To those who did not live in the moment

Turki Aldakhil
Turki Aldakhil
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“Learning never exhausts the mind!”

I often wonder about this Da Vinci quote. At what creative stage of his life did he write it? Before or after he had reached artistic maturity?

If the aim of learning is to work and achieve, then something Greek philosopher Aristotle said in 322 BC is still relevant today: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

If I want to share some ideas I’ve have learned, in the possibility that I will one day implement them, it’s as if I am a doctor treating his patients when he himself is ill.

Hence I find me dragged towards advising myself and recommending others to make use of their day. Do not underestimate this small piece of advice as there’s nothing harder than managing the next moment, let alone tomorrow or the next ten years. If you can improve your day, then know that the entire life is made up of days and you can hence be kind and create every day.

No wonder that all timescales go back to the moment that escapes from you now.

It’s great to have a long-term vision with constant preparation for surprises, but trust those who have done so and realized that the most difficult part was the art of managing the day. He who is not good at managing the day will not be good in managing upcoming days.

Those who get used to dealing with each day and then master it repeat this pattern. We call these the people of awareness and mastery. Look wherever you want and you will not see a successful man without a habit. This is why Arabs said in the past: “The habit is deep-rooted”.

Speaking of preparations for the path’s surprises, always remember Thomas Jefferson’s quote when he briefly said – and he’s a master in that – “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

Let go of the past completely, and focus on the present moment as this moment alone is the most capable of hiding and escaping.

Turki Aldakhil

If the adventure of even managing a single day is difficult for you, don’t be upset. Greek Philosopher Aristotle has met such men and women and he beautifully criticized them when he said: “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing”. He’s honest here as the river sweeps the little rocks which have not decided their path in advance before the flood reaches the town.

Prince and poet Badr bin Abdul Muhsin seems to have a different opinion that opposes Aristotle’s as it looks like fame weighs heavily on him. The extremely kind and humble prince, as all those who know him say, decided to support those forgotten, the ordinary men, when he said:

Oh how lucky he is whom no one knows
If he is kind, he will be thanked
And if he is bad, he will not be blamed

This is not the first time that Badr is biased to ordinary men. Few years ago, I asked him about the emirate and poetry and which was closer to his heart. He said that he inherited the emirate from his father who inherited it from his father, hence, he has not asked anyone about it, and as for poetry “it’s everyone’s essential need, a collar that people embrace you with.”

When you look for wise words – which by the way I am fond of collecting – you’d realize how similar they are. Sometimes it’s difficult to attribute a saying like: The only way to achieve the impossible, is to believe it's possible” to Charles Kingsleigh as all civilizations have poets, politicians and writers who directly or indirectly called for avoiding thinking about the impossible and ignoring it so the possible replaces the impossible.

If I hadn’t written about the greatness of the imagination recently, I would have repeated my idea which I don’t get bored of repeating. Let go of the past completely, and focus on the present moment as this moment alone is the most capable of hiding and escaping. As for the future, please do not choose a path other than optimism. Don’t be negative and don’t look at tomorrow with the eyes of a fearful man. If fear of the future yields results, everyone would have feared it.

Imagine the threat of seeing the mirage instead of the right path, and when the road comes to an end and doubt overwhelms you, you select another road although everything indicates you are in the right direction. You have dealt in the world of ideas with what’s absent, a mystery – which you could have granted confidence – with fear and worry, and when you believed the latter two, the road repudiated you.

Ancient Arabs are known to have said:

What is gone is gone
What is to come is a mystery
And what you have is the hour you live

About the moment, habit and all that, Robert Louis Stevenson sums me in his famous saying: “Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

It’s beautiful to get used to planting these seeds, so we and our people constantly wait for a beautiful harvest in the future.

This article is also available in Arabic.


Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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