The article with no title (Part 1)

I sometimes wonder how my life would have turned out if I was born in a different family, maybe a less privileged one. When I was small, my family went through severe financial constraints but despite everything my father was adamant that I study in an English Medium school. During middle school I was quite dumb because despite my attempts I pretty much understood nothing in class. Just before the exams my father and mother used to write down answers (while I sat beside them crying my eyes out) to the problems which I sort of crammed in my head.

Let me now fast forward to 2004. I came out of the IBA admission test exam dejected because I knew I sucked. My father was waiting outside. When I told him that I had a horrible exam the only thing he told me “ kono bepar na, tumi NSU te bhorti hoye jao”. I did however pass that written test only to get kicked out after the Interview.

What if I did not get all this support? What if my family could not afford the tuition for NSU? I am pretty sure I would not have been in the position I am in now. Maybe I would have turned into a Sweden Aslam or a Porimol. The third part of a video called Zeitgeist explains that the way a person is brought up by his family has immense impact on what he becomes. Of course there are outliers and criminals are born in good families as well. But outliers are well, “outliers”.

However, when we consider or judge a person we do not take these factors into account. In fact, I am inclined to believe that the whole societal value system is a complete farce. These days the person with the most expensive car, best looking girlfriend/boyfriend, or richest father is automatically treated with the most respect. People look at them as their role models and want to be like them.

Society fails to acknowledge the unsung heroes which are making huge impact in the lives of people. I started reading a book called “The Black Swan” by Nicholas Nasim Taleb. He wrote about a fictional person who made a legislation that imposed locks on cockpit doors. This helped avoid the 9/11 attacks (since the locks prevented the attacks) at high cost to the airlines. Since his measures squandered public resources the public with the help of airline pilots kicked him out of office. He thus retired depressed with a great sense of failure. Ultimately he died with the impression of doing nothing useful.

This is probably a very extreme story but similar stories are there in real life. I personally know two people (not my parents) who never said “no” when someone needed help. They went so out of their way to help other people that they could never concentrate on their own life. Both are sort of considered unsuccessful by the people they helped numerous times.

There is a wonderful film related to this topic called “It’s a wonderful life” which I recommend everyone to watch. The main character tried to save his town from the clutches of an evil banker but ultimately failed. He became so poor that he could not feed his family and ultimately decided to suicide. At that moment an angel came down and saved him and showed him how much he has impacted the lives of people around him. Even very small things he did had helped save lives.

So, if you are amongst the people, who believe in good deeds and believe in Allah, then have faith and keep doing what you are doing. Regardless of your social status, wealth or appreciation by people, you are definitely in the right path.

Let me conclude by saying that I really do not have a conclusion planned. Maybe after a few days something will come to my mind and I will just edit the last part (thanks to all these options).

Asif Khan, CFA

Asif Khan is presently a Research Analyst (Financial Sector) for Exotix which is a frontier market focused investment bank. He has more than 6 years of work experience as equity analyst in both buy and sell side roles across Asian frontier markets. Asif is a CFA Charterholder and has a dual major in Finance & Economics from North South University.

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