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Continue the practice of giving (DW#418)

3. Giving generously
Many of us plan our yearly giving, Sadaqa, Khums and Zakat, during the month of Ramadan. We actively seek out those that are needy and reach out to them with giving in cash and in kind. We experience the deep sense of gratitude, humility and sense of satisfaction that comes from reaching out and helping fellow human beings. It reminds us of the human connection that we share, of our responsibility to the whole and of the necessity of enabling the flow of wealth rather than the hoarding of it.

Throughout the Quran, the acting of giving Zakat (literally means to purify wealth through giving) comes hand in hand with establishing prayer. Allah swt constantly reminds us that our relationship to Him through prayer is complemented by our relationship to humanity through giving.

Baby steps:
Be aware of need all around you. When the urge to giving strikes, do not second guess it or talk yourself out of it. Take action to meet the need in whatever way you can.

Remind yourself...

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Continue reflecting on the message (DW#417)

objective spirituality Jun 19, 2018

2. Reading the Quran
This is the second habit that we developed during the month of Ramadan – a daily practice of recitation and reflection on the message.

To succeed in any area of life, the first step is knowledge about the rules that govern that area. We do not expect to excel at academics or in the workplace without reading the texts that govern the particular field. Similarly, we cannot expect to succeed in this world, get to know the system of cause and effect, to know ourselves or figure out how to achieve ultimate success in the hereafter without looking at the manual gifted to us by the Creator of the system.

Although we may have spent much time in recitation during the month of Ramadan, an ongoing relationship with the Quran necessitates understanding, contemplation and action. Only with understanding and reflection can we use the wisdom in of the Book to improve our life here and beyond.

Baby steps:
Read and reflect on one ayat of the Quran every day. Once again, it is...

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Purify yourself (DW#405)

Sura Baqarah, verse 222: and He loves those who purify themselves.

Tahara or ritual purity is one of the cornerstones of the Muslim faith. We have to cleanse ourselves before acts of worship in order for the worship to be valid. 

Physical purity is, of course, only the starting point of tahara or purity. 

When the Quran says that He loves the muttahiroon, those who purify themselves, we need to understand that purification of the body, mind and heart are all important to become those who are loved by Him. 

How are some of the ways we can purify ourselves?

  1. Stay in a constant state of physical purity
  2. Purify our mind of negative thoughts – about Him, about ourselves and about others
  3. Purify our heart of anger, resentment, jealousy
  4. Purify our intentions for acts of worship and for good deeds
  5. Purify our dealings in business and with each other
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And Allah loves the Sabiroon (DW#402)

objective spirituality May 29, 2018

Sura Al-Imran (3:146): and Allah loves the Sabiroon. 

In this verse, the Quran gives the example of previous Prophets who remained steadfast in the face of difficulties in the Path of Righteousness and ends by saying that Allah loves the sabiroon, meaning those who are patient and steadfast. 

The word sabr is often translated as patience but in reality, it has three aspects:

  1. The aspect of restraint, of stopping yourself from something unworthy, of having self-control when faced with temptation
  2. The aspect of perseverance or will-power in pursuing something worthy, of having the discipline to do something which you may not necessarily want to do in the moment 
  3. And the aspect of acceptance and submission when trouble strikes about which you cannot do anything. In other words, submitting to His Will

So in order to develop the quality of sabr, which is loved by Allah, we need to practice restraint from things disliked by Him, we need to persevere...

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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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Mindset and honesty in children (DW#382)

family objective parenting May 01, 2018
A core difference between a growth mindset and fixed mindset is how one responds to setbacks and failures. For a person with a fixed mindset, failed attempts are tantamount to shameful failures. Success for a fixed mindset can only happen if one is able to establish their superiority over others by proving how smart one is. A setback equals a label of being not good enough, not measuring up. 

For the growth mindset on the other hand, success comes from working hard to living up to your potential. Setbacks and feedback are experienced as a normal part of learning and as a motivation for working harder.
 
The most unsettling part of Dweck’s research perhaps is what the researchers discovered after the IQ questions were completed. The children who participated in the study were told to write letters to their peers sharing the experience of participating in the study and also reporting their scores on the problems.
 
What they found to their dismay was that forty...
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Can children have fun while learning? (DW#381)

family objective parenting Apr 29, 2018

Do your children enjoy learning? 

During their research on the impact of mindset on children, Dweck and her colleagues found another benefit of having a growth mindset: The researchers found that the kind of mindset the child had not only determined their relationship to failure, but also predicted whether or not they would enjoy learning. 

When the children in the study were given sets of questions to answer, all the children enjoyed the easier round of questions which they could effortlessly answer.
 
As the questions got more challenging however, the children who were praised for ability no longer had any fun, while the children who were praised for working hard not only still enjoyed the problems but even reported that the more challenging the questions became, the more fun they had!
 
The researchers also noticed that the children who were praised for ability improved their performance as the problems got harder while those praised for being smart did...
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Goal setting cheat sheet (DW#321)

goal setting objective Feb 05, 2018

It is such a pleasure to hear from many of you who shared that you are trying out some of the practices and getting great results.

Here is a recap of what we have discussed:

  1. Intentionally complete last year, choose what you are not going to work at anymore and renew your intentions about goals and resolutions that still matter
  2. Have a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset. Know that people who believe that change and growth are possible are the ones who make it happen
  3. The new year is a good time for a fresh start for many reasons including the energy and support around goal setting at this time of year
  4. Human beings are teleological creatures: setting and striving towards goals give us meaning and purpose in life and enhances our emotional wellbeing.
  5. The most important thing to remember about setting goals is to write them down. This one practice significantly increases the chances of success.
  6. There is a difference between goals and resolutions. Goals are projects that have a...
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Start, then finish (DW#320)

While some of us have a hard time starting things, there are others of us who are "chronic starters". We are high achievers, we aim high and we always have a ton of projects on the go.

Finishing those projects, or completing those goals, however, is another story (again, don’t ask how I know this . . . ). Perfectionism greets us along the way and uses every tactic under the sun to block us from getting to the finish line.

I just finished reading a great book by Jon Acuff: Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done. It is full of practical ideas on beating perfectionism and completing projects. And it is SUPER FUNNY (was laughing out aloud throughout J )

Here are the three things that I am working on, inspired by this book, to get to the finish line:

Cut your goals in half
This sounds contrary to what we have been talking about, but it is not. We tend to overestimate what we can do in a given amount of time (in the future, that is, not in the present). We always think we will have...

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Dream big – then get real! (DW#318)

It is important to dream big and visualize success when we are setting goals.

There is, however, a potential downfall of such dreaming.

The mind is a strange and powerful thing. When we continue to dream about achieving our goals, we begin to feel good, right? Well, this tricks the brain into believing that we have already achieved the goal!! In essence, feeling good about our progress can make us reduce our effort.

So what should we do instead?

WOOP your goal.

Gabrielle Oettingen is a world-class researcher who has spent her career studying the science of making your dreams come to life.

In her book Rethinking Positive Thinking, she explains that although it’s very important to start with a vision of our ideal lives, it is not enough. In order to keep moving forward, we then need to "rub the vision up against reality."

Here is her WOOP formula:

W is for Wish
O is for Outcome (or benefits—the "why")
O is for Obstacles
P is for Plan

Start with the Wish. What do you want in...

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