Muscat: When it comes to overcoming odds and blazing trails despite setbacks, one young man stands out as the quintessence of determination.
Meet Qaiser Abbas, a highly successful motivational speaker, business psychologist, best-selling author, and entrepreneur.
In speaking to Qaiser, now 36, you'd never imagine the life he experienced as a child in Pakistan. Confident and well-spoken, today he is a bundle of energy — confident and raring to go.
"It is hard for people I meet now to even imagine that I suffered from an acute lack of self-confidence and self-esteem as a young boy. But then, such was my background. I was born into a family that lived well below the poverty line, even struggling to eat one solid meal a day. I lost my parents at an early age and had to fend for myself. However, my determination to overcome all challenges posed by circumstances helped me reach where I have," said Qaiser.
For Qaiser, his greatest inspiration was his father.
"Though he was just a labourerto the world, he was a symbol of dedication, hard work, self-reliance, and perseverance. When I lost him at a young age, I became single-minded about pulling my family out of misery," he stated.
The thought that kept him going was that nothing in the world could keep people from fulfilling their most precious, seemingly impossible dreams.
Working part time, he paid his own fees to complete his masters in business psychology.
His troubles didn't end there; he attended 200 interviews, only to be rejected.
"Everybody around me was convinced that I was a hopeless case, except for me. I was not willing to give up," he remarked.
Qaiser took a risk and launched a corporate consultancy business (without a physical office). At the same time, he started writing his initial training programmes.
He made a point to meet with the bosses of corporate houses and influential people. In time, corporations started lapping up his innovative management-training programmes and started inviting him to speak. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, he is the Chief Inspiring Officer (yes, that is his designation) of Possibilities, the management-development consulting company he founded, which operates from Pakistan. His successful team-building and leadership programmes have won him clients amongst major corporations such as Coca-Cola, Nestlé, P&G, HinoPak, Total, KSB Pumps, ORIX, and Reckitt-Benckiser.
Qaiser is in Oman to enhancehis business. "Over the last seven years, I have been invited multiple times by the Oman Orix company to conduct various training programmes. Last time, I was here for a business-creativity programme, but this time, we are holding a team-building session at a resort in the middle of the desert," said Qaiser, who has been facilitating team-building sessions for companies within and outside Pakistan.
Qaiser has some five books to his credit, including the Tick Tick Dollar and Outclass Teams. "I am the first Pakistani to write a book on team building," he stated.
Today, helping people is what inspires Qaiser. "I help people discover their purpose for living and then help them to accomplish it," he remarked.
One of the projects close to Qaiser's heart is the nationwide campaign on education in Pakistan, in which he is participating.
"I run 70 schools all over Pakistan. I use my own money for the purpose. I don't accept funding from anyone. My dream is to establish 500 of these schools. My aim is to educate some seven million students. Education is the way forward for every nation," he affirmed.
At one point, Qaiser couldn't even afford public transport; today, he is a jet-setter. Once, he had to wear clothes donated by rich relatives; today, he sports branded attire. In the past, he attended a school without chairs or walls; today, he runs schools. At one time, he shivered at the thought of walking into an interview; today, he teaches corporate grooming to the top brass of corporations. "It is possible. If I have made a success of my life, everybody can. I want to inspire, empower, and change people's lives," he observed.
As a social entrepreneur, he created the Possibilities Foundation, an organisation that works to better the lives of the underprivileged.
Through another of his projects, the Youth Studio, he conducts workshops for the youth in cities across Pakistan. He hopes to inspire the youth to contribute to society in a positive way.
We asked Qaiser if adversity can be a motivating factor for success.
"Yes," he asserted.
"I converted my pain into motivation," he explained. He surely did.