To be added soon, and it will surprise you big time. It will also motivate you. Just a little bit for now (and being infamous for writing long emails, messsages etc my ‘little bit’ is acutally like 4 pages long):
- I hated school but I loved reading.
- I loved reading but almost every book I bought would get burnt
Back in the end of 2009, everything look okay. On paper at least.
I had a job in a Danish software house in Copenhagen. I had another part-time remote job at an American internet marketing company. I was going regularly to gym and my health seemed top notch, given that I had started to see my 6 pack abs appear (not kidding; I got the pictures to prove that I look at when I feel fat).
But nothing was okay.
I hated my 2 jobs.
I hated living so far away from my family.
And I had almost no friends in Denmark.
In fact despite living in Sweden for 2.5 years in Sweden and 1 year in the neighbouring Denmark I had just about 1 Pakistani friend in Sweden, 1 Swedish friend in Sweden, and 1 Swedish friend in Denmark. All lived far away from me.
And so I was all alone in a city full of strangers.
The locals were reserved. The immigrants were mostly the kind of people whom I didn’t connect with. Just an example: I asked a Pakistani friend if he could get me a bike (that I meant to pay for). His response: “Sure brother, we are going to steal one for you”.
Needless to say, I never spoke to the guy again.
Another example: My landlord would constantly ask me to buy a better phone from him since I had an old second-hand outdated phone. I didn’t buy one from him as I knew he would steal the gadgets that people on the metro that he was working at, and then he would either send them as gifts to his family back in home country, or he would try to send it to people like me.
Don’t get me wrong; I am sure there were a lot of good people. But may be being more of an introvert back then, and may be due to my limited choice with regards to choosing the kind of company I could interact with, I felt extremely alone.
I wasn’t all alone though. I had my internet friends. But most of them were made in an era when I enjoyed getting invovled in long political discussions.
Now I didn’t see the point of political discussions. And as a recent research proves it, online discussions make the open minded people more open minded, and it makes the close minded people more close-minded. So there is that.
But I was a coward. I did not
I was a coward because I did not have the courage to leave my jobs even though I wanted to.
I was a coward because even though I wanted to return to Pakistan I was unsure if this would be a wise decision (considering that everyone told me not to go since there were bombings every day and there were no jobs).
But then something happened.
I was told that a 16-year-old cousin was martyred in a suicide blast in my home city Peshawar.
Now I was not too close to this cousin. But something inside me died when I heard this.
I wish I could say things were straight-forward after that. But they were not.
A lot happened in the next 4 months or so (and that’s a story for another time) but in the end I ditched my 2 jobs, my Danish green card (which would have gotten me a Danish passport in a few years) and even most of my belongings (I didn’t even sell them) and returned to Pakistan.
And I was considered a loser and a lost cause for returning like that.
I had no hope, no future, no plan, no clear vision with regards to what I wanted to do.
I spent months on doing some of the following:
- believing the ‘he is a loser’ look that I (felt I) saw in everyone’s eyes
- feeling a lot of guilt and shame
- doing self-reflection, and a lot of it
- doing meditation
- doing self-affirmation and visualization exercises
- reading a lot
- walking and working out
- becoming more silent and avoiding most online invitations to fiery argumentative discussions (little to no lengthy online discussions about what is wrong with the world and the new-con agenda, and how to fix Pakistani politics etc)
At last, in 2012, I joined 2 guys I knew in a software business. Then I started another company that won an award. Finally I started a digital marketing agency and I love doing what I do. I started to write for large publications which is when opportunities truly started to come right to my inbox. Then I started to speak because I just liked to talk and I think I am able to motivate people and show them ‘the light’ whatever that may be.
I want to continue to write, to speak. But what I want to do more is to read, to do more self-reflection, to medidate more, and to meet more people, and to learn more, and to run more, and to work out more, and to make this world a better place in one way or another.
I was recently in Dubai and it was a huge surprise for me that I really enjoyed travelling. Because there was a time when I didn’t enjoy it and I don’t really know why. May be I was a different person back then. But this trip to Dubai taught me so much. I felt different. Everything seemed nice. Now I know no place is perfect but I just loved it.
So I am going to go back to Dubai to speak at a summit in October. And I hope to go to Malaysia to speak at the 2-3 organizations who wanted me to speak there earl this year when Malaysia didn’t grant me a visa. But in Malaysia’s defense, most of their visa staff is Pakistani so I only have my brethren to blame for why I didn’t get a visa when I was invited to speak there when many Pakistanis get the tourist visa with much more ease. Anyway, I wish I had a
Anyway, I wish I had a good way to end this (never-ending) story but I guess this is enoug for now. I will add more details here later on I think.
Until then, take care and do subscribe to my newsletter :)