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10 Lessons From Sabbir Hasan Nasir of ACI Logistics

Sabbir Hasan Nasir is the Executive Director of ACI Logistics where he leads Shwapno, the leading retail brand in the country. Mr. Sabbir has a diverse career spanning multiple sectors and countries. He is also an author of four books – three of them are a series on Sufism and a poetry book entitled Podochinho.

Mr. Sabbir was born in Khulna where he spent a large part of his early life. Growing up, he was into music, math, and physics. He studied mechanical engineering at BUET, worked with Professor Dr. Jamal Nazrul Islam – the prominent Bangladeshi mathematical physicist, and cosmologist, then moved to business and went on to do an MBA, studied Sufism and recently has completed an executive program on management, innovation, and technology from MIT – Sloan School of Management.

A self-described designer and passionate student of Sufism, to be in a conversation with him is a little like wandering into a wonderland of tranquility, warmth, critical thinking and humility.

In a recent interview with Future Startup, he shares a set of simple yet effective life lessons from his years of experience on living a meaningful life. You can read the full interview here.

Sabbir Hasan Nasir
Sabbir Hasan Nasir | Courtesy of Shwapno

1) Explore, tinker and find new ways. I always believe in the idea of taking the difficult and less traveled path. As I learned from my math teachers in school, there are many ways to solve a problem.

A conventional way or popular way is not essentially the right way or the most effective and efficient way of doing something. Instead of giving in to the default mode, exploring other options often lead to the eureka moment.

2) Seek difficulties. Impact and fulfillment, both come from achieving difficult goals. There is little satisfaction in doing what is easy and everyone else can do.

3) Creativity is combinatorial and beauty lies in diversity. In order to meaningfully create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to tap into our diverse cognitive pool of education, experience, insight and inspiration that we’ve accumulated over the years, cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, amalgamate and connect these countless distinct dots, and build new ideas in extraordinary new ways. You can only do that when you have experienced life in all its forms.

4) Treat people with empathy. Treat and observe your customers with the highest level of empathy. I and my whole organization get very concerned when we get a complaint from a single customer. We try our level best to satisfy our customers. I am not implying that we don’t make mistakes, we do. We understand that it is a persistent challenge to satisfy all the customer a hundred percent time. But I can say that everyone on the team tries heart and soul. That is our promise and that is our attitude.

5) Develop a growth mindset. As a CEO, you need to have a growth mindset. Now, it is easy to tell that you should have a growth mindset but it takes real work to build one and constantly maintain it. It is a frame of mind through which you look at the world.

The advantage of having a growth mindset is that you look at things more constructively. For instance, when you see one of your team members struggling, instead of identifying him as an incapable person, you try to help him to grow and perform better. When you fail, you look at it as an opportunity to learn instead of as your inability. This is an indispensable quality because you will face constant challenges, unless you see them in a more positive light you will not be able to endure and thrive.

6) Stretch yourself. Go beyond your capacity and comfort zone.

7) Believe in yourself. This is important because when you believe in yourself everything changes.

8) Leave your ego. Ego is our most dangerous enemy. Be aware of it. Learn from others and break your ego from the equation. Recognize that your knowledge is limited and what you know is not absolute. You have to learn from the day laborer, the farmer, and nature.

9) Experience is everything. Read as well as experience things. Everything that you read, you can experience as well and experience is the best teacher.

10) Do not go for cheap things. Anything that comes easily almost always does not worth it. Don’t settle for easy or less, imagine immensities and aim for the best.

Note: This story has been re-produced from our interview with Mr. Sabbir Hasan Nasir published in October 2017.

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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