Where are the leaders

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How to behave around snakes

Keeping wild animals as pets is not a good idea at all. Whether that is snakes or anything else. Wild animals must be left in their natural habitat and enjoyed there, watching and photographing them. Taking them out of their environment is cruel on them and if they escape or are released in an alien environment, they can become a major problem, like all the Burmese pythons in Florida. They have no natural predators in the new place, breed unchallenged and prey on local species which have no defense against them and become a major hazard. All because someone thought the little snake was cute and wanted it as a pet and then when it grew to its normal size, they couldn’t cope with it and released it in the nearest piece of bush they could find, imagining that they were doing a good deed. The rest is painfully clear. Please don’t keep any wild animal as a pet. There was a case in South Africa where a ‘pet’ African Python killed two young boys, whose pet it was. Once again, this is not ‘proof’ that snakes are treacherous. It is proof that people are stupid. Snakes are not pets. Please don’t keep them.

Hit the road running

What is it that drives a man to excel? What if we make that the goal of our lives? To excel. Even if you are running in the right direction, you will lose the race if you don’t run fast enough. So if you want to win the race you don’t just have to run but you must constantly improve your running; technique, speed, stamina. That comes from hitting the track every morning with the single-minded focus to improve over your past record. And you must do this as long as you live. Remember you will only be able to do this if you love doing it.

Muslim NGO’s – special challenges and their solutions

Opening note: Though the title of this article is “Muslim NGOs….” what I have to say applies to all NGOs and not only Muslim ones. I have mentioned some things that are specific to Muslim NGOs like the collection and disbursement of Zakat, but I hope you will find it useful for your NGO, whether you are Muslim or not. NGOs play a hugely critical role in society, especially today when we are faced with predatory politicians and self-serving governments whose priorities are far away from the welfare of the people. You only have to look at the defence budget of any nation and compare it to the budget for education and public health and I can rest my case. The reality of life is that you get what you pay for. When countries invest more money in weapons of mass destruction than they invest in the welfare of their own people, the effect is as expected and entirely visible. The reason this investment happens is because WMD manufacture and sale gives the best ROI. That the cost of it is measured in lives destroyed, widows and orphans, rivers of blood and tears and hardening of hearts and attitudes is neither here nor there, because those whose bank balances swell from this trade don’t care. They live behind walls; deaf and blind to suffering. NGOs are necessary because they are comprised of those whose hearts are still alive and compassionate and who can make a real difference to those who need it the most. That is the reason why NGOs must be run as efficiently and effectively as possible because they are the symbols of the best elements of our humanity.

We are all human

Today as we protest against racism in America, let us remember that we are against all racism. Let us remember that our stance is noble. Our stand is life giving and life confirming. In America today, all people of all races are standing together to give the message loud and clear that enough is enough. We reject arrogance. We reject racism. We reject discrimination irrespective of its basis, because we believe in the equality of all humankind. We believe in the right to dignity and respect that every human being is entitled to.

BC to AC

The world AC (After Corona) will be the beginning of an Age of Entrepreneurship. A world where working from home and being self-employed will become more and more popular. Large corporations have learnt the lesson from the Covid lockdowns that people need not come to a central place to work. They can work well at equal or more efficiency from home. That means huge potential savings for the corporation in overheads, capital investment in buildings and infrastructure, taxes, insurance and many other ways. All this will have huge repercussions in the real estate, capital and insurance markets. Corporations have learnt the joy of outsourcing as we have seen in the case of Amazon Prime delivery. Intelligent corporation managements will invest in local entrepreneurs by providing training in setting up businesses and running them efficiently, quality assurance, cheap funding and buy-back agreements. They will realize that their own margins will benefit by developing entrepreneurship and strengthening local societies. We will see major changes in how work is done, supervised, and paid for. We will see an age of greater collaboration and genuine partnership across national boundaries. We will see a world of greater trust and collaboration and mutual learning and sharing of resources and well-being.

On becoming a Consultant

Remember that the world of selling is the world of words. Not deception, but palatable truth. Unpalatable truth is equally truthful but not equally edible. Craft words thoughtfully and take brutal feedback from others about what you crafted. Being married to your words is suicide. The key is not experience but how you can use it to help others. Don’t leave that to the customer to figure out. Spell it out for him. Not because he is stupid, but because the need is yours. Don’t tell him what you used to do but how you can help him and how that will benefit him. That will mean knowing his business sometimes better than he does himself. Certainly, in terms of an overview from the outside. That is your key differentiator because perspective is a function of distance. Leverage it and show him how it works.

Never compromise your integrity. Remember that your client is not the one who feeds you and the One who feeds you doesn’t lack resources. So never do anything which is against your beliefs and values. Have the highest values and live by them. That is the biggest incentive in my view of being an independent consultant – that you can afford to live by your values. And guess what? Not only will you never starve but you will gain a huge amount of respect in the market which you can’t buy even if you wanted to.

For he was a man

I learnt, very practically, that the best way to make progress was to develop a relationship based on sincerity as that would be the only thing that you could count on, especially in hard times. I remember how Nick Adams used to put it. He’d say, “A relationship is like a bank account. You only have in it, what you put in. And when you need to draw on it, you only have as much as you put in.” That is one of the lessons I learnt in my life and which has stayed with me all these years.

Become a rock in the foundation

I want to begin by saying that today I am truly proud that my nation, India, is still a democracy and that we the people of India are people with courage and the willingness to stand up for each other. Frankly, going by our recent history and the rapid polarization of our society and proliferation of hate speech and hate politics, I never thought I would see the day when Hindus, Sikhs and Christians would stand shoulder to shoulder with their Muslim brothers and sisters to protect them and their rights. Truly it is said that injustice can’t be removed until those who are not affected by it are willing to stand up against it. Injustice to one is injustice to all. The people of India have demonstrated that they are willing to stand against injustice even when it doesn’t affect some of them directly. The biggest and most powerful message in all this is that it is our youth, students in our universities who have taken the lead and shown us the way to go. This message is primarily addressed to them, to students, to youth, to the millennials and their children. Because the future is theirs.

The question is, ‘Do you want the building, or do you want to be on the façade?’ Get ready to go into the ground like the rocks in the foundation for the building to be built over you. Nobody will know you lived except the One who created you. And that’s enough. Or get ready to spend the rest of your lives as slaves. The future is yours, not ours. Make of it whatever you wish, because you are going to live in it. You and your children.