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Respond rather than react (DW#613)

Despite our best intentions, things can get heated when we are in the midst of a conflict. The other can say things in a way that triggers us and potentially make us lose our emotional balance.

This verse from Sura Fussilat advices us to not react when others fall short of respectful conduct.

Repel [evil] with what is best. [If you do so,] behold, he between whom and you was enmity, will be as though he were a sympathetic friend [Quran 41:34].

Scholars explain that the absence of a direct object after repel in the above verse means that the verse is open to many meanings and possibilities: we can repel anger with patience, error with truth, ignorance with clemency, and the commission of evil with pardon.

In other words, instead of reacting to people’s behavior out of anger, we can practice responding in a way that is aligned to our value system.

When we do this, it gives the other person a chance to calm down, it diffuses the tension and the aggression and allows the...

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Present a balanced perspective. (DW#612)

Do not revile those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they should revile God out of enmity, ignorance. [Quran 6:109]
This verse from Sura Anam cautions believers not to turn to offence and aggression in the midst of an argument, especially on matters of faith. It also provides a solid reason why it is not a good idea to do so: because such behaviour will most likely lead to a retaliation of like for like.

When we are in the midst of an argument, it can be easy to become triggered and angry. If we sense we are losing an argument, we can become aggressive, attacking that which is most sacred to the other in an effort to prove our point, hurt the other or to defend ourselves.

Such tactics never work. Behaviour like this will lead to a tit for tat competition that will only increase anger and hostility between the arguing parties.

A verbal assault has the same impact on our physiology that a physical attack does. And when human beings are attacked, they defend themselves using...

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Do not offend (DW#611)

Do not revile those whom they call upon besides Allah, lest they should revile God out of enmity, ignorance. [Quran 6:109]

This verse from Sura Anam cautions believers not to turn to offence and aggression in the midst of an argument, especially on matters of faith. It also provides a solid reason why it is not a good idea to do so: because such behaviour will most likely lead to a retaliation of like for like.

When we are in the midst of an argument, it can be easy to become triggered and angry. If we sense we are losing an argument, we can become aggressive, attacking that which is most sacred to the other in an effort to prove our point, hurt the other or to defend ourselves.

Such tactics never work. Behaviour like this will lead to a tit for tat competition that will only increase anger and hostility between the arguing parties.
A verbal assault has the same impact on our physiology that a physical attack does. And when human beings are attacked, they defend themselves using...

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Acquire wisdom (DW#594)

And whosoever is granted wisdom has been granted much good. Quran 2:269

Reflection: This verse from Sura Baqara (the Cow) tells us that the attainment of wisdom is worthy in the eyes of Allah.

Hikma, or wisdom is quite different from the simple accumulation of knowledge. Today, we have a lot of information at our finger tips. Google can answer many questions for us and give us many facts in a split second. While it is worthwhile to acquire knowledge and learn facts (and a highly recommended act of worship in Islam), this by itself will not lead to a happy, useful or worthwhile existence. Or to salvation.

The facts and knowledge that we learn must be reflected upon, tried tested and practiced – in other words reflected upon, engaged with, and applied to gain insight beyond the apparent and the mundane. Only upon such engagement with acquired knowledge can our lives be transformed for good and we can be said to "be wise".

How: There is, of course, no simple formula for acquiring...

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Be courteous guests (DW#593)

O you who believe! Enter not the dwellings of the Prophet for a meal without waiting for its time to come, unless leave be granted you. But if you are invited, enter; and when you have eaten, disperse. Linger not, seeking discourse. Truly that would affront the Prophet, and he would shrink from telling you, but God shrinks not from the truth. Quran 33:53

Reflection: This verse lays out some rules of social engagement for the early Muslim community. The Holy Prophet (saw) was highly sought after not only due to his wisdom but also because of his amiable personality. When people would be invited to his house, they sometimes overstayed, chatting, causing the Prophet (saw) inconvenience. He was much too polite and kind to tell them to leave. Here Allah tells his companions to be mindful of the time and privacy of the Prophet’s household. It is a lesson for all of us on how to be courteous guests.

What: The verse has these injunctions:

- When you are invited for a meal, accept the...

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The overthinker’s guide to taking action (DW#590)

If you need to figure everything out before taking the first step, PLEASE STOP.

Continuously learning without application is a particularly dangerous rabbit hole to fall into (don’t ask me how I know). Researching and trying to find out more and more about something before putting it in practice makes us feel like we are taking action.

But knowledge rarely changes our lives. Only taking action on what we know can do that.

So here is a suggestion:

Take action on what you already know before learning anything else. Act before researching. Act before you feel like you are ready to take action.

You may be surprised to find that taking action on what you already know will make learning more and further research much more effective.

Do something. Make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. Find out where you went wrong. Do better next time.

Ready. Fire. [Improve your] Aim. Get it?

Here are examples for using this idea:

I can’t read anything about fitness unless I have...

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Choosing what to do (DW#589)

A great way to stay focused and not get distracted is to think about what you want to be true in x amount of time.

What do you want to be true in 30 days from now?

If I want my blood pressure and cholesterol numbers to be down by x amount, what should I be doing today to make that happen?

If I want to buy a new computer in 60 days, how much should I be saving today or how many extra hours a week should I be working to make that happen?

If I want to publish a book in three months, how much should I be writing today and every day to make that happen?

As Benjamin P. Hardy said:"Once you know what you want, it becomes painfully obvious what you don’t want. Thus, you won’t be seduced by the many good things in life distracting you from the better and best."

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Slash your to do list (DW#588)

One reason we procrastinate is that we are overwhelmed. We have more on our to-do list than is humanely possible to do in one day. Deep down we know we cannot possibly accomplish it all. And since we don’t know which ones we should let go of, we simply give up.

Sound familiar?

[Research shows that we greatly over estimate what we can accomplish in one day. AND we greatly under estimate what we can accomplish in a month or a year]

So, what if you could only choose to put three things on your to do list on any given day? Which three things would you choose?

Hint: think about putting things that are related to your life’s purpose. Things that are important but not urgent. Things that will never get done unless they get scheduled.

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When is not getting something done NOT procrastination? (DW#587)

It is past 11pm as I type this. My hitherto unblemished record of getting Daily Wisdom out consistently almost got tarnished.

But it was not because of procrastination.

Sometimes, I am not very good at judging how long other commitments are going to take and no matter how hard I try, I miss a deadline. Maybe I need to do a series on learning how to keep some margin in life!!

Thank you for your understanding!

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Implementation intentions for parenting (DW#586)

We have been exploring examples for implementation intentions for different areas of our lives in order to give ourselves the best chance of reaching our goals in these areas. 

Here are some examples of implementation intentions for common obstacles in parenting. 

·     If my child drops something, I will help them clean it up without drama
·     If my child wants to tell me something, I will stop what I am doing and listen
·     If my child makes a mistake, I will take the time to give them feedback 
·     If my child wants to learn a new skill, I will train them
·     If my child asks a difficult question that makes me feel uncomfortable, I will be brave and engage in the conversation
·     If my children are fighting I will not join the chaos
·     If...

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