Carmine Marinelli/Richmond News
Accountant-turned-activist Azim Jamal has written seven books, and recently spoke at the India Leadership summit.
If you think small, you live small
By Michelle Hopkins
Richmond’s Azim Jamal remembers the defining moment that changed his life forever.
In 1997, the accountant was sent to Karachi, Pakistan to work. What he saw there made him sob and vow to help.
“While I was there, I was invited to visit a small hut that housed 14 homeless Afghanistan refugees and I heard their desperate pleas,” recalls Jamal. “They had walked for 19 days in cold, brutal weather in the mountains with only T-shirts and no shoes to escape civil war in their country. I felt physically sick listening to their stories of horror.
“However, despite their plight, I saw little children with smiles on their faces and I knew there was hope.”
The best-selling author of seven books added he sobbed like a baby on the cab ride back to his hotel. Drying his tears, he wondered what he could do to help.
“I used to speak as a hobby but I was never trained as a speaker but I thought if I did that for a living maybe I could raise money for the poor and suffering,” recalls Jamal.
He left his successful career and hit the road with hopes that he could motivate people to help.
“Imagine working 14 hours a day in the blistering heat for $1 a day, that’s what many impoverished people do,” he says.
Today, he is a leading inspirational speaker who travels the world spreading his message of the power of giving and raising public and corporate awareness and money.
This week, Jamal will share the stage with former U.S. president Bill Clinton, Cherie Booth, lawyer and wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair as well as Craig and Marc Kielburger, founders of Free the Children, at the India Leadership summit.
“I’m actually leaving for a month for 15 speaking engagements across England, India and across Europe,” says Jamal, who adds 100 per cent of the proceeds from his book The Power of Giving goes directly to charities that work in Third World countries.
The Tanzanian-born Jamal tells audiences that he sees his transformation as going from “accounting for business to accounting for life.”
More than a million people around the world have heard his inspiring words, and he’s received accolades from leading thinkers such as Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. Wayne Dyer, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul series Jack Canfield, Brian Stacy and others.
Jamal, who moved to Richmond in 1990, says he is forever grateful for living in Canada.
“When you travel to Third World countries and see the endless suffering of people, how can we look at life and not be grateful?” he says.
On stage, Jamal reminds his audience of the abundances that result from giving.
“I speak about the six commitments of giving,” explains Jamal.
Those are: the power of giving (the more you give, the more you have); of clarity of purpose (open your eyes to your “birth” gifts); of positive pride (if you think small you live small); of balanced living, (slow is fast so slow down and listen with compassion); of enlightened persistence (know when to persist and when to exit); and finally to live in the present moment (be 100 per cent present).
Jamal’s message is simple: The more you give the more you reap.
“I’m not just talking about money, it’s about giving of your time, compassion, knowledge, thoughts and energy,” says Jamal.
So who inspires Jamal?
“The leader Aga Khan of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada as well as the Dalai Lama and Mother Teresa, they all motivate me to be a better person and to give more,” says Jamal, whose Tides Foundation furthers his humanitarian work.
Jamal concludes his interview with a reporter with a final thought: “Forgiveness is the perfume, the flower gives the hand that crushes it.”
Visit http://www.azimjamal.com for more.