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May that spark not be extinguished

My younger brother has been living in the Gulf city of Muscat for many years. When I think of him, my mind travels back to our teenage years. He always had a bunch of mischievous friends around him. I remember one of them in particular. The friend would come to the front of the house and call my brother in a soft voice. My brother would hear the call from inside and immediately go out. My mother would be looking at both of them through the window with a little curiosity. They would talk for a long time, standing somewhere in the yard. He was an average student studying in an ordinary college.

I have not heard that my brother's friend had any special talent in the academic, artistic, or athletic fields. But, even then, this person had an unquenchable desire to rise, to reach somewhere, and a strong passion for life. This young man was constantly trying and exploring for that. If there was any training program related to personality development or anything of that kind in the city, he would have attended it. I also had a good relationship with this friend. He would sometimes share with me the narration of the programs he participated in.

Years passed. Today, he is working at the highest level in the HR field of a prestigious organisation in the country. Even amidst his constant foreign travels and official engagements, he still maintains the same love for my brother from his teenage years.

In a recent conversation with my brother, the matter of this friend came up. I used to say, "He is a cucumber." Cucumbers do not have a natural flavour. However, if you add salt, pepper, and other ingredients, you can make a delicious dish. I used the term "cucumber" to mean someone without a big core.

I asked my brother how such a friend reached such a covetable position. My brother said, "One, insatiable passion; two, perseverance." My brother continued:

"Even though you all looked at him with a bit of ridicule at the time, I had complete respect for him. I knew what he was doing. He may not have even understood ten or twenty per cent of what he was learning from the programs he was attending. But he was sharpening himself by participating in every program with perseverance, without missing a single one. There was no interview that this friend did not attend. He did not get a job anywhere. But in the evening, we would meet at the coffee shop with laughter and cheer. Even then, he would be asking for the date of the next interview. I have never seen someone so persevering in my life." My brother's summing up convinced me of the chemistry behind that friend's success.

There is quite a lot to learn from this brilliant human resources expert. During our student days, people may have different opinions about us such as: he is not brilliant, doesn't study enough, not so good and so on. We will have to hear many kinds of insults and prejudices from various places. When we get on the stage with enthusiasm to present any programme, there will be many who discourage and laugh at us. Many things can pull us back. But we must be able to move forward without paying attention to anything. If you have an unquenchable curiosity to know and understand this world, you can say that you have covered half the distance to your goal. Perseverance comes from it.

There is much knowledge and deep insight that spreads to us without our awareness from all the seminars, training programs, cultural gatherings, discussions, and classes we attend. This is an enjoyable process. We become smart without knowing it. Many people say that the information they heard and learned in the classroom was useful later in life, even though at that time the class seemed to be extremely boring. Sometimes, a word we hear casually is more significant than the knowledge from a thousand books.

My student days passed during the period when the Soviet Union was collapsing. I remember a lecture I heard at that time. The speaker's topic was what would happen in the world if the Soviet Union collapsed. He predicted that a new world power, Russia, would emerge. The valuable information I heard about Russia and its domestic politics at that time has become a reality today. Look, I didn't understand those things from a book. That knowledge was settling in my mind without me even knowing it.

It is also important to create a feeling that it is good to understand everything without being arrogant about anything. Don't miss any opportunity. We should have the desire to jump from the branch we are sitting on to the next one instead of cutting down the branch. It is important to keep a spark in the mind. This spark should also be kept from extinguishing. It will give us light when we move forward in life and warmth to the mind. As Dylan Thomas said in his poem,

Do not go gentle into that good night

Old age should burn and rave at close of day

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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