inshAllah. And I want to make it easier for my friends to play their part too.
Get your friends involved, ask your family members, collect the money and donate! We can do this, we can God willing help the victims.
Collecting funds is the easiest, but of course, these funds are utilized to purchase relief items.
We are right now focused on providing basic tents (for protection against dengue and malaria virus) and food items (for a tentative list of food items, click here). But there is also a need for clothing and bedding. If you are in Lahore, I can pick these donations up from your location.
Funds are utilized in totality for purchase of relief items – no “admin expenses” of course, each and every paisa and penny is spent on relief items.
Our relief efforts are not affiliated with any political party and we try to stay away from the local politician trying to make a quick impression on his/her constituency. Having said that, our efforts are to provide for the flood victims, and if there is a politician in the way, we can not allow that to stop us. Essentially, we do not care who gets the pat on the back.
Lastly, this is not about donating to me; if you have an Army relief camp (or any other trusted organization) near your location, donate there if you want to. I just hope and pray that all of us play our part, God willing.
“Of course the political movement was necessary, so what if the corrupt ruling elite declared it illegal? It was right although it was illegal.”
“Of course Hitler was a mass murderer!”
Never forget, whatever Hitler did was legal – Martin Luther King.
But standing on the right side of an argument as it happens is not that easy.
During the struggle for Pakistan, it was easy to be wrong. The Quaid-e-Azam (meaning: Father of the Nation) Mohammad Ali Jinnah actually changed his decision; he first tried for a unified India! But then his struggle was – in totality – for a separate country. But a handful of Muslim Ulemas and religious parties were against this separate homeland business. Those same religious parties – realizing their folly – became the biggest supporter of Pakistan after the creation of the country.
I do realize that each and every line in the above paragraph can be an argument itself. But we are not looking at political arguments, we are looking at a much simpler and harder construct: the moral argument.
There is a compass inside each of us, that always points to true North. We are normally able to decide, in an instant, which option is morally better. What we do about it is a different matter altogether.
That in-built, little compass pays no attention to our desires, our affiliations, and silently points to what is right. We know. We don’t even have to look deep inside; we just need to ask ourselves, “is this the better thing to do?” The answer comes very quickly. Almost scary.
But what do we do about it?
Pakistan’s current political turmoil is a classic example: the second largest political party in Pakistan has taken to the streets, with a sit-in in front of the Parliament and a call for civil disobedience. The sit-in is entering into its 33rd day as I write this.
So, one group wants a free and fair re-election. The ruling party, after admitting that the elections were not fair, has decided to stop them.
The ruling party makes the rules. Only a few days ago, they ended up “arresting” more than 3000 people. Three. Thousand. People. No charge, just arrests. All that in one day.
Never forget, whatever Hitler did was legal
The easier question is, “do you want a free and fair election?” The compass points to a solid ‘yes’. But what do we do now?
That’s where the argument gets messy.
Go out on the streets? Or just wait it out? Support the protesters and risk anarchy, or support the government and risk nothing?
For me, the important question is where do I stand on this…
Going on the streets will make it happen? No one knows.
Will waiting it out help? Never did.
So after compass points out the truth, the rational mind comes in and helps us pick. If the options are “who knows” and “never works”, it is better to pick “who knows” because the other we know “never works”. Maybe we can make it work. Right?
My job is not to convince you. My attempt is to remove the presentation layer, and arrive at the core. So one can decide.
It is better to decide and be ready to be proven wrong, than to not decide at all.
But standing on the right side of an argument, on the right side of a cause, on the side of Truth – that’s not easy. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the test: our decisions in tougher times.
I hope you choose the right side, even if it is not the side that I’m on. And more importantly, I hope you do pick a side. Raise the stakes, get your skin in the game, make it count.
The path to a risk-free, boring, mediocre life in these easy steps:
Always have something to complain about. Look for faults in others. In fact, consider “fault finding” a part of your job!
Accept whatever you are told without asking for “verifiable” sources.
Tell others what you have accepted and say it with enough conviction so that it appears to be the Ultimate Truth. So what if you can’t find the sources of your own convictions.
Do a job for money when you don’t even need the money.
Go to a school to get a degree. Consider all the learning that happens as a “by product” instead of the real reason for schooling yourself.
Be OK with debt. When you die, someone else will have to pay it on your behalf, so what?
Always start with No. And if the other person is really, truly committed to getting a Yes from you, then say “Maybe” or “Yes”. But don’t say Yes to things you haven’t tried before. Stay safe.
Prefer safety over learning.
Adventures and fun was when we were kids and didn’t know any better. Adults are serious and it is OK to be boring, because serious work is boring, right?
Always avoid risk, never learn how to manage it.
Always assume that the world is out to get you. Don’t start with trust, but start with doubt. Assume everyone’s bad until they prove themselves to be trustworthy. Never assume the good in others and let them prove themselves to be not worthy of trust. Never.
Accept your fate. You are destined to be exactly where you are right now, and more importantly, you can never ever change your future because “it is all written”. Be a fatalist.
Everybody for him/her self. Just look after yourself, the world doesn’t need you to “poke your nose” and try to help others. “Mind your own business”.
A single person can never do anything meaningful. We need a messiah, we need “Someone Else” to come and help us. Till that time, just look busy and do nothing.
Never ever read more than a few paragraphs. Reading is for losers. A book is good to weight down school bags, and a good book may look all snazzy in your shelf (if you have have a shelf). But reading a book? Who has time for that?
It’s OK that you have dreams. Dreams are good. Just please, don’t start planning on your dreams. Dreams belong in the dream world. This is real life baby. Be practical. Always, always be practical.
The best advice (to live a boring, mediocre life) is:
you don’t have to do it, someone else probably will. So just sit back and relax.
Really, you are not needed. And when you do show up, it just upsets people who are comfortable and now your asking questions is making them nervous.
Besides, who told you that you’re capable? See? Good. Now go back to your awesomely boring, absolutely mediocre life.