Here We Start – Issue #37

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Dear Sail Readers,

As an Editor in Chief, I often try to avoid stating that one issue is more special to me than the other, however, for so many personal reasons, this issue, the 37th, is special to my heart from so many aspects. Some of the articles touch on matters that I think we all have been mulling over for a while, such as our hectic fast paced lives, our general impatience, the affect of smart phones and social media on our personal lives and levels of communication, and many more of such. Going through the articles for this issue made me realize couple of things: first, that I’m not alone in feeling that, so nothing is wrong with me in particular; second, with the team’s reflection on those matters they gave some guidance on potential causes or more insights, those encouraged me to look deeper to find the roots of those matters and start acting on them. I’m not saying that all the matters are now resolved thanks to reading the issue, but at least it gave me peace, and a push forward to the better. Hope this issue helps you to reach the same.

We have 4 new members who joined us from this month:

  • Alia AlHazami, through her column: “Hidden Promises”. Alia Al-Hazami is an ambitious 16 year old Emirati. Her dreams consist of owning a successful business and publishing a novel. Her main aim is to prove that Arabs can amount to success. She has been featured on websites such as ThinkUpGCC and Untitled Chapters
  • Maha Bin Fares as an illustrator. Maha is a young Emirati Graphic Designer. To her, design is a mirror that reflects the way she thinks and the way she believes that nothing is ever impossible. She grew up with the passion of observing the beautiful things around her from the beautiful skyline of Dubai to the golden sand dunes.
  • Maryam Zainal as an illustrator. Maryam is an Emirati Graphic Designer; a graduate of the American University in Dubai with a BFA in Visual Communications. Born and raised in Dubai expanded her perspective and built up her passion for design. Her love for drawing, painting, photography and videography pushed her to create multiple, extensive things. Her creative solutions are fun, simple and conceptual. She believes in pink, and she believes that there’s beauty in everything.
  • Omar Al Owais through his column: “Of Ships and Kings”. Omar, a 15 year old with an attitude. He’s an avid daydreamer, a devoted bookworm and that guy from class with the really weird laughs. His main interest is conveying his thoughts and opinions on any given subject, whenever, and whatever. Often chastised for being very ambitious.
    “Of Ships and Kings” is an excerpt from a poem by one of his favorite authors as a child, Lewis Carrol. In that poem, the character’s talk about a multitude of subjects, hence the title of his column, in which he will be discussing several topics from several arenas.

Have you all noticed how our 2 new columnists are 15 & 16 years old? And we also have Dubai Abulhoul who is 16 years old. It absolutely warms my heart to see such good talents at these ages who acknowledge their skills and are brave enough to share them with the world. I’m very proud of our new generations and what they have to offer.

Here is our content’s listing for April 2013 – Issue #37:

Enjoy the reads and the illustrations by Anood Al Mulla, Maha Bin Fares, & Maryam Zainal.

Warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

My Break from Social Media

AlAnoud AlMadhi (@aam_alanoud )

Column: Beyond Inspiration
Founder of @BetweenTheSips -a social media initiative that moderates social conversations. Alanoud’s passion is public speaking and designing infographics, reading and researching.
Through “Beyond Inspiration”, Alanoud aims to share personal experiences, struggles, and aha moments that can spark a flame within the reader to reach their full potential.

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Reading Time: 4 minutes
Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@AnoodAlMulla_)

Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@AnoodAlMulla_)

If you looked at my Twitter or Instagram accounts, you would have noticed that I’ve been off of them for over a 100 days now. Although my use of social media was mostly to share knowledge and inspiration, I have come to see that it has become a distraction to me.

I was an active user of Twitter and Instagram, and believed, and still do, that they are the best way to be entertained, educated and informed. As a quiet person in real life, those tools enabled me to be more vocal and expressive of my opinions and allowed me to share the knowledge I had, and appreciate the knowledge that I received. I had the chance to meet interesting individuals who had widened my horizons and showed me opportunities that I had never imagined having. In fact, had it not been for Twitter, I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to write for Sail eMagazine or get to know its amazing family. So, why did I decide to go offline?

I can say that social media has allowed me to become more social. However, it would be unfair to stop at that sentence, for it had only allowed me to be so in its own space.  It’s true that such media makes us more connected, but we sometimes fail to realize that by amplifying this “online connection”, we could be compromising our offline connections; work, family, and friends. But of course, the case differs from a user to another.

In my case, I focused on adding value to, and learning from, the virtual world while –to an extent- failing to do the same in the world I physically live in, which I feel is more important. That being said, I believe the elephant in the room here is “balance”. As it was once said; “If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please.” So whether what we do is good or bad, taking it to an extreme, will result in an unpleasant compromise.

On my sabbatical from social media, I was less dependent on getting news from tweets, so I made a greater effort at reading newspapers, which I did while sitting next to my father and resulted in us having interesting long conversations in the process. And, instead of reading the tweets of heritage and culture Tweeps, I had regular talks with my grandmother which strengthened our bond and lifted her spirit. I have also come back to my long-deserted talent of drawing which gave me a sense of fulfillment more than the beautiful Instagram photos I used to take pleasure in. Finally, by reducing such distraction, I was able to get my hands on a book that is literally changing my life, and I’m currently in the process of re-evaluating my life purpose and my personal grand plan accordingly.

I believe that in addition to balance, “self-control” is needed to avoid an addiction or a disorganized dedication to social networking services. It’s about being able to resist the craving to sneak a peak at your phone when you’re with the family, or fight the temptation of checking your timeline while finishing up a task at work.

Once you see yourself immersed in something more than need be, take a break, re-evaluate, then proceed.  Social media is still great, so long as we never let it distract us from what’s important. We must realize that social media is complementary, and our social circle in reality is primary.

I’m not sure when I’ll be back. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in a few weeks time; or it could be next year. In any case, I would only return when I’m 100% sure that the value I add or receive from online communities is not at the expense of my time with those whom I value most.

The Joy of Being Content

Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Column: Hidden Promises
Alia is an AUS student double majoring in International Studies and English literature. She is also the author of Alatash fictional novel. Her main goal is to make a change and empower the youth. Her column is meant to help the younger generations deal with tough situations. It was given that title as hidden promises is what us teenagers often believe; false promises.
Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

Getting through life has always been a struggle. No matter what your social status is, there is going to be an amount of difficulties to face. People usually undermine other’s ordeal and ignore the evident fact that “Someone always has it worse.”

Everyone deals with what life throws at them differently. You can relieve stress from a problem you have by playing a certain sport, praying, writing it down, singing or even screaming. From my perspective, the only way to ever bypass any dilemma that I may come across is to live through the words of the great Oprah Winfrey: “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” To me; it’s all about contentment.

Naturally, everyone wants to be pleased with their life. They’re willing to work hard to find the point of satisfaction they deeply yearn for, but the arising problem here is that not everyone knows how to attain it. Almost every person you would encounter is trying to change the nature of his or her life; and that’s completely normal. I applaud every person who desires that but some lose their true identity in their noble quest as they attempt to seek a life that wasn’t planned for them! I’m all for defying the impossible but the mind is rather tricky. It can trigger you into believing that the impossible is easy to accomplish.

The problem with our generation is that we try to find our self-satisfaction within possessing materials. Mainly, it’s the media’s fault and our fault as well for being ignorant enough to go after what the media presents. Media gives us the opportunity to see other lifestyles, usually the rich and famous, and that it affects our youth. To some teenagers, dressing up like their ‘celebrity idol’ isn’t enough, they want to act like them too.

Whether we realize it or not, most of us have grown into materialistic creatures hunting happiness through satisfying our prominent addiction; owning redundant supplies. Not only do we search for contentment through wrong methods, we complain about how we never feel satisfied and never get what we really want.

There’s a fault in the way we handle and believe things, being content doesn’t mean that you have to be a billionaire, on the contrary, the best form of happiness is when you own so little but feel like it’s too much.

Clearly, it can’t be forced. The first step to achieving the emotional desire to be happy occurs with gratitude. Appreciating everyone and everything that’s surrounding you and making sure that they know it; this shifts the person you are completely into a better one. Another step is to simply do good things, and that’s by volunteering and taking the initiative to help the less fortunate and develop the person you currently are into an enhanced version.

There are infinite ways to be satisfied with your life; it can be done spiritually in means of getting a close connection with your God or even by practicing simple acts of kindness! Being content doesn’t necessarily involve a complete perfect life; imperfections are the things that make us more beautiful and worthwhile, they point out our best features and keep us humble. All we need is to have little faith to conquer the sandstorm that is life.

The Moving-on Narrative

Budoor Al Yousuf (@BAlYousuf)

Budoor Al Yousuf (@BAlYousuf)

Budoor takes a unique look at the world around her. She applies a sense of the mystical to everyday happenstance and turns it on its head. The result is her column: “Mental Pondering”.
With a background in communications, her passion for writing is driven by the need to voice her thoughts. Budoor also hold an eMBA in innovation and Entrepreneurship, other than writing, her interests include reading and traveling.
Budoor Al Yousuf (@BAlYousuf)

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Reading Time: 3 minutes
Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@Maryam_Zainal)

Once upon a time in a land far far away… AND STOP… Ever wonder what would have happened if the founder of that phrase never continued the story because he or she was stuck in the past? Perhaps that story and the others that followed would never come to life and we would never use that phrase almost every time we make up a story.

Moving on is one of the most difficult things in life, “Moving-on Narrative” suggests that we un-glue ourselves from our past, pick up whatever is left of us, and face the world with our head held up high. It suggests that we get ourselves out of a place that can do us no good but can harm us greatly in order to continue to live bittersweet events to create the story we call life.

Letting go is tough; tougher than one might think. The heavy steel strings that hold us to what we went through, the people we lost, and the memories engraved in our minds pull us to an endless tornado of emotions and darkness. Human behavior suggests we hold on to what makes us feel happy but we hold on stronger to the ones that make us sad. And to make matters worse, we don’t want to let go, we don’t want to let go and we don’t want to let go.

The darkness and the emotional roller-coaster can get so bad that we fail to recognize what these strings do to us. We don’t realize what we are missing out on when we are in that worm hole, we don’t see how much we are losing while being stuck in that dark place, we can’t tell who we are hurting in the process of holding on to the past, and we can’t understand where this complex mess of strings might end up taking us.

What most of us don’t grasp is that life is a story of a person, we all have one that is only ours and no one can read our entire story but us. Yes, other people become part of our stories, but no one knows our entire story but us. The question every person has to ask oneself is “if life is a story of me, how do I want it to be read?”

Without a future to look forward to, there is no point in breathing. All of us, at one point or another have to walk away of what is holding us back. We all have to take the decision to imagine ourselves standing up and walking to a better place in life. The story has to move forward and no mater what happens everyone has to remember to move on.

In the end “It’s like writing a book, to write the second one you need to forget the first one”


  • Moving (on): to change from one place or position to another, to set or keep in motion
  • Narrative: a story or account of events, experiences, or the like whether true or fictitious

3arabeezy, a Mixture of Arabic & English

Omar Al Owais (@OMSAlowais)

Omar Al Owais (@OMSAlowais)

Omar is an International Relations Student at the American University of Sharjah, with a passion towards politics and a devotion towards the rhythmic arts of poetry and prose.
Omar Al Owais (@OMSAlowais)

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Reading Time: 3 minutes
Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@AnoodAlMulla_)

Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@AnoodAlMulla_)

A couple of weeks ago, I went to visit my grandmother. We became immersed in our conversation, recounting our activities and endeavors in the past few weeks, as we haven’t really had a conversation for a long time.

Midway through our conversation, my Blackberry notified me of a message.  My friend had replied to the message that I sent him earlier.  I found it so funny and entertaining that I decided to share it with her. It was written in Arabic, but she couldn’t read it.

You might be wondering why she wasn’t able to read it. Oh, I forgot to mention, it was written in 3arabeezy (a new form of speaking which mostly consists of English, with a couple of Arabic words here and there, used in texting language with English alphabets and numbers).  She’s fluent in Arabic but she wasn’t taught English.

Sheikh Zayed once said, “Whoever has no past has neither a present nor a future”. Let’s stop and think for a moment.  Amidst all this mass development and the sophistication of our lives, our culture and heritage, in a way, has failed to maintain a strong presence. Who is to blame? The British? The Americans? No, us! Nobody but us. Yet, we dare to blame globalization. Countries such as Germany and Japan are far more globalized, but they still converse in their mother tongue.

We thought it was cool and “trendy” to converse amongst ourselves in 3arabeezy. It has resulted in nothing but the loss of language and heritage amongst its native speakers, the Arabs.

I’m not claiming perfection. I’m not claiming that I never converse or text in 3arabeezy, but the state that we are currently in worries me. How many of your younger siblings, nephews or cousins speak fluent Arabic even in the Emirati dialogue, without adding in English words to the sentence?

From travels to Germany and India, I noticed one thing; nearly every single citizen that I passed by and overheard spoke in their mother tongue amongst themselves. A nation’s culture will not be preserved by books and records, but rather by its members making an effort to preserve it. A nation’s culture and heritage will be preserved when its members take pride in it. And what better way to express your pride for your culture than by speaking in its mother tongue?

I know that it’s ironic of me to state this in English, but Arabic truly is a beautiful language. It has an extensive vocabulary; a word for every thing, emotion or category you can think of. Why disregard a language of such eloquence and articulacy?

As we move forward, we must ensure that our foundation is right. As we introduce newer dialects and forms of speaking and writing, we mast ensure that our basic foundations in that language are of an acceptable standard. Just as all fields of life, progress won’t be made, unless the foundations are strong.

In math, you wont be capable of solving simultaneous equations unless you excel in basic numerical problems, and you wont be able to balance chemical equations unless you have a competent understanding of the Periodic table for instance, just like the tall and majestic skyscrapers won’t be as majestic unless their foundations are properly put in place.

Technology Has Made Us Immune to Error

Dubai Abulhoul (@DubaiAbulhoul)

Dubai is an Emirati girl with a passion for all things art. Her number one passion was to find a place between Emarati artists and filmmakers , and her dream turned into reality in 2008 , when she was officially named as the Middle East’s Youngest Director at the age of 11.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes


Einstein once said, ‘I fear the day when technology overlaps with humanity. The world will have a generation of idiots.’ I can’t help but find myself disagreeing with one of our century’s greatest thinkers simply because technology changed humanity for the better. Technology serves as an ark that bridges the darkness of ignorance and brightness of enlightenment. Technology has not only improved human interaction, but has given people the ability to posses multiple personalities.

As I stroll down my own vision of the very near yet scary future, I notice a lane of high tech restaurants. Waiters, whose faces are made out of metal and screens, seem to walk in a rather funny way as they serve the customers their orders. The fact that the waiters are made up of touch screens not only works for the advantage of the shareholders but also for the comfort of the customers.

Talking to robots instead of humans works best for modern day customers, given the fact that they communicate with each other through social media and not through actual human interaction. In this vision, I also noticed that all the restaurants down this lane seem to echo the same chilling silence. There’s no need for conversation, for all forms of talking and communication is done through screens and state of the art technology.

In the past few years, we’ve seen how evil human beings can be, for news agencies have been flooded with news about war, massacres, and destruction. It’s only beneficial for the sake of humanity to use different methods for when it comes to human interaction, methods that don’t have to do with actual interaction. To come to think of it though, something was rather peculiar about the restaurants’ seated customers.

Each person had at least three to four heads growing out of his or her neck. Each face had its different features and personality. Critics have stated that having three or more personalities because of social media boosts one’s confidence, since people nowadays are more comfortable having multiple faces. It’s the duty of the people of the 21st century to work for the greater good of humanity, and that’s exactly what the scientists and whizz kids of technology have been doing; making this world a better place.

How grateful I am, and how grateful you should be, for living in a time where we no longer feel the need to talk face to face with the evil people of our time and kind. This not only reduces conflict, but also reduces tragic incidents like massacres, wars, and mass killings. After all, people will always be safe hiding behind screens. How beautiful it is to possess different personalities and not feel the pressure to be who we really are. I mean come on; we are technically immune to error, aren’t we?

 P.S., yes, I’m being sarcastic.

We Grew Impatient

Moadh Bukhash (@MoadhBukhash)

Moadh Bukhash (@MoadhBukhash)

A brand manager by day and a ‘wannabe’ philosopher by night, Moadh graduated from the American University in Dubai with a degree in Marketing. All about logical discourse and self improvement, his aim is to be a 21st century iconoclast. Though born and raised in Dubai, Moadh aims to develop and nurture global identities built around shared humanistic values. A writer of his own blog, which bears the column’s name, Moadh’s ultimate ambition is to be the spark of a positive change in any individuals who come across his words.
Moadh Bukhash (@MoadhBukhash)

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Reading Time: 4 minutes


Fast paced-ness is contagious. Having to deal with a hundred and one things at once, juggling between our demanding careers, our commitment to our immediate and extended families, and of course our constant socializing both online and offline, makes for a rapidly-paced lifestyle. The more pressing matters get, the faster we attempt to get through our day. The faster we move, the more impatient we in turn become. Impatience tends to get in the mix with selfishness and an ill-mannered behavior, producing very ugly traits.

Our demanding lifestyles have drastically reduced the number of hours we spend on our personal daily commitments. Most of us spend about eight to ten hours a day either at a job or being educated, take another six to seven hours of sleep, and you’re only left with about a third of our day to go through anything and everything else we need to; be it family, friends, errands, or anything in between.

Let’s start with our families. Living rooms in the house used to be where you would hang out, now we hang out in our rooms and step out for a bit to have a short conversation, and what a different conversation it has become. Our impatient attitudes have turned us impulsive, reactive, with a high tendency to cut off others mid-sentence to make our point. I notice this most clearly when I sit with my grandparents, the manner in which they speak is slower paced and patient, taking every care and all the time they have to clearly present their points and deliver the message.

Our careers also suffer from our often erratic behaviors. We get into a project, perhaps a new line of work, and tend to be overly judgmental all too quickly. Not allowing the time for the normal course of work to shape into a routine, or the time for us to get to know our colleagues better, or to even know how we can shape the situation to better suit our motivations. All too quickly, we switch off mentally, turn the situation into something negative, disengage from our place of work, and either end up in misery or move on to a different opportunity.

We even notice it on the roads. How many times have we seen someone, or even ourselves, getting impatient and angry at someone taking their time parking or taking a turn? Most of the time, we don’t have any pressing appointment to get to, but our endless aim to cut time short and achieve more in shorter periods of time makes us have a natural tendency towards impatience.

Bringing it closer to home, our region has been known throughout history for its hospitality. Middle Easterners have always been brought up to be well mannered, to allow both friend and stranger the time of day, to conform to certain practices of manners and behaviors – our very highly structured society is a result of that. As we move into becoming a developed nation, let us not lose sight of our positive and welcoming nature. Let us not conform to the stereotype that all city people are impatient. Let us remember always to take a breath, relax, and give allowance to time.

N.B. I admit I have assumed the worst in my comparisons, only to showcase the unpleasant side of the developments in the story.

My sincere thanks and appreciation go to M.A. for giving me the inspiration to write this piece.

The Media’s Influence On The Career Of An Athlete

Khalifa Al Hajeri

Khalifa Al Hajeri

Column: Tifosi
Khalifa was born and raised in the UAE, with a 4 and bit years university stint in the Canadian lands, before coming back home to work for one of the investment arms of the Abu Dhabi government. Inspired to be the Ray Romano of the magazine, only as a sports journalist that is.
Khalifa believes the world of sports never gets the credit it deserves for its impact on this world. For some, its mere entertainment, but for some its soul therapy and sometimes, survival. In this sports universe, deep in its pockets, he was able to find a lot of pleasure reading for sports journalists like Phil Ball, Gabriel Marcotti, among many others. Considering some of his favorite literature comes from sports writers, he will use this column titled “Tifosi”, which stands for “fan” in Italian, to share this passion with others by discussing sport events that can relate to both fanatics and non fanatics.
Khalifa Al Hajeri

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Reading Time: 3 minutes
Artwork by Maha Bin Fares (@MahaBinFares)

Artwork by Maha Bin Fares (@MahaBinFares)

Perception is the most underrated dimension in any professional’s life whatever the occupation may be. While most individuals can build the skills set necessary to create a path towards success, managing personal perception to your advantage is a prowess difficult to attain. Some may be very talented in their respective occupation, but others need only to be masters in the art of managing personal perception to be able to be successful. That being said, sometimes perception is enforced upon us beyond our control.

In the world of sports, the main orchestrator is the media. In many episodes, we have seen many athletes succeed or fail based on the synthesis the media narrates. Careers have been brought to life by hype from the media, and careers have been doomed because of the mounting pressure created by the media.

Tiger woods and his career are the best example to display the influence the media possess. Being a very talented golfer from an early age, Tiger Woods was the epitome of the rising star narrative. Not only were his accomplishments as a golfer unmatched, but his professional etiquette and sportsmanship were idolized. The media willingly catered towards turning him into a role model. His glorified image was short lived, suddenly, Tiger woods was not polishing his statute but picking up the remaining pieces from the floor.

At the first opportunity, the same media that endorsed and supported him throughout his career, was the major culprit in altering his perception, dethroning him of his legacy and turning him into a public enemy.  The infidelity scandals that faced Tiger woods were the perfect headline story for the media. His demise was now more beneficial than his glory. Clearly, if his scandals as illustrated on the news were true, then many of us will disagree with his value system, especially as he was characterized as a role model.

That being said, this is not the first case of infidelity and neither will it be the last case for many famous people. Evidently, there were no more headlines, stories, movies and documentaries about him being the best golfer, but there will be headlines of “the best golfer that became the sex addict with issues.” This pressure defeated Tiger Woods and he was forced to not participate in tournaments and even when he did, he was a mere shadow of the golfer he used to be.

Today, the story is different.  The media momentum is in favor of Tiger Woods again because now the media, who groomed and destroyed him, has found an even better chronicle, the resurrection of Tiger Woods. That’s the kind of narrative that we all like. News and reports are now talking about his return, describing his performances as reminiscent of his best days as a golfer. The media created the story of redemption, and what better tale is there than ‘the comeback’.

In reality, experts in the golf arena laughed at such claims, dismissing reports that Tiger is close to being the golfer he used to be. It is to be seen whether Tiger Woods actually finds his glory days again, but it will be not surprising if he gains confidence by using the media claims to his advantage to re-brand his image. What matters at the end of the day, is the last perception you walk away with.

3 Important Steps to Create a Positive Impact

Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

Mohammed, an Emirati involved in healthcare business development, comes with a background in biomedical & clinical engineering, technology management, finance, and business setup related project management. Mohammed has a keen interest in relevant social, religious, economic, and cultural affairs.
Mohammed’s bi-monthly column aims to openly and honestly target issues around the native culture, society, religion, economy, and policy that have resulted as a consequence of the constantly changing demographics of the region. The column is characterized by a point-like articulate approach that gives the reader a comprehensive understanding of the discussed issues.
Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

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Reading Time: 5 minutes
Artwork by Maha Bin Fares (@MahaBinFares)

Artwork by Maha Bin Fares (@MahaBinFares)

How many times have we come across people who complain about their work environment or family situation or even perhaps their dissatisfaction with a product or service? Now, compare that to the amount of times you have heard people praise their work environment or family situation or express their satisfaction towards a product or service. It is very likely that the former exceeds the latter quite significantly.

In my opinion, this is mainly so due to human nature and their tendency to get accustomed to the environment they are in due to a plethora of internal and external factors. These could range from peer pressure and fear of rejection to an individual’s financial/educational status and his/her personality traits.

This adaptation kills the drive to move forward and hence results in complacency, which in turn kills the chances of making a positive impact. The constant inability to create positive impact over an extended period of time gives birth to negativity that can destroy an organization or individual.

The question then obviously becomes “how do we undo this downward spiral into negativity?” Given my tendency to go back to religion for an answer, the first thing that came to my mind is the lives of the Prophets of Allah (Peace be upon them). Many of them endured hardships and in the end they were able to create a positive impact either on their people or in their own lives. So, I stumbled upon an Aya ( averse) in the Quran that describes how the Prophets achieved this and, in my point of view, describes the answer to our question.

“We listened to them … for they were ever quick in emulation in good works; they used to call on Us with love and reverence, and humble themselves before Us.” – The Holy Quran [21:90]

This Aya highlights 3 main points:

  1. They were ever quick in involving themselves in good work (taking initiative towards creating a positive impact)
  2. They used to call on us with love and reverence (perseverance and continuity)
  3. They were humble (towards the will of Allah and the reliance and dependence on him)

Now, let me add some personal views and walk you through these 3 points. Based on the above, I believe the creation of any positive impact can be achieved to counter negativity by taking initiative. In order to prove the success of the initiative it requires 3 main elements:

First, it is crucial one leaves his/her comfort zone and races or competes towards taking initiative. Things should not be put aside and left for tomorrow or delayed to another time. Out of the thousands of things we encounter every day, some examples are speaking up against corporate embezzlement, helping someone poor, or even discussing a problem with one’s spouse. It is essential however that only taking the initiative should be done immediately, the initiative itself on the other hand should be balanced between haste and laziness. One must work with the available tools and within or around the socially, politically, and economically accepted regulations and rules to create the necessary impact and not haste into irrational moves.

“Come forward and follow my lead, and let those who come after you follow your lead. People will continue to keep back till Allah will put them at the back.” – The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) , Sahih Muslim, Book of Prayers, 438

Second, it is important that we pull through the initiative and make it move forward and maintain momentum. It is only natural to encounter obstacles that impede our path to creating a positive impact. However, once we have embarked on an initiative, we must ensure to see it through. In this journey, it is best to have an open mind, accept changes along the way, and not get defensive of one’s perceived ideal path. We may not be able to be perfect all the time but one step in the right direction can create a platform for improvement. The key is to take those steps and keep improving until you are satisfied with the results. Make sure you don’t stop.

“I am not discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded is a step forward.” – Thomas Edison

Third, I believe we must have faith. Some people may call it luck or being in the right place at the right time and others may call it experienced gut feeling or educated guessing. Although all may be valid points, I believe the reality is all of the above along with true dependence and reliance on God. This reliance or “tawakkul” should be done in parallel with exploration and exhaustion of all necessary means possible. The combination of drive and faith provides the correct mindset and platform to create positive impact.

“No reason have we why we should not put our trust on Allah. Indeed He Has guided us to the Ways we (follow)…  For those who put their trust should put their trust on Allah.” – The Holy Quran [14:12]

In summary, in order to create positive impact in; it is necessary to encompass all 3 parts mentioned above: Compete and race towards the initiative for creating positive impact, strive continuously towards achieving the goal, and finally, be humble to changes and put your faith in Allah to help you arrive at the destination of your journey.

I wish you all the very best in your endeavors and I hope these points help you achieve what you are looking for. They definitely have helped me.

Discussing Employee Misbehavior: Too Relaxed? Or Careless?

Fatma AlKhaja (@fay_alkhaja)

Column: Observing the World, previous column: Too Blunt for Words
Fatma (Fay), Emirati girl, with an experience in Corporate Communications and CSR. She is passionate about anything that is traditional and Emirati. In her free time she loves to watch Japanese anime, read manga, and play videogames. Spas are not the only thing that relaxes her, but cooking as well.
Fay’s columns observe work-life experiences and balance. A lot of her articles are based on first-hand personal experiences and issues she has seen or been part of. She loves to observe her surroundings, and watch how people handle different situations they’ve been put in.Also, she is trying to balance the art of staying positive at work and helping her peers understand that not everything should be a problem. With her writings she hopes to make a difference and make people more observant of the little problems in life, or work that hasn’t escalated to a catastrophe. It’s the little things that matters.

Latest posts by Fatma AlKhaja (@fay_alkhaja) (see all)

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Artwork by SYAC

Artwork by SYAC

How does one manage an irresponsible colleague, boss, or subordinate? There’s a difference between being too relaxed, and being irresponsible. The work ethics I’ve attained and grown up with have turned me into somewhat of a being a ‘perfect’ employee where I intend to make sure that deadlines are met before the actual due date, things are planned months before, and plan B is always available just in case something goes wrong.

However, as each day progresses, I find that I might be one of those rare employees that is actually responsible enough to ensure that things are done on time. Which brings me to ask, are people too relaxed? Or just plain irresponsible?

Everyone deserves a chance to chill at work, and we all do this. I admit it. Nevertheless, being way too chilled is a bit over the board. An employee, who starts work at 8, reads the news first, grabs a cup of coffee, talks to a few colleagues and then rolls up his/her sleeves to start actually working at 11am, is a bit too much.

It makes me wonder. How can someone be so chilled about being relaxed at work? What is it? Don’t they have deadlines? I have faced similar situations where I had a task for an employee and requested it on an urgent basis; only to find that employee working on the urgent task three hours later than actually treating it as an urgent request within the same hour.

So how would you explain the above situation? Such behaviors would lead you sometimes to not depend on anyone, but to always manage things on your own. I would hate it if I was perceived to be an employee who was not a team player but did everything on my own.

I confronted the employee about the late task, I was actually told “Oh, I forgot and thought it wasn’t urgent.” And by the way, this has happened many times with various others and not just the same individual.

Carelessness? Not deeming items as important? Or again, the individual is just too plain relaxed?

My article this time imposes a question more than anything else. I have tried to put myself in their shoes several times, and understand how they’re thinking but have always been unsuccessful. I wonder if these are the types of people that are normally less stressed than everyone else?

Why not be stressed at all? Have less work? Fewer responsibilities? And just chill, and not think of anyone. I would really love your input so I can understand this situation better.