Tip #13: In life, time waits for no one

By Younas Chaudhary

In 2017, Hurricane Harvey destroyed my most prized possession, my home. This was the place where my children grew up, went to school, and got married; where we enjoyed countless family gatherings and parties; and where we created innumerable memories over 22 years. Our family lost priceless albums, cars, and antiques in that flood, and the losses ran into the millions. My wife, Bushra, who was suffering from the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, wept profusely as we toured the wreckage of our beloved house. I was emotionally devastated.

It was unbearable for me, as a parent, to see my family’s cherished memories get swept away in a matter of hours. So, once normalcy returned, I began repairing  the house from the ground up. My children asked me: “Papa, are you out of your mind to invest time and money in something that is totally gone?”  But I stayed firm and rebuilt it.  It was an emotional decision, not a logical decision, for me.  The critical, analytical side of my mind did indeed say: “Younas, this is a sheer waste of time, money, and effort.”  But my emotional side said: “No. This was my blood, sweat, and tears, and I must bring it back to what it was before.” And in truth, I did rebuild the home to its past glory.

But it did not bring the past back. In life, time waits for no one; and with the passage of time, everyone except for Bushra and me  moved away to the other side of town. Later, we moved too, and the home stood empty and vacant.

Emotion and logic are like two sides of a coin. In the mid-eighties, early in my career, when a contentious partnership deal with investors went sour, my initial, emotional decision was just to exit out of it. However, as I thought through the situation rationally and applied intelligence, logic, and analytical skills, I realized that the prudent course would be to work out a deal rather than abandon it in anger. As a result, I bought out my partners and ended up owning their share of the assets. And sure enough, this deal turned out to be a superb investment for me within a few years.

Emotions and logic tell us quickly what to do, but we need to decide! In the mid-eighties, I submitted a bid for an oilfield property, only to find out that a family member had also made a bid for the same property. Then, strangely, we both got out-bided by a third person who knew us both. Soon after, I received a phone call from this individual, who nervously told me that though he had been awarded the property, he was broke and needed money to secure this deal in the next three days! I asked him first if he had offered this deal to anyone else yet. He told me that he had called my family member about it, and he had said he was busy and directed him to call one of his local workers to discuss the bid. However, that worker apparently asked him too many questions and he felt it was not wise to wait any longer. So, he stressed to me, he was very nervous about this potentially ruinous deal.

Without a moment’s hesitation, I told him I would buy the deal from him. I promptly bought him a return ticket from Denver, where he flew the same day, signed the deal, and I gave him a good commission and transferred the winning bid into my name. He went home a happy man. A few days later, my relative who had bid for the same property learned about the outcome and was disappointed to have lost out on what was clearly a good deal.  

In other words, this was a situation requiring quick, decisive action, and both logic (my evaluation of the deal) and emotion (my eagerness to win it) helped me. The moral here is that time is of the essence, and whether you are using emotional reasoning or logical reasoning (or hopefully both), you need to be ready and willing to make quick and fast decisions in life!

There have been numerous instances in my career where I have fought with hard logic to bring others to my side. And when that has not worked, I have often had to switch to using emotion to understand their perspective.

Here are a few tips to remember when using logic and emotion to make a decision:

  1. It is often essential to make a timely decision.
  2. There are no perfect decisions, and neither logic alone nor emotion alone will guarantee us a win.
  3. We can argue armed with facts, but when we reach a stalemate, emotion can help resolve the issue at hand.
  4. Always try to use emotion to build a story for the other side and involve them in your cause.
  5. When making proposals for deals, make sure that those proposals will also help the other parties solve their issues/problems.
  6. Once you take an emotional and/or logical decision, learn to live with the outcome without regret. Always remind yourself that there are no perfect decisions in life!

Find out more about me in my best-selling book “From Dirt Roads to Black Gold.” Note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of this book will help people in need through my foundation, the YBC Foundation. I’ve just released the Urdu version of my book titled “Mehnat Se Nemat Tak” (A Journey of My Life) and is available for download here.

Stay tuned for Blog 29 Tip 14: Relationships Matter


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated.  Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.