“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”
For Abdulghaphor Hajjieh, that day was when he was run over by a car. The accident forced him to reevaluate his life. It was an emotional experience, as if a bolt of lightning had suddenly made everything different.
Abdulghaphor also talks about another, less traumatic, life changing experience. When his sister gifted him a Pentium 4 Compaq PC, his curiosity was awakened. ‘There was no Wikipedia page back then, you had to search the web, page by page, and piece together the information.’ Unfortunately, his obsession with his computer had a detrimental effect on his studies, resulting in low grades from Qurain High School.
But he doesn’t describe himself as a workaholic for nothing. He enrolled at the Public Authority for Applied Education (PAAET) and graduated with excellence, receiving an Associate Degree in Accounting. That degree enabled him to climb one step higher on the academic ladder and he is currently studying for a Master’s degree at Kuwait University.
Whilst at PAAET, he became involved in volunteer work. ‘It made me see things from different perspectives. I also got to meet larger-than-life characters, aspiring politicians and young activists, giving me an even bigger motivation to succeed.’
Abdulghaphor is an advocate for humanist causes. ‘I had a fairly ordinary childhood,’ he says. ‘I lived with my parents in an apartment building where I was exposed to different cultures. I played cricket and developed a taste for Indian and Syrian food. I also learned about Hinduism and Christianity which made me a firm believer in multiculturalism.’
It was with his childhood friend, Abdullah Benyan, that he established a marketing agency called Qurain Studio. They specialize in expanding the reach of small businesses through online and offline channels, helping their brand communicate with different segments. ‘We are unique in the sense that we serve a well defined client base and bring Kuwaiti market insight to our clients.’
One of Abdulghaphor’s favourite things to do is to the help the people around him. This is evident in both this personal and his professional life. Along with others, he established the Youth Association of Kuwait, the first left-leaning youth organization in Kuwait. ‘I am motivated by the enduring hardship that our Kuwaiti forefathers went through for us to live this comfortable life. I believe we owe it to future generations to work hard for them to have even better opportunities than the ones we have.’
He puts his success down to extensive research and says, ‘There is no absolute failure, but transitional failure. Own your failure and invest in the knowledge you gained from it.’
Human ingenuity is also important, he insists. ‘I read somewhere that there are two tragedies in life. One is not getting what you want and the other is getting it. It’s always good to have something to pursue in life, otherwise what’s the point?’
One of Abdulghaphor’s favourite quotes is “Chaos is a ladder.” His own career ladder, however, sounds far from chaotic. His first job was that of a journalist, writing unbiased new reports in Arabic. He also worked at the International Monetary Fund (a United Nations organization) before turning to freelancing. When asked about his current role as a Marketing Consultant he says, ‘We believe in what we do. A successful marketing strategy generates steadily rising sales, making businesses sustainable. Our success is directly linked to that of our clients; thus we create synergy.’
His story is certainly an inspirational one and he’s keen to deliver a message of hope to others. ‘It is a great honour to be selected as one of CP Magazine’s Inspiring Men. I hope this signals to other people that there is always a second, third and even a fourth chance in life to pick yourself up and achieve great things.’