Vintage toned image of a open diary on a wooden desk, besides the laptop computer. Coffee break for a couple of new lines.
You will find advice in blogs, articles, and books on how to overcome your obstacle/s and avoid them in the future. Getty

How to unblock a mental block



A kid asked me once: “Can you ever run out of creativity?” When you work in the creative field, this is something that many people ask. They would ask me questions such as: “How do you know what to write about every week?” or “Do you ever run out of ideas?” and the best question is “How do you seek inspiration?” These are all pertinent questions that I have wondered about before I joined the creative field.

While I do not believe that a person can ever run out of creative ideas, I do strongly believe in mental blocks, or “writers’ block” as some refer to it.

The period can last from a day to several months which can be a huge problem if you are running a creative business. One of my team members is currently going through one of these phases,  a situation that is giving her a panic attack because she thinks she may never be as creative as she once was.

If you find yourself in a mental block, or prone to falling into one, then rest assured that there are ways that can help you get out of it. I know, I have tried.

So what can be done if you do find yourself in this uncomfortable situation?

Admit that it is there

A mental block is a problem, and if you are prone to facing it, then it is best to acknowledge it, so that when you do face one, you will not stress about it. And so the next step is important, which is to remain calm and realise that it is a temporary phase that will pass.

Spice up your schedule

With mental blocks, what you need to do is to break your cycle. Routine is good sometimes, but it does not help much with mental blocks. When I am facing a mental block, I go out and do something that I would not usually be doing. For instance, I will take up a new sport, or activity, or drive up to an area I have not explored, and would walk around. I would also read about subjects outside my field. Lately, I have been reading a lot about astronomy, Mars in particular, as well as national parks in the US. These topics are not related to my field, but I find that by doing that, I trigger my creativity. I am also inspired most when I completely switch off from my routine and engage in something unrelated to my field.

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Draw it or write it

When she’s faced with a mental block, my friend goes to her whiteboard and draws her obstacle. She says that she always finds the solution once she sees her problem is in front of her. Another great way to get over a problem is to write it down. Jot down what is bothering you, and then perhaps you will see that it is not a big deal, or you will notice a pattern of some sort, or be inspired to find a solution. Writing personally works best for me. It almost always helps solve my problem, and allows me to realise that it is not that big of a deal as I had imagined it to be.

Seek advice

Do not suffer in silence. Often in business, time is money, and you cannot just sit there waiting for inspiration to kick in. If you have a mentor then call them up and talk about it. If you don’t have one but have fellow entrepreneurs then seek their advice. Even if you do not have any entrepreneur friends then that should not stop you. Many of the problems we face are universal, and a quick search on Google will show you that you are not the only one facing that situation, and many have gone through the same or quite similar scenarios. Also, you will find advice in blogs, articles, and books on how to overcome your obstacle/s and avoid them in the future.

Give it a bit of time before taking action

Finally, as precious as time is, especially in business, do not rush into anything or take any drastic decision before you have given it some time to sink in. A friend of mine advices me to sleep on a matter before taking a huge decision. Most of the time I wake up feeling much better and know what to do. Sometimes also, a few hours do the trick. During this time, go for a walk, take some deep breath, and then you will know exactly what to do.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer who manages her branding and marketing consultancy in Abu Dhabi

The specs

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Power: 660hp
Torque: 1,100Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Touring range: 488km-560km
Price: From Dh850,000 (estimate)
On sale: October

MATCH INFO

Karnatake Tuskers 114-1 (10 ovs)

Charles 57, Amla 47

Bangla Tigers 117-5 (8.5 ovs)

Fletcher 40, Moores 28 no, Lamichhane 2-9

Bangla Tiger win by five wickets

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Kinetic 7
Started: 2018
Founder: Rick Parish
Based: Abu Dhabi, UAE
Industry: Clean cooking
Funding: $10 million
Investors: Self-funded

Other ways to buy used products in the UAE

UAE insurance firm Al Wathba National Insurance Company (AWNIC) last year launched an e-commerce website with a facility enabling users to buy car wrecks.

Bidders and potential buyers register on the online salvage car auction portal to view vehicles, review condition reports, or arrange physical surveys, and then start bidding for motors they plan to restore or harvest for parts.

Physical salvage car auctions are a common method for insurers around the world to move on heavily damaged vehicles, but AWNIC is one of the few UAE insurers to offer such services online.

For cars and less sizeable items such as bicycles and furniture, Dubizzle is arguably the best-known marketplace for pre-loved.

Founded in 2005, in recent years it has been joined by a plethora of Facebook community pages for shifting used goods, including Abu Dhabi Marketplace, Flea Market UAE and Arabian Ranches Souq Market while sites such as The Luxury Closet and Riot deal largely in second-hand fashion.

At the high-end of the pre-used spectrum, resellers such as Timepiece360.ae, WatchBox Middle East and Watches Market Dubai deal in authenticated second-hand luxury timepieces from brands such as Rolex, Hublot and Tag Heuer, with a warranty.

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Brief scores:

Everton 2

Walcott 21', Sigurdsson 51'

Tottenham 6

Son 27', 61', Alli 35', Kane 42', 74', Eriksen 48'​​​​​​​

Man of the Match: Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur)

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

What is an ETF?

An exchange traded fund is a type of investment fund that can be traded quickly and easily, just like stocks and shares. They come with no upfront costs aside from your brokerage's dealing charges and annual fees, which are far lower than on traditional mutual investment funds. Charges are as low as 0.03 per cent on one of the very cheapest (and most popular), Vanguard S&P 500 ETF, with the maximum around 0.75 per cent.

There is no fund manager deciding which stocks and other assets to invest in, instead they passively track their chosen index, country, region or commodity, regardless of whether it goes up or down.

The first ETF was launched as recently as 1993, but the sector boasted $5.78 billion in assets under management at the end of September as inflows hit record highs, according to the latest figures from ETFGI, a leading independent research and consultancy firm.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five largest providers BlackRock’s iShares, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisers, Deutsche Bank X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

While the best-known track major indices such as MSCI World, the S&P 500 and FTSE 100, you can also invest in specific countries or regions, large, medium or small companies, government bonds, gold, crude oil, cocoa, water, carbon, cattle, corn futures, currency shifts or even a stock market crash. 

Company Profile

Company: Astra Tech
Started: March 2022
Based: Dubai
Founder: Abdallah Abu Sheikh
Industry: technology investment and development
Funding size: $500m

The pillars of the Dubai Metaverse Strategy

Encourage innovation in the metaverse field and boost economic contribution

Develop outstanding talents through education and training

Develop applications and the way they are used in Dubai's government institutions

Adopt, expand and promote secure platforms globally

Develop the infrastructure and regulations

UAE Tour 2020

Stage 1: The Pointe Palm Jumeirah - Dubai Silicon Oasis, 148km
Stage 2: Hatta - Hatta Dam, 168km​​​​​​​
Stage 3: Al Qudra Cycle Track - Jebel Hafeet, 184km​​​​​​​
Stage 4: Zabeel Park - Dubai City Walk, 173km​​​​​​​
Stage 5: Al Ain - Jebel Hafeet, 162km​​​​​​​
Stage 6: Al Ruwais - Al Mirfa, 158km​​​​​​​
Stage 7: Al Maryah Island - Abu Dhabi Breakwater, 127km

SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbo

Power: 181hp

Torque: 230Nm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Starting price: Dh79,000

On sale: Now

Company profile

Date started: May 2022
Founder: Husam Aboul Hosn
Based: DIFC
Sector: FinTech — Innovation Hub
Employees: eight
Stage: pre-seed
Investors: pre-seed funding raised from family and friends earlier this year

Inside Out 2

Director: Kelsey Mann

Starring: Amy Poehler, Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri

Rating: 4.5/5

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

A Bad Moms Christmas
Dir: John Lucas and Scott Moore
Starring: Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Bell, Susan Sarandon, Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines
Two stars

Financial considerations before buying a property

Buyers should try to pay as much in cash as possible for a property, limiting the mortgage value to as little as they can afford. This means they not only pay less in interest but their monthly costs are also reduced. Ideally, the monthly mortgage payment should not exceed 20 per cent of the purchaser’s total household income, says Carol Glynn, founder of Conscious Finance Coaching.

“If it’s a rental property, plan for the property to have periods when it does not have a tenant. Ensure you have enough cash set aside to pay the mortgage and other costs during these periods, ideally at least six months,” she says. 

Also, shop around for the best mortgage interest rate. Understand the terms and conditions, especially what happens after any introductory periods, Ms Glynn adds.

Using a good mortgage broker is worth the investment to obtain the best rate available for a buyer’s needs and circumstances. A good mortgage broker will help the buyer understand the terms and conditions of the mortgage and make the purchasing process efficient and easier. 

ACC T20 Women’s Championship

UAE fixtures
Friday, June 17 v Oman
Saturday, June 18 v Singapore
Monday, June 20 v Malaysia
Wednesday, June 22 v Qatar
Friday, June 24, semi-final
Saturday, June 25, final

UAE squad: Chaya Mughal (captain), Esha Oza, Indhuja Nandakumar, Kavisha Kumari, Khushi Sharma, Lavanya Keny, Priyanjali Jain, Rithika Rajith, Samaira Dharnidharka, Sanchin Singh, Siya Gokhale, Suraksha Kotte, Theertha Satish, Vaishnave Mahesh

Countdown to Zero exhibition will show how disease can be beaten

Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease, an international multimedia exhibition created by the American Museum of National History in collaboration with The Carter Center, will open in Abu Dhabi a  month before Reaching the Last Mile.

Opening on October 15 and running until November 15, the free exhibition opens at The Galleria mall on Al Maryah Island, and has already been seen at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

 

UK - UAE Trade

Total trade in goods and services (exports plus imports) between the UK and the UAE in 2022 was £21.6 billion (Dh98 billion). 

This is an increase of 63.0 per cent or £8.3 billion in current prices from the four quarters to the end of 2021.

 

The UAE was the UK’s 19th largest trading partner in the four quarters to the end of Q4 2022 accounting for 1.3 per cent of total UK trade.