There’s a lot to be said for the wisdom of hindsight. Here are a few tips I learned through the years that I hope helps our younger readers.

Nothing Ever Goes to Waste

Are you stuck in a dead-end job twiddling your thumbs, thinking you are going nowhere? I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. There is always something to learn even in that dead-end job, and once learned, it never goes to waste.

To support my fledging singing career, I did a lot of temporary clerical work. Initially, I had nothing other than an outgoing personality and a bit of a brain to offer, so I could answer a few phone lines in a small company and meet and greet. But I was good at it and after years of building my craft as a singer – and that included a lot of responsibility plus independent learning and practicing – I would ask when the phone lines were quiet, “What else can I do?” At each job I learned something new. I added more phone lines, more front desk reception and many other skills, offering to take busy work off the hands of my colleagues in the back.

Always Do Your Best

The perks I received were the affection and appreciation I earned from my co-workers, not to mention the good recommendations from the boss and higher ups.

I eventually went from answering a few phone lines to learning, then testing other clerical candidates on the new computer systems that were all the rage in the 80’s.

Never did I imagine how my administrative background would be so helpful when starting up a fledgling internet platform with my husband years later.  The years of singing everything and everywhere taught me so much about performance and the logistics of it all, that once we started our online company, I was able to write, perform and produce audio albums that went viral throughout the Muslim world and got our company off to a great start.

Live for today, not the next great thing, nor live muddied and stymied in the past.Beware Self Promotion and the Celebrity Culture

I learned in my performing years that it’s easy to fall prey to the buildup of a massive ego. Applause and adulation can be as addicting as alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. Developing or retaining humility in a culture that celebrates and idolizes the celebrity and the accompanying, outlandish lifestyle is never easy to do. It’s hard to resist. But bright lights often burn out just as quickly as they rise, and the fan club turns very easily on their beloved when they fail and fall. My own constant mantra is to remember that it all comes from God.

Tie your Camel

This is a bit of wise advice from Prophet Muhammad. Essentially one should work to the best of one’s ability, then leave the outcome to God. That way we are #1) only responsible for the work and #2) cannot necessarily control the outcome.  If put into practice daily, this little meaningful phrase would alleviate a lot of headaches and stress, leading to…

Live for Today

Neither live in the land of ‘if only’ nor the country of ‘what if.” Dwelling on the past cannot possibly change anything today unless you only look at the past to learn a lesson and move on. Much as we would like to believe we CAN control our future if we just work hard enough, stress enough, lie awake in the night enough, it just doesn’t happen. We all know how in the blink of an eye, a life can be completely altered by an accident or serious diagnosis.

Be grateful

Finally, the most important wisdom of hindsight – gratitude. Merely being grateful, looking for silver linings in those dark and dreary or even dangerous clouds, can simply and effectively alter any experience. In that dead-end job? Heck, you HAVE a job! Look around and find out something new to learn there, add a new skillset, impress your boss and move on to a better job next time. As you move up the ladder, don’t forget the little guy – that would be you, honestly. We’re learning the hard way that the celebrity life is obviously lacking something very crucial when we see so many suicides. Live for today, not the next great thing, nor live muddied and stymied in the past. Do what are you are good and knowledgeable and gifted at doing and Trust God to do the rest.



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