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Alsalam Alikum (Peace be upon you).
From here it's all in English.
I would like to talk to you
about something very personal to me,
it's a very very personal experience if I may share it.
A little bit about positive thinking, why, when and how.
Why do you eat food?
Why do you drink water?
To stay alive, yes?
Why do you think positive? To live.
Being alive and living are two different things.
When do you think positive, or should one think positive,
or have a positive mental attitude.
Let me ask you this:
When do you breath? All the time.
So what I'm trying to do is to think positive all the time.
It becomes apart of you,
and a part of everything in you and every waking second of your day.
There's in my mind always something positive in every problem.
Nothing is completely bad.
This is just a fact of life.
So, I would like to share with you a little bit of a story about my life if I may,
before I go into the how bit of positive thinking.
I spent my teen-ages, here in Sudan in the late '80s early '90s.
It was a tough time, it was a little bit of tough time for the country.
We didn't have much,
there was lack of fuel problems, we didn't have petrol
it was a problem to get bread, milk, gas, diesel.
That was just part of everyday life,
but it was still a happy time.
I don't understand how but I have the best and happiest memories of that time,
and I have experience the lack of all those things like everybody else, nothing different
but every problem somehow seemed to have something fun or something positive in it.
I remember there was no fuel at all,
at the age of thirteen because I was quite responsible,
my father one day says: here are the car keys, go and find some petrol.
I thought you know, what! OK, thank you,
this is good.
But how I'm gonna say that,
this is fantastic, I got to drive a car.
I was responsible, my father wasn't responsible but I was responsible.
I know there wasn't many people on the road as well, there's no petrol, you see.
But here's the thing -- for me, I thought if having no fuel means I get to drive a car
at that age, fantastic!
I hope we never get any petrol.
You know this is the problem.
Then, over a period of time
you start to realize that all the problems have something fun in them.
You can get a phone call at two o'clock in the morning
some of you can't relate to this,
you weren't even born, alright,
so when I say there was no fuel,
I mean the petrol queues were one kilometer long.
Some of you will remember that time.
So, but here's the deal, you can get a phone call at two o'clock in the morning, fact
and someone will say: hey, there's some bread in a bakery in Khartoum north
at two o'clock in the morning!
It was like, yeah, alright
and then you stand in the que.
The people clapping, are the people who remember that time.
But it was fun.
It was fantastic, you go to the -- and then you go in que
and then you get a little brick
and put it in the que and then you go and do something
and then you come back and say: Excuse me this is my place, thank you very much.
It was still a fun happy time.
Anyway, as a teenager I was quite hot headed
you know, at the twelve or thirteen I had a slight problem.
I was getting in fights all the time,
and it was because of something I realize today,
that people use with loved ones and people they love at home.
Many many Sudanese homes here.
This very thing that I had a problem with
they use it for fun,
and they call it to each other.
And the problem that I had which people use lovingly and endearingly
was one word, a very big problem for me.
Halabi! Oh Halabi.
Excuse me!
Here's the funny thing,
I'm telling you the truth, at twelve of thirteen
I didn't know what it meant,
but I knew it was something bad.
So I hear "Halabi" you know,
and then I get in a fight, and get arrested.
My father has to come to the police station to take me out,
it happens so many times,
the local police knew me so well,
that when I come in, they go; here's your chair, sit! sit! sit!
Now, into the mid-teens you start to develop a self image.
And you want to work out and exercise and look good.
So we started working out, exercising, basketball,
football, bodybuilding, weightlifting, all of those things.
There wasn't much to do, it was just a nice time to do all those things.
So you start to get physically stronger,
the problem is now walking and someone says "Halabi" --
now here's the thing, for non-Arabic speakers,
Halabi basically means whitey, or Gringo - if you're Latin,
or lobster if you're British.
Basically they're teasing you,
they're saying you're different, alright.
But you're really different, alright, but it's not a problem.
Here's the thing, as you go a little bit stronger
I was continuing to get involved in fights, but now I was causing more damage
to the people I was fighting with.
I was very short tempered so I was breaking noses, breaking ribs and breaking jaws.
My father said he's going to kill somebody,
best thing to do is they send me off to England to study,
this is the safest thing to do.
So that's what they did.
The funny thing is almost 20 years later after I came back to Khartoum,
-- I will tell you why in a minute I came back --
But when I came back, I met a guy from Syria.
Not from the capital, from Damascus but from Syria
but he was quite specifically from the region of Allebo.
So this was the real Halabi,
and this guy has only been here for two weeks,
and he says to me: I love this Sudanese people,
they have amazing intelligence and intuition.
I said: What do you mean?
He said: they see you they automatically know where are you from.
I said: What! How? (Applause)
I said: Sorry, and I'm thinking twenty years later, sorry
What do you mean?
He said I was driving my car, and somebody will call: "Hey, Halabi!"
He knows where am I from,
I said, ohoho, okay, alright.
What do you say when he says that?
He said of course I return the complement.
I said how? He said, I call him back "Sudani, Sudani!"
I said that' fine, if I knew that twenty years ago,
it might have been a bit different.
The reason why I came back in 2005, 2nd of may 2005
at 11 o'clock precisely during the day I was in London
I got a phone call,
and somebody says, Hello, is this Fahmi? Yes speaking.
He said: Listen, I'm your dad's cousin. I said, yes can I help you?
He said, Listen, I don't know how to tell you this,
but your father has just been killed in a car crash.
I said, Who is this? He said, I'm your father's cousin.
What do you mean?
He said, I'm sorry it happened 25 minutes ago, got hit by lorry, sorry he's gone.
Now, my mom, my dad, my sister, my younger sister were living in Khartoum.
And I said: Listen, where's my mom, where's my mom,
does my mom know, has somebody told my mom?
He said, Well I really don't know how to tell you this
but your mom was in the car with him.
I said: What, who's this? He said: This is your father's cousin.
I said: Where's she? He said: I'm sorry she's gone they're both gone.
I'm thinking of my sister now, she's sixteen.
I said, listen, does my sister know,
where's my sister, does she know, where's she?
He said: I really don't know how to tell you this,
but she was in the car with them.
I said: Is she dead?
He said: Well, we don't know she's in the intensive care, and we don't know.
Is she dead? No. Thak you.
She's not.
Now I can't tell you,
and I'm sure of course some people would have experienced that pain.
I can't tell you what was going on here.
Knowing I have just lost almost a third of my family,
but what I was thinking was yes,
thank you god that not all three have gone,
one of them was still here.
It's a tragedy, yes.
It was tough, yes, absolutely.
But here's the thing, they were gonna go,
sooner or later they were gonna go,
I'm gonna go, you're gonna go
nobody's staying forever, guaranteed.
Time and place are unknown, but we're are all gonna go,
He decides the time and place,
one way ticket, yes?
So it was a consolation for me,
I was happy, that they have gone together.
They had live together, loved each other more than anything I have seen, in my life
and they went together,
that day for me, it was a wedding in heaven
as far as I was concerned.
Now, my concern is my sister, she's sixteen,
you know I gotta make sure she's okay.
Anyway, I fly back.
And she's now fine, she's just finishing her master in Plymouth, political studies I believe.
I'm not sure,
but she's perfectly healthy, perfectly happy.
Now, here's the thing:
I thought in my mind, from that day onwards
I must not just think positive, you see
having a problem as a teenager,
something positive came out of it, because I was sent away,
I got to experience a new culture, a new education
and this was something positive that came out of a problem.
Now we have this family loss,
but something positive came out of it
because my sister got to also get at least treated well,
and experience a new culture and a new education,
and I got to come home.
And this is what I like about this particular one.
So, I have decided how do I think positive all the time?
I must link any problem to something that's an absolute.
So let me explain.
I thought I'm absolutely sure the sun will shine tomorrow.
I'm absolutely sure, that if you jump in water you will get wet,
and you can be absolutely sure of a mother's love for her child.
Then you can be absolutely sure
that there's something positive in every single problem that faces you.
Alright. (Applause)
All you gotta do is link it,
now here' the deal.
I thought to myself,
this is not the right one,
how do I train myself, also people?
I love people, I like to learn from as many people as possible.
And I thought to myself, you know one thing,
you have to learn from everybody man, woman, child.
One of the things I've learned, from the --
women seem to have a slightly more positive outlook than us.
I don't know how.
They just do. Let me give you an example.
I remember one day a friend of mine and I we went out,
and we went back to his house at 3 o'clock in the morning.
His wife was waiting.
Lovely lady, they're a beautiful couple.
And in their house, she's always a very sort of glamorous kind of lady,
you know, perfect hair, lots of mirrors everywhere.
And -- thank you.
When we came in, she met us in the hall,
and this is the hall, this is the door, and they have a very big mirror in this hall.
So 3 o'clock in the morning,
he's standing there, I see this and I hide behind him,
just in case -- something could be flying.
She said, and this is exactly what she does,
she says: Are you serious?
What sort of time do you call this,
what kind of man are you?
You don't have a house? What kind of man! What is this?
And then she's checking her hair -- This is ridiculous --
[Did] she just check her hair, while she was shouting --?
You see a man would never do this.
A man would never think positively,
to think I better look good while I'm fighting,
this is not gonna happen, this is not gonna happen!
You know... (Applause)
I thought, this is not gonna happen --
I remember asking a bunch of my students one time,
in the sport and fitness and I said to the ladies,
I said what if you could have all the diamonds in the world,
but never look in another mirror?
And they went -- Excuse me? No thank you.
All the diamonds? No, thank you.
But the mirror! No.
Do you know why?
Gentlemen, when a woman looks in a mirror
she sees all the diamond that she could want and she could need,
do you understand? This is the difference
she is the diamond.
And I thought they know that, but they might not be aware of it
so this is something that I've learnt from the fair agenda.
Gentlemen, have a slightly -- specially young men in Sudan have a very rare gift,
You know, guys I'll tell you something,
if you ever think you can't do anything or you can't achieve anything,
this is one thing you're so good at.
I mean, guys -- (Applause)
-- It's true
guys here will always succeed to get a smile out of a girl
and let's face it, girls in Sudan -- it's very difficult to make them smile.
Very difficult.
But when they do, it's like the sun is shining, you know.
And he guy is thinking, yes, I got her to smile, everything is ok now,
I'm getting married, alright here we go --
But here's the thing,
I mean gentlemen,
I will tell you something, if you can extract a smile,
if you can extract one of the most profound human emotions out of somebody
you can do anything you want.
Now, something else that always helps me to think positive
is to think of time,
and to try be on time for everything.
Now, this is just my personal experience in life,
in Sudan we are famous for timekeeping.
We keep the time, but we keep our own time,
nobody else's, you know.
It's our own time, never the agreed time.
When you go somewhere, and you're already on time,
you will feel positive about the place you're going to.
I know it's a simple idea but it works.
And finally something that I find absolutely important in life is music.
We are party people.
We are "nas alraba" (Applause) --
we are party people, we like to smile, we smile automatically
and this is a part of our culture, this is a part of our spirit
this is the Sudan spirit, the Sudanese spirit.
We like to sing, not to shout.
We like to dance not fight.
We are not war people, we are happy people.
That's what we are,
this is the spirit that we have,
so I'm gonna tell you this:
if you're able to have a little bit of music in your life all the time,
and you're able to try and make it on time to as many things as possible,
and if you can link something that's an absolute; that's the sun shining tomorrow,
like water will get you wet, like the love of a mother to her child
and link all of those things, as absolute as they are
that you will always find the first positive thing in every problem,
then your life will be good and happy.
Thank you!
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【TEDx】Positive thinking: why, when and how?: Fahmi Iskander at TEDxKhartoum

6247 Folder Collection
阿多賓 published on January 25, 2014
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