I am Habib Adnan Habib Al-muhanna, born in 1972 in Baghdad, Iraq, an electrical engineer, finished my undergraduate education in 1995 in Baghdad, obtained a post graduate diploma in Energy Management in 2014, and a Master degree in Engineering from Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) in 2018. Since 2010 I was employed as an official in the government in Iraq, my current post is an engineer.
The beginning of the journey. I believe that I started my efforts to obtain a Master degree in the middle of the 90’s in the last century. I tried to achieve that goal in Iraq and abroad.
At the middle of the journey, Dalarna / Sweden. In 2006, I was close to study for a Master degree in Sweden after I got an admission from Dalarna University, but I couldn’t get a student visa.
Through the journey, Special day in Tehran. It was in 2016, the day that I went to the Finnish embassy in Tehran, for confirmation of identity. At that day I woke up early in Mashhad, flew to Tehran and flew back to Mashhad at night. That day was one of the hard-to-forget-days for me for number of reasons. It was an important step in the application process for the Master Degree Programme.
End of this journey. Graduation in 2018.
Goal and Motivation. I believe that it is an important thing to seek knowledge, but also, and probably more, important is the motivation(s). There is a big difference between someone who seeks postgraduate education just for personal social and financial benefits, and someone who does that for such benefits and for other reasons, too, like participating in doing good things for others.
Appreciation. Reaching the goal, that I worked for for a long time, and managed after many attempts, meant a lot to me. I am grateful to my family and to every person who had a role in that achievement, especially my tutors in my dear SAMK.
Ambition, probably another journey. It is also important to use that degree and that knowledge efficiently for doing useful things in the personal domain and for other people. That is another goal, and probably another journey, too.
Habib Adnan Habib Al-muhanna Master of Engineering Electrical Engineer, works in Baghdad / Iraq
I am a physiotherapist. I’m not a man of religion, nor am I a mathematician. Life, however, will face you with opportunities, from which you have to choose. Some will lead nowhere, some will offer you change, but only a handful will be significant. Out of those only a few will lead to happiness.
I would like to mention four personal ones, which have happened during my 37+ years on earth.
1. I was a 21 years old paratrooper in the Israeli Defense Force, and it was my 3rd year of service. Unlike my previous years I was now serving under a Major who I have found to be unsuitable for the job. I was his radio man, and therefore had to spend my entire time beside him. I had a few more months to serve, but every month in that role was feeling to me like four. A deep voice inside of me called me to try and find a creative solution.
One day, I overheard the Regimental Adjutant talk to a colleague about the opportunities to fly and work in a summer camp for children in the US, as a part of the service itself. “When opportunity knocks”, I thought, “one should answer”. I immediately applied for that program, not thinking that there is a chance I would be invited to one, two and then three exams, only to find myself teaching music to children in a summer camp in Arizona, 4 months before my release date.
I had made good friends there, who offered me to return after I was officially released. And so I did.
’When opportunity knocks’, I thought, ’one should answer’.
2. After working there for a few months, I met up with a good friend and we decided to travel together in Asia. We flew to China, and headed to Tibet. Back in those days it was almost impossible for foreigners to enter that region. After a long trip to the check point, we understood there are not too many options for us, and decided to skip Lhasa and head to the opposite direction – south, toward Laos.
In Laos I met a Finnish girl who ended up being my girlfriend. After a year and a half of flying on the Tel-Aviv-Helsinki line, we decided to move in together. I wanted to become a physiotherapist. There were plenty of options to do so in Israel, but that same old voice called me to look for a program in Finland. And so I founded myself living in Pori for 4 years.
3. I was a basketball fan since I was 13. The red flags of Hapoel Jerusalem Basketball Club decorated my room walls while growing up. I used to follow them in rain or shine, thick and thin. I was 30 when I was sitting in the staff room of the health care center I was working in, and heard my colleague talk about an opening junior physiotherapist position. “It is now or never”, said the voice, “now or never”. So I applied. And found myself occupying my dream job.
After finding my professional path, it was time to put an emphasis on even more personal issues.
4. I was 35 years old and dating online a lot. Some may say too much. So when a girl with no picture in one of those websites approached me, I would usually politely decline. On one magical late night, and after a very friendly approach, for no real reason, the voice (who was quite tired at the time) said “hey, really, why not?”.
I have been the Head Physiotherapist for Hapoel Jerusalem Basketball Club (2014/15 Israeli Champions) since 2014, and I am married to Fay, my late night-online-no picture love. We’ve just had our first baby boy.
Life will hand you the cards.
Listen to the voice.
Don’t be afraid.
Choose your path.
Head Physiotherapist for Hapoel Jerusalem Basketball Club
Bachelor of Health Care (Physiotherapist, degree programme in Physiotherapy)
I’ll start by taking a moment to talk about something I know extremely well: Marketing.
If you ask a modern marketer what is one of the biggest challenges they face, most of them will list the following: Keeping up with latest trends and technologies.
See, already today, the tech stack is endless; And more platforms are born every day. At the same time, the buying process is changing from linear to non-linear. From logical to jumpy, messy, and unpredictable.
The power has been shifted from companies to consumers as the internet serves as the ultimate catalog to self-serve and to self-educate. For us, marketers, all of this means that we have to find new and more efficient ways to cater to the customers in whatever platforms or devices they are on, at any particular time.
We have to be able to serve customers on their terms and not ours.
What’s this have to do with learning?
Simply put: If you want to stay relevant, you have to be willing to put in the work and learn whatever comes your way. And that, my friend, has been my biggest realization – Continuous learning and self-development is the key to sustainable success.
Not knowing is ok, too.
Don’t be fooled by the “read it and repeat it” concept. It is not impressive to sound like your source of knowledge is coming directly from Google or Wikipedia. There are times that Google comes in handy – but many, including myself, find it refreshing to hear someone admit, “Hey, I don’t know the answer to that, but I am willing to find out for you!”.
Don’t be afraid to admit not knowing all things. Admitting actually empowers you; It gives you the permission to move forward, to pursue the right answer by creating, testing, learning, and adapting.
Admission is power, because one day a strategy works, and tomorrow something new comes along. We are in constant flux, so to say, and there is no room to remain stagnant.
If we live in a world where information drives what we do, the information we get becomes the most important thing. The person who chooses that information has power. – Seth Godin
Curiosity is a superpower
In all this, I am glad to say that I have always had a curious mind. I just never realized how big of an advantage it gives me, until now, of course.
I never thought learning could be a superpower, but here I am, enjoying the ride of never ending self-education. It took me a while to realize my passion for learning, but today, I treat every moment and every meeting as an opportunity to listen and learn.
”Most of the successful people I have known are the ones who do more listening than talking.”― Bernard M. Baruch
Understanding the need for learning and acting on that need are very different. Which is why I want to give a couple of ideas on how to keep on learning while being busy building a career. Here are my favorite things to do to keep me up to date with the latest tech and tactics.
I am OBSESSED with podcasts. I am also obsessed with learning from others (this requires listening… just saying).
I fill any “downtime moments” with valuable content. Podcasts are great because I can listen to an episode or two while driving from one meeting to another. Another reason why they’re so great is that they vary in length – You can choose one that fits with your travel schedule. Oh, how convenient!
When I say I read, I don’t necessarily mean books.
The Internet is filled with in-depth articles and blogs. You can become an expert on any topic by searching and consuming online materials. It is all out there for you. All you need to do is get it!
Pro tip: If you really want to be on your A-game, then choose the best magazines and content providers in your field and make sure you see their posts first. Almost all social media platforms allow you to give priority access to your newsfeed.´
I seek out exciting events and seminars. Seminars, for one, offer great content. Secondly, they offer an excellent opportunity to connect face to face with other influencers. The key is to have a clear strategy: Are you going there to learn or to connect or, perhaps, do both?
Networking can also mean active participation in various social media groups. Actively commenting and asking helps you to build a personal brand. It helps you to make your name known, and the next time you approach a prospective client, they just might remember you from a conversation you had earlier on Twitter.
I build and test on my own
I have always upheld a website or two. Fiddling with sites has allowed me to test and try all the newest tools before offering to use them in client’s project.
I’ve also learned many crucial skills by diving deep into a challenge, testing solutions, and building the final solution by myself.
For me, the best way to approach this is to read a few articles about a certain theory, like growing your blog audience. Then, I’ll just repeat and adjust the steps mentioned. Sometimes I have to reverse-engineer something. This way, I’m able to check if it actually works.
Conquering new ground boosts your confidence and, most often, you get to be the first to pitch new solutions to clients… Which leads to my next point.
I pitch beyond my comfort zone and rise to the challenge
There will be a time when you have to face a client asking you “if you can deliver” on your promise. Those are the times to take a breather and deliver a confident “absolutely” topped with a smile. To fulfill big promises might take up a bit more of your time, but what a way to grow, am I right?!
In conclusion, the sooner you consider learning as a life skill, the sooner you start finding success in whatever you do.
Just one more thing. I listed my favorite podcasts for learning below. They offer inspiration, lessons from life and, most importantly, they offer valuable information. Enjoy the short video I made for you!