The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Ineffective People

Based on what I wrote yesterday (, you might find this useful.

Stephen Covey taught us the habits of highly effective people. We learned them, we applied them, and we benefitted greatly from them. David Allen taught us how to get things done. We learned the techniques and our productivity increased dramatically.

But not everyone made gains. There are many people, in fact about 90%, who are still struggling with getting things done. And the reason is that their own habits prevent them from doing what it takes to achieve their goals. Theirs are the 7 habits of highly ineffective people!

How do highly ineffective people pursue their goals?

1. They doubt they have what it takes

Highly ineffective people are tormented by self-doubt. They lack confidence. They are never sure that they have what it takes to be successful. They confuse lack of experience with lack of ability. They see challenges as threats, and hear feedback as criticism. They prefer the familiar to the unknown, and the security of not trying to the risk of failing. Until one day they stop looking for opportunities altogether.

2. They wait too long to get started.

Highly ineffective people procrastinate a lot. And the longer they wait to get something done, the higher the chances that it will never get done.  They perceive time as endless and forgiving, without realising that time—unlike money—is the only resource that when you lose it, you cannot recover it. Those who are able to meet deadlines, even at the last minutes, develop a false sense of confidence that they can get thing done. They don’t understand, however, that getting things done is very different from getting things done well.

3. They lose their patience faster.

Highly ineffective people don’t like to wait too long. They are fans of quick results. Get rich quick. Get thin quick. Get smart quick…And they get disappointed “quick” when they don’t get results fast. They are constantly looking for shortcuts.  Which highway lane is the fastest? Which grocery store line is the shortest?  Which bank teller is the quickest? They are constantly fighting the clock, trying to get things done fast rather than well. But by trading quality for speed, they eventually spend more time fixing errors than making progress.

4. They multitask shamelessly.

Highly ineffective people are unable to focus on one thing at a time. They put too much on their plate and they try to eat it all at once. They will be talking to you, while texting someone else. They will be listening in on a conference call, while building their to-do list for the week. Their idea of making plans is to overbook themselves solid. At the end of the day they feel physically and mentally exhausted, but without much to show for.

5. They want change without having to change.

Highly ineffective people welcome change but they don’t embrace it. They desperately want a change in their life, but resist doing what it takes to change it. They object to new ideas and oppose new practices. They avoid learning new techniques or applying new technologies. And they are blind to different points of view. They are persistent, but they become stubborn. Eventually, they cross they line between persevering and perseverating. They probably invented the phrase: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!”

6. They strive for perfection.

Highly ineffective people work hard, but they waste their efforts on details—details that no one else cares about—and miss the main point. They are more interested in coming up with the “perfect” idea than coming up with a useful idea. They are more invested in creating a flawless product than learning what to do to improve their product. They care more about avoiding making mistakes than learning from them and growing. As a result, their goal pursuit becomes a wild goose chase.

7. They complain a lot.

Highly ineffective people have a very pessimistic view in life. They spend more time and energy complaining about what is wrong with the world, blaming others for it, and feeling sorry for themselves, instead of focusing on finding ways to make things better. They like to make mountains out of molehills. And they also like to believe that they have no responsibility whatsoever for the state of their own lives.

This is how highly ineffective people pursue their goals. These are the actions they take. These are their brainblocks (link is external). And that’s why they struggle to get the results they want.

Be inspired. Inspire others.

Be inspired. Inspire others.

Last week, we talked about how our faith is all about inspiring hope. We all have something to offer to our community. The potential is there. It just needs to be ‘realised’. One way this can happen is to surround yourself with people who are driven, inspired and sincere. I know there’s not many. But thats the point. You have to find them out. And when you do, stick to them. And lastly, never ever ever lose hope. I leave you with this:

The Messenger of God (May Peace and Blessings Be Upon Him) said:

Truly a man enters the Fire and remains in it one thousand years, calling out: O Gracious One, O Bounteous One. Then God will say to Gabriel: Go and bring my creature to me. He continued: So he brings him and halts him beside his Lord, and God says: How did you find your place? So he says: An evil place. So He says: Take him back to his place. So he walks off and turns round and God says: Why are you turning round? So he says: I had certainly hoped that You would not return me to it, after You had brought me out from it. So God says: Take him to the Garden. And this pointed to his hope being the cause of his salvation. (Ahmad)

Let us ask for the boon of success through His kindness and favour.

ISIS’s compounded ignorance is criminal but not a theology

ISIS’s compounded ignorance is criminal but not a theology

We must always be alert to motives behind calls for reform. The actions by ISIS are being used as an opportunity to call again for Muslims to “reform” their tradition or to reject Islam as unfit for modernity and the world we all share. This call is insidious because it makes condemnation of ISIS the launching pad for a sweeping attack on Islam itself and all Muslims. Most Muslims have nothing in common with those joining this murderous group; in fact, the overwhelming majority of ISIS’s victims have been Muslims. ISIS men say, “Obey us or you will die,” while others take the opportunity to say, “You are dying because you are not reforming.” In other words, it is their fault for taking Islam as a living tradition seriously.

Ulum al-Hadith Curriculum

Islamic Studies

Ulum al-Hadith is a vast ocean of a science. It requires extensive reading and study over many, many years. Here is a suggested curriculum for aspiring students of hadith, consisting of a combination of Arabic and English works. It is based on my own experiences and advice from consulting with scholars, as well as the wonderful Multaqa Ahl al-Hadith forum. This is the sort of guide I wish I had when I began studying. One may not necessarily study all the works in each level but extensive study is absolutely required to attain mastery. Note that each level is predicated on studying parrallel levels in other sciences (especially fiqh and usul al-fiqh).


This objective of this stage is to become acquanited with the major features of the hadith literature, nomenclature, sciences, as well as prophetic narrations.

One of the best places to start with regard to the major hadith books is Studies…

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Excerpt: Lessons of Faith by Ḥakīm al-Ummah Ashraf ʿAlī al-Thānawī

Excerpt: Lessons of Faith by Ḥakīm al-Ummah Ashraf ʿAlī al-Thānawī

Bilal Ali Ansari

Produced below is a selection from the first chapter of an upcoming translation of Mawlānā Ashraf ʿAlī al-Thānawī’s work Taʿlīm al-Dīn, which is a concise manual of Islamic precepts that cover a wide range of topics, including theology, law, ethics, mysticism, and politics. The first draft of the entire translation and its footnotes were recently submitted for editing by the translators. My contribution to the translation is confined to the first chapter (minus the footnotes) and the editing of the initial manuscript. Below ten points from the first chapter on Belief and Creed are provided for your benefit.

Belief and Creed (ʿAqīdah wa Taṣdīqāt)

Belief 1: The entire universe was initially nonexistent and came into existence by means of Allah’s origination.[1]

Belief 2: Allah is One, dependent on nothing. Neither did He beget anyone nor was He begotten from anyone. Nothing is comparable to…

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Even in prison, you can carve out a profession – So whats your excuse?

Even in prison, you can carve out a profession – So whats your excuse?

Never let the world around you put you down. It’s what you do with what you have that counts. Let me illustrate this  with a real life example I came across recently:

Robert Stroud, known as the ‘Birdman’ who, from watching birds out his cell window, through a spectacular career of finagling and make do, fabricated a laboratory and become a leading ornithological contributor (study of birds) to medical literature, all from within prison in Alcatraz.

Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates

Asylums: Essays on the Social Situation of Mental Patients and Other Inmates

Just finished reading this book. Its read by sociologists and others – it is considered a classic study of psychiatric hospital patients. The fact that this collection of essays has been in print for almost four decades is consistent with its enduring significance. Although Goffman draws on his research in mental institutions, his writings in this book have much broader relevance. In particular, they have to do with the nature of identity, the processes whereby organisations and groupings seek to change the identities and selves of their members, and the strategies used by group members to resist those changes. At a broader level, this book is about the relationship between person and the groups of which s/he is a part.