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How can I get Success & Contentment?

Sufi Sketch: Wealth & Contentment

I was in one of those moods, where I kept telling myself “I wish this & that was right… then I’ll be happy”. The thought kept repeating in my mind leaving a residue of dissatisfaction.

Then I came across this hadith, that made me realize no matter how much I run after things to find happiness, that kind of happiness is like an illusion. Once I get what I want… the happiness fades away into thin air & makes me run after the next thing.

The secret to success & lasting happiness is to strive for Goals for the right reasons. If we do things because we want to enhance our ego, it will always lead to short term happiness.

But if we work towards our goals with an intent serve a higher value (like making someone else’s life better in some way), it’ll lead us to both contentment & success.

Reading the Hadith gave me sense of peace & perspective, and felt I had to draw it out. Hope it helps you in some way…

What is better than a Year of Worship?

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Why does God ask us to Worship Him? Is he in need of our prayers?

The only reason God wants us to pray & worship Him, is so that we become better human beings.

Worship is a process to meditate on God’s divine attributes of Truth, Justice, Compassion & Forgiveness, and then imbibe them so that we begin to reflect these attributes in ourselves.

In doing so, our actions become in line with being Just, Forgiving and Compassionate.

If we only pray & don’t do anything to improve ourselves and the world around us, then as the Prophet said…

“A Moment of Justice is better than A Year of Worship”

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Making Peace with Problems

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“Don’t tell God How big your problems are. Tell your problems how big God is” ~Anonymous.

Someone once said “Life is a series of problems which we must try and solve”

Is this how you find your life? A series of unending struggles to get rid problems?

Problems with your Boss.
Problems with your spouse.
Problems at work.
Problems at home.
Problems between people.

You know problems are part of life, don’t you? They won’t go away.

I can’t promise you a life without problems. But I can share a simple way to deal with problems without getting all stressed up.

Too much stress will suck the energy out of you.

I admire people who deal with problems so well. They don’t explode into angry rants. Nor do they get sucked in a dialogue with themselves.

Instead they radiate a sense of calm & do what’s necessary to deal with the problem.

Do you know people like this? They’re amazing aren’t they? How do they do it?

I’m going to show you how you can be just like them. Because this is a skill that can be learnt.

Messing up a negotiation

Early 2012, I was in a negotiation to sign a crucial contract with a new vendor. It was the beginning of a long-term relationship for our business.

And I did terribly.

I mean goofed it up. Totally.

The other party used every trick in the book & I fell for it.

At the end of it I felt like such an idiot.

Then began these stressful thoughts devouring my mind for the next several days.

“How could I have been so stupid?”
“Why did this always happen to me?”
“Why did I say that?”

Luckily the negotiations didn’t conclude and there was going to be a 2nd meeting.

I vowed I wouldn’t make the same mistakes. So before the second meeting, I began devouring all the books & MP3s I had on negotiation.

During the 2nd and final meeting, I turned the tables around. I not only got what I had in mind but was also able to keep the other party happy.

Phew!

Looking back I realize that goofing up on the first meeting became an opening for me to learn a new skill. Had I not learnt the art of negotiation I’d probably remain dumb and end making bigger mistakes.

How to get rid of Stress from problems

Just like in my experience above, every problem presents to us a hidden opportunity. The secret to removing the stress is to look at problems as an opportunity.

When you’re faced with a problem, ask yourself this Question to find the hidden opportunity:

“How can this problem help me Grow?”

The growth can be Physical, Spiritual, Intellectual or Emotional.

Let’s apply this question to common problems:

The traffic jam is driving me nuts
“How can this problem help me Grow?”
I can listen to something on my iPod. I can practice patience, breathing & being in the present moment.

I have a very demanding boss.
“How can this problem help me Grow?”
Working with a demanding boss will help me come out of my comfort zones.

I’ve got so much to do! My life is out of control. I feel like a complete wreck.
“How can this problem help me grow?”
I need to re-look at my priorities, and focus on what is most important.

My Spouse doesn’t give me the love & attention I yearn for.
“How can this problem help me grow?”
A sign I need to have a deeper dialogue with my spouse. The meaningful discussions will make our relationship more fulfilling.

I feel bloated. My trousers don’t fit me anymore.
“How can this problem help me Grow?”
A sign my eating habits need to change. I can get into a fitness regime to maintain my health & self-esteem.

The moment you apply this question, the reason for stress goes away. It melts like ice in the sun. And it’s replaced with a feeling of gratitude.

The next time you face a problem, don’t complain. Instead, talk back. And say “How can I grow today?” :-)

Do you feel lazy about giving Charity?

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When giving Charity to you feel your hands getting heavy?

Do you get thoughts like these:

  • “Is this beggar for real?”
  • “Why should I give, there are so many other people”
  • “This is the Govt’s job”
  • “I have my own needs to take care of, I’ll become poor of I give”

I don’t know about you, but it happens to me.

I realise this thought comes when the intention of giving charity is not clear in mind.

Why to people give Charity?

Sounds like a silly question. Most people think giving Charity is to help other people.

And it’s true.  Charity helps other people.  But that’s not the primary purpose.

Giving Charity is to help ourselves.  To help us grow spiritually, and gain God’s pleasure.

And there’s no better wealth than this.

By no means shall you attain to righteousness until you spend (benevolently) out of what you love. Quran (3:92)

By being more intentional about giving, it helps both the receiver and the giver.

The next time you have an opportunity to give, try being more intentional about it.  It really works!