Surviving Dubai, Entrepreneur Style.

This story was inspired by a diary entry of mine – although I wrote it for Dubai, it holds true for every entrepreneur in any city. 

When I first ventured out into Dubai, I encountered the buzz words in human form…”glitzy”, “materialistic”, “empty”…you’ve heard it all, I’m sure. The mass media has played an integral role in my inaccurate initial perception of this city. I felt empty, alone and I really did not know how to navigate a world that I thought was solely focused on the size of one’s bank account.

How am I going to survive in this concrete maze? , I wondered.

Living in Dubai for the past 6 years has reinforced my belief that the pursuit of materialistic comforts is the wrong direction for your personal compass. The accumulation of financial wealth should be a by-product of your success, but not the ultimate goal. Point your internal compass solely on the financial and you’ll feel that familiar emptiness… that malaise that haunts those of us who have managed to proverbially “make it”.

95/365 #Today, we say goodbye to our beautiful "glass box in the sky". We're looking forward to our new home, which we will fill with even more love than this one. This is what we work for. This is what success is.  #nogoodbyes #myfamilyishome #live #love #business #entrepreneur
95/365 #Today, we say goodbye to our beautiful "glass box in the sky". We're looking forward to our new home, which we will fill with even more love than this one. This is what we work for. This is what success is. #nogoodbyes #myfamilyishome #live #love #business #entrepreneur

The huge house, fancy car and luxury items are all admirable goals, but they are not solutions to your soul’s discomfort. They give us joy, but they do not fix us.

So, how does one survive Dubai’s concrete jungle? The answer is simple and it is complex.

Be still. Don’t focus on the money. Focus on the people.

The spirits of people are inherently beautiful. Omar and I began to dig deep…scouring the city for anyone and everyone who were outliers…who stood for something other than the superficial. We began to hold court with artists & entrepreneurs who were fighting the same internal (and external) battles that we were. Forever optimistic and driven by a limitless well of hope, together, we began to shape what we believe is the creative soul of the city. The deeper we dug, the more people we met. The more people we met, the more that unknowingness…that emptiness and loneliness dissipated.

We did not just find a group of people. We found a movement. We found a motley crew community of transient nomads that nurtures us, that laughs with us and that saves us when the pressure builds.

To my friends: Thank you for bringing light into my life and shattering stereotypes daily.

To the friends I have yet to meet: I can’t wait to share adventures with you.

May you point your personal compass true north, towards positive people who make your life a more fulfilling place.

Love,

Reem