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Self Improvement

95 SAVED IDEAS

Ramadan, Islam's holy month of fasting

Ramadan has been observed and celebrated by Muslims for over 14 centuries.

In the seventh century, Prophet Muhammad said that Islam is built upon five pillars and that fasting in Ramadan was one of them.

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Self Improvement

Ramadan means 'intense heat', indicating the scorching summer month to which it was first ascribed. Muslims embrace Ramadan as the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar.

In 610AD, Muhammad retreated to a cave on Mount Hira on the outskirts of Mecca. During this time occurred the first revelation of the Quran. The Quran was revealed to Muhammad over 23 years, and the verses instructing Muslims to fast the entire month of Ramadan came in the latter half of that period.

  • The early Muslims would awake for the pre-dawn meal - known as suhoor, then refrain from eating, drinking and marital relations until sunset, when they broke their fast with dates. Fasting placed a strong focus on improving behaviour.
  • Congregational night prayers (taraweh) is a defining feature of Ramadan, where the entire Quaran is recited.
  • Coffee helps the worshippers stay alert and perform the night prayers.
  • The core rituals of Ramadan have remained unchanged since 622AD.
  • In Ottoman times, drummers in Turkey woke people for the pre-dawn meal. In Morocco, a nafar (town crier) roamed the streets waking people to an instrument's sound, like a horn.
  • In Egypt, a Ramadan lantern became a symbol of the sacred month. Today, intricate lanterns light up homes, shops and lining the streets.
  • Egypt also instituted the 'iftar cannon,' where a cannon was fired to announce the time for breaking the fast.

Prophet Mohammad specified that Muslims feed the poor towards the end of Ramadan.

A portion of dates or barley was given directly into the poor's hands. Over time, the bartering system translated into a monetary one. Now Muslims give a minimum of £5 to mosques or charities.

The festival, known as Eid ul-Fitr, marks the close of Ramadan. Prophet Muhammad appointed it as a day of community and celebration. It started with a special communal prayer.


Breakfast consisted of something sweet, known as 'Sweet Eid'. In the Prophet's time, Eid morning started with a simple breakfast of dates, but as Islam spread through different lands, various sweet dishes were used like sheer-kurma, a milky dessert of vermicelli, nuts and dates.

Laughter as a method of bonding

Laughter is a form of social bonding because it is contagious and allows us to show that we are non-threatening.

We laugh when we see or hear something funny. We laugh to show that we are being silly.

Many anthropologists believe that language existed and evolved in the past few thousand years, but there is evidence suggesting that laughter arose from millions of years ago because we share the same structure of laughter with the great apes.

From a historical perspective it is ironic that tickling in the modern era is considered to be a way to bond for parents and their children because a few centuries back tickling was a form of punishment.

Thanks to evolution laughter became a way for people to enjoy each other's company without any danger or injuries.

The Santa Claus story

Studies state that 83 percent of five-year-olds think Santa Claus is real.

Many children are told that Santa Claus is a man who lives forever, lives at the North Pole, knows what every child in the world wants, drives a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, and climbs through the chimney to get inside your house.

Children are prone to believing in just about anything. A sceptical child has less chance of surviving than the child who unthinkingly listens to his parent's advice.

However, research shows that children are rational and thoughtful consumers of information. Children use many of the same tools as adults to decide what to believe.

Adults use three tools to decide what to believe:

  • The context in which you are introduced to new information will guide your judgment to accept it.
  • The tendency to measure new information against existing knowledge.
  • The ability to evaluate the expertise of other people.

Children use the same tools to decide what to believe. When children hear about something in a fantastical context, they are less likely to think it is real than if they heard about it in a scientific context or from a knowledgeable person.

Parents and others go to great lengths to overwhelm children with evidence about Santa.

  • 84% of parents report taking their child to visit at least two Santa impersonators during Christmas season.
  • The Elf on the Shelf is now a multi-million-dollar franchise.
  • The United States Postal Service promotes "Letters from Santa" programs which provides personal replies to children's letters.

Some philosophers and bloggers claim that engaging in the Santa myth can lead to permanent distrust of parents. However, there is no evidence that it affects parental trust in any significant way.

As children's understanding becomes sophisticated, they can engage with the absurdities of Santa, such as how an overweight man can fit through a small chimney.

Learning from mistakes

It doesn't happen automatically. It requires thinking and reflection. No one likes to fail, lose time and energy. That’s why we need to make an effort to learn from the things that we wish we didn’t do.  

Lessons learned by making mistakes
  • You can't know everything. Be humble.
  • Never blame others for your unhappiness. Take responsibility.
  • Don't waste time on losers. You might become one of them.
  • Most of us have a twisted idea about love.
  • You actually don't have a lot of time.
  • Learning never stops. 
  • Sometimes you need to distance yourself from others and be alone.
  • Small decisions lead to big outcomes.
How well you’re spending your time

Ask yourself: 

  • How much time am I wasting on things that give me zero fulfillment? 
  • Do I like my job? 
  • Do I like the people in my life?
Core Factors In A Happy Life

Research shows 70% of your happiness comes from quality relationships with your family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.

Yet, the biggest factor that interferes with your relationships is your phone. The internet. Social media.

Reverse FOMO

FOMO is the fear of missing out, especially the latest internet hysteria. But FOMO is not the real problem - Reverse FOMO is.  By always being online, you are missing out on real life. An overwhelming online presence is replacing all the things that really make a good life.

Values, Not Lifehacks

Tech is only a tool. How you use it can make it good or not so good.

We don't need a lifehack to control our phone. We need values to ensure that technology serves us, and not the other way around.

Find out what you value in life. Then ask how technology supports those values. Set rules that work for them. If you don't, tech will fill that void by default.

Try A Long Walk Without A Phone

Many of us are scared of being alone with our own thoughts. Our phones are our constant companion to eliminate all moments of solitude.

But self-reflection helps us to gain insight into our values, life, and how we want to live. So, go out and take a long walk to think, without the technology that can interrupt you.

When You're Offline

Historically, when people had more leisure time, they used to engage in quality activities or community engagements like hobbies, or non-professional intellectual pursuits like poetry and novels.

What hobby might bring you more joy or pride? When you know the answer, it will be much easier to curb your tech use.

Make Awesome Plans

Becoming a digital minimalist makes you more invested in real-world conversations. Friendships are deeper than a social media comment on a baby picture. 

Try your best not to socialize digitally anymore. Only use texting for logistics to arrange a get together where you do activities together. Play Monopoly or conquer a neighboring village.

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