View Full Version : We, not Me By Juggun Kazim - 22nd June 2015

22nd June 2015, 03:45 AM
I recently had the pleasure of working with Muniba Mazari, a writer, artist and now a TV anchor. She is wheelchair-bound and paraplegic and yet motivates people to turn their adversity into opportunity. She is a truly impressive personality. After listening to Muniba speak a few times, I realised that the one thing she often talks about is that she is where she is due to the undying support and love that she gets from her family: mother, younger brother and four-year-old son Nael.

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who think collectively and those who think individually. I am one of those who believe in the power of collective action. Uniformity of action comes from uniformity of thought. Let’s start with something as simple as karma. It’s a word that gets thrown around fairly often. In simple terms, what it means is that you get in life what you do unto others. Yet more often than not, I see people behaving selfishly, and then being genuinely surprised that others didn’t make an effort for them. Even as a nation we play the blame game constantly. The government doesn’t do this and that. But do you pay your taxes? Do you follow traffic rules? Are you involved in social work? Do you give back to the community? We always ask why people aren’t doing things for us. But do we ever ask ourselves what we are doing for others? If only we stopped trying to assign blame and spent that energy figuring out how we can contribute, life would definitely get better.

In workspaces people try to shine individually and not as an organisation, let alone a department. Everyone wants the boss to notice their work. Few are willing to work together to give the whole department a good name. We see companies plan team-building activities to get people to work collectively. But then there are people who approach team-building competitively and try to outshine their colleagues. The other problem with work is that it has overwhelmed our lives. If all we do is work, then that leaves no time for us to connect with the relationships that nourish us. Instead, what happens is that our lives become disconnected. Working as a small part of a big machine may be efficient. But it is not good for us as human beings. Workers in Silicon Valley now live in a world in which they don’t need to meet another human being — their laundry gets picked up and delivered, their groceries are ordered online, drivers are hired only for the journey (through Uber) and work itself is done remotely through laptops. But if you never have to deal with a human being, how will you ever learn to care about the needs of other humans?

Marriage is one major relationship in which teamwork is essential. I always say it is one of the strongest and yet weakest relationships out there. One major problem with married couples now is that they don’t think of themselves as a unit. Husbands and wives don’t share a common goal. Instead, each one is obsessed with his or her own personal successes. People teach their children not to be selfish, and not to say ‘me’ and ‘I’ all the time. Yet why is it that we forget this important life lesson as we grow older? If you should share with your siblings, then shouldn’t you also share with your spouse? No man is an island. We all need others to survive — not just in our personal relationships, but in all our relationships. Think of ‘WE’ not ‘ME’.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2015.