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Saying “What’s Up?” Can Make You Wiser

Saying “What’s Up?” Can Make You Wiser

In most parts of the world, greetings are often brief and carry no hidden or complex meaning. There’s simply no afterthought, just exchanging a few pleasantries. But Iraq, the cradle of civilization, is the exception. Iraqis usually greet each other with mind-boggling questions that are poised to work like Zen koan to open your mind.

One such greeting, shaku maku – an existential question equivalent to “what’s up?” can actually open your mind and make you wiser. Who thought a greeting could actually be a source of wisdom? Ephrat Livni walks us through the allure and tidbits of this magical greeting in his recent article published in Quartz This Iraqi Greeting Can Open Your Mind and Make You Wiser.

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Obscure Meaning

In the backdrop of endless checkpoints and ruins left by sectarian warfare sits a fascinating Iraqi culture – the shaku maku. The phrase loosely translates to “what’s everything and nothing?” although its origin remains obscure, every Iraqi gets shaku maku inherently. The greeting is often accompanied with a wink to denote its playful paradox of unpredictability. Nonetheless, the most popular answers include Alhamdulillah which means “praise God” and maku shi which translates “there is nothing.”

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Origin

Again, the origin of shaku maku remains largely unknown. Most researchers and language experts like Akeel Abbas al-Khakani believe that the phrase is ancient. He thinks the word has its roots in one Mesopotamia era language: the Akkadian. In fact, there’s a consensus the shaku maku is a mash-up of an array of words. Aku came from Akkadian word akoon which means “exists.” When combined with sha – “what” – and ma, negation, it forms a phrase which literally means “what exists, what doesn’t.”

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Shaku maku cannot be understood by reason alone

Although it might seem senseless to non-Iraqis, the allure of shaku maku lies in its wisdom. The question has a profound meaning that one cannot just understand with reason alone. By relying on the in-depth feeling that life is strange, you can garner the inherent meaning of the greeting.

Contemplate the question and become wiser

By contemplating this question, one can become illuminated as well as grow wiser. With two parts of the phrase contradicting, your mind can cease making distinctions, therefore, gaining more wisdom. Read the full article hereto learn more about this fascinating Iraqi gem.

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More by this author

Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.

Being able to motivate people is key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help of others.

So, how to motivate people? Here are 7 ways to motivate others even you can do.

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1. Listen

Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage, then continue through these steps.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with, “What have you always wanted to do?”

“Why do you want to do that?”

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“What makes you so excited about it?”

“How long has that been your dream?”

You need this information the help you with the following steps.

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3. Encourage

This is the most important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared they will fail or look stupid, many never try to reach their goals, so this is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”

4. Ask About What the First Step Will Be

After you’ve encouraged them, find how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.

5. Dream

This is the most fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off, and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.

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6. Ask How You Can Help

Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.

7. Follow Up

Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.

Final Thoughts

By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about getting to your goals, you’ll be surrounded by successful people, and others will want to help you reach your dreams …

Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!

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Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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