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Syed’s blog is brought to you today by the word “Perspective”.

Perspective: a way of regarding situations, facts, etc., and judging their relative importance.

Lots of times, even when we know what’s important to us, it takes something external to give us perspective. With ever-connected, always-on, increasingly busy lives, we get lost in the day-to-day and forget to give the really important things in life their due. We get so caught up in our careers, in trying to be successful, that the little things that become big things slip by without noticing.

Like your kids.

 Syed Ahmed - Father's Day 2013 - My son's perspective of me


So what triggered this post?

I’ve been away sick with a cold last week, so I left home yesterday morning knowing that there would be lots of work when I got into the office. On top of that, some unexpected issues had come up over the weekend, so those would also need to be looked at. Typical Monday morning, except on steroids.

Then, at 9:30, I got a call from my wife, saying that she had just been in a car accident. She was going out to drop my older son to pre-school, and unusually, had also decided to take the little two-year old with her. He’s also got a cold, so she thought she would take him to the doctor for a check-up after dropping the older one off.

As she pulled out of our driveway, a car came tearing down the street and smashed into her from her right, ripping the front bumper off.

Thankfully, no one was hurt.

After calming her down over the phone and dealing with the ensuing insurance process, I got her to take some photos of the damage to the car and send them to me.

It wasn’t until I saw the photos that it dawned upon me how close I had come to losing my family. If she had pulled out a second earlier, the other car would have ploughed straight into her and my two year-old at about twice the speed limit on our street.

Game over.


Nothing I can do at work, no achievement, no success, no insights, no innovation can ever compare to the most important, precious thing in my life. My family.

I’m writing this as a reminder to myself (and hopefully to whoever else is reading this) that there are much more important things in life than work. When at work, be at work. Focus, be hyper-productive, kick goals, get it done. But don’t bring it home.

Keep it in perspective. Don’t let your hunger to get that big project over the line force you to sacrifice the really important little (or big) things in your life. Alternatively, if you have to deal with it at work, don’t bring any negativity back home with you and share it with your family.

I’ve been there. Done that. Put in 80 hour weeks. Worked and studied full-time simultaneously. Missed out on life. Looking back, I’m not glad that I did, but I’m trying to learn from it.

Remember what Stephen Covey said:

“Nobody on their death bed wished they’d spent more time at the office.”