<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1514203202045471&ev=PageView&noscript=1"/> Bilal Ali | Core Spirit

Bilal Ali

I received my BA in History from City College - CUNY and AA in Liberal Arts from Kingsborough Community College. I have some credits in MA History from Binghamton University. I have published three books from Amazon (Stories Of My Photographs, Stories Of My Last Semesters, Overcoming and Learning from Difficult Times). I regularly take pictures outside as a form of self-care. I walk and go to the gym. I am a big movie fan and try to question what is the message every movie is trying to convey. I love readi…
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About Bilal Ali

I received my BA in History from City College - CUNY and AA in Liberal Arts from Kingsborough Community College. I have some credits in MA History from Binghamton University. I have published three books from Amazon (Stories Of My Photographs, Stories Of My Last Semesters, Overcoming and Learning from Difficult Times). I regularly take pictures outside as a form of self-care. I walk and go to the gym. I am a big movie fan and try to question what is the message every movie is trying to convey. I love reading books and my favorite genres are History, Autobiographies, Philosophy and Capitalism.

1 years of practice
On Core Spirit since June 2023
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Bilal Ali
Keep walking

Remember that Simpsons episode where Homer loses his driver's license and has to walk to go to Moe's? If you haven't watched it, you could probably watch clips of it on YouTube or watch the episode on Disney+. What's interesting about this story is that Homer is pissed at first but later learns to love walking.

The Simpsons fans would remember Homer being the couched potato. Remember that Treehouse of Horror episode where the family is forced to live in a house where there is "no TV" and "no beer" which makes Homer "crazy?" He literally grabs an axe and attempts to kill his family, killing Groundskeeper Willie in the process. Homer, in the episode where he is forced to walk starts loving it. It makes the episode more memorable as it brings a side to this character that's different.

What's important in this episode is that it explains walking is fun. It is definitely healthy! It helps your legs moving, your body moving, your blood moving. It helps you lose body mass.

Mass is the amount of matter present in the body.

Weight is the gravitational pull of the body.

Don't forget that.

You are more likely to live when you are walking. You are less likely to contract heart diseases. A walking body will help you switch to a more healthy lifestyle. As you lose mass, you will get more motivation to get slimmer. You could go from walking to brisk walking to running.

Sadly, in America, cities and suburbs are designed in a way that doesn't promote walking. In some neighborhoods, particularly the suburbs, you drive to work, to get groceries, to socialize. There are some areas where walk lanes don't exist. Lack of public transportation makes it less of a reason for some folks to get their feet moving. Cities like Houston and Los Angeles are designed car-friendly.

Even if you live in the suburbs, you have the luxury to walk peacefully if you want to. In cities, you have options! The streets, the parks, the commute, public transportation, one train to the other. The point is, walking helps a lot not just physically but mentally for the human body. You will feel more energized, more motivated, more healthier.
Keep walking!

Bilal Ali
Why some regard failures as success

Failure is frustrating.

It is especially frustrating when you feel lost and cannot figure out how to recover. You sometimes feel lonely and powerless during those moments. You cannot figure out how to escape from that situation. You've given your 100% but feel down.

I have been in those situations when I just felt frustrated with failure. I am kind of in this situation right now.

I took deep breaths and started writing this to get my mind off and tell myself failure is not the end. It is only a phase and I need to grow. It is only a hurdle that I need to cross. I will do amazing things but I have to go through difficult moments.

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan said when you set up a goal which is out of the blue, an untrodden path like being the best cricketer, running for political office, starting your own business, you will face difficult times. Setbacks will come but so will success.

A Pakistani YouTuber says he welcomes failure. It is necessary in order to grow and trying something different. Without failure, a person will become comfortable. Comfort sounds pleasing in the short run but hard on the long run. Comfort restricts you to try new things, to get more creative, to make you feel greedy, to make you not innovate in your work. You need to hustle!

It is understandable to feel let down by failure. However, you need to take it as a learning curve, a small bump in the way, a chance to grow. Failure can be the best teacher provided you are willing to learn.

Bilal Ali
Learning how to save money

I'm in my 20's and learning about the importance of money. It wasn't a huge deal for money until the COVID-19 Pandemic came. A lot of people lost their jobs. I was lucky to not be part of that list but I took a risk during the Pandemic to look for other opportunities but couldn't land one until the fall of 2020. Finding a job is tough and maintaining finances is tougher. I would like to share some strategies how I managed to learn and save money.

I didn't even had a consistent job and was badly struggling to pay rent. However, I had the support system in family and friends who helped me guide through difficult moments. I also read books like "Think and Grow Rich," "Rich Dad Poor Dad" and "You Are a Badass at Making Money." All of these strategies helped me get a financial sense in maintaining wealth. Let's face it, wealth can be anything. It doesn't have to fall in a millionaire category. The important thing is to maintain that money in your bank account. If things go down, you need a safety net. Don't be like the Flying Graysons.

Here are some tips I would like to share that will help you maintain wealth.

  1. Have two separate accounts

Use one account for your daily expenses like food, transportation, rent, utilities and other expenses. Use the other account to save money. When you get your paycheck or return, transfer some of it to the other account so that it stays there.

  1. Buy stocks and mutual funds

The stock market can be iffy especially if you are not 100% invested in it. However, you need to build your assets. Stocks and mutual funds are easy to buy as a start. Buy stocks from large corporations or those that you know will stick around or have their businesses diversified like Disney, Amazon and Sony. Look for companies that are future-oriented. Mutual funds will help you gain wealth in a long span of time. You will earn dividends from stocks and mutual funds. They will look small but will help you in the long run. When you have enough money, go for bigger assets like real estate.

  1. Buy assets that you know will have its wealth increase

You probably been to antique stores and garage sales where you see old stuff that is worth millions. Look for stuff that will get you big bucks. Comic books, old toys, old LEGO sets, old train sets and video game consoles are examples.

  1. Try to be involved in side hustles

There is a concept I've heard from a Pakistani YouTuber in which he explained a way to earn money is to combine something you are good at with what the world needs. For example, a lot of people need self-improvement. If you are that person who knows how to help people or have experience helping people through counseling or mentoring, combine those two in a way that will help you make money. A qualification in Counseling or Mental Health will already assist you since people need therapy. What you can do is to work on your passions like painting, sculpting, cooking, making videos and use those skills to make money. YouTube is one way.. Look for avenues that will monetize your side hustles to help you get rich.

  1. Use your credit cards wisely

Credit cards are a liability. Yet you need them for getting a car or an apartment. Get a credit card that will help you get cash back but use it wisely. Or get the one that will give you points so you could use them for travel, gas, restaurants etc. Again, use credit card/s wisely. Only spend on stuff if you know you could pay it back.

  1. Charity

Build wealth not just for yourself but for others. There are people who cannot afford three course meals. Donate to charitable organizations that assist those who need basic necessities like food, shelter, clothing.

Bilal Ali
Photography as Therapy

Photography has been a game-changer for me.

Not just in terms of mental health but also by kickstarting my writing career. I have written a book about my photographs called "Stories Of My Photographs." It was inspired by one of my mentors in college who wrote a book related to mentoring. I had been taking pictures before and still do as therapy. How did it came to happen? Let me explain in the paragraphs below.

I came to the United States as a Permanent Resident in 2016. In order to get acclimated to my new life in America, I started venturing into the streets of New York City where I lived. It was not my first time coming to the US and New York City. I had been coming before when summer vacations kicked in. This was my permanent move. I walked and would take pictures of buildings, streets and parks in Manhattan and would upload them on my Facebook profile. I noticed people would like and sometimes comment on my pictures. I also noticed the joy and mental relief photography brought to me. It became a regular thing.

I had deleted my Facebook profile in 2020. That dented my photography showcase since it was my main medium to post my pictures for people to see. I created an Instagram account in 2021 where I regularly posted pictures. It has not received a super-huge following but it's still reasonable. Perhaps there is a lot of competition on Instagram. Receiving less than ten likes hasn't really put me in depressed mood. As long as I can go out and take pictures, that is more important for me for my mental health improvement.

Since then, it has just been my smartphone taking pictures. For some reason, I have still not upgraded to a DSLR or a digital camera on a full-time basis. Perhaps being in New York City, it is easier to have my phone since I do not have to take a camera which hangs on my neck or there might be a situation where it could get stolen. You never know! Although I have carried my backpack with me because I would venture out taking pictures in college, I just haven't bought a DSLR to upgrade my photo quality. It's also a price tag attached to it and which DSLR. I'm okay with either/or as long as it does the job.

I would like to leave a message to find a passion or hobby that would distract your mind and improve your mental health. If photography is not your thing, try building models from LEGO, try painting, cooking, sketching. Vlogging is an interesting way to showcase your travels to the world. Writing is therapy too! Which is why I have taken the opportunity to write articles here. Just pick a hobby, develop it as a skill and try to make money out of it.

Bilal Ali
Why losing mass is difficult for me after the Pandemic

I would like to clarify something…

Mass is the internal matter present in the body.

Weight is the gravitational pull of the body.

It has become a norm for people to say I need to lose weight which they refer to getting slim. If you want to lose weight, go to the Moon or outer space.

I myself have been fat throughout most of my life. My most latest experience of putting on too much mass was during the Pandemic. Being locked in a two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn for two to three months is not fun. After Eid, I tried to put on the jeans I wore regularly and it wouldn’t go up my thighs. That’s how bad it got!

I started my pre-Pandemic walks again. I would eat dessert after four days and cut my food portions. One month, two months, three months, nothing! I would get about 6000 steps but burn less than 200 calories. It felt as if my fat cells had gotten stronger. I would fit into my jeans but I wasn’t burning enough calories.

Whenever I got fat before the Pandemic, all I had to go was exercise and I would lose mass accordingly. Not much work needed to be done except consistent exercise. Post-Pandemic and getting thin became a challenge. It was not until I started working in the summer of 2021 that I had to walk excessively which allowed my calories to burn quickly.

Fast-forward to 2023 and I still haven’t reached my goal. I have even started going to they gym and gaining muscle. Lifting dumbbells help you burn fat because you are applying energy into doing reps. I’m predicting it will take 12 more months to reach my goal but I am still trying.

My food intake is decent. In fact, I have started to eat in less portions since I trained myself to eat less in the past months. I force myself to walk at least 6000 steps before I head back home. I prefer outdoor walking over the treadmill because you are outside and the sun is shining on you.

Gotta get your Vitamin D!

I eat dessert but once a day. In the past whenever I had skipped dessert for more than a week, I started to crave excessively. Now, I let my body have its extra share of carbohydrates. I have started to eat cucumbers which I have heard from a recent podcast they help in clearing your gut.

A clean gut allows more fat to be burned.

I have increased my protein intake to build muscle. I do not drink protein shakes. Not only are they expensive but I do not trust them because of its ingredients. People still drink it so I am not going to tell them to change your choices.

With so many changes, I still haven’t reached the halfway point of my goal of 75 kilograms (165 pounds).

I was 96 kg (211 lbs) in December 2022.

I am currently 89 kg (196 lbs).

Let’s see how long does it take for me to reach my goal or at least get to 80 kg (176 lbs).

The Pandemic has really made things difficult for me in terms of losing excess body fat. Sometimes you feel like Eddie Murphy’s character from Nutty Professor. You get to the point where you are depressed and feel like you don’t fit in society because you are fat. That is something I struggled when I was little. I guess times have changed now and people have realized being fat is not always linked to being lazy. The Pandemic made a lot of people fat because most of them couldn’t go out.

Bilal Ali
You need people around you for help

I have recently quit my job as an Associate Teacher at a charter school. The school is notorious for its high turnover rate. It was frustrating to leave almost at the end of the school year but it was much needed since I was being pressured a lot to the point it got too much. Leaving a job is painful because you lose your source of income and benefits.

I had a chance to go to an alumni event for NYC Men Teach the same week. I was telling almost every individual I talked to that I quit my job at that charter school. To my brief surprise, they were very happy I left. Most of them knew about this school which is just awful. Some folks comforted me for leaving and some shared their stories about their experiences working at charter schools. Some of them offered me to help find a different job.

The next few days I started getting so many offers and given three interviews in one day. It felt not everything was gloomy or working at a charter school for five months does not necessarily impact your resume. Being from Pakistan, individuals are taught to be resilient and just do what you got to do to survive like take abuse in a workplace. In America, things feel different or those Americans who are brought up with American values of individualism to take control of your life if things are not working out. The Bill of Rights and the Civil Rights Movements are some examples of history.

People from the alumni event were the people I knew already and got acquainted too. They knew my story, my struggles and I knew theirs. When I told them I quit my charter school job, they felt understood and gave me a sense of comfort and belonging. If one thing doesn’t work out then that doesn’t define your life or you as a person solely.

If you look at examples from the Civil Rights Movement, it was not about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. There were plenty of other activists (John Lewis, Rosa Parks, Andrew Goodman, Angela Davis), many different organizations (like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Black Panther Party), that were active in advocating rights for people of color. Even President Lyndon Johnson played a role by signing the Civil Rights Act (at a time when US troops were in Vietnam).

Napoleon Hill’s book Think & Grow Rich advocates for the individual to have a strong circle which included friends, business partners, family. Basically, the circle would include people you could trust. It would exclude people who would try to pin you down. Kevin Hart’s documentary on Netflix discusses him having a circle of friends who are also his guides and supporters.

To wrap it all up…

You need people around you for help.

You need a strong circle of people who you can trust.

You must stay away from people who try to stab you.

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Bilal Ali8mo

New article Keep walking already available! corespirit.com/articles/keep-walking-qv4fka

Bilal Ali8mo

New article Why some regard failures as success already available! corespirit.com/articles/why-some-regard-failu…

Bilal Ali8mo

New article Learning how to save money already available! corespirit.com/articles/learning-how-to-save-…

Bilal Ali9mo

New article Photography as Therapy already available! corespirit.com/articles/photography-as-therap…

Bilal Ali9mo

New article Why losing mass is difficult for me after the Pandemic already available! corespirit.com/articles/why-losing-mass-is-di…

Bilal Ali9mo

New article You need people around you for help already available! corespirit.com/articles/you-need-people-aroun…