The male role model


As I continue to embrace adulthood more & more as an Egyptian woman, who has spent most of her life in the Middle East and continues to internalize the extent of gender adversities women continue to face in this region (& all over the world), I am forever indebted for the male role model I have had growing up – my father. Any seemingly inquisitive, curious, growth mindset I may have developed has been encouraged, and strongly endorsed by him. He always pushed me towards questioning everything, reading more, asking questions on any topic and being ready every weekend for a new debate with him, where I have to examine my assumptions and be willing to continuously deconstruct & rebuild my opinion on any given topic. He always pushed me to voice my opinions and dig deeper into what’s driving these opinions. He always made sure my voice was heard on the table, even from my early teen years & amid gatherings of much older men. He has given me numerous situations to allow me to become independent financially, emotionally and most importantly develop frameworks that can continue to attempt to resist herd mentality thinking.

Being in Europe for my birthday this year was a reminder of some of my most privileged and happiest moments with the family growing up. Europe has been intertwined in my memories with family trips in which I was taught to shop in different supermarkets, learn to take over from my dad and drive us around on our road trips, read maps (years before any form of navigation stemmed), deal with foreign banking transactions & airport issues from a very young age, experience different cultures, start conversations with complete strangers and most importantly deal with the unknowns that come with hitting an open road & leaving oneself to be open for whatever experiences meet you along the way. As my Dad would always say along the road trip especially at times when drive it’s raining or snowing hard and it’s pitch black outside and we’re lost:

“Missing our exit isn’t the end of the world. There is always a plan B so long as we understand the map & know the general direction of where we want to get. If we miss this turn, we will take the next one- it’s a slight detour, but who knows what we may see on that route. And if we’re too tired or it’s too dark on the way we can always pull aside & spend a night in one of the guest houses/ motels/ lodges on the way. It’s never too late- because we can always adapt our plan.”

My experiences on those trips is that there are times to press hard on the gas pedal and get done with most of the distance, but there is equal important to stepping out of the road occasionally to rest & re-energize. Moreover, it’s important to not only get comfortable with detours, but actually fully embrace them. The detours have mostly led to some of our most memorable experiences, best laughs and distinct experiences – at times, they were even more fun than the overly planned times.

This is definitely the mindset I aspire to adhere to in the coming phase of my life. Set a general direction, get comfortable with the uncertainties along the way,& be open to fully adapting to all the little experiences or detours along the way. It’s never too late for a continuously evolving life plan. To more years of adulthood

Women’s belongings…

I’m continuously perplexed by how (and why) women find it very easy to own and become possessive about their personal belongings..bags, shoes, clothes, furniture etc but when it comes to their success (whatever form that takes) they will tend to discuss it flippantly and will in many cases downplay it and feel more comfortable attributing it to pure luck? Why can’t women ‘own’ the things they’ve worked hard for in the same way they ‘own’ their belongings? #randomramblings

The female hairdresser experience

If anyone ever wants to assess a woman’s behavior for real – she should be mostly observed in a hair salon. The hairdresser’s place is truly a unique venue that brings out some pretty unsettling behavior in some women.

First of all, I never understand why the hairdresser needs to know the entire history of the woman or her most intricate private life details – whoever said that a hairdresser (particularly the male ones) need to be part of the family and know about all your marital or relationship problems?

Secondly, the entitlement and audacity with which some women speak out when the final ‘make-over’ isn’t up to their standards or they don’t particularly like it is appalling! Hairdressers and all their support staff are humans too with a complete set of feelings and emotions – some seem to forget that! Yes you are paying for a service – but really just like any other service in life – sometimes it is up to your standards and sometimes it isn’t. Hair grows back out again! No haircut is permanent! No color is permanent either! Why should all hell break lose if you are not the almighty queen 24/7?

Where are the basic manners??! Some decency please. #randomramblings

Life advice from a Mauritian billionaire

“Your generation…I don’t get you [said with a genuinely befuddled expression]… so many of you are happy just passing idle time standing on the platform waiting for the perfect train that’s just going to lead you to the best destination where all your hopes will suddenly be realized. You talk among each other and over-analyze everything. You show each other pictures or the lives you want to lead, of the partners you wish you have, of the places you wish to go and the things you’d love to do. But then, one train passes by and you say ‘oh this one is too crowded! I’ll wait for the next one.’ Next one comes and you say ‘oh, but this doesn’t have the right crowd in it.’ Next train you say ‘oh this doesn’t look as good as the previous one [the one you forgot you turned down in a second], and you spend years and years looking at pictures of your aspirational destination but you do minimal effort to get to it – or you refuse to fail on the way to get to it.

I just keep telling my kids, and I’ll tell you – take the god damned train…don’t ask too many questions, take it – give it your best shot – you’ll never know what it may bring you..maybe its not to your ‘happy’ destination, but you might meet great people on board, maybe you have a life-changing conversation, maybe you hop off somewhere nicer than what you had hoped…maybe you hate it – and decide to change paths. Who cares? But I can definitely tell you – keeping moving is so much better than standing stationery talking about your wishes!”

Life advice from one of Mauritius’ leading, self-made billionaries.

Humility at work

Today as I witnessed another work related scene (briefly relayed below), I wondered about the trait of Humility – is part of it just a ‘natural’ character trait? or is it cultivated – and if so how, when and by who?
Or is it something that can only truly exist by age?

We lack it a lot in the Arab world – whether its head of state, government officials, head of corporations, or even the average head of nothing but their own turf, operating in their daily lives interacting with people of a different social status, education, nationality etc.!

“Chairman: Has the [country] delegation arrived yet? Shall we go outside to meet them?

Junior employee: They’re 5 minutes away. No need for you to go down

Chairman: No we must

Junior employee: The most senior members aren’t coming in today anyway – they only arrive tomorrow.

Chairman: This has nothing to do with seniority. This is the first time we receive a delegation from this institution, let alone from the country. They just arrived from the airport. Literally this would be their first impression of the country and our organization. Never get fooled by seniority – whoever is VIP today could be removed tomorrow and whoever is ‘normal’ for you today could be this institution’s CEO in several years.  Me & you might be gone from this company – but these people will never forget their first impression today. So let’s make sure we make it a warm welcome!”