Why Arabs Won’t Rise Up Anytime Soon

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Building on my humble knowledge, I get to have some observations and analysis of the world I live in. So here’s one for the day: Arabs won’t rise up anytime soon!

My aim here is not to push you  to lose hope on Arabs progress, but rather trying to shed light on certain elements of why are the Arab nations still way behind in terms of technology, economy, civil-rights, and politics, just to name a few.

Yes, I’m an Arab and I sadly got to the conviction that Arabs won’t rise up anytime soon. If you observe how nations grew into world powers you will realize that most of them have two main factors in common: Institutionalization and care for public good. Apparently, those two factors are missing (either one or both) from almost all Arab countries!

We’re mostly an individualistic nation: a nation formed of hundreds of millions of individuals who want to shine individually rather than as a nation. Collaborating together for the common good in a well-structured and institutionalized manner is something perhaps beyond the short-term wins that those individuals perceive.

We dislike systems, processes, policies, procedures, long term goals and the common good when it contradicts with personal gain and hence we try to avoid them as much as we could! So if we can avoid filling a form, not follow a procedure, rule, or policy (or at least get away with it), take a shortcut, or go for a quick win, we’d will go for it.

Examples of what I mean here can be as small as not standing in line whenever there is a queue to not stopping on a red light or following the road signs. It can also be as major as politicians not acting as part of an institution with a system, but rather acting like heads of mafias, bending and changing the rules, the governmental institutions and policies to fit their own needs and desires. The bigger problem is not that they do it, but rather no one actually holds them accountable for what they do. Many people accept such a behavior and thus the issue exacerbates with time. Even with the so-called “Arab Spring” and the people rising to demand for their rights, the same thing was done all over again, “leaders” took charge and bent rules to fit them and their “group”.

Just to be fair, there are some positive deviants from the norm, like in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, where they actually plan years ahead, put systems and policy in place, and do proper enforcement and follow up. In Egypt, though millions go on demonstration, they leave the roads clean and ensure things are properly back in place.

Nevertheless, most of us are always chasing the quick wins, the individual recognitions, the shortcuts and the “what’s in it for me” attitude, at least for the time being. So in a nutshell, we’re mostly an individualistic nation, we produce endless shining stars but not a collaborative galaxy!

My recommendation would be to start learning the following, so we can perhaps start taking baby steps towards progress:

  • Willingness to learn, humbleness, and long term strategic planning from the Japanese
  • Willingness to put the nation before self, economic agility and discipline from the Chinese
  • Structuring and building systems, pragmatic thinking and financial wizardry from the Americans
  • Strength and value of team work and communal wellbeing from the Penguins
  • Perseverance, discipline and working as one from the Ants

I’m saying all of this not with a perspective of despair but rather a belief that everything is feasible and if we learn to change how we think and act, we can definitely do wonders.

 

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Compilation: Management & Personal Development

Personal Development
Personal Development

I was asked by some of my friends to compile related articles together in an accessible way. Thus, I’m posting this as a simple compilation of relevant articles under the theme of “Management & Personal Development”.

Check the links below of the aforementioned articles:

 

I hope you enjoy the articles and feel free to subscribe to my Blog for regular updates.

 

A Key to Happiness: Love Thy Self!

ImageMy dear reader,

Today, I’m going to share with you a secret of mine that made me find one of the ways to happiness. It’s more intuitive than you might think and I hope it works for you as well 🙂

I’ve went through several transformations in my life and by far the most critical of them was learning to love myself. I’m not talking about being conceited and self centered, that is way too far from what I mean; it’s actually about learning to look in the mirror and really appreciating and loving the person you see.

So what I want you to do after reading this article is to go to the nearest mirror and ask yourself if you love the person you are seeing. Do you appreciate all what this person has been through and what this person became as a result of those experiences? But always remember to be extremely honest to yourself while answering all those questions to be able to identify the way you see yourself.

If your answer is yes, then learn to appreciate yourself more by recognizing and loving that person. This is crucial, simply because the more you love yourself, the easier it would be to really love others and hence open the door for others to love you back.

In my childhood, when I used to look in that mirror, I didn’t really love the person I used to see. I wanted to be different and even completely someone else. I felt like things were missing in me, but as I matured and as things changed in my life, that perception for the person in the mirror changed. All the changes that happened taught me to love myself and love my life.

It’s that moment, that point in time where you start your journey of happiness because happiness is not a destination but rather the journey itself.

You’ll be surprised how your self-perception projects itself on your feelings, actions, attitude and hence your life as a whole. In return, this will influence the way people see you. So, take my brotherly advice and figure out what it takes you to start loving yourself. Only then, life will love you back and you will enjoy your journey full of happiness 🙂

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Mentor, Coach & Consultant: What is the Difference?

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Building on my previous post, I got a friend who asked me about the difference between a Mentor, a Coach and a Consultant. She seemed confused about which one should she call on one of the projects she’s leading, so I thought why not share it with the world as well.

Mentor: Someone who has a considerable amount of experience in a specific field, topic, industry and uses it to guide others, to show them where to look, sheds light on the dark spots they are not seeing.

Coach: Someone who has the skills and know how of asking the right questions to people to extract ideas, concerns and decisions from them. So the coach actually works through the other person to get results rather than show them the way or guide them into a solution.

Consultant: Someone who has the knowledge and expertise in a certain field, topic or industry along with the skills of how to facilitate discussions and ask the right questions to be able to give you the best solution for a specific issue or problem you are facing. So if you want you can consider a consultant as a meeting points between Mentor and Coach, yet doesn’t full engulf both.

So in a simplified manner, a Coach helps you come up with what you want and what your goals are, a Mentor shows you the way to get there, and a Consultant gives you the means and tools to actually get there.

I personally have had all three and I’m thankful for my Coaches, Mentors and Consultants for helping me in being where I am today 🙂

 

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Teacher, Trainer & Facilitator: What’s the Diff?

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Well I’ve realized that many “professionals” still mix up between calling them self a teacher/instructor or a trainer or a facilitator. So I felt like sharing the below brief differentiation …this is by no means an academic definition, but rather from my own research and humble experience…so I’m open for all possible suggestions/enhancements. Here it goes…

Teacher/Instructor: Someone who has a sum of knowledge, concepts and theories that he/she transfers via lecturing/presenting to a group of participants.

Facilitator: Someone who has the skills to moderate and run sessions, exercises, discussions and work groups where knowledge is shared by and extracted from the participants themselves.

Trainer: Someone who has knowledge and practical experience in a specific topic that he/she transfers via sessions, exercises, case studies, examples along with presentations and what not. So if you want you can consider a trainer to be a blend between a Teacher/Instructor and a Facilitator. Thus the personal skills are as crucial as the knowledge and expertise of that person.

Now as a matter of fact, the “Job Title” or “Post” doesn’t necessarily dictate what the person does…I’ve seen teachers who actually train in their classes, who are very interactive and utilize a lot more than presenting. At the same time, I’ve seen trainers who actually “Teach” or “Instruct”. Some have a mix where they sometimes teach, sometimes facilitate and sometimes train…so it’s a flexible issue.

What really matters is to know what the person is actually doing… I hope that was somewhat helpful 😉

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An Added Value of Being Lebanese

Lebanon

The more I interact with people from around the world, the more I travel, the more I work with different cultures, nationalities and what not I become prouder and prouder of being Lebanese.

I’ve realized that as Lebanese, we become hard wired to be resilient, adaptable, expansive and global.

I’m yet to see a country where you don’t find a Lebanese community in it, and you somehow always find them adapting to that community, learning its ways, spreading their wings and flying high among the community members.

If you were born to a Lebanese origin, you automatically entered a network of individuals spread all around the globe. You automatically grow to understand your role in this ever changing world, you get to consider wider perspectives and ambitions than many other nationalities I’ve seen…you get the mindset that the world is just a small village, and no matter where you go…you’ll manage, not because you got some super powers, but rather because we grow up engaged with the globe…studying in one country, working in another, having relatives and friends around the globe…and that’s not only because of the political or economic situation in Lebanon, even ages ago when things were all better in Lebanon…Lebanese still were wide spread.

So in a nutshell, being Lebanese, you got that added value of being, by default, a global citizen!

To all my fellow Lebanese around the globe, I’m proud of you…shine on!

Khartoum & My Cigarillo Break

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My dear reader…I’d like to share with you a fresh story from my day…

So I was in an office…in a specific building somewhere very specific in Khartoum (I don’t even know the address of the office I’m working in…I guess you’ve figured that by now). In the afternoon, I felt like having my usual afternoon coffee and cigarillo. But I didn’t want to smoke in the office (though I had the whole room for myself). So I found the nearest balcony..had my cigarillo ready, my aromatic black cup of coffee (which I prepared 30 min earlier) in my hand and opened the balcony door.

What came next was what I’d like to call a wake up slap…it was a sudden rush of oven-hot, sun-dried scorching winds that drilled their way to my skin as if my whole suit wasn’t there. It was that sensation of standing in the midst of a BIG OVEN with a big shiny projector in your face!

Nevertheless, I embraced nature, embraced what it was telling me in those warm breaths of the Sudanese desert…I listened and smoked…for what seamed like eternity..but was actually less than 2 minutes. I looked at my cigarillo, which usually takes me around 5~6 minutes to smoke, and it wasn’t even half way done. But I just couldn’t get along anymore with the heat, so we decided to part, I turned off my smoke and went back in.

Now the first thing that came to my mind was: Thank God for ACs!…but the second thing I realized is that my coffee…yes that same 30min-old-barely-warm cup of coffee is HOT it was actually steamy again like I first made it!

Now many of you would ask why did I even bother and smoke…well it’s more like a ritual for me after lunch and a busy day, especially if there is a lot more to be done. It’s a means of self pampering and a moment of reflection. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not a heavy smoker nor am I a promoter of smoking, I just know how to enjoy my cigarillos and cigars, they got their own moods and times…let’s just say we get along.

So the lesson for the day is: If you think you know what nature is and believe you can defy it or play along with it…think again!

Thank you Khartoum!