A powerful thought

Just yesterday I read a post on liveyourinspiration.com that I found very powerful.

Many of us wrestle with the question "what should I do with my life". What's the purpose? But what if we knew it from the very beginning, what if it was really obvious, a common knowledge.

Imagine you were told as a child that your purpose in life is to experience intense joy.

What choices would you have made as you were growing up?
What career would you have chosen?
What adventures would you have embarked upon?
What experiences would you have embraced?

My last AIESEC conference

I just returned from Estonia where I chaired the AIESEC Annual Conference 2007. Most likely it was my last AIESEC conference where I had an active role. When I told the same to my friend Sherif he laughed and said he has said this too many times already and probably the same applies to me.

Anyways it was a blast and also a learning experince. Thanks for that! You can see one of the outcomes of the conference here:

Are you going places?

"I want to become a top manager", "I wanna be a millionaire", "I want to change the world" are some of the aspirations or dreams I hear every now and then from people I meet (so do you, I'm sure). I don't know many people who say they want to be a boring person and have a mediocre life. Pretty much all of us want to be going places. What I don't see is most of these people doing anything about it.

When I've asked "so how do you think you're gonna make those millions?" (or whatever they dream of), I mostly hear "I don't know (yet)". Okay fine, maybe you don't yet. But sitting still and not making an effort, a plan or showing drive to achieve it is not gonna help. To be honest I get quite mad at this kind of people. People who talk and only sit on their ass. Is it just to look more important? Maybe. Probably making an effort is just so much harder than dreaming.

The harder you work, the luckier you get. Yes, everything starts with a dream, but then comes the effort.

How are you gonna advance in your career? Do you read more than the next guy or watch TV instead? Do you work harder than the next guy or you count hours until another working day is over? Are you thinking of big ideas that will change the world or do you go clubbing every night?

If you're not doing anything to achieve your dream, then what exactly are you going to do about it?

Read 10 books about a topic and you know more about it than 90% of the people on the planet. Be proactive and focused in getting things done and you will advance. Come up with new business ideas and you might make your money (turning those ideas into reality is much harder of course).

Just don't tell me you want this or that out of life and then just cruise from day to day hoping for a miracle.

Wake up and smell the coffee

I went to buy fragrance today. After smelling 4-5 different ones, I lost my ability to judge smells properly. I'm sure it happens to everyone. I bought one too and discovered 1 hour later that it smells differently than I thought it does.

I know you can ask for a cup filled with coffee beans (in most) shops that sell fragrance. What I don't understand is why every customer who walks into the shop and starts smelling different perfumes isn't given a small cup of coffee beans? It surely wouldn't cost much. And it would create a much better customer experience and satisfaction (people really buy the smells they like!).

Customer service Etisalat style

Etisalat is the UAE telecom provider. I want to get connected to the internet at home and so I filled an online application on their website. The form that I wanted to fill in asked for a landline phone number which I dont have. Since I had to write there something, I put there my office phone.

A few days later Etisalat technician calls me and said he will come over. Good stuff, I say. When the guy is about to reach the place he gives me a call to make sure Im at home. He tells me the address and turns out he wants to come to my office. I said well I actually used my office phone in the application, but I live somewhere else, 4 min walking distance from the office, so I can show him where the place is. He said "no no, wrong application! Somebody will call you". We didn't wait until someone is gonna call and called Etisalat ourselves - it turned out that as we dont have a land line at home we need to go to their office to show different papers that I live in the flat where I live and so on. As the flat rent contract is in my company's name, one of the papers I needed to get was a "no objection letter" from my employer. In Dubai all the people are the property of the company (yes, the country has made slave driving legal). No object letter says that my employer (owner) has no problem with me setting up intrenet connection at home. My employer, by the way, said that when he applied for internet connection at his home, he needed to create and sign a document also that stated that he himself has no problem with him getting internet at home. Welcome to Dubai.

Anyways. Once in the Etisalat office, I had to visit 3 different counters (and wait in line every time) in order to get what I need. In front of the counter there were 2 chairs. I went with my flatmate, but since it was I submitting the papers, the lady behind the counter told him to wait elsewhere. As my "no objection letter" didn't have company's letterhead, she refused it ("We in Etisalat don't do business with anyone, you need to have a letterhead!"). Letterhead shows something about the company? Yeah right. Luckily my colleague faxed a new document over. When I went to tell the lady that a fax was sent with the "proper" document, she said she will check it. At the same time another couple went to the lady and were about to sit down when she told the man "only one of you can sit here, I have another customer also". "Are you gonna service both of us at the same time?", the women asked. "Its my job and I know how to do it!", the lady behind the counter snapped.

After I got my things sorted out, she handed me a paper and said "If you liked my service, please put this paper in the green box on your way out". Imagine that! She thought she is doing a great job. Etisalat even hasn't told their customer service people what great customer service looks like.

Today when we called to check when will the technician come over to finalize everything, we got the answer that some time late next week and if we keep calling and put pressure on them, they will push the date even further back! I couldn't believe it.

Dear Etisalat, if you ever want to create good customer experiences, follow this simple rule: make making business with you easy and treat your customers with respect. It shouldn't be that hard.

Dreaminder. Remind yourself of your dreams

What's your dream? What do you want to do with your life? What would you do if you could not fail? What are the things you want to see or achieve in this life?

You may never reach your dreams; for that you will be forgiven. But if you donʼt make at least one serious attempt to achieve it, can say to yourself, “Naah, I never really wanted it anyway”? I didn't think so.

Perhaps you have thought of the questions mentioned above, perhaps not. Quite often we run through life not even knowing where do we want to go. More often than not people won't take time to think about their dreams, about the ideals they want to pursue.

Now there's a place where you can go and write down your dream - and send it to yourself in the future. To remind you of your dreams, to keep you going and give you a nudge in the right direction. This place is called Dreaminder.

Dreaminder offers a place for reflection and inspiration, helps you in setting your direction. Take a few moments to write down your dreams for yourself. Think about the life you want and the person you want to be.

Dreaminder can be found here: www.dreaminder.com

Experience the adventure of knowing yourself.

Other dimension

I have been in Estonia now for over 2 weeks. Going back to Dubai in 2 days. Right now Dubai seems so far away.. its like another dimension, a parallel universe. Dubai everyday reality is a dream and now I have woken up. Life here is completely different. Its like Dubai doesn't exist. I guess I've lived here for so long it doesn't take much time to feel again like everything is normal. Or maybe its that in my subconcsious mind I want to leave the Middle East so bad that my mind wants to forget everything related to it. Who knows. Anyways it will be my everyday reality very soon again. Sorry, my unconcious mind. I'll make it up to you.

Anyways global warming is ruling in Estonia too. December 2006 was the warmest December in 200 years. What's supposed to be a really cold winter with a lot of snow is actually something between autumn and spring. The picture was taken yesterday in my home garden. Some flowers and trees are in blossoms. The nature doesn't know how to handle this unexpected warmth.

Soon the song "I'm dreaming of the white christmas" will get a new meaning as it will remain a dream forever. Hopefully not.