I cant believe that I did it…. To say I am proud of myself would be an understatement. To say this is a milestone in my life would be an overstatement but closer to the truth.
I ran a whole mile, continuously at good pace without stopping (I was going about 4.5 MPH). Okay, I know what you are thinking as you move the mouse towards the top-right of the screen (or top left for fellow mac users) and getting ready to erase me from your life, but hear me out.
1) Technically, I did not run a whole mile at a continuous speed (I probably did about 0.8 of a mile), but that was because I literally ran out of time and had to run to a meeting.
2) That is exactly why I am so proud of myself. In all my life I have always dreamed of being able to run 1 mile only, without being out of breath and wheezing on the side of the road. Never even imagined it is possible (ie very hard to reach). That why earlier this year I set what I believed was a very lofty goal of running 5 miles, so lofty I assumed that publishing an article in a prestigious journal to be more feasible (still working on it).
I look back at my day and I am amazed with how rewarding it is to stick to your guns and just do it… I had just finished work at five and had a meeting at 6 pm. I went the mosque and prayed and then looked at my watch and it was 5:11. I thought to myself, I need fifteen minutes to go to the gym and the same amount to go to my meeting. Thus left me with exactly twenty minutes to exercise !! Usually I am the person who thinks 20 min is not enough to do anything, why don’t I just lay down and wait for the meeting.
Back at the gym I start the treadmill and decide to go really easy and walk the first lap at 3 MPH, based on my father recommendations of warming up. After the lap is over, I adjusted the speed to find the lowest speed where I can still run comfortably (it turns out that it is 4.5 MPH) and I just start running.
Thirty seconds later, my brain starts shouting to me “enough already, the boredom is killing me”. However, right then a marching band passes right in front of me, followed by cheerleaders and people carrying huge P and U letters. I look back at the time and it turns out I have been running for two minutes. My heart rate has stabilized at 164 (which for my age is perfect) and then my legs start screaming at me “we cannot handle it anymore, please stop”. Somehow, it did not bother me that they were shouting and their voices got dimmer and I kept going. Five minutes passed and I was amazed, I have ran for five minutes straight. That is unheard of and the best part of it was, my heart rate and breathing were stable. It suddenly dawned on me that I can do it and I can run my mile and I continued until my time ran out…
If you have read this far congratulations on your major accomplishment, you have reached the golden pot. I have not written this just to till you how my day at the gym went.
Our greatest hurdles in front of us is not lack of opportunity, education or money. It is ourselves, yes that right we are the ones who place obstacles in front of ourselves. It then becomes up to us to either to remove these hurdles or feel bitter about these hurdles. We choose what path to take. One day I will expand upon this more, but for now….
Welcome back and special thanks to the family and friend who encouraged, supported and black mailed me into the gym 🙂 and apologies for the grammar, typing this as I am heading to bed !
Too many times we get sucked into these big plans of how to improve or help the world. It could be from the perspective of marriage, unemployment, proverty, health, education and so on… However, as we try to overcome these problems, we realize how big they are and how small we are and end up giving up and doing nothing.
I read this article in New York times interviewing Muhammad Younus who started the concept of micro lending in Bangladesh and was extremely inspired by his answer to the following questions.
“What would you say to a person who asks, ‘Where should I start?’
What are the problems you see around you? Sit down and make a list. Then put them in order of priority, [starting with] the things you hate the most. Then start with one and see if you can find a business approach to solve it. Suppose you put down unemployment. O.K., why don’t you create a social business to solve the problem of five unemployed people?
With microcredit, all I was trying to do was help a few people in one village so that they didn’t have to go to loan sharks and lose everything in the process. That’s how social business begins. Everything starts with solving a very tiny slice of a problem.
If you want to read the whole article (strongly encouraged 🙂 go to
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.
Okay so I planned to write every week, yet it been over a month and you have not heard my voice… Where could I be ? What is holding me up
At this moment of time I am utilizing every ounce of my writing skills in getting my thesis up and ready until I do don’t expect much out of me.
So hopefully I will end up seeing you post thesis, whenever that may be…
Moving Forward…. I had hoped to publish a total of 27 posts this year, but fell short with only 16 posts. Thank you to all my readers and all the comments I get in my gmail chat !!! Yes I heard your requests and hopefully next year will include more ideas, moments of “inspiration” and maybe a couple of crazy recipes.
Okay so here is my official 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 15,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Okay I tried a dark background, but I have to admit I could barely look at my blog. I guess I am back to white and slightly colorful.
Back in the day I used to think leadership and management are all the same thing. They were both synonyms for a position on top that everyone coveted. We all wanted to reach that to get more pay or more say in what going on in an organization. Initially that where I wanted to go, I even went ahead and took the GMAT and prepared to do business school as soon as I get done with bachelors. However, I ended up following advice from a respected friend who told me to wait until I worked for a few years. A few years of work placed me in J&J where my experience with management led me to flee with horror from ever considering that option and thus I ended up joining Purdue University. One year after joining Purdue a leadership position was thrust on me and suddenly I became the president of the Muslim Student Association. As President of MSA I noticed that while I can inspire people to conduct large scale events I couldn’t conduct them successfully myself (based on my criteria for success). It was out of my areas of expertise and I did not enjoy doing it. There were too many details to worry about that I might end up overlooking. I found out that I preferred conducting smaller more personal events were I can work directly with people. Okay I am going to stop mumbling about all the stuff I found out about and realized and will end with the following conclusions.
Leadership and management skills are two different sets of skills that people have in varying proportions. While it is possible to be a leader and a manager at the same time usually a person has one of the two skills. While I do believe these skills are learned, a person must show propensity to learn them and that I believe is associated with the person character.
Put simply, leaders are people who inspire the ones around them to work with them (note not work for them, big difference) to run programs. They are not necessarily involved in day to day planning of an event, but they do keep abreast of all developments in their organization. Managers on the other hand are excellent at coordinating and conducting events. They think of every detail concerning an event and usually plan for the unexpected. In terms of vision, leaders usually have long vision range of 2-3 years and sometime even farther. Managers usually plan it year by year or event by event. Leaders are passionate about their projects and can spread their passion to their supporters, while managers are critical thinkers and some would consider them risk averse. Lastly leaders are more charismatic and people friendly while managers are more task-oriented.
I want to point out again that these skills are not mutually exclusive. A leader to some degree must have management skills and a manager usually has leadership qualities. However, I noticed that people do lean mostly to one direction or another. In terms of Islamic institutions, we have many good managers but few good leaders in the top positions. While these good managers have great intentions it ends up causing strife in the community mostly due to communication and volunteering issues.
Well that all regarding my perspective of managers and leaders. I know depending on your experience you will have a different perspective and would love to hear yours.
I know it hard to fathom that this could be my last blog. I shake my head in disillusion, no way, I have so many ideas and words to share with the world; how can it be my last blog? They generally say that when you are at the end of your life you can see your whole life in front of you and this is no exception to the rule. It been slightly more than twenty month since I started blogging, yet it feels as if it was only yesterday when I wrote Hello World that ushered my words into the internet. I remember the day walking back from Fajr prayer when I tried to following the lane line on the bike path. Every time I looked up I ended up straying from the line. That led to my first inspirational blog The Straight Path, a blog post that remains one of my favorites ever. Another of my favorite is my Determination blog. I wrote it after watching Karate Kid and I spent the whole trip back in the car wondering about what it means to have determination. Like all wonderings of mine, it led me to our great Prophet Muhammad may peace and blessings be upon him. Suddenly I could see him in a new light and better understand the challenges that he faced.
Well enough mumbling about the past, I am just happy to say that in this period I was able to write 45 blogs (well technically 43, plus two guest articles). This amounts to a total of 60 pages of blogging and over 26,000 words. Wow who would have imagined that I would have written so much (well for me) and even caused someone somewhere somehow laughed.
Salah, Salah why are you leaving the blogging sphere. Yeah I am wondering the same thing and then I look left and right to my dear blogging friends and find out that after momentous occasions such as getting a baby or marriage they left the blogging sphere to dust. So in full anticipation of my wedding night and the blessings and dreams to come afterwards I declare that this is my last blog.
Before I would leave I would like to sincerely thank my old friend of mine who inspired me to start blogging. A tip to the hat for Ahmad and your blog for the inspiration you provided me. It saddens me that you were one of the first casualties from the blogging sphere. Secondly, I want to thank my family who provided me support by reading every other blog and commenting every once in a while. Finally, I want to thank my two dedicated friends in Indiana and NJ who have probably read every blog I ever published. Thank you, your comments and the constant prodding was amazing.
Okay let me back track a bit. I am assuming this will be my last blog based on the experience of my other blogging friends. I really do not know if this will be my last blog (but encouraging comments will make me more likely to continue). Who knows, maybe my wife will strongly encourage me to write and you will hear from me in a week. Maybe, after I get back from my honeymoon. Who knows when, where and how the next article will come. However, just as a precaution I am writing this as a final chapter. Just so my blog is complete and does not stop at a random point.
Also, this is the last blog for the stage of life I am in (the 8th to be exact, I am now entering my ninth stage). So even if I write next week, it will be from a different stage :).
To leave on a more optimistic point I cannot imagine that I will stop writing, so subscribe to my blog and leave a comment and God willing you will hear from me soon.
Salam Alakium (Peace Be Upon You)
Yes, I know it been here for 11 days. To me however, today is the first day of spring. Why? Because I said so…. Well okay, becuase today was the first day I could go about and change the appearance of my blog to match this wonderful new season we entered in.
Come on in and let your eyes feast on the content. You have more than 40 blogs to read, quotes to think about and polls to vote for. If you get bored then just wait till next Wednesday and I will have a new blog up and ready for your enjoyment.
When someone thinks of spring they usually think of flowers blooming, trees greening and beautiful green grass all around us. We usually forget to look at where these plants are all coming from. Yes from sweet smelling, simple in appearance yet complex in function soil. So in honor of soil, let me share with you a three amazing facts about it (plus it helps that I am taking a course in it 🙂
2) By volume 97% of soil is actually Oxygen atoms
3) Soil and Biota release 100 Giga Tons of Carbon Dioxide every year, this is compared to only 5.4 Giga Tons released by burning fossil fuels.
Hope you enjoyed this blog and see you next Wednesday
We have all heard the phrase you are what you eat and generally people agree with it. If one constantly eats unhealthy foods with lots of fat they end up feeling constantly tired and lazy. However, when one eats healthy and wisely they generate energy in themselves to keep them going and remain active.
What people forget is that the stomach is only one of the vessels of the Human. We have another set of vessels for our hearts and brains, whose inputs could be our sensory organs. What we see, hear, touch and say affects our hearts and brain as much as what we eat affects our stomach and energy reserves. Even though these are some of the most important vessels in our lives, I feel as if I am constantly neglecting them or not giving them the correct attention and nutrition they need.
Okay let me step back a second before I lose everyone. I want you to take a minute to look at your heart; your heart is your feeling and emotion organ. It also what holds your faith or level of imaan. At this point a scientist might want to point out to that the heart only pumps blood and does nothing more or less and that everything is from the brain. Technically he has a point, but from the point of view of the average human when we feel afraid, angry or love it comes from our heart. Scientifically one could say we feel these emotions through the change in the beating pattern of our heart and thus we associate emotions with our heart. It does not matter, for my purpose your heat is your feeling and emotion vessel and sorry for taking you on a loop :). Consider a relationship with any random person. If you constantly get positive input from that person you start liking them and they become your friend. If you constantly get negative input you start hating them and they become your enemy. If you just keep getting mixed signals, then they will probably will remain as acquaintances. Either way it was a series of inputs that filled your heart and made you consider a person in such a light. Thus your heart acted as a vessel in terms of your relation with that person. In the same sense your heart and brains are vessels for your own self and how you treat and fill them will directly affect how you treat the outside world and what you make of yourself.
For the sake of simplicity I will treat the heart and brain as one vessel since it sometimes hard to separate when each of the vessels are being filled by our sensory inputs. When you sit down and watch a movie, you receive a barrage of sensory inputs from your eyes and ears. One might consider a movie harmless entertainment; where you have fun and move on to more important things. It not harmless, everything affects and fills your vessel and this movie went right down and filled your vessel just as a cup of chocolate milk goes right down to your stomach (yum, just experienced it). In the bigger scheme of things, let say you spend every day studying religion for 5 hours and just watch a movie once a month. Yes it might not have such a big impact, but it will have an impact and we must be aware of how it impacts our hearts and brains. In reality one actually spends considerable less amount of time developing their hearts and brains and more time filling them with garbage.
We must really start paying attention to what we listen, what we see and what we read. Too many times I have heard the concept “oh I am just seeing what others listen to” or “it does not matter, I am never going to do what the movie tells me to, I know what right and wrong”. Sadly, what we do not realize is that our hearts and minds change so slowly that we never notice until it’s too late. When we start filling them with negative influences it will start affecting us immediately but in non-observable ways. We can’t just say oh if I notice it is affecting me, I will immediately change to something better, because at that time it would be too late.
It such a hard article to write and I write it mostly to remind myself than for anybody else. Just as much our body is an amana (trust) given to us by Allah, so is our hearts and brains and we must protect them at all costs. Otherwise, one day we will wake up and find ourselves not in the spot that we planned and hoped to be.
I will leave you with this; take a blank sheet of paper and make a list of all the different inputs that go into your heart and brain. Include reading, studying, comics, movies, music, religious studies, talking with friends, alone time, and prayer and so on. This list should encompass all you do in a single week. After that take the list and split it into two categories, beneficial to the heart/mind and non-beneficial/harmful. Take your time and think about each item and think how and if it made you a better person. If it did place it in your beneficial list, otherwise place it in the other list. This will give you a visual aid to see how you are filling your vessels. Hopefully one can then take advantage of that new information and may we all prosper and succeed in this life and the next.
Finally, I am not telling you remove all entertainment and fun from your life. They do have a purpose in our lives as long as they are within limits and in the end will help inspire us and refresh us to continue to develop and improve ourselves.