Gamifying Good Habits

Everyone wants to be more productive. Or maybe its just me. We have short life spans and limited time to do stuff and make an impact and leave a legacy. An example to follow for our kids, if we are so lucky to leave them a way of life that follows the Quran and Sunnah. A life fulfilled is a life lived in making this world a better place for generations after us.

The more you can focus on the most productive activities and the more you can invest your time in the activities that have the longest lasting impact, the better. That is why Dawah: inviting people to Allah is such a huge deed. If someone is guided to the right path and lives a good life because of us, all their good deeds and the good deeds of the people whom they influence will be in our account of good deeds until the Day of Judgment. That is the power of Dawah. But that’s a separate article in and of itself inshaaAllah.

I’m always looking for better productivity and the biggest bang for my buck so to speak. I watch the productivity space and try to become an early adopter of the new research and the ideas and products that become available in this category. This topic has been trending lately: habit formation using apps to form good habits and to get rid of bad habits. These apps, specially game like apps that encourage good behavior, reinforce good habits through competition and repetition. Even the simplest achievement of a continuous streak of activity for the past X number of days, weeks or months gives a sense of satisfaction and maybe enough motivation to keep going. Once the habit is formed, it is part of us.┬áIn Islam, we have the five daily prayers that also help to form the habit of punctuality as one of its aspects.

There are tons of apps nowadays that work on building habits this way. Perhaps it is not applicable to every learner and every type of learning, but it does seem to be in line with human psychology in general. I have seen it work with learning languages. I have also formed some habits this way that I struggled to form for a number years before. It does work for me and may well work for a lot of people.

We are a sum of our beliefs and actions. If they are correct and good, we are set for life on this blue planet and the eternity in the hereafter.

And Allah knows best.

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How do I become a better version of myself?

We should all be asking this question to ourselves regularly, daily, weekly, monthly and annually. Take account of our past selves and strive to enhance it in any way possible. One thing is for sure, we as human beings don’t remain stagnant. If we are not improving, know that we maybe becoming worse off. If nothing else, we are losing the time we have on earth with the passing of every second. So let’s ask ourselves this regularly: how can I become a better version of myself.

Analyze, but don’t over analyze, our lives to determine areas of improvements and work on them regularly so they become second nature to us. Our habits define us. Make those habits really the best possible daily things we do really well. Research and find the best way to do them, learn from someone who can coach us well if needed. It’s like posture, if we sit in an awkward way most of the day, everyday for a long time, our bodies will get accustomed to that bad posture. We want to get that fixed from day one if possible.

Our lives on this plant are finite. But we are created for eternity. Even after we die, we will never cease to exist. In fact, our belief is that the real life will begin after death. That life is eternal where there will be no death. And that life will depend upon our faith and deeds in this world. If we are smart, we will focus more on the next life, while not at all neglecting this life. For now, this life is the most important commodity we have for it determines the outcome in the next life. But our goal is not to achieve all that this life has to offer, because we see daily that nobody takes a single penny with them when they depart. So the smart ones are those that make the best of this life in order to get the best outcome of the real life that is to come after death, the eternal life. So the habits I spoke of earlier, should really be carefully crafted to ensure that we are not doing ANYTHING to jeopardize our well being in the next life.

In summary, regularly seek to enhance ourselves in every way we possibly can, craft good habits so that good deeds become second nature to us and focus on the real goal: the next life.

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