Sunday, 10 May 2009

A man who has been through a lot of hardship

When a thirty-years-old man share with you part of his life stories with tears in his eyes, some part of you will just melt down together with him, touched by how some people really have a hard life compared to you.

An Indian Muslim, Naz is a bankruptcy with eleven mouths to feed, which includes a wife and 9 kids. A entrepreneur himself, he ventured into several business and failed, mostly due to working with the wrong people. Now, he is still in a business but struggling with limited capitals and resources.

As a newcomer to our business-sharing group, he was telling us his stories with great self-containment from the embarrassment and the fear of being laughed at or treated with disrespect. But in our group led by Jeff, laughing at people's plight and acting disrespectful are not condoned at all.

Naz told us the times where he had delivered excellent performance in most of his jobs. In one of his jobs, we managed to sell all the bricks which has been in the company inventories for more than 1 year and he had managed to sell it all in less than 3 months. From 3 lorries to transport the bricks, he made it into 16 lorries in that 3 months. Despite his outstanding performance, he realized he would not be given any chances to move up the corporate ladder. That is because the boss and majority of the people in the company are of different races, and having another race to head them with be unacceptable. Such is the world. Thus, he talked to his boss and decided to give up the job, taking with him, approximately RM 68,000 as the commission and pay for the short 3 months. With that money, he started his own business.

Unfortunately he did not make it. Soon, another acquantaince asked him to help him in his business as a partner. He worked day and night, clocking in at 7 am until 12 midnight almost everyday. Soon, he grew the company into a lucrative business in a relatively short term of times. Because he is a bankruptcy, during the start of his work, he was not able to formalize any documentation to declare his ownership on part of the company shares, a major mistake that would soon caused him to lose everything he had achieved in the company. When he approached his so-called business partner to request to put his wife name in the company share, he was terminated the very next day. Since then, he had been in a legal lawsuit with that company, seeking the help of the worker union. That was 3 years ago. But many were lost and he had not been able to recovered for years. However, by fate, it was that lawsuit that brought him to us after 3 years. Though a broken and tired man, he was ready to be 'mold' and transformed.

He said each day, he have to pretend to be happy even though he have a lot of things to worry about to keep his family afloat. Just imagine someone trying to kick and swim with water just under his nose for years, pulling 10 others with him. Naz's eldest son, a 15-year-old, have to work on the weekend despite a major PMR exam coming soon. His family eat happily at every meals even though that usually consisted of just rice and eggs.

Though facing tremendous hardship and on the verge of giving up, I feel Naz is desperate for a break in life now and he will put all his life to make it for the maybe one last time. Not only he is answerable to himself, he has to face 9 little faces and the woman he love, whose future are unknown, but who have never leave him despite the hardship.

By good chance, he met a good person in the worker union who is not only helpful to him, but who also believe in his capabilities and potential. That person in the worker union is a long buddy of Jeff and who is also in the business group. So, that is how we met Naz.

I want to share this story because I learn that most people who achieve great things in life, are the same people who at one times, are so broken and fail so many times that they may not even be able to go through life without the help from some good samaritans, who respect them despite their failures and willing to lift them up. But, of course, eventually, it also depends on abilities to work through the hardship and their persistences.

Previously, in my 29 years before I met Jeff, I rarely meet people has been through great hardship in life, except maybe my parents. But since one year ago, I found myself meeting and learning from a lot of people who have great misfortunes in their life. All of them would tell their stories with glimpses of tears in their eyes and some even broke down and really cry. Sadly, not all those people are able to change or break through from repeating their mistakes. But I learn the turning point is when a person is willing and ready for a 180 degree change. They may need to learn something that are so foreign to them that they may have a sense of feeling that they are learning from an alien. Of course, this is not easy and it is not something that can be achieved in months, but it is usually in years. All one needs is the opportunity to be trained, able to accept new things and persistently make changes or adjustment.

I ponder on this question:

If Naz is to know in 4 years ago that he will go through these 4 years of hardship when he starts to venture out in his own business, taking a big turn in his career, will he reconsider not to do that?


But, what if, in his next 1 or 2 years, he not only can recover from his lost, but he can have a chance to be a really successful business man and financially free?

That, we all do not know what his future will look like.

But I think he can make it because he has already shown a lot of courage and persistence for a man to first move into his own business and has not given up until now. And that is what I respect and admire in people, not the status or how rich he is, but this -
though sometimes weakened, but an undying spirit in a man (or woman) to excel in life.

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