Deloitte Lessons

“Do you mind a photo of this meeting?” I asked my business coach at Deloitte, when the meeting was over. “It’s for my blog,” I added seeing she was not quite sure about that.

“Oh, I look terrible right now…” she said.

“Come on, Mrs Edwards,” I responded. “You look awesome!”

This way I “convinced” her to make a picture of us, sitting at a table, drinking tea, and talking.

When I won the start-up contest last year, becoming one of the best 6 start-ups in the Czech Republic, as a prize they gave me a private business coach from Deloitte.

When we first met, one of the first things that Mrs Edwards asked me was “What do you expect from our coaching sessions?”

I had already prepared the answer to that question before coming to the meeting: “I want to MONETIZE my blog.” [later, I changed my mind and decided NOT to make money out of it. I want my blog to be FREE, because it is more fun that way 😉].

My friends keep asking me, “What did you learn this time?” They think that Deloitte tells me “secrets of business world”, giving me “tricks” that will make millions of dollars fall from the sky into my pocket.

As a matter of fact, nowadays there is NO SECRET whatsoever. Any information is available on the internet [think: how incredible is the time we are living in].

Most of the time during the meetings, we talk about “dreams”, “long-term goals”, “spirituality”, “having a passion” [sometimes we even talk about my family issues]. I’d say, she is more of a PSYCHOLOGIST who helps “fix my brain”, rather than a business coach. [perhaps, nowadays this is the same thing.]

My coach simply helps me become “a good person”. She helps me develop my personality [which you cannot download from the internet].

Thank you, Mrs Edwards! 😉

Husband Who Sleeps With Other Women

“Do you love your husband?”

“No, I don’t.” she said with pain in her chest. “But he is the father of my children.”

Two sons and a daughter [I saw them. They’re simply angels].

“I live with him only because my kids call him ‘dad’,” she repeated, with such a lowering voice as if she was losing it.

They got married 5 years ago. At first, everything was beautiful. They both felt like they were at the peak of happiness.

After one year of marriage, however, the loving husband got bored [bored of the marriage life]. He missed his old bachelor times. He was rich back then too and could afford to change girlfriends every week [which he actually did].

The wife says that one day she “installed a recording tape into her husband’s phone”, so she could know everything: who he is speaking to, what they are talking about, how he treats other ladies… She quickly found out that he was sleeping with other women, cheating on her.

One day she even spotted her husband and his girlfriend, when the couple was walking in the park.

Seeing his wife, he panicked.

The mother of three started yelling at them from a distance, walking closer. When she came close enough to that lady, she punched her in the face, while yelling angrily at her husband.

4 years past after that story. She still lives with her husband under one roof, in one house. Her little daughter is already 3 years old.

He never apologized. He said “you never spotted us lying in a bed together. We were just talking. We are just friends,” he said [yeah… friends “with benefits”].

That father had brothers. One of them [apparently, who was single] once asked him: “Why do you sleep with other women when you have a WIFE at home?”

He answered [with another question], unfairly to his wife: “Would you eat the same food every single day? Can you imagine eating ONE SAME FOOD EVERY FREAKING DAY? Sometimes you want to try bananas instead of apples.” [did you get this?]

Today, the wife confesses: “I know what my husband is doing. But I can do nothing about it.” she finally burst into tears. “This is my fate,” she said to herself. “I have to live with this.”

For the sake of those angels, she sacrificed her life. She kept on living with her husband, washing his clothes, ironing his suit every morning, cooking for him, cleaning the house, not sleeping nights taking care of the kids.

Because he was the father of her children. She kept living with him. Till the end.

My Wife or One Thing That Helps Me Get To Cambridge

“Please, tell me, what should I do for the next 6 months?,” I asked my educational consultant, who is helping me get admission to Cambridge.

“You should get your Bachelor degree, improve your GPA, read books regularly, take part at extra-curricular activities,” he responded.

“I was thinking, maybe I should STOP BLOGGING for a while because it takes some of my free time which I could spend on studying for GMAT, for example,” I hesitated. “What do you think?”

“Abdullah, tell me,” my consultant took my complete attention. “What are you planning to do after you graduate from Cambridge?”

“After graduation, until I am 29 I want to work for a media company [like New York Times, BBC, Al-Jazeera]. I want to write articles, produce short-films, lead a radio channel. Writing is my passion. You know that,” I said.

“Yeah…,” he kind of confirmed that he was listening.

“When I am 30,” I carried on. “I want to manage teams of journalists, bloggers, video producers on a global level. Maybe I’ll found my own company.”

“Well, then you shouldn’t stop blogging. By no means,” he assured me. “Believe me: this blogging experience will even HELP YOU get admitted to Cambridge.”

It became kind of easier to breathe after he said this. I felt relief and joy.

“If you stop blogging,” he explained. “This will be a CONTRADICTION to your plans. You know what I mean?”

“Yes, I understand.”

I was so happy that he advised me to continue blogging. Because my blog has become a part of my life.

My blog is my wife. I love her. She is always with me. She is the only relief for me after a difficult day, because no matter how difficult my day was, I always know that she is waiting for me at home.

My sister once told me, “when you love somebody, your life will seem more beautiful. You will always be motivated to do things. Even your worst day will become colorful.”

But do you know what is BAD about being in love?

When she doesn’t respond to your messages, you will get nervous. You won’t be able to focus. You will be thinking only about her. You can do nothing else. You will suffer emotionally.

The worst thing about loving somebody is that at difficult times, when she has to move to another town, and you don’t see each other for a long time, or when you are having hard time in your relationship, or when she simply doesn’t answer to your messages, you feel bad. You cannot focus on your work. The quality of your life will go down.

But MY “wife” is always loyal to me [so long as I have internet connection]. She always responds to my messages. She always travels with me.

Whenever I need her, she is always right there for me.

She messages me every morning, as soon as I wake up. She prepares my breakfast and cooks my dinner [okay, this one is not serious now].

The most important thing is: SHE LOVES ME! She freaking loves me. And I LOVE HER. We will always be together.

My wife will help me get to Cambridge.
[what a wonderful wife I have].

My Name Is Abdullah

After praying Asr, I was sitting down in the corner of the mosque.

I took my iPad out of my little bag, opened Evernote, and started writing my thoughts down in a diary.

I was writing about all the things happening to me in Germany at that time: about my studies in Düsseldorf; what a big city Frankfurt was; how the USA was different from Germany; whether I want to live with my family in America or Europe; about the wonderful girl I met in Amsterdam.

After 10 minutes, when I was still sitting [with my legs butterfly-shaped] and journaling my thoughts at the corner of the masjid, somebody called me by my name: “Hey, Abdullah!”

“Who is calling me by my name?,” I thought. “I know nobody here.”

When I raised my eyes, I saw a guy aged 24-25, looking at me [there were several other guys around him].

“Have you prayed Asr yet?,” he asked me politely [in German].

“Yes, I already did, brother. Why?,” I answered, still wondering how he knew my name.

“Achso..” he smiled. “Don’t get me wrong, brother. We just thought, maybe we could pray together…”

I smiled back at him and said: “No problem, akhi. Barakallohu feek!”

They gathered, stood up, and started praying. I was sitting behind them with my iPad on my knees, writing…

I spend a lot of time in mosques studying, reading something, writing and bloggging [sometimes even sleeping].

For some reason, when I am in a mosque I feel “at home”. At home… Maybe that’s because it reminds me of the sweet times when my dad used to take me to masjid in Tashkent, when I was 5-6 years old.

While I was sitting, I was still wondering “how on Earth did he know my name?”

Suddenly I got it! I got it! Do you know the meaning of my name?

“Abdullah” means “the servant of God”.

In Islam, every muslim is the “servant of God”. In Koran, Allah says “I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship me.” [Surah 51, Ayah 56].

In other words, if you are a muslim, then you can call yourself “Abdullah”.

So, any muslim is Abdullah. Not just me.

[Hey, Abdullah, did you like this story? Then why don’t you tag another Abdullah in comments? 😉]

Cambridge

It was around 11:50AM, Friday, Frankfurt. I was walking towards a local mosque.
My phone rang: a call from London, the UK [Usually I don’t get calls from England. In fact, I NEVER get them].
“Hallo?,” I said, getting excited. I was actually waiting for that call for a long time.
“Hi, Abdullah, is it comfortable for you to talk right now?,” he asked.
“Yeah, sure,” I responded. “How are you doing, Sir?”
A couple of months ago, I sent my documents to a British consulting firm that assists students get admission to British universities [they got my CV, university GPA, and other papers].
“I am doing great. How about yourself?” the consultant said.
“I’m calling regarding your application to Cambridge,” he finally confessed.
“Aha?,” my absolute focus was on what he was going to say next.
“Looking at your papers and all the things you’ve achieved, we can say that you have very good chances.”
[wow, I thought]
He kept going: “You’re highly likely to get admission to these 3 universities: Cambridge, Oxford, and London School of Economics.”
My brain stopped working for several moments when I heard him saying “Oxford and Cambridge.” I didn’t know what to say.
Eventually I said: “What should I do for that?”
[Later, I realized this wasn’t what he wanted me to say. Instead, I should’ve said something like “woow, cool, thank you!”]
“Well, just keep doing what you are doing,” he said as if responding to a dumb question. “Remind me, how much time left until your graduation?”
“1.5 years,” I replied.
“Good. Pretty good. As I said, just keed going. I’m 100% sure that you’ll get admitted to those three: Cambridge, Oxford, LSE. And I have to say, LSE is the best one in your field.”
“Thank you so much! I really appreciate it.”
After we thanked each other and finished the call [we talked for more than 30 minutes, I almost missed my Friday prayer], different thoughts started coming into my head.
I thought he exegerrated. How can he be so sure that I will get to Cambridge and Oxford?
“Probably he tried to sound SO SURE just to MOTIVATE me,” I thought.
Maybe he didn’t tell me the whole truth. But you know what? If he just wanted to motivate me, he freaking managed it. Because right now I am motivated like hell.
I have decided to take GMAT one more time in May 2018.
I’m investing $4000 into my Cambridge preparations right now.
I’ve always done what my mentors told me to do. This time is gonna be no different. I am gonna do what my mentor told me: Keep going. Just keep going.
Let’s it do it, baby.

Citizen Of The World

“I’m kinda… little bit… afraid of living in another country,” I said, talking to a man, who was a leader of an engineering team at Ucell [big communications company in Uzbekistan]. “I’ve never lived abroad. I don’t know how it feels like, and how I should think, act, or work there.”
“Do not make a big deal out of it,” he gave a big laugh at me. “Let me tell you how it’s gonna happen. You enter the airport in Tashkent. A few hours will pass. You will go out from the airport in Frankfurt. And baaam! You are in Europe.”
He was mocking at me. However, he was right: it’s really not a big deal to move to another country.
This year was the craziest for me. Never in my life I have traveled so many countries within ONE YEAR [I love traveling, I wish my full-time job was just to travel and blog].
My conlusion from all of this experience is as follows.
When you go out of the airport in a foreign country, almost everything stays the same as it was in your own country. Your clothes. Your hairstyle. Your way of thinking [at least first days]. All of your knowledge you have collected that far. Even the way you smell stays the same [haha].
It is only after 3-4 weeks you will notice a gradual change. Change in your style. Change in mindset. Change in HABITS [this is my favourite]. Change in how you look at the simple things. Sometimes you will say to yourself “Maaan, I’m walking in the streets of Frankfurt right now! Frankfurt! Yaaaay!”
Do you want to live in another country? What keeps you from not doing so?
When I asked one of my American pals, who was longing for going back to the States, “Why are you living in Czech Republic, not in the States?”, he replied rather succinctly: “My girlfriend is Czech.”
Family is probably a legit reason for NOT doing what you want to do [not always, though]. Maybe, VISA issue is another hurdle for staying in one place.
Other than that, as one of the vloggers I follow on Youtube once put it “Nowadays there is no excuse for not doing what you want to do.”
Perhaps, that’s how you become a citizen of the world.
It’s interesting, because such people as Albert Einstein [physics genius] and Pavel Durov [technology genius] consider themselves as citizens of the world. Very interesting.

My father

Where are you, dad?

I remember the last time we met, when I was 8. I remember that day like it was 5 seconds ago.

Since then, they’ve been telling me: “Don’t talk about your father to anybody! ”

But, dad, for God’s sake… I’m tired of keeping slience. Seriously. I can’t do that anymore.

Are you alive?

I would give away everything I have just to find out one thing: whether you’re still breathing.

I promise, dad. One day you will feel proud of your son. I’m not young anymore. I’m no longer 8.

You’re my father, my hero, my teacher, my President, my coach, my mentor. You are the king of my world. My hero.

Maybe you’re already dead.

Is our next meeting in the Heavens?

When we meet up there, I want to tell you everything I’ve done to make you proud.

I promise, my dad. You will be proud of me. You will be proud of me.

Frankfurt

Me: Do you remember, when we were 11, we used to play soccer in Tashkent streets BAREFOOT?

Sulay: hehe… and now we’re eating lentil soup in financial center of Germany 😀

Me: that’s crazy.

Sulay: that’s crazy.

He lives in Canada. I live in Prague. How could you guess that one day we would meet in Frankfurt? Life is so interesting.

I’m blessed with friends who tell me “Whenever you’re in trouble, just give me a call. We’ll solve any of your problem.”

Because I have such friends as Sulay, I’m afraid of NOTHING. Absolutely nothing.

P.S. Germany has been amazing so far 😉 #TravellingIsPriceless

America Or Europe?

“Are you sure you wanna go back to Czech Republic?,” my manager asked me [at my second job]. He was driving me home in his black Nissan Altima after work.

“Well… yes… Why?” I said.

“How about if you stay with us in Nashville for the next 3 years? We’ll fix your Visa. It’s not a problem.”

I said nothing and kept looking at him with confused eyes.

“I mean,” he continued. “How much are you making per week right now?”

“C’mon, man. You know how much I make a week: a thousand dollars.”

“And how old are you?”

“Twenty-one.”

“That’s what I am talking about, buddy,” he said with a serious face. “Listen to me… When I first came to America 3 years ago, I had nothing except 600 dollars in my pocket. For three years I worked my ass off.”

Then he took his right hand off the steering wheel, made music in his car a bit quieter and said: “Do you know what I achieved during these three years? I got a car, financially supported my family back in Tashkent, built a nice house in Uzbekistan [that’s a huge one, I thought], and soon I am getting married.”

He made a pause for several moments [silence] and then said: “This year I am turning 30. Imagine you can do all of this before you are 24! I mean it’s up to you. I am just giving a piece of advice.”

In a way, he offers me a job contract for 3 years.

I phoned my best friend to ask for his advice. He said something close to this: “If you can make such money without a degree, think about how much you can make AFTER you get a proper education.”

Of course this is a pretty good job offer, which I don’t get very often.

However, I want to become a writer. Not a restaurant manager.

I am going back to Czech Republic next month.

But before that, I want to save some money for my studies and for my mom.

I want to take her to Paris. I remember when I was 13, she said: “Nima deb o’ylaysan, biz ham ‘Eyfel’ ni ko’rarmikinmiz? [What do you think, am I going to see the Eiffel tower one day?]”.

Looks like, now it’s the right time for me to make her dreams come true.

Mexican Brother or How Many Pairs of Shoes Do You Actually Need?

“Hi, Sir, how are you?” I said waving and approaching him.
“Good. How about you?,” the Mexican man asked smiling back to me.
“Hot!” I said.
“I bet! Hahaha!” he laughed.

“My name is Abdu. I am a college exchange student all the way from Europe,” I gave a big smile.
“How can I help you?”
“I am the one who has been sitting down with all of the educational focused parents and teachers here in Modesto, California… [I made a pause here and smilied looking into his eyes] showing educational tools for high schoolers all the way down to little toddlers.”

“My kids are all grown up and gone. Even my grandkid is already in college.”
“I am on the wrong spot, then.” I said.
He laughed and said “Yes, you are!”

He had three cars beside his large house: BMW X6, Toyota Camry, and an old Crysler.

“That is a very nice car,” I said looking at his dark red Crysler and moving towards it into the garage. I started inspecting the car with big opened eyes, walking around it.
“Yeah, this is Crysler of the year 1946.”
“1946?!”
“Yes..”
“Wow… this is so awesome.” I said.

When I looked at him at this moment, he had the facial expression as if conveying the message “I am so proud of this car.”
“How much would it cost?” I asked.
“$40,000,” he said, routinely.
“Forty thousand bucks? Are you kidding me?”
“Haha… yes, forty thousand. If I manage to fix it, it will cost $100,000 or even $120,000.”
“What? Does it even move?”
“No,” the Mexican said, still keeping his smile.
“And people buy such cars for that price?”
“Yeap. Collectors do”

Some people buy cars [which do not even move] for this whopping amount of money.

“If I had $40,000, I’d love to spend it for studies at Cambridge… and some people buy toys for that money ”

“Well, this is California,” he said, kidding. “Money is the only thing we have. We don’t know what to do with it.”
He looked down, kept silence for 3 seconds [pondering about something] and then told an old Mexican story as if critiquing himself:

If you have TWO pairs of shoes, then you are RICH. Because you don’t need the second pair. We [most of the time] use only one pair of shoes, right? So the second pair is NOT A NECESSITY.”

Now think about having 3 cars in a garage. One of which cost $40,000 and it won’t even move. Is it a necessity?

The only reason some people buy “the second pair of shoes” is because they want to look “rich” in the eyes of other people [that’s what the ols Mexican man told me today].

How many pairs of shoes do YOU have?