We all have a certain amount of junk in our lives that bogs us down and makes us feel worthless. Talent and brilliant ideas are often there but there are no finances and no game plan that could help you utlise them. You could be a great chef, but with no money to hire a sous chef, let alone open a restaurant. You could have an idea that would make you rich, but have no money to actually start working on it and no one willing to invest.
I read somewhere recently that “if opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”. Profound! But the problem is figuring out how. How do you turn that junk into fertiliser that will help your career or personal life grow?
I often think of our very own Pakistani fashion guru, Hassan Shehryar Yasin (HSY) as the perfect example of a success story. People think he ‘just got lucky’. I’m sure luck played some part in his success, but the fact is he started his business with just a few thousand rupees.
I interviewed him for my morning show last year and one of the things he shared with me was that he is who he is because his mother was a constant believer and his true strength. He also told me that the Ather Shehzad duo were always like brothers to him and did the make-up and photography for his very first shoot, while Iman Ali and Vaneeza Ahmed even modeled for him for free. This is all true. But it is not the whole truth.
The biggest part in the HSY success story is that he refused to accept failure as an option. He had faith that his passion could make anything happen. In a country where most young people look towards their family for support and financial help, Hassan never asked his family for help and believed he could achieve anything. He made a game plan and followed through.
Our focus in life has to be to make the best of every situation, and not to look for the perfect opportunity. Very rarely does anyone get things handed to him or her on a platter. Every success story has a journey of hardships and struggle behind it. Yet, we grudgingly look at these success stories with envy and resentment, but don’t actually put in the time and effort to do the things necessary to get where we hope to be.
This doesn’t only apply to our careers. Many times people comment on seemingly perfect relationships that others have and feel that in comparison they just got a raw deal in life. A friend was complaining bitterly about her terrible relationship with her mother-in-law and comparing herself to her sister-in-law who seemed to be the apple of everyone’s eye. With a tiny bit of questioning, what came to light was that her sister-in-law made a lot of effort and put in the time to actually visit and spend time with her mother-in-law. My friend, however, was too busy wallowing in her misery to bother making an effort. And yet, so far as she was concerned, she was not at fault.
In a few cases, people do try really hard to fix their work or personal problems and yet still fail. Sometimes, giving up is just the easiest and most sensible solution. But then who said life was going to be easy? Good things come to those who don’t wait for life to happen to them and work hard. If one formula doesn’t work, try another or switch things around.
The successful reality of most people was initially just an unrealistic dream. They worked hard to make that dream a reality. They turned the junk in their lives to fertiliser and life started falling into place. We have all been told to back off from a difficult situation because ‘it’s too stressful’ or is akin to ‘flogging a dead horse’. But the ones who succeed are the ones who don’t listen.
Hassan was repeatedly told that he just didn’t have the resources or the clout to become a designer. Today, he is a force to be reckoned with. He is one of those rare few who didn’t give up. And if you want to succeed, you can’t afford to give up either.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2015.
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