No wrong time for the right person

Published: August 15, 2010

The things that distinguish successful people from the failed ones are initiatives and not giving up.

I do not understand why some people wait for the ‘ideal conditions’ to initiate their endeavors. People think that they cannot succeed in a society where achieving anything looks impossible. All I can say is that this is simply the approach of losers. I have not come across many successful people who have prospered in ideal conditions, for great successes have always occurred in adversity.

I heard once that winners translate dreams into reality and losers translate reality into dreams. The best idea will not work until you work with it. When I heard these sentences for the first time, I thought they were cliches with no practical meaning. But after working with people and companies I have come to realise how true the sayings are.

Our working environment does not lack opportunities. A shortage of initiative causes so much of our potential to be wasted. Students, professionals and sportsmen in this country get frustrated when they see that success is not coming their way. But they have an easy excuse. “The system does not support us!” I am sorry but those who need support can never become successful. Success comes from collaboration not from support.

Why must we go to the West for examples of success like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates? Why not look at examples within our own country? For instance a man who hardly managed to accomplish his intermediate education due to poverty became Dr Abdus Salam, the only man to earn a Nobel Prize from Pakistan in Physics. Or the man who had struggled economically while he was studying at DJ Science College in Karachi became Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the top atomic scientist of the country.

None of them worked in ideal circumstances but they worked excuse-free. There is one main difference between those who can and those who cannot. The first group said “it is up to me” and the second said “I can’t”. Simply waiting for ideal circumstances is useless. Initiative will construct ideal situations not waiting for them.

I have seen people chasing success in the field of financial markets. When they fail to achieve their goals degree-holders start to make excuses. I used to believe these excuses until I came across the examples of Khanani & Kalia, Aqeel Karim Dhedi etc. They started from scratch with no MBA degrees or foreign qualifications but are now icons of success in the market. We need to embed a character of success in our personality along with our education.

We need to program ourselves for success

We cannot wait for good news but must create good news. We always need to jot down variables by keeping clear targets in sight. If one way is not working, we have to look for relevant alternatives. Generally, the youth gets frustrated while they are unable to attain initial success because they only focus on one channel or they try to knock on all channels. We need to have a targeted area and diverse alternatives within that area.

It is is a matter of who ‘can-do’ rather than mere externalities. While It is important to do something different but sometimes it is important to do something at all! If we do not have an ideal task in our hands, we should do what we must the best way that we can.  We may not have the ideal work but we can make the work we are doing ideal, even if we are doing something that seems regular.

The things that distinguish successful people from the failures is initiative and resilience. It is foolish to wait for ideal conditions in a world that projects constant decline. If change must from within us so we can carry on despite the harshness of our surroundings. Believe in people so that the best can be done even in the worst circumstances.


Saqib Omer Saeed

A financial researcher, analyst and adjunct faculty in CBM, SZABIST, BIZTEK & University of Karachi and blogs at

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Zahra Ali

    so true. Waterlily grows and blooms in mud.Recommend

  • Amar Khan

    Really thought provoking and brilliant post. It is something that our young generation need to read must. Recommend

  • Sehban

    A very encouraging post that is surely giving a good hard knock to conscience.
    I require clarification on one point that success should also have a criterion to be acheived by fair means. Quoting examples of khanani & kalia differ from the success of abdul qadeer khan i believe.Recommend

  • Saqib Omer Saeed

    Thanks for your comments Zahra, Amar & Sehban.
    @ Sehban, I get your point. Yes you are right that there is no comparison to Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan and Khanani & Kalia but the point in mentioning instances of Kalia or AKD is entirely different from the first group of scientists. Even financial markets are the toughest area to say something from fair or unfair means. A little regulatory drift can make someone who contributes a lot in financial sector as unfair. I can not defend anyone but regardless of few undesirable attributes if someone have an enough substance to be quoted so we being management writers have to quote. I hope you would understand the point. I really appreciate your concern anyways.Recommend

  • Umair Kazi

    “Screw it, let’s do it”.
    You’re right, Saqib. Initiative is the key! There’s a little post-it on my desk that has the following words scribbled: “Don’t Ask. Apologize Later.”
    Works like a charm!Recommend

  • SSPanzer

    Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan is a metallurgist and not a nuclear scientist.Recommend

  • Saqib Omer Saeed

    @ Umair Thanks. Even Right On!

    @ SSPanzer: First of all thanks for your comments. Actually Dr. Khan was working centrifuge production facility in the Netherlands. At first Pakistan Military scientists discouraged him by saying a metallurgical engineer and they considered it a tough job for Dr. Khan to work for Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. But then it was all the way on for Dr. Khan and he was considered as the leader of gas-centrifuge enrichment technology of Pakistan’s nuclear program. It is well recorgnized that Dr. Khan is the founder of gas-centrifuge-based uranium enrichment program in Pakistan. In 1972 Dr. Khan was working for Physical Dynamics Research Laboratory in Amsterdam that ensures supply of enriched uranium for EU nuclear reactors. If you see the portfolio of Dr. Khan so it is well diversified and he was not merely a metallurgist. We can not just assess Dr. Khan’s work and ability from his D.Engg. Even if metallurgist is a science related to physical and chemical behavior of metallic elements so as per science metals also have atoms. The bottom line is we can not see Dr. Khan’s performances and expertise in limited horizon. He has proved himself as atomic scientist and it is well recognized. Anyways I really appreciate your concern.Recommend

  • Hamna

    initiatives should be taken but it must be in the right way.
    In this era people not even know what they should do or what would be better for them they are following others without knowing their own potentials i think this attitude of people needs to be change also .Recommend

  • http://__________ Marium Mushtaq

    i really like this article this is our biggest problem our Nation is gr8 in blaming other why not take responsibility why not face the failure if anything gets wrong we blame it to the 1st person we find n even i m not diff many times i did it to n ashamed of that but if n only if we take responsibility of our actions then see what wonders this nation will do . Another thing if we take notice all big leaders they came from poor families n their struggle helped them to become a leader every one here want o become a leader but no one knows the real way to be one ….Recommend