The Boxer Experience – an introspection

imageRecently, I travelled past a place I had been to four decades ago. It seemed to have changed a bit. Some introspection and I realised I had not changed in this time. What a strange life, we keep striving and so called learning takes place (via experience), but in the end we have not changed. We are in the same place.

In these forty years, I have been out and about and life has passed by in a jiffy, but…

I still love cricket and football.
I am still hyper, fidgety and require regular activity.
Still get bored quickly.
Still am scared of Allah (swt) and pray for his rehmat.
I still love the Prophet (saw).
Still love Pakistan.
Still love my parents.
Continue to like history.
Like the same sort of music.
Like the same paintings and carpets.
Love Pakistani food, all these years.
Always am ready to take risks, in this journey called life.
Life is still an adventure to be experienced.
Appreciate the same colours.
Have the same political orientation (left of centre).
Have the same style of relationships, based mostly on empathy.
Still love Star trek and Star Wars.
Continue to dislike loud, boorish and heavy handed people.
Money minded or political people are still a pain.
Complainers, thankless or high maintenance people are a dead bore.
And still love laughter, especially if it involves me personally.

In 1981, Simon and Garfunkel reformed after more than a decade. The anticipation was intense as they were two of the great musicians in history. Nothing mediocre was expected and their concert in Central Park in 1981 (subsequently a live album) has become one of the two most known concerts in history, rivalling Woodstock for fame. In that concert, they sang their great song The Boxer. Paul Simon added on lyrics to the original 1969 song. They make perfect sense now.

Now the years are rolling by me
The are rocking easily
I am older than I once was
And younger than I’ll be
But that’s not unusual
No, it isn’t strange
After changes upon changes
We are more or less the same
After changes we are
More or less the same

Its like running in a place and you keep running and the days keep revolving and one day you are 30 lbs heavier, have lost your hair, or its become white and your eye sight is not the same. Yet inside you are the same….this life is an enigma. The Boxer Experience!

There has to be a larger story. For if you have not changed and you have striven and yet are in the same place, then why are you here? And what have you done to deserve this privilege?

Just trust in Allah and keep on running till it is no more.

*picture is from

Leadership is not rocket science!

imageMan started off as an individual. When Hazrat Adam descended to this earth with Mother Huwa, they were left to search for each other for long before they became one and along came the human race. Till very late in our human existence, we lived as individuals, mainly driven by the whims of kings, queens, nobles, lords and ladies.

Somewhere around the late 18th century, history was turned on its head. The Industrial Revolution changed us humans. Suddenly ‘mass’ was the way to go. We have all heard how an individual used to make a single pin in a day, but once a team was set up for mass production, overnight this individual made 48 pins. Such was the power of this vision and its success. Everything, literally everything was now designed this way. Warehouses, movement of goods, markets, schools, cinemas, colleges, sports events and rallies. They replicated the industrial floor.

At the same time separate events were propelling things towards individuality. The French Revolution in 1789 brought individual rights to the fore. Also the American Revolution created the dream of individual success. People could rise from the bottom to the top. Individuality was now a huge driver. Consumer and human needs (call it greed if you wish) was/(is) a powerful compeller.

This today has become the modern day conundrum. Man’s penchant for mass developed systems and output (our capitalistic efficiency drives this) versus our other inner drive for individuality. Our human is born unique. Unique DNA, unique retina, unique fingerprint, unique voice note. So why, oh why do we expect this human to function like a regular mass number, standard deviation one? It does not work like that. People have to want to do something on their own, for themselves, for inner satisfaction. People are not numbers.

Todays working society faces this big challenge. The individual has to take his/her individuality and somehow find a legitimate means to fit in, into this mass vision. Similarly, mass organisations have to find a means of marrying their needs to these individuals needs. As far as I can see, there is only one way to resolve this conundrum. Create a team.

Why create a team. Because once a team is created, then any objective can be achieved. Nowadays they call it Employee Engagement. To get the employee or contributor interested in what they are doing. If they become interested individually, they will eventually form a team. Its a sense of belonging, which then drives team dynamics. It’s your family and one fights for one’s family.

My personal belief is that there is also great spirituality involved in this. It’s not possible to prove this. But anecdotal events at least tend to suggest this spirituality. The Spartan 300, Greeks at Marathon, Ikrimah at Yarmuk, Muhammad Fateh at Constantinople, the creation of Pakistan, the World Cup 1992 and so many more. These are all events which appeal to me, but all humans have their own personal spiritual team story. When teams form, we just go on a roll, challenges which seem back to wall, are overcome and results are astonishing, considering the individuals involved. Where did these heroes come from? Not this decrepit unassuming human. How did he/she become a super hero?

So through all my life, I have looked for the story which catches ones imagination. If you find that story and it appeals to people and inspires them, then belief happens. When belief happens then passion is created, and this leads to ownership, teamwork and hard-work. You do not need to do anything, the people themselves will take care of the end goal (the Vision). They will achieve the dream you have made them see and believe. Its the very essence of leadership and its actually simple. No rocket science at all.

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