Tag Archive - Success

If I Was Free, I Would…

What if I didn’t have to work? What if I had enough money right now to quit my job and do what I want? That’s fun to imagine :) So I though I should enjoy some fun written visualization!

I sometimes wonder how we made life so complicated! Our society is designed in a way to make sure many people will be stuck doing things they hate in order to survive!

Our needs are really simple. We need food, cloths and shelter. Once we have them, we’re good to go, and good to live!

“If you wake up free of illness, safe in your community, with enough food for the day ahead, then you can say good buy to any other needs from this World!” Prophet Muhammad

Why in the world did food become hard to find for millions of people?!

Why, when land is immensly vast, did it become expensive to get a piece of land and have your home in it? Why build those crazy skyscrapers, they’re complicated and maintaining them requires much more work and resources than a normal building! Did we already use every piece of land that we have to build up and high?!

Why would a house cost hundreds of thousands after all? It really doesn’t have to be this way.

People designed a labyrinth and they got lost in it. Then they designed tools and maps and jobs to try to make life easier inside the labyrinth! How about we just get out of the labyrinth?!!!

Well, most people are already stuck in it! We have governments designing our lives, we can’t just go out there and redesign our life. It’s not even about redesigning life, it’s about getting out of the sophisticated traps and get back to normal!

We even have countries, boundaries, visas, citizenships! Someone living in a poor country has to use tunnels to come into a richer one, they wouldn’t be granted a visa anyway!

Oh, politics! Politics is the proof that we gave up our life to the greedy, the heartless, the self-centered to take care of our needs and communities! Let’s get out of there or frustration will knock down my mind!

See where my though chain took me, I started by a fun idea and ended up into a depressing look at reality!

Back to my fun visualization :)

Now if I had enough money to pay off all my debt – car loan and some other debt :( – and be free from the need to work for money, what would I do?

I will not quit my job on the spot. I hope I can give a one month notice and make sure I hand my duties over smoothly, while working on the transition:

1. I would donate/give away all the stuff that I don’t need and don’t use. I’ll go through my cloths (which I’ve been already doing, slowly) and keep only the pieces that I really love. Dealing with my books will be harder! I won’t rush into giving them away (I’m already working on a plan to deal with my bigger-than-I-need library).

2. I will get a storage in Chicago where I will keep all the stuff that I didn’t give away, end my rent, get in the car and go on a road trip! The point is to visit the places that I think I want to move to.

3. Now I need to move somewhere warm and sunny. Lots of greenery and nature required! Ideally somewhere in or close to the mountains. I will look for an apartment with a balcony, looking to an open horizon!

Once I moved into my new place. How would I spend my all-free time?

- Lots of walking, hiking and biking!

- Now that I’m relaxed, no energy wasted in going to and back from work, no energy drained sitting in a dark room staring at the computer, I can engage in the kind of slow, focused writing that I really like. This type of writing is more of an introspection. No rush to finish anything. Just listening to my inner self and bringing it out in words. The kind of writing that is like taking a bath in the light of Spirit!

- I can also breath the fresh intellectual air of focused reading! I want to read about religions, history, get back to reading great fiction (haven’t done it in almost a decade!), philosophy, biographies, and the subjects relating to our present day problems and challenges, especially poverty and the environmental crisis. I’d like to gain a deeper understanding and make my own conclusions of what we can REALLY do to REALLY make a difference. It doesn’t matter how much we will change history. What matters is do what we have to, what we really can do to end the shameful injustice and humiliation that tens of millions of our brothers and sisters in humanity are enduring this very same moment! :(

- I will read and write out in nature.

- A great lifestyle change that I will now introduce is waking up early enough, every day, to witness the powerful everyday re-begining that is Sunrise!

 

Overlook_Sunrise 011

- Now I can also feed my body the things that I love most in nature: green and sunlight! You must already know how connected these two are, no mystery here! I have time to actually touch my vegetables, cut and prepare them slowly and mindfully, and smell them in the process! :)

Now, wouldn’t you love to do the same?!

Ok, and once you do it like I just did, what’s the point? Are we then to get depressed to the immense gap between hope and reality?

The point is to look at this vision, and start doing what can be done already. No waiting intended! Surely some, if not  many, of its components can already be started today.

I can, and already started to, exercise getting rid of unnecessary stuff and spending, in order to lose all the heavy weight that’s holding me down!

I can plan more walking and hiking during the week-end, during the summer. Indeed, the freezing northern winters have nothing to do with this vision. The trees take off their greenery. Being outdoors when it’s 15 F and colder is not too much fun! But while doing more of it in the summer, I can bring the vision to the center of my plans, instead of burying it under depression and hopelessness. With the vision energizing the hope, I can make a long-term plan for moving to the Sun!

I used to post in this blog once a month. Now I’m writing more even though I have more blogs in English and Arabic. I’m also trying to improve my reading. Both will not be as focused as the above vision would like to, but they can be gradually improved and increased.

Why don’t you write down your own vision? Why don’t you start today, little by little, to introduce pieces of it into your life NOW? I just wrote a draft of my own vision. I will build on it. That’s the way out of frustration into inspiration, from surviving into meaning.

Meaning is the food of the soul. We can’t be happy carrying around a soul in a coma in a polluted vehicle – the junk food bodies of modern times!

Waiting for the Now!

The following is not a breakthrough: many people spend their lives waiting. When young, we wait for when we’re grown up. When we’re single, we wait for when we’re married. When we’re married, we wait for when we’re divorced (sometimes, sadly!), When we’re in college, we wait for when we’re “free” and having a good job. When we have a job, we wait for when we have a better job! When we have a better job, we discover it’s not really what we were hoping for, so we wait for yet another job that’s even better. We get that one, then we wait for having our own business and being our own boss! We have our own business, we wait for it to pick up! It picks up, we work too much and wait for our retirement!

If we’re constantly waiting, it’s not that we’re really waiting for anything. It’s not an illusion either, we’re indeed waiting. What we’re really waiting for is ourselves! We’re waiting for something that’s within, but we seek for it outside, so we never find it. That’s where the illusion resides. We’re just heading in the wrong direction, that’s why we never seem to get to our destination.

Waiting for a change means that we did something wrong in the past, we’re still doing it in the present, which promises that it will continue into the future! Unless we take our rightful ownership of the Now, turn our faces to the right direction/destination, and embark on the joyful journey!

BECAUSE,

Waiting is a sure symptom that something is missing.

Waiting is a state of lack and poverty and incapability.

Waiting is ungrateful to all what we already have, which in many cases is a dream and a luxury for hundreds of millions of fellow humans.

Waiting is a pessimist! Don’t confuse it with the (good) expectations that come with optimism.

Waiting is an infidel! It’s an accusation to God that He is not treating us right! Because the truth is, it’s a sign that we’re the one doing, or more accurately, THINKING wrong!

Waiting is a virus, it disrupts our system and our perception of reality; it damages our to-do-list; it causes the loss of our old files, therefore keeps us from building on it; it causes our mind to suddenly shut and stare into a blank screen, as in a state of sleep-waking

SO,

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We need to stop attacking this poor Wait, right now! And focus on the real problem: Ourselves! Our Thinking, and our Focus.

We will never get what we want as long as we think it’s somewhere else, be it another time (future) or another place.

I recently wrote about my desire to get out of working for money and being stuck doing something that I don’t enjoy. That’s impatience. Impatience is counterproductive because it keeps us stuck in negative refusal of our current state, instead of focusing our energy on what we can do to improve our life.

I’m now shifting my focus in another direction: how to do what I want to do when I’m not working (week-ends, evenings), and how to embrace the challenge of making the best of my current situation. The wait can end, right now. We just need to start doing what we really want to do. We don’t need to do it full-time, we start part-time. We do it in the week-end, instead of spending it shopping or seeking distractions as if to compensate for the work week behind, and the work week ahead! Instead of renewing our energy and build something that is meaningful to us, we just destroy this time off, then here comes a sad Monday and we feel even more tired than when the week end started!

Doing something meaningful is the only sure way to renew our energy during our time free of work. Simply doing the things that we think we want to do full-time. At least this way we can make sure that we really want to do it full-time, so we don’t one day come to actually do it full-time, then discover that it’s not really what we were hoping for, and wait for when we can do something we like for a living!

Meeting myself once a week

In November of last year, I started a new habit, in my effort to change my life. It had to be an easy habit that I can commit to, but that could make some significant difference. If you’re familiar with procrastination, then you know how easy it is to make plans but fail to take consist action. My habit was just to sit with myself at the end of every week, usually Sundays, and make a plan for the week ahead.

To make sure this one habit will be a real, consistent one, I had to commit to it, regardless of whether or not I will actually do my tasks for the week. All I need to do with the undone actions of last week is just review them and take note of what wasn’t done, then move the undone to the following week, along with any new tasks. Some weeks were totally unproductive, sometimes two consecutive weeks were as unprodutive as it can get! Ok, no problem, I take a note that the previous week I did nothing, and move the tasks to the following one. Just this idea of focusing on the practice regardless of the actual accomplishments was a little breakthrough for me that helped me stick with it without any problems.
I also decided to do the planning outside, usually during breakfast or lunch. I go to a place that I like, get my coffee and write down the plan in a notebook. This increased the ease and fun of the habit, the only things that can trick us into breaking out of strong habits into new ones, gently but surely. 

The mere reviewing of the week at its end, and seeing that nothing was done was helpful. The repetition of this reviewing eventually leads to action, even if small, since it boosts one’s awareness of the passing of time. I find that my main problem with planning was forgetfulness and lack of focus. Time goes by too easily, and we can spend months without making any change or progress in our life without even realizing it.

Again, this didn’t result in any quick, phenomenal changes. But over the past 3 months, I finished many tasks that have been put off, some of them for long months. Little by little, this practice allows me to “hold” my time. We can’t shape or use anyhing elusive, we have to have some control over the material we’re working with. Time can be very hard to hold and take control of, and therefore manage. Logging and reviewing how we spend it can be very effective in helping us regain this control.

So, to summarize the process, here is what I did:

1- Break down time into units: I choose weeks. One day is too short, one month is too long.
 
2- Schedule a weekly session to review last week’s plan and decide which actions to be done during the following week. Commit to this session even if the previous week was a total waste of time.
 
3- Simply move undone actions to the new week ahead.
 
4- Make it into a fun date with yourself! Don’t do the planning at home, go somewhere nice, get your food or your drink, think and write down your plan.
 
5- Use a convenient medium that’s always easy to access. I don’t recommend our computers, the time to open it, wait for the OS to download no longer seems like a good idea to me.

Growing in peace!

“Rush will bring about remorse; patience will bring about safety”
Arabic proverb
 
Change doesn’t happen as quickly as we usually wish. I don’t think we have a chance of introducing any remarkable improvements before we make peace with this fact. In nature, our best teacher, change happens gradually and surely. Every particular plant grows at its prescribed pace. The only immediate forces that introduce massive, major and quick changes are phenomenons like hurricanes and tornados; destructive forces! Growth happens softly, gradually, slowly, and takes its time. Destruction can transform, in one hour, what needed decades to be built!
 
We feel this peace when we are surrounded by plants and nature. These beings are in no rush for anything! But humans were not even happy with the pace of plants and animals in growing, they invented growth hormones! The cost of this rush and impatience is becoming increasingly obvious, and even scary at times!
 
In our individual as well as collective endeavors for improvement, we have no chance of survival without fully accepting that change takes time, and growth happens slowly. Otherwise we will either not make any positive and real changes, or end up with monstres coming back against us!

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!
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