The following is excerpted from Flashes of Thought, a collection of personal reflections by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on various aspects of government services and administration. It explores the ideas, principles and experiences that have defined his leadership role in the development of Dubai and the UAE, as well as his personal journey as an Arab statesman on the world stage.


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During my meetings I always talk about positive energy, its influence on our lives and its effect on how much we can achieve. I also mentioned it in my previous book My Vision.

I am a believer that all of our actions and accomplishments are simply a reflection of what we bear in our hearts. I believe that positive energy and optimism help us to take up any challenge in life and to succeed in even the most difficult tasks. I also believe that positive energy is contagious: we can transmit it to others. In the same way, we can ourselves be influenced by other people’s positivity or negativity.

In the course of my long career, I have seen many colleagues and friends with negative energy that I just could not change. Whenever I would propose any project, they would dwell on its impossibility or difficulty; and whenever I would come up with an initiative, they would just say, “it is not doable.” Even if I said that the sun was shining, they would answer that they could not see it; and if I suggested that they come out to see it, they would reply that they just could not do so. Indeed, I have met quite a few negative and pessimistic people. I have replaced them in my life by seeking out much more optimistic, enthusiastic and positive people.

I have faced many challenges in my professional life, but never have I allowed myself to be defeated. Does running water stop when it reaches a rock? Of course not. It turns either left or right and continues its way. Likewise, a positive person is confident that no challenge will stand in the way of achieving his or her goal.

Start your day with positivity and optimism, with a positive idea and with confidence in your abilities. It will be reflected on your face, in your smile, in your interactions with people around you, and in the way you deal with daily challenges. Haven’t you noticed that positive people have a wider smile, a brighter face and a more beautiful spirit? On the other hand, negative people spend their time hiding from challenges and expecting the worst from life.

Positive energy is born of optimism. Our religion assures us that if you are optimistic, you shall find what you seek. If you see the world around you as filled with misfortune, troubles, worries and sadness, so it will be. On the other hand, if you see the world as abounding in opportunity, adventure, happiness, comfort and achievement, it will be that way. It is your mind and your way of thinking that create your reality. You choose whether you want to live your life with positive or negative energy.

Positive energy turns hard times into beautiful moments, hardships into manageable challenges, and the impossible into nothing more than a word or a point of view. It offers you a beautiful perspective on life and arms you with the ambition, drive and motivation you need to succeed.

My advice to all is to arm yourselves with positive energy and to use this energy to raise your team’s morale, for a team is influenced most strongly by its leader. Do not undermine your team’s morale with pessimism or hesitation. An army’s success depends on more than weapons and supplies; high morale can be the key to victory, just as low morale can spell defeat. If morale is high, people will interact with their leader’s vision, achieve his or her objectives and follow in his or her tracks. If low morale causes underachievement, the blame will undoubtedly fall on the leader and on no one else. So, offer your team optimism and positivity, and they will reciprocate with achievement and creativity.


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Flashes of Thought is priced at AED 70. Also available in Mandarin and Hindi.