\r\n\r\nEveryone makes assumptions. <strong><em>We do it all day long.<\/em><\/strong> We assume that the man we are attracted to would not want to marry us. We assume that we won\u2019t get a raise if we ask for it. We assume that a new diet won\u2019t work for us. If we\u2019re really stuck, we assume that there\u2019s nothing we can do to change our lives for the better.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nBut the truth is we all have faulty assumptions. We have lots of them.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nConsider that if everything you believed were true, you\u2019d have exactly the life you desire. If everything you believed about money were actually true, you\u2019d have more of it than anyone else. <strong><em>So if your life is lacking in some way, then you believe things that aren\u2019t true.<\/em><\/strong>\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nWhen we hold faulty beliefs, we make faulty assumptions. It\u2019s a trap, because testing all of our assumptions is a great way to find the truth.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nRather than assuming a course of action is doomed to fail, try your best and give your prayers the best chance to say \u201cyes.\u201d The power of the guidance prayer <em>istikhara<\/em>, asks Allah to guide you to the best course of action, whether you assume you will succeed or fail. It takes the thinking out of it and leaves the outcome completely to Allah, leaving you satisfied that whatever it is, it was the best for you. Without it, maybe you\u2019ll be right and maybe you\u2019ll be wrong. But this dua is the only way to know for certain.\r\n\r\nJabir bin `Abdullah narrated in a hadith that <strong><em>\u201cThe Prophet (pbuh) used to teach us the way of doing Istikhara, in all matters as he taught us the Surahs of the Qur\u2019an."<\/em><\/strong> <em>[al-Bukhari]\u00a0<\/em>\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>Try these steps to learn the truth:<\/strong>\r\n\r\n \r\n<ol>\r\n \t<li><strong>Pick 2 areas of your life that could use improvement.<\/strong> Perhaps it\u2019s your weight and your finances. It might be your love life,<em> deen<\/em>, marriage or your career. The areas in which you\u2019re struggling are the areas with the most incorrect assumptions.<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Find someone that\u2019s doing better in your areas of interest.<\/strong> We all have a co-worker or friend that seems to defy all logic and have a high-level of success. Maybe you have a co-worker that always seems to get the best bonus or the promotion, in spite of appearing average or even low performing. Or you have a friend who not only manages a full time, high-powered job, but also manages to find the time to further herself in academia.<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong>In your opinion, what are the \u201crules\u201d being violated by that person?<\/strong> What do you think they\u2019re doing incorrectly that <em>should<\/em> be stopping them from success?<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Could you be wrong?<\/strong> Is there a way to test your hypothesis and discover the truth? Keep in mind that a solid experiment requires more than a single test. You can\u2019t try a new way of doing things just the once to reach a reasonable conclusion. It might take multiple tries and a few weeks of trying new methods!<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Keep testing your beliefs and assumptions. <\/strong>There are numerous times each day we don\u2019t try because we assume we\u2019ll be told \u201cno.\u201d <em>Find out if you\u2019re actually right. It goes without saying that you are likely to <\/em>remember a time where you knew you would be told \u201cno,\u201d but you went ahead and asked anyway, and much to your surprise, everything worked out. How many other times might that happen if you simply tried?<\/li>\r\n<\/ol>\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li><strong><em>For a month, give yourself the gift of testing out every possibility that comes to mind, without risking life and limb.<\/em><\/strong> There\u2019s no reason to prove that you can\u2019t flap your arms and fly. But ask the object of your desires out on a date. Apply for the job you\u2019re sure you can\u2019t get. Put your online business idea into action.\u00a0After a month, you\u2019re sure to find you were wrong about many things. You\u2019ll also discover that the times you were right weren\u2019t nearly as painful as you anticipated!<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n \r\n\r\nLearning how to deal effectively with the world requires stretching yourself and gaining experience. As you discover new distinctions, your perception of the world will change and your approach to life will see positive benefits. Don't be afraid to fail.\u00a0How many mistakes or failures have you experienced over the course of your life? Imagine how your life would be if you never made a particular mistake more than once. Most of us repeat the same mistakes over and over. Mistakes have value: you can learn from them. Similarly if you can repeat your successes and avoid repeating mistakes, everything becomes easier. Life is also a lot more fun and rewarding.\r\n\r\nIn essence\u00a0make the conscious\u00a0choice to use reflective thinking and seek \/ build success within your life.\r\n<h2 style="text-align: center;"><em><strong>The unexamined life is not worth living."<\/strong> [Socrates]<\/em><\/h2>\r\n \r\n\r\n<strong>Evaluate your successes and failures each day:<\/strong>\r\n<h2 style="text-align: center;"><em><strong>"O you who believe! Fear Allah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for tomorrow, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you do.\u201d<\/strong> <\/em>[Qur'an 59:18]<\/h2>\r\n<ol>\r\n \t<li><strong>At the end of each day, determine the positives and negatives.<\/strong> Perhaps your boss yelled at you and you had a great workout. Consider the entire day and focus on the positive and the negative. The idea is to eliminate the negative outcomes and increase the likelihood of the positive outcomes occurring again. Take stock of your day. Umar Ibn Khattab, one of the companions, accounted himself every day by asking: <strong><em>"Oh soul, what did you do today? What did you do today?"<\/em><\/strong> Remember, every day is a blessing and an opportunity to start afresh. Each day there should be a strive to be a better day. Categorise your actions and decide which ones are purposeful and which ones are not. Seek forgiveness and thank Allah.<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Determine the cause of each outcome.<\/strong> Why did your boss yell at you? Is it something you could control? If she yelled because her husband left her, that\u2019s out of your control. However, let\u2019s suppose she yelled because your report was two days late, and you\u2019ve been showing up to work 15 minutes late. What have you learned from this? What will change tomorrow?<\/li>\r\n<\/ol>\r\n<ol start="3">\r\n \t<li><strong>Take advantage of your new knowledge.<\/strong> How can you avoid getting in trouble with your boss in the future? Get your work done on time and show up on time. If you want to continue having great workouts, get to bed at a reasonable time, take a snack to work, and make the time to eat it. Action, action, action!<\/li>\r\n<\/ol>\r\n<ol start="4">\r\n \t<li><strong>Create a plan to use the new knowledge.<\/strong> You could purchase a book on beating procrastination and resolve to get all your work done on time. You could improve your work habits and learn how to avoid wasting time. You could set your alarm earlier and streamline your morning routine to arrive on time each day.<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Visualise success.<\/strong> <strong><em>Imagine yourself behaving in the new manner.<\/em><\/strong> Imagine the positive benefits you\u2019ll receive.<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Remind yourself of the consequences if you don\u2019t follow through.<\/strong> What would happen if you continued to be tardy to work and your assignments were completed late? Your employment status would be in jeopardy. That\u2019s a serious consequence for most of us. Poor workouts could mean that you never lose those last 15 pounds.<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Monitor your thoughts and feelings.<\/strong> If you\u2019re resistant to changing, changing will be much more difficult. Let go of your negative thoughts and feelings. It\u2019s natural to resist change, but you can do it.<\/li>\r\n \t<li><strong>Monitor your results.<\/strong> Are you praying on time?\u00a0Are you completing your work on time? Are you arriving on time? How are your workouts?<\/li>\r\n<\/ol>\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>New habits are challenging to form. It may take time until your new strategies become automatic. Apply the Islamic principle of doing <strong>consistent<\/strong> actions even if small. This will create measurable and meaningful habits,<em>\u00a0<\/em><i>insha Allah<\/i>.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>Continue honing your process until your results are acceptable. Small adjustments will be necessary along the way.<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\n<h2 style="text-align: center;"><em><strong>"The world is three days. As for yesterday, it has vanished along with all that was in it. As for tomorrow, you may never see it. As for today, it is yours, so work on it.\u201d<\/strong> [Hasan Al-Basri]<\/em><\/h2>\r\nAfter a few months, you might find that you\u2019ve ticked most of your everyday mistakes. You might be better served by sitting down once a week and reviewing the week as a whole. Consider all the different areas of your life: relationships, faith, finances, work, health, prayers and so on. Use reflective thinking to enhance your life. Get value from your victories and defeats.\r\n\r\nIn Ramadan, use the month to reflect on your yearly goals. Use the special month to reflect on the year gone, your next goals and ask Allah to help you achieve your goals. What better time than Ramadan to develop new habits of mindfulness and actions?