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What we’ve got wrong about wealth


One day, a wealthy man took his young daughter to a small remote village to experience what it felt like to be poor and so that she could learn to give back. They spent a couple of days and nights at the farm, living with what he considered to be a poor family and tried to help them in any way possible.

On the return trip, the father asked his daughter,

” How did you find our trip?

“What did you learn?”

She replied,

“It was great! I learned so much.”

He said,

“Did you see how the poor people live and have to go through their lives?”

She said,

“Yes, I did.”

The father asked his daughter,

” What did you learn from our trip? Please share that with me.”

She said,

“I saw that we have one dog and they have four. We have a pool that reaches the middle of our garden, and they have a lake that reaches no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden that lights it up. They have the stars. The view from our window, you can see over a few buildings. From theirs, you can see the whole sunset. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls to protect us from the outside. They have friends and community to protect them.”

The father was speechless. And then his daughter said,

“Thank you, Dad, for showing me how poor we really are.


Isn’t perspective a wonderful thing?

Often we feel that we’re helping and uplifting others. But in that process, we realize we’re the ones who’ve gained the most.

Often when we’re trying to serve with compassion and empathy, we realize that we’re the ones that are truly benefiting and growing.

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Know what you love & make a statement

This is something I need to re-look into.

What is my primary goal?

Some would suggest that the single most important word is not career, it’s love, and I agree with this. Your career could changed overnight but what you love is not so vulnerable that it can change overnight.

Therefore, my primary, overarching, life-defining career goal must center around what  love I love doing.

Billions of people exist on this Earth, and things aren’t what we wish they could be because we succumb to fear instead of doing what we love.

I really like the quote.

“I fear nothing but fear itself”

How can you take what you love and serve this love with your career?

  • Create a statement, a single sentence that encapsulates your overarching career goal. Make it specific.
  • Write the love-of your-life career goal sentence down and pin it to the wall where you’ll see it every day.
  • Make sure this sentence informs all your other objectives.
  • Make sure your primary career goal is the result of what you love to do.

Example:

“Be a successful nonfiction author: Write nonfiction content — books, poems, essays, blog posts — to help people realize the priceless importance of love and the imagination, and get your content published.”

And at the moment, I kind of lost. I need to re-think a few things and set my priorities in order. Better yet have them in written form and put it up on the wall at home as a reminder so that I wouldn’t be loss again.

I hope that you found what you love to do, and I hope you do it well.

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Blessed Income and wealth

In the pursuit of worldly goods, at times we might been ‘forced’ to endure the things which destroyed the blessing in our earnings and wealth. Nowadays, large mansions, gorgeous cars, fashionable and luxurious lifestyles are usually regarded as the measuring stick of one’s success, rather than something which are less tangible such as happiness or peace of mind, which of course much more important. These pursuit of wealth regardless of  legality and moral compass is the reason why disgusting acts like corruption still exist, with the theme to ‘facilitate’ transaction is usually used.

police fun funny uniform
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Once I heard a lecture, where a retired uniformed officer asked the question, “Why are my children are some troublesome?”. After pondering the question, the teacher asked, “Did you ever taken a bribe?” The questioner admitted, “Yes, because my basic salary is too low.” So teacher responded, that the money was the reason that had destroyed his family.

Allah (SWT) said: ” And do not eat up your property among yourselves for vanities, nor use it as bait for the judges, with intent that ye may eat up wrongfully and knowingly a little of (other) people’s property.. “(Al-Baqarah 2: 188)

There are various ways to earn a living, so, never resort to that which is immoral.

” O ye who believe! Eat not up your property among yourselves in vanities: but let there be amongst you traffic and trade by mutual good-will: nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah hath been to you Most Merciful. (29) If any (one) does that in rancour and injustice,― soon shall We cast him into the Fire: and easy it is for Allah. (30). “(An-Nisa, 4:29-30)

‘A thousand dinars ayat’ that are often displayed at Muslims restaurant are quoted from Surah At-Thalaq, verses 2-3.

“… . And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out (2) And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if anyone puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish His purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion. (3) …”

Our worldly life is only temporary which can be likened to as a passing traveler on the journey to an eternal destination. So, as a traveler, pat your chest, and ask the heart, how much treasure is to be gained in this world and how do you get it?

Just like the ‘Monopoly’ game, racing around the board to collect properties and lands, while trying to bancrupt our competitors. However, if we win, and the game ends, what happens? All the treasures that we have collected will be recalled, and put back into the box, which in turn will be chased by next group of people playing the same game!

From Abu Hurairah r.a., he said, Rasullullah SAW said:

“… a servant said, ‘My wealth My wealth! ‘But his real wealth is of three kinds:

  1. Which he consumes and runs out
  2. Which he wears and tears; and
  3. Which he gave away in charity then stored (for the hereafter). Apart from these three kinds disappeared or left behind for others.

* yeah, now maybe the ‘Monopoly’ game analogy might seem more palatable.

In Islamic financial planning, the core concept is Allah SWT is the absolute owner of all wealth while we humans are only a ‘trustee’, and the trustees will all be held accountable by the trust they bear. As a matter of fact, as a trustee, we can neither spend it too freely nor too stingily to give away in charity. Because in both situation, we surely be one to lose.

In our daily quest to earn our income, just remember that Allah SWT has already promised that, every soul living, has his sustenance already determined as long as he lives. Therefore, we need to work, and work hard at that, and trust in Allah for the best outcome.

Wallahua’lam.

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Pendapatan yang berkat

Dalam mengejar harta dunia, kadang-kala kita mungkin terlibat dengan perkara-perkara yang akan menjadikan pendapatan kita tidak diberkati. Rumah besar, kereta cantik, hidup bergaya dan bermewah-mewah seringkali menjadi kayu ukuran kejayaan sesorang. Oleh itu, tidak hairanlah kenapa rasuah masih wujud untuk ‘memudahkan’ urusniaga. Namun begitu, harus di ingat, si pemberi dan penerima akan menerima balasannya, kalau tidak di dunia, di akhirat, atau mungkin kedua-duanya.

police fun funny uniform
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Saya pernah mendengar satu ceramah, di mana, seorang bekas pegawai beruniform yang telah bersara mengajukan soalan, “Kenapa anak-anak saya tidak menjadi ‘manusia yang berguna’?”. Setelah merenungkan persoalan tersebut, ustaz tersebut bertanya, “adalah Tuan pernah mengambil rahsuah atau ‘wang bawah meja’?” Penanya tersebut mengaku, “Ya, kerana gaji pokoknya terlalu rendah.”. Maka Ustaz tersebut menjawap, bahawasanya, ‘wang bawah meja’ tersebutlah yang telah menghancurkan keluarganya.

Allah SWT berfirman: “Dan janganlah sebahagian kamu memakan harta (orang-orang yang diantara) kamu dengan (jalan) yang tidak betul, dan (janganlah) kamu bawa (urusan harta) itu kepada hakim-hakim dengan maksud kamu hendak memakan sebahagian daripada harta orang (lain) dengan (jalan) dosa, padahal kamu tahu.” (Al-baqarah 2:188)

Terdapat pelbagai cara untuk mendapatkan harta dan anda harus ingat, jangan sesekali menggunakan cara yang tidak dibenarkan dalam Islam ataupun yang tidak bermoral.

“Hai orang-orang yang beriman, janganlah kamu saling memakan harta sesamamu dengan jalan yang batil, kecuali dengan jalan perniagaan yang berlaku suka sama suka di antara kamu. Dan janganlah kamu membunuh dirimu, sesungguhnya Allah adalah Maha Penyayang kepadamu.” (An-Nisa, 4:29)

‘Ayat seribu dinar’ yang sering dipaparkan di kedai-kedai makan dipetik dari Surah At-Thalaq, ayat 2-3.

“…Sesiapa yang bertaqwa kepada Allah nescaya akan dibukakan jalan keluar baginya (daripada sebarang masalah) dan akan dikurniakan rezeki daripada sumber yang tidak diduganya …”

Hidup di dunia ini hanyalah sementara yang dapat diibaratkan musafir lalu menuju destinasi abadi. Jadi, sewajar musafir, tepuklah dada anda, dan tanyalah hati, berapa banyakkah harta yang perlu diraih di dunia ini dan bagaimanakah cara anda memperolehnya?

Ibarat permainan ‘Monopoly’, kita seringkali lalai kerana berlumba memusing papan untuk mengumpulkan harta, dan cuba mendapatkan lebih banyak dari pesaing-pesaing yang lain. Namun, jika kita menang, dan permainan tamat, apakah yang terjadi? Semua harta yang telah kita kumpulkan akan di ambil semula, dan dimasukkan kembali ke dalam kotak, yang akan menjadi rebutan pemain-pemain yang akan datang !

Daripada Abu Hurairah r.a., katanya, Rasullullah SAW bersabda:

“… seorang hamba berkata, ‘Hartaku ! Hartaku!’ padahal hartanya yang sesungguhnya tiga macam:

  1. Apa yang dimakannya lalu habis
  2. Apa yang dipakainya lalu lusuh; dan
  3. Apa yang disedekahkannya lalu tersimpan (untuk akhirat). Selain daripada tiga macam itu lenyap atau ditinggalkan bagi orang lain.
*ye, sekarang mungkin analogi permainan ‘Monopoly’ lebih masuk akal.

Dalam perancangan kewangan Islam, konsep terasnya adalah Allah SWT adalah merupakan Pemilik harta yang mutlak dan kita manusia hanyalah merupakan ‘pemegang amanah’, dan para pemegang amanah semuanya akan dipertanggungjawapkan oleh amanah yang dipikulnya. Oleh hal yang demikian, sebagai seorang pemegang amanah, kita tidak boleh membelanjakannya dengan sewenang-wenangnya mahupun terlalu kikir untuk bersedekah. Jangan boros serta jangan kikir.

Dalam usuha kita mencari pendapatan yang barakah ini terpulang pada diri kita sendiri. Allah SWT telah berjanji, setiap makhluk tidah akan hidup melata di bumi ini, melainkan setiap rezekinya telah ditentukan. Kita perlu berikhtiar lalu bertawakkal.

Wallahua’lam.

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10 tips bina kehidupan positif

10 TIPS BINA KEHIDUPAN POSITIF : FB NORIZAN SHARIF

1. Sebaik bangun pagi, gunakan ayat-ayat positif. Elakkan “hoi-hoi” dan marah-marah.

2. Gunakan perkataan baik-baik pada pagi hari untuk bina persekitaran positif. Gunakan panggilan yang suami/isteri, ibubapa, anak-anak, kawan-kawan dan jiran-jiran suka dengar.

3. Berikan senyuman kepada 10 orang pertama yang kita temui sejak bangun tidur. Insya-Allah, senyuman itu akan membawa sampai ke petang.

4. Elakkan manusia toksid. Manusia toksid ialah manusia yang rasa dia seorang betul, semua orang lain salah. Cara dia berfikir ialah semua tak kena. Lari jauh-jauh dari manusia sebegini.

5. Unfriend manusia toksid dari Facebook. Keluar dari WhatsApp group mereka. Berhentikan sesi teh tarik dengan mereka. Nyahkan mereka dari hidup kita.

6. Bayangkan penghujung yang indah untuk hadapi cabaran sementara. Usah biarkan fikiran negatif “tak boleh” tenggelamkan usaha baik.

7. Sentiasa fikir “semua benda boleh ubah” kecuali mati. Sekiranya anda tak suka sesuatu, ubah. Berhenti merungut.

8. Usah benchmark kebahagian kita dengan posting kawan-kawan di Facebook. Bukan semua orang yang kita lihat bahagia di Facebook itu bahagia.

9. Sewaktu dalam kesedihan, ingatlah bahawa langit tak selamanya mendung. Sampai waktu, ia kembali cerah.

10. Sentiasa yakin bahawa Allah swt berikan rezeki dan Allah swt berikan rezeki pada masa yang betul. Bukan semua yang kita mahukan sekarang baik untuk kita. Mulakan hidup seharian dengan berfikiran positif kepada Allah. Insya-Allah nanti mudah kita berfikir positif mengenai diri kita dan orang lain.

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The Prince

Today is not a good day, early in the morning and my relatively young blood already boiling, the feeling of being lied to, hurts.

This somehow remind me about the book by Niccolò Machiavelli, which in my humble view can be seem as truly controversial book, but makes sense nevertheless. I need to re-read this since I am in dire need to learn politics just not end in hot waters.

After all, I am still a work in progress. The goal is always to be the best version of me. And today, I just refuse to race with dogs.

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I simply refused. Just like this particular cheetah.

Just a recap on the book main lessons learn, Machiavelli suggest that:

  • Niccolò Machiavelli’s classic treatise instructs rulers to focus on political reality, not moral ideals. Although moral compass still play a huge role in my decision making, but usually I relate it to reality and practicality of the situation. 
  • Two forms of rule exist: free states, such as republics, and principalities, such as autocracies.
  • The ruler must do everything to secure his power, even if he has to use force.
  • He can secure his power either by using foul play or by gaining his subjects’ loyalty through good deeds.
  • As a ruler, it is better to be feared than loved.
  • The prince must make his subjects happy, facilitate trade and, at all costs, avoid becoming hated by the people. Which in my view is hardest of all, a simple at time innocent lie could spark these hatred and ill-feeling.
  • A leader should always appreciate the art of war. And we need to understand that it is okay to lose the battle as long as you win the war.
  • After conquering a region, rulers must assure their power. Retaining power is harder than gaining it.
  • The best methods of securing power are to destroy the captured capital city, establish a residence and set up a loyal local government.
  • A private army recruited from the people is more reliable than mercenary troops. Since it is easier to be sure of their loyalty.

Review of the book (In short, Its awesome, albeit a bit dark for me)

Machiavelli suggest that the end justifies the means, although Muslim on the other end believe that the means is almost as important as the end. With regards to the book, this simple, pragmatic maxim underpins this Niccolò Machiavelli’s classic work, The Prince.

Written in 1513, when Machiavelli was a former Florentine registry official, this handbook of political power provoked controversy like no other. Its central theme is how Renaissance rulers should act if they want to prevail in gaining and retaining power. According to the author, a strong state requires a leader who is able to defend his power at all costs. Machiavelli maintains that a ruler may opt for deception, trickery, oppression and even murder his opponents, as long as his misdeeds serve the state’s stability.

Without question, this short treatise offers enough material to demonize its author. However, Machiavelli does not actually suggest that we resort to unlimited ruthlessness and violence. Nor does he justify any objectives that seem to warrant violence. However, he also does not try to align his work to any religion’s morals as he examines the practice of statecraft and leadership. As his work is purely from his own view and personal experience. Maybe in the future we could discuss more on Islamic, Christianity and other major religion view on power.

Back to our topic, the term “Machiavellian” emerged in the 16th century to describe a devious, cruel tyrant, who uses any means to achieve his goals. When 20th century dictators praised Machiavelli’s masterpiece, it came into disrepute, but in contemporary thought, its literary foresight makes it a classic. Modern readers will be able to understand the book’s significance thanks to the accessible translation and annotations by Peter Bondanella. Kudos to him, for his wonderful effort in preserving such classic.

To put the treatise in context, Maurizio Viroli explains in his introduction, “For Machiavelli, the old way of building and preserving a regime had to be abandoned in order to embrace a new conception based on the principle that no state is a true dominion unless it is sustained by an army composed of citizens or subjects.”

Machiavelli’s The Prince, for all the controversies that it sparks, and all the bad reputation is earned, still there’s still some lessons in it which we all can learn from, regardless.

Lesson 1: Forms of Rule

People live under two types of governance: Either they are citizens of

  1. A free state, such as a republic; or
  2. A principality, such as an autocracy.

In both type, a leader can achieve sole rule through inheritance or through obtaining new territories. The leader can be the founder of new entities, as was the case in Milan, or he can conquer existing towns and regions.

A leader who inherits his kingdom will encounter fewer problems in both ruling and retaining it. First, the people accept and respect his power because he comes from a long tradition of leadership in which the term ‘rightful ruler’  could be seen to be used freely. And second, any potential opponents would be at a disadvantage since they would have to turn to cruelty to gain respect, thus losing the support of the people.

Lesson 2: The Correct Form of Conquest

Language plays a large role in the successful annexing of states. When the new, added territory uses the same tongue as the existing territory, the ruler can take over by ousting the former ruling family and keeping the existing laws. I would use the analogy of ruling parties in our modern days, people would expect greener posture under the new leadership of the ruling parties, although in actually they could be worse. It would be a task for the ruling party to maintain its power thru mass popularity or thru sheer force.

In most such cases, the subjects will pose no problem. However, to assert his authority and make his presence known, a head of state should always erect an official residence. Creating colonies is a cheap, effective way to increase your power, and it is easier than conquering whole countries. With colonies, a ruler needs to dispossess only a few powerful inhabitants and render them too poor to pose any meaningful threat thereafter. Drive them away and settle your followers on their land.

In general, aim to strip the powerful of their power and make the less powerful your allies.

Lesson 3: Retaining Power

There are a few struggles in retaining power due to the difference in geopolitical landscapes. Take kingdoms, such as Turkey, are more difficult to take over since they have sole, supreme leaders who are hard to depose or eliminate. If you do manage to dethrone a king, leading subsequently will prove relatively easy since the land had only one ruler, so you won’t have to tackle territorial lords pushing their own agendas. In states such as France, seizing power is simple, but holding it is difficult. A number of power-hungry princes and barons surround the king and so forging alliances is easy. Should you defeat the king, but fail to dispossess the other barons, maintaining power will become a miserable, Sisyphean undertaking.

Once you conquer a territory, Machiavelli’s suggest to take three necessary steps to secure your governance:

  1. Destroy the capital city. This is the safest thing to do.
  2. Establish a residence in the region.
  3. Create a government from loyal locals. This way, the state may retain its own laws, but it will still heed your authority.

Examples of this could easily be seen by looking at our history.

Lesson 4: Conquest Through Ability and Luck: Cesare Borgia

A ruler who takes over an empire by conquest must use his forces to maintain his dominance. However, an individual who rises from citizen to ruler generally has no private army and thus must proceed with caution. If he acquired power with someone else’s help, he must act cleverly, so as not to lose his position too quickly.

For example, to gain power, Cesare Borgia relied too heavily on his father, Rodrigo Borgia, elected in 1492 as Pope Alexander VI. Cesare Borgia saw his chance to take over Romagna, Italy, when the pope granted the French king dissolution of his marriage, and the monarch expressed his gratitude by sending troops to the pope. With that might, Borgia soon appointed himself duke. The new ruler used every means to consolidate his rule. He murdered his political opponents and chose a new governor, Remirro Del Orco, a Spaniard known for cruelty. At the time, Romagna was overrun by lawlessness and debauchery, and Del Orco restored order using an iron fist. However, his harsh methods made the new governor hugely unpopular. To distance himself from Del Orco’s actions and to get the public back on his side, Borgia had the governor executed, putting his remains on display to satisfy the masses.

To eliminate the threat of a new pope, who would have been dangerous to him and his father, Borgia ousted the entire ruling family, and won over the nobles of Rome and the majority of the College of Cardinals. As an extra measure, he strove to broaden his power with further conquests. However, before he succeeded, his father died and he himself became deathly sick. In the end, he was unable to fight off the attacking Spanish and French armies.

Lesson 5: Other Forms of Acquisition

A private citizen can become the ruler in two other ways.

First, he can use foul play to gain power. Luck plays no role in exercising this option. The individual secures control independently and ruthlessly, and relies on no one for help.

Agathocles of Syracuse used underhandedness to gain command in 300 B.C. The son of a potter, he rose through the military ranks and eventually sought the title of prince. One day, he organized a gathering of the state’s wealthy citizens and Senate members. Once the city’s most powerful inhabitants had assembled, his guards sealed the doors of the meeting room and every attendee soon met a grisly end. After this, no one dared to challenge Agathocles’ rule.

This method of seizing power is cowardly, however, and Agathocles will never count among the greats because of it. Should atrocities be necessary to acquire power, a would-be ruler should carry them out quickly and in bouts. Once he has achieved the desired result, he must rein in his actions. Under no circumstances should he continue using force. Those who expose their subjects to increasing degrees of violence soon lose dominance.

Second, citizens can rise to power either with the assistance of the public or with the help of the powerful. The latter is difficult because each of these “mighty men” feels that he himself should rule, and as a group, these powerful individuals seek to oppress the public.

However, leaders who are true men of the people bolster their rule by securing the support of their subjects. If the public anticipates that their ruler will be cruel, he can use good deeds to encourage their loyalty.

Lesson 6: Under Siege

A strong ruler generally needs a private army so that he can compete well on the battlefield. However, if a ruler with no army comes under siege, his only recourse is to retreat to a fortress. For this plan to work, the city must be prepared in advance. The imperial urban areas in Germany are the prototypes of such “free” cities. They are so well protected and own so many supplies that they can withstand siege easily for a year. This long period leaves attackers vulnerable to the changing seasons, and in most cases, they are forced to retreat shamefully.

Another weapon in a ruler’s arsenal is popularity. If the people cherish him, they will remain loyal, and a foreign attacker will have an even harder time penetrating the land’s defenses.

Finally, spiritual leadership is a useful tool: If the ruler promotes religion, tradition and God, his citizens will not dare rebel against these powerful forces.

Lesson 7: Mercenary Forces

Whoever seeks to consolidate his rule needs good laws and good armies. Those who must rely on mercenary soldiers will eventually encounter betrayal and treachery. These soldiers serve their masters out of greed, not honor or duty. They are generally dishonest and steal from the public in times of peace.

In wartime, mercenaries often become cowardly and can even switch sides. Mercenary leaders are especially dangerous: If they are masters of their craft, they seek to draw power to themselves. Amateur mercenary leaders, on the other hand, damage the country through poor management.

Auxiliary troops, which might arrive thanks to a powerful ally, usually do more harm than good. Only those states that possess their own locally recruited forces, such as Switzerland, can really call themselves free. For this reason it is important that they remain especially well fortified.

Lesson 8: The Art of War

A ruler should never neglect the art of war since he is expected to excel in warfare and defense above all other things. Many citizens rose to power by perfecting their wartime skills and battle techniques. The opposite is also true: Many rulers have been relieved of their power because they avoided going to war. Even during times of peace, leaders should keep their armies ready for battle. Preparation is the key to victory. A prince must also know his territories inside and out, since he does not want to falter in his own marshes when trying to outsmart the enemy. The wise ruler should study the lessons of others who succeeded in battle using guile and skill.

Lesson 9: Best Behavior

No gain can come to a leader from adhering to ideals. Surrounded by unscrupulous people, the good person inevitably will suffer defeat. If a ruler possesses certain virtues – all the better. If he possesses any bad qualities, he must keep them hidden. People believe what they observe without further investigating the matter. For instance, generosity is by and large a useless characteristic in a head of state. Eventually he will have to raise taxes and in no time people far and wide will hate him. Whoever has the reputation of a miser should not try to change it. He can fall back on his thriftiness when he needs money to serve the general good, such as when the country is under attack.

A prince should be loved and feared equally. If he must choose only one or the other, he should opt for the fear of his people, but not so much so that it turns to hatred. By being charitable, he feeds anarchy, whereas by using cruelty, he keeps the peace. A kind ruler can rarely rely on his subjects’ gratitude: They are often fickle and will not repay his kindness.

If need be, the head of state may break his word. After all, everybody eventually does. However, he must have a valid reason for this breach of promise. Whoever can create the appearance of absolute virtue will be in a strong position. The populace believes what it sees and is happy to follow.

Employ capable ministers who are committed to the interests of the state. If they are confident and clever, allow them to tell you the truth rather than flatter you when unpleasant matters arise. Their insights will serve you better than their compliments.

Consider these final precautions:

  • Never interfere with citizens’ possessions or their women.
  • Protect their livelihoods and encourage their work.
  • Encourage festivals and celebrations. They increase the people’s happiness.

That’s it for now. Once I finished writing this post, it seems that my anger is subsided somehow. That’s good.

Till next time.

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3 common flaws we make during Salah

Salah (prayer) are supposed to be the Muslim way to relax and chill after a tiring day, and the best part is, the compulsory prayer is 5 times a day. In my opinion, the benefit of prayer is like that of meditation, it’s not only good for your heart, but also for your soul.

  1. Reciting the verses too fast: Just like music, in order to enjoy it, the tempo should be on point, if too fast, you heart might be racing and in the end, instead of feeling relaxed you most likely end up more tired and burned out than before you pray.  Therefore, pace yourself well when reciting the verses, make sure you hear them yourself, it will soothe your heart and soul.
  2. Mindless act: In order to be able to observe the benefit of prayer, it need to be done mindfully. It’s not a mindless and or just a physical activity. Just as per a beautiful quote by Jon Kabat-Zinn “The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness.” Therefore, in order to reap full benefit of prayer, we need to do mindfully. I believe, the right term here is khusyuk.
  3. Feeling less recitation: It’s hard to have feeling for something that you do not understand. I’m myself still have a lot to learn with this respect, but I believe we are all work in progress and always a better version of ourselves to aspire to.

Nevertheless, just keep on improving, not only with regards to spiritual aspect, but also in our worldly affairs, and with our interaction with our non-Muslim friends and colleague. As per a quote (hadith) from my beloved,

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو حَفْصٍ، عَمْرُو بْنُ عَلِيٍّ أَخْبَرَنَا أَبُو دَاوُدَ، حَدَّثَنَا صَدَقَةُ بْنُ مُوسَى، حَدَّثَنَا مَالِكُ بْنُ دِينَارٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ غَالِبٍ الْحُدَّانِيُّ، عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ خَصْلَتَانِ لاَ تَجْتَمِعَانِ فِي مُؤْمِنٍ الْبُخْلُ وَسُوءُ الْخُلُقِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى هَذَا حَدِيثٌ غَرِيبٌ لاَ نَعْرِفُهُ إِلاَّ مِنْ حَدِيثِ صَدَقَةَ بْنِ مُوسَى ‏.‏ وَفِي الْبَابِ عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ‏.
“Two traits are not combined in a believer: Stinginess and bad manners.”

Muslim supposed to have the best of manners and characteristic, it’s not the religion that brought us down, it is our manners.

Let’s improve on our prayer, and also on our character while we still can . . .

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Simple Money Lessons From Tun Dr Mahathir

Here are some lessons you can learn from Dr Mahathir’s outlook on wealth, saving, and spending less from Ringgitplus.

From his RM12 Bata sandals to his preferred Pilot Ball Liner pen, Malaysia Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been lauded on social media for his seemingly austere manner of living. Some have questioned whether his frugal habits are all a façade, but Dr Mahathir has now addressed these questions in-depth in an interview with The Malay Mail.

As Dr Mahathir delivers some insight into matters of his personal wealth, here we can take a few notes from the 92-year-old Prime Minister’s financial lifestyle and views which of course would be of some benefits to those whom willing to learn.

Tip #1: Be frugal

The most basic way to stretch your income is to save. Dr Mahathir shared that he saved his pay the entire time he was in public office, and that was how he accumulated quite a lot of money over the decades. Here, the Malay peribahasa “sikit-sikit lama-lama menjadi bukit” comes to mind, and it’s a great adage to adopt if you want to maintain a healthy bank balance.

It also helps if you practice a modest lifestyle and a frugal mindset. “I don’t waste money or buy things that I don’t need,” said Dr Mahathir. “I am very careful about how I spend my money; I’m naturally like that.”

This lifestyle is exemplified with the first of several photos of Dr Mahathri that went viral online, where he was pictured in a Baju Melayu and a pair of Bata slippers. For such a powerful icon to be seen in such humble items of clothing, it was a classic show of contrasts to the previous prime minister – and one that endeared him to the rakyat (Malaysian).

(Image: Bata and Azran Shah via Business Insider)

Tip #2: Invest, but wisely

It is considered good financial sense to create some passive income through investments if you have the means. The Prime Minister revealed that he too has made some investments with Tabung Haji and unit trusts in Permodalan Nasional Berhad.

However, the nature of investments is that they entail some degree of risk. You should always be prepared to shoulder any losses should your investments go south, so make your decisions wisely. Diversifying your investments is also important, with a mix of investments that have varying levels of risk.

That way, you protect yourself from losing too much money should there be losses in your portfolio. Dr Mahathir himself confessed to investing in things that garnered no profit, and if you ask around you will find similar narratives by those who have made less-than-favourable investments.

Tip #3: Avoid debt where possible

Among all his tips, this is my favorite. Dr Mahathir was very adamant against the idea of being in debt and borrowing money. “Borrowing money is not my way. If I borrow, I feel a burden that I have to repay – I don’t want any burdens, so I don’t borrow.”

Most of us cannot be entirely debt-free – we either have student, car, or home loans to pay off in different stages in our lives (sometimes even all three at the same time!) But while debt may be unavoidable, making sure you don’t take on more debt than you can manage is very important. Take time to manage your finances and identify your commitments before taking the plunge on a car or a house.

(Image: Marina Mahathir)

Tip #4: Don’t be greedy

Sometimes, you may find yourself in a situation in which you stand to gain considerable profit by stepping outside the lines of integrity. Dr Mahathir shared that there were instances in which he found himself in this position when he was in office as Prime Minister previously.

“For example, I wanted to declare Langkawi a tax-free island,” he said. “I was the only one who knew. I could have bought a lot of land and then declared Langkawi tax-free. In those days, one relung of land, which is about less than half an acre, would only cost RM200. Now the price, as you know, is about RM5 million per acre. I could have been rich. But I didn’t do that.”

Tip #5: Know the power of compounding effect

Living a humble lifestyle and being prudent with savings leads to surprisingly positive outcomes in the long run. By having a habit of consistently saving a portion of your salary every month, the compounding effect of the interest you earn can be as good as a stable, low-risk investment in the long run. When it comes to earning money, it’s always a marathon, not a sprint.

“I didn’t think about enriching myself because I find that I am already rich,” said Dr Mahathir. As the Prime Minister’s housing, living expenses, and transportation were provided for while he was in office, he did not have to pay much and so saved all his money. As such, with his income and moderate lifestyle, he managed to snowball his savings over the decades.

Final Words

Tun Dr Mahathir’s lifestyle is a classic example of a humble lifestyle. Despite moving through the ranks in the country’s political hierarchy, Dr Mahathir’s lifestyle barely changed despite the massive strides ahead in spending power. For the young rakyat chasing the luxuries of life, Dr Mahathir’s moderate ways is a great reminder that sometimes, less is indeed more.

Source: ringgitplus

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What is trust?

What is trust? Trust is defined as the belief that a person intends to do the right thing (character) and knows what to do and how to get it done (competence).

Character + Competence = Trust

When your team members trust you, they believe that you:

  • Intend to do what is best for them and the organization
  • Have the skills needed to achieve mutually important goals
  • Deliver on your commitments
  • Genuinely care about others’ well-being

Character

Character is about your intention to do the right thing even when the going get tough. Your team members will trust you if they respect your character.

Others will view your character positively if they believe that you:

  • Appreciation: Value your team’s and organization’s work. You appreciate the inherent worth of the work you do, not just its personal usefulness to you, such as your own professional advancement. To demonstrate this, link your team’s work to the organization’s strategy, be a model of commitment to your team, and put the team first by distributing credit generously rather than hoarding credits.
  • Caring: Value individual team members. You genuinely care about them and take their needs and interests into account. You treat team members with respect. You’re forthright and honest and do your best to keep your word. To demonstrate that you care, help team members succeed and accomplish goals, treat everyone fairly, and show appreciation for each team member.
  • EI: Are emotionally intelligent. You deal effectively with your own and others’ feelings at work. To demonstrate emotional intelligence, acknowledge your own emotions, invite constructive criticism and feedback on your own work, and handle team members’ mistakes constructively.
  • Resilient: Never give up. You recover from setbacks, frustrations, and failure. Having a healthy sense of self-confidence will help you avoid discouragement and stay focused on your team’s work and ultimate purpose. To demonstrate resiliency, express confidence, take control of team setbacks, and swiftly identify actions that will improve a challenging situation.

Competence

Competence is your knowledge of what to do and how to get it done. In order to establish your competency, you must be able to demonstrate three type of competence.

The 3-type of competence is generally defined as :

  • Technical competence means you know enough about the work your group does to guide others and make intelligent decisions. Technical competence can be viewed as “theoretical” knowledge which are what you learn in a classroom or a textbook. It’s how things are supposed to work.
  • Operational competence is practical, “how to do it,” real-world hands-on knowledge. When you have operational competence, you know how the theory behind your team’s work actually gets applied. You acquire this kind of competence through on-the-job experience.
  • Political competence means understanding how to get something done in your organization by being politically savvy. It requires knowing company practices and processes, recognizing who has real influence, and being clear about other units’ goals and how to navigate your team and yourself to accomplish the goals at hand.

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I can be DUMB at times

When’s the last time strong emotion led you to behavior you later regretted?

For me the answer would be this afternoon, yes, the afternoon of 24th July 2018 . I consider myself somewhat brilliant (self-confidence is important nowadays) but again at time I can be remarkably dumb, especially with my laser sharp tongue. Something of which I honestly need to work hard on.

Therefore, I would spend a bit of my time tonight going back on my notes on a article entitled ‘Psychology’s Power Tools’.

In summary,

  • Research suggests that when we are confronted with unpleasant stimuli, we can temper our immediate feelings and behaviors by analyzing our thoughts objectively. Easier said than done, but nevertheless we can be better at by constant practice.
  • Cognitive reappraisal can help people endure unpleasant events, especially when negative feelings emerge from distorted thought patterns.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy aims to make us more aware of our thoughts, giving us the tools to challenge the thoughts that aren’t serving us well.
  • In a “thought record,” patients document situations that arise and their thoughts and feelings about the situations. They then notice their resulting behaviors. Maybe I should try to record this too.
  • The thought record continues to provide evidence for painful thoughts; evidence against painful thoughts; and a new, more rational response to the situation.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psycho-social intervention that is the most widely used evidence-based practice aimed at improving mental health. CBT uses a number of tools to re-frame any situation in more technical, objective ways to reduce negative emotions and encourage positive behavior. Cognitive reappraisal is a core tool used in CBT, which focuses on relatively recent events that occur in a person’s life, their thoughts about those events, and their resulting feelings and behavior. If a person is in a near constant state of emotional distress, it’s likely that the bulk of their thoughts are inaccurate and dysfunctional. People are often unaware of dysfunctional thoughts, which may be deeply rooted and automatic, and since the thoughts most of the time are automatic and your reaction to such thoughts will be automatic too. Many people have distorted core beliefs about themselves which if left unchallenged can lead to poor decision making and major suffering. CBT helps us modify core beliefs and gain awareness of the inaccurate thoughts that arise on a daily basis.

“Asking people to view upsetting material from a more detached perspective does indeed alter the nature of the emotional experience.”

“Cognitive behavioral therapists … help people come to view the hurdles of life less like perilous threats that will slowly eat them alive and more like challenges to be managed and overcome.”

A “thought record” is a CBT technique that helps patients notice and challenge their day-to-day thoughts. Each entry includes a description of a situation that led to intense emotion. This could be anything for example, an upsetting phone call with a spouse or an uncomfortable interaction with co-workers. A person records his or her immediate thoughts, including specific details about what he or she imagined other people were thinking, their motives and possible future consequences. Next, records his or her feelings of worry, frustration or physical distress. The record also includes a description of the behaviors that followed those feelings usually negative behaviors that are hurting chances of happiness, like lashing out at others. The participant then adds the evidence supporting the painful thoughts, listing the reasons why they generated reactionary beliefs. The participant then challenges those thoughts by listing evidence against the painful thoughtsChallenging painful thoughts can lead to a new, more rational response to the situation and new, less painful or intense feelings. Keeping such a record reminds people to slow down and recognize and revise the spontaneous thoughts that might be doing them harm. It also helps them cultivate cognitive flexibility. People with cognitive flexibility acknowledge that there are many possibilities for what is happening in the present and what could happen in the future.

In general, the thought record seems to be an interesting idea which I look forward to try.