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How losing track of time kills our success

“God loves most those actions that are consistent, even if little”

 Prophet Muhammad

Last time I posted something in this blog was a little less than 2 months ago. That’s not, in any way, the longest time I didn’t blog! My blogs witnessed periods of much longer silence. However in my last post I talked about how I was going to change my life. I wanted to use blogging as a helping tool to keep me focused and making improvements.
 
The desired change is not to happen quickly, what matters is consistency. The major problem of people not improving is lack of consistent effort. All of us want to make positive changes. But most of us work toward our goals for a day or two, then we stop. We forget. We get distracted by little, insignificant things. Then one day we accidentally find an old piece of paper listing some good and easy actions, we look at the date that our own hands had marked in there, only to be shocked that it has been a year, and we still didn’t do or change any of it!
 
When I wrote my last post about my intention to change my life, I “thought” that I was going to blog once a week. Today I looked at the date of this last post and “discovered” that it has been almost 7 weeks! See, “thinking” that I was going to do something was of little benefit, if any!
 
That’s not the only example that I can remember from my personal experience of how losing track of time hurts my goals and improvement. I wasted money because of it. I lost good opportunities because of it. My life unnecessarily stayed the same longer than it should, all because of it!
 
One way of fixing this habit of losing track of time, and therefore staying focused, is to actually keep track of what we do. In order to do that, I created logs for the tasks that I am working on, no matter how little they were. I made it a point to do it on paper in order for them to be accessible all the time. From experience, creating a Word file can’t work as a log, the time of turning on the computer will just burry them in digits as long as the machine is dormant!
 
I brought a few pieces of paper, the size of a notebook, and dedicated everyone for a type of task that I usually had trouble being consistent with. One for cleaning and organizing my room. One for friends’ requests that need to be done. A log for some little healthier changes that I need to do daily. Etc. So far, those logs didn’t make me a new person, and I didn’t suddenly become un overachiever! However, my productivity, since I started those paper logs, became slightly better. I finished things I wouldn’t have finished. Other things remain postponed. One way logging helps is brining the passing of time under light. Now I can look at the “Room Organizing Log” and, to my surprise, find out that it has been 2 or 3 weeks since I did any maintenance in my room. No wonder it looks messy then!
 
I believe that awareness increases our productivity. The lack of consistency is largely due to forgetting. Our to do lists that never wake up and come to life were just forgotten once we wrote them. And time passes away so easy when we are in this state of semi sleep. We literally spend much of our life sleepwalking! Those are the times we don’t move forward, the months and years that pass by and our life is still exactly the same.
I am logging my life to save myself from more time sleepwalking. Sleepwalkers usually wake up to the shock of hitting a wall or the horror of falling into an abyss. Walking awake is the only guarantee to reach a destination!

How I am changing my life

Time is one of the most disciplined of creations! You can’t stop it from steadily and surely running away, at the exact same pace. Time doesn’t care what we do or how we spend it, It will come punctually and leave punctually. Time doesn’t care about us, even though we have to care about time! Yes, it’s a one sided care, that’s just how it is. As every moment comes, we can take it or leave it, before it is forever gone. Sometimes we leave months and years. Some people even leave their whole time on earth! They take nothing; instead they’re taken by anything that comes their way!

Like all of us, I should start “taking it”. It’s a non-stop gift that I have been given over and again, up until this moment. I can’t control how long it will continue to come to me, but it’s a shame that I let it go as long as I continue to live!

I decided to use my blog, this one, as a helping tool in my journey of change. I will commit to share this journey with everyone who decides to stop by and visit, or accidentally passes by! I am to share the journey with it’s ups and downs. There is something about “going public” that could strengthen commitment. At least that’s what I am hoping for, insha’Allah!

The journey is not only about actions and how-to’s. Like anything of real value, it needs to start in the mind. Anything that doesn’t have its roots deep in our hearts and minds has little chance of survival! Change for the better, for how life should be, is both an internal and external journey. I need to clean up my physical space as much as I need to get rid of negative thoughts and emotions. I have to create order in my time, actions, belonging, as much as I have to create order in my beliefs. The anticipated change can’t really happen if we only focus on the superficial. If we leave love, care, truth, and most importantly God out of the picture we are doomed to failure!

May the journey to the Truth begin!

The Best of All Habits!

I am not sure if this one was among Coveys’ 7 Habits of Highly Effective People! It is by far the one and single habit that, once properly acquired and maintained, will automatically fix everything else in our life.

We have all the wisdom we need, already stored within. All the self-help and self-improvement techniques essential for our current situation are already there. No one has them for us.. but us! Our past has all the experience we need for today, our present all the experience we need for tomorrow!

If we have all what we need, then we need not look further. We just need one thing: being able to do what we know we should do, and being able to stop doing what we know we should stop doing. This ability to go, straight and fast, from knowing to doing is what we seriously and urgently need to work on. Imagine that you need to drive your car from here to there, but your car isn’t starting, and once it starts it dies a few minutes down the road. And what are you doing now? You’re just worrying about there. The car is just a tool that doesn’t require much attention, it’s the destination that matters! It’s the destination that deserves time and effort! Ok, but you will just stay here, thinking about the destination, and frustrated that every time you think you’re getting closer, you wake up to the fact that you’re not really moving at all, and you always come back to the starting point!

You just need a shift of focus. Forget about any destination now. Just put your time and effort fixing your only tool that will get you there. Let’s take a famous example: losing weight. The ones carrying the extra pounds know that simple steps can take them a very long way out of fat and into fit! Yes, if they just change their diet and move more they will make a big difference in their body. But it’s never easy. What’s not easy, exactly? Not losing the weight, in all truth. What’s always hard is doing what we know we need to do to see the pounds melt away!

We will never get there, anywhere, until we focus all our attention on the one thing that we really need, the one habit that if we cultivate and make strong, will enable us to accomplish our goals. It’s the habit of “Doing What We Know We Should Do”. We should drop all other goals, forget about all desired destinations, and work on our vehicle. Fix it and make sure that once we know where we want to go, we can just start it and drive it there. It will just take us the time of getting there. No wasted time in dying and going back to where we started, no wasted time in waiting days, weeks and months until we can start the journey one more time. We will be reaslitic, we will know how far it is, and how long the drive usually takes. If traffic is good (which it actually is much of the time!) then we will get there on time, if not we’d only be a few hours or a few minutes late! How wonderful and powerful would that be?

Let’s forget about all our unaccomplished goals. They’ve been unable to come to life for a long time anyway, right?! Let’s focus on one muscle, one tool, one habit that has the power to take care of everything else. Let’s exercise our ability and flexibility to DO IT, as soon as WE KNOW IT.

A Digestive Pen!

We might read hundreds of books, blog posts, magazines, newspapers, etc., yet all this mental nourishment doesn’t seem to do us much good. It does good, no doubt, but not as good as the actual quality of what we read. It’s like when we eat so much healthy food, but our body only minimally processes and benefits from it. The problem is not the quality of what we put into our body and our mind, it’s the quality of how we process it that really matters when it comes to tangible results.

In order to optimally get the benefit of the good food we eat, we need to improve our very own digestive system. This is the middle man that can take the healthy food and give it to our cells and organs. Without him, all this good food could end up in the trash! It works the same way with our much needed “mental foods”!

So who could be the middle man between “reading” and “doing”?! Between dead knowledge and lively action? The middle man could simply be a pen! Would a book be the same for us if, while or after reading it, we take a pen or a keyboard and write down a summary of what we just read? If we do, it will never be the same, it will be much more. The pen is like this all-natural digestive aid that makes us healthy, not by the nutrients that it has to offer, but just by its ability to make what we eat much more digestible. The pen works similarly.

One amazing example of the power of writing what we read is the story of Dr. Ben Carson. Ben’s mother was divorced with two kids. She was black, poor and illiterate, a combination that made life too difficult for any human being at the time. The best job her qualifications made possible was serving in rich peoples’ homes. Her son, Ben, didn’t seem to have any bright future laying ahead. At school, he was known as the dumbest kid of the class. The most likely path for him was to drop from school, join a gang and may be become a little drug dealer! Now Ben Carson is a renowned neurosurgeon! How did it happen? One day his genius mother made a decision, Ben was to read two books every week, then give her a written report of the books he read! This unpleasant task -that he had to do in order to be able to watch TV, play with his friends and take his pocket money- turned him into the smartest kid in the class, who then ended up in Yale, and from there to the University of Michigan medical school! His illiterate mother was smart enough to understand that if he didn’t write a summary of the books he read, his progress would have been way slower and weaker.

Same goes with how much value we get from a book that we read. When we hold the ideas and incarnate them into something that we write with our own hands and minds, the knowledge will be stronger, and its trip from ideas to reality will be faster!

Success NOW

Success is one of the most common goals and wishes for all people. What it means differs greatly from person to person, but this word remains the title for most hopes. What’s sad is that for most people who long for success, it seems only to be a thing of a hoped future, and rarely a fact of the lived reality of today. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

If we think we can be successful someday in the future, we’re wrong! The truth is, if we’re not successful now, we will never be successful anytime in the near or far future. Only when we feel and believe that we are successful now can we really be on the right path. Then we’ll do the actions of success, and we’ll have the thoughts and feelings of success, which will all lead to producing the outcomes we desire. Only actions done in this state have the ability to produce positive changes.

When we are failing, we do the actions of failure. When we’re successful, we do the actions of success. It can’t be the other way around. That’s why the first step on the road to success happens within, when we see in our heart that we already made it. Then the excitement of this success happening within will be the fuel inducing powerful actions and producing tangible prosperity.

Success can only happen now. Because now is all we have. Now is actually us. Our inner and true self that never fades, never goes away. And only those who are already successful can create success, it’s that simple!

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