19 Ramadan 2018: Falling Short of Our Own Expectations

Have high expectations and hopes for yourself, do your best, but do not debilitate yourself with meeting them – keep aspiring and celebrate the journey – Ramadan Living

I am a firm believer that we need to set high expectations for ourselves, for in these high expectations we see action comparable in hope and energy.

Having said that, what I have experienced is that sadness and de-motivation – very different to the fruits of acceptance – kick in once I realise that either what I set out to do is not going to materialise or it may be more difficult to get there. All of a sudden, these high expectations are a burden and “giving up” often replaces the high hopes and high energy.

I have also experienced this during this blessed month as I set out to do more good, pray more, remember more, learn more, but often, I fall short and often, because of other people, situations or circumstances out of my control. In falling short, I found myself discouraged and not accepting that even in falling short, there is wisdom, nurturing and growth.

I ask god to bless us all with the positivity to set high expectations for ourselves balanced with resilience and patience when we fall short of them, and we will fall short.

 

Photo by XiaoXiao Sun on unsplash

 

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7 Ramadan 2018: Lives Underpinned by Love

No matter what storm you face, you need to know that God loves you. He has not abandoned you. – Franklin Graham

We generally think that god loves us when good things happen in our lives; we feel special and feel blessed. We feel that god loves us and that he must be satisfied with who we are and the good things we strive to do, until … we experience tough moments or despite our best efforts, we fall short in doing good.

Feelings of disappointment start to creep up and we start to feel God does not love us, or has given up on us. With this feeling comes discouragement and negativity. With this feeling comes a lack of appreciation of positive instances and lack of acceptance of negative instances in our lives.

I experienced this the other day when I was not able to wake up for the night meal before starting the next fasting day. Despite taking practical steps to ensure I wake up, I was not able to enjoy a nice meal at a time during the night that is peaceful in one of the most blessed months. My immediate reaction? Complete negativity and feeling of discouragement.

I started to think, maybe acceptance is not only about accepting all that happens to us, but is about accepting that every single small or big thing that happens in our lives is underpinned by god’s love and not disappointment. I believe that this wonderful underpinning is the key to acceptance in all areas of our lives. As long as our intentions are good, every single second in our lives on earth is a single second where god showers us with his love irrespective of how we determine our second to be, good or bad.

May we always see our lives as they are, engrossed in god’s love.

 

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

13 Ramadan 2017: Despair, Criticism and Failure

Do not let arrogance go to your head and despair to your heart; do not let compliments go to your head and criticisms to your heart; do not let success go to your head and failure to your heart.― Roy T. Bennett

What I liked about this quote is how it ultimately presents three key facts when it comes to despair.

The first is that despair is set in the heart. This explains why it is more challenging to let go of the negative feelings that come with despair for if it was rationality, we could logically limit its’ effects on our lives.

The second is that criticisms often negatively affect our hearts leading to despair even if they are neither justified nor warranting feelings of despair in our lives.

The third is that we sometimes take failure so seriously, it affects the state of our hearts in feelings of loss, and despair sets in.

So while criticism and failure does give us feelings of sadness and disappointment, maybe engaging our rationality is a way through to prevent these feelings from taking over our hearts and setting us in on a path of despair.

 

 

Image courtesy of stockdevil at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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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6 Ramadan 2016: Assertive Living

Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:

– I shall not fear anyone on Earth.
– I shall fear only God.
– I shall not bear ill will toward anyone.
– I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
– I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

A key aspect of making it count is …

doing what we want, when we want, as we want, without causing harm be it intentionally or unintentionally to anyone else.

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What we want is key to happiness in life.

What we want is what our heart, mind and soul desire from our short time on earth.

What we want is something god has inspired in our hearts.

What we want is what we seek from this life to the next.

I know people who are 70 and still don’t know what they want and if they do, they don’t know how to go about living it and going for it.

It is time to stop wasting time, it is time to stop making excuses, it is time to stop waiting for the right moment …. it IS time to be assertive!

Fear no one!

Don’t pay so much attention to what others are doing!

Focus on you!

Speak up!

Have grit!

Go out there … escape to a life fulfilling an inspiration that has been planted in your heart long before you were even born.

 

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

3 Ramadan 2016: Dream Beyond …

All successful people men and women are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose. – Brian Tracy

HC

Are you feeling lazy? Do you know what you need to do and want to do but can’t seem to do it? Are you getting frustrated with yourself and your lack of progress?

One respected scholar gives us the answer to these questions …

not having a big enough goal

… Earl Nightingale said the same thing too.

Combining information from both speakers I came up with the following 5 key tips on moving forward:

  1. Focus on, and be honest about, how you can serve others with what you know or do best
  2. Have a goal that benefits others with simplicity
  3. Like a big umbrella, make your goal a far-reaching goal that short-term goals can fit under
  4. Have the courage to speak up and ask for what you want from others
  5. Surround yourself or be associated with other dreamers as well

What is key for all these? Belief …

… in god and that he helps whenever he is called upon;

… that god can help us move mountains if we are sincere in our intention; and most importantly,

… that working on benefitting others is in itself a benefit to oneself.

Let us make it count but living a life with purpose beyond our desires, personal benefit and satisfaction.

 

 

Image courtesy of Yongkiet / freedigitalphotos.net

8 Ramadan 2015: Positivity in Action

Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow. – Helen Keller

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Mom was a bundle of positive energy – nothing was impossible.

You want to do something? Do it! She would say.

You want to go somewhere? Go! She would say.

Worried that something was impossible? Try! She would say.

It can actually be annoying at times especially when one truly doesn’t feel up for it. But the truth is, she was absolutely right.

Why the negativity?

Do! Go! Try!

Our time is limited here, why wait and worry? Just move and do and if we get no for an answer, we try something else. No, is not a “risk”! It is simply an answer nudging us to “try something else” which may bring us much much more than expected.

Setback? No problem – THINK of another way!

Helpless? Do something!

Worried? Get up and move!

Upset? Clarify! 

The question is though, is positivity limited to action? What about words?

I would say a bit of both but not as we typically think.

I have met a lot of people with a lot of positive words, and while this is good and has a positive effect on others, it doesn’t necessarily mean that this person is positive. It may mean that this person knows how to influence and bring others into positivity but …

the key to positivity is action.

You want to see what positive looks like?

It is definitely not complaining and beating around the bush … they are moving, doing, finishing, calling, answering, asking … not today … not tomorrow … everyday … all with a smile.

My mom was DEFINITELY positive.

 

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23 Ramadan 2014: Comouflage

“Sometimes God allows what he hates to accomplish what he loves.” – Joni Eareckson Tada

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It is interesting to hear those who do not believe in God ask ‘if god exists, why would he then let all these bad things and global suffering happen?’ ummm, I don’t know, but what I do know is that if one truly believes in god then one believes in his ‘all-wise’ attribute and puts trust in him, so my answer would be ‘there must a good reason beyond our comprehension and all we need to be aware of is our role in the good and our role in the bad ensuring that one always chooses to do good’.

There is no sense in attributing bad qualities to god, for it would mean that none of us would have any hope for a better day, a brighter day and a day where all is right, this would only make us more depressed and unable to make any good decisions to help those around us and be the best that we can be. The sheer knowledge and belief that all this suffering happens for a ‘reason’ makes one remain firm on the path to excellence, compassion, love and mercy to all others. The sheer knowledge and belief that all this suffering happens for a ‘reason’ makes one know that where there is destruction there is also growth soon afterwards.

May we be able to see beyond the headlines and ‘camouflage’ and see that the only thing we are responsible for is to believe and do good … believe and do good … believe and do good …

Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

14 Ramadan 2014: Decide to Decide

“Sometimes, making the wrong choice is better than making no choice. You have the courage to go forward, that is rare. A person who stands at the fork, unable to pick, will never get anywhere.” – Terry Goodkind

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We all face indecisive moments and contrary to what most people think, we are indecisive for genuinely good reasons, it is not always lack of confidence or weakness. The question is however, how does one move beyond this phase that is filled with unknowns, fears, questions, literally putting us to a complete halt, unable to decide and unable to understand why one cannot decide.

A book that I have read for years and go back to every once in a while is Susan Jeffers (1987) ‘Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway’. She says that in a moment of decision, there is no consequences, only experiences which looking back at one’s own life, one would see that these consequences led to either some great learning that led to a future benefit or led directly to another benefit. So if every decision is seen as a winning decision, the fear goes down, decisions taken on face value waiting to see how it unfolds. It is difficult, but she says it can be done and this is how I understood it.

In this Ramadan, I call on myself first and then you to make a decision today … today, can be the day that we make a decision that will shape the next chapter in our lives. And if not today, let it be tomorrow, but let us decide to decide.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1 – 5 Ramadan 2014: A New Beginning

Welcome dear readers to the first post in Ramadan 2014!

First of all, apologies for the delay due to travels in the beginning of Ramadan this year.

This year’s theme is reflective of much needed positivity … covering Simplicity – Thankfulness – Humility … and with this, this is a quote worth sharing wishing you a great beginning of this holy month where we can selfishly take time for ourselves, wasting no time for useless activities and information and instead, spend time learning, praying, doing good and asking god almighty for the best for ourselves and all of Ramadanhumanity.

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life.
Be happy now.
Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future.
Think how really precious is the time you have to spend,
whether it’s at work or with your family.
Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.
– Earl Nightingale

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net