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Step up to leadership (DW#400)

Here is today's edition of wisdom from the Quran:

He said, ‘Put me in charge of the store houses of the land, I am indeed reliable, well-informed.’ (Sūrat Yūsuf 12:55, Holy Quran)
This verse from Sura Yusuf is Prophet Yusuf (as)’s reply to the Egyptian king when he appoints him to work for the government.
 
Prophet Yusuf (as) immediately suggests a specific position for himself and relates the qualities which make him ideal for this position.
 
We are sometimes confused about what it means to be humble – this verse shows us that humility is not at odds with putting yourself forward for a good cause when you have the qualifications and the capability of doing it well and when it is for a good cause.
 
In the days of self promotion and social media, this verse gives us solid advice on how and when to promote oneself:
 
Knowledge: he is well-informed. He has done his homework about the situation. It is not a case of feeling entitled to a...
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Do what good you can, as soon as you can (DW#399)

"It is they who hasten to every good work and these who are foremost in them."
(Sūratul Mu’minūn, 23:61, Holy Quran)


Have you ever had a intention to do something good (give charity, help someone, reach out to someone going through a tough time, visit a loved one) and thought you would do it later but then never got around to it? 

Research now confirms that the more you delay something, the less likely it is that you will actually do it.

Piers Steele, who won the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in psychology for his work on motivation says that "As the deadline for any task gets pushed further into the future, Delay increases and our motivation to tackle the tasks decreases."

This means that if you have a goal to do something good in the future, no matter how excited we are in the present, it will be hard to sustain this motivation when the goal is in the future. Plus, life, as they say, will certainly get in the way. In other words, the sooner you take action on...
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Divided you fall (DW#398)

And do not quarrel for then you will lose heart and your power will depart.
(Sūratul Anfāl, No.8, Āyat 46)

When we are part of a team, whether it is a couple, a family, a committee or a team at work, there are bound to be differences in thought and style amongst the team members. Teams that remain strong find ways to appreciate the differences and diversity of thought and approach. They remain focused on the goal rather than get distracted by petty differences.

If on the other hand, for a team that allows differences to turn into quarrels, two things are likely to happen:

  1. The energy is diverted from the task at hand. Instead of working together to achieve their goals, each person or quarrelling segment begins to work on its own, sometimes in opposition to the other team members. The result is a weakening of the morale of the entire team. 

  2. This results in a huge loss of effectiveness of the entire team. A weakening of power. The Quran uses the word ‘rīh’ to...
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Recognize the power of a good word (DW#397)

In Verses 24-25 of Chapter 14, Sura Ibrahim, the Quran says: A good word is like a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches are in the sky, yielding its fruit in every season with the permission of its Lord.

Words that are true, kind and wise have immense lasting power. The Quran compares them to a fruit bearing tree which planted once continues to bear fruit season after season.
Similarly, when we speak words to others which are kind and supportive, the impact of such words lasts beyond the time we speak them. Just as hurtful speech continues to hurt long after it has been spoken, kind words can continue to heal, inspire or provide support long after we have said them.
So let us watch our words. Let us aspire to speak only that which will yield fruit for those who are the audience of our speech.
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Spiritual Prime Time (DW#396)

By the Grace and Mercy of the All Compassionate, we are fortunate to witness another Ramadan, the month of mercy and blessings. 

Ramadan continues the practice of many great faith traditions of the world which encourage fasting and keeping away from distractions of the body as a way of elevating the spirit. 

During this sacred time, this "Spiritual Prime Time", many of us begin to pause and start reflecting on what really matters. We turn our attention away from the material and towards the spiritual, we begin to focus on our self growth and then reach out to family, friends and to those in need.

Ramadan has been called the spring of the soul because the conditions are optimal for the seeds of guidance within us to bear fruit. One of the best fertilizers in this springtime of the soul are the words of the Holy Quran, the "healing for the hearts" that can revitalize our hearts and souls. 

So like last Ramadan, let us reflect on a verse from the Holy Book...

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The law of modeling (DW#395)

The Law of Modeling says that "It’s hard to Improve When You Have No One but Yourself to Follow."  

Whatever we are trying to achieve in life, someone else has already done it and is successful at it. Maxwell’s law of modeling is about finding mentors and role models that you can follow and work with to achieve what you want to. 

Although Maxwell talks about finding a mentor or a coach to work with you on your journey, I believe that we can use the law of modeling much more broadly. 

For example, if you want to improve your communication, look around you. Do you know an excellent communicator? Notice how they speak and how well they listen. What makes them effective? 

Do you want to become healthier? Who do you know has transformed their fitness and health levels for the better? What did they do and how did they do it? 

Even if we are successful in one domain of our lives, we can learn and model in other areas of our lives. For me the law of modeling...

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The law of curiosity (DW#394)

Have you noticed how curious children are? They constantly want to know how things work or why they are the way they are. They rarely accept things at face value, an explanation is almost always required. 

As we age, many of us begin to lose this natural curiosity. 
In order to grow, learn something new or get better at anything, we need to get our curiosity back. 

Maxwell suggests ten ways to re-cultivate our natural curiosity. Here are my favorites: 

Have a Beginner’s Mind-Set

When you first begin something, a job, a hobby, a sport, or anything else, it is natural to be curious and ask questions. We are not expected to step into something new knowing all the answers. But as we gain experience, we are expected to stop with the questions and curiosity.

Maxwell says that in order to grow, we must keep our beginners’ mind-set. Instead of being a know it all who see themselves as experts, beginners spend their time asking questions like "how can we do...

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What are you willing to give up? (DW#393)

Many of us want to do it all and have it all. 

A wise teacher of mine once told me: yes, you CAN have it all – just not at the same time! 

She was trying to explain what Maxwell calls the Law of Trade-Offs: that you have to give up something in the short term to get something in the long term. 

If we want to grow in the health domain and get fitter for example, we have to give up the desire to sit on the couch in the short term to gain health in the long term. To put it another way, we need to be able to delay instant gratification in order to reap greater rewards later. 

Given that all of us have limited time and resources, this law makes sense, right? I remember when I was writing the book, I gave up watching TV for a whole year. It was not easy in the short term but soooo fulfilling when it got done. 

What are working on and what are you willing to trade to get it done? 

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The law of environment (DW#392)

Maxwell reminds us that growth thrives in conducive surroundings. 

In nature, spring is the time for growth when conditions are right with warmer temperatures, longer days and more sunlight. On the other hand, when environmental conditions are not ideal, growth is stunted or delayed. 

Similarly, for human beings to reach their full potential, we can flourish in the right environment. You and I experience personal growth when we surround ourselves with people and opportunities conducive to our development.

So what are some indications of an environment conducive to growth? 

A place where we are continually challenged: A good growth environment puts pressure on us to improve. If our daily work is too easy or comfortable, then we shortchange ourselves and stunt our development. It’s okay and even healthy for us to be in over our heads from time to time. It forces us to swim against the current so to speak and we grow stronger as a result. 

A place...

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The Laws of Growth (DW#391)

In The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, John Maxwell writes that the way to reach our full potential and live a life of purpose is to choose a path of intentional growth. In explaining the "Laws of Growth" he suggests that personal development and growth follow set principles and laws that can be discovered and applied for sustained personal growth. 

This week, let us explore 5 of the 15 laws that Maxwell teaches us. 

The law of consistency: How many times have we heard or read something inspirational, tried it for a few days and then forgot all about it? According to Maxwell, the key to turning these lessons and motivations into permanent change is his fifth law of growth, the law of consistency. Maxwell says that the key to this law is that motivation gets you going, but discipline, keeps you growing. Discipline turns motivation and inspiration into habits and our habits determine our growth.

I love the way Steven Pressfield puts it in his...

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