Peace be upon you always, you wonderful human, you! Oh gosh, where are my manners? How are you?! I’ve missed you sooooo much.
I miss writing you letters and venting to you and sobbing over your comfy shoulder. I miss it all. So obviously…I am back!!! Someone cue the welcome pahhh-tay!
Where the heck did you come from, Mish? Catch us up, immediately.
OK, remember the epic trip I told you I was “embarking” on in my last post? Well, I just arrived home, safe and sound, alhamdulillah. I may have gotten over the jet-lag (with 14 hours of sleep in one day). Meanwhile, I’m still trying to move on from the insanity of the incredible sights and experiences…
I will dedicate a separate post to all the things I wish I knew and MAJOR life lessons I learned. What’s better than that? I’ll have it up in the next 12 hours – by 9PM EST, promise!
For those who are curious about my challenges and how I fared on the trip, here’s a quick update. I found out that the 5am routine is universal, across time zones, and have been waking up at 5am since I got back. I refuse to give up on myself.
Anyway…the point of this article was to share the #1 goal all of us millennials have to crush, obliterate, annihilate, absolutely destroy in 2020…if we crave success with every fiber of our being, that is.
What is that goal?
OK, bear with me. We will hustle to end on a dramatic note.
One of my role models wisely said:
“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”
This is so true. If we master the art of discipline, we can do anything. We can achieve anything, BE anything!
With discipline and faith, the world is ours to conquer.
Let me illustrate this to you, before your attention wavers:
Discipline is what stops you from taking one more bite.
Discipline is the hand that tugs you out of your bed when all you want to do is sleep.
Discipline is what drags you to bed at grandma-o-clock because you have a goal to achieve.
Discipline is when you get up after 1 episode instead of wasting your entire night, and eventually, your entire life on Netflix.
Discipline is how you control yourself from spending a single dollar beyond your budget for that shiny new toy.
Discipline is why you start studying for an exam weeks in advance, instead of procrastinating, because you know you need the extra time. Little bites are easier to digest than gobbling, naturally…
Discipline is when you STOP delaying till tomorrow, and start Day 1 NOW.
Discipline is the reason why you sacrifice SO much for the sake of a dream only you can see.
Discipline is how empires are made and sustained. And it is the eventual lack of discipline that brings them down from the sky to buried beneath the ground.
Discipline is the practice of zeroing in on the ultimatedelayed gratification.
Because you know there’s something FAR GREATER at stake.
You sacrifice some pleasure in the now for what lasts forever.
For my fellow Muslims, what do you think Salaah (prayer 5x a day) is trying to teach us? DISCIPLINE. It is not a mere ritual.
It is meant to propel your entire being…mind, body and soul into submission. To The Only One Worth Submitting to.
For true success in this life and the next, you must MASTER discipline. Get that through your head, right now.
Wow. What a talk. So how exactly do you get on that level, Mish?
It’s simple, really.
Just take the first step.
Then keep repeating that good habit, again and again.
And yet, again.
Until it becomes a part of who you are.
Who cares how many times you fail?
Lesson # 2:
Heck, do something different. Be excited about making mistakes. That’s how you’ll know you’re trying something new. Progress is being made.
Lesson # 3:
Stop caring what other people think.
My dear friend, the hard reality is: No one is thinking about you. Everyone is too worried about themselves. Be your OWN #1 Fan, starting now.
Maybe another quote by a hugely successful entrepreneur will hit this baby home:
The trick to success is to choose the right habit and bring just enough discipline to establish it.
Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
That discipline is how YOU will change the world. Yes, of course, it’s possible. After all, it was little humans just like you who mustered up the discipline to change. By changing themselves, they transformed history.
At the end of the day, you have a choice to make: Do you want your name to disappear along with the countless others who didn’t have the discipline to make their dreams come true?
Or, do you want to be one of the chosen few…someone whose name is forever stamped in history?
Whatever you do, make sure you’re not lying in your grave with the burden of regret. Here lies the girl (or guy) with so much potential, they will say...
May Peace follow you everywhere, you beautiful human being!
Let’s start with a quick story ‘cuz that’s how we do.
I’ll give you a minute to grab your green tea and snuggle up. Psssst…make sure to sweeten with natural honey, not sugar! It’s healthier…and tastier.
Cozy now? OK, let’s begin.
When I was an itty bitty girl not too long ago, my mama would take me every week to my favorite place in the whole wide world – the Flushing Library. That is when I first fell in love with books.
It is this love of books that led me to publishing poetry as early as the 5th grade. The same love of books is why everyone I know (and their brother…) asks me to give their essays that finishing touch – whether it’s for a school paper or an admissions essay for residency (the first real job for graduating medical students).
And also, it was that love of books that made me a kid expert on the lives of the most notorious serial killers in history. I was a huge Ann Rule fan. Moving on…
As great as all those “accomplishments” sound, guess what? There came a point in my life, during college, when I stopped reading. *Pause to let audience gasp.*
Of course, I still read Yeats and Keats, Whitman, Poe and Hughes. I pored over the intricate works of Tolstoy, Kafka and Dostoyevsky. I even learned how to pronounce all of their names correctly – a major accomplishment, might I add…
I didn’t read for fun anymore. That same girl who stayed up past curfew, long into the night, to read Harry Potter with a flashlight under the covers…disappeared. Poof.
And they say college is supposed to encourage creativity…
Not going to blame anyone but myself, though. Remember? No excuses.
Recently, something changed. Before the full Awakening 2.0 hit me, I stopped by a Barnes and Noble. Instead of spending money eating out that day, I chose to invest in a few fiction books. I missed that feeling of being lost in all my imaginary worlds…
Before, I would tell myself I didn’t have the time to read. Now, I push myself to make the time. To create that time. You are your own limit, after all.
For your kind information: Being a member of the 5AM Success Club is a huge reason I am able to read to my heart’s desire, on most days. When I’m not up as early, I just can’t find that quality of time later in the day. The best feeling is when I walk AND read, both at the same time. This way, I get so much closer to my new 15K steps goal AND expand my mind. Two for the price of one – score! I stop every now and then to highlight and take notes, though, which is a MUST.
Going Back to the story…
Along the way, there came a point when I transitioned from fiction books like The Stolen Marriage to my first ever self-help book: The Power of Resilience. This happened shortly after I created my instagram page for change – a way to hold myself accountable in front of the world at-large.
This particular book had been gifted to me by a wonderful mentor, over six months prior to this ground-breaking event. Yet, I never chose to invest the time for it.
After reading a couple of pages, I left it to gather dust on my nighstand. That’s figuratively speaking, by the way. I am OCD when it comes to cleanliness. Anyway…
For the first time in my life, I didn’t think, “Oh I failed so many times, what’s the point of trying anymore?”
I threw those self-limiting beliefs in the trash-can where they belonged and moved on.
When I picked up this book with a fertile mind, it was as if I was reading it for the first time. I could physically feel new connections being made in my brain.
This book was the gateway to my self-help journey.
Never forget: What you seek is seeking you.
OK Mish…sooooo inspiring. What should I DO, though? What happens next?
I am going to share with you the #1 Book that will change your life, TODAY. And a couple of others when you are done with the first. For free, of course! 🙂
If they help me, they can definitely help you.
And if I positively impact even a single soul (that includes myself!), I will have achieved my life’s goal.
Infinite potential lies within every one of us.
Just keep in mind that NO BOOK will help you until you unleash that potential and HELP YOURSELF.
Tony Robbins says that “complexity is the enemy of execution.” So, I’m not going to bore you with an endless list.
If there’s one book you should start with, pick #2 on the list and get reading!
BTW, here is the full audio link to my #1 pick for motivation + action: 7 Secrets to Wealth and Happiness.
Looking back, Jim Rohn would be my initial pick, then I’d move onto Brian Tracy for reinforcement. Jim Rohn has practical tips to help you take action and change your life TODAY. Make sure you do the exercise for goal-setting!
That reminds me, have you started your *journal* yet?
Alright, gotta go – peace!!!
-Your Ordinary Human Girl
P.S. I’ll link more audiobooks this weekend so you can listen on the go, no excuses. Also, I leave Sunday night for my trip – woohoo!!!
Peace be upon you, my incredible, beautiful human! My heart is bursting with love. Yet, not too long ago…(actually just this morning), I was so ashamed of my failures that I could not look at myself in the mirror.
So I did something radical. I wrote myself a letter.
And yes, I read it to myself in the *powder room* mirror, with dramatic facial expressions and lots of poise. I am a lady, after all – even when I’m upset. Brace yourself, here goes…
Lesson of The Day:
You can have everything you want, but you can’t have it all at once. Take the humble pill, baby. Prioritize.
Yes, I call myself baby a LOT…I mean, who else is going to hype me up?! Also, low-key, I am a baby so…
I know. Things are not going so well. You did a fantastic job for 3 weeks, with some blimps here and there. You didn’t let those hold you back.
But this past week, there were a couple of days when you abandoned the 5am success club. You chose to stay up later than planned, and kept stretching it. You ate later than planned, too. The food made you lazier, and made you sleep more. As a result, you woke up later and had less time to read, grow and BE who you want to be.
No, I am not here to beat you up because you failed.
At least you acknowledge what you did wrong and WHY. Let’s diagnose and treat, baby! We have potential to fulfill. We have a life to create. We have goals to achieve. Time is running out.
I am here to tell you that you WILL succeed BECAUSE you failed. Like the sun, you WILL rise again.
I love you so much, baby girl. Forget about those little failures for a second.
Think of how far you’ve come since Day 1.
Think of where you were. Even on your off-days, your wake-up time now is hours earlier than it used to be. I am SO stinkin’ proud of you! This IS change.
Don’t try so hard to be perfect all the time.
That’s the enemy of success. There’s no such thing as perfect. Just better.
Let your guard down but ONLY in front of Your Lord. It’s ok to have a sob-fest, but ONLY in front of God, in sujood. HE Will Raise you from the lowest point on the ground to the heavens, if He Wills.
Keep up the journaling. Keep writing everything down – from the little successes to the epic failures. And baby, writing’s not enough.
You have to learn from them. Use a new approach.
You know what to do.
Don’t blame anyone but yourself. Be honest about what you did. Come clean with me. Make no excuses.It’s only going to hurt YOU if you do…
Don’t repeat those same silly mistakes, now that you know better.
Success does not happen overnight. It happens when you change your every night. Little habits, over time, will make you successful.
And yes baby, you WILL succeed. So get the heck back up, and try again smarter this time! Whatcha’ waitin’ for?!
Day 1 IS today. You’ve faced the consequences, and you don’t want those feelings to overcome you again. You want to fail better next time.
So keep writing. Keep trying. Keep living, my love.As long as you have life, you have hope. So, give it all you’ve got – bat that bad boy out of the park! Let’s GO!!!
I love you SO much that I’ll wipe those tears away. I’ll give you that pillow bear-hug. My baby.
Always remember to love yourself enough to forgive yourself.
If you’re dirty, you take a shower. It would be downright silly to say…oh well, I’m so dirty, there’s no point anyway. So move on…
Set your goals, frame your goals, BECOME your goals. Then what?!
Let’s try to do even better. Set new goals, bigger goals. Anything is possible, because Allah Guaranteed that He WILL Help you…when you help yourself.
“And We have enjoined upon man, to his parents, Ihsan (goodness and excellence). His mother carried him with hardship and gave birth to him with hardship…” [Qur’an 46:15]
Peace be upon you, my beautiful human! Oh my gosh, I almost didn’t write this article tonight! I was so engrossed in my trip planning and kept pushing it off; this is a weakness I am working to overcome. It took a tremendous amount of willpower to force myself to open up my site and just start writing – no excuses. So here I am.
Let’s Chit-chat: Just if you’re curious BTW (like moi), I did finalize some itty-bitty details for my upcoming trip. I’m so excited that I’m pretty much giddy – it still feels like a dream!
Another side-note before we move on to today’s topic: I will continue to include words in different languages with their meanings linked as it is one of my passions!
OK I promise, last thing, just so you know how hard I’m working: I am sitting here, by my kitchen counter, typing away into the night. But not just that…I’m multi-tasking today – hah!
How? Well, my mom always tells me that I have to learn to stand up straighter since I’m already so close to the ground (barely 5’2 but who’s counting…).
So, to resolve this slight issue, I ordered a posture corrector from Amazon during the Cyber Sale for $12.99! It was a great deal, monetarily, but..Oh.My.GOD. It hurts. Badly.
As you know, this blog is all about crushing my bad habits. The only thing currently being crushed is my spine.
Yes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is quickly becoming my life’s motto. And yes, I crack myself up, too. He he.
OK, after that teeny tiny tangent, let’s dive right in. I have only 15 minutes – I’ll explain everything later.
This article began with a quote from the Qur’an. It is one of the many verses that emphasizes the importance of being the best to your parents, regardless of how (you think) they are to you.
Then, among your parents, your mother has a higher ranking because she gave birth to you, fed you and raised you – at least, in most circumstances. After all, God’s Love is compared to a mother’s love; God Tells us He Is Far More Loving than even a mother is to her child.
OK Mish, how is this related to your journey? Did some moms bribe you to write this article…?
I’m loving these highly intellectual questions! It’s all connected, I promise.
In fact, this is directly in touch with how we ended on Tuesday. I shared that it was my incredibly strong-willed desi mama who saved me from becoming a sufi fakir.
When I discovered The Truth, it was like I was floating in the clouds. There are no words that can do justice to those indescribable feelings. If you search up convert to Islam stories on YouTube, like this one or this one, you will hear similar experiences.
When The Truth enters your heart, you feel complete. Everything it has been searching for is found. Forget being crazy in love, you are high on Love. All you breathe is Love.
“O you who believe! Respond to (the call of) Allah and His Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life.” [Qur’an 8:24]
Your inner light combined with that Divine Light…God, it’s like explosive fireworks on the 4th of July in Herald Square…but way, way better. There’s nothing like it in the universe.
Going back to my story, I have to mention that I didn’t have a teacher through this journey. So in my ignorance, I thought that God Wanted me to retreat to the mountains -somewhere far away from the corruptness of humanity. My sole duty would be to worship Him, day and night.
I didn’t care about money, or a job, or where I was going to live…I was ready to completely abandon all worldly pleasures to Worship Him in solitude.
I was a teenager, ok! A naive, little teenager.
THANK GOD FOR MY MOTHER.
Mama, my first teacher, made me realize that, with all due respect to monks, becoming a sort-of monk is not what God Wanted from me.
In the Qur’an, in Surah Hadid: Verse 27, Allah Says, “And We placed in the hearts of those who followed him [Prophet Jesus (pbuh)] compassion and mercy and monasticism, which they innovated; We did not prescribe it for them except [that they did so] seeking the approval of Allah.”
Furthermore, she brought to my attention something crucial that I had forgotten in the heat of the moment. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was NOT a monk. He lived his life among the people, and changed society from within.
Not only was he (saw) a spiritual leader, he (saw) was also a teacher for every walk of life – manners to finance, relationships to military.
It was then that it dawned on me! It’s so much easier to retreat in solitude to worship God.
Isn’t it, then, infinitely harder to stay among the people while worshipping Allah?
Isn’t it that much more difficult to actually implement those beautiful teachings from the Qur’an and Sunnah within society?
To work hard, to crush your ego and try to revive kindness to neighbors, taking care of orphans and just smiling at your fellow humans?
How can you achieve that, living in solitude?
Yes, people will taunt you and ridicule you. No, they will not immediately listen to you, and some never will.
Even if all you’re spreading is love and compassion, you will still have enemies.
That’s the way it’s always been – you can’t make everyone happy. And guess what?
That’s not your job.
The Prophet (saw) himself went through the harshest of times; there was an instance when the children of a city threw rocks at him until his (saw) blessed feet were bloodied.
Allah Says, “And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” [Qur’an 21:107]
So, this Savior of Humanity, the Prophet (saw) was always smiling, despite the harshness of life. He was the kindest, the most generous, the most compassionate human being of all time.
He never denied anyone an ask. He never let his ego dictate his actions. He was a walking Qur’an.
My heart almost gets torn out of my chest when I hear of these stories.
I am striving to be more generous, more loving, more forgiving, more gratefulto my fellow human beings, even when it’s hard…especially when it’s hard.
And isn’t that what the test is all about?
-Your Ordinary Human Girl
P.S.: OMG. Only 2 more articles left until Turkey+Dubai!!! I actually have to pick my mom up, even though it’s past my bedtime. Although I was a little reluctant in the beginning, my annoying habit of data analysis saved me. I found out that when I pick her up at night, I always manage to get VIP entry into the 5am Success Club! I love my Mama to the moon and back, my most precious gift from God. Allahu Akbar (God IS Greater). Gotta go, peace!
Hey there, you beautiful human! It’s the most wonderful time of the year, as they say – Happy Holidays!
I hope you use this time, before the year’s end, to reflect deeply on your current self and make a tough decision. YOU, and only you have this special power to choose.
Do you want to be like the no-name caterpillar who stayed in his cozy cocoon (nerd term: chrysalis), never to be heard of again? Or, do you want to be like the caterpillar who leapt out of his comfort zone to morph into the world’s most beautiful butterfly?
Tough decision, I know. I’ll give you some time. By the end of this article, you should have made your choice. I’m being more than generous here – you’re welcome.
Now, before you embark on your own metamorphosis, as I know you will, let’s catch up.
As promised last week, I am finally about to share the second part of Mish’s Metamorphosis, a.k.a teenage me’s journey to finding herself…by finding God. Heavy stuff.
I won’t launch into my next novel just yet, though. We need our chit-chat time, our spill-the-tea time…you know how it is. So, let’s begin.
First of all, for the sake of my soul, here’s some blatant honesty. I am not going to make excuses. I just have so much piling up on my to-do list, and it’s almost overwhelming. There are less than 2 weeks left until my trip to Turkey + Dubai and I have not finalized our hotels or tours YET. Yes, I am 100% freaking out. I thought the holidays were supposed to be relaxing. Who knew that…
You can have everything you want, but you can’t have it all at once.
In order to fix this weakness, I am reading Jim Rohn’s guide to Time Management. He shares some excellent strategies on how to properly budget your time. For example, one of the most profound lessons I am learning is:
It doesn’t matter if the president calls…you’ve got to shut everything off and have dinner with your family.
He goes on to say that living in the moment, and being present in whatever you are doing NOW, is key to finding fulfillment. It is also crucial for nurturing your relationships and achieving that coveted work-life balance. This is especially true in today’s age of much distraction.
So if you’re reading this article, just do it – start to finish. Then, move on to whatever else is on your list.
The longer you delay it, the longer it’ll take you to complete it and the higher your stress levels will be. Just do it, now.
Bottom line? For me, I could have delayed writing this article, what with everything else. But I set a time aside every Tuesday and Thursday for my writing, and I owe it to my integrity to stick to it. That’s not all…I have some exciting results to share with you.
I promised to keep you updated, remember?
Since I’ve been part of the Miracle Morning Club, so much more time has opened up for me. I have been doing more reading and writing than I’ve done in the past year, I weigh as much as I did in high school, and my vision for my dream future is starting to feel possible. Overall, I feel so positive and full of life.
Don’t believe me? Check out my live struggle here.
Honestly, I haven’t regretted waking up earlier ONCE. Yes, it has been tough, and yes, I’ve failed a few times. What has made this time different? I’ve refused to give up PAST the 1-week trial period and in doing so, it has miraculously gotten easier.
It’s such an amazing feeling that I’m just sitting here, by myself, smiling about it – it’s like a time-machine! I can’t wait to re-start the day tomorrow, God-Willing. There is so much to learn, so much to see, so much to do and such less time.
It’s real, you guys and psssst…there’s no membership fee…besides your very own, homegrown sweat, blood and the occasional tear…ugh, who am I kidding, the sob fests are a daily occurrence. But no pain, no gain, right?! Now that’s what I call a Black Friday steal!
Ahhhhh…the moment of truth is finally here! *Goosebumps.* Let’s begin, shall we?
It was the 27th night of Ramadan. I just couldn’t do it anymore. The burden had become too much to bear on my own. The weight of my heedlessness and the desperate need for a Divine Answer pressed into my chest, nearly crushing my ribs. I couldn’t breathe.
For the first time since I was a child, my body was soaked in sweat and tears. Every part of my fragile humanity ached with fear. This fear was compounded only by the burning pain. It was the pain of longing, as I soon came to find out. And it was in this moment of intense suffering, that Allah Chose for me to finally meet My One True Love. It was finally time to come home.
We will show them Our signs in the horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth. [Qur’an 41:53]
It is something you truly have to experience to believe. And you cannot experience it until you come seeking with a sincere heart. Another piece of 20-something-year-old wisdom for you:
All people are created good.
You see, we all have this glass around our hearts – the light of our very being. When we choose to go against our good nature, and do something we know is wrong, a black spot forms on the glass. Over time, as the spots pile on, the glass becomes tarnished. Can a lamp’s light shine through a dirty glass? Well, no…at least not until…
YOU LEARN TO POLISH THE GLASS.
How? Follow up the bad with the good. It’s as simple as it sounds. Hurt someone’s feelings? Go apologize. Did something you knew was wrong in secret, only hurting yourself? Turn back to The Ultimate Reality, repent, do istighfar. Watch how your life turns around when you were hanging on by a thread.
THIS is the sure-fire way to connect with Divine Light. THIS is the road to true Enlightenment.
You don’t need a priest or an imam or a rabbi.
It’s just you and Allah, like it’s always been – with no one in between. Come back to Allah with a humble heart. Just come Home.
At the end of the day, I strongly believe that all human beings are inherently pure. They just have to reach inside and polish the glass. That’s a choice. The burden of that choice is on YOU.
-Your Ordinary Human Girl
P.S.: Thursday’s article is going to delve into how this go-hard-or-go-home gal wanted to move from NYC to some exotic foreign land and become a sufi fakir. Of course, my incredibly strong-willed desi mama pulled me out of my reverie and made me realize that becoming a monk was NOT what God Wanted from me. I had another mission…
Life is too short,” she panicked, “I want more.” He nodded slowly, “Wake up earlier.”
Alright beautiful humans, where do I begin?
First of all, Happy Thanksgiving!
We have much to be grateful for, no matter what situation we are in – even if we are in the middle of a war. Once we establish this “attitude of gratitude,” instead of asking “why me” in our current circumstances, we can start working towards the future of our dreams.
That sounded very inspirational. I have to admit, though, in the spirit of honesty – I did NOT want to write this article. In fact, I had to physically pull myself away from my books and my virtual shopping cart (all these insane holiday deals!) to honor my commitment to all of you.
Most of all, I had to honor my commitment to myself.
So here I am, putting pen to paper, and miraculously, the words keep on flowing. Hmmm, that brings me to…
Consciously and consistently putting in the effort is the KEY to achieving your goals.
Don’t ever underestimate the power of a single positive step. Of course, I might be panicking a little because my self-imposed deadline of 7PM draws ever the nearer, but I shall persevere.
Where did we leave off last Tuesday? Something about transforming your life, or whatever?
Sounds about right.
We were chatting about how waking up a few hours earlier than everyone else can truly change YOUR life. You don’t have to believe me…you can go and read countless books on the most successful people in history. Your research will take you all the way back to the olden days of Aristotle and Plato to modern-day Oprah and Bill Gates. Ben Franklin definitely makes the list, too. He’s the guy our moms were always quoting when we were ten and refused to wake up for school.
Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Ben knew what he was talking about!
The richest people in the world can buy whatever they want; however, they cannot buy time.
Since every second of time is limited and once passed, is gone forever, we must ask ourselves, “What can we do to expand the time we have and make it more meaningful?”
See, that’s called asking the right questions! You’re on the road to Enlightenment, I can feel it.
Now, to answer part of your question, Tuesday’s article suggested that waking up earlier, as early as 5am (!!!) would magically expand the time you have. How?
Well, by increasing your waking hours, decreasing your stress levels, and dramatically heightening your productivity, of course!
All those things you wish you had more time to do…guess what? Now you do, no excuses.
By now, you must know how much I love to quote my fellow celebrities, he he. To hammer this point home, one of our esteemed elders has said:
The difference between rising at five and seven o’clock in the morning, for forty years, supposing a man to go to bed at the same hour at night, is nearly equivalent to the addition of ten years to a man’s life.
Wait, can we just take a moment there? TEN YEARS?!
If my 20-something-year-old self starts waking up 2 hours earlier, when I’m a 60-something-year-old, I WILL HAVE HAD TEN MORE YEARS TO LIVE?!
Holy smokes. We’ve got no time to waste.
Buckle up your belts (or pajama strings, no judgment) and get ready for what’s next.
OK, so you’re in the 5am club. That membership card is looking extra spiffy. Against all odds, you’ve started waking up earlier, even if it has only been a day or two.
You’ve been feeling SO tired, though. Drained, in fact, and you cannot WAIT to go home and just cuddle with your pillow in your favorite comfort zone.
I get it – I’ve been there.
Beginnings are hard, remember? Now, you’ve got a choice to make, TODAY:
We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”
You don’t want to go into your grave with any regrets. It’s dark and lonely enough in there.
This is the reality. Don’t deny it. Face it, and prepare for it.
With all of this in front of you, my friend, you choose wisely, and pick the pain of discipline. I am crying happy tears right now!We are in this together.
So you ask, what on earth should I do to make this easier? How can I get the most out of my time instead of dreaming about my furry blankie while suffering from active caffeine withdrawal? I’ve got news for you:
I HAVE THE KEY. Shhhh.
And as you keep reading, I am handing it over to you. I told you, it feels like we’ve known each other forever. No wonder I trust you so much. In the spirit of true friendship, I even went ahead and made you a wake-up checklist here. If you’re in a time-crunch, just click on this link and the checklist is all you’ll need, for now.
As soon as the alarm rings and you throw away that blanket like it’s on fire, smile.
You are truly special. You have been given the chance to start over, once again. Many people die in their sleep. You have been chosen for life.
Take a moment to just smile and be grateful before the next, more aggressive step.
After crushing your checklist, and tucking your ALL-ACCESS Black Card into your wallet, go out there and conquer the day…
But First…(you already know what’s coming)…
-Your Ordinary Human Girl
P.S.: Random thought of the day that I will later journal about: Sometimes I forget that it took a village to bring me here. Whether they encouraged me or squashed my dreams,I owe it to every single teacher, friend and fellow human being on my journey, to live up to my fullest potential – just like a tree.Be grateful for your timeline, but take control and accept responsibility for everything to progress. Be grateful for your experiences, both good and bad.They are critical in shaping your character, in molding YOU.
May Peace follow you everywhere, you beautiful, limitless human being!
It’s your fave stubborn girl Mishi at it again. I know you (and I, both) expected Mish’s Metamorphosis Part II, and I sincerely thought about it. Then, I decided to postpone it till next Tuesday. There is something more urgent!
A handful of my friends have seen my wake-up challenge on instagram and were asking for tips. Waking up late was decreasing their motivation, productivity levels and overall satisfaction with their lives. This is what is was doing to my life, too. That is, before I discovered the key.
After sharing it with them, I feel it’s my responsibility to share it with the world. Why? A much wiser human than I is reported to have said:
A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.
OK, I have to admit, this is going to be a juicy article. If you want to change YOUR life, keep reading. If not, keep saying, “I hope I can do it one day,” and live with all of the regrets of those who made this fatal mistake before you.
A little harsh? Yes. A wake-up call is no joke…it’s a life-or-death situation, you have NO other choice. Stop fooling yourself.
Before reading any further, I want you to do something – for me, and for you. Take a minute and just…
Smile your heart out, my friend. For the Muslims out here, smiling is Sunnah. You’re adding to your bank of good deeds. The Prophet Muhammad (saw) had the hardest life in human history, and yet, he (saw) was always smiling. For all of us, studies show that smiling can literally trick our brains into happiness.
Don’t feel like it? Fake it till you make it, junior!
Now, you know how before you apply to college or grad school, there are some PRE-REQUISITES you have to complete? Well, if you want an ALL-ACCESS PASS to the 5am Success Club, I have two simple pre-requisites for you.
Smile. God, you’re beautiful. You should do that more often!
Shout it from the rooftop (or the shower, he he): “I WAS CREATED LIMITLESS! I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR CREATING MY DESTINY. THERE IS NOTHING (but me) THAT CAN STOP ME FROM LIVING MY DREAM LIFE.”
The human brain is a very tricky thing. You become who you think you are.
If you say things like, “I hope I can keep this up,” or “I don’t think I have it in me,” I have news for you:
It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Remember, from the very first article? What you seek, is seeking YOU. BE your own hope. Make it happen, no excuses!
Now that we have our two pre-requisites in place, you are 100% ready to receive what’s next.
I have tweaked Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning – an incredible book, by the way – to include some tips specifically for Muslims. This is because a LOT of us Muslims face incredible difficulty waking up for our morning prayer, Fajr.
And yet, the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The two Rak’ah before the dawn (Fajr) prayer are better than this world and all it contains.” [Muslim]
So, here’s what helped me (I have attached a worksheet here):
Eat 2-3 hours BEFORE bed. This way, you won’t be lazy, biologically. Your stomach won’t be keeping you awake. You’ll wake up feeling energized – and hungry! 😉
Make a mini to-do list of what you will do when you wake up at 5am. 3-4 items, tops. I’ll give tips on this in a follow-up article, on Thursday, so keep reading.
Do one good deed before bed. Hug a loved one, and tell them how much they mean to you. If no one’s close enough to hug, send a nice message. If nothing else, set aside as little as $1 for charity. If you don’t wake up, make your last act a good act.
GET IN BED EARLY, NO EXCUSES! If you want to wake up at 5am, you HAVE to be in bed by 10pm, latest. In fact, aim for 9:30pm. Tonight, when you start this, (and I know you will) it WILL be tough to fall asleep. Beginnings are always rough, but the human body adjusts. Be patient.
Turn your ringer on.Set ONE alarm for 5AM. You have to get up, there’s no backup. Put your phone across the room, far enough from your pesky fingers.
In bed, give yourself a mini-motivational speechthat you WILL wake up at 5am: (inspired by Miracle Morning): “I’m going to wake up SO energized after 7 hours of sleep. Alhamdulillah (All Praise and thanks to God) for Granting me these 7 hours of incredible sleep. Seven hours is exactly what I need to crush my goals tomorrow! I was created limitless, I can do anything. I can’t wait, I’m so excited to wake up!!!” Smile again.
If you have Instagram, post on your story: “In bed, see ya at 5am!” WITH A TIME STAMP. To Track your own progress and help others keep you motivated. Tag me on the #wakeupchallenge if you want accountability: @mishcanchange.
For Muslims only: Once you’re in bed, all cozied up and holding your own hand, GET.UP. RIGHT.NOW. Once you’re up, get on that prayer mat you keep in your room.
Fall into Sajdah – it doesn’t matter if you have wudu. Humble yourself before your Lord, The Most Loving. Bonus points: Go to bed with wudu, if you’re able to. If it breaks, Allah Knows you made the initial effort.
Don’t make excuses if you can’t remember the salawat. Just try with what you have. You can say “Alhamdulillahi Rabbil ‘Aalameen. As salaam ‘alayka, ya Rasulullah sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.” Bottom Line: MAKE THE EFFORT.
Once you finish your sajdah du’a, get back into bed. Smile wide.
Don’t you DARE touch your phone after that sajdah. No matter how hard it is to fall asleep. DON’T. DARE. Swear to yourself, if you have to. At that moment, your phone is a piece of iron in the fire, pun intended. DON’T TOUCH, OR YOU’LL GET BURNED. Literally.
Smile again. While thinking about how amazing your 5am morning will be, drift away into a blissful sleep. Think of your grave. You don’t want to die with any regrets.
Reminder: Don’t dare touch your phone after sajdah. YOU ARE IN CHARGE, NOT THE PHONE!!!
Wake up at 5am, and motivate others on your Instagram story: “I made it! If I can do it, so can YOU!” Make sure there’s a time stamp, for proof. #wakeupchallenge
Throw away your blanket like it’s on FIRE. Go out there and conquer the world…
But first, conquer yourself.
-Your Ordinary Human Girl
P.S. I’ll release the “What Should Be on your 5am To-Do List” article by Thursday – my updated schedule is two articles per week. If you don’t want to constantly re-load my site, subscribe for updates in real-time. I need your help just as much as you need mine. We’re all in this together.
We can all learn so much from each-other. That’s the whole point. Today’s Book Recommendation to get you jumpstarted before the next article:
As I waved to my friends and disappeared quickly down the subway steps, I shook my head. Laughing to myself – or maybe it was at myself, I jumped on the 6 train right as the doors slammed shut, heart beating rapidly.
The year was 2014. It was the night before the blessed month of Ramadan. Before we parted, my friends and I had just reassured each-other that it would only be 30 days.
Thirty days before these late nights, being crazy teenagers, worrying our parents sick would be our reality again.And so, I had laughedat what I thought was our little secret.
Little did I know, we had not just parted. We had parted ways.
Little did I know, that Ramadan, my life would change…
OK guys, as promised, your fave ordinary human girl is back – with a bang, literally. I might have banged my foot trying to rush downstairs and complete this article, he he. I’m trying.
All jokes aside, that little snippet is a memory that is distinctly at the front of my mind. I can remember it as easily as I can remember where I was the morning the twin towers fell.
Scientists call these memories flashbulb memories. Most of us ordinary humans can’t remember what we ate for breakfast the other day, or what we wore, let alone what was on our to-do list unless we wrote it down…see what I did there? Anyway…
These so-called flashbulb memories are created when our brain stores traumatic or life-changing events especially well. We vividly remember where we were, what we were doing, what time of day it was and even who we were with.
My point is, that night – five years ago, was such a memory. In my first article (never thought I’d say that!), I mentioned that 2014 was when I first fell, head over heels, in love. Before I found myself, The Beloved Found me.
Since this blog is all about changing yourself into a better you, I thought I’d start from the beginning. No, this is not a religious lecture. If you’re not Muslim, no, I’m not trying to convert you. There are lessons here for everyone, I promise.
I’m drawing attention to this memory because it was, and I’m quoting myself here, “The first major change in my life.” This is my journey. Yours may be different, and that’s ok.
To catch you up, I had mistakenly grown up with the idea that Allah Was this distant figure who would reward you if you did good, and punish you if you did bad. Simple Kid Terms.
As a teenager, I thought a little differently. Allah Was only Who you called on when you wanted something really badly, like an A on your physics test when you didn’t really study enough or more pocket money. Kind of like a fairy godmother.
He Could also be Who you asked for protection when you were really scared. You would be reciting the Ayatul-Kursi really, really fast when you were coming home from school at night; it was later than you were supposed to be out. You were paranoid that the man behind you was a serial killer…who would disappear with you – into the darkness.
Ooooh…just got goosebumps recalling that memory.
To sum it up, I didn’t know Allah beyond that. First, as a Reward-er or Punisher and then, as a Special Wish-Granter or Protector.
They say hindsight is 20/20. Looking back, I think, what about all those times in between?
And if I expected Allah to Give me so much, what did He Want from me,if anything? What was my purpose in all of this?
I’d always had this gnawing feeling in the back of my head that kept nagging me to think deeper. That Ramadan, it was suddenly all I could think about. Who was I hanging out with? What did they have me doing? Where did they have me going?
And most importantly, what did they have me becoming?
This brings me to the FIRST and ONLY Lesson this time…
Be careful who you’re friends with. Who your friends are is who YOU are.
Shockingly, I even posted this quote by Jim Rohn on my Instagram back in October of 2013. This was long before I “embarked” on this life-long struggle to change. Long story short, I kept putting it off – which used to be one of my greatest weaknesses, I’ll admit. I always got distracted and refused to confront reality.
Until some Force beyond time or space Pushed me to the ground, on my knees.
In the Ramadan of 2014.
It was well into third week of Ramadan when I started asking these questions more bravely. It starts with a curiosity, I guess, that was nurtured by LOTS of research. And some sort of intention, of course.
I would say aloud, “If there is a God, then show me a sign.” “I’m so far from happy.” “In a crowded room with my “best friends,” I’ve never felt so alone.”
“Is there something more?” “How did all of this just happen?” “What’s the point of doing anything if we’re all going to die?” “Just to leave something behind for others?” “What if humanity ceases to exist – who will remember or benefit from my legacy then?” “Convince me if You Exist.”
With the innocence of an ignorant teenager, I relentlessly asked these demanding questions.
Mentally, spiritually, scientifically – they were assaulting my mind and I was hungry for answers. That was my intention.
I wanted the truth, and nothing but that would fill the suddenly gaping hole in my heart.
It was the very heart I had tried so hard to fit this world into. Much to my chagrin, the grades, the friends, the lavish lifestyle – doing what I wanted, when I wanted to just didn’t seem to fit.
Keeping my mind and options open, I started researching into all the major world religions. I told myself I would run away if and live in the subway if my parents kicked me out as a result of my choice. Gratefully, that never happened.
The hours turned into days which turned into weeks. Time flew by. As soon as the month had began, it was about to come to an end. It was the 27th night…
STAY TUNED FOR MISH’S METAMORPHOSIS: PART II – TUESDAY, DECEMBER 3 at 9PM EST! (Or earlier, if I manage my time better – a HUGE weakness, which I MUST turn into a strength – a future blog post, God-Willing.) And no, it didn’t end happily ever after…the first time.
– Your Ordinary Human Girl
P.S. I set a Thursday at 9:45pm deadline for myself this time. I was so nervous writing this article because I thought I wouldn’t have enough time to “perfect” it. But I did it, Alhamdulillah (All Praise and Thanks to God). Another behind the scenes lesson learned: JUST WRITE. SET your deadline. MEET your deadline. The length or content can always be edited after you write that first draft – like I’m doing now, 10 minutes after publishing it, he he. Just Write. Get it out there.
Hey, you wonderfully curious, full-of-potential human. Yes, YOU there! How’s it going? Really, let’s take a minute. I want to know how you genuinely are, as a friend.
Let’s do something crazyright now.
Get up. Grab a pen and paper and write down the #1 problem in your life right now.
Go look in the mirror – while having Siri read-along this article, of course.
What do you see?
What are you struggling with? What habits are you trying so hard to overcome but it just isn’t working? What life did you used to dream of in the good ol’ days but today, it seems so far out of your reach?
You take that first step and try to start that new book/business/LIFE you’re passionate about or travel more or focus on your health or maybe you just want to lose those few extra pounds. Maybe you want to be a better mom, sister, brother, dad, husband or wife.
You could also just want to quit a bad habit, like learn to spend less on yourself, and save instead – or help others more. Maybe you’re super ambitious and want to do both.
Truth be told, you’re a slave to your desires and you’ve forgotten how to be free.
Sadly, you try SO hard to follow through for hours, a day, or if you have more willpower than most people, maybe a week and then it just doesn’t seem worth it anymore.
Maybe a little bit of change does happen, which you make sure to celebrate a LOT.
In the end, though, the costs outweigh the benefits for you. And just like that, you give up, and go right back to where you started.
Every. Single. Time.
Does this sound familiar?
It was my reality.
Ok so how did we get here? Are you just another millennial girl trying to get us to go green?
Well, I did promise complete honesty when I started this so here goes…story time, folks! Full Disclosure: I have a passion for story-telling so feel free to scroll down till the end if it’s not your thing – I’ll still be your friend, promise.
Two weeks ago, it hit home for me. I was teaching a Saturday class for kids on Qur’an – the book Muslims believe was Revealed by God as a guide for humanity. On this particular day in time, we were discussing the different kinds of pursuits a person can have.
Huh? Pursuit? Well yeah, I mean we’ve all heard it in the American Dream, right?…”Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of…happiness.” Or is it?
Interestingly enough, in my (part-time FBI Agent curiosity that I like to label) “research” of a few verses of the Qur’an, I came across a couple of new perspectives.
First of all:
I found out that the pursuit of happiness is the lowest form of pursuit.
Huh? Did you hear that right?
Yes, it doesn’t take a lot to be happy. And no one is ever happy all the time – its not the way life works.
OK…so what’s above happiness…?
The pursuit of impact, on the other hand – is the highest pursuit. I read all about the lives of human beings who had changed history. Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and Einstein all made the list.
They were people of impact. They didn’t care about the fame or the money or the records they beat – they wanted to solve a problem for the “greater good.”
What sets these incredible people apart from the rest of humanity is that they never stopped fixing themselves and their ideas. The praise didn’t matter, no. Neither did the money. They were after something more.
Forgetting everything society had taught me, I resolved right then that I wanted to die as a person of impact, so Help me God.
I’m sure you’ve heard it before. A version of it is in the Bible too.
Traditionally, it’s thought to have meant that God – you’ll also hear me talking about Our Creator a lot, so just think Higher Being if you’re still in that agnostic phase – Does not Give you more problems than you can handle, in His Perfect Wisdom. Whatever you’re going through, you got this sis – or bro, we’re all equals here!
God Will Alleviate your burdens if you turn to Him and ask Him for Help. While this is reassuring, what’s possibly even more incredible is the actual, deeper meaning. Prepare to be mind-blown…
According to my research, I found out that the actual meaning of that part of this verse (Qur’an 2:286) IS….drumroll…
GOD HAS NOT BURDENED US WITH ANYTHING BUT OUR OWN POTENTIAL.
Oh My God, when that sunk in, I seriously almost fell off my chaise!
Why did I react like that?
Excellent question. OK, try to stay with me – I know you can. What this verse simply means is that if we have a talent for writing and *ahem* we keep delaying that book or blog, or if we dream of having our own business but repeatedly put it off, or if we simply must hit the snooze button and can’t get out of bed early because it’s i’mpossible – WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR OWN POTENTIAL.
What really terrified me though, is Lesson #2:
We will be held accountable for using or failing to use (so scary!) our true potential in this life.
Look at the high standards God Has for us – even when we do not believe in ourselves.
Now you’re thinking, “Ok, great. How motivational. Was this supposed to be a religious lecture?”
If you’ve come this far, I’m truly impressed. You must be exceptionally curious, like me. Back to the story!
I went home after sharing what I learned with the kids from several paragraphs ago, who were so incredible by the way (Pro tip: I charmed them with Poki Sticks).
As I settled into my cozy bed with my fluffy pink blanket, a thought popped up in my head. “Shame on me. How can I preach something I don’t practice? What integrity do I have if I am telling these young minds to break their bad habits while failing to do the same myself?”
Isn’t that hypocrisy?
Yes, I had dropped some bad habits in the past. Yes, I had made some effort to do the right thing some of the time. Yes, I sometimes made crazy to-do lists that were rarely, if ever completed.
That day, I realized I had flattened out. I had stopped changing and so, had stopped truly living.
I swear, it was like a fire was ignited in me.All of those Rumi quotes hit me, all at once. Even “What you seek is seeking you” finally made sense.
I decided, in that moment, that I was going to change...
Not the world (yet), but something even more radical.
I was going to change myself – or die trying.
I tried really hard not to resort to clichés here. However, a much wiser human than I is reported to have agreed with what I just said…
Youmust be the changeyou want to see in the world.
In my entire 20-something-year-long life, I’ve never been this motivated.
As you can see from the picture of the stunning sunset, that was back in 2014. I was an itty bitty teenager determined to change the world.
More importantly,it was the year in which I fell, head over heels, in love with God for the first time.
That was the first major change in my life.
And the rest is history…
Just kidding! Life’s not perfect, ok?
Point is, I just never got around to doing all those big things the little girl in me dreamed of doing, being, ACHIEVING.
I had resorted to being average – just good enough.
Over the years since, I have come to learn Lesson #4:
Change is not a linear path.
Although I have held tight to my principles, I have slipped and fell many times. There were pesky habits, like chronic procrastination (or my claim to fame as a night owl) that always hindered me from maximizing my potential.
After that initial revolution, that little voice in my head would discourage me and say, “You’ve peaked already. Your time is gone. You’ve changed as much as you could.”
Little did I know that the enemy of progress is complacency, and complacency is death.
A tad dramatic? I’m somewhat of a drama-queen, I guess. In fact, naïve little me was all set for Hollywood in the fifth grade. It seemed only logical. After all, I had perfected all the accents – especially the Harry Pott-ah one!
I digress. So where were we?
#10 millionth Lesson learned:
It is NEVER too late to change, and keep changing.
This lesson is what life is all about. As long as you are alive and you are cognitively aware (i.e. your brain is functioning), YOU HAVE HOPE.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how many mistakes you’ve made or how far from your goal you are. If you let your past hold you back, it’s kind of like saying,”Hey, I’m so dirty! What’s the point of showering?”
You, alone can make your decision. It’s Day 1, or One Day, starting NOW.
If you and I can master this, together, we can be unstoppable. We can truly change the world by changing ourselves, first.
This latest awakening officially started 12 days ago. I used to have a fear of failure, which prevented me from pursuing my dreams. Not anymore, though. You Only Live Once, right?
I’ll tell you, with raw honesty, that I can’t stake a claim to success yet. I’m not there yet. I won’t be there until after I die. And that’s ok.
Because then, God Will Judge me. And if I pass? You’ll know I was consistent.
At the end of the day, YOU have to live with the human in the mirror. YOU are the most famous person you could ever hope to meet (besides God). God-Willing, YOU will change YOUR life.
It’s worth mentioning here that one of my favorite Instagram accounts is Dr. Aaliya Yaqub’s. In one of her posts, she writes that everyone’s path looks different, and that’s ok, too. If you want to compare, compare yourself to who you were yesterday and strive to be better!
Be hard on yourself, but at the same time, don’t be so hard that you fall off track after a single mistake. Love yourself enough to forgive yourself.
The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.
Be patient, she writes. Be humble. Your time is coming.
People talk about the Before and After transformation. No one pays attention to the in-between: those sleepless nights, that constant battle between what’s easy and what gives you life, that hunger that sometimes fades in and sometimes out.
You get to see me struggle from Day 1. You get to hold me accountable.
You get to see that if I can do it, so can you!
At least that’s the hope.
I hope that one day, after I’m long gone, this can be a loving community of supporters that uplift each another to reach their full potential! Hey – a girl can dream, right? 😉
Since tomorrow is not guaranteed, if something happens to me tonight, I leave you with this:
Even if I don’t get a single reader on this post, I will be a very happy ghost knowing that I just went for it!
Low-key, I guess I’m trying to be a sponge and absorb all this knowledge I’ve been missing from the highly successful people of all time. How? By a childhood habit I’m bringing back as a goal!
This isn’t the Scared Straight program. Or is it…?
Gotcha there, didn’t I? It’s never the end till it really is – that last breath.
OK Mish, can you wrap this up before I doze off? Someone get me an espresso.
Right now, I want you to do something, my dear friend. After learning so much together, I feel like we’ve known each other forever.
You have so much to give to the world.
Get up, tiger. LOOK at yourself in the mirror.
But first, and I’m serious – take a selfie.
Let’s mark this day in history, when YOU made the choice to CHANGE the world.
Are you ready? Let’s repeat it together:
I AM the #1 Person Who WILL Change MY Life.
TODAY is DAY 1 of the rest of MY life.
I will BE the change.
Guess what happens next?
What You Seek is Seeking You.
– Your ordinary human girl
Behind the Scenes:
P.S.: I started this article with this excuse for not having a blog post up today (wait, did I just publish my very first blog post?!): Currently ironing out the details of my Dec 15 SOLO getaway to Turkey & Dubai for the first time ever – much to the chagrin of my dear parents who are a little (read:extremely) afraid I will get kidnapped!
And heck yeah, I’ll be blogging+vlogging the whole she-bang both here, on my site and on my new insta @mishcanchange. If you’re insanely curious to know what I’m up to, go ahead and hit the link…whether you want to see me succeed, fail or just watch!
Also, I took a risk and quit a job this week that wasn’t helping me grow. More about that this Thursday!
P.P.S.: Great Book Recommendation to get you jumpstarted on the road to change today! Just hit the link and it’ll lead you to Brian Tracy’s “No Excuses.” Obviously not all the wisdom here is mine, gosh.
If you have made it to the end, you can honestly check a box off your own list that says, “Read a book!” Someone verify this – please, before I get in trouble…
I would totally write more (ha ha!) but I can’t miss my bed-time and I must be up at the crack of dawn – one of my goals since forever! Hope to see you around and go through this crazy adventure of life together 🙂