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I am Inspired November 2018


than motivating. Influencing makes the desired action feel like the other person’s idea – rather than the other way around. Ann Tayler said once: “If I waited till I felt like writing, I‘d never write at all.” Many people think creativity and inspiration are same. But, the biggest lesson all creatives learn, whether in art, music, design, writing or any other of the creative areas, is that the moment of inspiration is just the start. Inspiration is a motivational state that compels individuals to bring ideas to fruition. Creators have long argued that inspiration is important to the creative process. The creative process consists of six working phases, inspiration, clarification, distillation, perspiration, evaluation, and incubation. During a particular piece of creative work, each phase should be experienced many times, in no definite order, sometimes for a very short time. We also can’t ignore the power of imagination in search for ‘why’. Imagination is the ability to form a mental image of something that is not perceived through the five senses. It is the ability of the mind to build mental scenes, objects or events that do not exist, are not present, or have happened in the past. Nikola Tesla, one of history’s most fascinating innovators and a futurist, was a man of legendary imaginative power. Tesla had an eidetic memory that enabled him to precisely recall images, visualise objects and literally work out his inventions in his imagination. Once he was inspired by an idea, he would start building it up in his imagination to the point of first operating an invention in his brain as if it were real, before proceeding to its concrete form. When ideas fuel inspiration, the in-between state that leads to action is imagination. We crossed the oceans to discover new lands, invented the means to travel the world, reached for the stars and landed on the moon. All that started as an idea first held in the imagination. Imagination is the highest freedom of all and the one that no-one can deprive us of. Einstein famously said that: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Follow us on Instagram @awakeningmagazine

Illustration: Clym Evenden

Living with purpose It is one of life’s greatest joys to wake up in the morning with a clear sense of why every day matters. Everyone has a ‘why’. Your ‘why’ is your core purpose; a cause or a belief that inspires you. Knowing your why gives you a filter and a focus to make choices, at work and at home, that will help you find greater fulfillment in all that you do. The question is, of course, how to find and keep your ‘why’ alive? And that question leads us to one word: ‘Inspiration’. I believe that inspiration sparks emotion in us. It uplifts us, generates new ideas and makes us feel that things are possible. Inspiration doesn’t have intent. We take our inspiration and do with it what we want. Some of my inspiration comes from books, movies, nature and travelling, but I can even find inspiration amidst things as simple as beautiful as weather, emotions, family and relationships. I am influenced by all of these things, and that ‘influence’ in itself is an important thing. Influence has a goal. Influencing others requires a conscious awareness of exerting a force or provoking change on a consistent basis. Influence makes things happen. And actually, if you are inspired and influenced by the world around you, you in turn are then motivated by these things. Motivating is the act of giving somebody – or yourself - a reason or incentive to do something. Influencing is a higher-level skill







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Lightbulb Moments Using your imagination makes your brain work differently from all other cognitive processes

Inspiring Healthy Choices Inspire your children to be culinarily curious


Using Science to Inspire Unique strategies for inspiring your team in the workplace

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Mantras for Movement Inspiring health and fitness quotes to keep you committed to your goals

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Inspiration and Your Brain Understanding how your brain works is key to encouraging your own inspiration

Why Inspiration Matters Inspiration is a springboard for creativity, innovation and growth

World’s Most Inspirational People Inspiration has many faces, spans many centuries, and lives big and small

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Find Inspiration Everywhere How can you find inspiration in the everyday?

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Story of Wisdom The wise Sulaiman

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Al-Muqsit The Most Equitable, The Just

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Teaching – a source of inspiration By Dr Asma Naheed



‘‘Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit’’ ~ Bernard Williams



Lightbulb Moments Using your imagination actually makes your brain work differently from all other cognitive process‌



t’s wonderful to have a breakthrough moment in life. When you are suddenly struck with a creative or ingenious solution to a problem. And that sense of understanding or possibility that appears before you is down entirely to sudden inspiration, a moment when logical thought and practicality give way to something less tangible. Until now we thought inspiration worked in our brains in the same way as all our other cognitive thought processes, but recently research has revealed that this is not the case at all. Scientists have discovered the way our brain looks and works when we are using our imagination is different to the way it looks when we are merely thinking something through. Through a study by neuroscientists at Northwestern University and Drexel University, brain imaging techniques have revealed that a specific area of the brain actually ‘lights up’ when we use our imagination.




Participants in a study dealt with a number of simple puzzles or problems, some which required imagination to figure them out, and some of which could simply be logically worked through. Observing the participants as they worked through the problemsolving task, researchers saw that part of the brain the right temporal lobe - ‘lit up” when the participants used their imagination, but not when they didn’t. Reporting in the April 13th edition of PloS Biology, Mark Jung-Beeman, one the scientists involved, said: ““We believe this is the first research showing that distinct computational and neural mechanisms lead to these breakthrough moments. This was the first real crack at understanding how insight occurs in terms of looking at the brain.” In another study, recently completed, researchers have also found that ‘reality’ and ‘imagination’ actually move differently in the brain too, as the electrical signalling of neurons move from different places and in different directions through the brain, depending on whether we are dealing with something imagined or something real. So, visual information from real events that the eyes see flows upwards from the brain’s occipital lobe to the parietal lobe, but imagined images flow downwards from the parietal to the occipital.


Using our imagination is not only an entirely different process, but it’s also something that is good for our brain too. Using our imagination requires us to be creative and it unlocks those creative processes that allow us to see life with more potential. The more we use our imagination the more we practice using our brain in a different way and the more we keep those neural connections open and fluid. “Those brain connections are what make you who you are, and forming new neuronal connections supports memory functions and keeps the brain vibrant, strong, and thriving,” explains Jenna Newberry on “Your imagination can be a useful tool for strengthening these connections, so that they become long-term memories,” she adds.




Inspiration and your brain Understanding how your brain works when it’s inspired, is actually the key to encouraging your own inspiration, says Eric Ravenscraft


Alpha brainwaves—dominant during quiet, laidback moments—and theta brainwaves—dominant during that twilight transition between being awake and asleep — are slower then beta brainwaves, but they’re also broader, which makes them better at connecting disparate neurons and parts of the brain. This is oversimplifying a lot of complex science and there’s never a time when your brain is all one brainwave or another. All brainwaves work together at all times to make your brain work. The practical takeaway, though, is that if you really need that brilliant idea or elegant solution you’ve been working on, you’ll need to do more than just stare at the problem for hours. To properly set the stage for inspiration to strike, there are a few key steps you can take. First, get some information about the problem into your brain. Your brain can’t make connections between pieces it doesn’t have. So, for example, if you’re an artist trying to come up with a unique design, ask questions about ‘To generate new ideas or what you’re creating. Should the end result be learn new information, light and happy? Dark your brain needs to and serious? Who is the ave you ever spent audience? The more you connect its different parts all day banging can bring to your mental your head against and carve out table, the more your brain a wall, trying to has to connect. new pathways’ get an idea to stick, only for Next, bring some it all to click into place when existing art to the table you’re laying in bed? That’s the moment inspiration strikes. You can’t force it, but to generate some ideas. Look up reference photos if you understand a bit about how your brain works, or browse existing art similar to the style you’re looking for. This can take the form of portfolios then you can encourage it a little. Until around the 70s, it was thought that once your from artists whose style you like, books from your brain reaches adulthood, it stops changing. Modern favorite authors, or magazines and blogs that follow research, however, shows this isn’t true. Your brain the trends in your industry. Creative output without is, in fact, plastic in nature. This means the complex creative input is a hobbled endeavor, so take in as network of neurons in your brain can continually much as (if not more than) you put out.


carve out new patterns, habits, or encode new information throughout your entire life. Sometimes your brain is better at this than others. When you’re awake and alert, your brain is dominated by tight, fast beta brainwaves. In this mode, your brain tends to prefer reliable habits it’s already carved out. Like riding a bicycle, the things your brain already knows how to do come more easily to beta brainwaves. This is also why an unyielding focus on a problem doesn’t always lead to a creative breakthrough. To generate new ideas or learn new information and habits, your brain needs to connect its different parts and carve out new pathways. As counterintuitive as it sounds, this is easier to do when you’re less focused.


Once you have some inspiration sources, focus on the problem for a bit, but take a break when you stop making progress. Allow yourself breaks and a little laziness. If you’re in a groove and the ideas are flowing, don’t stop. However, once your brain stops responding, it’s telling you it needs a rest. Let your brain relax for a bit, let those slower brainwaves start flowing, and keep the problem in the back of your mind. As you’re relaxing, make sure you have something on hand to document your ideas. It’s far too easy for inspiration to strike, only to be lost forever because you thought you could remember that idea until you got to your computer. Keep a notebook handy, put a notes app front and center on your smartphone’s home screen, or download a voice recorder. Whatever is easiest for you to document ideas. The goal is to make it so simple to jot the ideas down that you can do it any time. Finally, don’t neglect your body. While we’ve focused on the brain, your body has a powerful impact on how your brain functions. If you’re struggling for inspiration, take a break to work out or go for a walk outside. Sit down and meditate for a bit and steady your breathing. Even eating something nutritious can put your brain in a state to start making new connections. Your brain is a powerful tool that can generate a myriad of brilliant ideas, but it’s not a machine. Good ideas require hard work to implement, but that doesn’t mean you can force inspiration by putting your nose to the grindstone. To generate your best ideas, fill your brain up with information and ideas from other people, then give it the time and space to make an inspired connection. This article first appeared online at, and is reprinted here with their kind permission.




‘‘One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals” ~ Michael Korda



Why Inspiration Matters Inspiration is not only one of the most powerful intrinsic motivators, it is also a springboard for creativity, innovation and growth, says Margot Andersen





n 2009 Simon Sinek gave a TED talk called ‘How Great Leaders Inspire Action’ that has now been viewed more than 28 million times, making it the third most popular TED talk ever.  The premise of his talk was based on the fact that inspired workers make for both stronger companies and stronger economies; and when people become more inspired at work it creates a positive ripple effect on those around them.  The sheer volume of unique viewers would suggest that his message clearly resonated and that many of us are looking for inspiration in what we do and who we work for. In a culture that often seems obsessed with measuring things, the power of inspiration is often overlooked. Yet inspiration is not only one of the most powerful intrinsic motivators, it is also a springboard for creativity, innovation and growth. Despite its elusive nature, its influence is farreaching for individuals, teams and organisations and results in very tangible outcomes. There are many reasons why inspiration could be overlooked: for some, ‘being inspired’ smacks of daydreamy, passive behaviour that requires an almost divine presence before work can be commenced;

while for others it is often confused with positivity or charisma. But even though inspiration can result in greater positive outcomes, mindsets and behaviours, it is something that is deeply based in trust, and requires action to create. Unfortunately for many, their examples of leadership - be it within their political, community or business circles - fail to inspire them or others to think and act differently. Author John Maxwell writes that too often the ranks of leadership are inhabited by a host of mirages: people who look impressive from a distance but up close end up being disappointments leaving those who work for them dry and thirsty for opportunity and development. After being fooled by a few mirages, followers all too often become mistrusting and jaded. In a world that all too often looks and sounds ‘beige’, inspirational leadership has never been more needed. It does however require today’s leader to stand out, speak up and take action, often in scenarios when many others remain quiet or committed to doing things in the same old familiar ways. However, when employees are genuinely inspired, their trust and confidence is not only restored (or established) but they want to do more, contribute more and be more.


So how do great leaders inspire action? I would encourage you to consider the following six attributes and consider how evident they are in your own leadership style: Communicate the ‘Why’: When people understand why they do what they do, they are more engaged, productive, influential and innovative. Inspiring leaders know this and work to ensure that individuals are committed to understanding their ‘personal why’ and the ‘business why’ behind what is required from them in their role and organisation.

Magnify Strengths: Tom Rath and Barrie Conchie, authors of Strength Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams and Why People Follow – conducted studies that revealed engagement increased eightfold when leaders focused on their employee’s strengths as well as their own increasing from nine per cent to 73 per cent. Pay Attention: To quote the old adage ‘people don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care’. People who inspire know the ambitions, desires and motivations of those who work with them and how that impacts their engagement and productivity.

Be Available: Leaders who inspire, commit to investing time in those that they lead. This does not mean that they are available 24-7, but rather plan for ways to spend time that is purposeful, high impact and focused on developing individual contribution to support both personal and organisational success. Empower Others: Inspirational leaders know who and how to trust others with what needs to be done. They provide opportunity; equip people with the right knowledge and tools; and work to remove the blockers that get in the way of success. Challenge the Status Quo: Inspirational leaders are committed to creating excellence. They work hard to overcome apathy and look for new ways of thinking, doing and being that continually leverage opportunity, skillsets and mindsets. Great leaders not only motivate, they inspire people to want to act. Margot Andersen is a management consultant, working with individuals and companies. This article first appeared on her website,, and is reprinted here with her kind permission.



Using Science to Inspire Surprising strategies for inspiring your team in the workplace… Great leaders inspire others to want to be great too. In the workplace this means inspiring people to achieve all that they can, both for their company, and for their own personal development. But being an inspiring leader isn’t as easy as simple delivering motivational speeches. You need to be able to inspire whole teams, to foster camaraderie and support, to encourage effective communication, working together for the good of the team, as well as ensuring your commitment to each person’s own career path. While there are some people who make natural leaders, there are some aspects of inspirational leadership that be explained and understood by thinking scientifically. And they might not be the obvious ones you think.


1 Give Less Power to Your Top-Performers


ollaboration is the key to success in a team environment, but how do you empower top collaborators to stay engaged while not burning them out? Ekta Sahasi, writing on the subject of inspirational leadership for, says: “One place to start is by redistributing responsibilities among the group. Since top-performers are more likely to take on more work, actively assigning responsibilities and decision-making capabilities to various team members may help. “Second, it’s important to recognise and reward

those team members who play an integral role in assisting the top performers. Some team members may aid these high-performers without actually achieving high-performance measures themselves. Failing to acknowledge and reward these other workers can inadvertently hurt the motivation and performance of those workers and the team as a whole. The team will notice inequities. Ask yourself, is your top performer not really the performer? Do they assign other team members and then take the credit for themselves?”



2 Tone Down the Positivity -

Everyone knows that an unhappy workforce is an unmotivated one, and you won’t get anything out of a team that is motivated to succeed. However, studies have shown that actually you need a middle ground of positivity – neither too negative nor too positive. “Recently, researchers found that very high levels of positive effects actually led to decreased proactive behaviours,” explained Sahasi. “Essentially, positive affect can reach a level such that employees perceive that they are doing well and it is not necessary for them to take initiatives, thereby reducing their proactive behaviours. “In other words, once a certain level of positivity was reached, people felt they were doing so well that they no longer needed to work hard. Of course, finding this sweet spot isn’t always so obvious,” adds Sahasi. Research from the University of Michigan suggests a number of strategies that can boost both motivation and morale. “ These strategies include being kind and compassionate, treating others with respect, practicing forgiveness and actively helping out team members. And the good news is that researchers found there’s no way to overdo these types of virtuous behaviours,” explains Sahasi.


3 Connect Team Members With Your Company Mission

It’s not often that a company mission is used as a strategy for day to day management or achievement, but this can be a great way to make people really feel they’re part of something, and that the people they work for have a bigger vision of what’s to come. “People want to feel that they’re part of something bigger than themselves, says Sahasi. “And one of the best ways for workers to experience this feeling is to understand and feel personally connected with their organisation’s mission. In a survey of both federal and private sector workers in the U.S., a surprising percentage, more than 50 percent in each group, stated their organisation’s mission was even more important to them than their own personal career opportunities.s But how do you communicate this mission in a way that inspires and motivates? Surprisingly, the research shows that one of the most effective strategies is to provide opportunities to develop new skills within the workplace. “Team members who are given opportunities for professional growth are more likely to report a strong commitment to their organisation. At the same time, as they gain new skills and knowledge, they are more likely to use those skills to their own benefit, as well as the organization’s benefit,” finishes Sahasi. So, if you want your team to feel really inspired and motivated, but you want to make this a real and tangible part of your business and leadership practices too, then you need to give them a variety of opportunities to grow and develop. With thanks to




‘‘Inspiration and genius - one and the same” ~ Victor Hugo



Inspiring Healthy Choices Early food experiences can have a significant effect on food likes and dislikes and on eating habits in later life, inspire your children to be culinarily curious It is important to make eating a pleasurable experience. Food can be an enjoyable, social activity. It is equally significant to recognise the importance of eating well for good health.





-COOK FROM SCRATCHHome-cooked food is healthier than ready-meals or convenience foods. You control what goes into your body by measuring the oil, salt, sugar, and other ingredients in each recipe. You can also select the fresh, organic, seasonal or other preferred ingredients you want to add. Stock up your store cupboard with tinned tomatoes, beans, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and pulses, which all count towards your 5-a-day. Avoid using stock cubes and salty sauces and cook in bulk and freeze healthy meals for later. Use vegetables as the main component of the meal to get your five-a-day.


-OFFER A VARIETYIt is important for children and young people to eat a varied diet, and parents should encourage young people to try different foods. Be creative when serving food as the same food can be served in different ways. Tasting sessions are also a useful way to get children and young people to try new foods. Involving them in the selection and preparation also encourages them to try the foods they haven’t tried before, or have perhaps tried but didn’t like.


-LISTEN AND INVOLVECommunication between parents, children about food preferences is essential, and asking children their views on food and food-related issues should be a fundamental part of your everyday. Encouraging eating well does not mean forbidding certain types of foods or facing children with foods they do not like. Inspire children to talk about or draw pictures of the foods they like to eat, and to plan menus themselves. Engage them in food shopping, preparation and cooking. Having access to a range of cookery books helps, and you can also find recipes on the internet.



- TEACH SKILLS FOR LIFE Involving children in cooking can encourage healthy eating and improve communication. Teaching children to prepare their own food gives them a sense of accomplishment which can boost their self-esteem. Through assisting in all aspects of food preparation – planning, shopping, cooking and cleaning up – young people learn important life skills including budget management, maths and language skills, reading recipes, responsibility, safety, cleanliness and food hygiene, social skills. Keep recipes simple and choose them together, and encourage children to do as much of the cooking as they can. Talk about the food while cooking – a great opportunity to learn together, explore new foods and pass on healthy-eating tips.





- FOOD IS FUNTry a world food tour, celebrate the various cultures with a ‘world food tour’. Once a week or month, with the help of the children, create a healthy dish from a different culture. Encourage children to keep a record of recipes in a booklet that they can keep. You could also go on foodie field trips, to the local farm or farmers’ market. Have children pick out one new ingredient and search online or in a cookbook for a healthy recipe that uses that ingredient. And get reading. Ask your local librarian for suggestions of books and magazines that will provide the inspiration to learn about and enjoy food.


- SWAP SNACKSHealthy snacks can keep young people going between meals and help them to get the variety of food they need. But when busy, tired or bored it can be easy to slip into bad snacking habits. Trying swapping favoured unhealthy snacks for healthy ones – crisps for breadsticks, cakes for currant buns, sweets for raisins, pizza for pitta bread and so on.



Mantras to make you move The most inspiring health and fitness quotes to keep you committed to your goals‌


“Yesterday, you said tomorrow.”

“Know your limitations, then defy them.”

- Nike

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

“Progress, not perfection.”

“Do something today that your future self with thank you for.”

“Push yourself, no-one else is going to do it for you.”



“Transformation isn’t a future event, it’s a present-day activity.” - Jillian Michaels

“One reason that people resist change is that they focus on what they have to give up, rather than what they have to gain.” -Rick Godwin

“The best view comes after the hardest climb.”


“Do the crazy thing. The hard-to-imaginebut-somehow-you-did-it thing. The brings-you-to-your-knees thing. The no-one-would-ever-do-it-that-waything. The safety-net-would-not-even-matter thing. The it-could-kill-you-but-not-tryingis-another-kind-of-death thing. The thing on your heart. Do it, and let them gasp right before they call it a thing of wonder.� - Ciona Rouse




‘‘Without craftsmanship, inspiration is a mere reed shaken in the wind” ~ Johannes Brahms



The world’s most inspirational people Inspiration has many faces, spans many centuries, and lives big and small. Here are the world’s most inspirational people as voted for by 2,000 readers, followers, writers and contemporary figures





e all know what it feels like to have a “lightbulb” moment – that lightningquick strike of momentary inspiration that plants the seed of genius and sends us racing to the whiteboard. But the feeling of sustained inspiration – a lifelong link to a particular point of reference that moors us, guides us, reminds us of what we might aspire to and what we can achieve – is something much deeper, and much greater. It was the unpacking of this kind of inspiration that Raconteur magazine aimed to achieve with a recent article. Canvassing its readers, followers, writers and a number of contemporary figures, it asked who is the most inspirational person of all time? As it turns out, inspiration has many faces. It spans many centuries. It covers all walks of life, and lives big and small. People responded with votes for scientists, religious figures, artists and authors, political personas, business people, sports heroes, and public figures. Interestingly, there were also a significant number of votes for mothers, fathers and children – so many that, if you count, you’ll only see 47 on the infographic map of the Top 50 because we left space for these categories of family members to honour those votes. And in the way of honouring, we feel this map is an honouring of excellence from all those who voted. Whatever the role each person on the map has played, it’s been worthy of inspiring others to succeed and achieve – however each person wants to define it. While it’s created some amusing bedfellows – when else might Che Guevara and Margaret Thatcher rub shoulders, Walt Disney and Bob Marley, George Lucas and Coco Chanel? – it’s certainly a testament to the breadth of inspiring people and the exemplars of humanity. There’s a lot of talk in current affairs about leadership





There’s a lot of talk in current affairs about leadership and inspiration, but inspiration is not always political, it is not always loud, it is not always public. People in the public eye remind us of that, and simple votes for family remind us of that. But it’s clear that the 47 individuals who were the most voted for by our audience have impacted the world, most would say for the better. And they’ve certainly inspired others, which is why they’re here on our list. But what’s the common denominator? Is there one? Perhaps it’s a unique combination of humility and greatness that expresses itself in just the right way for others to take notice. Every year Time magazine lists its 100 most influential people in the world. But inspiration is so much more than simply influence. It’s an amalgamation of not only achievements, but also values and attitudes. Nelson Mandela himself, our number one of the Top 50, said: “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Others say that inspiration is in what happens afterwards, when a life becomes a story – stories of greatness inspire, where facts may not. And often the stories of greatness that we find most inspirational are those of people who were “ordinary”, but did something extraordinary. This article previously appeared on Raconteur Media ( and is reprinted here with their kind permission.




Finding inspiration everywhere People often say that inspiration is everywhere. But what do they mean and how can you find it in the every day?


“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty,� says inspirational poet Maya Angelou. The beauty of simple things is all around us, but sometimes what we fail to recognise is how beautiful something is because of all it has taken to get there. In your own personal development and growth, you will face changes and challenges to achieve your goals. And it is vital that you can reward yourself for all your efforts. But, when facing these challenges, sometimes that is when we need inspiration to keep us going. How can your find those precious moments of creative genius when you most need them?





Happy experiences are actually really good for creativity and inspiration. It’s a myth that only tortured souls can produce beautiful things. “Revisit happy times,” says photographer Kasia Rose, writing in Atlas Magazine. “If you remember a time when you felt on top of the world, revisit it. Create some art or listen to music that reminds you of that time. Reminisce and look through photos, talk to someone who you shared those times with. Sometimes, you can get yourself back to the balance just by revisiting old memories.” So indulge in the experiences you find most pleasurable, nurturing or exciting. Whatever brings comfort and smiles, warmth and joy, this is your inspiration pool and this is where you will find your creative path.

This doesn’t mean filling your life with the same things, it means creating space in your day, every day, to dedicate to your own creativity. You have to be open to discovery, and you need to create the conditions to do that. Whether this takes the form of a quiet moment at your desk, some meditation or a walk in the park, you need to give yourself permission – and time - to discover inspiration. Musician Fyfe Dangerfield says: “Your creativity is like a tap: if you don’t use it, it gets clogged up.”




You need to be prepared to find inspiration everywhere. So, make a commitment to expand the world from which you might take inspiration. Discover new books, learn a new skill, take language classes, music lessons, travel to new places, find a new walking route, plant some flowers, try different foods, read poetry – whatever you do, stretch yourself, and look for new experiences.

Routine is important, but so is change. Shifting your focus or doing something differently can actually help you see things differently too. Getting an escape from the daily grind can make everything feel fresh and new. But this doesn’t need to be an expensive long haul flight. This can be something as simple as taking a different route to work or starting a new project. Even rearranging your bedroom or changing your desk can have an effect. New haircuts, painted nails, a new outfit, a different background on your phone - these are all tiny changes you can make that will exercise your mind and get it to think differently, and this is where inspiration strikes.




“Inspiration comes from a place of rest,” Kiara Rose reminds us. Commit to finding time, each day, to do something that makes you feel happy and makes you stop spinning. Even simply doing nothing could create the shift you need to find your inspiration, those lightbulb flashes often come out of nowhere – literally. If you want inspiration to find you, you first need to stop moving so it knows where it’s going! “I used to drive down the coast to stay at a relatives caravan where there was no phone reception, and it would force me to experiment with the craziest ways to create, ultimately teaching me things I would have never otherwise known,” finishes Rose.


It’s also important to spend some time creating the right conditions to invite inspiration in. When you’re focused on one thing, this can free up your mind to get the space to be creative. “Spending time in your own head is important,” says musician Guy Garvey. “When I was a boy, I had to go to church every Sunday… I’d tune out for the whole hour, just spending time in my own thoughts. I still do that now; I’m often scribbling down fragments that later act like trigger-points for lyrics.”





Wise Sulaiman

Prophet Dawood had 19 sons. Each of them hoped to inherit the father’s throne. To help him, Allah revealed to Prophet Dawood a few questions and their desired answers, and commanded him to put the questions to each of his sons. Whoever answered those questions correctly, would inherit the throne of his father. So, one day Prophet Dawood called all his sons in the presence of the scholars and the chiefs of the tribes of his kingdom. He then put forward the following questions:



Which thing is closest (nearest) to man?


Which is the farthest thing?


Which two things are attached to each other?


Which is the most awe-creating thing?


Which two things remain unchanged?


Which two things are always different?


Which two things are opposed to each other?


What is the action the result of which is good?


What is that action the result of which is bad?

The sons of Prophet Dawood felt helpless and could not answer any of these questions. Then, the youngest of the sons, Prophet Sulaiman (Solomon) stood up and gave the following answers: 1.

The nearest things to a man is the hereafter (Life and Death - as one may die any moment);


The farthest things is the time which has passed away (which is not to come again);


The two things that are attached to each other is man’s body with the soul;


The most awe-creating is the man’s body (dead) without soul;


The two things which remain the same are the sky and the earth;


The two things which are different are the day and night;


The two things which are opposed to each other are life and death;


The action - the end of which is good - is patience and forbearance at the time of anger;


The action - the end of which is bad is haste at the time of anger. Prophet Dawood obviously, was very much impressed with these correct answers and appointed Prophet Sulaiman as his successor. Thus it will be seen that it was the supreme knowledge and understanding that made Prophet Sulaiman succeed his father and become the Great King Prophet.


Al-Muqsit – The Most Equitable, The Just •

The One who is most equitable and just. The One whose ways are balanced and just. •

The One who establishes justice. The One who creates harmony and balance. •

The One who does away with injustice. The One who leads mankind to justice and harmony.



Teaching – a source of inspiration, not information

by Dr Asma Naheed, Educational Psychologist, Special Needs Consultant and Public Speaker



illiam Butler Yeats is quoted as saying, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” Teaching is the art and science of helping others to grow in their knowledge and understanding. But more than that: Teaching is never forgetting that for a moment each day you might be the only person who touches someone’s life. Teaching is all about building a relationship with your students. In fact, in today’s world, when information is at our fingertips, we don’t need to go to school to learn facts and figures ,  a quick Google search, a glance at Wikipedia, or a question posed to Siri will usually result in answers to specific questions. SO, WHY GO TO SCHOOL? WHAT IS THE ROLE OF TEACHERS? Teaching is really about inspiration, not information. Effective teaching focuses on why and how, not what. The goal should be to spark each student’s imagination, to find a hook in their heart and mind so that they feel a need to learn the material. The rest is easy, because the student then drives his or her learning.

Teaching involves the giving of oneself to others so that possibly, just possibly, the piece that one gives will blossom in the heart of another and, even more importantly, might cause others unknown to you to blossom. A teacher’s role is to ask provocative questions, and to help the students make a path toward the answers. If they are motivated to find the path, they will carve it themselves. If I have to pull out a mental machete to expose the path, then I haven’t done my job. Teaching is the process of inspiring and coaching moral values, abilities, skills by an experienced person to an inexperienced person in order to ensure positive change in thinking pattern, action and behavior useful in developing oneself and the society. Mark Van Doren once said “The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” Because a “A good teacher is like a candle it consumes itself to light the way for others.” Sais Ata Turk. Inspirational teachers are best story tellers because thought flows in terms of stories, stories about events, stories about people, and stories about intentions and achievements. We learn in the form of stories.



This month I am.. .… Trying to solve..


Listening to..

Creativity: The Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly Creativity is about capturing those moments that make life worth living. Legendary psychologist Csikszentmihalyi reveals what leads to these moments - be it the inspiration of the artist at the easel or the excitement of the scientist in the lab - so that this knowledge can be used to enrich people’s lives. It is a fascianting and thought-provoking look at the elusive creative process.

Ted Talk: Your Elusive Creative Genius, Elizabeth Gilbert For anyone feeling creatively challenged, this talk by celebrated writer Elizabeth Gilbert explores the idea of the creative genius, saying that we shouldn’t think of ourselves as actual geniuses, but that we should consider ourselves ‘vessels for genius’, which means being open to inspiration all the time.


“It is always the simple that produces the marvellous� ~ Amelia Barr


‘‘Ideas shape the course of history” ~ John Maynard Keynes

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November Awakening 2018  

November Awakening 2018  

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