Discover more from Super Sunday
WELCOME TO SUPER SUNDAY! 🙌
Introduction and what to expect from this space.
Hello friends! 👋🏼
First, thank you for taking the time to sign up and for your trust in what this space is planning to offer. I am humbled by the number of people who signed up in such a short period of time, and I hope you get the value you expect for the time you’re investing!
In this post, I will be covering some basic information as well as provide some perspective on how this project came about in relation to my experiences and aspirations. I will start each post with an overview of the points to be covered, so you can skip to the parts you’re most interested in if you wish to.
DEFINITIONS & NEWSLETTER FORMAT
This section aims to establish a common understanding by clarifying the meaning behind the words I am using. I believe this is important for the course of your reading to ensure you get the most value out of the material shared.
Super: of the same Latin origin “super”, meaning above or beyond, describing something to be larger, greater, and of higher essence than that of its kind. I use this word particularly to describe excellence.
Excellence as the state or outcome (a Sunday that feels excellent) as well as excellence as an act (showing up at my best, every day or at least starting this Sunday 🙂), both embedded in each other and paradoxically related; I will be excellent in my actions if I’m having an excellent day and equally, if not more so, I will have an excellent day if I act with excellence. More on this later as we unpack direct experiences such as hope, motivation, and discipline, to name a few.
Mindfulness: I will borrow the definition from Jon Kabbat-Zin, one of the founding fathers of Mindfulness-Based Interventions, whose articulation I find very encompassing: “paying attention, in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally”1
Mindfulness is simply the active use, and direct experience, of our awareness. It is an innate capacity that is present within every human, we all know how to “focus” or “pay attention” however this ability is usually held hostage to how interesting the thing requiring our focus is. That’s where the practice of “non-judgment” comes in hand. If we are able to remove non-judgment from our present moment experience and be able to “observe” as a witness, we then cultivate the skill of paying attention despite the circumstances - to be able to pay attention on what we want, whenever we want, and for how long we want to is a superpower, to say the least. This means we are more present for the things and people that matter most to us.
Another reason why cultivating mindfulness is powerful lies deeply in the act of paying attention itself. To pay attention is to attend; when we attend to things that are positive in our lives, we experience them more intensely and for longer (known as savoring in positive psychology) thereby enjoying them more, while attending to aspects of our lives that are damaged, hurting, or challenging helps facilitate healing. This concept may sound new to you, but it is isn’t - whatever you attend to benefits from that attention and suffers from lack of it, whether it is your relationships or your closet.
Mindfitness: this term refers to the active use and cultivation of mental capacity and state of mind that helps us navigate challenges, expand on opportunities, and take an active role in designing our life.
The health and level of your mindfitness directly impact the quality of your life - it sets the difference between growth and fixed mindsets, resilience, anti-fragility, goal-setting, and many other aspects that dictate how you engage with and live your life. While psychology is the general umbrella that studies the functions of the mind, we will be focusing specifically on positive psychology perspectives that aim at well-being, satisfaction, joy, achievement, and happiness as well, as an acknowledgment and practicality of working with the “dark side” of life.
To be honest, I haven’t given this much thought apart from telling myself that I will sit and churn out as much value as I can in a weekly newsletter to people who are interested in mindfulness and mindfitness.
I haven’t decided on the layout of the articles, whether the language will be scientific-ish or purely informal, how long each article will be, at what time will I be writing this (and if I even have any time to write this, as I explain below), and a whole lot of other aspects.
Moreover, I have never published an article before, nor have I written about anything similar at length. I am certain I’ve bit more than I can chew, but I am excited I get the chance to share my learnings and journey with like-minded people.
So, brace yourselves for what I hope will end up being an interesting ride and I appreciate your patience and support along the way.
For now and until we land on a specific layout, the format is free-flow writing, released every Sunday. ☺️
ABOUT ME (the longer version) AND MY LIFE PHILOSOPHY
With the majority of current subscribers being friends and family, I think this part may sound redundant. However, in honor of the people who subscribed to this channel without any idea of who I am (I salute you for your support and admire your blind faith in giving your time to some guy, somewhere, blabbering about living a good life 😅🙏🏼) and the future ones who will find themselves exploring this space, here’s a little bit more about me.
My top 5 strengths are curiosity, analytical-thinking, hope, gratitude, and love of learning (what are yours? <— whenever you see an orange colored text it means this is clickable link to a relevant page). These represent an existing innate capacity in me for each of those attitudes, which ultimately impacts my feelings, decisions, and perspectives. Being innate, I can draw on examples from and explain behaviors as far back in my childhood as I can remember, as well as see these strengths weaving my farthest-reaching aspirations and future goals.
I chose to start my introduction with my strengths because they truly represent my story, and in doing so, I also remind myself to further enable and empower them.
For a life well lived, a life of authentic happiness2, it is absolutely critical that we bring our unique strengths to life in everything we do and with everyone we interact with (seriously, click the link to find out yours, we will have a lot of fun unpacking the practicality of these and how to use them to shape your life). Science agrees, for you to flourish, you have to actively bring those personal strengths to your life, it is what changes your job into a career into a calling. Science also shows that 2/3rd of people do not know their true strengths, thereby living a life that may not be in line with their authentic self - lived based strengths dictated by others (companies, societies, parents, etc.)
On the personal front, I am from Iraq - where I was born and raised my first 13 years. In the year 2000 my family and I “moved”3 to the U.A.E. where I’ve resided till date. I’m a Chemical Engineer by background, which fuels my passion for creating processes (analytical thinking) out of the different concepts of life, helping me add science to the art of life, so to speak.
My curiosity and passion for learning have been driving most of my decisions; they are the reason why I’ve created this space to talk about mindfulness and mindfitness. I’m a certified coach through 12-month coaching certification program and currently enrolled in two 2-year graduate programs; Mindfulness (MBSR) Teacher Qualifications at Brown, and Masters of Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology at the University of East London.
My academic and professional journey has been filled with many experiences; equal to my love for enjoying the pleasures of life is my love for learning, which has been generously rewarded; being enrolled into Baghdad College4 - an elite school reserved for the highly gifted, awarded by Cambridge University, the ruler of Dubai, and other university awards to finally graduate with 3.5 GPA.
After graduating from the American University of Sharjah with a minor in Petroleum Engineering, I was very excited to start working in the “black gold” industry, given the level of financial freedom it promised. However, after a brief 3-month internship, I knew the offshore heat and fire-retardant suits were not my cup of tea. I switched industries and have been part of the same Fortune-100 company for last 12+ years spanning different roles in Manufacturing, Quality & Safety, Logistics, Project Management, Strategy, and more recently in Sales, where I currently serve as a Sales Director.
My career has been filled with multiple challenges and achievements; looking back at the last 12 years I can clearly see how my top strengths served me in coping as well as excelling throughout. I continue to be excited about the learnings this part of my life offers and what skills I am able to harness through my engagements.
Separately, my experience with mindfulness started in 2015, primarily through yoga. The slowing down that yoga offered allowed me to see the healing power of silence. When our attention is not being pulled in different directions, we have the ability to see more clearly and be fully present with whatever we have. This, in turn, helps us see issues with a balanced perspective, let go of those issues in the event they prove unnecessary, and, if needed, work towards resolving them by approaching them more effectively.
I am moved by the opportunity to bring mindfulness and mindfitness to whoever I can reach, with a deliberate intention to reach people in the Middle East where I believe it is most lacking and most needed.
My Philosophy and The Content I Will Be Sharing
My aim was to give you a flavor of my paradigm through the brief background and experiences shared above. We all have our own set of experiences that shape our understanding of our world. Some of us spend ample time with ourselves to explore, understand, and validate our assumptions of the world, while others may not have had the privilege to do so - whether preoccupied by work or life, with its responsibilities and pleasures.
I hope to provide you with a fresh perspective through the content of this newsletter. I ask you to keep an open-mind and bring curiosity to the concepts that will be discussed. You can keep whatever resonates with you and toss out whatever doesn’t, given you’ve critically considered and evaluated what you read.
I do not consider myself an expert in defining the ways to a good life, and how can anyone make such a claim? We’ve been contemplating and conceptualizing around the simple term “happiness” for all of our recorded history, without a consensus on one definition yet!
These terms are very subjective, what works for me, may not work for you.
As Nietzsche says “You have your way, I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, the only way, it does not exist.”
In the boundaries of this newsletter, I will share with you my way, and maybe other people’s ways, in an attempt to equip you with insight, tools, and support to find your own way. And if you already have found your own way, to consider other perspectives that may result in an even higher impact with lesser complexity/friction. This information will be through my academic learning - through the graduate programs mentioned earlier, personal reading, and my experiences at work and at home.
Which brings me to the last section of this lengthy post - my philosophy.
First and foremost I believe in simplicity. When things are simple they’re reliable, easier to execute, and most importantly, consistent. Simplicity doesn’t mean it is easy; it may take a lot of effort to simplify complex concepts into simple chunks - simplicity is indeed the ultimate sophistication. It is the clarity that arises as a result which drives the motivation and discipline to show up when needed. We will unpack this further as we talk about habit formation, consistency, and building a protocol.
The simple model I propose consists of three elements:
To live life is to “experience” life. We experience life by seeing it through our own personal lenses or paradigms shaped by our values and beliefs (we’re going to call this mindset from here on). It doesn’t matter what the reality “is”; it is our perception of that reality that generates joy or suffering. For example, something may look pleasant to someone while unpleasant to others. Therefore, our mindset shapes our experience.
With the above knowledge and the work that accompanies cultivating the right mindset comes the realization that we always have the freedom to choose. This is the choice to respond to reality. For example, a challenge may be seen as a threat or as an opportunity for growth. Therefore, we have the power to dictate our experience.
To live a good life, we need to be mindful of our mindsets, and choose the most appropriate response (one that will positively impact our lives) consistently. Small things done consistently, create massive impact.
Employing the above strategies helps me bring out my best to myself, my relationships, and my work/passion. I have identified what an ideal day looks like for me and every.single.morning I tailor my day to fit my ideal state. A masterpiece life is lived one masterpiece day at a time.
How about you? How does your masterpiece day look like? And how often are you able to design it based on the circumstances of that day?
I hope you will take an active role in designing and executing your masterpiece days as we unpack the upcoming editions of the newsletter. I’m looking forward to sharing this journey with you.
Let’s go!! 💪🏼
Edit: if there is a relative topic you’re interested in hearing about, feel free to drop that in the comment below and I will consider for future issues. 😊
Full Catastrophe Living, 1990
Martin Seligman, 2002
I use this word in quotations to note the underlying experience - a more relevant word is escaped, in light of the political and religious oppression my family experienced. As I learn more about how trauma impacts the fabric of our consciousness, I’m in awe of trauma survivors and inspired by the post-traumatic growth that arises, for some, as a result. I mention this not to discount anyone’s feelings but to offer a lens of possibility for those who may have survived physical, psychological, or social traumas.