12 Ramadan 2018: Opportunity vs. Opportunism

I am an opportunist. When opportunities come, and I see them serving my grander goals in life, I take them. – Evangeline Lilly

In accepting our destiny and our lives … we must accept that the opportunities that come our way are the means through which we live our lives everyday as best as we can. However small the opportunity, if it benefits us, we must take it with an open heart accepting that there is underlying goodness.

Having said that, and what I have come to recognise very recently, is the concept of opportunism where we not only take up opportunities that come our way, but we see relationships and exchanges, especially with other people, as an existing or future opportunity.

The problem with this concept is that while it brings many benefits, it often makes people feel either used or empowers an equally committed opportunist keeping relationships at a superficial level. Some may not see anything wrong with that, the problem is that one will at some point face tough times in life and it is only those who do not see us as a “benefit” who will be by our side in what could possibly be the last days of our lives.

I say go for opportunity and let go of opportunism and if some of your friends or family are opportunists, recognise it and limit the effort you put in these relationships to the extent to which you can help as and when you can. Instead, I want to focus on the relationships that do matter that are not directly underpinned by benefits but are often superbly beneficial, both in life and after-life.

These relationships help make my life matter.

I don’t know what sort of world she will live in and I have no fixed opinions concerning how she should live in it. I only know that if she does not come to value what is true above what is useful, it will make little difference whether she lives at all. – Cormac McCarthy

So how do you recognise an opportunist?

  • They are highly communicative when they have a need
  • You don’t know much about their lives no matter how close you get
  • Often stay on the fence when it comes to sticky situations you are involved in
  • Often resistant to feedback or suggestions about how they live their lives
  • They don’t often share information and generally have a low level of altruism

The more important question then becomes, am I an opportunist?

Photo by Matt Sclarandis on Unsplash


27 Ramadan 2017: A Source of Despair from Within (2 of 2)

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself. ― Harvey Fierstein

As a follow-on to my previous post about sources of despair that are form within, the second one is not being who you are.

By not being who you are, you are denying yourself tasks that you feel closely align with your strengths. By not being who you are, you are denying yourself a long term dream and goal that is befitting to how you are meant to make an impact in the limited time you have on earth. By not being who you are, you are not receiving words of encouragement and support from those who truly care about your well-being and success.

This causes one to despair because one often finds themselves uncomfortable and restless for reasons that may not be clear leading to underachievement, productivity and personal satisfaction.

So, be who you are. Speak up. Hang out with people who are giving. Dream big and dream far.

In whatever job or situation you are in, actively work on moving into something that more closely aligns with your god-given strengths and don’t let external factors or circumstances make you give up on that. These circumstances may delay your plans, but don’t give up on them!


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19 Ramadan 2017: It is time …

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. – Steve Jobs

We all know the state of the world these days, what we didn’t need is another tragedy. We woke up to the story of a burning building in London where many are believed to be in critical state or have moved on from this life. May those who have left their families and loved ones behind rest in peace.

What it did get me thinking about is how something like this awakens something in one’s soul that tackles despair…we have a limited time on earth and if it was our turn tomorrow, what have we left behind?

A good reputation? Helpful advice? Some charity? Knowledge? Anger? Materialistic behavior? Shallow advice? Envy? Greed?

We are what we leave behind … and we leave behind our words, our money, our work, our families, and our friendships … so are they in the condition we would like to leave it in?

We might not achieve what we hope to achieve but at least we can try and people know we tried.

It is time … it is time to be free of fears and expectations that are unjustified.

It is time … to go after what we want and share it with others.

It is time … to enjoy each other’s time while we still can.

It is time … to help those in need in whatever way we can.

It is time … to choose our words carefully.

It is time … to commit to excellence in whatever we set our minds to.

It is time …



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18 Ramadan 2017: Moderation and Balance

Everything in moderation, and there’s a perfect balance in this life if we can find it. – Ryan Robbins

Susan Jeffers’, in Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, presents a model for one’s “whole life” (p. 139). It has 9 boxes covering different facets in one’s life as opposed to one or two aspects that if gone, sends one on a downward spiral towards depression, sadness or despair.

Moderation, to me, is having a balanced life in different aspects. We may not be perfect in each sphere, but we are balanced. Being extreme is about putting our eggs in one basket be it work, relationship, kids, friends etc… without taking other spheres into account.

So when we are not where we want to be at work, we look at the other areas to provide balance until we are satisfied with work again, and so forth. So the key is also to have the right “spheres” within our lives that together, give us a balanced and satisfactory life.

I ask god, in this blessed month, to help us identify the different spheres of focus in our lives and help us live our life in moderation practicing patience when things don’t seem* to be good and practicing gratitude when things seem* to go well.

* sometimes we label things good or bad, but in reality, only outcomes can be assessed good or bad.


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16 Ramadan 2017: The Real You

Starve the ego, feed the soul – Unknown

As we approach the last days of Ramadan, it is worth looking back at the last 16 days and use the next couple of days to prepare for what it is we want, we hope, and we seek for the next year and beyond.

The last 10 days are special because those who fast this month believe that there is one special night that is bestowed on people who are genuine in their actions of worship, love and charity bringing great blessings with it where angels surround earth, the skies and the heavens above. It is also in this special night that our destinies for the next year are revealed, may they be great.

Reflection is key to this preparation as we have had 16 days to really see who we really are as fasting and the fasting month expose our souls in ways that are often more challenging day to day as we are busy at work, home, friends, and life more generally.

How were you with people? Did you gossip? Did you hurt someone with your words or actions?

How did you feel about people? Envious? Hoping for them what you hope for yourself?

How were you with your family? Your children? Were you angry? Were you kind and merciful?

How were you with money? Did you waste it? Did you share it with others through gifts and generosity?

How were you with work? Did you complete tasks with excellence?

How were you with god? Did you seek forgiveness for the *not so proud* things you did? Did you ask for all the things you want?

Ramadan is not about limiting food and drink, ramadan is about seeing who we truly are and working on what needs to improve and thanking god for the lovely qualities we have.



Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

15 Ramadan 2017: Control

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. – Brian Tracy

I spoke about destiny in an earlier post, in a larger sense, it is about letting go of events and matters in our lives that we cannot control.

Whether it is a child who is adamant about disrespecting, or a person determined to bring negativity to others, or natural disasters or acts of war, or even a bankrupted employer, these are all matters that we cannot control whatsoever.

What we can control however, is how we respond to them and more specifically, responding assertively to events out of our reach or influence.

The first step is to never blame oneself.

The second is to to recognize that just because a certain undesirable event is happening,  it does not mean that I am a victim of it without any say in how I can reduce its impact on myself and my loved ones.

The third step is to seek the learning and the change that is meant to happen within me as a result of me experiencing or witnessing this event for nothing is by chance.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr


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28 Ramadan 2016: What do we want?

Are these things really better than the things I already have? Or am I just trained to be dissatisfied with what I have now? ― Chuck Palahniuk

RLWhat do we really want?

I think, beyond colors, cultures and genders, we all just want to be happy.

While a stable state of happiness is not possible in that sense, it is possible to have a stable state of happiness if we accept the way things are, the way things come, the way things go … happiness is about acceptance.

Let us accept our spouses, accept our kids, accept our looks, accept our wealth, accept our friends, accept our jobs, … accept everything.

All of a sudden we will see that we live abundant lives full of blessings we can never thank god for.



Image courtesy of Kittikun Atsawintarangkul / freedigitalphotos.net

24 Ramadan 2016: Be Productive

If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. ― Bruce Lee

RLYou can sit on the couch all day, watch a movie (or two), have some low fat popcorn, call your favorite people, have a lovely refreshing drink, practice your Chakras, carry out your yoga and meditation moves … anything that is considered relaxation to you, you will eventually realize that it was a waste of time.

I know, I know … you think I am crazy right? You have to relax to re-charge, right?

Actually, to re-charge, you need “charge” from a positive event or accomplishment or experience, and so to re-charge, one must be productive.

Don’t get me wrong, these relaxation activities are great and are worth persuing, if in the least, to enjoy life. HOwever, it is from my experience that eventually, their impact wears out and what remains is what productive activity one took one, especially one that caters to one’s strengths and talents.

As we start the last week of the blessed month, I ask god to give us the health, wealth and spirit to keep moving, keep serving, keep organizing, keep talking, keep steady, keep … keep … keep.


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15 Ramadan 2016: Time for Resolutions

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.  – Tony Robbins

RLWhile we might not always achieve them, setting goals guides us in terms of where we should at least intend to direct our energy.

Without goals, there is no accomplishment, and without accomplishment, one doesn’t move forward, and without moving forward, one is definitely moving backwards, and moving backwards means that we are not making our short time on earth really count.

People typically set resolutions at the beginning of the year, and I used to do that, but defining them mid-Ramadan, I have found, is the most optimum time to do so.

It is believed that Ramadan is not only a physically bounded time, be it in hours or days, for fasting. Ramadan is believed to be a time when everything, in the heavens and on earth, change to accommodate for greater goodness and less evil, satanic whisperings are at a minimum and what we are left with is a raw form of ourselves.

So having experienced the first 15 days of Ramadan, I am always astounded with learnings about who I am. I am more clear headed, more accepting of things and more calm … but at the same time, situations expose my weaknesses more than any other time of the year. Of course, I am talking about weaknesses that become barriers to us achieving our dreams, goals and living the best life we can and being the best that we can be.

So at mid-Ramadan I ask myself, what are my weaknesses and what am I going to do about them from now until next Ramadan?

So take a moment and look at yourself, what have the past 15 days telling you?



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12 Ramadan 2016: Change *Signal*

Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use. – Earl Nightingale

RLI heard an interview with a *now* coach and consultant who was asked why he left his previous prominent function which was well paid, highly respected and prestigious. His answer was simple, he did not feel that he could not serve well in that role.

WOW! He could not serve well …

We are commonly guided that it is time to change a job or role we hold or responsibility we have when we feel restricted, unmotivated, unhappy, not supported etc… but in this interview, it is when we do not feel like we are serving well.

This means that if we are in a job or carry out a responsibility and we do not feel like we are serving others in a way that suits us and in the greatest way possible, then we are or we will eventually feel restricted, unmotivated, unhappy, not supported etc…

In this Ramadan, and in these blessed days, it is not a bad idea to take stock of how we spend our time between jobs and responsibilities and identify where are not serving well … and either let go or change our mindset. For example, as parents our responsibilities includes taking care of our kids, and while we cannot let go of that responsibility, we can start look a this role as a role of service and focus on doing our best in it to revive motivation.



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