Knowing and sustaining: The state of independence

World Largest Man Made Flag

World’s Largest Man Made Flag (In 2012)

Pakistan – 6th largest nation of the world – in terms of population.

Let’s have a look at the records we proudly hold…

  1. Highest mountain peaks in the world.
  2. Second largest salt mine in the world (Khewara).
  3. Third largest dates exporter and milk producers in the world.
  4. Fourth biggest gas reserves.
  5. Fifth biggest coal mine.
  6. Sixth biggest gold mine (Recodik).
  7. World’s largest glacier.
  8. Largest deep-sea port in the world (Gawadar).
  9. Ninth largest sub-tropical desert in the world (Thar).
  10. One of the world’s tallest and toughest cliffs to climb (Trango towers).
  11. Largest irrigation system of the world (Canal network)
  12. Largest producer of chickpeas.
  13. Only Muslim nuclear power in the world.
  14. Pakistan ranks fourth in world as IT service provider to overseas clients.
  15. Largest ambulance network in the world.
  16. Highest paved international road.
  17. More than 50% of the world’s footballs are made in Pakistan.
  18. Fourth largest broadband system in the world.
  19. World’s largest man-made forest in the world.

No doubt, we are a proud nation indeed, and there’s plenty of evidence to back our hard work, determinism, and action-oriented attitude.

Now, let’s have a look at other side of the picture:

  1. Pakistan ranks top in Global Gender Inequality Chart.
  2. Pakistan ranks third on Global Terrorism Index.
  3. Pakistan ranks 3rd in Global Slavery Index.
  4. Pakistan ranks 77th in Global Food Security Index.
  5. Pakistan ranks 5th among 22 highest TB burden countries and 4th highest among Drug Resistant TB, globally.
  6. Pakistan ranks 86 in E-commerce Index.
  7. Pakistan Ranks 7th in World – High prevalence of diabetes.
  8. IntelCenter’s CTI ranks Pakistan eighth most dangerous country.
  9. Pakistan ranks 149th in World Peaceful Countries.
  10. Pakistan ranks 137th in Global Competitiveness Index.
  11. Pakistan ranks the bottom for countries with women managers.
  12. 126th least corrupt nation out of 175, according to 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index reported by Transparency International.

Did you observe the contrast?

If we compare luck and fortune we have had due to area of land that we own as a sovereign state, in parallel to our man-made accomplishments specially in contrast to population that we have, we would come to notice a fact that we’re too fortunate to be naturally abundant, but yet so far in terms of accomplishments… We’re good not best, and thankfully bad not worst, but there’s hardly any doubt in this that we as a nation can definitely do a lot better considering all the capacity we have.

Courtesy to the natural instincts of a common country man, reaction to these facts is usually not that rational, many of us would choose to be defensive. It’s quite easy to say, we shouldn’t blame our country or criticize it for what’s actually the mistake of its people, like many would say “what our decent country has to do, if people (as majority) in it are not being up to the mark” of purity (in terms of quality) for which country’s very name (PAKISTAN – the land of pure) was selected. Many would swear, that nothing’s wrong with our country it’s just the people who’re messing it up time and again… majority making irrational choices, thinking of self before of others, or thinking of immediate day or month often more than thinking of long-term sustainability and lasting consequence.

But, let’s be honest, we never call a construction made up of rooms and roof – a”home” unless it’s filled with people – the family that lives in it and personalizes it, without them at its best it would merely be referred as “house”. Quite similarly, a state is a country, only due to its people – the nation, otherwise it’s just a piece of land. We, the humans don’t associate ourselves with piece of rock, it’s the people in the end that we bond with, those whom we interact with, those we work along with, and those along whom we build stuff, a framework that would either help ourselves and other people around to succeed or for them to fail more often.

We are the people – the nation, and it’s from us, the country holds its name. So, what’s stopping us, from unleashing our talent? Why emergence of art, science, technology or any other applied field of education, isn’t producing a good ratio of the talent and competence in comparison to our population? And when it’s producing some quality, why isn’t it well focused on ridding the national level problems?
Why in terms of most, we get referred as well-populated but under-educated, capable but not empowered, sincere but not well-aware, enthusiastic but not well-informed, competitive but not well-equipped, and talented but those who seldom come across opportunities in their own land.

Perhaps, due to what majority of us are continuously struggling with each day…

  • Top 3 prevalent issues:
    • Healthcare problems
    • Lack of free and quality education
    • Unemployment
  • Top issues as a state:
    • Poverty
    • Security – Law and Order/ Terrorism
    • Corruption
  • Top utility/ infrastructure level issues:
    • Electricity
    • Water
    • Garbage disposal
    • Natural Catastrophes/ Crisis Management
    • Transportation
  • Top issues among educated or well-resourced/ well-positioned:
    • Fashion before function.
    • Materialism over essence.
    • Quota and references over merit.
    • Owning for today than growing for future.
    • Media less in information, more in sensationalization.

For those who are well in both the resources and spirits, choose to work for foreign nations, sighting reason that it’s less for lurid pastures and more for a fact that they receive more criticism than positive vibes from their own people… mostly noting that our governments and even majority of nation is not that supportive and encouraging of them for their talents. Here one mistake of the career means a total wash-out of reputation for a talent, while many mistakes of the past actually make a fine politician, we would gladly refer as “experienced”.

For survival in 21st century, we all need to remember one thing, that to keep ourselves in any competition, and to enjoy fruits and perks of being independent and sovereign, we need to be intellectually and technologically competent, we can’t even sustain the place we’re at right now, should we stay stagnant, let alone derailed.

Questions of independence day of 2015 are not…

  1. What sacrifices our ancestors made for this country…
  2. How hard it was to fight the battle of independence…
  3. Who were the top leaders that did their best to make it a sovereign land…

These facts are no doubt important, but we have known and regressed them repeatedly for years… Every channel on radio and the television, along countless other media sources pin-points and regresses them, especially preparing lavish promos to be featured in national days. But it seems, today we as a nation, we’re far more proud of our achievements of past, than being concerned and focused about our state of future.

Wars of the future, are not going to be fought on the land, with might and power, as much they are going to be fought on the mind fronts. The countries have a race to progress and development on the basis of education, culture, competencies and skills. Without them we’re not going to be strong enough (read: smart enough) to be able to defend ourselves or keep up our composure let alone linger on what we’ve achieved so far…

Today’s most pressing issue is not what you’ve earned in inheritance, all freedom, independence and established state (what we’re blessed with, since our birth, like a child born with a golden spoon in its mouth), something our ancestors worked hard for; But focus is on a question, how really independent we’re with those pressing concerns highlighted above, and are we going to stay independent if those issues are not going to be resolved, step by step, by efforts put in by each of us?

On my way to the event, I met a man, a laborer who was working on the streets, I asked him, “Chutti nahi mana rahay aazadi k din? – Didn’t you get a day off to celebrate independence day?”, He replied, “Chutti nahi bana raha Sir, magar Mulk bana raha hun…” (Celebrating a day of independence not by holiday but by cheerfully working for the progress of state).

As much as we remember to remain proud of our historical achievements and records, we should also not forget – to be pensive about the burden that we carry on our shoulders, to work on things that we all need to do, the part we all require to play as a nation, to keep our independence sustainable. Let’s exercise our today’s freedom and independence to build a sustainable one for the future… After all what would be a bigger independence than independence of mind to think, and a will to try… 🙂

A Pakistani girl stands under a huge national flag unfurled in front of the Minar-e-Pakistan, the historic monument for the struggle for independence, ahead of the country's Independence Day in Lahore on August 13, 2013. Pakistan will be celebrating its 66th anniversary of the country's independence from British rule on August 14. AFP PHOTO / ARIF ALI (Photo credit should read Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images)

Gaining a top place in the race is often easy in comparison to retaining it for long…

Some of the solutions that emerged in discussions for the problems listed above. (Listing them from my notes, please feel free to contribute more in comments):

  • Electricity – Solar Panels, Wind turbines, Water Dams, Self-optimizing panels
  • Health – Awareness programs (since prevention is better than cure), online clinics, health camps,
  • Unemployment – Micro-finance loans, foreign projects and investment, skill and competency training,
  • Education – NGOs and non-profits, e-education, edutainment, scholarships, fellowships, education in exchange of employment contracts, study loans.
  • Garbage – Awareness programs, National Recycling Day, Recycling competitions in education institutions, garbage disposal training and special units.
  • Natural catastrophes – Awareness for preparations, crisis management training and workshops, a better planning for uncertainties.
  • Water – Rain water harvesting, filtration plants, awareness campaigns to save water from wastage.
  • Transport – Mass transit systems, smart bridges, automated traffic lights, toll based by-pass roads.
  • Corruption – Citizen based reporting, media focus, check and balance systems, transparency and profiles as e-records.

One of the quickest and effectively applicable approach:
For all the assignments, projects, thesis and dissertations, if all our educational institutions start to put incentives (credit hours, scholarships, exposure, grants) for students to pursue research and development in top 10 problems of the country; even if we start completely copying the research and experiments done by the foreign countries, in our localities on a small-scale, throughout the tenure of students from matriculation to their higher graduation studies… our country would definitely start to flourish faster via practice of an applied education by the biggest asset that this nation has – its youth.

A Pakistani girl vendor sells Pakistani flags to celebrate the 68th Independence Day, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014. Pakistan will commemorate its Independence in 1947 from British colonial rule, on Thursday. (AP Photo/B.K. Bangash)

For any state to continue development its pillars need to be stable, for country that has youth as its backbone, needs to be firm with education, along awareness of challenges of the future.

— Excerpts from the key-note written for Independence Day celebration events that I along my team (Raheel Virani, Fareed Virani, Shahzaib Ratancy and Alishah Solanki) got invited to participate in, to engage the audience.

Image Credits:

  2. B.K. Bangash/ AP Photo
  3. Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images

Exploring Sufism/ Mysticism

About a year ago, a friend asked me a question on the email, in response to a play I sent for a review. The play was written by me along my sister, it’s based on the spectacular union of Rumi and Tabrizi, it uses the poems of Rumi to highlight his journey. Well, the play got praise but along that came a question: “What’s your take on a Sufism?”.

I had never thought of “my take” specially on subject this complex before… It’s of course not like my usual ones… leadership, education, project management, high performance culture, or artificial intelligence; or array of other social/ technical  subjects I am so comfortable expressing about. Since after years of my time with them, they have begun to come natural to me.  But subject like this have tendency to perplex me, no matter how many times I visit them, I find myself out of my depth, they invite that level of detailed probing, dedicated learning, and ecstatic experience.

Since the time I’ve started publishing poems online, many of which do touch the boundaries of mysticism and the stages of the soul pondered on by different mystics and philosophers. The same question has come to me again and again. This is my attempt to summarize the response at one place.

Since Mysticism/ Sufism is a vast subject, it’s no doubt that it can’t be defined in a page or so, my attempt here is to show what “Sufism” in general sense means to me… (or what I’ve personally learned about it).

1. Focus on essence vs. the form; Whatever we do just for the sake of doing it, shouldn’t be done. It’s the journey that matters more than a destination. What we see is an illusion, reality or truth is very different, so we shouldn’t be sure of anything except a possibility of fact that we can be wrong. So one should strive focusing on the essence of the things, and not different forms that it can garner.

2. Suffering is an eternal part of life. All life forms prevail to a better level, when they struggle and learn from their suffering. In this way suffering leads to salvation.

3. Nothing lasts forever, the only constant in the world is “change” itself. Since everything changes, and keeps changing, the change in the world is tied in a loop. There’s no beginning, nor an end.

4. What begins with a curiosity and yearning, ends in a bewilderment. No matter how much is known, due to things changing constantly on big and small scale, our scale in comparison is minor and frozen. Yet even in minutest of thing, the biggest of the secret of universe is reflected. Hence, the universe never ceases to amaze us. Sufi keeps self always open for new experiences.

5. Belief in formless God, God is not a divine entity that intervenes in worldly matters, punishes, rewards or takes decision the way we humans think and do. God is wholeness of the system, the collective consciousness, of which, we’re a very tiny part. The laws of the system operate on a single constant/ variable i.e: change. Agent feeds an environment, while environment feeds an agent, and hence things change state. Either from concentrated state to dilute one, or vice versa. Since everything is made up of same energy and has a same origin, Sufi is unable to differentiate, hence has a compassion and love for everything. Oneness as a whole and unity is an essence. This relates to the theory of Pantheism, where God is not personal or anthropomorphic.

6. Many believe that Sufism preaches that one has to live a life distancing self from the worldly matters, while contrary is true. Sufi’s code is to live life as lean as possible, and to see no difference between worldly or spiritual/ meditating manners. Every act has to be performed in a state least disturbing to the order of universe. Since without an action-feedback mechanism specie can’t survive, every action Sufi performs is disciplined in a way that it’s as less harmful and disturbing to self and environment as possible. Sufi just believes in detachment from materialism – doing things for just show-up, as this doesn’t align with philosophy of focusing on essence.

7. I relate Sufism to Scientific Meditation and Mindfulness, Fanna and Baqa in Islam, Christian Salvation, Hindu Mokhsh, Buddhist Nirvana, Zen philosophy from Japan and Chinese Taoism (Yin-Yang and effortless effort philosophy). When seen in light of rationalism, it can be related to Confucianism and Sikhism as well. In general all literature of enlightenment or heightened consciousness relates with each other. So religion and culture may differ, but underlying principles discovered by philosophers/ meditation guides and Sufi masters share a great degree of essence.

I’m no philosopher, I’m no artist, I’m no expert. I’m just a man who’s passionate and curios, who loves to explore and ponder. That’s what I have attempted for major part in my life and that’s what I wish to continue doing.

Usually my takes differ every six months or year… I can’t adhere my whole life to a single reference, single philosophy, single routine/ practice, or single ideology. I strive for better explanations, progressing grounds – an understanding that’s more more fitting, more appropriate. I like to update, to evolve, to adapt; to unlearn to learn; to get amazed by universe’s beauty and vastness in comparison to my naiveness. Even if concepts and ideas that I like and adore don’t change completely, they do evolve each year by certain percentage.

I hope world sees this article as an expression of a curios and continuously learning mind, and participates with me for more enlightenment on a subject. 🙂

Related (on Serenades of a Dreamer):

Collection of mystic poems:

Collection of poems on Stages of the Soul:

What is a death for the life?


Can we see or appreciate the light, without the presence of darkness?

Death is indeed a protector of life.  If one has to never face a death, would one live life with any meaning? – If, we don’t have any deadline, would targets be, would they matter, would we even try to do anything? If everything we love – lives forever, would one ever struggle, would one make sacrifices? – If there’s no concept of death, would species keep evolving? And if one would leave evolving, then won’t death encompass every being so that there won’t be any life anymore??

Truly, it’s the very death that makes us realize the value of life – how to live, how to become better, how to make lives of others better – so in long-term also better is our own life and life of whatever we leave behind. What remains a point of life, if it comes without surety of death? Death makes life relevant.

It is a death of previous elements that make a place for new ones… and hence the life grows. What’s a death – if not the one in which what dies just melts into an essence, loosing its form but allowing new forms to emerge, making a place for new interactions to take place. Perhaps, that’s why they say dead is not actually dead, but just transitioned.

Things we come to know as immortal and undead are stuck in a place where they can’t grow anymore – their very strength (presumed) is their flaw. Perhaps, that’s why wise writers and philosophers never wished what they leave behind to live forever; No true hero or warrior every wished to be idolized – to be cherished to remain forever.

Yet one thing that’s truly immortal and still growing is “Life”, and only thing that keeps it on the hook is its very antonym “Death”.
Look at this very moment, for if it won’t die, would we – by self – push ourselves to move into another?

– This article is a reflection over the bits about “death” in a wonderful piece: “The Outsiders” written by Miss Maria Imran. It’s her mentor who said: “Death is a greatest protector of the life.” 🙂

Facts to Essence Series – Episode 3

Facts and the essence extracted from them…

  • Eminem would spend hours every night studying the dictionary, so he could expand his vocabulary for his rhymes. 
    • There’s no such thing as “an overnight success”! There’s no such thing as being “too lucky”! There are “no miracles” in a business! The success that we see in today has always a loads of work behind it. It’s a result of years of hard-work and consistent efforts. As they say: “Luck is nothing but an opportunity meeting a preparation”.
    • As mentioned in earlier posts, there’s no substitute of competence. Even if someone copies your work, labels it with their name, takes whole credit; the amount of work that you did behind it never goes into a waste. It becomes a learning experience and stepping stone for you to do more great things ahead.
    • For the people who sustain their life by their labels and the names, rather than a value and an essence behind them, they always face a one definite problem: “Sustainability”. Being a one time success, or a celebrity by accident is easy, but to sustain a position as a man of content, is too hard.
    • Only people who can do something extra, who can walk a mile more than planned, who can motivate themselves to push some extra effort in their work – are ones who love their work, who’re passionate about it. For the rest work means just passing through a fixed hours of work day.
  • Trees can send warning signals to other trees about insect attacks. 
    • There are always more than known ways to communicate, to deliver the message. Beyond the realms of verbal and written communication. Your grace, attitude, body language, also delivers a message. Message of your passion, zeal, enthusiasm, curiosity and interest. Often people who’re lying – it’s their bodies that betray them.
    • Similarly in business, when we lie – promising more than we can deliver, disclosing more than we’ve achieved, communicating wrong numbers. Our reports may not lie, but their are other things that would expose us, for those who’re investigative and know how to read the signals. No one, even the most excellent in field of management can control all the parameters. Hence, it’s better to promote transparency, honesty and integrity in your culture. In the long-run this always helps the company and team to survive in difficult situations.
    • Sometimes we can feel the presence of something, but we can’t see it – we feel the presence in the way other things react and appear. Just because one can’t see something, it doesn’t mean it’s not there.  There’s always a skepticism for two possibilities here, either we’re measuring the wrong signals, or either our sensors aren’t equipped enough to trace what’s invisible – yet which is showing its presence by the aftereffects, correlation and consequence. Scientists often use proxies to measure such variables that they can’t measure directly. What’s hidden or immeasurable doesn’t mean can be totally unaccounted for.)
    • Similarly when it comes to dealing with people, either in team-management or in customer interaction – not always we can see what’s wrong or what’s making them loose a traction. But there’re hidden signals, signals that may require a help of proxy variables, allowing us to read between the lines.
      Like for example one can’t detect the frustration (emotion) of a person should one only relies on a direct verbal or written communication, yet there are ways to detect and measure it, proxies like how they interact with you, how they interact with their work or product of yours, how responsive are they, how proactive vs. reactive, etc. Often a proactive approach by you as a manager/ support asking if something’s wrong and if you can be of any help also does wonders. Suggestions do reveal the signals that something is wrong or working differently than your expectations.
  • Prescription drugs kill more people each year than heroin and cocaine combined.
    • More than categorizing things or labeling them as good and bad. It’s important to see them in a proper context.
    • What’s considered a “life-saving” is toxic in high doses or badly times ones. And what’s considered harmful or toxic in general, often in sparse quantity, when mixed with other remedies in acute precision does actually perform a life-saving miracles.
    • As mentioned in previous article of the series. Often what’s industry wide known as a “best practice” – when poorly implemented or gets implemented out of the context does more damage than a good.
    • Sometimes breaking the rules and not overemphasizing them for the efficiency, helps us to achieve what is effective. There’re no rules when someone’s exploring the uncharted territories – when all hope is lost, big risks got to be taken. As long as such risks aren’t going to destroy anyone’s ability to take them again.
  • We have more detailed maps of the surface of Mars than we do of Earth’s oceans.
    • Depths of own lands are always more terrifying and tough to explore than the surface of others land. Sometimes curiosity of what’s visible yet unknown outside, triumphs the wonder of finding out what’s hidden in an unexplored territory with-in one’s self. From missing conscience to resorting to hiring an outside help, from taking what you’ve for granted to mingling in outside affairs – we repeat the same pattern over and over again.
    • As much as one has to satiate the hunger and curiosity of exploring other worlds – products/ markets/ talents, it’s equally important to reflect and self-introspect. To seek if there’s a hidden talent or opportunity that we might have missed. That could’ve been worth more than an incorporation of external asset.
    • The companies like Google, rather than going on a acquisition spree in-spite of their quickly growing size and stature in the earlier years of growth and development, relied completely on their assets, their talents. More than half of their now commercially available products are actually a brain-child of their employees – A more mature version of a prototypes their developers invented in company allowed 20% time for individual and independent development.
    • People/ Team/ Communities with passion to do something never cease to amaze – one must not undermine their spark and instead try facilitating them so that they can grow their subtle talents. One may reach a point where an outside help is not required at all, and success story takes a birth from with-in.

– Prepared for workshop/ lecture classes I conducted on “Project Management and Organizational Leadership” at Mohammad Ali Jinnah University (MAJU) and Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Institute of Technology (KASBIT), both situated in Karachi.

Disclosure: Facts (in italics) come directly from @UberFacts twitter stream.

Note: “Warning: Never Trust A Proclamation Without Citation” – (Always be ready to do your research!)

Happy Children’s Day

Curiosity of a Child...

Curiosity of an unfathomable mind…

On this universal children’s day, lets remind ourselves to raise our voices against child abuse, child labor, childhood indoctrination and child exploitation via forms of trafficking, slavery, early marriage, debt bondage or blocking their access to forms of education.

Let us embrace the passion, zeal, creativity and curiosity in children rather neglecting them; Not ruling them by fear & punishment but inspiring them by a rationale, brilliance and turning ourselves into a better example.

Let us teach them how to learn vs. what to learn. Furnishing their access to free education along the forms of art and literature. Their participation in sports and diverse culture.

Lets facilitate them to discover the values of life, helping as a guiding principle rather an intimidation point. Inspiring them to embrace the diversity in society while working with pluralism. Exhibiting them to be less brand conscious and more value conscious.

Lets be encouraging and promoting of the young talent, the gifted ones – the childhood prodigies… and beyond all lets cherish the inner child that lies beneath all of us.

Let us remind ourselves that it’s not just about a day.. it’s about forever!

Embrace curiosity, promote creativity, inspire fun! —  It’s not yet, but strive to make it a Happy Children’s World!

Earlier version was posted on: my Facebook profile (last year).

Facts to Essence Series – Episode 2

Facts and the essence extracted from them…

  • Ferruccio Lamborghini, invented his company when he’s disappointed by the Ferrari he owned and his complaint was rejected.
    • Your customers can either be fan of your product and your evangelist or they can be your fierce enemy… what you want them to be depends on the way you treat them.
    • Every great thing that’s born somewhere has come out of some disappointment. Frustration plants a seed of an innovation.
    • Best way to criticize something is to create something better, in competition. Or to offer a working model – a solution. If you can’t do that, you should still voice your opinion in as objective manner as possible.
    • Suppressing the voice is suppressing a possible innovation.
  • Stray dogs in Moscow have learned to use the city’s subway system. They get on and off their required stops. 
    • Even dogs show this much intelligence, exhibiting an unsupervised learning. With the changes in a surrounding – in the ecosystem you are an inhabitant of, you got to change yourselves too. This is called an adaptation.
    • If there exists a way that can improve your routine, that can help you to do things faster, better or allows you to finish them with more quality – you should implement/ adopt that process.  If that’s not possible, one should strive to discover or invent such way.
    • Continuous Process Improvement is the name of a game, in which you regularly monitor your habits/ your routine, and keep working on improvising.  First in small batches as a test, and then slowly covering the whole base.
    • Only habit one should have is a habit of performing better while adopting to a change in best possible way.
  • Due to their extreme atmospheric conditions, it actually rains diamonds on Neptune and Uranus.
    • As mentioned in series’ previous article,  assumptions can be wrong. Evidence can point us to something we might have never thought before.
    • What’s impossible in one system or rare in one state, can be possible and common somewhere else. When systems differ so do the conditions, and with them the results.
    • Know your mission, know your team, know your context and know your culture – Before thinking of any rules and their implementation.
    • Gather a collective opinion, test on a small sub-set, work out the problems and hurdles, optimize according to the results, and then bundle it with rewards and reputation before full system-wide application. Optimize your culture first and then optimize the strategy.
  • A woman from Michigan named Barbara Soper gave birth on 10/10/10, 09/09/09 and 08/08/08 — The odds of that are 50 million to one.
    • As mentioned above. Rare things happen, just because they haven’t happened yet, doesn’t mean they can’t or would never.
    • Everything has a probability to occur, when we can’t come up with a good number as in probability of their occurrence. It is probably due to that thing being overlooked or missed being envisioned.
    • Always be open to the possibility of things that can happen. Keep your planning intact but your body adaptive and mind open.
    • When planning for risks, there’s always a probability of missing the risks being envisioned. After all due-diligence done that’s necessary for the project, uncertainty buffer has still its place.

– Prepared for workshop/ lecture classes I conducted on “Project Management and Organizational Leadership” at Mohammad Ali Jinnah University (MAJU) and Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Institute of Technology (KASBIT), both situated in Karachi.

Disclosure: Facts (in italics) come directly from @UberFacts twitter stream.

Note: “Warning: Never Trust A Proclamation Without Citation” – (Always be ready to do your research!)

Facts to Essence series – Episode 1

Facts and the essence extracted from them…

  • In feudal Japan, merchants were the lowest class because unlike farmers and artisans, they don’t actually produce anything.
    • There were used to, and there still are some spaces in world where creativity and expression is valued more than mere management, merchandising, and administration of it.
    • People do realize that there are certain jobs where man becomes easily replaceable.
    • At the end of the day, when it would come to a calculation and operations management machines would surpass any human being, but when it comes to creativity, innovation, critical thinking and expressing with emotions – machines have a long time to catch up with.
  • Pixar credits its success to its anti-Disney approach — Meaning no songs, no happy village, no love story.
    • As mentioned in previous Project Management related post, standards are only better than ad-hoc, but not better than innovation and optimization.
    • Breaking out from the existing mold, re-shaping the structures, destroying the boundaries, expanding the horizons is the name of the game when it comes to achieve a success in saturated markets. Risks got to be taken.
    • Those who love and swear by standards, should always know that even at best they’re following something which is a mediocre, as by the time something becomes a standard, a new best has already replaced the last one.
  • Vatican City has the highest crime rate in the world.
    • Quite ironic isn’t it? One place where you expect it not to happen, one place where you think that due to presence of the Pope, world’s most famous and exquisite churches, and religious clerks in abundance something like this shouldn’t happen. And that’s where it does.
    • Lesson to be learned here is assumptions can be wrong. And what appears to be straight can be curvy when seen from the right angle or correct distance (in depth or as a big picture).
    • o Another lesson: Whatever is considered too big to fail or too aligned to go haywire, does fail – often from with-in. Sometimes we don’t notice the change from outside, but the system sets itself on a path of deterioration, and one day either it crumbles into pieces, or becomes so weak, that in case of what appears to be a minor fault or injury – the catastrophic chain reaction begins and whole system becomes non-functioning.
  • Lack of exercise kills just as many people as smoking.
    • Being stuck is as fatal as going backwards… Not doing something that body requires to survive and stay healthy – is as harmful as doing something negative and harmful to it.
    • If you want your organization/ project to remain fresh and not go stale, you got to focus on continuous process improvement.
    • Nothing is perfect. Everything is on a journey of perfection, and stage of perfection is a goal that always leaps a bound right before one’s about to reach it… It’s not a disappointment, but instead an opportunity to explore more, to optimize more, to evolve your designs and plans a notch ahead.
  • If you’re more than 16-years-old, you have lived to be older than the average caveman.
    • Human evolution as specie and evolution of man-made social systems like civilizations have allowed us to live more than our cave living ancestors could ever have. It is as good as it’s bad.
    • Good in a sense that there are lesser pressures on survival now then there were before as far as life and gene forwarding is concerned.
    • Bad in a sense that now many people don’t realize gravity of survival has shifted from just a life to survival of human beings as intellectual and competent species – survival of values, education, intellect, critical thinking and logical reasoning. So unless society puts a serious pressure on people for that, majority is completely fine with being their older selves – no change is observed.
    • In spite of being specie gifted with intellectual abilities like vision, reflection and retrospection, most people tend to wait till a time when cost of their not changing becomes greater than their assumed cost of changing in order to upgrade themselves.

– Prepared for workshop/ lecture classes I conducted on “Project Management and Organizational Leadership” at Mohammad Ali Jinnah University (MAJU) and Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Institute of Technology (KASBIT), both situated in Karachi.

Disclosure: Facts (in italics) come directly from @UberFacts twitter stream.

Note: “Warning: Never Trust A Proclamation Without Citation” – (Always be ready to do your research!)