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This blog has been designed most for the benefits of my students. I am interested in spiritual intelligence because I believe it leads to happiness and resilience. If you want copies of my published research (conference papers or articles in journals), feel free to contact me.

Ridhwan (

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Improving yourself: Lessons from Singapore

I came back from an international Aikido seminar that was held in Singapore. It was conducted by Christian Tisser, a 7th Dan and a superstar in the world of Aikido. I started Aikido about 10 months ago and I was surprised that most of the techniques that we were learning in the seminar were techniques that I already knew. So, I asked myself, what is the difference between a beginner and a 7th Dan ? How do you progress in Aikido? I asked the question to Sensei Tissier and his answer was simple: the mindset. Everybody makes mistakes. But if you think that you have mastered the technique, you close your mind and stop learning. You can only progress if you keep your mind open.

I thought about this and I want to relate it to developing soft skills. Everybody has soft skills - we all know how to communicate, we all know how to manage yourself and we all know how to solve problems - so the only real difference is our mindset. Is our minds open or closed? Will we reach a stage where we are so confident with our skills that we close your mind and stop progressing? Consider two students A and B. Both have a potential of 100%. But student A has the wrong mindset. After achieving 70% of his potential, he feels that he knows enough and he closes his mind. He stops improving. Student B keeps his mind open and ends up achieving 98% of his potential. Even at that level, he still sees himself as needing to learn because he realises that he is not yet at 100% of his potential.

Let's relate this to the prayer. The greatest soft skill that we have is our spiritual soft skills. The prayer is our strongest connection to Allah. Yet, two people can approach the prayer in a very different way. One person can learn the proper movement and words to be said, pray with sincerity but have the wrong mindset. He prays but he doesn't care about improving his prayers; maybe because he feels "safe" as he is praying. A second person can know the same thing, say the same thing, have the same sincerity but his mindset is one of openness. He knows that the prayer is his connection with Allah so he always wants to improve the quality of his prayer to get closer to Allah.

The journey to perfection is a never ending journey. The physical discipline of Aikido allows me to develop the positive mindset that I need to fulfill my responsibilities as a Muslim, as a father, as a husband and as a teacher. As a teacher, I still have lots to learn. After all, a teachers who think that he has all the answers has closed his mind....and shown a bad example to his students!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Training in Islamic Management

I have recently put together three courses in Management from an Islamic Perspective (MIP). These are one day courses for industry. They can be modified and delivered to students. These courses are
- Management principles in the Quran (MIP Level 1)
- Management principles in the Sunnah (MIP Level 2)
- Management in the light of Qada and Qadar (MIP Level 3)
Spread the word!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bandar Aceh

This photo was taken after the Tsunami in Aceh on 26th December 2004. If you think in terms of logic and science, it is absolutely impossible for every building to be destroyed except a masjid.....As Allah says in the Qur'an, only the people of understanding will recognise Allah's Signs.

Another soft skills session