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Last Updated on February 28, 2018

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 September 20, 2018

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

4. What are my goals in life?

Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

6. What do I not like to do?

An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

“What do I want to do with my life?”

So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

Reference

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