10 Reasons to Be Positive in Life

optimismIt has become a very common thing in our lives that if we face discouragement, disappointment or a set-back, we simply move towards the “negative zone”- that is towards the dark side of our existence. We tend to believe that it is the last stop of our life, and no good will ever happen to us again. But, we forget that life is a road of opportunities- one goes, other comes. Moreover, while being in the zone of negativity, we overlook the good things that have or had happened to us in our lives. This negative zone lead us to the path where we start to believe that “We are good for nothing”, and nothing good will happen to us again. It is the height of negative thinking.

Instead, after a disappointment or a set-back, people should remain positive. It will help them remain calm and composed emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Also, it will bring a new outlook of life which will be based on optimism.

Here are the ten incredibly motivating reasons to acquire a positive approach towards life.

1. Feel Better

One of the peaceful reasons of being positive is to feel better.  During a set-back or hard time, you usually feel down and powerless, because negativity is all around you- making feel like nothing will ever change. But, if you remain calm and take that set-back or hardship as a phase which will fade away. Then, this thought would surely make you feel better.

2. Ability to cope up

Well, hardships are a part of life. They will never go away. But, with positive attitude, you can cope up with the hard times which will help you to remain strong, calm and compose during tough times.

3. Motivation

Your positive approach will help you stay motivated towards your goal or aim in life, and no obstacle or hardship will ever de-motivate you.

4. Regain self-esteem

With positive attitude- you believe in yourself; you value yourself; you do not underestimate your potential or strengths, and you trust your decisions.

5. Attain Good Health

Positive approach keeps you away from tension, depression, and many mental illnesses. It gifts you a good health.

6. Happiness all around

Optimism is one of the charms that even during hardship, it keeps you happy and content with your life.

7. Gratitude

Positive perspective makes you grateful, thankful and pleased with all the blessings and gifts you have. It creates a huge distance between you and negativity or ungratefulness.

8. Gift of Courage

While acquiring this beautiful approach in life, it grants you one of the tremendous tendencies such as courage. It helps you to remain strong against every obstacle; it gives stamina to keep on fighting and eliminates our fears.

9. Make impossible, possible

Whether it is a test, exam, interview or an assignment, sometimes we feel it is impossible to accomplish. But, with positivity we can make impossible, possible.

10. Farewell to Stress

Usually, we feel stressful during important tasks or difficult times, which disables us to remain focus and determined. But, with optimistic attitude, we can say farewell to stress and welcome a happy life!

Ask the Savvy Parent: Kids Bored at Home

im-bored-cover-e1372184590438Dear Savvy Parent,

My kids complain that I am always asking them to study. They feel bored at home and with me. What should I do?

Dear parent,

First of all, your children are all aged 10 and under. They are still very young. Why do they need to study so much? Constantly pushing them to study isn’t helpful at all. Some parents put way too much pressure on their children from an early age to succeed academically. I understand that in some countries this is considered to be a cultural norm, but as a teacher, I can tell you that pressure and constant study is NOT an effective method for learning, regardless of culture.  Education should not be just about memorization and forced learning; it should be about understanding the material. Memorizing and understanding are two completely different concepts. It is important as parents and as educators to instill a love of learning without pressure.  Learning shouldn’t and doesn’t have to be boring or tedious. Make it fun; be creative; make it into a game and most of all, be encouraging! Remember, a child is more successful when the experience is enjoyable.

Encouragement versus praise

Most parents enjoy praising their children with words like “Well done!” and “That looks great!” However, research shows that encouragement (not praise) has a more significant effect upon a child’s motivation. So what is the difference between praise and encouragement, you might ask. Though they sound like the same thing, they are not. The difference is that words of praise lead the child to rely on YOUR assessment of his or her accomplishments, while words of encouragement lead him or her to form THEIR OWN positive assessment of himself or herself. Examples of encouragement are: “Look at that drawing; I can tell you have spent lots of time on it. It must be a great feeling knowing you worked so hard on it,” or “It didn’t work out the way you planned, did it? I can tell you are upset about it, but it’s okay. I know you will try again next week. What could you do differently next time?”

Next, you say your children feel bored at home and with you. Do you spend time with your children just having fun? If not, set some time out in the day and spend some quality time with your kids, as a family. Have fun, play with them or do something with them that they enjoy. One of the best and most obvious things about spending quality time with your children is developing stronger and positive relationships with them. Be sure that both parents also spend individual time with each child. This will help build memories as well as trust. This is an integral part of having a healthy family dynamics as well as happy children. The benefits are endless, so set aside one-on-one, quality time with your kids.

Quality Time Ideas- What Does It Look Like?

  1. Cook or bake together.
  2. Play sports.
  3. What are their hobbies? Do some with them.
  4. Have a family movie or games night (age-appropriate, of course).
  5. Go on a bike ride or walk together.
  6. Read a book together; this works great for younger children.
  7. Make a craft or start a project together.

These are just seven of the hundreds of things you can do together. Start making quality time for each child. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make!

Insha’Allah I hope this helps. Happy Parenting!

The Savvy Parent

Motivation for the Muslims (Part 1)

bigstock-motivational-concept-got-mot-30228101Any definition of a psychological process or concept is the result of the author’s perception. Even when a researcher carefully collects data and analyses it sincerely and objectively, that analysis is based on the researcher’s paradigm or perception. This is the reason why a definition given by a Western psychologist cannot be applied to the Muslim population because Western rationality and perception is based on assumptions that are completely different from the Muslim belief system. Therefore, it is extremely important to sieve the definitions and theories, coming from Western sources through the Quran and Sunnah and then accept, apply or reject them.

“In human perception, all experience is subjective and hence coloured by individual perceptions, as well as by unconscious motives. We can be certain that reports of our senses will be slightly distorted, viewed through individual prisms that have been shaped by unique genetic structures and cultural experiences.” (Kottler and Shepard129).


Western psychologists define the concept of motivation in several different ways. Some of the definitions are given below for analysis.

“Motivation is something that energizes, directs and sustains behaviour; it gets students moving, points them in a particular direction and keeps them going.” (Ormrod 472).

Motivation is… an internal state that arouses, directs and maintains behaviour.” (Woolfolk372).

Motivation is a force that energizes, directs, and maintains behaviour.” (Steers and Porter, 1975).

I on the other hand prefer to define motivation as:

“… an internal awakening that guides actions over a short or an extended period of time towards a goal.” (Waqar19).


Traditionally, motivation is divided into two basic types, intrinsic and extrinsic.

For Muslims, however, both of these types will make all their efforts go awry.

Extrinsic Motivation

If a Muslim works solely to please a human being, be it the boss, teacher, parent, elder sibling, a relative or any other important person, the work will be labeled as ‘Riyaa’ or showing off because the intention was wrong.

The Prophet Muhammad (sa)said, “The one who prays and wants people to see him has committed shirk. The one who fasts and wants the people to know about his fasting has committed shirk. The one who gives Sadaqah (charity) and wants people to know about his charity has committed shirk.”

“O Allah! I seek refuge with you from associating partners with you knowingly and I seek your forgiveness for what I do unknowingly.” (Bukhari) “Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them.  And when they stand up for As-Salat (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little.” (An-Nisa 4:142)

Ar-riyaa is the minor shirk for which the Prophet (sa) warned that it is like the black ant on the black rock in a moonless night. So, extrinsic motivation cannot be a Muslim’s target. This is why the companions were very careful about their intentions.

Hazrat Ali (rta) was fighting a Kafir in one of the battles. During the battle Hazrat Ali knocked him down and raised his sword to kill him. As soon as the Kafir knew that he was going to be killed he spat in Hazrat Ali’s face, so immediately Hazrat Ali left him and went on his way. He was later asked, “Why did you leave him when Allah clearly gave you power over him?!”  Hazrat Ali replied, “I was fighting him for the sake of Allah, and when he spat in my face I feared that if I killed him, it would have been out of personal revenge and spite.”

If a Muslim aims for a material gain, the deed or action will still go wasted.

“Actions are (judged) by motives (Niyyah), so each man will have what he intended. Thus, he whose migration (Hijrah) was to Allah and His Messenger, his migration is to Allah and His Messenger; but he whose migration was for some worldly thing that he might gain, or for a wife he might marry, his migration is to that for which he migrated.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight … are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard and fighting in His Cause , then wait until Allah brings about His Decision (torment). And Allah guides not the people who are Al-Fasiqun (the rebellious, disobedient to Allah). (At-Taubah 9:24)

Unfortunately, Muslim kids, who are born on the Fitrah, are trained to be motivated to please important others around them or are bribed to do things or perform actions. From the very beginning they are directed to a skewed course.

Intrinsic Motivation

For intrinsic motivation let’s study the following hadith:

“Knowledge from which no benefit is derived is like a treasure out of which nothing is spent in the cause of God.” (Tirmidhi)

Acquiring knowledge is an inherently noble pursuit. But the hadith tells us that one should pursue knowledge only if it is beneficial for the learner and the humanity at large. The knowledge when spent for the benefit of the Muslim community becomes a source of seeking Allah’s pleasure otherwise it is worthless and not worth being pursued.

Allah (swt) has taught us supplications for it as well.

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِك مِنْ عِلْمٍ لا يَنْفَعُ، وَقَلْبٍ لَا يَخْشَعُ، وَدُعَاءٍ لَا يُسْمَعُ، وَنفْسٍ لَا تَشْبَعُ

Oh Allah, I seek refuge in you from knowledge that does not benefit and from a heart that does not fear and from a supplication that is not heard and from a self that is not satisfied.

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ عِلْمًا نَافِعًا، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ لَا يَنْفَعُ

Oh Allah, I ask of You beneficial knowledge and I seek refuge in you from knowledge that does not benefit.

Thus we will not pursue knowledge just for the sake of it or just because we like acquiring it. We will do it only for its usefulness. Thus doing anything just because we enjoy doing it is not a way a Muslim thinks. A Muslim’s decisions are centred and are laid down by the principles of Allah and his messenger Muhammad (sa). A Muslim does not base his actions on his personal desires or whims.

(To be continued…)