He left it for My behalf

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If he intended to do an evil deed but does not carry it out, Allaah records a complete good deed for him. That is, if he leaves it for the sake of Allaah as has come in some wordings,

لأنه تر كها من جرائي

“Because he left it for My behalf,”*

Meaning: for My sake. The proofs indicate that the person who intended to do an evil deed but does not carry it out is divided into three types:

  1. He tries to carry it out and strives for it, but he does not achieve it. A complete sin is written against this one.
  2. He intends to do it then he refrains, not from fear of Allaah, because of his own self. There is nothing written for or against this.
  3. He abandons it for the sake of Allaah, The Mighty, The Majestic, fearing Him. This, as has come in the Hadeeth, Allaah records a complete good deed.

He said,

وإن هم بها فعملها كتبها الله سيئة واحدة

“If he intended it and carried it out, Allaah records it as one evil deed.”

Muslim #129

Book: Explanatory Notes on Imaam an-Nawawee’s Forty Ahaadeeth (Revisited) – التعليقات على الأربعين النووية
Author: Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen رحمه الله
Published by: Tarbiyyah Publishing
Translated by: Aboo Mu’aawiyah ‘Aqeel ibn Kenneth Ingram
Page: 242,243

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(Motivation) For the Pursuit of Excellence

Maximize Your Potential (A book review)

A book review on awesome book by Jocelyn K. Glei and Scott Belsky of the same title, Maximize Your Potential, Grow Your Expertise,Take Bold Risks and Build an Incredible Career.

“Follow your passion” may be the most common advice job seekers received, but many would have heed it to their own detriment. Unfortunately, chasing our passion might turns out not to be relevant to most jobs,though other strong motivations may prevail.

Take myself for example, I love reading, but reading won’t put food on the table, and my blog (the website your currently reading) is not earning enough money to event buy me a pack of instant noodles. Other than that, I really enjoy writing, and I still enjoy reading & sharing my notes with all of you, but as I mentioned before, it doesn’t earn enough (yet) for me to quit my day job.

On top of that, another common delusion is that we can achieve anything including career success with willpower. It takes a lot more of willpower to succeed in this world. Regrettably, that’s not how things usually work. Willpower is a circumscribed resource that can fade quickly. So what does work? Lets find out.

“Motivation is not a matter of will-power, it is a matter of want-power”

Here’s what we should do

  • Most people want jobs that let them to do what they love . However, trying to “follow your passion” is poor career-planning advice.
  • Regard your career as a start-up; position yourself as the entrepreneur who plans and manages it.
  • Manage your income like you would a company,makes sure you always maintain a healthy cash-reserves, and a positive net-worth. This will save a lot of headaches and heartaches later on.
  • Always view yourself as a work-in-progress. You can be much more in the future than you are today.   
  • The capability to acquire new skills is today’s most valuable asset. Therefore, make continuous improvement daily on your skill sets and knowledge. Kaizen is the keyword here.
  • The status quo is your enemy.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. Compare your work today to your own previous best efforts.
  • With practice, most people can become expert at just about anything.
  • The job you do matters less than attaining the lifestyle attributes that make you happy. 
  • Lucky people make their own luck in their careers and their lives.
  • Employers want to hire adaptive, inventive people.

Further readings

  1. I am Ambitious,and if you are too, you should read this
  2. Should we follow our Passion?
  3. Skill over passion?
  4. What Does Luck Have to Do with Career Success?
  5. Be Bold and Ready to Take Risks
  6. I’m trying to turn you into you

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Top 10 Motivational Quotes

(10) Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.

Bradley Whitford

(9) It always seems impossible until it’s done.

Nelson Mandela

(8) The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.


(7) Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.

OG Mandino

(6) With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.

Eleanor Roosevelt

(5) Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

Helen Keller

(4) Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.

Simone de Beauvoir

(3) Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

Charles R. Swindoll

(2) Good, better, best. Never let it rest. ‘Til your good is better and your better is best.

St. Jerome

(1) Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.

Carol Burnett

The Motivation Spectrum

If people are already motivated, the question now is, how motivated are they? The answer lies in the 6 “motivational outlooks” on the spectrum of motivation.

These outlook do not form a continuum. At one moment, we might operate in one particular motivational outlook and later, we may operate with an entirely diferent one.

To illustrate how motivaional outlook work, consier them in light of a routine meeting where 6 different employees are each operating individually based on a different mode of motivation:

  1. Disinterest – This one hated the meeting and considered it as as waste of time.
  2. External – This one leverage the meeting to show off his power and status within the organization.
  3. Imposed – This one is forced by his or her superiors to attend the meeting. Their superiors might be angry if they missed the meeting.
  4. Aligned – This one loved attending meeting, and felt they might gain valueable knowledge from that meeting.
  5. Integrated – this one enjoyed the meeting because her life has a noble purpose, and the meeting focused on that purpose.
  6. Inherent – This one is gregarious, loves being around people and attends all meetings.

“Setting measurable goals and outcomes is important. Having a defined finish line in front of you can be positively compelling.”

The first 3 motivational outlook are in the suboptimal motivation category and they represent the low-quality motivation or motivational junk food.

People operating based on suboptimal motivational modes often say things like,

“I have to”

“I must”

“I should”

“I’m requied to”

“It’s necessary”

“Because it’s my duty.”

“Everyday, your employees’ appraisal of their workplace leaves them with or without a positive sense of well-being. Their well-being determines their intentions, and intentions are the greatest predictors of behavior.”

The remaining 3 motivational outlook are the optimal ones. They show the kind of motivation which we want, for ourselves, our employees and the people we care about.

They are motivational “health food”.

Outlook based on alignment, integration and inherent motivation generate high-quality energy, vitality and positive well-being which leads to a sustainable results. People with optimal motivation outlook often say,

“I get to”

“I have decided to”

“I am lucky to”

“I elect to”

“External Motivators”

Organization at times would turn to external motivators to influence their employees. These motivators include money, incentives or a bigger office or even bigger title which are tangable, or approval, status, shame or fear, which are intangible. These forces work directly against the important psychological requirements employees have for autonomy, relatedness and competence.

External motivators actually undermine motivation.

“The quality of our beliefs determines the quality of our leadership values. Our leadership values ultimately determine how we lead and the quality of the workplace we create.”

External motivators can take control over our employees, driving and compelling them to act in a certain way, thus robbing them of autonomy. And eventually, the employees will come to resent the loss of control.

A self-defeating inherent message accompanies any external motivator:

“If you do as I say, then you will be rewarded”

This ham-handed message can gain only temporary, “conditional support” from the employees.

“Not all beliefs are values, but all values are beliefs”

Optimal Motivation

For most organizations, motivation is what their employees can do for them. But this reverses crucial priorities.

The magic of motivation kick into overdrive when managers address what the can do for their employees.

Answering that question fulfills one o the basic rules of motivation:

“When we focus on what we want for people, we are more likely to get the results we want from people.”

So, instead of trying to drive or control employees with carrots and sticks, or pigeon pellets, help promote thriving employees by meeting their crucial autonomy, relatedness an competence psychological needs, which are their “basic desire to thrive.”

Organizations need to move beyond a strict focus on corporate priorities which usually centered around “results, performance and productivity.”

“Great leadership takes great practice. When it comes to motivation, leadership practice includes being a role model.”

And when companies focuses on autonomy, relatedness and competence, they and their people will stand to benefit. Organizations that focus on ARC develop sel-governing workforce who believe in accountability. Such companies promote strong personal relationships, which motivate examplary “citizenship behaviors” among employees. This emphasis on competence and professional development helps create and sustain learning organizations.

Therefore, organization should help their employees to understand why they are motivated. Adopting a motivational strateg based on ARC values which ensures that our employees have an optimal motivational outlook. And when leaders model this attitude, it can become a defining characteristic of our organization, a win-win-win for employees, manager and the company.

And hence, a much holistic working culture.

The ‘Motivation Dilemma”

Managers face a motivation dilemma. Their organizations insiste that they to motivate their subordinate to work hard to meet the corporate goals. Unfortunately, since no one can motivate another person which is an impossible task to do.

That’s the dilemma.

Executives and managers who want to understand motivation should and must understand the “appraisal process”.

Employees appraise things according to what important to them and their priorities might differ from that of their managers and corporate leaders.

So, the factors which motivate employees may not align with what we want them to be motivated toward accomplishing. The goals that drive their motivation may not be akin to the objectives which we want to encourage.

“It is a mistake to think that people are not motivated. They are simply longing for the needs they cannot name.”

For example,

In 2002, the Boston Red Sox wanted to lure Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane to come work for them. And they offered him then what would have been the largest GM salary in baseball. They were shocked when he turned it down. But Beane appraised the offer against what mattered to him – “his family and the love of baseball.”

“The real story of motivating is that people are learners who long to grow, enjoy their work, be productive, make positive contributions and build lasting relationships.”

And in case of Beane, he never cared about money, so the Red Sox’s huge salary offer meant little to him. They couldn’t motivate him because he was already motivated, but in different way than the Red Sox wanted.

This is always the proble when we try to motivate people. They already are motivated but sometimes in ways we may not like.

However, we want our employees’ individual motivations to align with our organization’s goal. But now we understand that trying to leverage “motivational forces” to compel people to do as we want won’t work.

So, how can we align their goals and the company’s goals?

“It is time to stop beating our people with carrots-and-sticks and embrace different, more effective leadership strategies.”

First, understand that our employees are learners, they want to do well, they want to make solid contributions and they want their organization’s executives to think well of them. They also want to have “autonomy, relatedness and competence ” or ARC, which is the essential psychological needs.

“Rewards may help people initiate new and healthy behaviors, but they fail miserably in helping people maintain their progress or sustain results.”

Instead of offering contests or prizes, encourage your employees by enabling them to gain autonomy. That’s the secret to motivation.

Offer independence and relate to them as human beings. Help them to grow professionally and personally. Don’t worry about what they can do for you, but rather worry about what you can do for them.

In that environment, your employees will become more motivated to perform better.

When you offer autonomy, related to them and encourage their competence, and they will respond.

That’s simple human nature.

The Motivation Question

Lets consider some FAQ asked on motivation and related issues as highlighted in the book ‘Why Motivating People Doesn’t Work … and What Does.”

“Is there ever a time when rewards when rewards are appropriate?”

Unfortnately, yes. Rewards become necessary if people are unwilling to do the right thing. To illustrate, the FAA now offers $10, 000 rewards to those who report people who aim lasers at flying planes. Lasers can blind pilots and cause planes to crash.

“How do I make expectations clear without creating complexity?”

As a leader, we need employees to meet their set goals and deadlines. But it shouldn’t be necessary to motivate them regarding these basic duties; employees should self-motivate to reach their goals.

“What is the best way to motivate the younger generate?”

As a matter of fact, we can’t motivate people, regardless old or young. Diferent generations have different values. As a leader, we must help all our people including the younger ones to align their values with their peers’ best, most productive value. This alignment can lead to the development of mutual motivational drive. In building motivation, values would count most of all.

“Why don’t contest motivate people?”

We want employees to strive to achieve their goals because they understand the importance of doing so, not because they could win a contest. Most of the time, motivational contest are counter-productive which will direct those employees’ focus away from their routine goals and towards a temporary and arbitrary competition goals.

“Why is competition ineffective in spurring motivation?”

Most athletic superstar would usually says that winning isn’t their main drive. But rather they pursue a quest for excellence. And often these superstar derive tremendous enjoyment simply from their own prowess.

“You cannot hope to motivate people in meaningful ways of you don’t understand the levers that influence the way people are motivated.”