The Great Fear

This is a very personal subject to me, a passion of sort, a decade ago I discovered I couldn’t cope well with fear few years passed to realize that for as long as I remembered I lived under the pressure of deep fears, to be a successful person I had to conquer all my fears, face them and through that time I have learned few tactics that helped me get over most of them, just before I go to that I want to explain how great fear is.

In my opinion fear was the second most valuable element and contributor to the survival of the human race, flee or fight is what lead us through the dark ages and it still drive us until today and it will still in the future. Your heart races, your breathing accelerate… You run faster or hit harder.

Fear is not great because it just made us survive, fear is great because even though it doesn’t exist it had stopped the many of us to be with the person we love, to try something that could alter our destiny or even made us give up on our dreams.

Fear is great because even though it isn’t real, most of times, the beast that was hiding in the dark ages ago no longer exists and it doesn’t live under our beds yet we still fear darkness.

Fear is so connected that the fear of losing your mother after losing your father, while you were a child, could turn to the fear of losing money, taking risk, losing in chess or even the woman of your dreams.

Fear travels through time, it lives for decades and even travel through generations, your grandmother who was bit by a snack or experienced war will try to protect you, from any harm, you grow up fearing to try things because you were raised to be cautious and that accident you met during your childhood could hunt you down until you die

Fear is so demanding that climbing a wall with all measures taken, drains your arms and legs energy after the first climb, keeping in mind that doing a similar exercise on ground could be done hundred times before you even break a sweat.

Fear is what brings us together, as human we lived in groups to protect ourselves and survive, which later led us to create tribes, villages, cities and now countries.

Fear is powerful that watching a horror movie will make you fear going to toilet at night, and it could take you a week to get over it.

Enough said, these are ways I deal with fear, the deep one and in situations I face on a daily basis

  1. View fear as a stimulator: in the first episode of “Mad Men” Don Draper was meeting his client “Lucky Strike”, before the meeting starts Don had no idea what would be the new creative direction for the campaign would be, during the meeting he came up with it, he sold it to the client in a heartbeat, after the meeting someone told him this was genius how did you do it? His answer was “Fear stimulates my imagination”. Altering the way you think of something could after practice help you alter the way you react to it, fear strong mental released energy can help us overcome things if we were able to channel the energy coming from it to something good.
  2. Meditate, controlling your breathing, controls your heart beats: the first reaction the human body experience during the fear episode, is an Adrenaline released into our bloodstream, the heartbeat increase and your breathing accelerate, meditation is all about the controlling of your breathing mastering that can change the way your deal with your fear.
  3. Finding a distraction: even though this sounds simple most of the time it is hard to achieve, fear could be an overwhelming experience, and trying to look the other way could be a hard thing to-do, we have all been reminded that in the time when we are sad or afraid it is good to remind ourselves of something that make us happy… these days I have realized that watching TV series during adverse times can provide an outlet that keep me occupied which provide me with the time to forget the things going on my life, this doesn’t mean I am ignoring it, it just allow me to go pass the emotional crisis I am going through at that particular time.
  4. Keep reminding myself that fear in most times is just illusion: this one is also hard to achieve, fear doesn’t ask permission it just happens, keeping my feeling under check help, admitting fear even to others, saying out loud to myself or even writing about it has served me well… it is better than keeping it inside and allowing it take the best out of me.
  5. Facing my fears, bravery isn’t about not being scared it’s about doing something even though it scares you: time after time I was faced with the options of turning my back into something just because I was scared of it the first time, I am not going to lie and say I was able to face it every time, I have turned my back sometimes, to go back and do it another time, doing something in front of people you love works well using my ego to overcome fear have worked well, in the end anything is acceptable in this game even playing tricks on your own mind.

I was talking to my brother lately and I told him I don’t think there is a feeling more liberating, rewarding, that provide a real sense of achievement and fulfillment like conquering a fear… the more you do it easier it gets, and the better your life becomes… I encourage you to do what I did, face your fear in every chance you get and don’t let it take the best of you one day you will look back smile and realized it was nothing but an illusion.

My 20s manifesto

30s are the best time of your life many said to me, I think it is as good as the amount of good decisions you took in your 20s, how open you were to trying new things and most importantly how much time you spend exploring your inner self to find out who you are.

Here is what I learned in my 20s, in the last hours of it

Smile as often as you can, be happy and make people around you happy, there isn’t anything as rewarding as adding a smile on someone’s face.

Don’t let anyone tell what you can or can’t do when they do, thank them politely and move on.

Examine your beliefs most of the time you are living someone else’s life without conscious understanding of that.

Sleep well and eat well save your energy for things that matter.

Be yourself, it isn’t worth the effort trying to change that, try as many things as you could discover your strength and weakness, what you like to do and you don’t, do more of what make you happy and less of what doesn’t.

Embrace the differences in other people, if we all are the same life would be dull and boring.

Encourage others to try and be there for them when they fail, save your advice to yourself you can’t predict the future none of us can.

Don’t fear failure, looking stupid, challenges, trying new things, falling in love, losing. Fear is just an illusion.

Dance whenever you can there are not wrong moves, just follow the rhythm.

Learn music, the timing of it, the beats are what control this world.

Don’t rush be patient, don’t hesitate either go for it whenever you could.

Play chess, meditate, look inside yourself, look up, smile in the face of strangers and say hi whenever you can.

Take pictures, save your memories, don’t let them limit you; forget the ones that make you sad. Remember what makes you happy.

Don’t control your emotions let them flow, try and capture them, analyze them, frame them if you can. And even better channel them whenever possible.

Go out, say yes whenever someone invites you, remember people names and call them by it whenever you can.

Stay foolish, never stop learning and don’t assume you know. Speak to people, whenever you can and listen to what they have to say.

Be part of the team, use compassion, don’t assume just ask, the answer is always no when you don’t ask.

Stand by people when they need you, especially when they are sad; be with them when they are happy too.

Surround yourself by the right people, they will empower you, stay away from the lame.

Examine your ego closely; the line between ego and confidence is very blurry.

Work hard and play harder.

Be committed, do your best in everything you do, make it a way of life.

Have a strong belief that everything is possible when you truly believe you can.

Don’t pay attention to what people say, nor what they do, what the pattern of their actions.

Don’t over spend nor save too much, have a balance.

Examine the details, but occupy yourself with the bigger picture.

Express your anger, your sadness, and frustration even if not in front of everyone. Some people will use it against you.

Hard work alone doesn’t guarantee success; learn how to position yourself, and how to be in right time in the right place.

Be honest, love everyone, even when it’s hard.

The journey continue ;)

Usama Qasem

Is learning a talent?

Few years ago I watched a movie called “yes man”, a year after I read two books “switch” and “mindset” and since then I embarked on a journey to try and learn as many things as possible, today my list of talents, hobbies and things I enjoy doing extends from playing the guitar to public speaking and includes singing, capaoira, dancing “not professional yet”, chess, leadership and meditation.

During this period I realized that the real talent I have acquired is called “learning” or “the passion to learn”, one might argue that learning as an act couldn’t be a talent, therefor I am not going to disagree instead I will explain and leave it to you the reader to accept or not.

Learning something consist in simple terms of knowing the basics of the thing you want to learn and understanding the process of learning.

Take singing as an example, for many of us singing seems like something either you know or you don’t the truth is singing is

  1. Understanding the basic of music tune, rhythm and beat
  2. Learning how to breath in the right way
  3. Understanding your voice range
  4. Phrasing…etc.

On top of all that, the understanding that learning anything will take time, and mastering it takes even longer, you might have heard of the 10,000 hours rule.

Above all learning and especially in the beginning take patience and dealing with the frustration in the early stages of it, the uncertainty whether you are doing the right thing or not or are you going to really be good at it. So why do I call “learning” a talent, I do because my brain had become better to the process that he doesn’t doubt he will get there anymore, my brain is also extremely tolerant to the learning frustrations to the extent that I barely feel it anymore.

I will conclude my post listing what I would call my “recipe” to master learning

  1. Try to learn as many things as you could like the yes man say yes to opportunities
  2. Have faith that you can learn anything, your mindset is highly influential over your learning
  3. Yes learning at the beginning is frustrating, your brain is going through an unknown territory, there is nothing the human brain hate as much as the unknown, constant learning ease that process

So what are you waiting for get comfortable, have an open mind and start the learning.

On Andrew Carnegie’s Tombstone

Here lies a man
Who knew how to enlist
In his service
Better men than himself

What I have learned from Warren Buffett?

The man is known as the greatest investor and I think we all agree that if you want to learn then you should learn from the best, the whole concept of investment might sound complicated at beginning, but hearing it from him I could give you what I would call the golden rules to a successful investment and I will keep them as simple as possible

  1. Never follow the herd: don’t invest in something just because everyone else is investing in it, don’t let your emotions lead you into the investment, think rationally.
  2. Instead invest in what you know, if you know retail invest in retail if you know hospitality invest there.
  3. Most important if you are choosing shares, stocks or bonds: don’t just base your investment on the performance history of the company instead find out about the company itself the board of executives, read the news and even go meet them if possible.
  4. Last and I think the most basic always diversify your basket of investment, more than one company, maybe different industries and defiantly low, medium and high risk investment

If the above works for him I am sure it will work for all of us. It is not science trust him ;)

Oh Dear Sleep, The Truth

Russell Foster: Why do we sleep?

true power

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.

—Lao Tzu

The Danger of Micro Management

Dear micro managers, yes I am talking to you, and if you really know that you are already one then please try as soon as possible to change yourself. You are ,my dear friend, contributing not only to your lack of growth, you are destroying businesses and killing the ambition in many younger employees.

Now let’s assume you still don’t know you are a micro manager and interested to know. It is easy all what you have to do is to ask yourself the below questions when you are about to deal with your subordinates, keeping in mind I personally discourage the use of such word, or peers.

  1. Are you monitoring and assessing every step of the business process?
  2. Do you have to make all the decisions in behalf of your team?
  3. Are you irritated when a subordinate makes decisions without consulting you? Especially the decisions which are in the level of the subordinate’s authority.
  4. Do you frequently ask for unnecessary and overly detailed reports?
  5. Do you want a detailed performance feedback and to focus excessively on procedural trivia rather than on overall performance, quality and results?
  6. Do you get upset every time you see your subordinate is not on his/her seat?

If the answer is yes to most of the questions above, then you are my friend a micro-manager, the type of manager who is limiting her/his growth, her/his team growth and even wasting your organization resource (money and time). While such management styles could be tolerated in the finance department, as you know you need attention to details there, it is defiantly not in either sales or marketing as your strongest assets is creativity.

As harsh as what I am writing here might sound the reason you are a micro manager is related to the fact you are emotionally insecure, and you have doubts in everyone competency and ability, I don’t think anyone could or should call her/him-self the smartest person in the world. On top of that if you, my friend, trying to convince yourself that you are doing that for business reasons then the truth is you are often doing that to feel useful and valuable and/or to create the appearance of being so.

And if for a while you decided to leave aside all above and think rationally instead you would know that your behavior is

  1. Creating resentment in both “vertical” (manager-subordinate) and “horizontal” (peer-peer) relationships
  2. Damaging the trust in both vertical and horizontal relationships
  3. Is interfering with existing teamwork and inhibition of future teamwork again both horizontal and vertical.

I will conclude with an advice now I don’t want to claim that I own all the wisdom in the world but micro management is defiantly standing in your way. Ask yourself a simple question if you had at team of 7 instead of 2 people or 20 instead of 7 would you be able to micro-manage all of them? if you want to be the CEO even of a small organization you will have I guess at least 10, I don’t really know what you are think right now in any way I offer you below few tips that might help you change your behavior if you wanted to

  1. Enable your team to make decisions especially the ones in their level of authority.
  2. Make it clear to yourself that all what matters are results, so sit clear results and expectations then enable your team to follow through, control the urge to look at every small detail to anything they do.
  3. Look at the bigger picture if it looks beautiful no matter who actually did the small details in it, you my friend, is who actually made it happen.

Good luck!

Coco

Either I die as well, or I finish what we started together.

I know that I need to know

To be conscious that you are ignorant of the facts is a great step to knowledge.

- Benjamin Disraeli