An Amazing Affair Regarding Ibn Taymiyyah’s Dawah Whilst In Prison And His Generosity In Affairs of Knowledge When Asked a Question

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Ibn Abdul Haadee [rahimahullaah] said: When he [shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah] was imprisoned, he found the prisoners preoccupied with various types of games by way of which they pass the time, such as chess, backgammon and the likes, which [lead people] to neglect the five daily prayers. The Shaikh [Ibn Taymiyyah [rahimahullaah] strongly disapproved of that. He commanded them to adhere to the five daily prayers and to turn to Allaah through performance of righteous deeds, glorification of Allaah, seeking forgiveness for their sins and supplication.

He acquainted them with what they were in need of from the Sunnah, aroused their desire for it and urged them towards it, until a lot of good came about in the prison due to that which was [present] in the prison, such as preoccupation with knowledge and [affairs] of the Religion, and became better than many of the schools.  And it became [such] that many among the prisoners chose to remain with him after they were released and those returning to the prison [i.e. revisiting to benefit from Ibn Taymiyyah] were so numerous that it became crowded. [Ref 1]

Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr [hafidhahullaah] spoke about generosity in the affairs of knowledge in one of his lessons and then stated that Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] reported about Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah’s [rahimahullaah] amazing generosity in this affair. Then Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq [hafidhahullaah] referred the listeners to Madaarij As-Saalikeen regarding this affair. Here is a brief Faa-idah about the affair.

In Madaarij As-Saalikeen Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] spoke about generosity and its different levels, then he said that to be generous with one’s knowledge is from those loftiest levels of generosity. *To be generous with knowledge is more virtuous than generosity with wealth, because knowledge is more noble than wealth. *To be generous with knowledge necessitates that when a questioner asks a question related to the religion, you give him [or her] a detail and sufficient answer and not an answer that is only sufficient to address the needs of the questioner. *Indeed I [i.e. Ibnul Qayyim] have witnessed something amazing about Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [rahimahullaah] in relation to this affair. When he [Ibn Taymiyyah] used to be asked about an affair that requires a ruling, he would mention in his response-if he was able to do so- the Madhab of the four Imaams, the reason behind the difference of opinion and the position that carries more weight. He would also mention the other issues related to the subject matter which might even be more beneficial for the questioner than the issue he [or she] asked about. *The Sahaabah [radiyallaahu-anhum] asked the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] about performing ablution with sea water, so he [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said, ‘’Its water is purifying [i.e. can be used for ablution] and its dead [animals] are lawful [to eat].’’ [Bulooghul Maraam’ Hadeeth 1. Book of Purification]. So, the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] answered their [main] question and then generously gave them [an extra response] regarding what they would be more in need of -at certain times- than the initial affair they asked about. [Ref 2]

[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Al-Uqood Ad-Du’riyyah Fee Dhikri Manaaqib Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah 330-331. slightly paraphrased]; [Ref 2: An Excerpt from Madaarij As-Saalikeen 2/43-44. فصل : مراتب الجود – Slightly paraphrased]


Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah Asked Abu Hayyaan An Interesting Question Regarding Seebawayh The Famous Grammarian

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Abu Hayyaan Al-Misree [rahimahullaah] – well known and author of Al-Bahrul Muheet – used to highly praise Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [rahimahullaah]. When Shaikhul Islaam arrived in Misr [Egypt], he sat with Abu Hayyaan and discussed issues related to Arabic grammar, so Abu Hayyaan cited proofs from Seebawayh’s [rahimahullaah] book, saying, “Seebawayh said such and such, so how can you oppose him?” Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah said to him, “Is Seebawayh a Prophet in grammar and thus it is obligated on us to follow him?!” Then Shaikhul Islaam said, “Indeed, he [i.e. Seebawayh] made mistakes in more than eighty places in the book that are neither known to you nor him.” After that [discussion], Abu Hayyaan composed a poem in which he ridiculed Shaikhul Islaam. We ask Allaah for well-being and may Allaah pardon us and all of them. [Sharh Hilyati Taalibal Ilm. pages 175 – 176. paraphrased]


Gatherings Attended By Upright Muslim Jurists to Address The Problems of The Era, Refute The Slanders Against Islaam And Give Unambiguous Clarifications

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Shaikh Muhammad Amaan Al-Jaami [rahimahullaah] said:

Indeed, the call to Islaam comprises of various fields and procedures. And one of its procedures is the establishment of assemblies and summits in which men of sound Islamic views and the Jurists of the Muslims meet in order to solve the problems of the era. They refute the doubts that are propagated against Islaam and the [sound Islamic] creed of the Muslims. They clarify the rulings of the Islamic religion for the people in all spheres of life that requires clarification- and how numerous are those in need of clarification-so that the people can be upon clarity in their religious and worldly affairs. This is task is carried out based on the Qur’aan and [authentic] Sunnah, so that people are removed from the darkness [of misguidance] and entered into light of [guidance]. And there is no other path of exit from the darkness of ignorance and Pre-Islamic [practices and beliefs] except by way of the understanding found in the Book and the Sunnah. This was the responsibility of the Messengers [alayhimus Salaam]- from Nuh to Muhammad. Allaah [The Most High] said:

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّبِىُّ إِنَّآ أَرۡسَلۡنَـٰكَ شَـٰهِدً۬ا وَمُبَشِّرً۬ا وَنَذِيرً۬ا

وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى ٱللَّهِ بِإِذۡنِهِۦ وَسِرَاجً۬ا مُّنِيرً۬ا

وَبَشِّرِ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ بِأَنَّ لَهُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ فَضۡلاً۬ كَبِيرً۬ا

O Prophet (Muhammad)! Verily, We have sent you as witness, and a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner; And as one who invites to Allah [Islamic Monotheism, i.e. to worship none but Allah (Alone)] by His Leave, and as a lamp spreading light (through your instructions from the Qur’an and the Sunnah the legal ways of the Prophet). And announce to the believers (in the Oneness of Allah and in His Messenger Muhammad) the glad tidings, that they will have from Allah a Great Bounty.” [33:45-47]

In these three Aayaat, there is a clarification of the job of the Noble Messenger Muhammad  [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam]  and that of his followers- and that is to call to Allaah [Islamic Monotheism] by the Permission and command of Allaah, upon clear sightedness and sure knowledge. Allaah [The Most High] said: [ قُلۡ هَـٰذِهِۦ سَبِيلِىٓ أَدۡعُوٓاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ عَلَىٰ بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا۟ وَمَنِ ٱتَّبَعَنِى‌ۖ – Say (O Muhammad): “This is my way; I invite unto Allah (i.e. to the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me (also must invite others to Allah i.e. to the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism) with sure knowledge]. [12:108]

Allaah obligated on His Prophet to call everyone [to Islaam] and not just his people [i.e.the Arabs], for this was the case with the Messengers before him; rather the Prophet’s Message is to call all the people. Allaah [The Most High] said: [وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَـٰكَ إِلَّا ڪَآفَّةً۬ لِّلنَّاسِ – And We have not sent you (O Muhammad), except to all mankind] [34:28]

This is an obligation [placed] upon the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] and then upon his followers [Ref 1], so that they may be witnesses against all the people. [Ref 1] [Source: An excerpt from   نظام الأسرة في الإسلام (page8-9). slightly paraphradsed]

Ref 1: Allaah [The Most High] said:

وَكَذَٲلِكَ جَعَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ أُمَّةً۬ وَسَطً۬ا لِّتَڪُونُواْ شُہَدَآءَ عَلَى ٱلنَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ ٱلرَّسُولُ عَلَيۡكُمۡ شَهِيدً۬ا‌ۗ

Thus We have made you [true Muslims – real believers of Islamic Monotheism, true followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah (legal ways)], a Wasat (just) (and the best) nation, that you be witnesses over mankind and the Messenger (Muhammad) be a witness over you]. [2:143]

Abu Sa’eed al-Khudriy [radiyallaahu-anhu] narrated that the Messenger of Allaah [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said: “Nuh will be called on the Day of Resurrection and it will be said to him: ‘Did you convey [the message]?’ He will say: ‘Yes.’ Then his people will be called and it will be said to them: ‘Did he convey [the message] to you?’ They will say: ‘No warner came to us and no one came to us.’ It will be said to Nuh: ‘Who will bear witness for you?’ He will say: ‘Muhammad and his ummah.’” He said: “This is the [meaning of the statement] of Allaah: [وَكَذَٲلِكَ جَعَلۡنَـٰكُمۡ أُمَّةً۬ وَسَطً۬ا -Thus We have made you [true Muslims- real believers of Islamic Monotheism, true followers of Prophet Muhammad and his Sunnah (legal ways), a Wasat (just) (and the best) nation. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari Number 4487]


Muhammad Is The Slave And Messenger of Allaah – [What Is The Upright Path Related to This Statement?]

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

[Muhammad (sallal laahu alayhi wasallam) Is The Slave And Messenger of Allaah]

This statement affirms Muhammad’s [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] servitude to Allaah and his Messenger-ship. These two affairs [Muhammad’s servitude to Allaah and his Messenger-ship] prevents a person from Ghuluww [i.e. exaggeration or going beyond bounds] and Jafaa [i.e. falling short in fulfilling what is required]. The fact that Muhammad [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] is a slave of Allaah necessitates that he is not to be worshipped; rather the Lord [Allaah] alone has the right to be worshipped. Therefore, this prevents a person from Ghuluww [i.e. exaggeration or going beyond bounds regarding the rightful status of Muhammad (sallal laahu-alayhi-wasallam)]. And the affirmation that Muhammad [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] is the Messenger of Allaah prevents a person from Jafaa [i.e. prevents a person from failing to follow the Prophet as he is to be followed; prevents a person from failing to give the Prophet his due rights, status etc].

An Excerpt from Sharh Kitaab at-Tawheed -lesson 2. By Shaikh Abdur-Razzaaq Al-Badr [hafidhahullaah]


A Brief Glimpse at How The Messenger Behaved at Home Whilst With His Family

In The Name Allaah of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Aa’isha [رضي الله عنها] narrated: I would drink when I was menstruating, then I would hand it (the vessel) to the Prophet [ﷺ] and he would put his mouth where mine had been, and drink, and I would eat flesh from a bone when I was menstruating, then hand it over to the Prophet [ﷺ] and he would put his mouth where mine had been. [Ref 1]  This shows the Prophet’s [sallal-laahu-alayhi-sallam] strong love for Aa’isha and also the perfection of his [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] humility and good nature. [Ref 2]

Aa’isha [radiyallaahu-anhaa] was asked how the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] was with his family at home.  She [radiyallaahu-anhaa] said, “He used to be in the service of his family”. [Reported by Bukhaari]

“After nightfall the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] would engage in a conversation with Aa-isha [radiyallaahu-anhaa].” [Reported by Imaam Bukhaari]

[Ref 1: Saheeh Muslim’ Hadeeth Number 300]; [Ref 2: ‘Mirqaat Al-Mafaateeh Sharh Mishkaat Al-Masaabeeh’- Hadeeth Number 547; Page 230; Vol 2; Publisher: Daarul Kutub Al-Imiyyah (1st edition. 1422AH (Year 2001)]


The Scholars Are Three Types – [A Brief Clarification By Shaikh Abdullaah Al-Bukhaari]

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Ibn Abee Shaybah [rahimahullaah] reported in Al-Musannaf and Abu Nu-aym [rahimahullaah] in Al-Hilya [5/12] with an authentic chain from Abu Muslim Al-Khawlaani [rahimahullaah], who said: “The scholars are three types: A man who lives with his knowledge and the people live with it alongside him; a man who lives with his knowledge and none else lives with it alongside him, and as for the third man, the people live with his knowledge and it destroys him”.  Shaikh Abdullaah Al-Bukhaari [hafidhahullaah] said, “The intent behind this speech: Indeed the first [man] knows, acts and teaches. As for the second, he knows and acts, but does not teach. As for the third, he knows and teaches, but does not act! We ask Allaah for steadfastness and well-being”. [المقالات الشرعية– pages: 23-24 Author: Shaikh Abdullaah Al-Bukhaari (may Allaah preserve him)]



Consequences of Arrogance and Corruption In The Earth

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Allaah (The Most High) said:

تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ نَجْعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوًّا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فَسَادًا ۚ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

That home of the Hereafter We assign to those who do not desire exaltedness in the earth or corruption. And the good end is for the Muttaqoon (pious ones) [28:83]

[تِلْكَ الدَّارُ الْآخِرَةُ- That home of the hereafter]: Meaning Paradise. [ نَجْعَلُهَا لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُرِيدُونَ عُلُوًّا فِي الْأَرْضِ –We shall assign to those who do not desire exaltedness upon the earth]: Saeed Ibn Jubair said, ‘’It is (those who do not desire) transgression.’’ Ad-dahhaak said, “It is (those who do not desire) oppression”. Yahyah Ibn Sallaam said, “It is (those who do not desire) shirk” and Muqaatil said, “It is (those who do not desire to be) haughty by rejecting Eemaan”. [وَلَا فَسَادًا – or corruption]: Ikrimah said, “It is (those who do not desire) disobedience (to Allaah and His Messenger)”. Ibn Saa’ib said, “It is (those who do not) call to the worship of other than Allaah”. [وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلْمُتَّقِين-And the good end is for the Muttaqoon (pious ones)]. They will have a praiseworthy end.

[Source: Zaadul Maseer ‘ by Ibnul Jawzi (rahimahullaah)’ abridged and slightly paraphrased. Page 1074. Publisher: Daar Ibn Hazm’ 1st Edition 1423AH (2002)]


Dishonest Business Dealings In The Earth Corrupts The Religious And Worldly Affairs- [Prophet Shu’aib Advised His People]

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Allaah [The Most High] says that Shu’aib [alayhis-salaam] said to his people:

وَيَـٰقَوۡمِ أَوۡفُواْ ٱلۡمِڪۡيَالَ وَٱلۡمِيزَانَ بِٱلۡقِسۡطِ‌ۖ وَلَا تَبۡخَسُواْ ٱلنَّاسَ أَشۡيَآءَهُمۡ وَلَا تَعۡثَوۡاْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مُفۡسِدِينَ

[وَيَـٰقَوۡمِ أَوۡفُواْ ٱلۡمِڪۡيَالَ وَٱلۡمِيزَانَ بِٱلۡقِسۡطِ‌ۖ – And O my people! Give full measure and weight in justice] – Meaning: The (same) justice (or fairness) you would be pleased to be treated with (by others)]. [وَلَا تَبۡخَسُواْ ٱلنَّاسَ أَشۡيَآءَهُمۡ – and reduce not the things that are due to the people] – Meaning: Do not reduce what (is due to the people of merchandise or commodities), and thus you steal them due to giving lesser in measurement and weight. [وَلَا تَعۡثَوۡاْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مُفۡسِدِينَ- and do not commit mischief in the land, causing corruption]- Meaning: Because indeed persistence in disobedience (to Allaah) corrupts the religious affairs, the (sound) creed and the worldly affairs, and destroys the crops and cattle.

[Source: Tayseer Al-kareem Ar-Rahmaan Fee Tafseer Kalaam al-Mannaan’ by Imaam As-Sadi (rahimahullaah). slightly paraphrased]


Reflection: The Building Built On a Firm Foundation As Opposed to The One Built On An Undetermined Brink of a Precipice Ready to Crumble Down

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Allaah [The Most High] said:

أَفَمَنْ أَسَّسَ بُنْيَانَهُ عَلَىٰ تَقْوَىٰ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَرِضْوَانٍ خَيْرٌ أَمْ مَنْ أَسَّسَ بُنْيَانَهُ عَلَىٰ شَفَا جُرُفٍ هَارٍ فَانْهَارَ بِهِ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ ۗ وَاللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الظَّالِمِينَ

Is it then he, who laid the foundation of his building on piety to Allah and His Good Pleasure, better, or he who laid the foundation of his building on an undetermined brink of a precipice ready to crumble down, so that it crumbled to pieces with him into the Fire of Hell. And Allah guides not the people who are the Zaalimoon [polytheists and wrong doers]. [Soorah At-Tawbah: Ayah: 109]

Whoever wants his building to be elevated, then it is incumbent upon him to strengthen and fortify its foundation, because the elevation of the building is based on the firmness and fortification of its foundation. Deeds are a building and Eemaan is their foundation. If the foundation is strong, it carries and elevates the building, and if a part of the building is damaged, it is easy for it to bear the [damage]; but if the foundation is not firm, then neither will the building be elevated nor will it be firm. And if a something from the foundation is damaged, the building will either collapse or close to that. Therefore, the duty of a knowledgeable person is that he makes the foundation sound and fortified. As for the ignorant person, he elevates [the building] whilst building upon other than a [strong] foundation, so his building does not remain.

The foundation of deeds is like the physical strength of a person- if the strength is vigorous, the body will be able to withstand burden and repel many harmful things; but if it is weak, the body’s ability to withstand burden is weakened and harm quickly overcomes the person. Therefore, support your building [i.e. your actions and deeds] with the foundation of Eemaan; for if something from the top of your building decays and falls down, then it would be much easier for the [building] to bear [the damage], rather than the destruction of the foundation. This foundation [i.e. Eemaan] is a based on two affairs:

Firstly: Sound knowledge and awareness of Allaah, His Commandments, Names and Attributes. Secondly: Complete submission to Allaah alone [i.e. by worshipping Him alone] and [unconditional obedience to] His Messenger alone. This is the firmest foundation upon which the slave establishes his building [i.e. his actions and deeds]. Therefore, one solidifies the foundation, preserves its strength and carries on being enthusiastic, and thus what is desired [i.e. success in this life and the next] will be reached [InShaaAllaah].

[Source: An Excerpt from ‘Al-Fawaa-id: page 154. slightly paraphrased]


How Shift Happens in Our Lives

By Leo Babauta

There are a lot of us who would like to change something, but find it difficult to make that change. I’m here to share with you the fact that making a shift like this is absolutely possible, and share how that shift might happen.

So let’s start with this: making a shift in our lives is absolutely possible. Not only have I made dozens of changes in my life, I’ve seen hundreds, even thousands of people change in my Sea Change Program and now my Fearless Training Program. It’s not always easy, it’s often very messy, but it’s absolutely possible.

Let’s look at how shift happens most often.

The Phases of How Shift Happens in Our Lives

Here’s how the change often happens, in my experience:

  1. You struggle with the change. This phase might take years — there’s something in your life that’s making you unhappy, unhealthy, or struggle with work or relationships. You want to change it, but either it’s too difficult or you aren’t very motivated to do it. You struggle, you give up, you feel bad about it. Repeat for months or years. This might be thought of as Phase -1.
  2. You are finally ready to change. Something clicks for you — it’s almost like a switch being flipped. You decide it’s finally time to change. For some people, it’s hitting rock bottom — things get so bad that you are finally faced with the fact that you need to change, and you want to change. Other times, it’s getting inspired by something you read or watch, or hearing about someone else’s change. Sometimes it’s just having the courage to really sit and reflect on the change that you want and why it’s so important to you, and then resolving to get serious about it. We’ll call this Phase 0.
  3. You start the shift, probably with some enthusiasm. You might go all in and be incredibly enthusiastic about the change, and get new books and equipment, watch videos, read about it online, download an app or two. The first few days, you might be super motivated and diligent. For some people, this initial surge can fade quickly (in 1-4 days) or last a little longer (5-9 days). It’s a bit rarer for it to last 2 weeks but it can definitely happen. Let’s call this Phase 1.
  4. You find it harder or different than you thought, and struggle a little. Often people find change to be more difficult than they thought, or not meeting the expectations they had. This can bring struggle or even quitting. If you struggle but don’t quit, you can make it into the next phase. The problem is that we have a fantasy of how it will happen, and it rarely goes that well. We think we’ll be in shape to run a 5K after a week of running. We are surprised that working out at the gym is so tough. We are not masters of the French language in 14 days. And so on. It can be discouraging. Sometimes people just lose focus because of too much going on — this is a sign that they aren’t as motivated as they need to be, if busyness can sidetrack them easily. Let’s call this Phase 2.
  5. You stick with it and find some positive change. If you do stick with it through that initial struggle, and keep at it … you’ll find change starting to happen. That will feel good and be encouraging. Most people don’t stick with it long enough for change to happen, even though it can start to happen after a week or two. If you get to this stage, rejoice! You are probably in the top 10% of people who want to make changes. This phase can last for a pretty variable amount of time — a week, a month, maybe two months. This is Phase 3.
  6. You get sidetracked but then come back again (or not). At some point, probably in 2-3 weeks after getting to Phase 3 above (maybe longer), you will get sidetracked. It’s inevitable. No one is completely focused on one thing forever. You travel, you get sick, you have visitors, you get busy at work, you have to move, there’s a crisis in your family, your child or pet gets sick. This is Phase 4, and it’s not necessarily the end of this change — though for many people, it is the end. They get sidetracked and go all the way back to Phase -1 above, when they’re struggling for a long time. But it doesn’t have to be the end — it’s just a brief break of a few days or even a few weeks. You get sidetracked, probably discouraged, and you probably don’t want to think about this change because it makes you feel bad to think about it … but then you decide to face it and start again! You pick the next smallest step and start. Maybe you find ways to motivate yourself that are similar to Phase 0 above. You get started again.
  7. It becomes a part of your life. This Phase 5 is similar to Phase 3, in that you’re chugging along nicely and making the change happen … but in this phase, it gets easier and easier and becomes a part of your lifestyle. Or maybe not, and it’s actually just a repeat of Phase 3 and then you go through Phase 4 and then repeat a few times. But if you reach Phase 5, it can seem really easy and seem like you’ll never have to worry about this again. This is when it’s a good idea to start a new change.
  8. Things start to slip back until you refocus yourself. But at some point, many people slip back into their old habits, despite the change becoming easy. The old habits haven’t always completely died. By the way, this isn’t a universal phase — I’ve never slipped back into smoking, for example. But for me, exercise, diet, and other similar habits have all slipped back from time to time. It might feel discouraging to have to start again. And some people never start again because they’re discouraged. The successful ones just start again and get focused and motivated again. The good news: it’s much easier the 2nd and 3rd time around! It’s not as much of an uphill struggle.

So as you can see, it’s a messy path. There are starts and stops. There’s motivation and then getting discouraged. There’s interruptions and restarting. There’s long-term change and slipping back again (sometimes). Shift happens, but not at the pace we like and not how we’d like it to.

This is the process of human beings shifting habitual patterns.

By the way, to have complete transformation of your life, you’ll need to create several (or many) of these shifts.

Key Skills in Creating Shift

Armed with that information, what do we need to create this kind of shift?

Here are the skills that will make shifts much more likely to happen:

  1. Recognizing what you need to change and then flipping the switch. We can fool ourselves about needing to change, for years. Instead, it’s a powerful skill to take a look at your life and see that you need to make a change. Often it shows up in others — they are constantly reacting negatively to our behavior, but perhaps we rationalize why they’re wrong. Often we know we need to change but don’t want to face it. The skill, then, is to get very honest with yourself and recognize that a change is needed, and then finding a way to flip the switch so that you’re committed and taking action.
  2. Starting and setting yourself up well. When you are ready to take action, get good at actually getting started. It doesn’t matter how you start — don’t get caught up in indecision and research. Instead, take action. But make one of your early actions be setting yourself up for future difficulties: set up accountability, tracking, motivation, so that when you falter, you’re more likely to stay in it or come back to it.
  3. Encouraging yourself when you’re discouraged. You will get discouraged or lose motivation at some point. Get good at encouraging yourself instead of discouraging yourself. This takes practice, but can be as simple as repeating, “You can do this!”
  4. See your rationalizations and get back on track instead. Similarly, there will be times when you’re rationalizing not doing it. You got off track, or there are things getting in the way. Get good at noticing your rationalizations and getting back on track. This is pretty much the same as the first skill at the top of this list, but applying it during the process instead of before the process starts.
  5. Starting again with a small step. Similarly to the above, really — just get started. Find the next small step and take action. Encourage yourself, over and over.

These skills obviously overlap, and you can practice them over and over again as you make a change. In this way, ever time you get sidetracked, demotivated, or struggle, it’s a great opportunity to practice the change.

Ready to make a change? Join my Sea Change Program (free for 7 days, $15/month after) and commit to making a shift in your life.

from zen habits