Mirza Yawar Baig – UMass – Facing Challenges

Mirza Yawar Baig
AI: Summary © The rise of industrial revolution, parenting, education, and health care have made significant changes to society, including the transformation of society and the loss of natural resources. The crisis is due to predatory capitalism and the loss of faith and confusion, leading to loss of faith and confusion. The transformation of society is important, including advancements in AI and the potential for multiple career choices. The importance of humility and embracing mistakes is emphasized, and the speakers stress the importance of resilience and learning in making choices and making decisions based on the right approach.
AI: Transcript ©
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Asked to speak at this

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wonderful gathering.

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I have lots and lots of friends here,

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and it's always good

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to speak at an audience,

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like this.

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There are 2 ways

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to lead our lives.

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The way we want

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or the way that Allah

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wants for us.

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Whichever way we choose,

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we will be held accountable for that

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when we meet Allah.

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The issue is living

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the way we want is that our knowledge

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is limited

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and our desires rule us.

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The benefit of living the way that Allah

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wants us to live

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is that he knows what is best for

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us

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and guides us to that.

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And since

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the accounting is with him,

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inshallah,

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if we live by his way,

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then the day we meet him will be

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a day of rejoicing.

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I remind myself and

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you that to live

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is not merely to draw breath.

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That is the way animals live.

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They are slaves of their drives.

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They follow their desires.

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And one day, they die

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and the story is over.

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Humans on the other hand

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have the option of living like animals,

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fulfilling every desire, or

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of living a life of purpose

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and leaving behind

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a legacy of honor.

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That is the choice

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which we must make.

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To underline that, Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala set

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the standard

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where he said

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Allah said in Surah Al Haram which means

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every soul will taste death.

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And you will only receive your full reward

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on the day of judgement.

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Whoever is spared from the hellfire and is

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admitted into paradise into Jannah

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will indeed triumph.

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Whereas the life of this world

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is no more than the delusion of enjoyment.

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Let us give some thought

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to this and ask

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how our lives compare

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to this standard.

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Success and failure in life

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are products of the choices we make.

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The Quran and Sunnah

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guide us to the best of them.

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The path of those who Allah Subhanahu wa

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ta'ala rewarded

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and not those who angered him.

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A quick history lesson.

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To come to the topic

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of my lecture today, which is facing challenges.

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The industrial revolution, which is

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roughly 60 1760

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to

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18 40,

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changed the life,

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the basis

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of society.

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It was less about assembly line or automated

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manufacture

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and much more about changing how people thought

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and what they valued.

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There were 3 major changes that remain with

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us to this day.

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Aspirational

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values,

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parenting,

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and teaching.

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This change society fundamentally

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and gave us the world

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that we have today.

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In an agrarian society, in an agricultural society

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pre industrial revolution,

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parents were also teachers.

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Children knew what parents did and learned those

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life skills from them.

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Usually, the roles were gender specific.

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Mothers taught daughters the skills of housekeeping and

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animal husbandry,

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caring for children including complex matters like assisting

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in childbirth

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and dealing with

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health elements.

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They were also schooled in manners

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and traditions and customs and practices,

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both religious and cultural.

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Sons followed fathers to the fields and workshops

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and learned the skills of planting and carpentry

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and handling animals.

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They also learned how to make and repair

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farming implements

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and machinery and troubleshoot problems.

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The skills learned by both genders

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were critical to survive with a life quality

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and being gender specific

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created a positive dependency

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one on another.

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In agrarian societies,

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parents are mentors.

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Parents and grandparents are mentors.

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They are very respected roles,

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and they're also teachers.

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Their experience

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matters,

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and they have huge moral authority.

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Joint families are the norm

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and are a support system for raising children

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and caring for elders.

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Every family member, irrespective of age, has a

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place and usefulness to the end of their

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days,

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and so is valued.

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In this country, to this day, you can

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see this

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among the Amish culture in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

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The industrial revolution changed all that.

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Clothing and fashion,

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gender roles and responsibilities,

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authority structures,

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the concept of freedom itself

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and accountability, and the basis of value all

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changed

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mostly to suit the needs of an industrial

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society.

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In all this, the fundamental change

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was with what people valued and therefore,

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benchmark themselves against.

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That primarily became money.

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3 critical aspects of society

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became industrialized

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and became businesses

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and profit centers,

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parenting,

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education,

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and health care.

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In my opinion,

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this is at the root of all that

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is global society today.

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When that

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which was to be done for love

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is done for money,

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something fundamental

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changes.

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The results

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are evident.

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Mechanized

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agriculture eliminated small farms and machinery eliminated the

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need for farm animals.

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Factories needed people, so both parents went to

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work, and raising children

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was industrialized

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and outsourced

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to strangers.

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Daycare

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and schools

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became businesses,

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and education became conflated

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with skill training.

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Since teaching our manners,

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culture, social skills, the ability to get along

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with people,

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kindness, compassion,

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citizenship,

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caring for commons, and a host of other

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things which are symbols of civilization

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and critical to life

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cannot be monetized,

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they were ignored.

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As a result,

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education

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which was for life

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became merely

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for earning a living.

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As a result today,

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and you can check for yourself,

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most children

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don't know

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nor care

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about what their parents do.

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How many of you know what you what

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exactly your father does or your mother does?

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That's a very small show of hands in

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this whole big room.

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Most people,

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young people especially, are disconnected with the earth

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and nature and frankly wouldn't survive a week

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left on their own.

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Parents think

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that throwing money at children

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is a cure of cure for all evils

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and fulfills all needs.

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By the time they realize their mistake,

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it is too late.

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Joint families broke up and with that, the

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sense of identity, cultural links,

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and responsibility for others, including

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taking care of elders.

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Grandparents

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who are the link with the with the

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community

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and the repository of tradition and culture

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lost their position and role, and loneliness became

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a major killer

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despite people being financially far better off than

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they were in the old days.

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The daycare person and school teacher

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were strangers

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often from different cultures,

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different religions,

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different value systems

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who naturally

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imparted those to the children.

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I'm not against

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learning other ways, but when children learn those

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without knowing their own, those become their own.

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Children experience alienation from their own culture and

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religion and fall into confusion which in some

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cases results

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in loss of faith.

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All that I'm saying has to do with

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the reason

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why we do something, the nia.

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When parents, teachers, doctors, and lawyers

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became concerned about bottom lines and profit margins,

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it is a sign that cancer has spread

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in society.

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That cancer

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is called predatory

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capitalism.

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When you define net worth

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as the amount of money a person has

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and nothing more,

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then we should stop wondering

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at the results.

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Just ask yourself,

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when was the last time we define net

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worth

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as knowledge and character,

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kindness, mercy, commitment to justice, to human rights,

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to freedom for all people?

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This is what Rasulullah

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SAWAM

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changed.

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He changed the switch in the head and

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the heart. He changed the concept of network

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from Abu Lahab to Abu Bakr, and

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that changed everything.

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Today, we have come full circle

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and nullified that.

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That is the reason for endless wars

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because war makes the highest ROI, the highest

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return on investment.

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War makes profit, and that is why we

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have wars.

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The purpose of wars today is not to

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win territory, is not even to win the

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war, but to continue the war

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forever and ever.

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When the only thing that matters

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is money,

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then human life and values and ethics and

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morals are all distractions.

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To continue with this or not

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is in your court.

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The future belongs to you,

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and it is for you to decide

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what you want it to be for yourself

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and your children.

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Today,

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we are in the middle of another revolution.

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The artificial intelligence revolution, the AI revolution,

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which is further dividing and isolating us.

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Some of our modern ailments

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are loneliness,

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leading to depression and worse, obsession with instant

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gratification,

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disconnectedness,

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emotional distance,

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fear of death,

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diminishing

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social skills, and reduced

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attention spans.

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All are symptoms of fatal malaise that destroys

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the cohesiveness of society

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and concern for one another.

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It's not for nothing that Rasulullah

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sallam defined his as one body

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where if the head aches, the whole body

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feels the pain.

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Do we see that today?

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Today, one of the biggest killers

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for elders is loneliness.

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They have children and grandchildren

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who have no time for them.

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Add to this, the psychological

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manipulation of consumerism by influencers,

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pushing those influenced

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to buy more and more and more.

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Research shows

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that singles

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buy more

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than

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married people, and therefore,

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the institution of marriage and the importance of

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raising families undermine

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and discounted in favor of so called independence

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and freedom.

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We don't stop to ask

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freedom

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from what?

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And what is the benefit of this freedom?

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Technology gives us today free access

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to vast databases

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and the ability to acquire knowledge in almost

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any area

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and flexibility in ways of learning.

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Potentially, this opens the doors

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to multiple career choices,

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but the tools to make good choices

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come from reflective observation of life and abstract

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conceptualization

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to extract application lessons.

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This

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technology

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cannot give us.

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These are mental and spiritual tools

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learned from wise mentors

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who are willing to share what they learned

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if

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you can convince them that you are worth

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their time and effort.

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Because knowledge without experience is merely data.

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To paraphrase from Mark Twain who said this

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about the difference between the right word and

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the almost right word,

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Experience is as different from mere knowledge

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as lightning

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is from the lightning bug.

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In my opinion, there are 4 attitudinal

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skills that are critical to success in facing

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life challenges.

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Winners

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have a high tolerance for ambiguity.

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Number 2, they are willing

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to admit mistakes. Number 3, they are willing

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to learn. And number 4, they are highly

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resilient.

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The enabler of all this is humility.

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Tolerance for ambiguity is essential because life by

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definition

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is a daisy chain of unknowns.

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If unknowns freeze or frighten you, you can't

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move forward.

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What helps is to use

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tools like probability analysis, scenario planning, and so

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on

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and chart the best path forward.

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The goal is.

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The approach

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can and should

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be modifiable.

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The core of this is and Allah.

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Complete and total reliance of the plan that

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Allah

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has for us. We do our best, and

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we trust in his wisdom.

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Willingness to admit mistakes

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and willingness to learn are related.

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Learning doesn't always come from mistakes, but very

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often it does.

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Making mistakes,

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if done intelligently,

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shows the willingness to take risks.

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As they say, the one who risks nothing

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gains nothing.

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But often,

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people are so afraid of the potential embarrassment

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or admitting a mistake that they stay with

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denial.

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We can see some of some very glaring

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examples

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of that globally,

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but it happens at the individual level also.

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The result is the same. Everyone knows you

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are wrong by denying it, you lose respect,

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and more importantly,

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you learn nothing.

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But if you had focused on learning, then

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the cost of the mistake is merely your

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fee for learning.

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I have five questions that I ask myself

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when I make a mistake.

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What happened?

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What could have happened?

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What is the cost of the mistake?

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What should be done next time? And what

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is the way to full proof that process?

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Document

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and move on.

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So my question to you is how do

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you

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deal with the mistakes that you make?

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Finally,

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the most important thing is resilience.

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I have a nesting box

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outside my window.

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Last year,

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2 a pair of old world sparrows made

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a nest and they raised 3 chicks.

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But sadly, a blue jay found them.

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And in about a week,

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despite all my efforts,

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the blue jay killed all those chicks.

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The sparrows were distraught

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and very distressed.

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And then

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when it was all over,

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guess what they did?

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They rebuild the nest

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and there is another brood. This time of

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4 chicks,

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and they all survived.

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And that is why they have more sparrows

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than blue jays.

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Resilience

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is the ability

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to get up after disaster

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and continue.

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As they say, you don't lose a race

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when you fall. You lose it when you

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fail to rise.

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As the Chinese saying goes, if you fall

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6 times,

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get up 7 times.

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Today, we have

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live streaming to us.

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One of the finest examples of resilience

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the world has ever seen in living memory

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anyway.

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From a place called what?

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That is a symbol

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of the greatest strength

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that you can ever imagine.

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And one day,

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it will change the world.

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My brothers and sisters,

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this life

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is like a fertile field.

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It will give you a harvest

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of whatever you plant,

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but only of what you plant.

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We get what we pay for. So be

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very careful

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what you plant

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in your life.

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I may I want to end by saying

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to myself and you,

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it is time to stop living by default

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and to start living thoughtfully

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and deliberately.

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I ask Allah

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to guide us to what is pleasing to

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him and to save us from that which

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doesn't please him because in the end, that

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is the only thing that matters.

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Thank you very much.

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