I recently completed a quarter century on planet earth, not that I remember my exodus from my pre-earth adventure, but I am sure it was on a planet that had some figures to match Kadim and Kahlil Gibran. Here are a few of my revelations thus far:

1. When your daily routine fails to challenge you, it is time to move on.

We get the best out of ourselves when we push ourselves to the limit. If you pause for a second and try to think of your personal ‘limit’ and you fail to define it, this means that you have never achieved it. The power we attain when we combine our mind and soul to produce the will power to challenge ourselves, that is when we push the limits. Challenge yourself daily, make limits, and break them, for you will bring unforeseen joy to your routine.

2. By 25, you must have had at least one major turning point/event that brought out a different you, and usually it can be blamed on a single person.

To the better or to the worst is beyond me, but that seems to be the trend. In my case the literature of Kahlil Gibran has absolutely transformed me and changed my outlook to the world and all aspects of life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for him. For him I will always be grateful and thankful.

3. Make a bucket list and never speak of what goes in it.

Keep it in your mind, on a piece of paper, in a journal or a tin bucket, but make one. I find complete joy ticking off things from the bucket list without telling the rest of the world about it. Why? I don’t know really, but it sure makes it feel a little more sacred and adds a little touch of ‘special’ to it. Have one? Give me a virtual high five. Don’t have one? Well the rest of my blabbing can wait.

4. Your confidence can take you places that would put your childhood dreams to shame.

It can be as simple as putting on massive glasses for the fun of it, dressing as a woman and going into the street (yes! I was 13), or storming into the principal’s office and ringing the bell 10 minutes early (6 years old, I got properly punished), or, or. Be proud of your successes and failures and speak of them only if you want to, either way you are walking a fine line between confidence and arrogance, so be careful.

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5. Selflessness is great, but do treat yourself from time to time.

Count your blessings, go through the list, and pause at each blessing. Now think of all the people that would dream to have what you have. You would be surprised how blessed you are. You don’t need to travel and see for yourself, all you need is a moment to pause and reflect. Devoting some of your time to the help of others goes a very long way, but don’t forget about yourself, for you are part of ‘us’.

6. No matter how many places you come to call home, your birthplace is one that is closest to your heart:

It is still beyond me how after so many years, and a number of places I came to call ‘home’, I still have a magical and unmatched love to my birthplace. It hasn’t offered me a fraction of what my other ‘homes’ offered, and the only memories I have of it are so faint that a simple knock on the head can wipe them clean. I have a number of theories, but none make logical sense. Nonetheless, I like the mystery, and the fact.

7. Live the life that would make your grandkids eager to hear at the dinner table, not one that will bore them to death.

If you think the first couple of chapters thus far are not story time worthy, that’s fine, make it a prequel and start fresh. Be fun, silly and creative, it won’t only make good stories, but will ensure you have a blast while going at it. Call it ‘A blast from the past’; I am sure it won’t be trending by 2070.

8. You are but the product of the most influential people you have come to know in your life

From family, friends, fictional characters, teachers, entrepreneurs, poets, etc. You are but the average of the 4-5 of your idols. You have their good, and their bad.

9. Travelling is far cheaper than you think it is. Get out there and see for yourself.

I find that the most rewarding experience money can buy is traveling. Seriously! I have managed to see many countries for far less dollar per day than what I would spend being home doing my daily things. Book a ticket and be on your way out, half of the travel business is catered to budget travellers. Meet strangers that soon become friends, learn, change, learn and change again. Travelling is a beauty that I have failed to put in words, it leaves you with memories far richer than you can imagine.

10. Being yourself gets you half way; networking gets you through the other half.

You cannot underestimate the power of networking, from family, to friends, to professional networks. It is the most powerful tool of all time, build your networks and regularly maintain them for they are the building blocks of your life as well as your career. Work on your social and networking skills, the ability to meet and socialize with people is a tool that will come handy in crucial scenarios. Imagine tomorrow you bump into your idol; do you know what you are going to say, or how to go about saying it? You better, for it might never happen again.

– Ali Tawfiq

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