Category Archives: Mistakes

What I learned from taking the WRONG train

I was coming home on the subway (underground train system in Toronto), reading a book. It’s around a half hour train ride from downtown to my station, so I “feel” it’s time to start wrapping up. Looked up outside the window, the colors and ambience seems off…it was different.

Wrong Subway
Wrong Subway

“Arriving at Islington station,” I hear from the loudspeakers.

Realization. I got on the opposite train and arrived at the “West End”. Add 1-hour to the train ride because I was going the wrong direction for 30minutes.

Crap! was my initial reaction, but then it turned into a smile, then a light chuckle as I looked back at the paperback book in my hand; Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly

Obviously, I had to now run out and get over to the other train…

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

Flow is about that feeling you get when you’re totally “into” something, and you have almost no sense of your surroundings. Like a NASCAR racer going 200MPH is hyper-focus because one mistake can smash his car, having one of those “super- salahs” (probably during Ramadan) where you’re listening for the meaning of verses, etc. or even when you’re researching online and keep at it for hours without notice.

We’ve all experienced it, but mostly out of fluke rather than consciously putting all our focus in and keeping distractions out.

Dr. Csikszentmihaly (pronounce that name) says, “the mark of a person who is in control of consciousness is the ability to focus attention at will, to be oblivious to distractions, to concentrate as long as it takes to achieve a goal, and not longer. And that person who can do this usually enjoys the normal course of everyday life”


The ability to focus attention at will” – that’s talking about a skill you can develop, not random moments of inspiration.

Few other factors that come into play, in a nutshell, are: Challenge and Practice. There has to be some challenge in completing the task, it’s not happening while you wash 3 dishes. For the salah example, it’s way different if you’re just going through the motions for Isha by yourself than praying at the masjid and the imam starts reciting a surah you’re currently trying to memorize. As for practice, “It is not enough to know how to do it; one must do it”.

Why it Amused Me

It was very interesting to me that I entered the flow state while reading the book Flow. See there’s a lot of noise and movement on the subway, but I’ve been waiting to finally read this book and tuned it out. I was also practicing to increase my reading speed, trying to break the 400wpm (words per minute) block.

On top of that, the announcements went out for all 14 stops (twice for each one actually), I didn’t realize anything until it felt like my stop (Warden Station, opposite end that train).

In any case, the extra hour did help me finish like a quarter of the book.


I recently visited my notes on the book and put some of it to use.

Mainly, picking out a task that needs focus for at least an hour straight and is interesting enough that clock-checking isn’t needed. It resulted in finally editing and restarting on making videos. (Of course, also writing a blog post after a year…)

Click here to watch on YouTube

Did the part about Flow make sense?

It’s kind of an abstract concept…

Quiet on the Blog Front

[Read Time >> 1.5 minutes]

It’s been way too long – nothing has been posted on this site.

Problem = lack of system = slow or no progress

What happened?

  • 2 weeks ago I completed a T4T vid (with the editing help of Mahfooz) but didn’t post it because I wanted to finish the other stuff
  • 1 week ago I made a video…but it was on my sister’s computer and then she took her laptop home
  • This week I made a video, but o look my laptop is pretty garbage so it can’t “handle” video editing
  • Software didn’t install at uni, couldn’t borrow my sister’s for few hours and now I finally figured “Why not use my dad’s work laptop that’s lying in the very next room!”

Now I’m sitting here with two 95% and one 60% completed tasks but nothing to show for. However, now I’m working on bringing them all to 100%…


Solution and my Future Plan

Create systems – a process to follow from start to finish with Continue reading Quiet on the Blog Front


Being on Time
Being on Time

[Read Time >> 2.5 minutes]

OK, I’ve got 2 stories and a 1/2 for you.

Story #1 >> Late = not cool

So 2 weeks ago I made an appointment to call a brother at ____ time the upcoming Friday for important stuff. Everything’s good so far and I’m excited.

…Friday rolls in. I saw that my brother-in-law (Nakib) was taking Sh.Kamal Al Makki for his Jum’ah khutbah before his “Mercy to the Worlds” course with AlKauthar Institute in Toronto, so I tag along.

Had a good time, got home and (dan, dan, dannn) I got an email of disappointmentI missed the call!

[[I could almost hear few people laughing, because I had another mishap recently…but that’s confidential 😛 ]]

To cut the story short, I felt like crap and fortunately managed another meeting.

This time, I had the reminder on my wall, cellphone, and I knew there was no way I’ll mess this up. I was on campus at the time, and the only good place was outdoors (cold Canada by the way), but the call was made and I’m happy again.


Lesson – The difference the 2nd time around was that I made all the arrangements to be there on time (early) + gave him his right upon me to show up. ((Also, not keeping to your word lowers your value (in their eyes and probly yours) and it’s plain disrespectful))


Story #2 >> Plan for Blood

Nose Bleed
Nose Bleed

Disclaimer: This is a bit gross, so skip to the lesson if you so wish…but I’ll admit it’s funny too 😀

On Sunday I was getting ready to go for Dhuhr at the masjid. I got ready well in advance and the story was perfect in my mind…but there’s a special surprise waiting for me: Blood.

That’s a bit dramatic, it was actually a nose-bleed (I get them quite often so it’s not a big deal). This was persistent one so there I was for over 10 minutes with bloody tissue, and a bloody nose, and bloody sink (eww, I know, I was there)

BUT the story has a happy ending. Continue reading Punctuality…when?

5 Myths about Time Management

In the world, there are some great myths today that were once thought to be fact. Like the earth is flat or the planets and sun revolves around the earth.

In life there are also things we live our life by, thinking it’s true but we just bought into the wrong ideas. Here are 5 Myths about Time Management

#1 – I don’t have Time for Time Management

Isn’t this so ironic?

Here’s what it comes down to: Feel the short sting of Continue reading 5 Myths about Time Management