My ranting about this imperfect world

Why am I sharing this? Well just to make a point. Not everything makes sense in this world. Not everything which is fair is legal and vice versa. Not everything is being done for the betterment of “us” as a whole. Some decisions are deliberately taken to benefit only a few at the detriment of the mass.

We are high on consumerism! what we seem to reward most are narcissistic and psychopathic traits. Think of all those glorified CEOs and top executives and their mission for more profits. The consequence is only one, more disparity. We seem to privilege that grandiose lifestyle to the point of even putting it on a pedestal.

 

Social Welfare, morality, justice, equality are only secondary. There is always a discrimination in how laws and rules are applied. We are teaching ourselves and our generations on how to become more ruthless, more self and profit oriented. ( and I haven’t even touched about politics yet).

There is always this double standard in our societies. We glorify all the large corporations that are here to make more and more profits even if nothing good comes out of it. We judge people, based on their bank account and the suits they wear. “Oh that’s an expensive tie so automatically he’s got such great taste. Oh, he has the most lavish house and a sports car, automatically he must be doing a great great job!”

He’s got a great job, who cares if he’s ripping people off while putting the person through an endless loop of paperwork.

“Oh, him? I never paid much attention! Maybe he is a nurse or something I think. He has hard work and shifts at night etc and chances that he will become a millionaire is very slim so do not pay much attention to him and ughh their work are gory. He is a nobody! forget him. Just like that guy that works in the field in all that dirt. I wonder how people choose to live with them.”

Right? Because success is money nowadays! Who cares who is making your food or tending to the health of people or educating children or protecting the environment.  You can look down to those people because in any case, you have more money right?

Let me put it in an equation:

Selfish hypocrite Society = Man in Suit & Tie > Farmer/teacher etc…

We have made normal become  boring.

Normal is boring and ugly… we are taught that! The shows are all about glamor, the emphasis is all about looks and money. There are so many stories are about rich princes, princesses, heirs, and heiress of large fortunes. Ah, how convenient!

How will we love common people when all that we are fed are the idea and unrealistic images of actors and actresses with perfect figures and no blemishes! Natural marks are digitally wiped. Thanks to technology and makeup, the overall subliminal message is” life is easy when you look pretty”.

We seem to be totally okay now with growing disparity as long as we can be sold false dreams of better prospects and the illusion of choices.

Maybe not all of us are like this, but I think it is fair to say that a lot of us are and the figure will continue on rising… I often ask myself, “We supposedly the smartest of all the species on this planet, how did we arrive at such a place? Or are we more predatory, hypocritical and selfish than intelligent?”

Still unconvinced? Here’s an example of inequality in our ‘civilized’ and ‘modern’ world.

I genuinely think the point of life is not to have lived and died rich but rather to live well. To live a meaningful life that has purpose and is contributing to more than just our own self. To spend your time on things you believe in and enjoy. Because in the end, money is just a currency that we created in order to exchange our time against so that we can then exchange money against goods or experiences.

Seek a meaningful life

What is meaning anyway?

Something that is meaningful for one could be meaningless for another. Different countries, communities, and individuals all have their own belief of what constitutes meaning for them in their life. For a parent, it might be the well-being of a child, for a religious man it could be devoting his life to pleasing God and for a student meaning might simply be clearing the exams.

Finding a meaningful purpose in life is very important. Not having one would make you feel lost, fill you up with doubts and insecurities. And you simply would have no good reason to wake up in the morning to start the day. Finding your meaning is important for your own satisfaction and arguably for you to lead a happy life.

Unfortunately, a growing number of people are compromising and living half fulfilled lives. A recent survey by the UK gov shows that around 37% of British workers feel their job is meaningless. Other surveys and studies that were conducted show the same results, a growing number of people are starting to feel that their job is devoid of meaning. The irony of it is that the very job that is giving them their living is also slowly killing them. No, I do not mean literally, what I mean is it is killing their dreams and passions or keeping them away from reaching their full potential. Instead, they get stuck in the gaps illustrated in the diagram below.

I personally like a japanese concept called IKIGAI. It can be loosely be defined as “your reason for being” or as I call it “your meaning to be”.

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The concept is not difficult to understand at all. It consists of asking yourself only four very straightforward questions namely:

  1. What do you love doing?
  2. What are you good at?
  3. What can you be paid for?
  4. What does the world need that you can contribute to?

Straightforward right? But not so easy to find only “one” answer to all the four questions. Yes not four separate answers, just one answer to all the four questions. I believe my Ikigai lies in teaching. I believe that in order to become a good teacher, I first have to experience the world and cultivate first-hand knowledge. I am hoping that by doing it this way, I will be able to add value to teaching that is beyond what someone can simply learn by reading on paper. Until I reach there, the aim is to get and share knowledge along the way.

So what is your ikigai? If you have your answer, congratulations. Now go for it and make it happen because you can!

 

 

​What I learnt from 9 months of Internship at Microsoft

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Once upon a time, I worked at Microsoft and the following is a summary of the lessons I learned.

 

Business has always been about people

People and their needs matter. This is what needs to come first. Technology is merely an enabler. It is very important to focus on your relationship with your colleagues, suppliers, partners or customers. Without their support, you will fail, even with the best tech. My best works have always been those that I worked and presented in teams. There is always a lot to learn simply by listening and observing with team mates.

 

Presentation matters

If you want people to take you seriously, you need to work on the way you express it. I would often at the beginning struggle to find my words which would give the impression that I was confused or worse I had managed to confuse the person I was speaking to. Whether it is your presentation deck, your speech or the UI and UX of your system, make sure it conveys the message accurately. There are many tips online from where I have learned and you can learn from. Observing and learning from TED talks have helped me a lot.

 

Our future is digital

Whether you are into marketing, advertising, business, logistics, design, retail or education. Whatever the field,  it is important to keep yourself up to date. else you are losing opportunities and along with it customers and money. There are so many technologies out there that can help organizations save money or become more efficient if only they knew about their choices and how to implement them. I am not saying that you should enroll in computer science or software engineering course, but the internet is so much more than just GIFs of cats. Just teach yourself some basic coding concepts and ask questions. Ths has by far proven to be the most effective way for me. When  I tried something new and failed, I would ask questions. You would be reassured by how willing people are to help – either that or I had great friends and colleagues.

 

Data analytics is cool and very useful

A major role I had during my internship was to act as a marketing analyst. My interview itself consisted of a practical data analysis test. I learned that data is extremely important and useful in providing directions. I learn about more in depth excel functionalities that I did not know existed and which has been helping me since.One of the major tools that I am proud to have invested a lot of time and having mastered is PowerBI, this one really took my understanding of data and how we can intelligently analyze and visualize data in a real time scenario to a next level. Investing so much time into it did pay off as I was later given the opportunity to pitch to clients about PowerBI with my team to clients. Later during that same time period(2015),  I was also given the opportunity to showcase PowerBI and do a live demo at the Global Azure Bootcamp in Mauritius that was held at Voila Hotel. My passion and interest for analytics led me to do my dissertation/research on the impact of Marketing analytics on performance at an organizational level. I would love to discuss analytics further but that’s for another post.

 

Cultivate a Growth Mindset

Ths is by far one of the most important lessons I believe I learned. A growth mindset is a well-documented concept that has proven to help achieve results. People who believe a growth mindset believe that failures are part of learning and growing so they embrace it and continue to persevere in order to improve themselves. The notion is opposite to the ‘fixed mindset’ which is the belief that talent is an innate gift, intelligence is innate and predefined. The concept of the growth mindset has helped me a lot. It has acted as motivation when I was low and might have doubted myself or thought of giving up. I believe it has made me more resilient and enforced my interest in learning.

I am in an “on and off” relationship with social media.

I often decide to pull the plug Facebook and Instagram. Now, why would someone do that, especially when a major and significant portion of his job consists of being tech savvy?  Because I believe it is awfully good at distraction and procrastination. You can do nothing on certain days than scroll and read things simply because:

  1. You can
  2. It’s easy
  3. It is way less challenging than the other jobs you may have for the day
  4. the likes are addictive

I want to focus more on things that I care about and which brings meaning to my life. Social media does it to a certain point, but ironically also blocks me from focusing. The way I see it, it brings little value to the table.
Now I am not condemning those who use or inferring in any way that those who do not use are better, more productive or successful individuals. If it works for you then great. I am very happy for you. For me, it doesn’t. I’d rather have focus than an endless distraction to feed my already bad procrastination habit. I’d rather focus on the more real and meaningful experience.

Some researchers are suggesting that we are a generation that socializes online yet we do not rely on each other. We will often use it to boost our own ego. Numerous researchers have begun associating heavy social media usage with depression.

My own experience and belief tell me that virtual connection is nothing as strong as the one we feel with a real person alongside us. Whether at a library, coffee shop, bus trip or community gathering such as a football match.

The irony of our current behavior baffles me. Instead of truly enjoying a moment we are now more worried about how the rest of our virtual community perceive us. It’s becoming more and more about pretenses, appearances, edited pictures and an unhealthy need to please the audience. Food is more about the aesthetics than the taste. We all know that guy who is literally begging for likes through his 15 to 20 several superfluous and highly vague hashtags. I think I can safely say that we -being a generation having been fed this load of unrealistic and edited humungous crap in the form of feeds- now feels more insecure and less confident about ourselves. So much that we won’t upload a selfie or picture without retouching it. We have set unrealistic standards and compete on metrics such as the number of likes and comments and love and shares and what not… Like who the hell are we trying to please?

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There is beauty in the imperfect being that we all are, there is beauty in your scars, even the zits and definitely the freckles. We are constantly trying to hide, to modify our identity just because we are being exposed to contents that are setting a very unrealistic definition of what beauty and natural is.

For some people, in the end, platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook just builds pressure, it has become a competition about whose life is better or greater, and people cheat and do all kinds of things, post pictures of others, project a skewed and very artificial sense of themselves in order to please the crowd.

If these platforms are indeed a competition then I simply refuse to compete at this silly and pointless charade. My philosophy to life is the same as to the reason of “why” I write. For myself! whether it is judged, liked, loved or hated does not matter as long as I stay true to myself.

While I do have an active Facebook account, I removed the app from my phone. It kills the distractions. I did not find such a solution for Instagram unfortunately. The web and windows version does not allow uploads. So while I use Instagram, I try to keep an open eye. In that world, not everything is as perfect as it seems to be and we need to be aware and constantly remind ourselves of that.

My other solution is to disappear from social media for a while, maybe a few weeks and just focus on living outside of it. I quite enjoy that the fact that I can stroll down a beach and sit on the sands without worrying that I have to share this on Instagram or facebook for all my friends to see. The solitude and silence feel warm and nice.

Want to give me your views? Leave a comment, emails, DM me through my social profiles or let’s  meet for a little chat over a cup of coffee or tea. The choice is yours, my friend. Surprise me.

Encourage learning, not marks and ranks.

I know how it feels to be a topper or at least to be among them. I was one of them in primary school.IMG_20170723_141336_871 To feel the pressure and the insecurities as you start crumbling along the way. The stress and burden that comes with it, that of being looked down. The involuntary ego. The fear and reluctance to try something new as there would be the risk of being shamed if you fail. That’s when you start to restrict yourself around a cocoon, that’s where the pleasure of learning and exploring is abandoned. That’s when you start being less you and more what people want you to be. It is strange how everyone has their own idea of what or who you should be but ask them about themselves “who they should be” and suddenly no one has a clear answer.
I am grateful I made friends that taught me a few lifelong lessons. They taught me about friendship, loyalty, teamwork, humility, confidence and that people matter more than a piece of paper.They taught me that education is important when you make something meaningful and helpful out of it. It is not important to always be a topper. Learning is not about that. It is way more than that, it is about satisfying that curiosity that we have. Very often what society will consider as the less qualified one, turns out to be the more capable one. So this is a statement and a reminder for myself, that I refuse to conform to this system where we have a prejudice and judge the capability of a person based on papers.

Let me tell you about my dream.

Truth be told this is not my attempt to a blog. I have tried writing blogs a couple of times in the past, I have both failed and learned.

I love writing especially for an audience of one; I have been doing it a lot as a kid (the traditional way of pen and paper). But when it came to online blogging one of the things I learned was I was being too hard on myself, too critical. I was being reluctant to speak about myself. The fear of being laughed at or judged felt too much to bear at that time.

However, all these choices, all the failures, and lessons have brought me to this point. I now feel at ease and confident. So let me share something about myself for you to know me a little bit better.

Those who know me would know that I have always loved reading (yeah I was the kid that got really excited for library time during college), but those who know me a bit more intimately knows that it is my childhood dream to actually write a novel/book as an author. I did not become an author (yet) but I do love my job a lot, it is creative and refreshing. Marketing and advertising require scriptwriting and creative writing which  I enjoy a lot.

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So what happened to that boy and his dream? Well, it is a spark that has still been kept alive. Between the long bus voyage to work and the random deep thoughts, I still scribble inside my diary some plots and characters. Someday, I will definitely write that book! And you, what is your dream?

My name is arshad and this is my blog.

This blog is special to me; this blog is personal. This is my voice, my story told my way. No formality no professional tone, just good old me.

thomas-martinsen-2443I want to share my perspective to the world, to share my questions and my experiences whether relating to my field of work (marketing/advertising), my interest such as programming, reading books, creative writing, photography, entrepreneurship or about my own life and events I attend in general.

This is my space and I welcome your views and constructive contributions.