Living through the Pandemic – II

Knowing that there’s going to be continued restrictions on movement for some time, and people are going to be staying at home a lot more than usual, I wanted to write about how we can make the most of this situation and talk about the pluses that will emerge out of this extended stay-at-home. In this post, I’d focus on the three areas we can possibly focus on while we’re going through this.

In terms of the things to do to make the most of this situation, I find we can leverage this time to enhance our connections, learn things and reflect on our lives.

Enhancing connections can be done by being able to spend more time with family, and be able to give some quality time to them to improve the value of the relationships. It also means connecting back with old friends through a call, or a video chat maybe. This time when things have been made to slow down, we can explore our relationships and invest in them to improve our well-being.

Learning things can come in a variety of ways, you can focus on learning a particular skill, read books, work on your art, or generally take up a hobby. You can probably leverage many available online courses in your areas of interest to expedite the learning process. This could even be related to learning things you’re passionate about, be it in your industry or something completely different.

Thinking back and reflecting on our lives could open up insights into the things we are doing right or the ones that need more work. We can utilize this time to reassess our lives with its different facets. Now, there could be a ton of different ways to go about this, but I find one effective way is to create categories (such as Physical, Spiritual, etc.) and write them on paper – then under each of these categories, start writing what your ideal life is and how you want it. Once you’re done laying it all out and committing it to paper, then it would be time to write how things actually are in all these different quadrants. Having a fair assessment of life is an important aspect in an effort to improve it, and we usually don’t find enough time to take stock here, so let’s utilize this time in this.

If you feel there could be some better ways to spend this time, please share with me as well.

The 3 most important areas you can choose to work on now are: Building and enhancing Connections, Learning things, and Reflecting on life.

Living through the Pandemic

We’re passing through a tough time, where the extent of impact of this COVID-19 pandemic is far-reaching, global and devastating for many. Different governments are responding to this emergency in different ways, but all are focused on keeping their citizens safe and healthy.

Looking at the rate at which this is spreading and knowing we’re without a sure-shot solution to this (yet), the debate is focused on flattening the curve. What it essentially means is that we take care and exercise the necessary precautions in our individual capacities to ensure ours and others’ safety and contain the spread of this disease. It’s our moral and ethical responsibility, yes and it is in our own interest as well to do so.

Please keep washing your hands with soap and water, stay indoors as much as possible and help flatten the curve. This fight is beyond any one country’s borders, and as global citizens we are all in it together, so let’s put our fair share and make things count.

Peace.

Do you ever stop by?

DO you ever stop by?

To the countless, precious, small moments that happen everyday,

Do you see the rays of sun when it rises, or the moonlight when it falls on the sea,

Do you notice the waves gushing to the shore,

Did you hear that bird sing a song in the morning that went chirping away,

Do you ever stop by, to listen to the story that the 2-year old had to say,

When did you sit down to finish that meal you bought; you got it for everyone, but asked for a takeaway,

Do you get to listen to your heart some time, or keep following blindly whatever will your mind say,

When was the last time you called your friend, or said to your mom/dad, how are you doing? hey!

It’s time to relax, unwind, sit back and hold your thoughts as time will pass you like you pass it anyway,

It’s important to cherish the moments you have, the people around you and the love that you’ve got,

As it is there now, you know this ain’t forever all going to stay.

Undermined Virtues

Truth, Peace and Inner Satisfaction are some of the most undermined virtues. The joy of being satisfied and knowing you did the right thing under the circumstances you were in is something to cherish for times to come. Everyone of us gets into such situations where we have to make choices, that’s a part and parcel of life. It’s not important you make the correct choices always, because you won’t. Nobody always makes correct choices. What is important though is to be sure that you made the right choice given the situation you were in and the knowledge/resources you had at your disposal.

Managing Yourself

Peter Drucker wrote about effective management of oneself to succeed in the knowledge economy – here, knowledge workers need to not only know how to successfully follow a pattern like the brick-and-motor economy workers know well, but also these people should be self-aware: knowing when to change course, when to pursue something, what to focus on and how best to complete the objectives. Increasingly, people are beginning to realize this and this is separating them from the crowded thinking of the rest.

In order to achieve in this economy, idea driven, impact focused, collaborative effort is needed. 

Pakistan Education Fund Drive

Less than two months ago, I set out to raise funds for an education fund drive with the purpose of raising enough money to support education for at least 1 child in perpetuity. Good education should give people the ability to think through situations, reason out things, and ask the right questions; these three things together can open up a range of opportunities for the educated mind. My idea was based on the simple premise that an endowment fund be formed that could invest the raised money and support the child’s education through the profits earned. The initial capital was supposed to be kept in tact, and the funds could keep on supporting a child’s education every month.

Since I’m a firm believer in the power of education and wanted to convey why it was so important for Pakistan, I had discussions with The Citizens Foundation, an NGO working in supporting education for the under-privileged sector, and prepared a video slide documentary, and uploaded that on Vimeo. You can find that link here:

The Story of Life – A 20-minute video presentation

I started to share the video around, most amongst friends and family to raise some funds. My personal benchmark for success of the project was raising funds for educating a child for at least a year. With the grace of Almighty, only within a few weeks, I managed to raise a sum of Rs. 110,500/- enough to support education for over 9 children for an entire year. This was a great thing to have happened, although the goal of raising enough funds for sustainable educational support remained partially complete. I submitted the funds forward to The Citizens Foundation, and started working on other pursuits.

Soon thereafter, I had someone wanting to contribute to the cause and the person sent the funds too. So, I am just reopening the collection drive for a second round, hoping to raise some more money for these children. If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please feel free to share this post around.

Also, if you have any questions, or comments, or some feedback, feel free to write to me about that.

Thanks for your support!

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

The Paradox of Our Time

Below is an abstract from Dr. Bob Moorehead that is worth a read.

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.

We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years to life, not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space; we’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less; we plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.

Middle Class

What does middle class mean?

“The most perfect political community must be amongst those who are in the middle rank, and those states are best instituted wherein these are a larger and more respectable part, if possible, than both the other; or, if that cannot be, at least than either of them separate.”                                                                                                                                                    – Aristotle

The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.

– Aristotle

These arguments below speak to the different ways the strength of the middle class affect economic growth and stability:
  • A strong middle class promotes the development of human capital and a well educated population.
  • A strong middle class creates a stable source of demand for goods and services.
  • A strong middle class incubates the next generation of entrepreneurs.
  • A strong middle class supports inclusive political and economic institutions, which underpin economic growth.
  • Historically, middle class has brought around all the revolutions, and brought changes for the better.
  • Middle class is usually a healthy section of the society, where physical and mental abilities of the society usually peak.
To sum up, a strong middle class is a prerequisite for robust entrepreneurship and innovation, a source of trust that makes business transactions more efficient, a bulwark against credit booms and busts and a progenitor of virtuous, forward-looking behaviors, such as valuing education. Moreover, middle class spending usually creates the most prominent multi-layered economic multiplier effect, since most of such spending would trickle down many levels.

   “I have to live for others and not for myself: that’s middle-class morality.”

– George Bernard Shaw

Two Things

Hi!

Two things you need to learn first in any language are: Greetings & Thank you. The first lets you connect and break the ice and the second helps you create an instant positive liking.

Thank you! 🙂