A Century of Posts

This blog officially marks my 100th post! I’m so grateful for how far we’ve come since my first post in 2014. If I’m being honest, I still can’t believe I started that long ago. To truly show you why I’m surprised, have a look at my very first post:

Here’s another one (showing this as inspiration tbh):

And here’s the comment I got in response to my ‘Diary?’ post. Grateful for the people who believed in me before I believed in myself…

I’d like to use this post to show my appreciation to each and every one of you, to go through the overall blogging journey, my intentions and moving forward with this platform.

Grateful for you!

First thing’s first, a big shoutout to my parents who have been my #1 fans throughout the journey. I can’t emphasize enough how much they are responsible for where I am today and all that I’ve managed to achieve (it’s not a lot but it’s worth celebrating!).

Also grateful for my siblings, family members and friends, for contributing to incredible discussions, inspiring me to keep pushing and helping me grow as an individual.

What I’ve realized over the past few years is that the relationships you form are probably going to be your most valuable asset. The best way to continuously develop these relationships is by regularly showing gratitude. Making people feel appreciated. Giving more. Being kind and compassionate.

The more you give, the more you get.

More than just that, being grateful for where you are in your life and all that you have. I say this over and over again, but I promise you it will completely change your life. When you focus on what you have, your blessings start appreciating.

I know that it’s not easy and there are moments where we just want to give up. It gets tiring. It requires conscious effort. It requires consistency. It requires discipline. But remember:

Better awareness –> Better choices –> Better results

Let’s look at how this blogging thing started and how we got to where we are today.

How we started

As you have my have seen, I started in 2014 (when I was like 16 years old). I’m pretty sure it was just for banter, although I was philosophically inclined at the time. I would always engage my friends in incredibly interesting conversations and we learned a lot from each other.

The main reason why I actually decided to start posting my thoughts online were to share the insights I was gaining, and to also use it as a platform to vent; kind of like a diary.

I wasn’t consistent at all and I only posted once in a while, probably like 3-4 posts a year from 2014-2016. After that, it kind of stopped altogether when I started uni. I got back into things in 2018 when I started reading again and learning more about myself. You can read more on the details of that journey in my 50th blog post.

Since then, I’ve developed a little mission statement for myself that helps me find purpose in everything that I do:

“Aspire to Inspire. To help each and every one of us live life to the fullest and reach our greatest potential.”

A fraction of my growing ‘library’

What my intentions are

The purpose behind my writing is to try and help people develop. To provide a pathway for growth. To shed light on difficult topics. To help each and every one of us aim to achieve our full potential. To genuinely live a life that is worth inspiring. To make a difference and motivate people. To incorporate a growth mindset and move from thinking that it’s impossible to ‘not yet’.

What I’ve noticed is that despite how different and unique we all are, we share a common humanity. We struggle in similar ways. We have similar goals and objectives. We have similar roles and responsibilities. We all get anxious, stressed, happy, joyful, upset and excited.

Utilizing our common life experience has been incredibly valuable to me. It’s the way I connect with people. It’s what allows me to be vulnerable and connect through honesty and authenticity. When we are able to feel connected and have a sense of belonging, it empowers us to be our true selves.

I’d like to use this platform to help us find a common ground. To help us all connect and find a sense of belonging.

Where I’m going with this

In alignment to my intentions, I’d like to keep the momentum going with this blog and keep trying to share valuable information. It’s never been about getting an insane following or viewership, but just about making a difference in people’s lives. Even if a single person learns something from one of my posts, I’d reckon mission accomplished.

Little by little, a little becomes a lot.

I’d like to encourage all of you who are reading this, to share the posts you find relevant with people who you think could find value in it. Whether it’s about developing habits, seeking discomfort, learning new skills, meditating, emotional intelligence, book summaries or incorporating a growth mindset, there’s always something for us to expand our knowledge on.

If you ever have a specific topic that you’d like me to talk about or if there any topics that you’ve thoroughly enjoyed over the past few years, please let me know in the comments. I always appreciate the engagement and support.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you again for everything.

Memento Mori; remember that you will pass away at some point.

#LiftAsYouRise

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The Journey VI

Little by little, a little becomes a lot. I had no idea that I’d be reaching 50 posts so soon. I started off back in 2014, just before I finished high-school. Let’s talk a little about how we got to this point, 6 years later.

As with everything in life, it started off as an experiment. There’s no better way to learn than from actually trying, so I attempted to use this space as a virtual journal. In this post, I’ll run you through the timeline of how things developed.

2014-2015

In 2014-2015, I was a little obsessed with my online presence. I took a lot of pride in the follower-following ratio, the aesthetic of my IG feed, twitter cliques and getting enough likes.

I was showcasing the best moments of my life, as social media often lures us to do. I’d say that I wasn’t mature enough to understand how to virtually socialize. I started this blog for the sake of starting a blog, coming from an egotistical place. My intentions were not aligned with my goals.

I carried on blogging every other month, about the most random aspects of my life. In 2016, it kind of all just stopped. When you’re inconsistent and your why isn’t clear, the motivation tends to dissipate.

2016-2017

Throughout 2016-2017, I went through quite a bit of emotional turbulence. I didn’t really know how to deal with my own insecurities or how to love myself. Those were key ingredients for low self-esteem. I’ve mentioned this before, but at the end of 2017, I took a social media sabbatical. (You can read more about it by clicking on the hyper-link)

That’s when things really started to change.

You don’t truly realize how toxic social media can be, until you step out of it. I had way more time than I could’ve previously imagined. I also had a lot of emotional energy that I needed to utilize.

2018

At the beginning of 2018, I started journalling, meditating and reading! It started off in that specific order. Having a journal completely changed the way I took charge of my life. My thoughts and habits became a lot clearer to me. And as I’ve said before:
Better awareness – Better choices – Better results.

That’s exactly what started to happen. With my self-awareness slowly increasing, I started making much better choices that were aligned with my values. This ultimately led to better results.

I started off being a little skeptical with regards to meditation, especially from an Islamic point of view. But through constantly being grateful and remembering God, I opened the space for myself to sit in presence every morning. It’s all about intention, don’t forget that.

At the beginning, I was barely able to focus on my breath for 2 minutes at a time. So I had to use guided meditations for a while, until that increased to 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 15 minutes. After that, I was able to sit with my own thoughts and just focus on my breath without needing a ‘guide’.

I used to read a lot when I was a child, thanks to my mother. Growing up in Saudi Arabia however, changed that quite a bit. Throughout middle school and high school, my focus shifted entirely to sports and gaming. I had no interest in reading anything, be that academic or even fiction.

After my mindfulness practice and journalling routine, I realized that I had a lot more to learn. Not only about those particular habits, but about the world in general. That led me to reading ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle.

It took me a few months to read that book, but once I actually completed it, my identity started to change. I was now a reader. Someone who could actually commit to finishing books.

As with every other habit, the more you deliberately practice, the better you get. I started reading books a little bit faster and started learning more about how to retain the information I was learning.

2019

From finishing 3-4 books in 2018, I started finishing 1 book every month in the beginning of 2019. I had to make a conscious effort to achieve that goal. It got even better towards the end of the year, where I started finishing around 2 books a month. A few months after that and I now objectively read at least 4 books a month.

To bring us back to how I started blogging more seriously, I had an urge to share the knowledge I was gaining from all those books and the few habits I was forming. I tried blogging again, with consistency and intention. It started with the The Journey. I (Click the hyper-link to read my first post in 2018)

“The teacher learns the most.”

2019 was the year a lot of my habits fell into place. Everything that I had attempted to do over the previous year was now becoming part of my identity. My intentions were finally aligned with my goals and values.

2020

“First you create your habits, then your habits create you.”

I became passionate about helping other people and serving the world around me. Aspire To Inspire became the motto. To help each and every one of us unleash our full potential and spread the knowledge we gain.

The objective now is to publish at least 2 blog posts per month. I’m also trying to get more people involved in the journey with me, to expand and grow.

Life is temporary. We’re all going to die eventually. Keep that fact in mind and allow it to vitalize your every day. Starting small and staying consistent will always help you sustain your habits. This will then help you become the person you wish to be.

Make it obvious. Make it attractive. Make it easy. Make it satisfying. Don’t only focus on what you need to get done, focus more on who you need to be.

A friend of mine recently told me something really inspiring: “The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.”

I’d love to know more about the aspects that have helped you develop into the person you are today. Please feel free to share your story or comment your views on mine in the section below.