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At Day’s End

Here are some of the questions to ask ourselves when the day is done.

Did today matter?

At Day's End By John Hall

Is anybody happier
Because you passed his way?

Does anyone remember
That you spoke to him today?

The day is almost over,
And its toiling time is through;
Is there anyone to utter
Now a kindly word of you?

Can you say tonight, in parting
With the day that's slipping fast,
That you helped a single brother
Of the many that you passed?

Is a single heart rejoicing
Over what you did or said?--
Does the man whose hopes were fading
Now with courage look ahead?

Did you waste the day or lose it?
Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness
Or a scar of discontent?

As you close your eyes in slumber,
Do you think that God will say,
"You have earned one more tomorrow
By the work you did today?"

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The wisdom of silence

Continuing with our series on the timeless wisdom of Imam Ali (as), the quote for today is: "Safety lies in silence. It is easier to rectify what you miss by silence, than to secure what you lose by speaking". Imam Ali (AS)

Have you ever put your foot in your mouth? Said the first thing that came into your head without pausing to consider if it met the criteria for wise speech or if it needed to be said at all?

If you have, you have probably lived to regret such statements. It is so easy to react in the moment and say things which add no value to our life and can cause pain and distress to those we love.

It is helpful to remind ourselves that we lose nothing by pausing, breathing and choosing silence in the moment. Our speech is more impactful if we are intentional in choosing our words, not reacting in the moment.

A mental mantra that I often repeat to get into the habit of pausing before speaking is: "Engage brain before operating mouth".

Try it.

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Be creative with your interpretations

Continuing with our series on the timeless wisdom of Imam Ali (as), the quote for today is: "Do not think of anyone's statements as evil if you can find it capable of bearing good".

It is clear that what people say to us and how we interpret their statements are two distinct parts of each communication.

When our emotional bank account with a person is low, it is easy to interpret what they say more negatively than they intend. We can pause, notice this tendency and choose to give it a positive interpretation. Give them the benefit of the doubt, so to speak.

Being creative and positive with our interpretations of another's words and actions takes intentionality and practice. Over time, it can become a habit.

A habit that brings more positivity into our lives and improves our relationships.

Worth a try, don't you think?

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Be open to influence

Continuing with our series on the timeless wisdom of Imam Ali (as), the quote for today is: "One who is headstrong and opinionated perishes, while one who seeks the advice of others becomes a partner in their understanding".

When we are highly protective and defensive of our opinions, it is usually a sign of fear, insecurity and a lack of confidence. It also leaves us little room for growth, reflection or expansion of wisdom.

So the next time someone offers us a suggestion or a piece of advice, lets pause before automatically dismissing it. Just fully consider it before making a decision either way. Considering something does not mean agreeing. Listening to a point of view with an open mind does not meant that you automatically accept it.

Listening with an open mind leaves the opportunity open, though, to grow in understanding and insight and to become a 'partner in their understanding'.

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Pause before you promise

It is hard to say no to those we care about. It seems much easier in the moment to make a promise when a request is made than to disappoint and upset the one who is asking (especially if they are a child, a family member or co-worker that we see everyday)

The trouble is, when we promise something we have no intention of doing or are not in the position of doing, it ends up causing twice the amount of upset and disappointment, both for ourselves and others. Our words and our promises do not hold much weight. The promisees are never quite sure whether or not we will make good on our promise.

Imam Ali (as) puts it very eloquently: “One who is asked a request is free until promising". On another occasion he said, "A graceful refusal is better than a lengthy promise.”

So the next time a request is made which you cannot or will not fulfil, consider a graceful refusal.

This may be challenging in the moment, but so much easier in the long run for you and for the relationship.

...

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Turn knowing into doing

Many Muslims around the world are celebrating the birth of Imam Ali (as) this week and so I would like to share some timeless wisdom from this great spiritual leader which continues to inspire millions today.

Imam Ali (as) said: "Knowledge, if not acted upon, departs." Along the same lines, he also said: "Knowledge is of two kinds, that which is absorbed and that which is heard. And that which is heard does not profit if it is not absorbed".

Have you ever wondered why we remember so little of what we read and hear? It is because what we hear, does not 'settle' into our being. It passes by without making an impact. "In one ear and out the other", as the saying goes.

Can we change this so that we remember more of what we learn? So that what we learn transforms our lives for the better?

For sure.

As soon as we learn something, we need to ask ourselves: "What will I do differently as a result of this information?"

Then put knowledge into action. Even a tiny little action.

Remember the...

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Enjoy the wait

The fourth principle that we will explore from Sonja Lyubomirsky's The Myths of Happiness is this:

Spend money now to enjoy something in the future.

Research confirms that anticipating a pleasant or happy event brings us joy.

We have probably experienced this ourselves, when we book a summer holiday, for example. The planning, the dreaming and the talking about sunny days on the beach and starlit nights bring us much pleasure and enjoyment long before the event actually takes place.

Now before we all go and look for that super once in a lifetime trip, a quick word of caution: the results of happiness research favour "the ordinary over the intense".

In other words, we get more "bang for our buck", so to speak, if we spend our money on many small pleasures rather than a few big ones.

So instead of spending our life savings on that one fantastic trip, we would be better off planning small but regular get-aways or outings with the family. Or even planning a free picnic to the local park...

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Buy yourself time

Sonja Lyubomirsky's third principle to enjoy your wealth so that it brings you happiness is this:

Spend money to give you time.

Time, as they say, is the great equalizer. We all have the same 24 hours regardless of the dollars in our bank accounts.

Research shows, that 'time affluence' – (time to do things that matter to you and bring you joy) is a better predictor of happiness than pure affluence (how much money you have).

Makes sense, right? If we are too busy making money, we don't have time to enjoy it.
So here is an easy way to "buy happiness".

Use money to buy time for yourself. Hire someone to do something that you would normally do yourself.

For those of us who like to do everything ourselves, here is another way to look at it: you will be distributing your blessings and being a source of income for someone else.
(Not to mention having one less thing on your "to-do" list).

(When I shared this with a group of mothers recently, that you could get someone to help you do...

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Share it to savour it

Sonja Lyubomirsky's second principle to enjoy your wealth so that it brings you happiness is this:

Spend money on others not yourself.

There is some fascinating research here. It turns out that if you give people $20 and have them spend it on themselves they'll be less happy than if they spend it on others. Cool, huh?

(I wonder if this is the one reason why people like Bill Gates give away such a significant portion of their wealth?)

So, shall we experiment with generosity this week?

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4 ways money can make you happy

family self awareness Apr 03, 2017

We have all heard the phrase, "money cannot buy happiness".

This is true.

But can we use our money in ways that are likely to bring us more happiness and contentment as opposed to stress and dissatisfaction?

Sonja Lyubomirsky in her interesting book The Myths of Happiness gives us four principles that psychological science suggests we live by if we want to optimally enjoy our money.

Here is the first principle:

Don't spend money on "stuff"— you will get used to it ("hedonically adapt" to use the technical term).

Moreover, she writes that "A mountain of research has shown that materialism depletes happiness, threatens satisfaction with our relationships, harms the environment, renders us less friendly, likable, and empathetic, and makes us less likely to help others and contribute to our communities. . .". These are just some of the negative effects of unbridled consumerism.

Lyubomirsky suggests that in order to counteract this happiness killer, spend money on experiences and...

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