Monday, 29 September 2014

Motivational talks that I really loved

Whenever I go to a conference I make sure that I attend at least one motivational talk as it fills me with warm and fuzzy feeling and energizes my mind to the extent that all the hard core sessions that I attended will just flow easily in my mind, these talks removes the blockages from my blood stream and so the blood will flow easily. 

EAIE was in Prague this year, and no, I didn't join the run as I had a knee injury, so I opted out, although I would have loved to, knowing fully well that the Scandinavians will win again similar to last year.  I didn't attend the ball either, so I missed on the nice masks that were distributed to everyone, but then again, I am not a dancer.

The first motivational talk with Mr Jan Mehlieft, the chairman of Microsoft in Europe, a young man with an eight year old daughter, left us with the impression that he is more inspired by her than her by him, which is fine, as we all got inspired by the little eight year old at the end of his talk.

He mentioned that Mercedes is not a car anymore, as it has more computers and software than mechanical stuff so they are now in the software industry and not in the car industry

He also mentioned that the news these days talk about the sensational stuff, for instance, 150 die from a coconut falling on their heads but no one reports it as it's not sexy to die from a coconut but sharks killing two or three and the media is flooded about these news!

Real Madrid fans 400 million!! ok, what are we doing about it? is someone using those fans and selling them anything? I wonder!

Jan also mentioned the Small rabbit story who wins in running not in swimming so the teacher want him to focus on swimming, the little rabbit cries his eyes off, sad really as we focus on weakness not on strengths

Jan says that he did a search on all the studies in universities, he found only 45 studies on human happiness and 45000 on human sadness! I wonder.

We should not be obsessed with what is wrong with the people instead we must be obsessed with what is right,

Talent can be discovered in the first three years of our lives so we must grasp that to Unlock human potential

Jan thinks that in Education science and art should be taught together and we need to follow Khan academy in school teaching.

His daughter who is eight years old, needed help in Mathematics, so she collected a team in two minutes on skype from the internet to help her in learning what she didn't understand

His final remarks were: Decide,  act, notice and correct

Never stop

We have to push our idea, Connect to people and must never wait 

The closing ceremony champion was Sebastian Terry a young Aussie who started to wonder what to do with himself after graduation, and started a website called

He did a degree but didn't know what to do with it 
He realized he was disconnected to who he was as person
He was unhappy
He took a piece of paper. And wrote on it  a list of what will make him happy!
Why the career adviser didn't tell him that he must do that prior to studying??

What do we need from life? Is it financial security vs self fulfillment 

The red carpet made him powerful 

Permission? Don't wait until you know you are dying to do the things that you like

Make a list  that challenges you, fulfills you, comfort you, scares you

Something physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, experimental 

Set Clear goals to yourself, commit to it, be proactive and not reactive, then tick that goal as done and move on

He wanted to deliver a baby as a goal. He got a contact from someone following him online that she wants him to do that. But after he reached she delivered without him. But he made the news. Few weeks later he did deliver a baby

Just make a decision and be accountable for it

Perspective, belief, open attitude and will (the powerful triangle) 

The flow : it happens after one makes a decision 

He was on a week silence. So someone was inspired by that and offered him money but instead of taking the money to himself he donated it to his charity organisation.

He says that there is a list of excuses that we mustn't fall into its trap:
No money

One must Go full circle 

Selfish vs selfish 

Look after yourself and then help others (we must stop the charity thing now help ourselves and then help others)

He helped someone on a wheel chair in the marathon 

Beyond 100: helping people to help people 

At the end he asked us all the question: What's on your list? there were 5000 of us, imagine how many bucket lists where written that day!

My thoughts: it is so Typical to bring motivational speakers to a bunch of academics? do you have an interpretation for this? well, all I can say is that we must be a boring bunch, so they need to open our eyes to reality.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

What makes on person successful and another one not?

I will not say its luck, as luck has nothing to do with success, I will not say its perseverance as that too is not part of the success formula, neither its money, it can run out! nor is it support from others, as this too can run out, working hard is not the answer either, nor is it planning. 

So what makes a person successful?

My sister and I left Bahrain in the same year, we both married to men of different natinalities to us, we both lived in different countries, and had children who bore that nationality too, we both had a similar upbringing, and similar education. We both had gone to universities and both were fully supported by our great father (RIP), however we had a different life.  My children are now in Bahrain, married, and have an office and children, all be it are holding a different natinalities and an ability to live anywhere in the world, but they both love my country and their decision to live there was one of the best thing they both did.  My sister's children are living in their own country, and one of them who is in Bahrain is not able to have any sort of stable life as he doesnt even have a residence, he cannot drive as he has no license due to no residence, and can be asked to leave at any point in time.

What I am trying to say here is that, we are all able to make choices in life, and some choices are better than others, however many of our choices are fallible and our ability to correct our course of action could be impeded due to the length of time we continued in that course of action.  Our life requires a continous stream of plans and corrective actions as and when we need to change our direction.  In actual fact what we need is mathmatics, yes mathmatics, we need to model our life to see what happens if w do this, and what happens if do that, and if so what happens next and so on.  I made a list of what if's in another page of this blog, and all of them were part of my modular way of living my life.  I am not sure if my kids had learnt this trick from me or not, but I feel that every person should do this just to safegaurd his or her life to ensure that we do not end up losing great opportunities in life. 

I feel that we are responsble for our children's lives too, its true that God is great and will provide for them same as providing food to an ant, however we are human beings with brain, and God gave us the ability to do things that other living things cannot do, so when we raise our children we must also train them well to take the responsible course of action, and if they do a mistake, we encourage them to think of how to make it a success, or how to change with minimum losses. 

I am writing this because my whole family wanted to spend time together in Bahrain, and we cannot as some of us are not able to be there due to the rules of that country. I am hoping that one day our governments will wake up to the fact that families are important as they are the bricks in the wall of any country, and they must try to make those bricks intact, as if one crumbles then the whole wall will fall. Also its the governments' responsibility to make its people happy, as happy people make happy countries, and happy government, look around you in the world and you will see happy countries, we want to be one of those countries.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

And so we are returning, one of the cities we will miss is Praha

After a month of trips around Europe, visiting schools and universities, attending conferences and finding out what are the new introductions to higher education and K12 too, I thought I must write my experience in each place. 

We started our trip in Sweden, the time limitations compelled us to just stay in Stockholm and visit the three main universities over there, lovely place, wait for my Vlog on those three universities, my son will publish them once he is done with editing them.  One thing for sure, any student going to Sweden will be welcomed, no hostility, a lot of friendly people and a great place for living, learning and exploring.  Stockholm is a very cosmopolitan city, so it will be easy to find the same culture, or even to experience new cultures whilst over there, no need to stick to your kind, merge like a zip with the Swedes and also with the other nationalities, everyone speaks English, so you will have no problem at all in conversation.  If you are the sporty type you have reached your target, as everyone goes for walks, runs, other sports and Gym; if you are more of a cultural person like me, then lots of shops, cafes, museums, galleries and the famous Gamla Stan will welcome you in utter honesty. The buses and underground is brilliant, you cannot get lost. Just remember to buy the correct ticket, as a month ticket works our cheaper than a weekly or a daily ticket.  Students beware, taxis are so expensive, so walk, bus or underground are the preferred methods to go around. 

London is of course London, we all know it by heart, us the Arabs think that London is the neighborhood, so no introduction to it this time, except of course it has more of a bistro culture now, with hundreds of new cafes opening on the side streets and lots of ingenious varieties.  My favourite is a place my daughter in law, who happen to take a course on makeup artistry in London, took us to.  It served all day breakfast, and had lovely juice mixes and smoothies.  One thing I remember that a family came in, ordered lots of the pastries and cake on display, each of them had one bite of their lovely dishes and left it and gone.  I had tried one of the varieties that they chose, it was so tasty, I guess the thrifty ones of us don’t really care.  What I am trying to say here is that, if you as a student go to a place, and pay seven pounds for it, take it home with you, leftovers are great when you wake up middle of the night and feeling pickish.

Whilst in London I also visited some universities and colleges, one of them was my surprise, it was nestled in between Regent Park, very unusual place to have a university, and of course a very expensive place too, apparently though it was a school for girls long ago, and got converted into a university, so if a student goes there he or she will live in a lovely park with a lake for fantastic four years.  Wouldn’t that be nice?? It makes me want to go back to school; I hope my family will not read this as they are sick of me already wanting to study anything that anyone offers!! Cursera is surely happy with me, I am one of those that make up the 1% that finish their courses!

Prague (They call it Praha in Czech) is a different kettle of fish, one thing for sure here is that you don’t need to learn the names of the roads, every building has various types of statues, so you could say old town, the building with the four saint Mary, or the one with the four falcons, or the one with the four soldiers.  Also Charles Bridge is one of kind with all types of status on a never ending bridge.  We saw merchants, painters, artists, jewelry makers, people proposing to each other, people getting married, old men, young men, old women, young women, tourists from 191 countries round the world.   I think Prague gets a fair share of the tourists market more than any country around the world, but I must check the statistics to confirm, it safe to say that it certainly had many tourists.  Street performers were plenty, today a fat man was holding a stick that has on ts other end a fat woman, we saw them and after an hour of roaming round we returned to see them in the same meditating position, my daughter thinks that there is a metal rod with a little chair for her to set on within their cloths, maybe, whatever it was, it marveled the tourists and all were taking pictures of them. 

In Prague I had two conferences, in the first one I met with 40 universities, many new ones, some are just to talk over some issues that we are having with them, or to reconnect so we know what is new; there is nothing better than face to face discussions, we can say so much in an email, but one word face to face makes all the difference.

The other conference was the amazing EAIE, I cannot wait for the next one that will happen in Glasgow next year, as the amount of learning is immense, and if one wants to see differing opinions on higher education, than that is the place to be. Guess how many people attended the conference?? Over 5000 people from around the world.  So its as if you have visited every country in just one congress hall.  What I like about this conference is the motivational speakers that they bring to entertain and raise the moral of the attendees. This year we had two of them, one was the Europe chairman of Microsoft, and the guy.  Both were great, opening our minds to different possibilities.  But I must stop here, my plane is calling and I will write about them in different articles.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Why do we work, why do we love and why do we do anything in life?

This journey has been a very interesting one, I was talking to a freind from Germany about schools, colleges, etcetera and we ended up talkin about her school; I didnt ask how much she is paid, as that is none of my buisness, but we were talking about the government funding, contributions from parent to the schools, fees paid by the students, and what not, she said that she would earn 10 times more if she was working in another type of school.  Why isn't she working somewhere else?

Then, I thought about me, and my job, I would also be earning 20 times more if I was working somewhere else.Why wasn't I working somewhere else?

This afternoon I had my answer! on the bus taking us to the airplane, an older man and woman were with us on the bus, they were sharing a pritzel, they were cutting pieces of it, and dipping it in a little plasitc cup that the man was holding, I couldnt stop myself from looking at the cup to see what was inside it.  Then I saw that it had some mustard, so both of them were cutting the pritzel into little pieces, dipping into the mustred and eatng it, they were very happy in doing that, looking at each other with great admiration. so I deduced that they are in love, despite being old. 

I think we all do what we do because of love.  We love our work, we love our community, we love our kids, we love our partners and no matter what happens and how humiliated we feel or underestimated, underappreciatated, underpaid, under-resourced, less food, little cup with mustard and a piece of pretzel will satisfy us and keep us happy.  I think if love is not there we will not exist on this earth, and believe me, I cannot think of anyone who will work for a long time in a place if there was no love in it, no matter how much the job pays the person. 

I must tell you the story of my brother, he worked in a very high rank job, paying him big bucks, but he was away from his wife and family for longer times than necessary, the kids were growing without him, he realised fter a while that is it really worth it? how much money does it take to make one happy? he was not sure, but to me, its not my source of happiness, otherwise you will not see me galevanting the world, checking new cities, having discussions on a 2 hour train rides with complete strangers while my daiughter is fast asleep discussing education systems with passion.  Money is not every thing, its our love to the world, its our respect to our selves, and its our love to the community that matters most. 

I wonder about those that do not agree with me, what will light their fire?

Friday, 5 September 2014

Below the radar limits

I really love myself, as I am not that tall to turn heads, or too short to turn more heads, not that pretty to be looked at and not that ugly so people look twice and be disgusted with, I work hard but no one notices, make money but not that much that I look rich, and do anything I want to do in this world, but I feel that the world is going round and round around me without being noticed.  I prefer it this way, as I can achieve lots without being bothered by paparazzi or gossips or anything of this sort.  If you write my name on Google you will get a lot of pages, but none of those pages have anything that damages my reputation, or even enhances it, so I am like that little river that continues to flow and nourishes the flowers and bushes around it, but its too small to have bridges built over it, and too shallow to enable fishing or even swimmers to wade in its waters.

Why did I think of this now? because I was talking to a friend of mine about life in general and discussed few people that I haven't met for ages, she mentioned that one of our mutual friends had gone into a property job, and as you know if you are a propery dealer, you get to take people to view the place, and the people can be male or female, you cannot possibly decide that your clients have to be male or female only, or can you? I think if we do this then we are cutting away half of the possible clientele that we could ever have, and who said that women must work with women only, and men with men? I believe that if we are proffessional in our working relationships then it doesnt matter if we work with the opposite sex, as sex will not come in between us (this is what everyone in this world fear mostly).  Anyway, back to our little story, my friend said that since our mutual friend got that job, she had been the talk of the town, something of a "gossip girl" or "desperate housewives" titbits that we are bored of these days. 

I only have two questions here, why would a job in property tarnishes ones reputation, and why is it when a man gets a similar job, and makes so much money, people will say that he is very clever, but when it comes to women all we can think of is the reputation?

When will the society start to respect women for what they do, or should women only be doing jobs that are like mine so they stay below the radar limit?

I wonder