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A simple productive equation for life

Sometimes, we complicate life more than it needs to be. We think that life is a mystery that is impossible to solve (or which only a few can solve).

But what if I shared a simple equation with you that would help tackle all of life’s challenges? I’m not exaggerating. This is one simple equation that will work every single time:

(Think × Decide) + (Learn × Act) + (Pray × Trust) = Outcome

Let’s go through this equation bit by bit:


Human beings are independent, thinking creatures, and they are faced with many choices. We need to choose between good and evil, between easy and hard, between what’s essential and what’s trivial. These choices can range from what to eat for breakfast all the way to what to focus on for the rest of our lives.

When we are not sure how to move forward in life (or what clothes to wear), life seems complicated and confusing, but once we’ve decided, things become clear. The first step to deciding is to think and plan and to come up with options and their consequences, followed by a decision.


Once we’ve decided on a path, we need to learn how to tread that path and walk on it. It won’t make sense to decide you want to be a doctor without committing to learning how to be a doctor in a medical school and attending one. Learning and intellectual development is what helped advance the human race through the generations. Learn what you need to learn, from whomever can teach you, to help you move forward and act on that knowledge. As a friend of mine once told me, “If you're struggling with something, someone, somewhere, wrote a book about it; you just have to find it and act on it.”


While we are thinking creatures with free will and the ability to learn, we are also spiritual beings. Tackling life challenges through the lens of faith is a powerful way to face life with all its ups and downs. As Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught his followers, when good things happen to a believer, he or she should be grateful, and when believers face trials and tribulations, we should be patient and persevere. However, faith requires trust: trust in the unseen, trust that things will work out.

There are a couple of things about this equation that you should note:

First, this is not a linear equation where we think and decide first, then learn and act, then pray and trust. It’s a circular equation. We think of options, decide to pursue a path, learn what we need to learn and act on that knowledge. We also simultaneously pray to ask for God’s help to make things easier for us and trust that he’ll help us, and this usually leads to new awareness, which lead to new decisions and outcomes.

Second: You’re responsible for the left-hand side of the equation

(Think × Decide) + (Learn × Act) + (Pray × Trust). The right-hand side, “Outcome”, is not actually up to you; there are many variables that come into play before an outcome takes place. So think like a gardener; think and decide what to plant, learn how to plant and act on that knowledge, and pray for good weather and good yields, and trust that God will make that plant grow. This mindset applies to many areas of our lives, including work, family and personal development.

So there you have it, a simple productive equation to help tackle life challenges. Notice that I said simple. Not easy.

Let us know how you plan to use it in your life.

Mohammed Faris is an international coach, author, and speaker who helps executives, professionals, and entrepreneurs rebalance their lives spiritually, physically and socially to achieve peak performance and live meaningful lives. He’s the founder of and author of The Productive Muslim: Where Faith Meets Productivity.

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Mohammed Faris