The Man Napolean Feared

I do not particularly enjoy the year end period.Especially when I am in a industry that thrives on targets.By which I mean,the goal setting component of my industry.We do that year in year out.As financial planners,we are to put in a projection of our sales target,and are of course required to hit them or surpass them.Fact is,over the past two years,I’ve not been hitting mine.Cause of concerns for some,especially my manager.We had our year end review session yesterday afternoon.Needless to say,it was filled with tonnes of information downloading,on statistical evidence of people hitting their targets.In the common eyes of the industry,such people are successful.As I sat down there,I asked myself,”Why am I not affected by such displays of success?Why am I feeling empty with the glorification of successful people that are translated by the numerical superiority of their bank statements?Why?Why?Why?”

It’s so unfortunate that I am thinking.

Right after that session,my manager brought me into his room,and we had a mini coaching session.He asked reflectively on the 2009 goals and targets booklet I had submitted to him.First question he asked,

“Was the $8000 you had projected in your income statement for the year 2009,from your wife’s income?”

I gulped down my answer.Shocked and stunned by the question.What prompted him to think of that.

“No.That’s my projection for my side incomes from other ventures.”I answered albeit the shock.

He nodded and proceeded to explain to me why my dreams of becoming a well known speaker and trainer,was something that should be set aside for a while.I should be flourishing in the financial industry.I knew he was referring to my statement of intention that I wanna grow my own self development company by next year.He kept harpooning onto me,on the contradicting nature of me speaking so well,yet not being able to succeed financially well.He was talking about image and the needed credibility.He was saying that people are influenced by success and will want to emulate people who were successful,with a home and a car.He was saying that I may not be walking the talk.As he kept speaking his mind,I kept reflecting back on what was it that I needed.A legacy or a bank full of money.

Without a doubt,money is a vital cog in life.With it life becomes so much easier and practical.Yet,I no longer crave for it like a heroin addict.If I was money hungry,I would have resorted to a million obnoxious,non ethical ways to succeed.I’ve done it once and I know I can.But these days,I have a conscious mind that does not beep money.I highlighted to my manager how sickened I was by the constant innuendos I receive from colleagues and him alike,about how I should be flourishing,just because I can speak well.I told him that my speaking ability is a different context altogether.I could not relate clearly to the association.He said that I need to be well liked and reputable to attract.I need to have a car,to show that my success can breed success.Which I do not agree by.I will rather have people sticking by me,for the sheer reasons of my good principles,and not by the four wheels I drive.In a nutshell,there were many aspects of his views,by which I did not agree with.It makes secular sense if someone wants to be a Malay guy who has loads of cash,a car,a house and a reputation to boot along.Me?I prefer the simple things.

I had attended a Toastmasters meeting the other day,and had presented a 40 minutes presentation.After the session,I received a handwritten note by a lady called Leela Kalwani.In it she wrote,

Dear Hijazi,

Just want to say that you are a great speaker and teacher.I enjoyed myself so much listening to you and I feel so honored to be in your presence.Thank you for a wonderful learning session.

Best regards.

It made my week.Only because,I knew she meant it.As I reflected on her words,I asked myself.”Do I want to be an MDRT member or as an individual who influence good feelings?”Rhetorical I know.

The financial planning career is indeed a great career for me.I’ve never regretted my decision,and never will I leave the industry.But it’s great not because of the money involved,which I know can be exponentially great.It’s great because of the learning opportunities I gather from real life interactions with the public.The satisfaction of knowing that I can aid people with vital economic decisions.I’ve spent years reading and gathering knowledge,and it’s a good feeling sharing them.

The only drawback to the career is the number crunching aspects of it,where individuals are crunched out to be numbers in statistics and targets.Then that is where someone can have 2000 clients yet can only recognize 20 faces.Diabolical,but I guess it applies to all service and sales industry.Hahahaha.

A speech I heard the other day succinctly mentioned a learning lesson.Interestingly,the Chinese speaker had just quoted a hadith from our Prophet.In brief,the meaning behind it was,

…a man should plan as if he is living forever.But he should live as if there is no tomorrow…

When I heard that line,something struck my mind.The lack of time that we all have.Sometimes I just fall into that fallacy of believing that I am an immortal.The issue of death becomes a non existent entity.Yet,such quotes remind me about time,or the lack of it.That I realize that some of my morbid morning habits,is to intently read the obituary section in the newspaper.Just to remind myself sometimes,of the stark reality.

Watching a documentary on the 2004 Tsunami,also brought me thinking.I mean,it’s so freaking easy for God to wipe out a group of people.The Egyptians,the Mayans,the Aztecs and others.Great civilizations. Yet,who the hell am I kidding in believing that I shall be spared such treatments?Hah.

I think I wanna conclude this entry with a poignant point of thought.Napolean Bonarpate had once said,when he got hold of a copy of the Quran.He mentioned,

“What I understand from this Book has made me come to the conclusion that when the whole Muslim world applies all the lessons of this Book,then they will never be disgraced.As long as the Quran governs amongst them,then the whole Muslim world will not bow before us,(the West).Unless,we manage to distance them and their Quran.”

My resolve is therefore not about acquiring the vast riches of the millionaires,or getting the credentials of MDRT performers,or being reputable like my manager.

I just want to be one of those Muslim man,Napolean had associated in the above quote.A Muslim man who,if applies the Quran to his life,will never be disgraced.And that beats,being anything else,in this disgraceful End of Times.

Wallahualam.

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3 thoughts on “The Man Napolean Feared

  1. jaz, i read this somewhere before, and it’s been my philosophy since:

    “No amount of wealth can compensate for a lack of character. Character equals integrity and integrity means you always do what is right – even when no one is watching you. It means that fear and guilt have no power over you because you have nothing to hide.”

    people tend to measure success with many things, but more than often, they miss two things – character and integrity – which, to me, makes the true mark of success.

    when i see snobbish people who walk with their noses up in the air, i quietly remind myself with: “Do not strut about proudly. You cannot possess the earth and you cannot rival the mountains in stature.”

    it is absolutely fine to lead a simple life. it makes you appreciate the little things and that is what matters. 🙂

    pssst. i read orbituaries daily, too. i don’t see it as morbid though; just a weird habit of mine to read from the back onwards. hee.

  2. Your manager sounded so much like mine when I was still doing sales… They really come from the same mould. And your blog post really reminded me of how I felt a year ago when my manager pushed me even after I had achieved my sales target. It was really tiring and yes, I agree with you that money is not everything. I am very happy to know that I have a friend like you who value integrity above wealth. I think our industry need more people like you.

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