Category Archives: A new sunrise

Tools for succeeding in the hereafter

Humility for Humanity

dream-big-and-stay-humble
Just the other day, during a pep talk to students, a young enthusiast posed this question- “Why are you advising us to be humble when this world values first impressions and self confidence more than humility?” Though I answered to the best of my modest capability, I wasn’t quite contented with my own reply.

So after reaching home, I decided to go Pal Sourcing on this subject. I posted this query -“In just 2 words, give your tips on how to be loved by all” on FB and tagged many of my good friends. In the comments that flowed in, many of them wrote “Be Humble“. I couldn’t but compare these comments with the responses to another query-“How to be successful?” that I had posted earlier. I remember very well that none of my good friends had brought up the topic of humility then. This aggravated by doubt- Were people attributing humility to sweet, submissive also-rans and pride and boisterousness with Success? If the responses of my Pals were an indication, yes they were. Could this be true? – I tried to seek out empirical research on the topic. So Google Ahoy.

Interestingly, research on humility showed that this trait has great value. Humility has been linked with better academic performance, job performance, and excellence in leadership. Surprising!!!it was found to be a distinguishing trait of CEO’s of successful organizations. Moreover organizations with humble leaders were found to have more engaged employees and less voluntary turnover.

Research further showed that instead of having low esteem, humble people were self regarding as well as other-regarding. They valued the welfare of other people and had the ability to “forget themselves” as well, when appropriate. Not bad at all…..

Humble people were found to have better social relationships, and tended to be more forgiving, grateful, and cooperative. A recent set of studies also showed that people who are humble tend to be more generous with both their time and their money.

So the verdict is out- shunning arrogance and embracing humility will make you better loved as well as super successful. For our own good and the good of humanity, let us therefore set out to cultivate humility. (In ourselves first, preferably)

Humility for Humanity– I love the way it sounds.

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Women or Men- who are more productive?

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Answer to the million dollar question- Women or Men- who are more productive?

According to a new study by independent research consultancy the Ponemon Institute, Women employees work harder and longer than men do

By observing both genders during 10 minute work windows

• On an average females worked 2.5 minutes during ten minutes, while male subjects worked for just 2.1 minutes in the same amount of time. (Almost 20% more)

• Not only do women work longer, but they also apparently work harder than their male counterparts.

• When subjects were given the opportunity to walk away during an experimental waiting period, just 38per cent of women left their desk, while 52per cent of men did.

• When the researcher and subject were both male, the average time worked was 3.6 minutes.

• When they were both female, productivity rose to four minutes.

• But with a female researcher and a male subject, the time worked dropped to just 2.8 minutes.

• Another investigation into the impact of having children on the productivity of male and female lawyers has found that childless women get the most work done – more than childless male lawyers and lawyers of either gender who have children.

So to have maximum productivity, have an all girl team!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope I don’t get terminated 🙂

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Come, let us share some Oxytocins ……

friendship
Don’t we all know that experiencing positive relationships puts us on a perpetual high?. We feel better, think better and behave better when we are with the ones we love and cherish. And now we have empirical evidence to substantiate what we always knew.

Scientists have found that the very experience of positive relationships releases Oxytocin (a very cool hormone) which lowers blood pressure, heart rate and gives us better ability to handle stress calmly. Moreover ms Oxy increases trust levels and thus prods and pushes us to seek more social contacts and this again flags off a virtuous cycle along life’s lovely tracks.

To add compliment to good health (My miserable take on the opposite of “adding insult to injury”) , stress related hormones like ACTH (beats me- so google it up pls) take a deep plunge while experiencing positive relationships.
In another mother of all studies, it was also found that Alzheimers patients who received considered social support started up (can’t use “ended up”, can we ?) physiologically much younger than those who didn’t.

So now- apart from gut feel, we have scientific proof to motivate us to make more friends , Close friends and followers.

Come, let us deplete some ACTH’s as well……

Blogged after ages today- Thanks for the reminder, friend.

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This Merry go round of death


In recent months, we have all been regularly jolted from apathy by recurring news about suicides committed by our compatriots. A majority of those who take this extreme step do so after succumbing to the emotional breakdown brought about by unmanageable and surmounting financial obligations. Even though statistics never reveal the depth and intensity of reality, the figure “1 death in every 3 days” is staggering, to say the least. While it is heartening to know that several Government bodies and voluntary organizations are striving hard to build awareness and to help the kin of the victims and support those in dire financial straits, we have to realize that we have to collectively seek and target the root cause of this issue, if we need to arrest this trend. Treating the symptoms alone can only provide momentary relief. Proactivity is the need of the hour and it sternly calls for a mission to identify and eliminate the real reasons behind this quagmire.

Let us dedicate this mission to the memory of our hapless brothers and sisters who have fallen by the wayside. And let us hope and pray that we can keep the rest of our pack together and continue our onward journey without sacrificing anyone anymore….

This mission will have to take its toddler steps by examining the root causes for the existence of poverty. When I pose this proposition to my readers they usually come up with the following answers- Corruption in the system, improper utilization of resources, poor attitude of the people, lack of smart ideas and so on. I don’t disagree with them, completely that is. While these factors can accelerate a nation’s slide towards poverty, there is one key factor that didn’t feature in this list at all. And unfortunately, this undetected stealthy sneaking factor is the grandmother of them all…..

Let me stop building the suspense and reveal the culprit – that dark menacing force that drives individuals, families and nations to poverty, bankruptcy and suicides is the Interest based economic system that we are a part of. And I can categorically state that if this element is present in our system, we will have poverty regardless of whether corruption, mismanagement and the rest of the social ills are at hand or not.

I know that I have just made a mighty whooping statement and that my discerning rational readers would need evidence before coming along with me. Let me try my best to present the same.

You need to get some basic facts first. Here they are.

1)Banks are the only source of money– Every currency in existence has come out of some bank or the other. If you think that your cash has come from your organization in the guise of your salary, go a bit backwards and understand that organizations get most of their funds through bank borrowings. If you think that your cash has come as pensions from the Government, realize that governments cannot create money as even they have to borrow funds from the monetary agencies, in return for bonds that promise to pay more (more about this later). Hence note that that every single unit of currency available in the market can be traced back to some bank.

2)Bank’s give out money only on interest– there is no free lunch in the interest based economy. In other words every unit of currency given out comes with an obligation to pay back more. This is the case even with governments. If the US Government wants to issue USD 1 million into the economy, they have to give the FED, which is akin to the central bank of most countries, Government bonds which is worth more, say USD 1.1 million. Central banks lend to other banks only on interest and thus do these banks lend to customers. To cut a long story short, just keep in mind that every dirham that you see around here comes with an inherent obligation to return more (say 1.2 dirhams) to the bank.

3)Banks give out money only if you provide collateral– This one is a no brainer. We all know this and we also know that banks eat up this collateral if you are not able to pay back.

Now imagine that there is only one bank in the whole world (Tough proposition, since we have over 50 banks in our UAE itself). But I need you to envision this as a simplified model makes it easier for me to make my point. So this means that all the money in the world can come only from this bank and this money will come out with an obligation to pay more (points 1 and 2 above)

Imagine that this bank (Let us call it the ONLY BANK) is getting ready to lend out for the first time (That means that there is no money in the economy yet)

There are three prospective customers. Mr. A who wants USD 10. Mr. B who wants USD 15 and Mr. C who wants USD 20. They have a house, land and farm animals respectively to provide as collateral.

The ONLY BANK gleefully welcomes them in, collects their collateral and doles out the cash with the following directives.

Mr. A gets 10 and has to return 15 at the end of the year
Mr. B gets 15 and has to return 20 at the end of the year
Mr. C gets 20 and has to return 25 at the end of the year

All three go back home to live happily ever after without knowing the sinister trick that has been played. The ONLY BANK has issued USD 45 and is asking for USD 60 at the end of the year. This extra USD 15 doesn’t exist in the economy since it has not been created/printed/released yet (remember point 1 and that ONLY BANK is executing its first lending cycle).

Now the ignorant enthusiasts set out to do things with their newly found prosperity. Money exchanges hands and imagine that the scenario at the end of the year is…

Mr. A makes a loss of USD 5 and ends up with USD 5 at the end of the year
Mr. B makes a loss of USD 5 and ends up with USD 10 at the end of the year
Mr. C (Lucky guy) makes a profit of USD 10 (5 + 5 lost by A and B) and ends up with USD 30 at the end of the year

Please note that even at this point only USD 45 exists in the economy, distributed differently though.

The ONLY BANK comes calling, with their recovery team (He is not as friendly as he was at the dawn of the year).

Mr. A who was supposed to give back USD 15 ends up losing a big chunk of his collateral.

So does Mr. B.

Mr. C (The lucky guy) gives back 25, gets back his collateral and gets to keep his USD 5 as well.

The ONLY BANK gets a triple treat, USD 25 from Mr. C and collateral from A and B. By releasing just USD 45, It has magically and treacherously made a total of USD 60 from the deal.

Hope you got the trick by now. Regardless of how smart you are and how well structured the system is, someone will have to lose money and go bankrupt as the extra money asked back doesn’t exist and is more than what is released (45 released and 60 asked back). Now imagine thousands of banks and millions of lending cycles and you see the damning effect…

No country ever paid back its debt to the world bank and the IMF.

For most countries interest repayments are more than what they spend on education, health care and infrastructure combined

Richest 225 people own more money than 2.5 billion poor

Every 30 minutes, one farmer in India commits suicide and in every 3 seconds one child in this world dies out of hunger

These are some of the byproducts of this corrupted system which has an in built proposition of WIN-LOSE, where the banks win at all costs and someone loses at all costs.

Let us make it more personal now. This is the hardest hitting part. Imagine that you take a loan from this system and you pay back (because, you have a job, or a business and is wealthy), someone somewhere has to lose his collateral and go bankrupt and perhaps, even commit suicide. Because if you become Mr. C, someone has to be A and B. Note that I am not saying “Someone may have to be A and B”- The fact is that “Someone has to be A and B”. That is how the system is built. Period.

Come to think of it, inadvertently and unknowingly, our hands are stained with the blood of these hapless victims who fall prey to this system. Recently a family in the UAE, suffering from the throes of financial burdens elicited by multiple loans and credit cards did the unthinkable. The mother held the little girl while the father smothered her with a pillow. Once her body hung lifeless, they both attempted suicide. The mother survived though. In a way, we may have been responsible for this incident. They may have been pushed to be either A or B when we occupied the role of C. In any of the impending cycles we may have to play a different role and end up as one more victim of this vicious merry go round of pain, defeat, humiliation and death.

Now that the root cause is identified, what do we do against it?

Build awareness: We will be outnumbered and out voiced. Such is the power of this system. But let us reassure ourselves that RIGHT is RIGHT even if one person does it and WRONG is WRONG even if the whole world does it.

Do whatever is possible: Encourage people to live within their means. If they cannot afford something let them wait until they can. If they want funds to invest, let them seek and find alternatives that will work out a profit and loss arrangement- a partner/institution who will co invest with them and partake the outcomes regardless of its implications. Without collateral which will be usurped regardless of the financial state of the borrower.

At the end of the day, it is the purpose that we choose for ourselves that makes us distinct from others. There are many of our co travelers who choose to live a life of Begin, Beget and Be gone, which is in no way different from the lives of lower animals. We become humans only when we choose to use our talents and resources to make differences in the lives of others- those who are in pain, who need our help and support. We may not be able to usher in a new sunrise, but we can at least be a candle that can combat the darkness in its own special way and also provide inspiration and light to countless other candles.

Hope the Mission begins…..

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Is academic performance the best indicator of potential for success in life?

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Hatred doesn’t come free.


After decades of promoting and indulging in Free sex, they have now shifted to endorsing Free Speech. While the popularity of the former was arrested by a certain incurable virus, the latter is growing unhindered across blogs, tweets and discussion fora. What could have triggered this ado? Do a Google search and you can instantly locate the partisans on either side of the battle lines. Fierce looking Muslim youth holding placards reading “Death to those who defame Islam” on the far right (literally) , and liberal, cool, inspired, educated ,intellectuals on the other- The proverbial clash of the civilizations . The community has once again worked itself into a nasty corner. Changing their online status from “Victims” to “Aggressors” overnight- due to their reactive, crude style of activism. Flag burning is permitted in America, because it is a free country, they say. But the flag burners invariably end up, spied and stalked forever or even in orange overalls behind barbed wire enjoying generous doses of water boarding. And even in the strongest bastions of freedom, holocaust denial is taboo. In the recently held UN World Conference Against Racism- Canada, Italy, America and the best of the west announced they would boycott the session if Israel is criticized. A spokesman for Franco Frattini, Italy’s foreign minister, said that a proposed passage, which relates to the situation in the Palestinian territories, contains “unacceptable, aggressive and anti-Semitic phrases”. The champions of free speech went on to drop that passage unanimously. But as long as it is not on the streets and not as outrageous as the placards, America is a free country and its these radicals who are against free speech.

Most write ups for Free speech reveal the Villain in the first paragraph itself. And the heroes are always the ones who provoked the antagonists in the first place. Though I cannot speak on behalf of the whole community, I can confidently say that believing Muslims have never been against “Free Speech”. It is perfectly fine to disagree, discover, debate, decide and then strive to make a difference. But it is just not ok to use one’s uninformed assumptions and prejudices to abuse, hurt and attack the dignity of others. It is said that over 60,000 books were written against Islam in the last century. Go to Amazon and search for “Islam” and see the number of books for and against it. In my last count, I found 4 books FOR and 18 AGAINST. No problem mate. But when someone doles out “classics” calling the prophet a dog and his wives prostitutes, any self respecting community will definitely have a problem with that. For that is Hate speech disguised as Free speech.

Mahatma Gandhi, Prophet Muhammed and Joseph (The husband of Mary) married women aged below 13 years. All three girls had attained puberty and had agreed for the nuptial union. But if you are uncomfortable about the age, please take some effort before shooting off. Read books from sources close to them, ask the scholars and try to understand the context behind the event. If you still feel uncomfortable, go ahead and express it by all means. But make sure that what you say is True, Kind and above all is intended to reform and not to insult and provoke. This is hugely different from degrading them as “lusty pedophiles”. I can express my reservations against girls wearing miniskirts, but if I call them sluts, then I am asking for trouble. The fact that technology makes it easier to make our voices heard (even my blog has over 3500 followers) makes it incumbent upon us to be even more responsible and careful. In a recent poll that I conducted online, I had posed the question “What hurts longer and more- an insulting verbal attack in public or a slap?”. The results are given below and are self explanatory.

Let us go by what the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Whosoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, then let him speak good (khair) or remain silent.” Disagree by all means, but be true and kind with the intention to reform.

Coming back to the double speak of the enlightened west, Noam Chomsky, summed up the western concept of freedom of speech when he said: “If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like. Goebbels was in favour of freedom of speech for views he liked. So was Stalin. If you’re in favour of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favour of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.”

Going by this- forced detentions, banning the niqab & the building of minarets and burning the quran are the best examples of efforts against “Free Speech”, not the angry youth with the placards.

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What hurts longer and more?

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