Advising Youths On Their Issues – 5

This installment has a discussion about work culture and human behavior. There were loads of questions with regard to both the facets of personality development, dealing here with a few important ones:

(21) Best way of utilizing the time after regular work hours

Effective utilization of time depends on the clarity of thoughts and well directed actions. If you have a specified goal, the time is sure to be your companion. As you said you have attempted a stage of learning but not convinced with the progress, the situation is a stand still.

Now, either you can learn anything that could be a supplement to your actual job or chose anything that fascinates you, but be sure of remaining within the precincts of decided goal. Actually the journey on the path of struggle continues the way one set his direction. You can’t run in opposite direction if your face is facing a goal in the front.

This is human nature that inclines to be more receptive to a set direction and continues to move ahead. So the more you focus, the more you achieve, this is what we mean by healthy competition:

وَلِكُلٍّ وِجْهَةٌ هُوَ مُوَلِّيهَا فَاسْتَبِقُواْ الْخَيْرَاتِ

Everyone has a direction towards which he turns; so try to excel one another in good works (Ch 2 – Al-Baqarah: 148)

(22) Lessons from the Japanese work ethics

Japan is one of the few countries in the world whose work culture and work ethics offer some startling lessons to learn. Just go through some of the proverbs:

  • Japan has a philosophy that the harder we work; the better life will be…
  • Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid of standing still.
  • None of us is as smart as all of us.
  • The day you decide to do it is your lucky day.
  • If you try, you may succeed. If you don’t try, you will not succeed. This is true for all things. Not succeeding is the result of not trying.

Japanese workers are famous for their inexhaustible dedication to their tasks and ability to work long hours. For average Japanese a workday is around 12 to 14 hours. The exhaustive work culture is so common that they have a specific term for the death from overwork known as “karōshi”. Just look at its prevalence, there is a national karōshi hotline, a karōshi self-help book, a karōshi law that provides financial help to the widow and children of the person who died of karōshi.

There are certain terms that define their work ethics, such as Genki means energetic and industrious, they make use of this term for a common greeting, like Genki Desu Ka? Are you Genki? Similar is another term,  Gambatte which means don’t give up or do your best.

Today, Japanese rule the world in many fields. Culturally speaking, you can’t be an exact replica of any nation, for a culture to develop you need to have a supportive atmosphere. Yes, you can try your best to cultivate some of their habits, look at the following:

  • Hard work
  • Dedication
  • Discipline
  • Vigor
  • Diligence
  • Socialization
  • Team spirit

(23) How to stay upbeat all the time?

Staying upbeat and passionately charged is quite a unique quality. But, I think it can’t be a matter of 24 x 7 as mood sometimes spoils the show. On a realistic note, I would go with a thought that, to remain always upbeat depends on:

  • Definiteness of purpose
  • Decisive strategy
  • Strict personal evaluation
  • Disciplined life
  • Realization of Self
  • Realization of the path of progress
  • Realistic with regard to the ups and downs of the moods.

If these traits are habitual, they together with God-oriented heart and mind ensure a positive and buoyant attitude. Once Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

أَوْصَيْكَ بِتَقْوَى اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ ، فَإِنَّهُ أَزْيَنُ لأَمْرِكَ كُلِّهِ 

I ordained you to adopt Taqwa (piety, God-fearing), it adorns all your affairs (Baihaqi)

(24) How can I be a better person than last year? How reading books help?

Just retain this thought in its purest form; it will take you quite high. If an urge of doing something good and moving ahead propels, the life journey attains its required speed and direction.

Evaluate, roughly, your last year’s performance, with special attention to what had decided and what materialized. Then, go ahead with a new plan and strategy. Cultivate some good habits, and develop the already existing ones. Your persona should be adorned with qualities like:

  • God-consciousness
  • Mercy
  • Honesty
  • Truth
  • Empathy
  • Contemplation
  • Optimism
  • Steadfastness
  • Patience

Let a disciplined life be a perfect blend of these high rank qualities. As far reading books, it should be a supplemented effort to your contemplation and observation. Suppose you have observed how plants grow? After a careful observation you will have your own conclusion. Now read an appropriate book, you are sure to find a unique sweetness of reading that never tasted before. Everything that you read will go straight down to the heart and your actions reflect the same.

(25) Why confidence level fluctuates?

The confidence level doesn’t remain static; it is dynamic in nature, so one has to be a moving spree to be always on a high confidence level. Since self-confidence is all about actions and there certainty, you need to assess the results and consequences of the actions performed. Don’t ever be judgmental; every act of assessment has to be a moral boost.

No matter what results your assessment reflects, prepare yourself for the bigger task and move ahead. Remember, to remain in high confidence mood you have to be vigilant and optimistic.


© Muhammad Abdullah Javed – March 2016

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