Here We Start – Issue #39

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)

Dear Sail Readers,

As we publish our 39th issue, we are starting the summer season. Many of you will soon be going on their long awaited for summer holidays. I think in light of this, I’d only try to urge all of you to catch up with 2 things: Reading and working out. Ensure to make time of your holiday to read, widen your horizons, and educate yourselves in different domains. Also to catch up with working out, getting in shape, toning your bodies. So we come back from our holidays not all mentally grown and physically refreshed.

The best way to emphasize on this, is using a quote my younger brother has just shared with me by Will Smith:

“The keys to life are running and reading. When you’re running, there’s a little person that talks to you and says, “Oh I’m tired. My lung’s about to pop. I’m so hurt. There’s no way I can possibly continue.” You want to quit. If you learn how to defeat that person when you’re running, you will know to not quit when things get hard in your life. For reading: there have been gazillions of people that have lived before all of us. There’s no new problem you could have–with your parents, with school, with a bully. There’s no new problem that someone hasn’t already had and written about it in a book.”

Issue #39 – June 2013 in brief:

Enjoy our reads, and don’t forget to check out our illustrations by our creative team: Anood AlMulla, Dana AlAttar, & Maryam Zainal.

To keep up with our monthly published issues and to know about any of our coming events, make sure you register with us by clicking here.

Warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

Insanity and the Work of American Artist Basquiat

Hamda Al Hashemi (@Hamda_alhashemi)

Column: Art of Living 101. Previously as: Living Through The Eyes of Art
Hamda AlHashemi is a 20 something year old interior design graduate, and an SZHP employee. She appreciates art, food, psychology and culture. For her, Arabic calligraphy is music for the eyes; beautiful and calming. She thrives to become an entrepreneur of her own furniture line and aims to get her Phd on the long run. Hamda’s articles revolve around how our psychological thoughts influence our actions, and how to use them to our advantage.

Latest posts by Hamda Al Hashemi (@Hamda_alhashemi) (see all)

Have you ever thought that our planet might be the mental institution of the world we live in? American author Ray Bradbury once said “Insanity is relative, it all depends on who has who locked up in what cage.” We’re all a bit crazy on the inside, some more than others, we just can’t see that clearly since we are watching it too close. In the end, we all express the nut job within through different ways and art is one of the most beautiful forms of insanity.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, a North American artist, was considered insane by society, by psychologists, and by other artists. No matter who is looking at his work, that observer will find that the soul behind those paintings and artwork is very disturbed, which is completely true. Basquiat struggled in a time where the social gap between the wealthy and the poor and the black and white was very wide. The environment he lived in drove him to be expressive and to let out the loud voices of despair inside his head.

“The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four Americans is suffering from some form of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they are okay, then it’s you” (Rita Mae Brown, American author). Just by looking at the painting below, we can see the conflict and struggle within the painter. In psychology and doodling analysis, the use of various colors in a drawing implies that the person drawing is very smart. The use of black is a symbol of fear and the fact that one hand has four fingers while the other has five shows inconsistency in the painter’s mentality. The use of sharp edges is a clear sign of anger and the use of red in the background emphasizes rage.

Untitled, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1982-83)

Untitled, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1982-83)

Another significant implication in the painting is that the artist is suicidal. All that conflict and the scribbles on the face of the portrayed figure all show signs of despair and depression. Basquiat did in fact die of a drug overdose in August 1988.

“No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness” (Aristotle). We don’t need to go to a mental institution to find someone insane. Insanity is all around us and we are all probably one of the reasons why someone out there is insane. Basquiat’s suggestive dichotomies in his work about wealth, power, discrimination, colonialism, social class and politics were nothing but a cry for help. He was a frustrated man who carried so much rage that it drove him to taking his own life away. His Neo-expressionist, Primitivist style is one of the strongest social commentaries expressed and is still something to be remembered for many years to come.

Why People Don’t Succeed Even if they Want to

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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Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@anoodalmulla_)

Artwork by Anood AlMulla (@anoodalmulla_)

Jim Rohn, one of the greatest success gurus, asked the question “Why don’t people succeed, although they want to?” He then answered it by saying “Because they’re being pulled back by things that cause them to settle where they are; saying “I’m okay where I am””

Success is a relative term. That is, what I believe is a success to me might not be the same to you. So, in your own definition, ask yourself if you are successful, then ask yourself why aren’t you there yet. Furthermore, the answers to those questions will determine your own definition to the idea of “success” and will give you a hint of what you need to do next; that is, if you do think you need to do anything at all.

As for the statement that bears the title of this article, the two-letter word it includes doesn’t need an explanation. Mainly, “ok” means “acceptable”. Moreover, I believe that people rate themselves as such for one of three reasons. One, they’re scared of going any further and so they try to make themselves believe that “ok” is just enough. Two, they have a long list of people and events to blame for not succeeding. Three, they believe that it is unnecessary for them to be the ones who go “above and beyond” and that they don’t have a big role in society.

Further to the above thought, add another question to your list and ask “why do I need to succeed?” That question is for you to ponder and I would like to highlight a couple of simple, yet important points, with which all of us need to be reminded.

You see, we need to know that we don’t live in this world for ourselves. This simply means we don’t study to get appreciation, but to use that knowledge to add value to the society. Similarly, we don’t work to get salaries, but do so to contribute to the country’s development.

Having said that, let’s all agree on a couple of points here. First, we don’t really know how far we could go unless we try, so we might as well just give it a shot. Second, every individual is important and every individual has a great value they can add to society.

Finally, know that nations were never built by settlers, believe that we are all here to contribute to building and developing our nation, and by extension, create a positive change in the world.

Children & the Fine Line Between Imagination and Lying

Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi)

Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi)

Column: The First Years Last Forever
A loving mother of a son who has changed her life and put it into perspective. Ayesha is a senior social media specialist, a Global Leader for young children in the Arab region, and a writer in few Arabic publications. Her column is written in collaboration with the Arabian Child organization, and offers inspiration and an in-depth exploration of early childhood development.
Ayesha AlJanahi (@_AyeshaAlJanahi)

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Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Imagine this scenario – Your 4 year old son enters the living room, sits down and his mouth is covered with chocolate even though you warned him not to eat chocolate and to have a proper meal. When you confront him, he insistently refuses to tell you the truth. He starts inventing an imaginary story that his astronaut friend is the one who ate the chocolate. At this point, you dished out your verbal abuse under the guise of guidance by telling him “I’m trying to help you become a better person and you are lying!”.

Is he lying or just trying to grab our attention by being imaginative? A question that is asked by many parents when their child begins story telling. The stories inside our children’s head are the scripts that drive them to play.

Children start their imagination phase by the age of two. During this phase, they invent stories and cannot differentiate reality from fantasy.

“The Power of Magical Thinking,” Shirley S. Wang explains, “For years, imagination was thought of as a way for children to escape from reality, and once they reached a certain age, it was believed they would push fantasy aside and deal with the real world. But, increasingly, child-development experts are recognizing the importance of imagination and the role it plays in understanding reality”.

Unfortunately, sometimes we seem to operate under the illusion that we have to raise perfect children by trying to eliminate their imagination because we think that we are protecting them from growing up and being liars. Sadly, we confuse imaginative play with lying.

Imaginative play is necessary to develop children’s mental processes and it helps children learn to monitor their emotional reactions. As parents, not only do we have to encourage imaginative play, but we can also get involved in it and play with them.

Children’s imaginary friends are part of a healthy childhood development which helps them learn more about their environment and build the connections in their brain to practice independent, autonomous thinking, so they gradually develop decision-making skills and master self-discipline. Parents should encourage their children’s creative and imaginative processes rather than threatening them with punishments.

“Lying is actually typical, age-appropriate behaviour for children throughout certain stages of childhood,” says Barb Hacker, in her article “Children and Lying.” Many children lie either to avoid punishment or to make their stories sound more interesting. Parents’ role here is to help the child to distinguish fantasy from reality and guide them that it’s not appropriate to mix between them. A child might lie when he doesn’t want to sleep early for instance, so he’ll pretend to be hungry to emotionally blackmail his mother and that will distract her for couple of minutes until he watches his favourite cartoon.

When the child starts lying to make his stories sound exciting and he most probably is making it a habit in every gathering, parents should stress on the importance of honesty in any relationship and guide the child to understand the consequence of a broken trust and how people can suffer from it.

The best way to teach honesty is being honest to children as well as others and set guidance for children to emulate. However, if parents lie to their children they are most likely to be not realistic by expecting their kids to be honest, that would be a bit of a contradiction. An example that is very common is when the phone rings, your child answered the phone and you asked him to make up a story and tell whoever is on the phone that you are not available.

All children are wired and ready to learn during their progress through childhood; it is important for parents to acknowledge and understand when children are using their imagination.

“Your story was amazing, When did that happen”, ”was it in the school, in the house or in your mind?”, “your imaginative story is awesome”. Talking about your child’s imagination helps in defining its place in reality. When you acknowledge their imagination, you are basically stimulating it and teaching them to value honesty by taking responsibility that will help them see the fine line between lying and imagination.

The article was written in support of Arabian Child organisation. Visit www.arabianchild.org for more information about early childhood education in the United Arab Emirates.

What Turns Humans into Beasts: Vanity, Greed and Lack of Sanity

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)
Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@maryam_zainal)

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@maryam_zainal)

“I’ll stop the transformation from human to beast” was a promise I made to myself when I was younger, but realized that it wasn’t achievable as I grew older. It really is fascinating how much life has changed over the past ten years but it’s also bewildering. Why did we turn out to be this way? What happened to people? Where did all the good ones go? I believe that it all happened for three reasons: Vanity, greed and lack of sanity.

Vanity is the main cause of ruin for many people. Excessive pride in oneself has gotten a lot of people into huge messes as well as foolish narcissism. Some people have become so conceited that they forgot some of the things that are important in life such as good virtues. Mistreating people and considering them to be lower life forms just because they think differently and have various other opinions that don’t match yours isn’t right. How would they like it if other people treated them that way?

Greed is another monster that has damaged people. Unfortunately, humans have become very shallow nowadays; all they care about is ‘Fame & Fortune’. ‘I want this and I want that’ are the words you often hear from dented young souls. Thank you Lord is something I yearn to hear from their young minds, but it’s not something you hear very often, because all I hear is “I WANT MORE”. Since greedy people always flaunt their fortune why won’t they give something to the less fortunate? Fame and fortune won’t last forever; they rarely do. Money can run out within seconds and fame can be over in a matter of time causing fake friends to leave the once high and mighty.

Also, sanity is what they lack. To be fair, we all lose it sometimes. We become so insane and get caught up in the moment to the extent of forgetting how to think rationally. Insanity is fine if it was temporary; reasonability is what we all need. As I previously mentioned, materials don’t last, thus we must invest in them by doing good. Changing from a senseless person to a sensible person is tough business but this adversity must be surpassed to live a meaningful life as people can’t walk around aimlessly!

Living with vanity and greed is turning people into miserable folks who feel a sense of emptiness in their life. It’s hard to be sane in an insane world but a person can only try. The key to becoming a happy sane person is trying to become a better person. Another key is to have good virtues and be sensible, so when fame and fortune vanish, they’ll have many shoulders of good friends to cry on.

Getting closer to God, stopping selfishness and being generous is a stepping stone. Making slow changes is very effective in this ordeal. All people need is time to prove that they’ve changed. Everyone deserves a second chance. If you’re lucky enough to have one, don’t mess it up.

How To Hack Your Brain To Be Positive

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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Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

“B+” is another way of saying “Be Positive.” Although this phrase has turned into a cliché that people throw around like it is the easiest thing on earth, it actually doesn’t only require will power but also requires the person to hack their own brain!

To “B+” isn’t something that comes naturally as human beings are built to be negative more than positive. In science, this phenomena is called ‘Negative Bias’ which means that humans pay more attention to negative things than positive ones.

Science has proven that the positive and negative experiences are in fact stored in two different sides of the brain. The left side stores positive memories whereas the right side focuses on the negative experience. It has also been proven that the human brain stores negative experiences in the long term memory immediately where as it takes 12 seconds to move positive experiences from the short term memory to the long term memory. This is why people remember more details about the negative experiences and less about positive ones.

Human beings also have something called ‘Selective attention’ which means that humans can only focus on one message at any given time. The downside of this is that when it comes to positive or negative messages or experiences, human beings naturally focus on the negative.

Another research shows that the minute someone hears bad news, there is a part in the human brain that uses two-thirds of its neurons to search for other negative experiences. In other words, it is not bad enough that someone just heard bad news, the human brain will make it worse by looking for other bad news stored in that person’s memory.

It is important for people to know these scientific facts about their own body. Only when a person understands how their brain functions will they be able to hack into their own brains and change their reactions to what they are experiencing.

Here are some ways to hack into your brain and “B+”:

  • The brain needs 12 seconds to move positive experiences from short term memory to long term memory. When you are having a positive experience, hold the thought and that feeling in your head for as long as you can for it to completely register in your long term memory. For example, if you receive a text message that made you happy, think about it for as long as you can, it will register better in your memory.
  • Now that you understand that the brain reacts to negative experience by digging in your memory for other negative experiences, make it stop right then and there. The saying ‘it is all in your head’ applies perfectly here. It is true that the negative experience you are facing now is not ‘in your head’, but don’t let your brain trick you into thinking of all the other negative experiences you went through. For example: If you had a strong discussion with a colleague at work, don’t let your brain trick you into remembering all the horrible things that happened between the two of you. Focus on the issue at hand and solve it rationally.
  • Surround yourself with positive thoughts, whether it is a phrase, a book, a person or a personal effect that has positive memories attached to it. For example: have some sticky notes of your favorite quotes around you, or better yet, create your own customized monthly or weekly calendar with your favorite positive thoughts.

Every person has their own way to “B+”, the important thing is to remember how.

Dictionary:

  • Be Positive:  Fully assured; confident certain
  • Hack: Breaking into something

Can We Predict The Future?

Khaled Bin Hamad (@KBinHamad)

Khaled Bin Hamad (@KBinHamad)

Khaled holds a Masters degree in marketing from Japan, and studied manga arts in Japan while doing so. He is the creator of the upcoming graphic novel Naser’s secrets (writing & drawing) coming on the 13th of January, 2013. Former writer in Al-Mijhar medical magazine about health and fitness and many other articles online. Artist in oil painting, pastel, charcoal, iPad arts and digital arts since the age of 16. Heavy reader in psychology, philosophy, history and literature. Khaled is currently dedicated to working on the graphic novel and starting his own business.
He explores in his column history, self development and enlightenment.
Khaled Bin Hamad (@KBinHamad)

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Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@maryam_zainal)

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@maryam_zainal)

Oxford dictionary defines ‘destiny’ as: “the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future”. That definition leads to another question: what is the meaning of ‘Future’? Oxford dictionary defines future as: “events that will or are likely to happen in time to come”. To understand what is about to happen in the future, we need to understand what is happening now.

Most of the time, our future depends on what we are doing in the now. For example, I am walking towards the bakery to buy bread, so in the future, I can predict that I will eat the bread that I will be buying. That goes for many of the events that happen every day. We go to work every morning to get a salary at the end of each month. What we spend from that salary will most probably be 80% similar to what we spent our money on in the previous month; especially when it comes to the daily necessities such as grocery shopping, filling the gas, recharging Salik, paying the bills, etc.

That was one simple example of predicting the future. How about we think a little bigger. If we want to know what is going to happen in a country, then we need to study the current events. Who is the president? Who is the vice president? What is the financial situation of the country? Are there any political issues? Were there any dramatic changes in the country in the past few years? With that information, predicting the following sequence of events in that country can be possible.

The same methodology goes for humans by answering questions like: where does that person work? What does he do for a living? How passionate is he about his job? What are his priorities in life? How driven is he? And so on. If predicting the future is considered easy, then why do we say that only the great God knows what is going to happen in the future?

The answer to that question comes back to knowledge. To know a person’s complete accurate future, we need to understand more than a person’s personality, behavior, plans, passions and dreams. To expand this theory further, we need to include the influence of society, the weather, the political situation of the country, the people he gets influenced by, what is on TV, what he eats, what are the trends in his community, who are his best friends, and the full understanding of every person that person interacted with and might interact with.

The world is a large factory and we are the small pieces in that large machine. We play a small role in that machine but our small actions contribute to that large factory.

In conclusion, we get back to the main question: can we predict the future? The answer is both yes and no.

-Yes, we can predict our future according to what we do now and what we are seeking on a daily basis; because when we want something really bad and work hard for it, the world opens new doors to fulfill the dreams we have. However, we also need to consider external factors that we have no control over.

-No, we can’t predict the future because we don’t have the capability, the knowledge and the understanding of the bigger picture and how everything around us operates. Which reminds me of what the therapist/author David Richo said: “We do not create our destiny; we participate in its unfolding. Synchronicity works as a catalyst toward the working out of that destiny.”

If you asked me about my opinion, then I will focus on predicting my future by working everyday to reach what I really seek in life. Working on the now is the road to see the result in the future.

My Perspective on the Qualities of a Leader

Mustafa Abbas (@MustafaAbbas)

Mustafa Abbas (@MustafaAbbas)

Mustafa is an award-winning film-maker whose short films have screened in local festivals such as Dubai International Film Festival and the Gulf Film Festival, as well as international film festivals including the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Currently he is working on numerous projects both within and outside of UAE. Through his bi-monthly column “Notes of The Night”, he ponders upon different matters of our daily lives.
Mustafa Abbas (@MustafaAbbas)

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Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@maryam_zainal)

Artwork by Maryam Zainal (@maryam_zainal)

“Sometimes a majority simply means that all the fools are on the same side.” -Claude McDonald.

I believe every single human being, in one way or another has either a leader’s personality or a follower’s.

This is my observation: leaders never have anything to prove. A comment that is farthest from the truth can be thrown in their direction and they will not even correct it because this is how comfortable they are in their own skin. And this is how little another person’s opinion affects them, although, leaders are also strong in their opinions. Some of them argue their point across and some of them remain silent because they feel there’s no need to create any tension.

In most cases, it wouldn’t matter if one was a good man without standing up for what is right. This is a leader’s quality. But as we’ve seen throughout history, not all those who fall under the leader category are necessarily good people. They would use things and people solely for their own advantage. The harsh truth: most people who we might call “simple” are humble and wish well, and unfortunately many who posses the gift of intelligence might abuse it. These examples have occurred time and again with leaders of nations whose power has corrupted them and changed their intentions. And in their cases, they can’t expect Karma to be a particularly good friend to them, as we have seen and continue to see.

Being a leader does not necessarily mean having a higher position. It also does not mean showing it off nor being arrogant – those traits are of followers who think they’re leaders.

Sometimes, it seems many followers are comfortable being followers. They bow to make their leaders happy; tell them what they want to hear, sugarcoat all the flaws and problems at hand. And some leaders like that, but then those leaders are going to have a tough time knowing who their friends are when they are being surrounded by “yes men” all the time.

The difference between confidence and arrogance is that one of them is ‘genuine’ and the other is ‘fake’. Arrogance comes from insecurity; it is the furthest thing from confidence.

I personally think a leader is wise, not cunning. He is patient and awaits his turn, and speaks-up when it is a must. Although a leader’s views, shared or not, are usually quite strong, he is always willing to listen and never afraid to apologize when mistaken. After all, those are brave qualities.

“The great man does not think beforehand of his words that they may be sincere, nor of his actions that they may be resolute; he simply speaks and does what is right.” – Confucius

Moose Out.

Youth: Why Not Find an Alternative to Visiting Malls?

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.
https://omaralowais.wordpress.com
Omar Al Owais (@OMSAlowais)

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Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

As a Sharjawi (Sharjah resident, I am in no way a football fan), I recall constantly complaining, as have others, about how we don’t have enough malls in Sharjah or how our malls aren’t as top notch as those of Dubai, or how we live in far proximity to all the good malls, etc.

Few weeks ago, my biology class and I went on an excursion to the Sharjah Natural History Museum and Wildlife Park to undertake research on our current unit of inquiry. Honestly speaking, I didn’t expect much; I thought it would be drab and dull. I merely considered it as an opportunity to miss out on 5 hours of schoolwork.

Least to say, I was proven wrong. I was enthralled by its world-class facilities, its interactive features and displays, life-like models and numerous artifacts all laid out in a comprehensive and well-organized manner. It was somewhat similar, if not completely identical to the Natural History Museums of Hong Kong, Munich and Kuala Lumpur that I previously visited during my travels.

However, what it lacked was a) our interest and b) adequate marketing strategies as their current marketing strategies aren’t very youth/ local oriented; as opposed to its previously mentioned counterparts, which were literally filled to the brim with locals and youth.

I do not claim that I regularly visit museums nor do I claim that I am not a frequent mall visitor. Also, keep in mind that I do not intend to discourage you from visiting malls. The point I am trying to make is that, we should create a balance in our lives; for every couple of visits we make to a mall, the next visit we make should be to a park, museum or the beach. For what benefit could we possibly gain if all our outings are at malls? Based on experience, none. Zero. Except for a couple of good books of course.

Let me share with you a funny incident that caused me to remember that trip with fondness and a bucket full of giggles. Upon the completion of our tour, I was casually walking around the cafeteria, having my ice cream, only to be stopped by a 4 years old boy who appeared to have wanted to shake my hand, as apparent by his stretched hand. Consequently, I extended my hand to greet him, only to be dumbfounded by him as he snatched the ice cream from my hand and shared his treasure with three other friends.

Museums aren’t always boring, hey, such incidents might happen to you as well.

Planning And Its Importance In The Football World

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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Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

“Good fortune is what happens when planning meets with opportunity”. This quote by the famous American inventor, Thomas Edison, came to my mind when watching recent events that took place in the football world. Over the past few weeks, sport enthusiasts have witnessed the successful results that could be achieved by proper and committed planning. On May 25th, the city of London hosted one of the most anticipated sporting events in the world, a European football Champions League duel between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Both clubs, originating from Germany, are fitting examples of what could be achieved by organizations through the development of long-term strategies.

On the one hand, reputed for being one of the few football teams in the world that are ‘in the green’ and making profits year after year, Bayern Munich was able to achieve their current financial ability by creating a successful business plan. This plan focuses on maximizing revenues by expanding on their local fanfare to a global scale. Beside its success in creating a football club that is independent of wealthy investors, Bayern was able to build this longevity by creating a very organized club culture, which in addition to a strong financial foundation, it enables it to exercise monopolistic advantage in attracting the best players and coaches in Germany.

On the other hand, Borussia Dortmund is a club that was close to announcing bankruptcy less than 10 years ago, and if it wasn’t for its discipline in its restructuring commitment, seeing the team in a Champions League final in such a short time was only going to be a dream. Hostage to strict financial constraints; Borussia’s management had to carefully swim its way out of the deep ocean and they decided to develop a long term strategy that focuses on recruiting less costly young players, grooming them and relieving them of any short term expectations. In addition to the team being in the finals, it was the fashion in how it was achieved that highlighted their plan’s success. The team was able to qualify to the final round at a wage bill that was 260 Million Euros cheaper than their competitors, the Spanish Capital giants, Real Madrid.

When it comes to individuals, one of the best planners identified in the world of football is Sir Alex Ferguson, who recently announced his retirement after a successful 26 years in the same job. During his tenure, Sir Alex was close to being fired on a few occasions, but the stakeholders were confident of his plan. Before we knew it, Sir Alex bowed down in front of his roaring home fans, and despite the chants and mosaics designed for him, they all knew it will fall way below the grandeur of the tribute he deserves for the success he brought to their beloved club. As he retired in a fashion filled with emotion and zest, he left behind a legacy and a strong foundation to be carried over by another Scotsmen, David Moyes. Despite being a manager who is short of trophies, he is highly recognized for his dedication, work ethics, and values. These strengths enabled him to fit perfectly with Manchester United’s plan of not demanding short-term success.

Sometimes a plan may not be rich in variables, but maximizing the tools you have can help you deliver great results anyways, and this can only be achieved by working on your strengths. We don’t need to go beyond sports to understand that careful and proper planning minimizes the chances of poor performance and by improving planning, the chances of success become ever more possible.