40 Empowering Quotes from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to help you reach for Excellence in your Life.


Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai. He is a visionary who through is vision and commitment to excellence took Dubai from a little known Arab city to the world most sought out leading destination in tourism, commerce, tech and re-export.
In his book My Vision: Challenges in the Race for Excellence, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum gave succintly the steps he use to make Dubai and her citizens a people and city of excellence respectively.

This post 40 Empowering quotes from Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is extrapolated from his book. These quotes can act as a manual to any one who wishes to aim for excellence in their lives.

  1. With each new day in Africa a gazette wakes up knowing he must outrun the fastest lion or perish. At the same time, a lion stirs and stretches, knowing he must outrun the fastest gazelle or starve. It is no different for the human race. Whether you consider yourself a gazelle or a lion, you simply have to run faster than others to survive.
  2. To ensure success we have to join the race and win. Afterall, no one ever remembers who came second- not even the second man to climb Everest or walk the moon. A nation’s development, however, does not happen overnight or by accident. Nor does the development of a nation ever stop once the process has begun. Nation building is the result of intense efforts at building a community and homeland, a phenomenal task not undertaken lightly, but shouldered by a nation’s government, its public and private sectors and its people. They must all be willing to respond to the changing conditions that ricochet around the world at breakneck speed.
  3. In today’s fast -paced world, if you are not leading, you will be left behind. If you fall behind, it is likely that someone less capable, less creative and less prepared than you will take your place. Although, this can happen very quickly, the race is also one of endurance. Should you stumble once or twice, do not worry, you can learn valuable lessons from falling occasionally and will be unlikely to repeat the same mistakes. Failure is not falling to the ground, it is remaining there once you have fallen and the greatest failure is when you decide not to stand up again.
  4. When you face a challenge that demands a solution or a decision, you have two choices-you can either emulate the example set by others or use your own creativity and intelligence to formulate a new idea.
  5. But what exactly is the bigger picture? The bigger picture is one of survival-life’s driving force and the reason why all creatures spend each day trying to catch their prey or escape their hunters-survival cannot be achieved by wishful thinking, continued growth requires huge effort, complete attention and being consistently alert to potential dangers.
  6. Although we live in a civilised society, the business world remains a jungle. Successful businessman and women have learned to bide their time and wait for the right opportunities to present themselves. There is no room for error or sentiment, because it represents the difference between expansion and recession, fortune and bankruptcy, survival and death.
  7. Where is the progress in keeping pace with the competition? I’d our sole goal I’d to attain the level others have reached, then we are setting our target too low. We must take matters into our hands. Do not fool yourselves into believing that we are moving forward when we are only keeping up with general trends, while the real opportunities are slipping away.
  8. We must take the lead and be proactive in forging our own destiny. The future will bring daunting, unforseen challenges and we must be ready to face anything.
  9. We should always remember our competitors are trying just as hard as us to take the lead. In this age of revolution, when information travels at the speed of light, ideas can travel at the same speed. We must implement practical ideas without wasting any time. If we do not others will-and they will also reap the rewards; wealth, large markets, job opportunities, stability, expertise, competitiveness and scores of other benefits. They will look forward to a bright future while stragglers will remain in the dark.
  10. We are living in an age where there is no room for hesitation. Many of the economic, technical and political concepts that prevailed during the last few years have been replace by new concepts, once that were imposed by necessity. Nations of all sizes are trying their best to adapt to the new realities and prepare their establishments, companies and citizens to face the challenges of the future. They are taken measures needed to succeed.
  11. Change and adapting to a quickly changing reality are inevitable, if we want to remain within the ranks of the advance world, we need to match the speed at which the world is developing. We do not need the type that allows us not only to win the present race, but lead the next onem we have spent enough time in the shadow of our past and need to look forward and embrace our plans for the future.
  12. Our world is new and totally different from the one our fathers knew, but their world too was new compared to the one their ancestors knew. Just like us today, they had to wake up early and outpace others to survive and prosper, if they did not, we would not be here today. Each new generation faces new challenges and consecutive generations are in a way a succession of challenges. Overcoming the challenges in the race for excellence is the secret of success; failing to do so is the reason behind defeat and trailing behind other nations. The choice is ours.
  13. In his great wisdom, God gave each one of us a share of material possessions, capabilities and talents. Some people may aspire to little more than their daily earnings, while others have far greater vision.
  14. Vision is a race of victory in a bloodless battle for development. Development today is not a trend, but a full-blown industry. And since it is an industry, it must generate products that have certain elements. The first of these is vision. A good leader crystallizes his vision, defines its objectives, navigates it development and supervises its implementation. Failure in defining the objectives and following the implementation is a true recipe for disappointment.
  15. Success in business and ventures has its acknowledgement elements, but nothing is more important than specialisation in the age of specialisation, professionalism in the age of professionalism and technology in the age of technology. Our age is one of great ideas and innovation that produce outstanding projects and not one of filling minds with information. A hundred successful projects can provide job opportunities for tens of thousands of people and make the world a better place for future generations.
  16. A great leader should avail himself of brilliant opportunities wherever he can-and if he is not able to find such opportunities, he should make them.
  17. A leader may be able to foresee something no one else can. This is one of the qualities that make true leaders. They must always look forward, further than anyone else, in order to anticipate the future, predict the challenges it will bring and prepare their people to face them.
  18. If we do not choose the future, we will be choosing the past. Our past was glorious, but it cannot dictate our present or our future. We are not required to free ourselves from our past, because it lives in our conscience, but we have to free ourselves from staying in the past. Our present should be our starting point and the future should be our target. We must decide how to build the future.
  19. When leaders have the ability to foresee the future-as well as the road leading to it-they are the best people to fulfil its promise. However, if we fail for any reason, we must plan, endeavour, innovate and do our best to reach our goals and then let God do the rest.
  20. Routine is the enemy of the pioneering spirit. We need to avoid routine practices and adopt a creative frame of mind to achieve success. Anyone interested in joining the race must commit to it fully. Laziness only leads to more laziness, while work ensures joy and the path to success.
  21. We should not be afraid of hard work, challenges and pressures because they will come our way no matter what, and will make us better people. A diamond is nothing more than a stone until it is cut and polished; only then does it become a precious stone.
  22. You must give to be allowed to take. To accumulate talent you must develop it, to make a good trainer, you must train someone first, to make leaders, you must coach promising talents and teach them how to avail themselves of good opportunities and avoid failure.
  23. Making the right decision at the right moment is one of the most important factors for success.
  24. To avoid failure,a leader must develop his vision according to strict timetable because delay and procrastination are enemies of success. When we review history, we find that many leaders lost crucial battles because they did not make the right decisions at the right time; when they finally did, it was too late-the situation had changed and potential victories turned into defeats.
  25. Efforts, work, planning and preparation are the tools needed to realised dreams and their goals. If dreams are the cornerstone of great ideas, creativity is their foundation.
  26. God says in his Holy Book “let there be no compulsion in religion” . So what right do we have to force others to embrace our religion? We have to assume the responsibility of presenting people of other faiths with a beautiful picture of Islam. This can only be done by dealing with them positively, living with them in peace and harmony, and jointly achieving a sucessful economic and humanitarian development.
  27. Excellence does not recognize religious or ethnic difference because its overwhelming humanitarian nature overcomes everything that might create differences between people. Everyone of us wants to live in peace, work, produce and make profits in an environment that provides everybody with equal opportunities, rights and obligations.
  28. Challenges inspires determination, reinvigorate willpower and keep the mind alert.
  29. No matter how good expertise is; there will always be something better.
  30. There is no single definition for the word “impossible”. One might find that what they considered impossible ten years ago is possible today, and what is impossible for one person is not so for another. If I cannot overcome something, the reason could be that I have never found an appropriate way to do so. The way to conquer the impossible is to refuse to concede to despair and say “somewhere, somehow, there is a way…..so let us find what it is”
  31. Any success or failure is always collective. Every member of each work team must be aware that the success of his team depends on his own success, and that the success of his team is crucial for the success of other teams.
  32. In addition to being able to sail in calm waters, a good captain must be able to steer his ship to safety in rough weather. When angry voices rise, there must be a voice that calls for restraint and calm; when confidence is eroded, there must be someone to build it up again; and when distress prevails, courage must always take over.
  33. People’s expectations have no limits and are like a revolving door, people are always looking out for the best and the easiest means and we must always surprise them with first class services.
  34. What is important is for me to always do what I consider my duty-to God, my conscience, my homeland, my people and my leader. I am therefore working today as if I were to die tomorrow and working for tomorrow as if I were to live forever. I am focusing all my potential, efforts and time to serve my country, with the utmost courage, determination and power God has granted me.
  35. Just like anyone else, I had parents who loved me and I loved them, and I have sons and daughters I love and hope they feel the same about me. I let the moment control my feelings-so that I am a leader when I lead, a poet when I write poetry, a cavalier when I ride my horse and a normal citizen when I meet the citizens of my country. I need little from my world, my prayer mat and water container are in my car wherever I go together with my work document and my vision.
  36. My thinking is divided between the present and future, which means that part of it is dedicated to solving daily affairs and the other to that special vision looming on the horizon. A leader might see the light in the distance, but not see the tunnel leading to it, or he might see the tunnel, but not the light at the end of it. In both cases, he must be confident he is leading towards his goals.
  37. We live in a fast changing world and face many challenges that we need to be aware of. We must be fully prepared to meet them and to respond to them as efficiently as possible.
  38. When excellence becomes a natural extension of people’s psychological constitution, their links with mundane life will be severed and reverting to old ways will become a symbol of backwardness and regression. If we want excellence to prosper, we must grow it insides people’s mind.
  39. Sometimes just talking about excellence inspires an urge to reach excellence.
  40. Overcoming the challenges of a new millennium calls for fresh methodologies and innovative approaches. This in turn calls for change. Change also indicates a change in mindset, the ability to understand the language of the new world and convey our message, standpoint and goals, in a clear simple and frank manner. If we achieve this, the world will understand us and allow us to promote better cooperation between nations, eliminating sources of misunderstanding and focusing all our efforts on development.

Bonus quotes

  1. Life consists of a number of opportunities and great opportunities do not come knocking on people’s doors. Whoever wants such opportunities must grab them when they arise, for his people and for himself. We have to be strong-willed, determine and willing to grasp such opportunities, so that we do not have to scavenge the leftovers of lions.
  2. The much better, more secure and more permanent way to maintain excellence lies in linking it to the interest of people and their future, their performance and their social status. We cannot possibly stop the global race for excellence-we must join it. Once we do we must invest in the right effort, time and tools. Everybody will then have a vested interest in protecting those investments.
  3. We must always be practical, realistic and optimistic, focusing on our strengths, our unique features and using tried and tested expertise. If the necessary elements for adopting a certain development model are not available, we should not use this as an excuse to procrastinate. Even taking the shortest step forward is better than sitting idle. Such a step could be about the concept of the model and not the model itself. If there are any obstructions, let us at least try to develop the idea.


Book: Age of possibilities
Book: Age of possibilities

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