Apologies for being absent from the blogosphere for a while. But i have been following a number of blogs. Here are a few of my favourites…….

Seth Godin. Seth is a renowned entrepeneur, best selling author and definitely an agent of change. He is also known for his idea of permission markting. If you want to read cutting edge  articles on modern marketing and doing business in the internet age then this blog is the place to be. It is one of those blogswhere i learn something new everyday.Plus it has some free ebooks as well.Go visit @ http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/

Viper Chill(Glenn Allosop). This blog is by a twenty something who has made it big on the internet, He gives great tips on how to make money online, increase traffic as well as how to use online r advantage.tools such as google adwords, twitter and adsense  to your advantage. Its also a great motivational blog for aspiring entrepeneurs.Go visit @ http://www.viperchill.com/

The Art of Nonconformity: At AONC Chris Guillebeau writes about entrepeneurship, life planning, personal development as well as unconventional work. He also writes about his travels as he proceeds towards realizing his unconventional yet fun goal of visiting every country in the world. Plus his manifesto titled “Brief guide to world domination” is a great read. Check out his site at http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/

MayG & UTP. This a fun blog by a husband wife duo who write about the quirkiness of married life. If you are having a tough day then this is definitely one place on the blogosphere that will make you smile. Check them out at http://maygandutp.blogspot.com/

PakistaniHousewife: A  popular blog by a pakisatni wie and mother who writes about motherhood, married life, politics and so on. I believe that its a great read for all Pakistani wives.  Go Visit:http://www.pakistanihousewife.com/    

Thats all. Will be back with more of my favorite blogs.

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Here is a very inspiring poem by Rudyard Kipling on how to live life to the fullest:

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

~ Rudyard Kipling

Haider Ali Mosawi a personal growth enthusiast has done a pretty good interpretation of this poem on his blog http://personalgrowthmap.com/blog/2010/02/20/a-poem-to-live-by/

Yesterday I received an interesting  email about a speech given by Azim Premji, the Chairman of  Wipro Industries-one of the largest software companies in India. The man himself is considered to be the second richest man in India(Forbes) as well as one of  of the most influential men in Asia(Asiaweek). So here is his speech which he  gave in the “Shaping Young Minds Program” (SYMP) organized by the All India Management Association (AIMA) in collaboration with the Bombay Management Association (BMA) on February 9, 2004 at NCPA in Mumbai on ” My Lessons in Life.”

“I am very happy to be here with you. It is always wonderful to be with young people. The funny thing about life is that you realize the value of something only when it begins to leave you. As my hair turned from black, to salt and pepper and finally salt without the pepper, I have begun to realize the importance of youth.

At the same time, I have begun to truly appreciate some of the lessons I have learnt along the way. I hope you will find them useful when you plan your own career and life.

The first thing I have learnt is that we must always begin with our strengths. From the earliest years of our schooling, everyone focuses on what is wrong with us. There is an imaginary story of a rabbit. The rabbit was enrolled in a rabbit school. Like all rabbits, it could hop very well but could not swim. At the end of the year, the rabbit got high marks in hopping but failed in swimming. The parents were concerned. They said, “Forget about hopping. You are anyway good at it. Concentrate on swimming.” They sent the rabbit for tuitions in swimming. And guess what happened? The rabbit forgot how to hop! As for swimming, have you ever seen a rabbit swim? While it is important for us to know what we are not good at, we must also cherish what is good in us. That is because it is only our strengths that can give us the energy to correct our weaknesses.

The second lesson I have learnt is that a rupee earned is of far more value than five found. My friend was sharing me the story of his eight year-old niece. She would always complain about the breakfast. The cook tried everything possible, but the child remained unhappy. Finally, my friend took the child to a supermarket and brought one of those ready-to-cook packets. The child had to cut the packet and pour water in the dish. After that, it took two minutes in the microwave to be ready. The child found the food to be absolutely delicious? The difference was that she has cooked it! In my own life, I have found that nothing gives as much satisfaction as earning our rewards. In fact, what is gifted or inherited follows the old rule of come easy, go easy. I guess we only know the value of what we have if we have struggled to earn it.

The third lesson I have learnt is no one bats a hundred every time. Life has many challenges. You win some and lose some. You must enjoy winning. But do not let it go to the head. The moment it does, you are already on your way to failure. And if you do encounter failure along the way,treat it as an equally natural phenomenon. Don’t beat yourself for it or any one else for that matter! Accept it, look at your own share in the problem, learn from it and move on. The important thing is, when you lose, do not lose the lesson.

The fourth lesson I have learnt is the importance of humility. Sometimes, when you get so much in life, you really start wondering whether you deserve all of it. This brings me to the value of gratitude. We have so much to be grateful for. Our parents, our teachers and our seniors have done so much for us that we can never repay them. Many people focus on the shortcomings, because obviously no one can be perfect. But it is important to first acknowledge what we have received. Nothing in life is permanent but when a relationship ends, rather than becoming bitter, we must learn to savour the memory of the good things while they lasted.

The fifth lesson I learnt is that we must always strive for excellence. One way of achieving excellence is by looking at those better than ourselves. Keep learning what they do differently. Emulate it. But excellence cannot be imposed from the outside. We must also feel the need from within. It must become an obsession. It must involve not only our mind but also our heart and soul. Excellence is not an act but a habit. I remember the inspiring lines of a poem, which says that your reach must always exceed your grasp. That is heaven on earth. Ultimately, your only competition is yourself.

The sixth lesson I have learnt is never give up in the face of adversity. It comes on you suddenly without warning. One can either succumb to self-pity, wring your hands in despair or decide to deal with the situation with courage and dignity. Always keep in mind that it is only the test of fire that makes fine steel. A friend of mine shared this incident with me. His eight-year old daughter was struggling away at a jigsaw puzzle. She kept at it for hours but could not succeed. Finally, it went beyond her bedtime. My friend told her, “Look, why don’t you just give up? I don’t think you will complete it tonight. Look at it another day.” The daughter looked with a strange look in her eyes,”But, dad, why should I give up? All the pieces are there! I have just got to put them together!” If we persevere long enough, we can put any problem into its perspective.

The seventh lesson I have learnt is that while you must be open to change, do not compromise on your values. Mahatma Gandhiji often said that you must open the windows of your mind, but you must not be swept off your feet by the breeze. You must define what your core values are and what you stand for. And these values are not so difficult to define. Values like honesty, integrity, consideration and humility have survived for generations. Values are not in the words used to describe them as much as in the simple acts.

At the end of the day, it is values that define a person more than the achievements. Because it is the means of achievement that decide how long the achievements will sustain. Do not be tempted by short cuts. The short cut can make you lose your way and end up becoming the longest way to the destination. And the final lesson I learnt is that we must have faith in our own ideas even if everyone tells us that we are wrong.

There was once a newspaper vendor who had a rude customer. Every morning, the Customer would walk by, refuse to return the greeting, grab the paper off the shelf and throw the money at the vendor. The vendor would pick up the money, smile politely and say, “Thank you, Sir.” One day, the vendor’s assistant asked him, “Why are you always so polite with him when he is so rude to you? Why don’t you throw the newspaper at him when he comes back tomorrow?” The vendor smiled and replied, “He can’t help being rude and I can’t help being polite. Why should I let his rude behavior dictate my politeness?

In my youth, I thought of myself as a rebel and was many times, a rebel without a cause. Today, I realize that my rebellion was another kind of conformity. We defined our elders to fall in line with our peers!

Ultimately, we must learn to respond instead of reacting. When we respond, we evaluate with a calm mind and do whatever is most appropriate. We are in control of our actions. When we react, we are still doing what the other person wants us to do. I wish you all the best in your life and career.

I hope you achieve success in whatever way you define it and what gives you the maximum happiness in life.

“Remember, those who win are those who believe they can.” “

An inspiring poem

Posted: October 4, 2009 in Stuff from here and there

ROAD LESS TRAVELED

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet, knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference

Robert Frost

Rays of hope

Posted: August 21, 2009 in Stuff from here and there

Despite the dismal  political and economic conditions prevailing in the country, there are these occasional rays of hope- smalls movements or initiatives for the cause of a better Pakistan. Over the last few days i have come across two such initiatives which have been started by young Pakistani’s like us.

The first one has been started by Ali Moeen Nawazish Waraich(the bright young kid who scored 21 A’s in A-Levels and got Pakistan’s name in the Guiness Book of World Record..Hurray!). He along with his friends has started an initative called the A-level challenge(http://www.thealevelchallenge.com/) in which they aim to provide academic counselling and college application advice to other young people . And the best part is that its all free of cost. Moreover they have also started online video lectures on different subjects. I found the one on SAT Reasoning to be interesting and a must see for people who are planning to take their SAT’s. Kudos to Ali and his team on starting this initiative.

The second  initiave has been started by bunch of students with the aim to clean up lahore. They started meeting up at Ghalib market and now they can be seen cleaning up the main market. More information on this initiative can be found at Sajjad Haider’s blog(http://mohammadsajjadhaider.blogspot.com/2009/08/zimmedar-shehri-responsible-citizen.html).

Its the very small initiatives like these which turn into a movement. I believe that as pakistanis we should all step out to give them a hand or better  start a small initiative and try to make a difference.

This post is somewhat inspired by the movie “the bucket list”-a profound and inspiring piece of work which makes you realize that we should make the most of the life that has been given to us by Allah. It was while i was googling this concept when i came across a great site called43 things.com( http://www.43things.com/). Here you can list down your goals in life be it something like writing a book, or performing Hajj or paying off your credit cards debt. The most interesting feature of this site is that  it allows you to interact with other people, cheer their achievements and learn how they achieved their goals.

My 43 things include writing a book, performing Hajj, starting my own venture and visiting all seven wonders of the world. I would recommend that you guys go and make your own lists as well. As they say life’s short and its us who have to make the most of it.