2019: The Last Word

2020 baby! A new decade is upon us and another year closer to the robot uprising. Telling you, Skynet and Terminator is real! Anyway, for my final article of the year I want to close with my approach for 2020. In my reflection of this year one of my main takeaways was realising the importance of being persistent whilst letting it be. It’s also important to know that these takeaways were uncovered through my mantra this year. Namely to chase freedom not balance. As a result the theme for next year quite naturally then is to have a persistent consistent flow. Sounds great right? But how does one do that, what are the mechanics of such a mindset?

Achieving a vision requires setting yourself some goals to slowly uncover the path to that vision of yourself. That vision you picture and practice everyday. That vision that you tweak and refine. That vision that drives you and others around you. My goals for next year are small in number yet significant for me personally; write a second book, conduct at least two public speaking events, perform Hajj (In Sha Allah) and sort my body out… baby belly fat I’m looking at you! These goals are not only a natural flow from my activity this year, but also require a certain level of persistence to achieve them.

Being persistent by definition requires you to develop some habits. Great, so now what habits do I need to have in place? This year after talking to my mentors, observing those I admire, I realised the missing ingredient to persistence was scheduling. Upon this realisation I closed my eyes and pulled a face of “what? Seriously? You mean I have to set a timetable? But I’m a bad boy rule breaker! This shit ain’t for me!”. I knew deep down if I try and timetable this I will fail. It’s who I am. Deal with it. However as a compromise, I will tackle it in a slightly different way and still achieve the same result. When I reviewed and broke down my daily life, I realised I have routine and a plethora of habits. Early morning gratitude sessions, coffee, cigarettes, prayers, reading etc. You could even say they were scheduled in some way or another. Keeping with the theme of consistency it made natural sense to shift the focus slightly to using my “habits” towards my goals. To ensure persistence I set a time for each habit, ten minutes. So now I have identified three ten minute daily targeted habits.

10 minutes of Writing

I love to write. This blog and my notes app is a testament to that. However I had a lot of blocks throughout the year. Both mental and physical. I was in the mindset of needing a chunk of my time to do any writing. So kept postponing sitting down and doing it. Switching to a habit of just ten minutes everyday, will overcome those blocks. In many cases I may go over the ten minutes when I’m flowing which is fine, in many cases I won’t because I cannot. It doesn’t matter at least I have written everyday. I will intersperse this session with practicing speaking and presenting.

10 minutes of Exercise

In all honesty my diet isn’t too bad, it’s just the fact I hardly exercised that was my downfall. The main reason again similar to the block of writing was time. Trying to schedule the gym during travels, at home, with everything going on was just an excuse for laziness. With the greatest of wills in the world, I’m not suddenly going to have that switch in my head to walk jubilantly to the gym! Thus another year will be wasted and potentially waist size increased by an inch. So with the same principles, every day ten minutes of exercise, be it press-ups, dips, squats, fucking, running, whatever I need to do to get the heart pumping and calories burned.

10 minutes on my Faith

Above and beyond my daily prayers, this year I did not focus on my faith as much as I wanted to. Many ways I can get back into touch spiritually, read, learn a new prayer, practice with my son, learn more about the history etc. Again it’s ten minutes of focussed time.

Reading this back still seems extremely achievable. I have even visualised myself on a number of occasions, even doing a dry run to really cement the fact that it can be done. In this way now I have scheduled in daily habits to drive slowly, drop by drop to meet my goals. Persistently and consistently.

Everything else, all the other details are just that… details. Those all will happen naturally, a natural flow.

Social commentary

I can’t bring myself to avoid talking about social commentary briefly. This year alone and even as we speak there have been far too many counts of persecution upon Muslims around the globe: China, Israel, India, Myanmar, Syria … To name a few. Bigots in power inciting a mindset that causal racism and prejudice is actually okay. It isn’t by the way. Detention camps in the US separating children from their families, African Americans getting shot for putting their hands up. Even in my own country we have just elected a Prime Minster who describes Muslim women as letterboxes or using phrases such as watermelon smiles, I mean for fucks sakes. You can’t make half this shit up. Each time there is an “incident” breaking news, I close my eyes hoping “please don’t let it be an Islamic terrorist!” But of course it is and of course the person will never be described as mentally unstable or loner or whatever person, only Muslim Terrorist. There are just way too many incidents to get into, which is sad in itself. It’s clear there has been rise of hate over the decade. However my point is not to go into each one nor explain why all of this is wrong. More intelligent people than me have tried and should continue to do so. However what I want to say is that although it’s going to get worse, I can and will only focus on what I can control. One shocking incident this year was the attack on a Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand. During Friday prayers whilst Muslims were praying, shot and killed. I will repeat my thoughts from that time as they summarise perfectly:

We are not thugs, we are not evil, we are not violent scum, we are not terrorists, we are not facists, we are not here to take away your symbol of white identity (whatever the hell that is anyway) through some kind of Islamist uprising and we are certainly not here to take over your precious, stolen, white lands. However we will tell you what we will continue to do. We will continue to live with peace and love in our hearts in spite of hatred thrown towards us, we will continue to work hard for our future generation in spite of our names preventing us getting jobs and you can be damn sure we will continue to pray in our mosques despite the utter fear that this could happen again when our sole focus is in our prayer. Why? Because our prayers are our only weapon against this hateful passion against Muslims. Our voices maybe unheard and our words are ignored, but you cannot take away our prayers.

I will not stop building bridges to connect people together. If I can use my smile to make others smile, then that love will overcome hate. This year I have seen glimmers of hope to stop me from going utterly full on depression mode. I see an MP in India, Mahua Moitra inspire by talking common sense, I see a world in cinema with a black Captain America ( a BLACK CAPTAIN AMERICA!!), I see a country like Romania vote to keep right wing out and make hate speech a crime, I see the “Squad” of four non white congresswomen in the US kicking ass, I see people standing outside Mosques to protect their friends whilst they pray ( even in my local small town Mosque!) and many many others who have all shown us that the world is not full of hate. That there is love. There can be unity. That this is one world. Closer to me personally, colleagues and friends have built bridges with me without them realising, making my heart smile. Persistently and consistently. As I look at my son, my family, I have hope. Thank you. You know who you are.

I have so many thoughts on this topic but alas will leave till next year to depress you. So instead I will say one more point for next year. Have fun. Sometimes you have to stop time and enjoy yourself. I have always made this an integral part of my life. It is not only good for the soul but you will be surprised of some unexpected gems uncovering themselves as a result. Stop time and do it for you.

All that remains now is for me to truly wish you to have peace and love with you always, One World, One Love. Happy New Year. Peace&Love.