Jun 152008

How big and successful you are depends on how many suckers you command. If you can take the entire nation for a ride, you can be the top man
Why do interviewers ask the interviewees if they have a qaum kay naam paighaam (a message for the nation)? It sucks. But what makes it worse is that almost 99.99 percent of those being interviewed actually rise up to the occasion and, to deliberately mix metaphors, get down to giving a paighaam to the nation.Here’s my quibble with this routine.

All paighaams are invariably laced with platitudes and shibboleths. Do good, work hard, strive for excellence, help the poor and the needy, remember that this country has given us much and we must sacrifice everything for this country and so on.

Of course, I can sacrifice much for this country, especially if I live in a nice, plush house in Islamabad where, at my current salary over three lifetimes, I am happy to report, I might be able to buy a six square foot space, enough to put a commode in. And what’s the point of sacrificing that for the country.

This sacrifice-this and sacrifice-that advice may sound good in a primer but does it make the stuff of real life. Really, who are these paighaam-givers trying to fool? My personal theory is that if we were to begin peeling off the layers upon layers of platitudes and shibboleths we have wrapped ourselves in, we could be booked for indecent exposure.

Talking of primers, one thing about life is to start kids off with loads of advice. There is a reason for it. It makes them think the elders are great, honest and hardworking people, fresh out of Garden of Eden; it makes the kids think they (the kids) are idiots and wrong-doers because soon enough they begin to do the don’ts, and that feeling constantly troubles them and makes them sheepish in front of the elders, all of which means it is a good control mechanism.

Of course, a time comes when the kids know that the whole package was baloney but by then they have grown up themselves and have their own kids and the cycle goes on.

Having berated the paighaams, I must confess, however, that there is one I have waited for constantly through the years. I would personally have given it if I could manage more than a commode’s space in Islamabad. That being impossible, I am hoping against hope that come one day someone will. It shall go something like this.

Interviewer: Do you have a message for the youth of the nation?

Interviewee: Yes, I do. Here goes.

I am a successful person which is why I am being interviewed. Otherwise I would be serving tea to someone else being interviewed. Let me tell the youth that most of them will never be successful in the way I am. Success in this country, for one roughly constituted as I am, is a matter of obsequence, rogueries, ribaldries and chicaneries. This is not a lesson one gets in the primer; you learn it in real life.

To go forward, you must lose your innocence. The world is divided between the suckers and the successful. The suckers think we live in a moral world, which is just as well or they would be successful. The successful take advantage of the suckers.

You can decide to be either one or the other. But the important thing to note is that it takes a thousand suckers, often more, to make one successful person. So please make sure, if you want to be successful, that you don’t run out of the required number of suckers, 1000 being the irreducible minimum. The only way it can be done is to preach sermons while doing your own thing.

By the way, how big and successful you are depends on how many suckers you command. If you can take the entire nation for a ride, you can be the top man.

Suckers are your foot soldiers. When you decide to go into combat, use them. If you are a leader heralding the coming of a new dawn, a few dead bodies will help along the way.

Motivate them. Instil in them the sense of camaraderie. Make them think that your dreams are theirs. Tell them that they have to sacrifice their today for everyone’s tomorrow. There is no point in telling them that everyone’s tomorrow is actually your tomorrow. They don’t even want to know that. If they did, they wouldn’t be suckers. They will be disappointed and there’s nothing more dangerous than a disappointed sucker. He is worse than a woman scorned and a woman scorned is bad enough. They want to believe in something, sacrifice for something. Don’t disappoint them.

You only believe in being successful which is why you are. You know that if you sacrificed everything, you would be left with nothing and someone else’s tomorrow will be brightened because you were the sucker who sacrificed his today.

Never let your emotions get the better of you. Stay cool. Breathe fire but only when you want to mobilise the suckers. If you think it is difficult then you have a short memory. It also means you are a sucker. Because short memory is what the successful bank on to get the suckers going.

Finally, if you want to be successful, you must be able to earn from both adversity and propitious times. The suckers get a bit more when the times are good; they go under when the crunch comes. Not you. You should be able to profit from both. In fact, if you are right on top, you should be able to organise the times and opportunities according to your requirements. In this you should be like the big players in the stock market; they earn regardless of the bulls and bears.

And yes, while you are at it, don’t forget to keep giving paighaams to this nation. It keeps the suckers happy and the successful in business.

Ejaz Haider is Consulting Editor of The Friday Times and Op-Ed Editor of Daily Times. He can be reached at sapper@dailytimes.com.pk



Source: Daily Times, 15/6/2008

 Posted by at 1:18 pm

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