Thursday, 16 June 2016

Applying the spirit of Ramadhan to boost competitiveness


In a few days, we will have surpassed the halfway mark of Ramadhan. At this point, many of us would have adjusted to a new daily routine that accommodates fasting, food preparations for sahur and iftar, as well as tarawih prayers. 
 
For most of us, the spiritual enhancement we gain through fasting is the experience together with our family and friends and the adaptation of our daily routines becomes all the more important, as we find duty in providing a more comfortable experience for our loved ones to face the restraints imposed during the holy month.
 
Ramadhan is that time of the year, where we reflect on our spiritual inner being. The abstention from food, drink and other desires creates better self-discipline, self-control and opens up our eyes and hearts to the hardships faced by those who are poor and in need.
 
It is also interesting to analyse the benefits of Ramadhan through the perspective of human capacity building – as a means to develop our basic habits towards maximising productivity, while at the same time, maintaining our work, life and spiritual balance.
 
For example, an article written on the daily habit of the world’s most successful chief executive officers cited that rising early was a near universal trait of top performing executives. Early mornings are very productive times – they are quiet, serene conditions for us to perform with the freshest mind. We also create more time for ourselves and are one step ahead of our competition.
 
The sahur is an effective way to develop such a habit. It requires us to wake up much earlier than usual as we prepare the meal to ensure our entire family rises in time to complete the practice. 
 
Another significant example is the tarawih prayers. Despite not being a compulsory prayer, many of us commit to going to the mosque to pray for the entire month. As we know the benefits promised when performing Tarawih, we do not mind doubling our “work load” in order to achieve those benefits later on. 
 
The psychology behind tarawih provides a lesson for us – both as individuals and as organizations. It shows us that we can be more productive when we find true benefit from an act, and develop a passion for it. At the same time, we learn that clear communication of a common goal can propel us all to work harder towards achieving those goals as a team, despite our differences.
 
Furthermore, it is interesting to note that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) led three victories during the month of Ramadhan in the battles of Badr, Khandaq and Tabouk. These amazing feats make us ponder the effectivity of fasting on the mind and soul, and how it leads to competitiveness.
 
It is therefore advantageous that we also look at Ramadhan as a session of self-improvement from a competitiveness standpoint. I believe that all the additional practices that are advocated to us in this holy month have implications on our capabilities as human beings. What remains is our ability to optimise these advantages and apply them to our daily routines throughout the year, and not just limit them to a single calendar month.
 
The writer is chief executive officer of Malaysia Automotive Institute.

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