Here We Start – 4th Anniversary!

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)

We are marking our 4th year anniversary today! I can’t believe it’s been this long already! We have grown in so many ways; we have matured in content, grown in team structure, grown in team number and many more.

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I’ve learned some lessons in those 4 years that I’d like to humbly share 4 of them with you, in the hope they will help you with whatever journey you’re on:

  • I’ve learned that for you to last this long, you need to truly and deeply believe in what you do. Only then, nothing can stop in your way, and you won’t ever be too tired to work on it.
  • I’ve learned that it’s all about persistence. Giving up on a business, project, or initiative is easy, it takes a lot of strength to persist and keep going on no matter what.
  • I’m learning, still didn’t master it though, not to let a rejection stop you from trying some more. I admit, it still gets to me when we get rejected for certain funds or support for Sail, but I’m trying to minimize the frustration time it takes me and move on quicker to knock some more doors.  It’s a matter of time till you find someone who would believe in what you do as much as you do, if not even more. So keep trying and don’t let that “no” stop you.
  • I’m learning, and still trying to tone this skill, to trust my gut. Go ahead and ask selective people for opinion, check what is being done in the industry, but listen to that voice within, it often guides you to the right way, try to trust it more often, and don’t let the outside voices dilute it.

We are celebrating our anniversary on the 1st of March, at 4PM in Hugo Café, Jumeira Palm Strip Mall, Dubai. Make sure you make it if you can, we promise you will have a good time, learn a lot, be inspired, and will take home some little Sail giveaways with you!

Sail eMagazine 4th Anniversary - Social Media

And now to our issue #48 – March 2014 in brief:

Enjoy our reads, and don’t forget to check out our illustrations by our creative team: Anood AlMulla, Dana Al Attar, Hayat AlHassan, and Marwa Fadhel.

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

Help us spread the word about the magazine and share the articles with your friends! 

Warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

Why do Fashion Designers Leave their Label? And Where Do They All Go?

Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)

Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)

Column: Habillez-Moi (which means “dress me” in French)
Reem is a fashion fanatic. She used her talents of critiquing to start a blog called “We Voice Fashion” along with a partner that shares her views on the world of fashion and design. Through her column, she likes to explore fashion in a philosophical way at times.
http://wevoicefashion.com
Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)

Article in brief: The author observes the issue of designers leaving their labels

 Artwork by Marwa Fuad (@Elmeem_artistry)

Artwork by Marwa Fuad (@Elmeem_artistry)

The news that shook the fashion industry in 2013 took place following the announcement of Nicolas Ghesquiere’s departure from the house of Balenciaga after holding the reins as creative director for 15 years.

The typical scenario we are accustomed to is that the real reason as to why he left the house was never revealed at first. Speculation surrounded this issue for several months but then the designer himself set the record straight in an interview with System magazine. “I was doing everything by myself,” argues Ghesquiere, “no one was helping me on the business side.” In effect, this interview led to the designer being sued by the house he once worked for.

It’s common for designers to leave the brands they’ve worked for after their long tenures. However, in the past two years, the fashion industry has witnessed changes in top fashion labels left and right. But should this issue be so usual in the industry that it becomes conventional? The motives that prompt designers to leave the brands they’ve designed for are many; it can be because they want to focus on empowering their own brands, disagreements with the company, or for other personal reasons.

A classic case is that of Marc Jacobs who transformed Louis Vuitton into an international powerhouse and eventually left his position as creative director to concentrate on his own eponymous label. His last show for Louis Vuitton resembled a memorial since it was a sad yet new affair for him. After building a legacy at Louis Vuitton, Jacobs wants to do the same with Marc Jacobs. I have great expectations for Jacobs since he can now solely focus on his own label and work to make it a household name.

The same cannot be said for Jil Sander. The majority of her label was sold to Prada in 2000 and since then, Sander has left her eponymous label three times. Apparently, Sander had several disagreements with the CEO of Prada, Patrizio Bertelli, and after many attempts to reconcile; there was no final resolution that satisfied either side. Sander claimed it was for personal reasons and left the design team to handle the brand. Despite that, the brand has since progressed and is still recognized as a top fashion house with a clear aesthetic. Sander’s withdrawal did nothing to hurt the image but only attracted more attention to it.

With the examples above, one can notice how confusing and cluttered the situation can get. Although it might seem that without a designer, a house is left with no clear plans. I have to mention that a brand is mostly best off without its founder.

Take Maison Martin Margiela. Known for his anonymity, Margiela mysteriously left his label for unspecified reasons. Looking at the collections now, I can say that the design team is doing splendidly without the original designer.

Stepping away from the frame, I find the issue to be quite beneficial if not normal. What fascinates me most about the industry as a whole is how fashion houses obviously know how to deal with the dilemma of the person that drives the team leaving his/her position. 

Classic French houses such as Chanel and Christian Dior captivate me since they are able to produce a total of six collections yearly, which include: two pre-collections, one summer collection and one winter collection. Not to mention haute couture which are produced twice a year.

What I also find very admirable about the late Alexander McQueen was that during his tenure at Givenchy, not only he was able to create all the collections throughout the year, but also work on his own line. Although being very successful, the stress took a toll on him.

It is quite rare to find a designer committing to the house while also finding the time to execute his/her own projects effectively. To be passionate about one’s art is a necessity. After all, without passion, beauty will not be instilled into whatever you create.

Inequality In Eating Disorders

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)

Article in brief: Women and men have been suffering from inequality for years. In this article the writer talks about a new branch of inequality that discusses eating disorders.

Artwork by Anood Al Mulla (@AnoodAlMulla_)

Artwork by Anood Al Mulla (@AnoodAlMulla_)

The battle of the sexes has been around since the beginning of time. Be it in the workplace or random activities, both genders refuse to have the other gender overshadow theirs. The idea of the other gender getting more rights is simply maddening! In most cases, men are favored over women, but with this certain disease mentioned below, it’s the opposite.

For decades, women have been struggling with their weight. The softer gender tends to be more insecure about their figure to the extent where they’d risk their own health to have that Barbie doll image. It’s a known fact that women have always been self-conscious and as such, people thought that this obsession was limited to women only; and that’s where they were at fault.

It’s quite sexist to presume that eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia can only affect women. It has been proven that 10% of people suffering from Anorexia are in fact men. It causes serious health concerns and it’s unfortunate that males think that they’re immune to it. Mankind in general has an issue with the way they look, and in response, a new term has been created to explain the male version of Anorexia: “Manorexia”.

The same way women are affected by the media and want to look like supermodels, men can feel the same way too. Manorexia is not an official medical term but it is often used by the media in medical reports in order to differentiate between the sexes. In this disorder, men would take drastic measures in order to bulk up and have a chiseled body. They would take steroids, injections and even sink into starvation mode.

Now, with women, it’s often easy to diagnose an anorexic case as it shows throughout her physical appearance. But with men, it can be a bit tricky as the measures men take can appear as normal manly behavior. Due to that, men can sometimes refuse interventions and others are sadly not taken seriously when they express their worries even though, according to the National Eating Disorders Association, at least one million men in the United States are battling manorexia.

As we all know, in order to recover, awareness has to be present. The cure starts with awareness. But how can manorexics recover if they’re not acknowledged? Several actions can be taken such as the formation of organizations, support groups, and shifting the focus to both genders rather than concentrating only on women.

The media is a major factor in starting this disorder as well as ending it. Outlets such as newspapers, magazines and television should start discussing the causes, effects and symptoms of anorexia on both genders.

Lastly, advocates have to speak up about the challenges they faced and the steps to recovery. Women have survivors to look up to such as Demi Lovato and Christina Ricci, so males who have been effected need to inform other men that it does get better.

Staying strong is a key to getting better as having emotional strength can enforce change. The first step to recovery is admitting that a problem does exist. So instead of shooting down men who believe they have a problem, they should be encouraged to express their concerns and actually seek professional help.

Relationships à la mode; Love Prevails

Haif Zamzam (@haifnothaifa)

Haif Zamzam (@haifnothaifa)

Column: Joie de Vivre, Ex-Column: Sense and Sustainability
Haif Zamzam is a bon viveur who just can’t get enough of life. Her inflexibility for the norm coupled with her constant hunt for a challenge pushed her to the private sector where she is a professional in a top-tier consulting firm. Haif has an MBA from INSEAD and a Bachelors degree from the AUS. Through her column, Joie de Vivre, French for “Joy of Living,” Haif hopes to show how living with your head in the clouds is highly underrated.
Haif Zamzam (@haifnothaifa)

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Article in brief: The writer presents interesting survey results that challenge the traditional ideology of relationships.

Artwork by Anood Al Mulla (@AnoodAlMulla_)

Artwork by Anood Al Mulla (@AnoodAlMulla_)

Preface: This column is based on a survey that received over 125 respondents.  It serves as an informative piece rather than one that is based on the writer’s opinion.  All responses and quotes are strictly anonymous. 

My curiosity with the evolution of traditional monogamous relationships began after a “Scandal”(TV Series) marathon where I found myself rooting for (SPOILER ALERT) the passion between President Fitzgerald and Olivia Pope while I constantly rolled my eyes every time Mellie(the President’s wife) got in their way.  That was the classic love triangle that is more talked about in society. A wandering husband, a scorned wife and a mistress blinded by love.  The wife is unhappy when she discovers the affair and ends up staying in the relationship for whatever reason she may have; a pretty ordinary love triangle.

When I finished watching Scandal, I quickly started “House of Cards”(TV Series).  Here’s where things got a bit messy and, naturally, where my curiosity peaked.  (SPOILER ALERT) The open relationship between Francis and Claire Underwood is far from what I have ever seen in shows and movies, and was even further away than the stories I hear discussed (or gossiped about) in social circles. A relationship that genuinely accepted extramarital affairs and was open enough to identify the third parties that Francis and/or Claire were involved with.  I couldn’t help but wonder, are there functioning relationships like that off screen?

A short and simple survey was circulated and answered by over 125 respondents.  At a high level, the questions were leading to the matter at hand: are open relationships the new standard relationships?

Let’s take a look at the pudding:

 JoieDeVivre_March_2013_1JoieDeVivre_March_2013_2_JoieDeVivre_March_2013_3JoieDeVivre_March_2013_4JoieDeVivre_March_2013_5

It strikes me as a somewhat expected surprise that when ~90% of respondents think that extramarital affairs are either unacceptable or completely unacceptable, nevertheless a significant number of the respondents seem to be in exactly that kind of relationship where either they, their partner or both have done just that. Before considering that such a large number of people are hypocrites or think they are holier than thou, let’s think about what would get people to look the other way or accept their situation as is.

Now here’s the good part.  For the romantics reading this, rest assured, love is the number one reason why people choose to forgive their partner or ignore the behavior.  Other reasons include children, security, society, and history among others. The survey allowed for respondents to add any observations they may have that the survey didn’t necessarily capture:

“Monogamy is not a particularly ‘natural’ condition – very very few animal species are monogamous. You can love someone very much but have a physical/emotional relationship with someone else – the two are compatible. Much of the hurt and shame that comes with affairs is because of society’s view of them.”

“Society and media make affairs ok to have and with how women in our society throw themselves at men who have wandering eyes anyway, it’s hard to secure a non cheating spouse.”

“I have been ‘the other woman’ for several men who were in committed relationships. I would like to say that I am against extramarital affairs but I know that without them I would not have met or developed some of those great relationships with these men.”

So what’s the conclusion here? To help out with tying it all together, I reached out to a regional family therapist who seemed to be all too familiar with this topic.  Her valuable insights put things in perspective.  She said, “Traditionally, a woman who’s married to a wandering man was meant to swallow her pride and raise her children in fear of society and in respect of her family. 

Today, a woman who’s married to a wandering man vents her anger to her nearest and dearest friends, to therapists, to life coaches or whoever will lend a listening ear but, in the majority of the situations I deal with, still swallows her pride and raises her children.  The burden in our society usually lies with women. The funny thing is, when women wander, they rationalize it by doing it in spite of the men; a tit for tat so to speak. 

You’d be happy to know that this situation is not unique to the Gulf or the Arabs.  It’s a global phenomenon.”  It boils down to a couple of high-level and somewhat unhelpful conclusions; love is a funny thing and relationships are complicated. Two people who are committed to a relationship are the only two people who decide where to draw the lines.  For the love of love, let love be, let others decide what love means to them.

Overcoming A Writer’s Block

Alwid Lootah (@AlwidLootah)

Column: Lost in Reverie
Alwid is a young lady who aims to become the change she wants to see in this world by spreading positivity and leading youth towards the road of unlimited possibilities. She recently founded her own website hearmyeche.com through which she aims to become the voice of youth and share unrecognized talents. Her column “Lost in reverie” is a place where she allows her thoughts and emotions to flow and a place where she can hopefully create a change.

Latest posts by Alwid Lootah (@AlwidLootah) (see all)

Article in brief: The author shares ways to overcome an illness us writer’s suffer from, a writer’s block.

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

When using your pen or keyboard to express how you feel better than your mouth can, when you’re constantly telling a story in your head and you fall into the trap of what they call a writer’s block, know that you’re a writer at heart. You’re a person more familiar with words than you are with melody; a person who finds warmth between the pages of a notebook full of hopes.

Somehow, words heal your wounds and make you believe that behind every sentence is a chance for another one to follow. Here you are searching for a remedy among my striving words; looking for a thing that would heal an illness us writers suffer from, the lack of inspiration and the stream of untold words. Suffering from writer’s block is what I felt during the past few months and here I am writing an article about it.

What do we do when words fail us and when our minds refuse to let letters fall into place and form a piece of art?  Overcoming writer’s block could be an easy task if we only find inspiration in the little things around us. Look around and search for a muse; it could be a person or an object, something that grabs your attention and write about it.

So how can you make a metaphor from your reality? Let’s take a beautiful flower as an example and make it our muse. We won’t write about that flower but we’ll write about a girl who is as delicate as a flower; a girl who suffered but remained the most beautiful soul. See how I did that? I took inspiration from my surroundings and made my inspiration based on a symbol. 

Purchase a notebook that stands out and make it your best friend. How many of us regretted not writing that awesome idea we came up with while going to school or even taking a shower? If you think about it, those ideas could’ve made a spectacular book or an amazing article. Moving on from those regretful moments, start today and make that notebook your companion.

We all have those uncompleted chain of words that we never shared; rewrite them. You can inspire yourself by reading your old pieces; they’ll make you realize how far you’ve come along and how much you’ve grown resulting in a thirst to write about your journey.

As thinkers, we often worry our minds way too much. Thinking of the stressful deadlines that approach us and make us worry more about submitting something rather than the beauty of the content itself. Stop thinking about the deadline and think about the lesson that you’d want to share with your readers or the new character that you’d want to create. Make your writing journey a way of enjoying yourself rather than a load of worries.   

Words will flow out of your pen if you only allow your passion to guide it. In the end, writer’s block is nothing but an excuse that we use when we can’t seem to inspire ourselves. Become your own inspiration and watch yourself create a peace of art. Hope you get well soon, writer. 

Turning off Autopilot Mode – Part 2

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)

Latest posts by Budoor Al Yousuf (@BAlYousuf) (see all)

Article in brief: How does a person turn the “Autopilot” mode off? Are there things that can help minimize the time spent in “Autopilot”? Is it possible to consciously get out of it?

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

The previous article “Autopilot OFF” discussed the state of “Autopilot”, the reason why people go into this state and the negative impact it has on a person’s life. After being made aware and understanding the impact of the “Autopilot” mode, the next thing to do is to find ways to minimize its time.

When in “Autopilot”, people usually don’t realize they are in it and sometimes only snap out of it when something alerts them or their trail of thoughts is cut. However, over the years, a few methods have been developed that proved it is possible to control the time someone spends in “Autopilot” and can consciously snap out of it when desired.

The methods are not difficult or time consuming at all; they only require practice. One of the simplest methods to follow is to take time to concentrate on nothing but the person’s surroundings. Even if seconds at a time, this will help train a person’s brain to automatically check their surroundings thus pulling them out of “Autopilot” quicker than usual.

Being aware of one’s surroundings doesn’t happen only by being aware of where this person is, but also in the questions to ask while trying to comprehend one’s surroundings, such as:

  • Where am I sitting? Is this seat comfortable? Is it hurting my back? Am I sitting straight? Is my posture correct?
  • Am I inside or outside? What’s the weather like? Is it hot or cold? Is it dark or bright?
  • What are the sounds around me? Is the A/C on? Are the people around me loud or is it quiet?

There isn’t a list per se that a person has to go through to be aware of their surroundings; it is simply a matter of being aware of everything that is around.

Another method is to consciously go somewhere to enhance their senses. Whether that is taking a shower or going outside to feel the sun or the wind, the idea is to go somewhere to increase the sensation of our senses. For example, take 5 minutes to stand outside and feel the sun, the wind, the sounds, the colors, the noise and everything else that can be sensed.

The more a person trains themselves to be aware of their surroundings and practices on enhancing their senses, the less they will be stuck in “Autopilot” and the more they will be in control of their lives. Practicing those methods can also help in other matters such as fixing one’s posture, help eating healthier and refresh one’s relationships.

The decision to practice these methods and change your life ultimately comes down to this question: “Do I want to live on Autopilot or do I want to live?”

 ——————–

Dictionary:

  • Autopilot: functioning in an unthinking or reflexive manner.

 References:

The Importance of Kindness in Our Life

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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Article in brief: the author discusses the importance of kindness.

 Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Artwork by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

It is quite possible that not all cunning people can be labeled as intelligent. In certain books, it is taught that one of the ways to get into a person’s heart (not necessarily in the romantic sense) is to buy them gifts. This is not exactly a skill that needs to be acquired. Anyone can do this. There is also another sly act where people use sweet words and their natural charisma for a negative advantage. But like most things, the reasons for why we do them hold the true meaning and determine the final outcome. I personally, like many, am a big believer that our intentions determine who we are.

Instead of focusing on a person’s words or actions, I prefer to look at their intentions. Perhaps their heart was in the right place but are not necessarily gifted at executing what they had planned or simply didn’t know how to word it appropriately. No matter what kind of hardship, testing times or illnesses we might face, people will not care if we are not good to them.

“Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.” –Theodore Ruebin

So these less intelligent but cunning people who sometimes win the love of certain people – they do it of course by pressing the right buttons, the buttons of emotion.

Even though this is absolutely wrong, it just goes to show what a powerful tool kindness (or false kindness) can be. Although their overall knowledge might not be high to say the least, in this particular matter they have this gift. Of course they will not escape the instinct of truly intelligent people.

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” –Abraham

Lincoln. Real kindness (yes, real kindness) is always a choice. It comes with humility as well as confidence. There is an imitation of kindness as well; it is arrogance that has a top layer coated very thinly with a mere imitation of kindness to throw people off. And unfortunately, in most cases it works. Again, I say, this is how powerful the act of kindness is.

Why did I say kindness is a choice? So that I could describe the arrogant type of “kindness”? Surely not. This is why I mentioned humility. Sometimes fear or intimidation comes in the form of kindness‎. This is mostly when it’s mistaken for weakness. But it’s not really a mistake is it?

Real kindness has no negative pride. We must be good to one another. We must be kind. We must understand, apologize, forgive and most importantly learn. Like many others, I promise myself to see things as they are, leaving emotion and personal feeling out of the equation as much as humanly possible, as much as my own mind will allow me to. I also deeply believe in the reasons for why things are done. Like other great qualities, kindness too needs to be applied for the right reason.

There are very few truths out there. People lie to themselves all the time. They replay a conversation and rewrite it a dozen times over just to satisfy their ego. A guy can say he was being honest and kind with a girl but in reality he was thinking of his own physical need. A girl can say she’s spreading positivity by smiling at people but in reality just enjoying being chased by guys. A man or woman can say they’re being nice to someone but in reality they just want something from them or are possibly intimidated by them. It’s a thin line, but real kindness is a truth. And like most good things, it expects nothing in return.

“Three things cannot remain long hidden. The sun, the moon, and the truth” –Buddha.

It’s important to be kind to people, not because of who they are, but because of who we are and who we want to continue becoming. It is also important to be kind to ourselves, to give ourselves what our heart needs, to listen to our inner thoughts, to not speak to our own selves in a negative or condescending way, to believe in ourselves and help ourselves up again.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” -Dale Carnegie

Say Good or Be Silent

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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Article in brief: Mohammed Kazim speaks of his experience of impulsive feedback. He walks the reader through 3 steps for optimizing feedback such that the receiver can maximize its benefit.

 Artwork by Marwa Fuad (@Elmeem_artistry)

Artwork by Marwa Fuad (@Elmeem_artistry)

In my last article in this column, I mentioned Dubai as being a fertile ground for fruitful collaboration that can lead to prosperity. I can proudly say that such a collaboration has kept me busy for the past 2 years which has resulted in the birth of a new quality footwear brand that revives the region’s past and helps a segment of society. Given that I was assigned as a spokesperson for this new venture, I have been in the forefront of media as well as social circles within the GCC community.

As such, I received all kinds of comments both positive and negative, all of which I listened to closely in hopes of improving this new venture. I quickly came to realize that the majority of the feedback I was getting was not constructive enough to allow me to benefit from it.  As a matter of fact, the feedback (whether positive or negative) was purely emotional resulting from what I believe is a lack of critical thinking and opinion formulation. From my observations, what is generally accepted by society is received with a warm welcome and what is rejected by society is refuted, all without any thought process.

Therefore, I was receiving comments such as “this footwear was never worn in this region”, “these colors will never sell”, and my all-time favorite “making a ladies’ collection is blasphemous!”  The surprising part was that this type of meaningless criticism was coming from all segments of society including educated heads of departments of reputable media companies in the country. This truly saddened me, a person eager to improve what we have created. It reminded me of the people of Quraysh (inhabitants of Makkah) who refuted the Prophet Muhammad and claimed that their idol-worship practices stemmed from the Abrahamic way. The similarity was that they had no formulated opinion or logical evidence to support their claims.

That said, I believe everyone has the right to their opinion and it is a blessing that we have a variety of tastes. I don’t expect all people to like everything I or anyone else creates. However, when we decide to share our opinions, it is important to maximize the benefit to the receiving person rather than insult them. In my opinion, following the 3 basic steps below can guide feedback optimization.

First, it is important to completely understand what we feel towards the subject at hand. Understanding signifies that we have formulated an opinion based on a logical flow of a critical thought process. As such, we would have a clear reasoning for why we like or dislike the matter or product. This enables us to recommend how to improve areas of dislike and reinforce areas that we like. It also allows the receiver of the feedback to benefit from it and put it into action most effectively. (To learn more about proactive thought, read my article from Feb 2010 in The National, http://www.thenational.ae/news/three-steps-to-restore-the-arabic-tradition-of-thought)

Second, it is incumbent that we make sure what we say is always pleasant and useful. That does not mean to be hypocritical and sugar coat things, rather it means to word them appropriately. This includes making sure that the manner of conveying is respectful and that the intention of giving feedback is pure and free from any kind of hatred, jealousy, or insecurity.

“.. and whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day (The Day of Judgement) should speak a good word or remain silent.” – The Prophet Muhammed, Narrated in by Abu Huraira, Sahih Bukhari & Sahih Muslim

Third, if we are giving negative feedback, we need to make sure the context and venue of where we do it is appropriate. Feedback and advice should be direct and discrete such that the receiver feels comfortable and that this does not create any negativity or loss for him/her.

“The one who advices his brother in private, advices him and pleases him, and the one who advices him in public, embarrasses him and betrays him.” – Imam Al Shafei (Al Hilya, Abu Naeem, 9/140)

 In summary, I believe that the way feedback is shared in our societies is ineffective and can cause more harm than good. Through formulating a clear opinion based on critical thought, conveying feedback appropriately and with respect, and making sure it is direct and discrete, we can optimize feedback sharing. This optimization’s benefits are twofold; not only will it allow us to better understand how we feel about the matter at hand but it will also allow the maximum benefit for those receiving the feedback. Let’s optimize the way we do that and continue improving each other in our path to prosperity.