Happiness only way to move forward

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Happiness only way to move forward
Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi addressing a session on Sheikh Mohammed's new book at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai on Friday. Mohammed Al Nughamish, Dr Khalifa Al Suwaidi and Fahed Haikal are also seen.

Dubai - In his book, which explores vision of management and development based on optimism and positivity, Sheikh Mohammed gave great emphasis on positive employees, leaders and work teams


Sherouk Zakaria

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Published: Sat 11 Mar 2017, 10:27 PM

Last updated: Sun 12 Mar 2017, 10:16 AM

The Arab world will not be able to progress or move forward without instilling happiness and positivity in its people. 
This was the message shared during a 90-minute session that discussed the latest book of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Reflections on Positivity and Happiness.
At the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, which also saw the launch of the book last week, Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness, led the panel discussion that saw sharing of ideas and personal experiences revolving around happiness and positivity.
Working in Sheikh Mohammed's team for the past 13 years before being appointed as Minister of Happiness in February 2016, Al Roomi said happiness and positivity has been the work style within the UAE Government's team, which was the main factor moving the country forward.
She highlighted the simple impact of having a positive leader on employees, recalling an experience of when she was first a department head in Sheikh Mohammed's office.
"I was very nervous during the first meeting and Sheikh Mohammed put his hand on my shoulder and said 'Don't be afraid, I'm right behind you'."
She added: "Imagine the impact it had on me as an employee and how much confidence and energy his simple gesture has given to me."
In his book, which explores vision of management and development based on optimism and positivity, Sheikh Mohammed gave great emphasis on positive employees, leaders and work teams highlighting that instilling positivity in government work isn't luxury, but is the fundamental factor behind achievements and creating a better society.
In the chapter titled 'Close your eyes to see,' Sheikh Mohammed highlights the moment the UAE leadership built World Trade Center in the middle of the desert, because they did not see desert, but saw skyscrapers and high towers.
Bookstores see rush for Sheikh Mohammed's book
"He always says if we look at dark side, you see challenges, but if you look at the positive side, you see opportunities, and this is how a positive government should operate. When employees know that their role is to create happiness and satisfaction to other people beyond just offering services, their role becomes deeper and more inspiring," she noted.
Al Roumi noted that while Sheikh Mohammed wrote a chapter on happiness in his previous book Flashes of Thought before appointing a minister of happiness three years later, his recent book will be another indicator of the government's future.
Sheikh Mohammed launches new book in Dubai
TV presenter and academic Dr Khalifa Al Suwaidi said the impact of the book extends beyond the Arab region, especially that Sheikh Mohammed gives copies to foreign visitors and diplomats.
"The world has always viewed our region as an area of regression and plague that stretches to the rest of the world through dangerous ideologies, and when Sheikh Mohammed gives a summary of his experience as a successful leader, we tell them that as Arabs, we can get back to what we used to be: the cradle of civilisation," noted Al Suwaidi.
He added that spreading the book will help replicate the UAE experience to other parts of the region, and encourage demotivated individuals to become better people. While the UAE focuses on empowering people, other governments focus on controlling them.
"Leaders whether at work, government or homes should focus on empowerment not control," he said.
"Sheikh Mohammed summarised in a very easy way that for humans to live successfully, they have to live with positivity that lies in the mindset."
Al Suwaidi demonstrated comparison of a bee and a fly. "Bee look for flowers, while flies look for trash. It is all about your way of thinking. When you wake up every morning, ask yourself if you're a bee or a fly," he told a laughing audience. "Positivity leads to happiness and happiness leads to success. No one succeeds without being positive and happy," he added. 
Meanwhile, social commentator Fahed Haikal said the problem with Arab governments is that leaders aren't givers or caregivers.
He said Sheikh Mohammed's focus on the youth was an important element of the book. "If the youth are the future and they live in pessimism, then how will the future be?," asked Haikal.
He highlighted that the 'hate of life' is the drive of terrorism. "If we talk about people who commit suicide, the common factor is losing meaning of life. But terrorists are worse, the common factor among them is hating life, covered with religion and religion is innocent of it all," said Haikal.
He concluded by narrating a story of a young man who saw a beautiful river turn into a swamp but it renews itself again.
"If our region is a swamp, it won't last and this region will get back to where it was. The youth won't notice this without positive thinking and ambitions. Give and carry goodness and tolerance to the world to change your reality," he said.  
Timeline of Ministry of Happines
February 2016 - Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi named Minister of State for Happiness. She is tasked with remit to push national agenda to make the UAE the happiest nation. 
> March 2016 - The National Happiness and Positivity Charter is announced. The Cabinet also endorses a number of initiatives and projects in line with the National Happiness and Positivity Programme including five 'Happiness in the Work Place' initiatives: 
1. Corporate Happiness and Positivity Model in the UAE: A unified model for all government entities consisting three pillars: corporate happiness culture, happy and positive staff requirements, and corporate happiness and positivity indicators
2. Setting up Happiness and Positivity Council in Federal Government entities
3. Happiness and Positivity CEO: One of the current federal government staff member will be appointed as Happiness and Positivity CEO by the Minister or Chairman
4. Allocate time in federal entities for happiness and positivity activities: They aim at instilling happiness and positivity culture in the Federal Government
5. "Happy and positive offices" in the government: To create a happy and positive work environment continuously
> October 2016 - The #100DaysOfPositivity initiative is launched. Designed by the National Programme for Happiness and Positivity and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in Dubai, the initiative aims to help schools impart positive education to its teachers, students and parents. Schools are invited to do something positive every day for 100 days and share it on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag.
> December 2016 - The National Survey for Happiness and Positivity is announced and launched.
> February 2017- At the Happiness Dialogue that started a day before the official opening of the World Government Summit, the Ministry of Happiness announced the UAE will spearhead the creation of a unified guidebook for governments that will help raise the standard of happiness
English edition to hit stores next Thursday
dubai - Within only 48 hours of its release, Reflections of Happiness and Positivity witnessed huge demands across bookstores in the country.
The book's publisher, Explorer, confirmed to Khaleej Times that the English edition will be released on Thursday.
The book sold 20,000 copies so far ever since Sheikh Mohammed announced its release on Twitter last week, which prompted the publisher to print 20,000 more copies to be available by the end of this week in bookstores. An ebook and audiobook version will also be available across different platforms for Android, Apple and Google. However, no time frame was given at the mean time.
The book explores vision of management and development based on optimism and positivity. Sheikh Mohammed had said it includes lessons, examples and stories based on a different life philosophy; positivity as a perspective, happiness of people as a goal and lifestyle.

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