Tuesday, 16 February 2010

An inspired queen

What would you do if you were young, elegant and extremely beautiful - with a handsome husband in a position of power and great wealth; a huge residence; the opportunity to travel the world; four beautiful healthy children: 2 boys and 2 girls; and the ready-made adulation of many?

Most of us aren't in this position. But what does your instinct tell you? That you'd sit back and enjoy your charmed life of leisure and family? That you'd relax and enjoy life without a care? That you'd take on a few charity engagements just to justify it all? That you'd never have to work again?

How about choosing tirelessly through every medium, to improve the lives of those around you?

How about working so hard you become... UNICEF's first Eminent Advocate for Children; Co-Founder and Global Co-Chair of 1GOAL;Honorary Chairperson for the UN Girls’ Education Initiative; Chairperson for the Global Campaign for Education; Board Director of the International Youth Foundation; Board member of the World Economic Forum; Foundation Board member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders; Board director of United Nations Foundation; member of the Every Child Council for the GAVI Alliance; Honorary Member of the International Advisory Council for the International Center for Research on Women; Co-Chair of the Arab Open University; Honorary Chairperson of the Jordanian Chapter of Operation Smile.

And, you were thinking it was an effort to even read that list???!

Who are we talking about? Queen Rania of Jordan, in her own words "a mother, a wife, a boss, an advocate, and a humanitarian."

But having titles means little if you don't ACT. Queen Rania has launched a public-private initiative aimed at refurbishing Jordan’s public schools; awards for excellence in education and teachging; an interactive children's museum; a public Health Awareness Society; a Healthy Schools Project; a Scholarship Program in partnership with several leading universities from around the world; Community Empowerment Programs and Children Programs including income-generating projects;a community champion award (Ahel Al Himmeh)to highlight the accomplishments of groups and individuals who have helped their local communities.

Her Child Safety Program addresses the immediate needs of children at risk from abuse and initiated a long-term campaign to increase public awareness about violence against children. “Dar Al-Aman”, the Child Safety Center, was the first of its kind in the Arab region, offering protection and rehabilitation to abused and neglected children, as well as counselling to their families; while the Queen Rania Family and Child Center promotes positive, practical training for parents, and provides facilities to encourage constructive and educational activities for children. She initiated the Al Aman Fund for the Future of Orphans in 2003 and has also partnered with a various number of international universities providing scholarships for Jordanian students to study abroad; and at the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, she launched the "Empowering One Million Arab Youth by 2018" campaign.

Think Public Health and Education, Educational promotion and reform, Children's and Youth initiatives (and writing children's books) are enough to keep anyone busy?! Launched by Queen Rania in May 2008, The Arab Sustainability Leadership Group (ASLG) encourages businesses to show that profit does not have to be sacrificed for the sake of environmental protection and equal opportunity. The regional network brings together the Arab World’s most progressive business, government, NGO and civil society leaders, and is the first of its kind from the region to commit to sustainability and global reporting standards.

It doesn't matter if Rania Al Abdullah has access to wealth and contacts. She still has the same 24 hours a day we have, and this is how she chooses to spend it. You see, it matters little what we have and where we come from, because we can always choose to enrich our lives and those of those around us, more and more each day. If we have much (as she has), we can always give more. If we have little, we however have our capacity to give and to contribute to someone, somewhere.

"No matter where we come from… what we look like… how we dress… or to whom we pray… when it comes to what makes us laugh or cry… when it comes to what we dream of for ourselves and for our children… when it comes to how hard we work each day… we are usually more alike than we are different."
(An extract from a keynote address given to Harvard University by Queen Rania Al Abdullah, May 3, 2007).

Oh... and... she's on facebook and twitter and youtube!

Want to leave your mark on the world? Take Rania as a role model and never rest on your laurels! Oh, and by the way, on Twitter Rania calls herself: "A mum and a wife with a really cool day job..."

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

The road leads over the mountain...

The following poem was sent to me a while back by a really great entrepreneur and spiritually-rich guy, Dr. Javaid Kiyani.I hope you don't mind me sharing it with you. It speaks for itself!

"When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill.
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh!
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit!

Life is unique with its twists and turns,
As every one of us eventually learns.
And many a fellow turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out!
Don't give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow!

Often the goal is nearer than it seems
To the faint and faltering man.
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup.
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit!"

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Believe/ HELP HAITI/ Will Smith on Life

For those who search for life beneath destruction,
For those who know there's hope beyond despair,
For those who seek another option
When someone says "You can't go there"

For anyone who ever dreamt a dream
And knows they'll bring it to reality
For anyone who knows that greatness
Is simply creating destiny

Make each day brighter than its former
Build each a link upon life's chain
Know you're getting a little warmer
Each time you try again, again..

Bend vocation to a holier vision
Give and take in equal share
Watch the birds circle round heaven
Feel the wind surge through your hair...

Never give up, my son, my daughter
And what you seek will follow after.

Folks, don't forget to take a moment out of your everyday lives and give to those less fortunate. I was browsing the pages of "Paris Match" this morning, a report on Haiti. That 8-yr old bundle... with concrete-dusted legs and oozing eyes, crooked arm and fly-covered... being thrown over a wall into a makeshift mortuary: that was and is someone's son, brother, cousin, grandchild...and could have been yours if you'd had the tragic misfortune to be born into the world of this dead child instead of where you are now. Please don't turn away: turn towards this cry for help and HELP A GOOD CAUSE (UNICEF) to help the children of HAITI: those who were luckier to escape with their lives (and to enable dignified burial for those who didn't, like this nameless boy). HELP by donating HERE

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Opportunity Cost and our Breathing Earth

Welcome to Breathing Earth.: A real-time simulation you MUST visit!

As for an answer to why I am spending less time writing on my blog, here's a story about judicious use of time (acknowledgements to Christopher Howard for the text below):

Warren Buffet was asked:

“What do you attribute your success to?”
Buffett responded with a story.

He said that when Bobby Fisher the American chess player, was playing chess against a Russian player, a big debate ensued about whether a human being could beat a computer at chess. All the articles coming out on the question were saying that a human being would never be able to beat a computer because a computer could think through every infinitesimal possibillity and choose the best move to win the game.

But what they found was just the opposite – a human being could not only tie the computer, but could sometimes even beat it through a process of what Buffett called “selective grouping.” Selective grouping is the internal process by which humans can automatically discount 90 percent of possibilities without ever having to consider them fully, so that they can focus their attention on the remaining 10 percent of possible moves that would make the greatest strategic impact.

“If you want to know what makes our overwhelming success,” Buffett responded, “It’s been selective grouping. It’s what we FOCUS on. And equally important, it’s what we choose not to focus on.” The process of choosing what to focus on is occurring in your brain every second of every day. And it is determing what you experience in life and what you don’t experience. It’s a great lesson to apply to time management. It also speaks volumes about focus as one of the most important factors in producing results, since you cannot experience that which you don’t put your attention on. To Buffett’s second point, you must always seriously consider the “opportunity cost” of choosing to focus on things that take your focus away from building (what) you truly deserve...

You must carefully evaluate every investment decision of time and resources, and never be afraid to re-assess situations and ask yourself the question “Knowing what I now know, would I still get involved in what I’m doing?” If the answer is a resounding “NO.” Have the courage and intelligence to step away from these wastes of time, energy, and resourcess and use your time in the highest and most effective way possible, in relation to your ultimate goals."

Couldn't we also apply this principle to climate change, to the Breathing Earth simulation you've just clicked on above? What's the OPPORTUNITY COST of NOT acting now to limit the damage our carbon emissions - and our economically progressive, but environmentally regressive - policies cause? Food for thought...

In the meantime, I will get on with building my business and furthering my eduction, folks, but promise to write personally next post. Until then: be aware of the opportunity cost of YOUR time and your actions...