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One of the most influential young Arabs in the world talks passion

April 29, 2016

Interview with Emmy nominated producer of VICE Ahmad Shiab EldinGet your mind off your passion to find passionAhmad Shiab Eldin is voted as one of the top 100 most influential young Arabs in the world, he is an Emmy nominated producer of VICE on HBOAhmad says “I get my passion from conflict, from not belonging and from people who are challenging the status quo”His secret to sustaining passion is “conviction” in that state you trust your instinct and you do not second-guess your self When on a low or feeling unclear and confused the tactic is simple: get your mind off what is bringing you down, even better go do something you have not done before, travel and try new experiences or even spend time alone to clear your head even from your passion!Its ok not to know exactly what your passion is, so do not be frustrated by the lack of clarity or you will be doing your self a disservice, life is a journey.A big thanks to our friends at Inc. Arabia for making this interview happen right before Ahmad gets on a plane, so hurry up watch the interview the share it and spread the love.Live PassionatelyMoustafa HamwiMoustafa Hamwi: Hello everyone and welcome back to Passion Sundays. The best way to end the week and start another. Our guest today is voted as one of the top 100 most influential young Arabs in the world. He is an Emmy nominated producer, journalist and correspondent, Ahmed Shihab-Eldin. Thank you very much for having us here today.Ahmed Shihab-Eldin: It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me.Moustafa Hamwi: So, where do you get all this passion to have generated all this success and power at the same time?Ahmed Shihab-Eldin: Well, I don't know if I have power. May be there is a perception that I have power. But a passion is obviously very important. I think I get my passion from challenges. From learning new things and from people who are doing things in their communities that are challenging status quo. To be honest with you, I find when I follow a cover for work or meet people in my personal life whether it’s my professional capacity, who are doing something about a problem or who are challenging the current state of affairs, you know, in their community, in their country where ever it might be on however smaller level, you know if they’re educating people, if they’re learning, if I learn things, for me that just makes me more optimistic about accomplishing whatever it is. I said I have to do whether its again something that’s work related or something that’s personal.Moustafa Hamwi: That’s amazing. But you make it sound so easy that it seems like you’ve always got that passion. But I am sure you run low sometimes and sometimes all your optimism does not work against the odds. Where do you find passion when you are that low?Ahmed Shihab-Eldin: It may sound cliché but music and particularly lyrics. You know poetry is something I was really into when I was young and I think when you think about what lyrics are, essentially they are poetry you know, played to music and for me, when I am really low and I am looking for passion or inspiration, you know, choose another word, I listen to songs. They kind of transport me to another place, make me forget whatever it is that is bringing me down, whoever it may be that’s bringing me down whatever situation I am in. Because then it makes you kind of, it makes you realize and see things whatever it is that’s bothering you from another perspective and that’s when I think the regeneration can start. Also, when I am low, I always try to do something and I think this happens subconsciously. I always trying to do something that I have never done before. It might be something as silly as going to a restaurant, trying a food that I haven’t done before. And I don’t even actively do it. I mean this is me in hindsight telling you and you know the most, I think the most kind of inspiring thing whether I am high or low, in terms of sustaining passion because, that is also very important. I am regardless of if you are high or low, is conviction and I think I am I, I am very motivated by having. I have been fortunate enough to have people in my life from a young age, who are very confident. But also humble enough to trust their instincts and not to second guess themselves but at the same time not to assume that other people are going to, you know necessarily go with their flow. Particularly my mother as well as my sister. So, yeah I think I have been very lucky from a young age to this kind of always have adopted like a passionate approach to life through my family and through my friends.Moustafa Hamwi: Amazing and you just brought an interesting point about, you know, your mother and what people think. So, you might have been lucky to have found your path and your passion early on. What should people do if they are not clear about what’s their passion. How should they find what is their passion, what is their calling? Or is it their belief that makes the passion manifest into reality.Ahmed Shihab-Eldin: So great question. Both of these questions. I think it’s really important to spend time alone. I am a social animal. So, sometimes It can distract you (04:00) at least in my experience and so if you not really sure where your passion is, you are not necessarily motivated in life, at any point in your life, I think spending time alone in travelling and experiencing new things. For me I try, you know I love to shop. But I try to spend my money on experiences and on experiencing new places, new countries, new cultures, whatever it might be. Because passion isn’t something that just, in my experience at least, is born or appears or emerges. It’s something that I think gradually and incrementally, especially with age, and at the more you experience, at the more it manifests itself and becomes clear to you what it is you want. And you know, I think it’s ok to be passionate about many things. So to your answers yours first question, like how do you know what your passion is. How do you find your passion if you don’t know what you want to do? Start by knowing that It’s ok to have no specific passion or to have many passions or to not necessarily know what it is. You know, it sounds a bit cheesy, but life is a journey and I think if you give up or if you are frustrated, by that lack of clarity, you are only doing yourself a disservice. So try just to experience a lot of things. Also, quite frankly, I got my passion also from conflicts, and from not belonging. I have been lucky enough to feel like, I don’t necessarily have a home like countries and boundaries, don’t really make sense to me. And when I do meet people, who either have that same kind of personality or live that same lifestyle, that to me is like, it’s like, it’s like fuel, it’s almost like ecstasy, it’s to me, I wish we could live, it is a bit idealistic, in that kind of a world because I think it would facilitate a lot of passion for a lot of people.Moustafa Hamwi: Awesome. Thank you very much for this insight. particularly that passion is a journey, it’s not a specific thing and probably get your mind off your passion, may be you find your passion then. Thank you very much. I am sure all our viewers would love this and I know you have to head off to a plane to back to New York now. Thank you very much for making this interview happen. Awesome, thank you. Appreciate it.Together: Passion!Moustafa Hamwi: What do you think? I would really love to hear your opinion. If you would like to stay engaged, subscribe to our social media channels and if you want even more valuable interviews and tips and tricks, on how to live passionately, then go to and subscribe to our Passion Sundays newsletter.Until the next episode, live passionately.

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