Mustafa Sherif´s inspiring story starts in 1993, Bagdad, where he comes from.
Mustafa was only 8 years old when a playful day outdoors and a car accident became a relevant highlight in his journey.
I recovered fast physically but psychologically it took a longer time. However, this episode affected me in another way. I was afraid going out,
I stopped meeting other children. I just stayed home until I was around 13. I remember we lived in the high part of the building and from there, I used to watch daily, children playing, people interacting with each other. I was observing the city around me without being part of it.
The war started short after and Mustafa had to leave home´s comfort zone together with his family to move to different cities during several years, until they started their new life in Sweden. He was 17 years old.
I remember I was the one who learned Swedish fastest, so I was the one who supported my family with daily interactions, paperwork. My family and I adapted to the new circumstances as a team.
Soon was Mustafa studying in the university, architecture.
It was focus on one building. I couldn´t impact more than small details, the approach was too narrow. I got the opportunity to continue with scholarships but the love for the carrier was not there, I changed orientation. So, I applied to KTH.
My passion for big scale, to put together many elements and the impact urban planning has in regards with concretizing a design plan, with the social aspect included, was the right approach for me, so I graduated at KTH as Urban Planner.
The children’s approach I started incorporating in urban planning was not a really well-known topic in this field. I did it because safety for kids shouldn´t have barriers and this is close to my heart and my own story.
Mustafa drives and cooperate in many projects where children and young people´s voices are heard, where creativity and big dreams have the power to touch and inspire many network platforms, with bold reflection. Additionally, he is also involved contributing to many other forums within communications as TEDx, innovation projects within urban planning, hackathons and placemaking activities.
How would you describe your participation in this variety of forums?
The difference between forums is valuable. Like at school, we all collect knowledge from many subjects. For me the forums are as subjects. I can collect knowledge, put them together and find synergies that can help me to transform ideas into action.
Mustafa is member of relevant forums and his action taking skill gave life to one of his most known and recognized creation, Urbanistica Podcast, a unique concept within podcasting among us since 2020, which already has more than 35 000 unique listeners from 110 countries.
Sometimes the first step to action taking can be challenging for many people, mostly due to limiting beliefs and Mustafa´s unselfish approach didn´t wait to be asked for tips to cope with this, as he shared immediately his routine with us.
Before action taking, I always first check the resources I have now and start with what I have. To put on action the idea theme I had for Urbanistica Podcast I checked the technical need to record, edit and publish. So, I started with the resource I had: my phone.
If you want to contribute in a forum, your resource might be just a mail or a call away.
Ideas are worthless if these are not transformed into action. Don´t overthink. We kill the magic if we do it.
Not acting means 100% certainty nothing will happen but action taking give us already a 50-50 chance to succeed.
We are responsible for putting the limits to our capacity, we just need to go to ourselves to reach our authority and tackle our limiting limits.
Limiting beliefs close doors by taking away our chances. Think about the moments limiting beliefs took over. Learn from what has been missed and become aware of the doors this can close if we continue letting limiting beliefs take over again.
It could also be seen in the other way around. How many new doors can we open?
Sometimes external factors can impact action taking, where the friction of speed can challenge wellbeing leading into stressful situations. Mustafa has a very interesting approach and routine for it.
Love in what I am about to do has to be attached from the beginning, as the speed creator. Mistakes or challenges happen during the journey, but these can be fixed on the way and become the good practices for future activities.
We all have our own speed and practice teach us when it is time to speed up things and when to slow down.
When I find myself in a stressful moment, I slow down and reflect about the moment. I ask myself: Why is this happening? Is there something I am overthinking? How can I change this? When I am aware of what is going on, I re-prioritize things based on what brings happiness to my heart and then I take a fully committed decision.
What would be your three best tips to become better at “action taking” in a sustainable and healthy way?
When you have an idea, look first for your resources and go from there to start your action plan. Whatever idea you want to put into action, you will become better every day.
When speed becomes stressful, pause and ask yourself where the friction is, why is this stressing you and find a concrete way to remove this immediately. Don´t wait.
Be open and take ”subjects”, try and see if you like them. You have nothing to lose. You win knowledge.
What is your next step?
I will continue to contribute and synchronize among ”subjects”. I don´t want to be an observer, but an active contributor.
The goal is to develop, impact people, raise sustainability awareness and evolve the planet, essentially what we all supposed to do in any or other way.
You follow Mustafa and all the exciting projects he is involved via: Mustafa´s homepage
Foto: Mariam Sherif
Interview: Cristina Söderberg