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Keep turning back to Him (DW#404)

Sura Baqarah, verse 222: Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly.

The Creator knows the nature of Creation – He is aware that despite our best intentions, we will constantly fall short of the good that has been commanded. And we will keep doing things that are not in our long term best interests. 

This is an invitation to keep returning to Him in repentance when and as soon as we recognize that we have fallen short or gone "off-track". To return to Him means to come back on the path that He has commanded, the path of those whom He is pleased with. The path that is aligned with our ultimate purpose. 

Just as an airplane must keep correcting its course and adjusting its flight path to arrive safely at its destination, we need to: 

  1. Have an idea of the path that will lead us to success
  2. Have an intention to stay on the course
  3. And when we stray off that course, recognize it and turn back as soon as possible. 

Not only is this plan of action a great...

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Becoming a beloved of Allah (DW#401)

We have been exploring verses from the Holy Quran during the blessed month of Ramadan.

For the next few days, let us discuss verses which talk about the qualities that Allah loves to see expressed in His Creation.

The quality which is mentioned several times is the quality of being muhsineenor "the doers of good".

For example, in 2:195; 3:134 & 148; 5:13 & 93 the Quran tells usIndeed, Allah loves the muhsineen (doers of good).
 
Some commentators state that to earn His love in this way is the highest spiritual degree and mystical station.

Muhsin comes from the root haa-seen-noon.The Islamic concept of ihsaan, or excellence, one of key concepts of Islamic spirituality, comes from the same root. A muhsin (plural muhsineen) is one who does good. Mushin has many additional meanings such as to be good, to do good and to pursue excellence, to act with beauty, to be kind.

How can we become part of the muhsineen who are loved by Him? Here are a...
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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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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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What’s your excuse? (DW#389)

Can you think of at least one area in your life where there is room for growth and where you know you need to make changes but you haven’t made any progress yet?

In The 15 invaluable Laws of Growth John Maxwell outlines some gaps and limiting beliefs that keep us stuck in unhealthy ways and stop us from reaching our full potential.

Here are the 7 "gaps" that he identifies:

The Assumption Gap—I assume that I will automatically grow. 
The Knowledge Gap—I don’t know how to grow.
The Timing Gap—It’s not the right time to begin.
The Mistake Gap—I’m afraid of making mistakes. 
The Perfection Gap—I have to find the best way before I start. 
The Inspiration Gap—I don’t feel like doing it.
The Comparison Gap—Others are better than I am.
The Expectation Gap—I thought it would be easier than this. 

You know the domains and growth areas that we identified a couple of days ago? Just go...

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