Let’s Try Kindness Therapy – #ItsTimeToChange

By Yousra Mateen

Recently I was talking to a classmate who mentioned how a girl in university was distributing chocolates to everyone, so my classmate asked why she was doing it; was it a part of a project? Or was it her birthday? So this girl who was distributing chocolates smiled and said, she was doing that because it was the World Kindness Day. We were all a little surprised first and actually contemplated on how there are these angelic sort of people who exist who distribute chocolates because they want to be kind but then appreciated how it was a good gesture and later the conversation moved on to other topics.

Later that day, I was thinking about how there was actually a day dedicated to being kind and sat down to research on it. Initially the old weird negative approach we hold towards “Hallmark Holidays” was the first thing which came to my mind, that there shouldn’t be one day for kindness, everyday should be a day of kindness but then I brushed through that thought and eventually found out that this year, the world kindness day was celebrated globally on the 13th November. The day was first initiated by the World Kindness Movement, which is a group of NGO’s working in different countries. It is mainly propagated by the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation but is now rapidly gaining popularity worldwide where people are actually taking up small acts of kindness and compassion and sharing them on the social networking sites.

Even though we shouldn’t need a day particularly to be kind, and carry on everyday but maybe by initiating and forcing ourselves to be caring that one day instigate the feeling of contentment we get from being compassionate and eventually continue carrying out random acts of kindness for the rest of the year. Some of these acts actually outline our personality too in the long run as we are usually defined by our actions. There are various ways through which we can adopt to show random acts of kindness. It isn’t just restricting to giving charity or giving out candies but way beyond it. Even in simple things in life like holding doors and saying thank you and giving out hugs to people you know will feel comforted from it. It isn’t just making an old man cross a road; it is also removing that big stone on the path or offering to hold an extra bag for a friend. Not just giving your seat to elderly or disabled or pregnant, but also putting your shopping cart back in place and writing a small motivating text message and sending it to someone who really needs it at that point in life. Hence, kindness doesn’t have any form of boundaries; it can range on all levels and at all levels is equally appreciated. A very small positive gesture can make someone’s day a little better!

Let’s take out time, change ourselves and change someone else’s life positively.

#ItsTimeToChange

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Good – See, Be, Do! #ItsTimeToChange

The other day a teacher of mine sent me this wonderful practice done by an African tribe where when a member of the tribe does something wrong, he/she is taken to the center of town and is surrounded by the entire tribe. For two days they tell the person every good thing he has ever done. Behind this practice is their belief of every person being ‘GOOD’ from the origin and committing mistakes in the pursuit of safety, love, peace, and happiness. They see these mistakes as cry for help, so they unite to cure their fellow by reconnecting him with his true self and making him remember the truth from which he’d temporarily been disconnected: “I AM GOOD”.
I was pretty amazed by this idea and wondered whether it will work in our world. Yes, I do believe that everyone is good from within, good in at least some role of their life. But accepting one’s mistake comes as a result to realizing it. When a master talks cruelly to his servant, he thinks it is the right of his position; when children talk to their parents in slang, they justify it by labeling themselves ‘new generation’; when a student argues with a teacher for trivial things, he says he’s fighting for his rights. Thus, we get to see a lot of people continuing their wrongdoings due to lack of realization.
Moreover, majority of us have turned into selfish beings thinking for ourselves and not concerned for what happens in others’ lives. We would very rarely spare time for the good of others. Spending two days insulting a person looks easy to us but telling him good things he did for two big days would be hard for us. But only when we ponder over the idea of “what goes around, comes around”, we will be more considerate towards others. The aforementioned practice could be an ideal one for us wherein not only the person committing mistake is taken out of the sin harmlessly, but others also get to participate in an act to retain humanity within them.

Impeccable Interview, anyone?

Just as we got free from our exams and a ray of happiness touched us, it was blocked by the Career Development Department and we were told about the mock interviews to be held the next day. With most of us going to appear in an interview for the first time, a wave of mixed emotions passed through the crowd. Some started preparing for the questions that might be asked, some started making their resumes for the very first time, a few started planning what will they wear (that’s my type :P) and some were just plain confused! Having studied HR subjects, we had a little privilege over others that we knew the attitude and dress code to be adopted, and the common questions to be asked in the interviews.

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The interview day: morning

At 9am, everyone arrived at the video-conferencing room where we were to be given instructions on how to improve our CV and which rooms to go in for the interview. All girls dressed up in sober colors  wearing light make-up and hair tied in a ponytail and all boys suited in crinkle-free dress shirts and dress pants, awesomely cologned and gelled back hair walked to the waiting room in right postures. It was heartening how everyone took the interviews seriously and looked professional. The guys looked specially very handsome 😉

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The waiting room

We talked about each other’s preparation and gossiped about random things until our turns for the interview came. We had a facilitator assigned who arrived late and we, in fact, facilitated him to what was going on 😛  He was a quiet fellow who talked nothing other than the repetitive “who’s next?” in 4 big hours. Each interview lasted for around half an hour due to which the time we had to wait looked never-ending. I was nervous but managed to hide it with my continuous chatter. Luckily, I was the second candidate whose name was called and I didn’t stay back to hear the fear stories of other interviewees.

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THE interview

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I entered the room imagining the incidences told to me by other people wherein the interview room was portrayed like a cellar. I thought of a dungeon with yellow lights hanging from the roof, a crude face waiting for my arrival to bombard comments on and suck the blood out of me. But what I saw was a totally different scenario. There sat two interviewers (a male and a female) who beamed at me when I entered and asked me politely to sit. Remembering my teacher’s advice of not laying back even if the interviewer was welcoming, I kept my shoulders straight and sat with poise. First and foremost, they asked me the million dollar question “define yourself” to which I replied with my well-rehearsed answer that included my current qualification, my most prominent experiences and most recent projects (point to remember: the answer shouldn’t take more than 1 and a half minute). Some other questions asked were “why do you want this job?” and “why do you think you should be hired?”, to which I just replied with matching my skill sets to the job’s requirement. The hardest question asked is the one whose answer you don’t know, so I just went with saying “I’m afraid I’m not sure about the answer so I’d rather not guess” and the answer was liked by the interviewer (which she told me later). Some pointers I would like to add here for my readers are when asked your strengths, tell them the ones you can back with concrete instances (e.g. I’m a public speaker. I came first in the HBRC’s presentation competition); when asked your weakness, tell the ones not related to work (e.g. I love chocolates, I love shopping); and when asked about salary, either just say the clichéd term ‘market-competitive’ or if asked a figure, answer with a somewhat greater salary than the market is offering (for that you’ll have to go with prior research). This is done because interviewers and interviewees often negotiate on the salary and the interviewee gets a chance to further market himself.

Hooof! Okay too much pointers here!

I must also mention that I didn’t ace all the answers and stuck specially on the salary question. Stating less salary than I deserved, underrating myself was the cardinal sin I committed. But my confidence, correct expressions and learning attitude remained prominent throughout.

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The exaggerated drills

After the interview finished, I had a sigh of relief and a sudden realization struck me. The interview was nothing like people told me, it wasn’t a hard confrontational investigation. To me, it was like an oral college exam (only with interview-etiquettes embedded). For all those who are reading this and have not given any interview before, I wouldn’t say it’s a piece of cake but it isn’t a very hard ball either. Interviews just require a bus load of confidence and the right way to communicate your answer (ofcourse knowing the answer is necessary too.)

That’s all for now.

Happy interviews! 🙂

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My recent brush with NIMUN ’13

12 highly motivated students boarded the bus to cover a 17-hour journey from their small town to experience what were going to be the most exciting 4 days of their life. Looking forward to take many memorable moments from this experience, off we headed to NUST International Model United Nations 2013 (NIMUN ’13).
We passed the journey singing songs, sleeping half the way, watching “The Pink Panther” and getting challaned by the motorway people once 😀

The first ones to arrive at the hostel, we were given the privilege of choosing which bed mattresses we wanted. By the way we were staying in a hospital ward-like room common room and 30 girls were to be accommodated with us in the same room. Not really happy with the accommodation, I still looked forward to the next days sessions and the social events.

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OPENING CEREMONY

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The opening ceremony was decorated aesthetically with white tents; green, blue and white balloons representing the NIMUN logo colours; packed with around 1000 students coming from around the world. We were welcomed by a number of experienced speakers, where Mr. Aizaz Chaudhry told us the surprising fact of MUNs coming into the world before the League of Nations itself. Something out of his speech that stuck in my mind was “students who come unprepared find themselves severely handicapped”. I don’t know why it felt he was pointing to the category where I belonged 😛

The Chief Guest Akram Zaidi who was next to speak told us very interestingly why they focus on organizing MUNs “we have United Nations (UN) with divided nations, we have security council that creates more insecurities, so MODEL is what we’re still commending.”

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GLOBAL VILLAGE

In the evening, everyone dressed up in the cultural dresses of the countries assigned to them, ours was Iran. It was a treat to visit stalls of other countries displaying their culture, food and performances. An amazing first-time experience for us was to walk on the ramp portraying Iranian cultural apparel.
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COMMITTEE SESSIONS

When I entered the committee, the environment was so learning-oriented that I realized I have to kill my heart remain concentrated towards the chair (the moderator) and the fellow delegates (coming from different countries) all the time. I was really surprised to see the professionalism and the rules of the game strictly being followed. “Let diplomacy be your argument” was the tag line and that’s exactly what everyone practiced  I realized the truthfulness of the statement “Diplomacy is to tell someone to go to hell in a way that he looks forward to the journey.”
Every day, we used to buckle up and refill our energy bags to attend the committee sessions. They were so thought-provoking yet so tiring. But some events awaited us daily in the evening which refreshed us for the next day’s sessions.

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CARNIVAL

A festival of fun and frolic, girls and boys screaming their lungs out on the giant wheel, people savoring their taste buds with delicious BBQ and some just giving the dose of beautiful music to their souls; the carnival was charmingly decorated like the small town melas. Girls dressed up in colorful and vibrant colors while boys relaxed in jeans and tees. The event ended with Punjabi and Pushtu rap by the students and very unwantingly, we left for our hostels.

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FORMAL DINNER

The formal dinner was no less a delight. We met in a ravishingly decorated area, all glammed up for a 1920s theme dinner. I was awestruck at the first sight of the place, there was an antique-looking car (I wonder where they managed to get it from), mannequins dressed in silk and chiffon, ladies eloquently dressed in flapper dresses and men looking handsome in tux, the red fluorescent lights adding the wow factor to the place and everything that made it ‘pure vintage’. Sinking in the beauty of the area, I moved towards where the aroma of food came from (had to mention it being the foody I am :P). After feeding my stomach, I took some pictures of the area and the 1920s themed me and off we headed to walk through the cold roads to our hostel.

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THE SURPRISE EVENT

On the last day, we got ready for the surprise event. The arena awaited us!
The tableau on “Peace” performed by NUST Dramatics and Debating Society had all the audience to their feet and lauding. The flying lanterns, which followed the performance, was another move by the organizers to inflict the gesture of unity and peace.
And with this, 4 exciting days came to an end!

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The organizers truly deserve a lot of appreciation for all the effort they put in. The event organised by a team of NUST’s final year students pulled off amazingly.
The decor team never ceased to surprise us with their creativity and the photographers covered the proceedings so well, relentlessly taking amazing pictures. All in all, the event was a huge success, a platform where ideas were shared and bonds were formed.

NIMUN ’13!

Hip hip hurray! *screams*

The anonymous answer

Back in 2010, a luxurious airplane of “Air Blue” crashed in Islamabad and resulted in deaths of hundreds of people. The whole nation was deeply saddened by this unfortunate incident and prayed unconditionally for the deceased. In those days, I remember, there used to be news broadcasts of the family of deceased telling their traumatic stories but some interviews which specially gained my attention were of those few people who had decided at the eleventh hour not to board that airplane. One of those lucky fellows said, “I just had the gut feeling that something was not right.” Another one said, “My mother told me she felt something terrible was going to happen.”

Intuition as seen by Bill Gates

Intuition as seen by Bill Gates

This gut feeling which some also call “intuition” is actually an anonymous answer that comes to people from unknown sources and in this case, it became the life savior for some.

Some call it sixth sense, some say it’s a psychic ability and some consider it magic. In actual, intuition is backed by an experience or number of experiences which have occurred in the past and remain in the subconscious throughout the life. At the time of decision-making, people can’t identify the base of this answer and if this decision proves to be right, they term it as miracle or prediction. This capability, however, is not anything more than connecting the dots. It is only the power of understanding things and linking the relation of ‘A’ and ‘B’ without thinking about it. Just because the intuitive ones do not go through considerable thought process, they feel they have made baseless decisions. But if we critically analyze (to be very formal :P) “intuition”, it does have a base and it is a product of a bunch of experiences that stay there in your subconscious without you knowing it.

Intuition, when asked to define by my mother, was that ‘weird feeling’ that she had when my sister was young and she rushed to her bed in time to catch her falling from bed. Intuition was that unknown worry that caught me when my aunt called me to ask about my baba’s whereabouts and  half an hour later, we got to know of his accident. Intuition was when the all the experts at P&G concluded after thorough research that a certain product should be launched but the CEO went against them all and the decision brought high profits to the company. These and many other instances suggest that no matter how insignificant or silly the intuitions seem, they should be considered in decisions.

Concluding with a statement I read somewhere,

When the intuition yells at you, listen to it!

intuition
Trust your gut

The “average rule”; check your friends’ list!

Hello lovelies!

I’ve been away for quite sometime but I’m thrilled to see what treasures wordpress has been keeping in store for me all these days. There’s a lot happening in my small town these days, so much that I wonder how big city guys manage the happenings there. I’ve been busy with birthday parties, term presentations, project reports and other unnecessary last-minute demands of teachers. Bytheway Bihter died in the serial Ishq e Mamnu today. No matter what people comment about that drama, I believe it was a mixture of awesome plot, extraordinary characters and commendable moral; a total HIT!

I’ve been thinking about writing on this amazing “average rule” since a fortnight but wasn’t getting time to write. It’s only because of my awesome teacher who took an off day today and left us with free classes that I’ve managed to write something on this favorite topic of mine.

I came across this statement when I was reading “The one-minute entrepreneur” and couldn’t forget it ever since.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

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It’s a notion so simple, yet so difficult to get started with. The concept isn’t a new one, but it is a concept which is often ignored by people while living out their lives.
I believe I’m someone who took longer than most people to understand this concept. I clung onto people I didn’t want to be like. “But they were just friends” I said. What I didn’t know was they were becoming a part of my personality and whether I wanted it or not, that was how it worked.

My mum happened to think of this same idea in a much simpler way “If you want to become a better person, start admiring better people.”

My experiences with different groups of people now put forward the proofs to this rule. I stole a bit of each group I interfaced in my life; you will probably find similar experiences in your life as well.

In my second last year of high school, I was immersed with people who were of pretty low values. Some of them were total flirts; conversations commonly swirled in negativity. In no time, I unknowingly started becoming like them. I found their negative thoughts rubbed off me, regardless of how positive I may have been.

In my third year of university, we came across a very negative teacher, the encounter with whom always brought doom and gloom to my life. The thoughts remained as residual energy even after the encounter and subsequently affected my thoughts and behavior.

In the summers of my third year of university, I interned in a company that was full of talented individuals. They were very solution-driven and positive, and it was extremely uplifting just to be around them. I was constantly blown away by the positive energy and it automatically built into me too.

In my present, there is no one else I spend as much time with, as AK. That’s it, 70% of my daily interaction happens with her and the power she has is therefore incredible. People say we talk alike, we dress up similarly and we’ve even started to look alike.

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After all these examples, I’ve one confession to make. To be honest, I don’t fully agree with this statement because it negates the fact we have our own consciousness as well. In some ways, it is also frustrating as if our identity is written by the people we choose to be with. The quote will be more accurate if we revise it to: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, including yourself”. I agree that if you hang out with a group of successful, positive-minded individuals, you will turn into one self-driven individual who shapes his/her future and if you hang out with a bunch of pessimists, you will start descending into the negative whirlpool. But if you rate high on consciousness and resilience, you can limit the impact others have on you.

Look. I don’t want you to regret upon any decisions you took, any friends you made. This rule definitely doesn’t ask you to cut away every single person who does not contribute nicely to your personality. But if you feel that the person is seriously dragging you down, you have all the authority to cut him/her away completely. Because if you are entrenching yourself in relationships which are not elevating you, you are neither helping yourself nor anybody else since you are not being the best you can be to them.

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Stay happy! 🙂

A fantasy; A fairytale

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Once upon a time, there was a small town girl in a far far away land. She was born in a happy family, brought up well by two awesome characters named ‘Mama’ & ‘Baba’ and lived an almost-perfect life. Suddenly the strict uncle called ‘time’ waved his wand and within no time, small-town-girl was in her teens and started waiting for her prince charming to come and sweep her feet off the ground. One sunny morning, a friend asked her “how would you want your prince charming to be?”

She replied,

“I WANT A GUY

who would sing to me at random moments and make me smile no matter what.

who would think I was beautiful and even if I dressed so trashy, it was classy.

who knows the right things to say and do at the right times.

who would let me gossip to him and would just smile and agree with everything I said.

who would make fun of me just to make me laugh.

who would surprise me with coming a day earlier than he told me he’ll come.

who would tell his friends about me and smile when he does it.

who would run his fingers through my hair even if it was dirty.

who would get along with all of my friends and make everyone feel at ease.

who would never be afraid to say “I love you” in front of his friends.

who would argue about silly things with me then make up.

who would be friends with my family and become their favorite.

who would tell me his embarrassing moments and make me promise not to laugh.

who would make me laugh like no one else could.

who would hold me closer than normal when I’m sick.

we would make funny faces at each other when we’re on the phone.

we would squirt water guns at each other in the house.

I want someone who would be MY BEST FRIEND.”

 

Today, that small town girl is a grown-up and has found her man, the story of her life hasn’t been as dreamy as a fairy tale but she believes that with her courage, she’ll mark the end of the story as “and they lived happily ever after...” 🙂

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