Thursday, October 21, 2010

One Can Know Victory, And Yet Not Achieve It

Sun Tzu's legendary "The Art of War" has influenced the modern day culture, politics and strategy to a greater extent. A great military strategist and mathematician, his theories have proved out to be effective and the book considered the masterpiece on leadership, strategy, managing conflicts and winning battles. Paulo Coelho extracts an excerpt out of "The Art of War" and reproduced it in his "Inspirations".

Master Sun Said:

Of Old, the skillful warrior first ensured his own invulnerability; Then he waited for enemy’s vulnerability.
Invulnerability rests with Self, Vulnerability with the Enemy.

The skillful warrior can achieve his own invulnerability; But he can never bring about enemy's vulnerability.
Hence the saying, “One can know victory, and yet not achieve it”.

Invulnerability is Defense, Vulnerability is Attack.
Defense implies lack, Attack implies abundance.

A skillful defender hides beneath the ninefold earth; A skillful attacker moves above the ninefold heaven.
Thus they achieve protection and victory intact.

To foresee the ordinary victory of the common man is no true skill.
To be victorious in battle and to be acclaimed for one’s skill Is no true skill.
To lift autumn fur is not true skill.
To see sun and moon is no perception.
To hear thunder is no quickness of hearing.

The skillful warrior of Old won easy victories.
The victories of the skillful warrior are not extraordinary victories.
They bring neither fame for wisdom, nor merit for valor.
His victories are flawless.

His victory is flawless because it’s inevitable. He vanquishes an already defeated enemy.
The skillful warrior Takes his stand on invulnerable ground; He lets slip no chance of defeating the enemy.
The victorious army is victorious first and seeks battle later.
The defeated army Does battle first and seeks victory later.
The skillful strategist cultivates the way and preserves the law; Thus he is master of victory and defeat.

In War there are five steps; Measurement, Estimation, Calculation, Comparison and Victory;

Earth determines Measurement,
Measurement determines Estimation,
Estimation determines Calculation,
Calculation determines Comparison,
and Comparison determines Victory;

A victorious army is like a pound weight; In the scale against a grain;
A defeated army is like a grain in the scale against a pound weight;
A victorious army is like pent-up water crashing a thousand fathoms into a gorge.

This is all a matter of forms and dispositions.

Monday, October 11, 2010

If Success is Relative, What’s Your Mantra?

Ever thought of how you define success for yourself? Try it. Search your soul. You will get to understand yourself better once you come up with the answer. I bet.

Here is a sample I dug out from my old notes, the way John O’ Brien defines it.

“To Laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

Sounds inspiring? Feel like developing your own definition? See this interesting compilation of suggestions. But please, be realistic, don't copy, define it from your heart.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"My Journey With Mosaic" - By Guest Blogger Farhiya Mohamed Farah - Somalia

Farhiya Farah has a keen interest in development and is currently working with Mercy USA for Aid and Development, an NGO based in Kenya with operations in Somalia.

I wasn’t expecting it. The call that is…..I was selected to attend an interview that would determine if I could attend Mosaic international summit 2010 as one of the delegates. A lot was happening, professionally and personally, I knew I wanted to do something different but did not know exactly what or how to do it. Thank God for the email a friend sent, about mosaic and I just applied not knowing what the outcome would be.

The rest went smoothly, in a matter of weeks I was in the UK for the summit but honestly, I did not know what to expect. People from 17 countries are going to attend! I thought to myself, How will it go? What will they say? Will I feel out of place? Alhamdulillah (thank God) all the worries and doubts were just in my head. I felt at home, literally, on arrival, everyone was just so friendly. All the 80 people gathered seemed genuine in wanting to know who you were, where you came from, what you guys ate back home etc.

The summit was headed by a team of very friendly and knowledgeable people who saw to it that we were well cared for and that the summits aims were well communicated to us. Different recognized leaders, who have excelled in their respective fields, came and gave us their take on life, leadership, global issue awareness like poverty etc. Challenging conversations, encouraging speeches, motivating revelations were just part of the exciting journey in the mosaic summit. Inspirational leaders like: ·
- Stuart Lang, who spoke about tradition and its importance and how it doesn’t hamper progress, ·
- Farah Pandith whose projects have seen Muslims all over being empowered, and who mentioned the importance of luck and that we should think broadly and not sit still. ·
- Sir fazle Hassan Abed whose idea of a small scale relief and rehab programme has seen him build one of the largest NGOS in the world, who indeed took the point home, “ small and beautiful become big and effective, whatever you do, do it well.’’ ·
- Stuart Duff and Prof. Binna Kandola, who took as through the leadership journey and the different models of leadership. They addressed to us the importance of coaching and how it’s necessary in unlocking a persons potential in order to maximize their performance. They brought so much to us as the delegates, and interestingly so they still do, through the models of development plan that kandola sent us recently. ‘’Empathy as a characteristic in a leader yields a lot of productivity’’ Prof. Binna Kandola ·
- Founder of Islamic relief, Dr. Hany El Bany OBE shared his amazing journey as a humanitarian and shared the different trials and tribulations he went through to ensure that he has reached as many people in need as possible. He reminded us of our duty as Muslims which is to help the poor and that together when united we can make poverty history….’’don’t chase money, don’t chase targets, invest in employees’’- ·
- Mrs. Anjum Anwar ‘’If we do not speak with each other, we will not demystify facts.’’ She spoke on the importance of being firm in one owns belief in that only then is it easier to relate with others about who we are and what we stand for. And that it’s only when you have positive thinking when you will be comfortable in someone’s arena. ·
- Prof. Mike Hardy ‘’we have to bring people together because they already are together’’ He spoke on the need to understand each other and learn to live with each other. ·
- Chris chivers ‘’those leaders who do not want to engage in dialogue are weak’’ ·
- Will Day, ‘’Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future’’

After the amazing speeches we embarked on study tour groups where we saw first hand how communities have come together in addressing several social and economical issues that face them on a day to day basis, e.g. curbing antisocial behaviors, and also we saw how they looked into other societies problems and how they tried looking for a solution to their problems e.g. Helping in eradicating malaria in the developing countries and assist those with water problems by fundraising for water points and bore holes. This selflessness and dedication to helping mankind was so inspiring and as if that was not enough we were given the opportunity of a lifetime where we met the founder of Mosaic, The prince of Wales, Prince Charles. He showed us or at least most of us, another side of world leaders. We saw a caring, dedicated and concerned individual who genuinely wanted integration between different faiths in the universe and who wanted to see better living conditions in the world. He wanted the youth to own there time, to stop sitting down as other people tackled their problems and to see to it that all people around us had access to equal care, be it education, social needs or economic.

That was enough motivation that left a ray hope in most delegates, everyone like me, wanted to go back home and try and be an agent of change, try and get a solution especially where there’s an obvious problem. Of course it wasn’t all work and no play! I had a great time with some of the delegates walking around Cambridge, and the almost disastrous boat ride in Cambridge! I mean, what were you doing jamil! At least Tabinda sorted us out :) oh and the way John tried to help us but to no avail….I mean we looked so confused, that when we made it back, the guests outside that hotel actually cheered for us! That should tell you they were sure the boat would sink! But the most memorable for me was the visit to Old Trafford in Manchester! Historic! I miss my group, the amazing and ever smiling group leader Lina Gomaa, Memoona with her intelligent and always on point thoughts!, Shahrizad, her calm and collected nature that always spoke volumes, Shafiullah whose love for his country and his family in particular was evident in his talk, of course the leaders of today! Anas and his counterpart Yavuz! Ria the new bride, Arkan, so easy to talk to and quick to give his thoughts, all the time we met as a group, the conversations and activities never had a dull moment! ( hope I haven’t left any one out) I miss all of you, really, though thousands of miles apart, I will always remember those beautiful faces and may Allah guide and protect all of you always! I left the summit with so much love for my religion Islam, I can’t explain it, but I felt that my faith was strengthened Alhamdulillah. The amazing energy, the positive ideas, are what I truly miss, but I believe that enthusiasm that I had with me, I will not let it die, inshaAllah I’ll put it to practice…doesn’t matter how long it will take me. Things maybe difficult to implement, especially with no form of support around me, but as Ralph Waldo Emerson said ‘’Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm’’

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Old Wine In A New Bottle" - By Guest Blogger - Rizwan Sharif, Bangladesh

Rizwan has vast experience of public relations, client service, branding and CSR while working with corporates in Bangladesh. Currently he is pursuing his Masters in International Public Relations from Cardiff University, UK.

After much procrastination and delay, I finally sat down with my laptop in the conducive Cardiff University dorm to retrieve memories. Memories that are fast moving away with the unstoppable pace of time but have always been and will always remain one of the most precious ones in my life. Yes, I am talking about the Mosaic Summit 2010 that had brought all of us together and broke the barriers of borders and time. It’s been more than two months, but seems like yesterday that we all laughed together and shared ideas that could change us and that can change this world!

So what shall I talk about? As I continue writing, so many thoughts float in my head and I am being so deeply lost in memories of the Summit. But let me start with some of my experiences and then I will tell you the story of old wine getting into a new bottle!

When I first came to know about Mosaic Summit, I did not take it very seriously and I am sure I am not the only one here who thought like that! I won’t mention the names but I can see some faces smiling if they are reading this. For me it was more like taking a paid Euro tour and I was equally confused about the outcomes of the Summit. But I was wrong. My perception of the Summit changed pretty fast within the first couple of days and it surprised me more to see how quickly all of us mingled well with each other. A sense of responsibility to do something started strengthening and I could feel the urge to learn from the Summit and most importantly from other delegates. I should thank Ahmed (Bahrain) and Hossam (Egypt) for being so patient in answering my stupid questions in the late hours at night. I should also mention Afrah (Bahrain) for all the little walks at night and silly talks that made both of us laughing and also to set our goals in life. She is a great friend!

Another thing that I find worth mentioning here is that knowledge of my own religion. I have always been a Muslim by inheritance and not by practice. I do not blame my family, friends or my parents being so liberal to give me the freedom to live my life the way I want to. But I always felt that I may be doing something wrong. And it was the Mosaic Summit that perhaps brought me closer to my religion and to people whose faithful dedication to Islam made me question my actions. I was again surprised and felt bad about the way I perceived religion and faith. The summit helped me understand more and opening my eyes though I can never be a perfect Muslim but a big thanks to all of you for making me realize things that I never realized before.

I will wrap it up by saying that for the last four and a half years, I have been a successful corporate figure and life has always been very easy. Thanks to the kindness of the Almighty. All I concentrated was on how to get more business, how to be more rich and popular and all the materialistic things in the world. But the Mosaic experience was profound and helped shape up my views on life. It helped me realize that there is more to give than to take. I looked at the speakers at Cambridge and during our study tours and felt that there is so much to do for others and time is running out so fast. I felt we are nothing but travelers in this world and when we are gone, we leave behind memories that are remembered, loved and cherished by so many people. Live a life that is worth living and mentioning even after you have left this world. I felt that my thoughts are being reborn and reshaped in so many new directions that I was previously unaware. I know I will not like to revert back to corporate world again but rather dedicate most of the time for others who need me to stand next to them wherever they need my help. With all that, I wish every success to all my Mosaic friends and apologize if I have ever hurt or offended any of you and that is purely unintentionally. May Allah bless us all in our journeys.