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On Being Selfless

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Quote of the Month


Some learning experiences come in life just by chance. I came across one such experience lately. I don’t usually watch movies, but last month, after a lot of insistence by a very close friend, I happened to watch a movie (he tantalized me into watching it by saying that it’s about a people like you, who write). For a start, it was a very mediocre kind of film. But what actually struck me hard was a dialogue of one of the characters. The dialogue gave me a shock so great that I could not help thinking about the cataclysmal effect these movies are ultimately having on our DMRs (mental scripts) and moral values. Below is the translated version of the dialogue.


“Don’t teach the people how to live in just three hundred rupees.”


If one scrutinizes this statement with insightful eyes, the menace of these words can be easily perceived. One may pause and wonder whether learning to lead an effective life merely a right of the rich and big shots? Shall a not-so-rich person be left to face the tumultuous winds of life? Shall he be deprived of the indispensable tools required to help him fight the adversities of the course of events? If that is the case, then unfortunately, we have become a very materialistic people, where it is the lust of banknotes which fuels our actions.


I have often been criticized by my friends, cousins and even some adult acquaintances for over-thinking on these “small” issues. The woe is people’s failure to realize how these seemingly small issues can greatly impact our lives—for the worse. The time, during which we are comfortably creating a façade for ourselves that we are disaffected by these statements, the deeper and more somber realities are at work—at a subconscious level. Without any involvement of our conscious thought, such statements make room in our minds, and that is where deterioration of moral values initiates. At a later stage, these words expand their circle of influence and creep into our actions. By the time we realize where things have gone wrong, it’s mostly too late and the DMRs have already been corrupted. So, if I am prolifically writing against some of the memes on Facebook and such dialogues in films or dramas, there is an underlying science beneath it and a rather spine-chilling one, as a matter of fact.


Let me now analyze the aforementioned dialogue in context to the science described above. What was the script writer’s motive behind writing this dialogue, we are unaware, but certainly the effects and implications are very much predictable. Let’s look at it this way: once we have established money as the basic prerequisite for all and even the most basic human rights (which is pretty likely, considering the scale of impact our media has on our fickle minds today), the concept of volunteer work seems futile for very obvious reasons—glory of  volunteers, as a friend of mine, Mubbashir, rightly put it out, “would be restricted to, and encapsulated wholly and solely within pages of books consigned to dirt and dust, with no sense of practicality in them". A step further, philanthropy loses its charm, becoming a mere triviality, and the philanthropist himself, a taboo in the society. Under such conditions, thoughts of hoping for a welfare-oriented society becomes otiose—the new generation, which, on the misguided ideals of their materialistic adult role models, themselves being wealth-oriented, if not a step forward.


As harsh as this statement may seem, the aforementioned dialogue and all similar stuff on the electronic and print media, are promoting animalistic instincts in humans, striking at the very roots of humanity. Where humane behavior has its roots in selfless love and will to help and facilitate fellow humans indiscriminately and without any desire for worldly recompense, such material is promoting selfishness in the young minds. A perk of today’s media is that we can see our future beforehand—and with the quality of material that it propagates and the general fickle-mindedness of the masses which come across it, one can make out a picture of the future, and it is gloomy. At least community service seems to have a gloomy future.


Let us now examine this situation from a spiritual point of view. Islam patronizes philanthropy and promises to reward those people exponentially who spend generously in the way of Allah. The Qur’an is full of verses attesting this, so I don’t need to provide any substantiation for my statement. Furthermore, the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The best among humans is he who imparts maximum benefit to fellow humans”. Where the religion advises the followers to spend wealth in the way of Allah as to facilitate the poor and destitute, our media is playing a vital role in reversing the paradigms, teaching the people instead, to demand money in order to impart good to others.


If today we cry over low literacy and high crime rates in our world, we now know that who gets the blame. But is that realization enough to rectify the damage that had already been inflicted on our crumbling society? As the Urdu novelist Naseem Hijazi writes, “These blemishes cannot be wiped off with tears alone. One needs blood and sweat to wipe them off”. Starting from a personal level, we need to initiate selfless efforts for the betterment of this world, to make it a better place to live.


For this month, I leave you with this food for thought: where is our recreation leading us? Are we collapsing morally?




Areeb Nafey Uddin Siddiqui is a Timelenders family member and is currently an A level student at Generation’s School, Karachi. He has attended the Strategic Visions, Strategic Time Management and Visions Retreat (Malaysia) workshops. He is simultaneously a poet, satirical writer, and also addresses serious issues like organizational and personal skills. He writes in both, English and Urdu. He has also conducted the Strategic Time Management training in his school for the domestic staff. Currently, he is doing an extensive internship with Timelenders.






The title of the book The Magic of Thinking Big by Dr. David J. Schwartz is extremely self-explanatory; it really is a magical treatise on how one’s thought process is the key to success. The interesting thing about the book is that it was written thirty years ago. One might feel that the publication date of the book makes it outdated. However, as it turns out, this only helps to cement further the fact that despite the passage of time, Dr. Schwartz’s research still remains extremely applicable on any person, anywhere even today. As per the title, it is simply by altering our thought process and our attitude towards everyday issues in life that we can change ‘lack of success’ to ‘ultimate success’, ‘Successful people are just ordinary folk who have developed belief in themselves and what they do. Never—yes never—self yourself short’.


The late Dr. Schwartz, a professor at Georgia State University, is still considered one of the leading authorities on motivation. His firm Creative Education Services specializes in leadership training. According to Dr. Schwartz, success in any area, whether our domestic our professional life, is strictly a matter of choice. If you aim to be successful, you will be. If you choose to stay in the shadows, you’ll always stay in the shadows. The first step toward success is belief. If we don’t believe in our self, we cannot expect anyone else to have belief in us either. In his words, ‘Believe Big. The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief. Think little goals and expect little achievements’.


The Magic of Thinking Big is very easy to read and ‘digest’ with every page littered with tens of examples of people who got what they wanted in life simply by making the resolution that they were going to do it. There is the example of the guy who once drew a three-pointed star on a cheap postcard that he sent to his family with the message, ‘One day this star will shine down on my work’. The year was 1890 and the man’s name was Gottlieb Daimler. The rest, as they say, is history; he went on to co-found Mercedes-Benz.  


Though the entire book is a can’t-put-downer, the chapters that were especially fascinating and extremely applicable on just about any regular person I know include ‘Cure Yourself of Excusitis, the Failure Disease’, ‘Make Your Attitudes Your Allies’, ‘Think Right Towards People’, ‘Use Goals to Help you Grow’ and ‘How to Think Like a Leader’. 


He writes about attitude, ‘How we think shows through in how we act. Attitudes are mirrors of the mind. They reflect our thinking’. About ‘Excusitis’ he says, ‘Go deep into the study of people and you’ll discover unsuccessful people suffer a mind-deadening thought disease. We call this disease excusitits. You will find that the more successful the individual, the less inclined he is to make excuses’. The chapters ‘Manage Your Environment’ and ‘Think Right Towards People’ discuss how purging our mind of negativity towards our environment and people is among the best things we can do for ourselves. 


Dr. Schwartz calls gossip a thought-poison and stresses the critical need to always avoid it. He says, ‘Thought-poison differs from body poison in two ways. It affects the mind, not the body, and is more subtle…it reduces the size of our thinking by forcing us to concentrate on petty, unimportant things….talk about people? Yes, but stay on the positive side.’ Contrary to common notion, the poison of gossip in our culture has deeply permeated not only the minds of the women but also the men and youth. It is amazing to read a non-Muslim academician’s strong views on a habit that is also deeply abhorred in Islam.


Similar to gossip, negative attitudes are also greatly responsible for why we aren’t successful, why the people around us don’t give us the respect we think we deserve, and why, above all, we have problems with our relationships both at work and at home. Here he quotes the example of two district managers; one considered himself the only reason for his team’s success while the other considered the entire team, including himself, the reason for that division’s success. Over time, the second manager grew more successful because he had helped in creating increased enthusiasm and drive in his subordinates. The performance of the first division dwindled because the manager had made his team feel inadequate and hence less inclined to produce top quality work. 


Every person has attitudes regardless of nationality or background. Hence the solutions for curing attitude issues are applicable on us all. One way of changing a poor attitude to a positive one is simply by changing posture and speed of movement. The failure and lack of enthusiasm in a depressed, beaten person is evident by his shuffling, stumbling type of walk. The average person who is just content with his present situation and has little desire to go any higher has an ‘average’ walk that reflects his ‘average’ thought. 


However, the driven, motivated person, the third type reflect ‘super-confidence’ just through his gait; he walks briskly with his head up and his shoulders back, ‘There seems to be a slight sprint in the way they walk. Their walk tells the world, ‘I’ve got someplace important to go, something important to do. What’s more, I will succeed at what I will do 15 minutes from now’’.


Another interesting reference is on the active person versus the passive whom Dr. Schwartz calls Mr. Activationist and Mr. Passivationist. As per his name, Mr. Activiationist is the ‘do’er’ who takes action and zeroes in on getting things done. When he gets an idea, he makes a plan to implement it and then follows it through. To the contrary, Mr. Passivationist is the ‘don’ter’ or the procrastinator, ‘He postpones doing things until he has proved he shouldn’t or can’t do them or until it’s too late’. Elders aside, the habit of procrastination inflicts even the youngsters in our society. 


The Magic of Thinking Big is an engrossing read. What makes the book so absorbing is how a person from any walk of life and age group can read it and relate to at least 80 percent of its success strategies. The book is an intricate discourse on how the power of thought controls our actions and our attitudes towards our life and the people around us. For this reason alone, it would fare on the top of my list of recommendations just as much for the student of 9th or 10th grade as for the stay at home mother or her very busy executive husband. 


The Magic of Thinking Big’s touch of midas that has failed to diminish even three decades after its initial publication is testament to its ‘magic’. 




Irum Sarfaraz is a freelance writer/editor settled in the San Francisco Bay Area, USA. Her published credits as writer and web content developer include well over 2,000 articles in both American and Pakistani publications. Her notable work is the translation of Harun Yahya's epic Atlas of Creation-Vol 1 and Evolution Deceit. Sister Irum will be writing the Book Review for Envision every month. She offers editing, content and ebook creation, and book translation and representation through her company Wordlenders. 



Dear Readers,




Welcome to the fourth issue of Envision in 2015.


We just had one of the most inspiring month of 2015. March was special as we had our Vision Retreat in Malaysia where we had total of 27 visionaries including the facilitators who joined us from different countries.


This time all the participants together were able to develop total of 8 inspiring and worthy visions to make this world a better place to live. 


Some of the highlights include a vision for the development of people in Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest and the resource rich province that has been neglected for years. A vision developed by a sister for the development of community in Indonesia particularly the women and it was an inspiring initiative.


Couple of respected medical professionals has initiated the visions for the improvement in the public health sector in Pakistan.


An institution is envisioned to produce entrepreneurs and encourage people to develop their competence in this area and launch number of halal income opportunities.


This four day retreat was the hallmark of the month, in fact, I can safely say that this was the best Vision Retreat we have ever experienced and now things are really moving in the direction for which we envisioned Timelenders 12 years ago.


I have not much to say as I was traveling almost the whole month and met some wonderful and inspiring people in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and UAE.


I pray to Allah (swt) to help us, guide us and make things easy for us to develop and contribute in the worthy and powerful visions. Please check our calendar for our upcoming workshops and I encourage you to not to delay yours, your family’s and organization’s development on such high end frameworks we have been working on for personal and organizational lives.


The next Vision Retreat would be from 15-18 August in Malaysia and if you’re seriously interested in anchoring your life with great visions, then you must confirm yourself and invest in this must attend program.


I look forward to hear from you.




Yameenuddin Ahmed

The Editor




Strategic Visions

The Hospitality Inn Hotel, Lahore

February 27 - March 01, 2015


Stress Management

ADGAS, Abu Dhabi 

March 01, 2015


Strategic Time Management

Care International, Islamabad

March 2 & 3, 2015


Strategic Visions

Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Main Campus, Karachi

March 06 - 08, 2015


Vision Retreat

Hotel Bangi, Putrajaya - Malaysia

March 13 - 16, 2015


Bridging Differences

Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Main Campus, Karachi

March 21 - 22, 2015


Strategic Time Management

Al Batha, UAE

March 22 - 23, 2015


Strategic Time Management

Youngs Food, Karachi

March 21 - 23, 2015


Strategic Time Management

Sizzler House, Tahlya Street Riyadah (K.S.A)

March 26 - 28, 2015


Strategic Time Management

Faletti's Hotel, Lahore

March 27 - 29, 2015 





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