Friday, 2 April 2021

Too old for a change? Think again.

The Beginning

Your Wealth is a custom Enterprise briefing for people just like you: Executives, entrepreneurs and builders who know that time isn’t money, but that time and money are feedstock for the one thing that matters most in life: Your family, however you define it.

Once a month, in partnership with our friends at CIB Wealth, we’ll bring you a hand-picked selection of ideas, tips and inspirational stories that will help you make the most of your time, enhance our wealth, and build a better life with the people you love.

As always, we love hearing from readers. Send us story ideas, hints, tips or interview suggestions to editorial@enterprise.press.

Too old for a change? Think again.

You’re never too old for a fresh start, a new challenge or a different perspective: Whether we’re talking about that company you always wanted to work for; that mountain you told yourself you’d climb; that instrument you always wanted to learn to play; those cigarettes you’ve always wanted to throw in the bin. It’s never too late to make a serious change to how you live you life.

PLOTTING A CAREER CHANGE

Stuck in a rut? Whether you’re in the middle of climbing the career ladder or you’ve just settled into a comfortable 9-5, it's never too late to start afresh. Although it may be daunting at first, a career shift may be just what you need if you feel that you’ve become stuck in a rut. Here are some of our favorite locals who left behind stable jobs at large institutions to pursue personal endeavours in fintech, food and hospitality.

Ashraf Sabry, founder and CEO of Fawry: With a background in sales at IBM and having played a crucial role in Raya Holding’s enormous growth during the early 2000s, Sabry left behind corporate life with the idea for e-payments platform Fawry in 2008. What makes his story special is that the transition took place a little later in his career than most entrepreneurs and during a time that looked very different than today’s startup landscape. With a lack of ambitious VCs or startup accelerators, Sabry relied on large institutional investors to support Fawry in its early days. The e-payments platform has since connected over 29 mn customers through 166K service points across the country, and can be used for services ranging from utility bills and school tuition, to traffic fines and insurance.

You can check out our interview with Ashraf Sabry on our podcast Making It here (Listen, runtime 42:16)

Hashem Montasser, co-founder of The Lighthouse: Montasser is yet another finance veteran who took the plunge after 15 years in the industry to set up his very own restaurant/concept store, The Lighthouse, in Dubai. With credentials from finance powerhouses Merrill Lynch and J.P Morgan in New York and London, the transition to hospitality might not have seemed sensible at first. But a passion for both good food and design drove Montasser to create The Lighthouse in 2017 with co-founder Hany Bassiouny and lead chef Izu Ani. The space, which is located in Dubai’s design district, sells books, furniture and high-end artisanal gifts— they even have their own podcast.

Chris Khalifa, founder and CEO of Zooba: Chris left behind his job as an investment banker at EFG Hermes to start the colorful and creative street food brand Zooba in 2012. Capitalising on a global high-end street food trend that seemed to have left out Egypt’s wholesome cuisine, Khalifa started Zooba to offer nutritious and local cuisine with a twist. Starting out with a single physical location in Zamalek, Zooba has since expanded to nine locations across Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the US, where they’re now on the frontlines of the taameya v. falafel war in New York City.

You can check out our interview with Chris Khalifa for our podcast Making It here (Listen, runtime 44:10)

TAKING RISKS

“If you risk nothing, you risk everything.” Sure, Geena Davis isn’t who most people turn to for a profound aphorism or a life-changing piece of advice (no offence, Geena). But there’s a kernel of truth here. Many of the people we think of as successful or visionary didn’t get there by playing it safe. Some of them got where they are by being brave, doing something different and taking risks.

Bill Gates: One of the most successful dropouts in history. Despite almost getting a perfect score in his SAT test and getting into Harvard, Bill Gates risked it all to pursue what he believed was a vision that would revolutionize computing. Two years into his degree in 1975, he dropped out of one of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world to found Microsoft — a company that has for almost five decades changed how we think about personal computing, communication and access to information.

Osman Ahmed Osman. Born into poverty Osman strived to get his fully-funded bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Cairo University in 1940, according to his autobiography. Upon graduation, he returned to his hometown, Ismailia, to work with his uncle. But after only a year-and-a-half, he quit to found his business, Osman Ahmed Osman, Engineer & Contractors — later known as Arab Contractors. With only EGP 180, he started his business in a one-room office and he was the only owner and employee, but by the 1950s he was participating in the construction boom in the Gulf. The project that secured Arab Contractors position as one of the nation’s most significant construction firms was the Aswan High Dam: Osman outbid several larger companies to win a significant chunk of the contract to construct the dam; one that brought the company not only prestige but political power as well. Osman died in 1999, leaving behind a business empire worth bns of USD spanning the food, banking, and hospitality sectors.

Omar Samra. From a sport that would help him treat severe asthma to loving mountaineering, banking to becoming the first Egyptian to climb Mountain Everest comes the story of Omar Samra. After graduating with a bachelor's in economics from AUC Cairo in 2000, Samra worked at an investment bank in London, but quit after two and a half years to spend a year journeying across Asia and Latin America. In May 2007, he completed his ascent up Mount Everest, a feat that has taken the lives of at least 250 people. Two years’ later, he decided to take his adventuring full time by starting the travel company Wild Guanabana, which organizes adventure travel experiences in far flung places like Argentina and Costa Rica, and high-octane activities like ice climbing in France and mountain climbing in Africa.

LEADING AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE

What makes an extraordinary life, you ask? If you desire real success, want meaningful work and a deeper connection to your spiritual life, and have the right motivation, then you are looking to live an extraordinary life, writes author Tony Robbins in his best-selling book, Unshakeable. An extraordinary life is not born of massive financial wealth, climbing the corporate ladder or achieving impressive titles. Rather, it is achieved when you can take control of your mind and deliberately rise to meet your challenges. Here are a handful of ordinary people who led extraordinary lives that have affected and inspired many.

Stephen Hawking: Hawking's life was extraordinary from beginning to end. When he was told at the age of 21 after developing ALS that he would only live for a few more years as the motor-neurone disease ate away at his nervous system, it made him more determined than ever to find out the answers to life's big questions. Hawking defied the medical odds and lived to 76, becoming the man behind some of the world's most incredible scientific discoveries. He was a physicist, cosmologist and an author who carried on working into his 70s, spinning theories, teaching students and writing A Brief History of Time— an accessible exploration of the mechanics of the universe that sold mns of copies. In addition to winning the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Hawking was also involved in the search for the great goal of physics — a “unified theory” that describes the laws of gravity.

Nikola Tesla: When asked what it felt to be the smartest man alive, Albert Einstein — the father of the atom bomb — reportedly said, “I don’t know, you have to ask Nikola Tesla.” The Serbian-American inventions paved the way for numerous modern-day technologies like electric motors, fluorescent lights, lasers, remote controls and the alternating current (AC). Tesla — aka “The genius who lit the world” — was recognized for his seminal contributions to physics, engineering and technological innovation when his name was applied to the standard international unit of magnetic induction (1 Tesla = 1 Weber per sqm) in 1960. Tesla was also a pioneer in radio — a technology that he demonstrated as early as 1893, and in which the Tesla coil played an important role. On his 75th birthday, he received a congratulatory letter from Einstein and was featured on the cover of Time magazine.

Muhammad Ali: Formerly Cassius Clay, Ali — the boxing legend who told everyone he was “the greatest” — is known for his exploits in and out the ring, his battle to defend his racial and religious rights before the US Supreme Court in the 60s, and his messages for peace and justice. Ali faced many stumbling blocks in his life and career paths — from being conscripted into the Vietnam War to battling Parkinson's disease for more than three decades, but he remained focused on his dream. Ali won an Olympic Gold Medal at the age of 18, became one of the youngest World Champions in history at the age of 22, and went on to become the only Heavyweight World Champion to win, lose, and recapture the heavyweight title three times. As an ambassador for Islam in the western world and a spokesperson for Parkinson’s, Ali became the first athlete to transcend sports and achieve real icon status. He inspired people not only to chase their dreams, but to live with honor, courage and strength. Former President Barack Obama says, "Ali shook up the world and the world is better for it."

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Writing his first composition at the age of 5, publishing his first symphony at 8, then his first opera at 12, Mozart was an unrivaled child prodigy who managed to achieve real fame at a very young age. Mozart never attended school and received his entire musical education from his father. During his childhood, 14-year-old Mozart was commissioned to write operas for Milan's carnival, was admitted to Bologna's prestigious Accademia Filarmonica, and directed the first three performances of his opera series, “Mitridate, rè di Ponto.” He was only 35 when he died, leaving behind a collection of more than 600 compositions in different musical forms, some of which are considered to be the finest works in the Classical genre. Mozart was an influence on many subsequent composers including Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, according to a BBC radio program on his remarkable life (listen, runtime: 33:16).

enterprise

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YOUR TOP 5

Your top 5 pieces of business and economic news in March:

  • Emirati real estate firm Aldar Properties submitted an offer to acquire a controlling stake in Sodic for EGP 18-19 per share.
  • GlaxoSmithKline has shelved plans to sell its units in Egypt and Tunisia after acquisition talks with Hikma Pharma broke down last month.
  • Banque Misr now holds 90% of CI Capital after it acquired a 65% stake in an MTO last month.
  • Consumer healthcare giant IDH could go ahead with its dual listing on the EGX within two months, sources close to the matter told the local press.
  • Foreign holdings of EGP debt hit a record high of USD 28.5 bn, overtaking the previous record set before the pandemic, according to Finance Ministry figures released last month.

FINDING A NEW HOBBY

A new start doesn’t have to be a life-changing decision, it can be as simple as picking up a new hobby: How you spend your leisure time has a direct impact on your health, quality of living, and career. Having enjoyable activities that give you a reason to wake up excited leads to less stress, more happiness, more sleep, better physical health, and more friends, according to a 2010 study by a team of researchers from universities in Kansas, Pittsburgh and Texas, reported on by the New York Times. A hobby also affects a person’s overall work performance, with a San Francisco State University study finding that employees who had creative outlets outside of the office were better at creative problem-solving on the job as it increased their sense of control and in some cases challenged them to learn new skills that were transferable to work.

Not sure what your hobby could be? If you’re not sure what you would enjoy doing, try to think back to your childhood. What did you love doing as a child that could translate into something as an adult, suggests Bustle. Finger painting? Take an art class. Climbing trees? Try rock climbing. Giving lessons to your stuffed animals? Try teaching. Taking this approach could push you into channeling that wild and free mindset of little you. Another indication of what your ideal hobby might be is to look at what you buy as a guilty pleasure. Whether it's candles, clothes, food, plants or paintings, each could be a chance to invest time into putting your hands to work making or taking care of them. While all this might be a starting point, you should also try a couple of ideas you think could work. Don’t be afraid to join workshops or attend classes because you don’t know anyone or because you’re not sure you’ll be good at it. You don’t have to be good at your hobby — you just need to enjoy it.

Need a bit more help? We try to put forth a variety of activities every day in our PM edition from workshops to concerts to classes. Check out our recommendations and push yourself to attend something that catches your eye. The first step is always the hardest. You can also check out this list of 40 hobbies by Future Learn and pick out a few to try out.

Alright. I’m convinced, but I just don’t have the time: With work, Cairene traffic, and familial responsibilities, it often feels like the time you do have to yourself needs to be spent just relaxing. But it's important to be able to benefit from that time as well, in a way that adds happiness to your life and gives you a better sense of self. First step to making the time is realizing you do have time, especially if you think of it in terms of weeks instead of days. If you work 40 hours and sleep eight hours each night, that still leaves 72 hours every week. If you’re shrugging off our math, then do your own with this “freetime calculator”. It might seem crazy that while you have so much leisure time, it doesn’t always seem that way, and Laura Vanderkam, a writer and speaker on work-life balance, explains that it has to do with people not being mindful of their time and spending a lot of it on social media or on TV.

TAKING THAT FIRST STEP

What can you do now to make a change? Embarking on a new path doesn’t necessarily have to involve giant leaps. Small tweaks to behavior, minor changes in outlook, or just a peek into something you’ve always wanted to explore can be a great start. Laying out some actionable steps can eventually snowball and take you where you see yourself down the road. Here are some steps you could take that will slowly but surely make a difference:

Make a list of pros and cons: The simple act of weighing the good and bad can help you avoid “analysis paralysis,” which you may experience when faced with a hard or life-changing decision. Former Forbes contributor Jeff Boss has some advice on what to do to avoid this common pitfall (from not freaking out about not making the most optimal decision to setting deadlines for when you want the decision to be made and taking one step at a time). The piece is especially relevant to professionals and business leaders.

Cross the next destination off your bucket list: Travelling is a sure and obvious way to, at the very least, have some fun. You might not want to go way off the beaten track. That’s fine. A short road trip to a nearby city can still be exciting and rewarding in a way that lives up to the famous saying that “travel broadens the mind.” Travel Pulse has 50 post-covid trip ideas you could add to your to-do list. Plus, you don’t even need to leave town. Booking a room in a hotel for a few days is not a bad idea for a brief change of routine.

Develop a systematic approach to self-education: Educating yourself and adding new skills to your repertoire is valuable on so many levels, and is key to making better life decisions. Despite living in a time where this has never been easier (from massive-open-online-course through platforms like Coursera and Udemy to the possibility of learning a new language without leaving bed through apps such as Duolingo), the sheer amount of information out there can be daunting. That’s why it’s wise to stick to routine and rituals. Set micro-goals, remind yourself to be consistent. Devote time-slots to your activities, take and revisit your notes, and find ways to practice the new language, topic, or interpersonal skill. We had more on some of the personal skills you might need in a post-covid world in a recent issue of Your Wealth, including know-how that would make you a little more tech savvy and tips to improve your planning abilities.

Read. Much like travel (but less costly and time consuming) reading can open up new horizons and avenues of thinking. Find a book that makes you fight sleep to get through one more page (or a news publication that sets the tone of your day). With Ramadan fast approaching to lull us into summer and the holiday season, you might find it helpful to revisit the Enterprise summer reading list for some book recommendations. Lifestyle magazine Good Housekeeping also has a list of some of the top books you can read in 2021.

Give back to your local community: Besides giving you a do-gooder feeling and a sense of purpose, volunteer work can take you out of your comfort zone and push you to meet new people you never would have met otherwise, or see new places or parts of town you would have never visited. Here are six great places that routinely seek volunteers in Cairo.

Make simple diet changes. Cutting your daily sugar intake can go a long way toward stabilizing your mood and energy levels and promoting healthier brain function. You can also try to fit more micronutrients and vegetables into your daily eating habits without needing to make drastic lifestyle changes, learn a new recipe, or try new foods.

If all else fails, watch Jim Carrey’s Yes Man: Adopting a “yes” attitude to unexpected offers and suggestions is the simplest way to shake yourself out of a rut. Say yes to that dinner with friends you’ve long lost touch with, or to that friend who is always nagging you to join them at crossfit. Every step out of your comfort zone is an opportunity to network and grow.

Enterprise is a daily publication of Enterprise Ventures LLC, an Egyptian limited liability company (commercial register 83594), and a subsidiary of Inktank Communications. Summaries are intended for guidance only and are provided on an as-is basis; kindly refer to the source article in its original language prior to undertaking any action. Neither Enterprise Ventures nor its staff assume any responsibility or liability for the accuracy of the information contained in this publication, whether in the form of summaries or analysis. © 2021 Enterprise Ventures LLC.