So this weekend we were listening to some motivational talks on the way back from our Easter break. I feel I was woken up by the message that everyone has 24 hours in a day. And the fact that there are those who are wasting their lives away, and those who choose to make the most of every minute.
If something is in the way of you achieving your goal, the choice of whether you continue or give up is your own.
Those who succeed choose to ‘fight’, whether that’s with time, a person, or even a feeling. They make things work because they don’t allow that obstacle to take over.
Those who succeed choose to surpass the naysayers and the haters by simply carrying on until they reach their goals.
Denzel Washington said in his motivational speech to a group of American High School graduates that ‘dreams without goals are just dreams’. They will stay unrealised until you write down a list of achievable, bite-sized goals, that your brain can turn into a check list and can then literally tick them off as they are done.
Visualisation also helps us to realise dreams. Do you know there is an actual phenomenon that means that when your brain is presented with a huge amount of information it picks out the pieces that it already believes? So, for example, if you have a negative self-worth and believe that people don’t like you at work, your brain will pick out all the scenarios that back up your belief in that day? This then becomes a cycle, and your brain will end up turning your belief into reality.
So, let’s change things around. When you choose to believe something positive by visualising it, your brain acts as though it’s a true memory and filters the information around you so that everything that reconfirms that single positive belief and makes it stand out to you. You effectively change the filter in which your brain processes information. Amazing, or what??!
Let’s do this together. Let’s visualise, or create a false memory, for a goal that we’d like to achieve over the next few weeks. It has to be realistic. Write it down. Now visualise how it would feel to achieve that goal, visualise the material, emotional and even psychological benefits. Over the next week your brain will filter out moments for you of your dream turning into reality. It’s an actual science. SubhanAllah!
Now we can turn to the title of my blog post today. Research has shown that billionaires wake up earlier than us all and they begin work when we lesser mortals are all asleep! Maybe you don’t wish to become a billionaire and have a higher goal of attaining a more spiritual life? What are we encouraged to do? Pray whilst everyone else is asleep. Most of us know what 4am looks like because we’ve woken up for our pre-dawn prayers (at least!) some of the time, but have you ever worked on a physical dream or goal at that time? How alert do you think your brain will be in achieving that goal at that time of the morning? A spiritual goal can also be changed into something physical that can be achieved. Set yourself a practical goal to be undertaken at that time of day, be it learning Arabic or memorising the Quran or even some Hadith. Visualise your spirit soar from the food that you nourish it with. Choose to succeed in this life and the next.
You know that saying that the early bird catches the worm? Well, it also catches the most oxygen at that time and that’s one of the reasons why the birds sing in the early morning! The air is the freshest at that time, not only because of lesser pollutants in the atmosphere but also because it is the time that photosynthesis begins and the trees are producing the most oxygen. Time to open those windows and breathe in!
I think the success that one feels at working at fulfilling a dream in the morning when the world is asleep is truly gratifying and a great motivator in helping us to repeat that behaviour until that goal is realised.
If someone told you they would hand you a wad of cash if you came downstairs and opened the door at 4am every morning, would you accept it? Of course you would! The benefit of receiving the money overcomes the hardship of waking up. Remember, this also translates to the unseen reward that we receive if we wake up before the pre-dawn prayer.
It’s a beautiful morning routine that will help you to make something of your life. How many of us have goals that we wish we could achieve but feel that life is passing us by quicker than we thought, and they have remained unrealised? I can definitely put myself in that boat.
OK a few days have passed since I started this post and I’ve only done the 4am thing once 😬. But hey, it’s once more than last week so it feels like a win to me. I’m going to focus on increasing these moments of hard work (and hopefully productivity) and inshaAllah the benefits will be reaped eventually. As always, the message is to not admit defeat and give up.
I know that now my time is mostly taken up by looking after my young family. Any personal goals I may have had have been put to one side in order to be there for my them. I have hoped that once this intense period of work is over, I will turn back to my goals and strive to tick them of my internal checklist.
However, I am aware that those who don’t have a young family tend to work, and when they’re working they find it difficult to fit their own personal goals into their working lives. Those who don’t work have other commitments which also means their own goals are put to one side…Do you see a pattern emerging here?
It makes me think that in order to achieve something. We must take some action now. There’s never going to be a ‘perfect’ time in which time opens up for you and everything you’ve ever wanted to achieve is worked on and ticked off your checklist.
This reminds me of the fact that I was unable to finish a writing course that my parents gifted to me when I was a mother of one. And now, when I think of what I’ve achieved in terms of writing, being a mother of five, I can hardly believe that I’m the same person! Aside from the fact that raising a human being from scratch for the first time ever is blimmin’ hard work, I feel that acknowledging the fact that my dream may never see the light of day, should I not prioritise it now, even if it’s harder now, was enough to propel me forward.
Previously, my incorrect assumption that I had many years ahead of me in which to make my writing dreams come true, was as much a barrier as my inexperience as a mother (which meant that I was less efficient with my time).
When you think things are impossible, don’t forget what Nelson Mandela said:
Now here’s a fun fact for you:
The first guy ever who ran a mile in four minutes, taught all of us what it takes to break new ground. He did this is 1954, when people had been attempting this since 1886. I’ll tell you something you might not have known. People actually believed it was impossible until he did it. And after he did it, many many more athletes followed suit. Do you think his breaking this previously impenetrable track record was followed by a giant leap in the ability of the others? Or do you think the mind had something to do with it?
The fact is that once he did it, other people believed it was possible and by increasing their self-belief they were able to repeat the success he found.
So let’s learn from this lesson and make an extra effort to improve our self-belief. Whatever you believe you can achieve, increase it by a hundred percent. Let it be known that only barrier you face is your own mind.
Let’s do this together and try to wake up at 4am folks. With Ramadan coming up we may not have much choice in this matter. But how we use our time, Ramadan or not, is still a choice we have to make. Whatever time we decide to wake up, let’s make an intention to roll our sleeves up and get to work.
A good life is a life worked hard at, success will not fall into our laps if we don’t work at it.
May we make the best of choices and make the most of our time on earth, before it passes us by!
So that’s it from me for now,
Until next time,
Peace and Love,
PS To help me on my journey to enoughism I will write down 3 things I am grateful for at the end of each post. These are:
1. Eating, drinking and a morning coffee. With Ramadan around the corner, I’m acutely aware of these blessings as we’ll learn to live without them during the daylight hours once again. It amazes me that any diet is difficult to follow throughout the rest of the year, but ask Muslims to deprive themselves of food and drink (amongst other stipulations) and we obey in the billions! A truly amazing feat to be grateful for, me thinks.
2. Holidays! I’m grateful for not having to wake up to make sandwiches and packing lunches these few weeks!
3. Beautiful weather. We were very lucky to enjoy a wonderful hot break down south. And we were blessed to attend a beautiful family wedding and I’m grateful for all the love and warmth that family ties bring. May Allah swt always unite us in these happy moments and help us to make wonderful memories together inshaAllah ameen.
P.S Don’t forget, my book Finding Peace Through Prayer and Love, published by Beacon Books is already out via Amazon. Check it out today!