Bismillah (in the name of Allah)…

It’s funny how fast time flies when you aren’t mindful of what’s going on around you. A couple weeks ago I was busy studying for exams and that week flew by. As expected I didn’t have time to reflect. But then last week I filed away all the books and chilled and that week flew by just as fast, leaving little reflection time. Now, I’m just trying to reachieve balance (one of the hardest and most important things in life… just ask Prince Zuko.) Anyway, I see now that 1. time management is still a tricky game and 2. it’s so important to take advantage of the time you do have – to seize the day! strike while the iron is hot! and other cliches leading into tonight’s reflection!

Flashback. In the summer when the Olympics were on, I was watching with a couple of friends and we started talking about how Olympians got to be where they are. We joked about how if we were at their level we would just use our talents to impress girls, but then I thought more about it. Let’s say that really was my motivation, the minute it came to fruition (i.e. girls were impressed) I wouldn’t have any more drive to go on. Naturally we decided we’d be pretty bad Olympians, but there had to be more to people like Usain Bolt here. I often find myself looking at the amazing things celebrities/public figures/athletes accomplish in their lives and I wonder what motivates them. Are they really different from normal people or are they just more driven? More importantly, does that mean that anyone who aspires for greatness can get there?

Around the time I was studying for exams, a friend shared this motivational video with me featuring someone we all know and love – the Governator! I was hooked right when he said, “best body builder of all times” within the first 7 seconds, but beyond just the hilarity of his accent, what he is saying is actually inspiring. Here’s a guy none of us would have ever heard of if he didn’t bust his butt every day, but now Schwarzenegger is a household name (it’s even accepted by spell-check.)

Side note: remember two posts ago when I talked about how disgusting fat looked in the body? Well seeing fat in a dissected cadaver was probably the most powerful motivation for me to actually start working out. I’ve never been able to consistently go to the gym because as long as I didn’t look fat then I was happy, but now I want as little to do with fat as possible. Here’s a toned down picture just so you guys know what I’m talking about (and now imagine sheets and sheets of that – it’s nasty…)

I remember watching Bolt break his own 100M record and then in the interview afterwards it was clear his motivation was to be heralded as the greatest of all time. I’m not saying we should all shoot to be Olympians or gigantic body-builders/governors, but what I admire most about these people is that they have such a strong sense of purpose. I once heard of a Time study cited by a speaker (starting around the 1:46:00 mark if you wanna check it out) that asked people to stop their jobs, social media, phone, etc. for 12 hours to just think about their sense or purpose. Of those people, 80% broke down. 80%!! Now I haven’t been able to find that study (through a half-hearted Google search,) but still the results are insane!

The point I’m trying to get at (without becoming too existential) is that somewhere down the line we all have to ask ourselves why we are doing what we are doing. Not just with the big stuff either, but the more we understand all the actions we undertake, the better. I’m extremely grateful (Alhamdulillah) that I’m coming to accept my religion and spirituality as my daily motivation. Obviously I’m biased in thinking that attaching your inspiration to The Eternal is the best way to go, but for different people there are different paths – all valid in their own right. The important thing, though, is that there is something there to serve as that motivation.

It truly pains me to see purposeless action (and even with my own developing sense of identity, I still struggle with it.) No other creation on Earth can even conceptualize purpose, so clearly we humans have that capacity for a reason. So please, the next time you decide to go to the gym, decide to run for president, or anything in between, take a second to think of why you’re doing it.

And finally, a last piece of personal advice – make sure that answer makes you happy.

Happy [motivational] Reflecting,



Mind Blown

Bismillah (in the name of Allah…)

I haven’t been too active recently with orientation for med school starting this week and with the end of Ramadan, but I thought I would try and put something to hold anyone over who is checking the blog for new updates (thank you for the support!) God-willing I want to get the next post out soon, but in the meantime, I’d like to share my all-time favorite Youtube video:

Click the pic, and if you have seen it before then watch it again! This video never gets old for me and SubhanAllah (Glory be to God) I can’t call it anything short of a masterpiece. Not just the quality and production of the movie, but the subject matter, the nature, is beyond words. If pictures say 1000 words, this video probably says close to a million, but that’s just scratching the surface.

And if that video isn’t enough, I found this one that is worth the watch as well (I know 5 min of Youtube seems like an eternity, but trust me.. Also me talking about it won’t make sense if you don’t watch!) The clips of the Northern Lights, and the lights around the world are astounding to me. (Fun fact – Najeff means light around the world, or at least I was told so…) I could write on this for days, but I’d rather you just stop and take a few minutes to just think. Of all those lights, we individually are but a fraction. Even in the apartment building I’m in right now, I am only a fraction of a percent of the total population. I don’t know about you, but that BLOWS my mind. You could spend your whole life travelling the world, and still not meet a percent of its population…

Many people and I’m sure many of you have been blown away by thinking about sheer volume like this, but what’s even more inspiring in my opinion is that we can all have purpose. Religiously (and this is something I hope to talk about soon God-willing when writing about Hajj) all people have access to a greater power at any time. Knowing that you can be one of millions, if not billions that establish that personal connection to something bigger than you and Eternal (As-Samad in Arabic) is awe-inspiring. I’d argue it’s one of our best abilities. Still, not all purpose has to be religious, though, and I’m a fan of anything that tries to make this world better, but no matter what the drive seeing something like these videos is truly humbling.

Happy [mind-blowing] Reflecting,


Never Alone

Bismillah (in the name of Allah…)

In the last post I said I’d fix up the post in which I struggled to be genuine, but my heart is still not in it so I’m going to keep it a draft until I am inspired to finish it. Instead, I will write about something which has kick-started my 2 AM train of thought:

Could it be? That’s right, folks, this yellow man has not yet gone down to the city of Atlantis and I’ve decided to honor his memory here. I expect many of you are reminiscing about the good ol’ days of AIM (some 5-10 years ago,) but I need you to snap out of it because I’m not here just to talk about AIM or G-chat, but rather what they stand for. Quick fun fact though – earlier this year AOL flirted with shutting AIM down, but instead decided on just firing some people.

Anyway, how did this come up? The other night I was alone at my apartment in DC, which is currently without internet and with very shoddy 4G coverage. I was wide awake, just hitting my 2 AM second wind when I started feeling like Macauley Culkin in Home Alone when he wakes up really sad the second day because his family still isn’t home. As I struggled to get my now 3G operating phone onto google talk to make sure other insomniacs were still stirring, I thought about how with the internet/a smartphone/Facebook updates, you’re never really alone.

Yeah, globalization is making everything and everyone more connected, but it isn’t until now that I’ve thought about how I unconsciously use social networking to stave off loneliness. Even if I’m not talking to anyone, just having the green symbol that lets me know other people are awake is comforting enough. I’ve never been on Facebook when no one else has been on (the fewest I’ve seen is maybe 4,) but I think being the only person online would be rock bottom. I guess Myspace users know what that’s like (zing!) It really makes me wonder what people used to do back in the old days. Alhamdulillah (all thanks and praise are due to God) I have always lived with people and I don’t know what it’s like solo for an extended period, but I imagine I’d be even more tightly glued to any form of social media.

Looking back now, I have always had some form of chat window that served as my connection to other sentient life still stirring after the sun went down. In middle/high school it was AIM (much like a first relationship – I learned the game from it and though I’ve moved on, it will still always have a special place in my heart) and before that I slept early and didn’t prefer digital conversations to hanging with my family. For the spiritual crowd, we can also say that we are never really alone as some of the names/attributes of God in Islam are: Al-Wasi’ (The Vast, Omnipresent,) As-Sami’ (The All-Hearing,) Al-Baseer (The All-Seeing,) you get the point… But even still, sometimes you need the human element and now I know that thanks to Al Gore (sike, there’s no way he “invented” the internet) a bunch of pixels and a keyboard suffices.

Happy [digital] Reflecting,