Today, there are over 500 million Muslims throughout the Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh), making it one of the largest population centers of Muslims in the world. Since Islam first entered India, it has contributed greatly to the area and its people. Today, numerous theories about how India came to be such a largely Muslim land exist. Politically, some (such as the Hindutva movement in India) try to make Islam seem foriegn to India, by insisting it only exists because of invasions by Arab and Persian Muslims. The truth, however, is far from that.
Wildfires have been spreading across California all summer. Hundreds of thousands of acres are already scorched, and the conditions are ideal fuel for more devastating blazes. Over 80 percent of California is in the midst of an exceptionally severe drought as a result of erratic weather patterns caused by climate change.
The connection between your mind and body is very powerful and although it cannot be visually seen, the effects your mind can have on your physical body are profound. We can have an overall positive mental attitude and deal directly with our internal challenges and in turn create a healthy lifestyle or we can be in negative, have self destructive thoughts and not deal with our internal issues, possibly even cloak those issues with affirmations and positivity without finding the route and in turn we can create an unhealthy lifestyle. Why is this?
Our emotions and experiences are essentially energy and they can be stored in the cellular memory of our bodies. Have you ever experienced something in your life that left an emotional mark or pain in a certain area of your body? Almost as if you can still feel something that may have happened to you? It is likely because in that area of your body you still hold energy released from that experience that is remaining in that area. I came across an interesting chart that explores some possible areas that various emotions might affect the body.
This is the seventh of a series of eight articles on ‘Productive Thinking’. The series aims to address the challenges that Muslims face on many different levels when it comes to productivity. These levels include: the mental, emotional and physical levels. This series will tackle thinking and mindset on the mental level; negative emotions like anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, fear, etc. on the emotional level; and habits on the physical level. (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6)
This article will explore the DISC behaviour profile and offer solutions on how to overcome associated self-sabotage to maximise your productivity and actualise your potential. It also includes an exercise that will help you identify your real values.
Behaviour Styles and Self-Sabotage Patterns
Your behaviour profile, or personality profile as many people like to call it, is a profile that indicates how you normally see the world and function. I think calling it a personality profile is restricting because the profile does not define who you are as a person. Besides, your personality is a combination of your values, beliefs, identity, habits, attitudes, motivations and emotions. Behaviour profile mainly shows your unconscious thinking style, behaviour and communication styles. It shows how you behave under certain situations and shows your strengths and weaknesses (areas of improvement). Behaviour can be changed, but if you say this is my personality and this is who I am, then your behaviour becomes your identity and it becomes a challenge to change.
The purpose of this section is to highlight the aspect of productivity that people rarely talk about and are unaware of: The four major behaviour styles and how each style affects productivity. It is often what we are not aware of that trips us up.
Imam Sakhawi said: “Whoever knows themselves knows their Lord”. It is only through knowing ourselves that we learn to appreciate the wisdom of our Creator. It is even more than that. It is through knowing ourselves that we can maximise our strengths, mitigate our weaknesses and reach our full potential.
By knowing the different behaviour profiles, you will get insight into why some people have challenges seeing a vision or setting goals for themselves and why some people have challenges following through.
“And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge.” (Qur’an: Chapter 30, Verse 22).
It is from Allah’s wisdom that people are created to be different, everyone with his/her strengths and weaknesses, so we all learn from and complement one another and work together. It is about knowing where your strengths lie and maximising them, then learning the strength of others and how they think and view the world, so that we can model different aspects of their behaviour to achieve our higher purpose. The key is to be flexible in our thinking and action.
“The first step towards change is awareness,” says Nathaniel Branden, author of The Psychology of Self-Esteem.
For the sake of simplicity and for the purpose of this article, I will be generalising quite a lot to make the behaviour profile and patterns simple to understand. There are so many levels to this and many nuances and combinations, which is not within the scope of this article.
The DISC profile includes four main behaviour profiles:
- Dominance: the type who wants to win
- Influence: the type who wants to be liked
- Steadiness: the type who wants to be comfortable
- Conscientiousness: the type who wants to be right
An individual has a behaviour profile that is a combination of at least two types and at most three, but he/she can usually be identified by one dominant type.
Please keep in mind the following three thinking patterns (motivators) as we move forward:
• Moving away or moving towards (Pain/pleasure motivated)
• Detail or big picture thinker
• People-oriented or task-oriented
Masturbation is defined as the manual stimulation of the male or female genitals, not by sexual intercourse, designed to produce an orgasm. Masturbation is totally forbidden in Shari’ah.
One of the most humiliating problems that the constant male masturbator suffers from when he attempts to have sexual relations is premature ejaculation or the failure to maintain an erection. When a person is masturbating, he tends to reach his orgasm as quickly as possible but in sexual intercourse, he normally has to attempt to control his excitement which can impose a great strain on those who indulge in self abuse over a lengthy period.
Those who achieve insufficient satisfaction from sexual intercourse and return to masturbation or never give it up suffer a great torment. Sex life is empty for them, which leads to many more problems, marital disputes, divorce, etc.
Therefore, people who continuously masturbate lose out all round. The physical pleasure becomes reduced to a natural act like urinating or excreting and at the back of their minds there is an awareness that they are missing out on the real pleasures of life. No adult can honestly claim to masturbate without a guilty feeling of complete uselessness. Masturbation is merely an exhaustive rather than constructive undertaking resulting in nothing but total loss. Once orgasm has been achieved, there is nothing left except a feeling of complete emptiness.
Steps in overcoming masturbation
Be assured that you can be cured of your difficulty. Many have been, both male and female. And you can also be cured if you determine that it must be so. If you want to give it up, you need will power and determination. Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said, ‘The Niyyat of a believer is better than the act.’
This determination is the first step. That is where we begin. Firstly, you must decide that you will end this practice and when you make that decision, the problem will be greatly reduced at once. But it must be more than a hope or a wish more than knowing that it is good for you. You must realize that this is a great evil and you have to want to give it up.
It must be actually a decision. If you truly make up your mind that you will be cured, then you will have the strength to resist any tendencies which you may have and any temptations which may come to you. Ask Allah to help you and give you strength and steadfastness to succeed.
After you have made this decision then observe the following specific guidelines.
1. First step is to realize that you are violating Allah’s command and you are bringing upon yourself a life long destruction and harm.
2. Never touch the intimate parts of your body unnecessarily.
3. Avoid being alone as much as possible. Find good company and stay in this good company. Remember, an idle mind is the devil’s (Shaytaan) workshop.
4. If you are associated with other persons having this same problem, you must break off their friendship. Never associate with other people having the same weakness. Don’t suppose that both of you will quit together, you never will. You must get away from people of that kind. Just to be in their presence will keep your problem foremost in your mind.
The problem must be taken out of your mind for that is where it really exists. Your mind must be on other and more wholesome things. It is mentioned in a Hadith that a person is upon the way of his friend. (Bukhari, Tirmizi)
5. When you bath, do so as quick as possible.
6. When in bed, if that is where you have your problem for the most part, dress yourself for the night so securely that you cannot easily touch your vital parts so that it would be difficult and time consuming for you to remove those clothes. By the time you started to remove protective clothing, you would have sufficiently controlled your thinking and the temptation would leave you.
If the temptation seems overpowering while you are in bed, engage in something useful. The purpose behind this suggestion is that you focus your mind on something else. You are the subject of your thoughts, so to speak.
7. Never look at pornographic material.
8. The attitude of the individual has an effect on how easy it is to overcome. It is essential that a firm commitment be made to control this habit. The person must first realize the evil of this act. Secondly he must understand the reason for this behavior.
After these 2 steps, the individual needs to become sensitive to the situations and conditions which may cause a person to commit this vile act. Hence a person must guard himself from anything, which may trigger a desire for this act. By following these steps, a person gains the ability to gain victory from this act, hence the power to control this filthy practice is developed. Remember you need also a bit of will-power.
What Is Self-Sabotage?
Self-sabotage is any thought, feeling, action and/or behaviour that holds you back from achieving your goals. There is usually a conflict between your conscious desires and your unconscious patterns of thinking, feeling and behaviour.
Sometimes, it seems like there is something holding you back from reaching your goals and succeeding. Sometimes, people might even think they are being affected by magic or that someone is sabotaging their success.
Manifestations of Self-Sabotage In Your Life
Self-sabotage can occur in your work or profession, i.e. you do not go for that promotion or position you know is going to make a difference in your life. It could also affect your studies or business, when you do not put yourself out there or market your products and services that you know people need and can benefit from. It could be in your health where you keep starting and stopping, again and again, that exercise schedule or meal plan, thus preventing yourself from gaining muscle or shedding those last few kilos.
Just when you are about to have a breakthrough, something happens that forces you to start all over again. It is that resistance in starting a project or typing the first paragraph. It is that sleepiness and yawning that takes over you every time you sit down and work. You keep over-eating. People keep calling you, they keep interrupting you. Things keep getting in the way.
But no, it is you who keeps getting in your own way. It is you not saying no to the distractions. It is you not saying yes to opportunities and breakthroughs. It is you not making those decisions that need to be made.
“What comes to you of good is from Allah , but what comes to you of evil, [O man], is from yourself…” [Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 79]
“And whatever strikes you of disaster – it is for what your hands have earned; but He pardons much.” [Qur’an: Chapter 42, Verse 30]
You are not to blame and it is not your fault, but you are responsible. Make sure you understand the distinction between blaming yourself and taking responsibility. Blame and guilt are not healthy, responsibility is.
Nobody can change things for you; it has to come from your heart and from the inside. Once you make that commitment, take on that responsibility and decide that you are not willing to settle for mediocrity anymore, Allah will help you change anything you want.
“… Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves…” [Qur’an: Chapter 13, Verse 11]
Are You Displaying Self-Sabotage Patterns?
The following are just a few common patterns of self-sabotage:
- All the unconscious fear (See Part 4)
- Wanting to always be right
- Tolerating mediocrity and Level 3 Living (See Part 2)
- Not telling the absolute truth
- Focusing on secondary goals
- Doing things alone
- Reinventing the wheel
- Not saying ‘No’ to distractions
- Not saying ‘Yes’ to opportunities
- Controlling people
- Critical judgement of self and others
- Creating dramas and stories
*Make sure you understand the difference between striving for perfection and striving for excellence (ihsan), which is what we have been told to strive for.
Perfection is for our Creator alone, and only He is Perfect and His Book is perfect. We are not, and will never be perfect. But we can be excellent! Our imperfection is perfection in itself because that is the way Allah created us. If He wanted us to be different, He would have made us different. That, though, is a whole other discussion in itself.
I used to be proud of being a perfectionist.That was my identity: I am a ‘perfectionist’. This changed when someone I admire said: “You’re not a perfectionist, you’re an ‘imperfectionist’ because all you ever look for are imperfections, in things, in what you do, in people and in the world.”
Perfectionists do not have high standards, they have no standard. This is because their standards are so high that things are unachievable, so they might as well not have any standard. Moreover, perfection is subjective: Perfect according to whom? What is perfect for you might not be what others want and vice versa. There are many people who do not care about the small details over which you are obsessing.
“There is no worse sickness for the soul, O you who are proud, than this pretence of perfection.” — Rumi