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Unleash your Talents

By Ashraf Al Shafaki

Benefits

This course aims at providing you with a road map to integrate more happiness into your life. By actively participating in this program and following up on it after completing the training you will be gradually yet steadily building up and living a generally happier lifestyle.

Objectives

By the end of this course you will:

  • Know what really makes you happy in life.
  • Be able to enjoy life more fully in your own way despite what other people might think or say.
  • Start living small versions of your true dreams.
  • Make peace with yourself.
  • Become more satisfied with your daily life.
  • Learn how to get things done with minimal effort on your side.
  • Have the necessary resources that assist you in getting things done.
  • Learn how to increase your circle of friends and connections.

What's Different

If you have previously read about or attended workshops about how to accomplish your dreams, here is what is different about this workshop:

  1. Be Yourself: We do NOT try to make you change yourself. Accomplish your dreams without making any attempt whatsoever to change yourself.
  2. Find your Dream: Discover your true dreams. We do not assume that you already know what you really want. We guide you through a straightforward step-by-step procedure by which to discover what you really want and what would make you really happy.
  3. Seek Others' Support: We do not ask you to use strong will and perseverance and walk the road alone, instead we assist you in creating and maintaining a support team that would push you towards realizing your dreams even if you do not have a strong will.

Strategies

This course will help you achieve your dreams through the following 3 strategies:

  1. Changing your ideas.
  2. Guiding you through a set of tools to discover your talents and real dreams.
  3. Providing you with the path and support tools to assist you in realizing your dreams.

Activities

  • Buy groups of cards from Samir and Ali. Keep them at Bikya with a pen next to them. Whoever enters Bikya can pick a card and write some ideas of her own on the card then leave it at Bikya after leaving her contact info on the card. She can write her needs and what she can offer. The cards can then be used in an Idea Party.

Steps

This training employs a 3-step program starting by finding your true sources of happiness followed by keeping record of your dreams and finally acting, with the help of others, to carry out activities and actions that would unleash your talents making your life happier in the process.

Uncovering your True Sources of Happiness

Many of us are hypnotized with a canned set of goals that society prescribes and convinces us that they are the true sources of success and happiness. Although money, fame and power may be common human aims yet what brings each of us true happiness differs from one person to the other.

The first step in the happiness program is for each to try and find his or her true sources of happiness. This training will provide you with simple methods to delve deep into your true self and discover what really makes you happy by going back to your childhood to know what made you happy then.

Documenting your Dreams

You might have many dreams you would love to achieve. After completing the first step and discovering what your true sources of happiness are, you now have the freedom to go wild with your imagination with your dreams after breaking free from what society had dictated should be your goals in life or sources of 'success'. You then start the second stage by writing down your dreams one at a time. By actually writing down what you would love to achieve and do in life you are actually starting the process of achieving it and starting to exercise true happiness itself. Besides providing you with the first trickles of happiness, the process of writing your true dreams will help condition your mind to act on getting you closer to achieving your dreams when decision making is involved during day to day decisions (such as taking a training course or not, buying something, applying for a certain job ... etc). Writing down your dreams on paper is the first step on the road of achieving some of them.

Living your Dreams

Some dreams might be too faraway or just too difficult to achieve for you. The happiness training will provide you with the means by which you can get closer to achieving your dreams. The two sources of help provided by the happiness training are: using a reverse map to help you chart the road to achieving your dream and using a close support group of people to assist you in achieving your dreams through a network of connections and personal support.

The role of a dream can also be to show you what really makes you happy. If a dream appears to be too far for you or too difficult to attain right away then perhaps you could aim first at a miniature version of that dream. By actively seeking to live such a miniature version of your true dream, you will start experiencing an increased level of happiness in your life. This increased level of happiness will make you a person who is better capable of achieving the larger dream. Instead of just trapping your far fetched dreams in your imagination, documenting them by writing them down then acting on them by attempting to implement if only miniature versions of them is the alternative life style that this program helps you achieve.

Getting Help

You get help through the support of others who understand, appreciate, encourage and even push you towards realizing your dreams. Obstacles in your path to realizing your dreams can be dealt with through team meetings in which attendees pour in their thoughts on how to tackle obstacles you see in your path towards your realizing dreams.

Volunteering

Finally, the program introduced volunteering as a flexible and easily attainable way to get a taste of sustainable happiness through selecting and participating in activities that are related to your true sources of happiness.

Sustaining Happiness

As you start putting more happiness into your life it is a good idea to work on sustaining those happiness gains you have managed to reach and even work on increasing them more. The method used to attain this is through being thankful for what you have. The more thankful you are the more sustainable your happiness will be and the more it can even increase. Here are steps of being fully thankful with each step being a prerequisite for the next one and with each further step you rise up to a higher level of thankfulness:

  1. Think about a gift you have. Think about how lucky you are to have it. Feel grateful in your heart for that.
  2. Thank God for having that gift.
  3. Make use of that gift to help others.

Following the previous three stages of thankfulness for a specific gift guarantee sustaining it and even increasing it.

Wrong Ideas

  • The all or nothing approach (I either do big or nothing at all).

Living your Dream: Delayed Vs. Instant Experience 

Delayed

A prevalent belief is that one should stand the pain and be patient and take in his suffering and work hard and withstand being tired now in order to be happy later on and reach his dream in the future. The problem with this method is that one might die before realizing his dream in which case one would have suffered all his life for nothing. Another flow in this method is that one would have suffered a lot and a short time of happiness might not be worth it or if the amount of happiness was equal to the amount of suffering so at the end the person has not really gained anything since both cancel one another. In such a case the person could have just saved himself all the trouble and remained neutral with no suffering and no happiness to reach this state of zero gain. Furthermore, a person who has spent to much time suffering and not allowing himself to feel happy now might not feel satisfaction when he realizes the dream he had been working for for long and conversely feel a craving for returning back to the state of suffering he has long been used to. Finally, delaying the actual taste of your dreams is no catalyst to realizing them but rather on the contrary it makes achieving your dreams a more distant event.

Instant

By instant one does not mean instant realization of one's dreams but rather having an instant taste of such dreams by trying as soon as possible to live if just mini-versions of those dreams. This method has so many benefits. First of all, you get to be happy quickly and do not have to wait till you fully realize your dream to get a taste of happiness. Secondly, you start living the happiness and it increases with time as you get closer and closer from realizing your full dream, so if you die before realizing your full dream you would have still realized part of it and enjoyed living in that part of your dream. Thirdly, living in if just a mini-version of your dream revitalizes your mind and soul providing you with much more energy that enables you to realized your full dream much faster than if you were holding yourself back in misery in hope of getting a sudden realization of the full dream in the distant future.

Activities

  • Personality discovery exercises
  • Book of dreams

Trainer

I would like to think of myself as a talents facilitator in the sense of helping others both discover and realize their dreams.

Get Inspired

Visit my Scanner Daybook website in which you will find a list of my own dreams.


Discover your Talents

This is the first part of the two-part workshop Unleash your Talents.

Use your Talents

This is the second part of the two-part workshop Unleash your Talents.

Tidbits

  • Provide handouts at end of each session (as a guide and outline of the most important points for later reference).

Session 1

  1. Who are you? (define yourself or introduce yourself) (written)
  2. What did you enjoy doing as a child? (written) What talents and abilities does this show? (comments by others)
  3. If you had an ideally supportive family (for your talents), what would you have accomplished by now, what will you be doing and who would you be? (written) Link such achievements with your discovered talents and abilities from the previous exercise. (comments by others)
  4. Assignment: Choose a color. Imagine you are that color. Let the color talk describing itself and its characteristics.
  5. Each two buddies exchange phone numbers, one reminds the other of the assignment before the time of the following session.

Session 2

  1. Read your your assignment (choose a color).
  2. Imagine a detective entered your house/room. What did he find? What does that tell about your personality? (comments by others)
  3. Watch short video.
  4. Assignment: Let someone you trust (a close friend, a sibling ...) say positive things about you. Write them down.

Session 3

  1. Completed the detective exercise (for 2 remaining members).
  2. Read last session's assignment (a trusted person saying your positive traits).
  3. List 20 things that make you happy. Count how many of them are: spiritual, emotional, mental and physical.
  4. Assignment (started during session): Imagine and describe the environment that would get the best out of you then mention the new positive traits that would emerge in you if you actually were in such imaginary environment.

Session 4

  1. Went through last session's assignment (your ideal environment)
  2. Imagine your ideal day and capture it in writing. Decide which part of your ideal day is indispensable which is important and which is just frails (in each part mention the what, where and who elements).
  3. Discussed how to know if your dream was a true one (measurable, real daydreaming; touch stone, role model, dream).
  4. Assignment: Buy a notebook to use as your Scanner Daybook. Write your first dream in your Daybook.

Session 5

  1. Team members mentioned their dreams.
    1. dream description
    2. 4 elements of the dream (dream, touchstone, role model, target)
    3. obstacles
  2. Rest of the team tried to find solutions for obstacles facing each dream.
  3. Assignment: Same as last session: continue writing your dream(s) in your Scanner Daybook.

Session 6

  1. Deciding on the 4 elements of two other team members' dreams.
  2. Listing obstacles of one dream then brainstorming solutions for each obstacle.
  3. Flow chart of one of the dreams.
  4. Assignment: reading chapter 8 "Working with Time" of Wishcraft or making a flowchart of your dream.

Session 7

  1. Working with time.

Sections 8

  1. Fear
  2. Buddy system
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