Monday, 3 December 2012

Books, Books, Books! Where Are the Gems, Then?

Enhance Your Reading Habit

what will matter is not how much we learned, but how much action we took from what we learned.
We read all the self-improvement books, articles, blogs, listen to lectures, attend seminars, but sometimes we don’t see the results that were promised!
In a quest for reading “X” amount of books, all too often our goal becomes to finish one book so we can move on to the next. Knowing what to do is not the same as doing what you know. The difference is results.
Here are the 5 steps I follow to implement what I learn:
1) Ask this question: Why am I reading this in the first place. 
My Goal setting is quarterly based. I have my one-year goals split into 4 Quarterly goals, split into 2 professional and 2 personal goals per quarter. Each quarter, I review my goals and then I decide what skills I need to learn to achieve my goals.
Based on this – I decide on the materials that I should read. Sometimes there might be a specific skill I want to learn. It might be to – improve my writing or to learn more about social media. Or someone I know is having a problem – say low self-esteem, and I want to learn more about the area of self-esteem, so I can help them with the issue.
Approach the material with a result in mind.

You don’t need to implement everything suggested in the book. Write down the 3 best ideas you want to implement. Then – take one idea you want to implement this week.
Three Best Ideas from the book, Take One Best Idea
If all you did was to implement, measure, and review and improve upon one idea from every book you read, your results would improve dramatically. I think you would be surprised how little impact all your learning has had on your life up until now.
3) I follow a”5:3:1” rule – 5 Books, 3 audio books, 1 live seminar
My System is: per quarter, I read 5 books, listen to 3 audio books, and attend 1 live seminar.
• Books Strategy: Underline, circle, take notes, write on the side and backside of the page, and write “amazing take away gems”! Take three Best Ideas from the books; one to implement this week.
• Audio Books: I prefer to listen to audio programs during my commute time. I load all CD’s to my car audio system and listen to the whole program five to six times. Repetitive listening helps to imprint what I learn – to my mind. Take the best three ideas from the program and one to implement this week.
• Live Seminar: This could be a weekend seminar, or a class you take on a subject. A live seminar helps you to be “in-person” with like-minded people in a room full of vibrant energy – actively doing exercises and assignments.
You can do the same for live seminar study as well – three best ideas, one idea to implement immediately.
• Article study: In social networks (Facebook, twitter, etc), newsletters, or random browsing, I regularly come across good self improvement articles. After I read it once I ask what is the one thing that I can implement, out of it and then I make a note of it. Then I save the article for future reading (One good website to save links is
• Lectures/Talks: Take active notes for the session and save the notes to your journal. Strategy: Same as above – 3 best ideas, one to implement this week.
4) Knowledge Bank
You need to have a placeholder for all the information you gather. This is your knowledge bank. All my best ideas, gems, success thoughts go to my knowledge bank. You can maintain it via Google docs, or a word document (I have my knowledge bank as a blog whose website address is known only to me!)
Since I categories my journal based on topics – ex. Leadership, Worship, Physical fitness, Book Gems, Article Gems, etc., my knowledge bank comes in handy when I want to review the things I learned. I also refer to my knowledge bank when I want ideas for my next article!
5) Review the Results of Your “Idea” Implementation
When you pick one idea that you are going to implement this week, write down what it is and also pick a time for you to review it one week later.
It is very important to have a fixed time to review your results based on the idea you implemented. Did it work? How much I improved compared to last week. What other skills do I need in addition to this? And then – make your self-improvement plan accordingly.
At the end of the day/month/year/life – what will matter is not how much we learned, but how much action we took from what we learned.
Take action on what you learn, and soon you will start making an impact – in your life and in the lives of those around you, Insha Allah.

Turkey requested Nato missile defences over Syria chemical weapons fears

A Dutch Patriot missile installation
A Dutch Patriot missile installation. The Dutch and German parliaments are expected to approve the deployment of Patriot systems in Turkey this week. Photograph: Robert Vos/EPA

A request by Turkey for Nato Patriot missile defences to be deployed on its territory followed intelligence that the Syrian government was contemplating the use of missiles, possibly with chemical warheads, Turkish officials have told the Guardian.
The officials said they had credible evidence that if the Syrian government's aerial bombardment against opposition-held areas failed to hold the rebels back, Bashar al-Assad's regime might resort to missiles and chemical weapons in a desperate last effort to survive.
The Turks believe that the regime's Soviet-era Scuds and North Korean SS-21 missiles would be aimed principally at opposition areas but could easily stray across the border, as Syrian army artillery shells and mortars have done.
A missile, especially with a chemical warhead, would represent a far greater threat to Turkish border communities, so Ankara decided last month to ask Nato to supply Patriot missile defence systems, which can spot an incoming missile and intercept it.
"We have intelligence from different sources that the Syrians will use ballistic missiles and chemical warheads," a senior Turkish official said. "First they sent the infantry in against the rebels and they lost a lot of men, and many changed sides. 
Then they sent in the tanks, and they were taken out by anti-tank missiles. So now it's air power. If that fails it will be missiles, perhaps with chemical warheads. That is why we asked Nato for protection."
The New York Times reported that western intelligence officials had spotted new signs of activity around Syrian military sites where chemical weapons are stored. A senior US official was quoted as saying: "[T]hey're doing some things that suggest they intend to use the weapons. It's not just moving stuff around. These are different kind of activities."
The Syrian regime is believed to have stocks of mustard gas, sarin nerve gas and possibly VX, another nerve agent. Western governments have warned Assad that any use of these weapons would trigger direct military intervention against him. So far, western officials say there are no signs of the regime taking the final steps of preparing chemical artillery shells, missiles or aircraft bombs for use. 
The deployment of Dutch and German Patriot systems is due to be voted on by those countries' parliaments this week, and Turkish diplomats expect it to be approved. The same two countries supplied the launchers and missiles the last time Patriots were deployed in Turkey, in 2003 during the Iraq war.
In recent days the rebel Free Syrian Army has succeeded in shooting down Syrian government aircraft with shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles, in a potential turning point, but Turkey still expects a protracted struggle for the upper hand in the bloody civil war, in which it estimates 50,000 people have died.
Turkish officials still believe the best chance of a breakthrough that would cut short the conflict would be for Russia to withdraw its backing for Assad, forcing the Syrian president, his family and immediate entourage into exile, and thereby removing the most serious obstacle to talks between the opposition and the government.
Russia has blocked any punitive UN security council measures and has supplied the Syrian regime with arms and economic support. In recent weeks it is reported to have flown in tonnes of freshly printed banknotes to allow Damascus to pay its soldiers.
 But Turkish officials believe Russian backing for the Syrian leader is finally fading. "Privately they have been telling us that they accept he is going to go," a senior official said.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is expected to fly to Turkey on Monday for bilateral talks with the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which Erdogan will keep up the pressure for the Russians to pull the plug on their closest Middle East ally. 
"We are asking the Russians whether or not they want to help build a stable Syria after Assad," a Turkish official said.
A regional peace initiative launched by Egypt's president, Mohamed Morsi, in August, involving Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, foundered on Saudi objections to Iranian involvement. Both Egypt and Turkey, however, believe that Iran has to be engaged in the search for a peace deal as it is Assad's only regional ally and an important source of weapons.
Turkey has sustained the effort by organising three sets of trilateral talks: Turkey, Iran and Egypt, whose leaders met in Islamabad late last month to discuss the Syrian crisis; Turkey, Iran and Russia; and Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Ankara believes that all those relationships will be vital in rebuilding Syria after the conflict, but that Russia's role will be decisive in bringing it to an end.