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Bringing the Abu Dhabi Community Together – Freya Jaffar



Freya Jaffar

WHO: Freya Jaffar


“I was born and raised in London. My mother was from Pakistan and my father from Kenya. I first visited Abu Dhabi as a child so it’s always held a special place in my heart. The feelings of that very trip never left me – I felt very connected in a way I can’t explain.


“Unknown to members, my Abu Dhabi Q&A group on Facebook has been my space where I was able to block out my most painful life moments: post-natal depression in 2012 and then my mother’s illness and passing from Cancer in 2016. In trying to help and solve issues for people, I was in fact healing myself. Hence the sleepless nights and effort that went into ADQ&A hold the platform very close to my heart. It’s now led me to opportunities and experiences that I never dreamed would happen in this phase of my life. So, it’s been quite a journey!



I feel Abu Dhabi is on the cusp of a massive social media change. There are many personalities emerging – every day residents documenting their interests and hobbies and turning it into a business (I hate using the word influencer!) With the many different ways now to legalize a business idea, there is no better time than now to get started and focus on Abu Dhabi. There is a massive need for well managed and trusted set ups. For larger businesses, there is a massive cost cutting achieved by tapping into social media.





“The main challenges have been technical and cultural! I’m not from a media background and neither am I very technical. So, I’ve basically learnt on the job! But I enjoyed using social media – particularly Facebook – and in fact my lack of technical knowledge kept the ‘human touch’ to my style of moderating. The other challenge was being so accessible to members that in the beginning I was unable to detach. It became a 24-hour service that residents were using, and at least 2-3 times a week I would be awake till 4am managing the group and members concerns.


“So it grew to a point where I had to treat it like a job and be objective, and bring in friends to help as moderators. Another massive and quite important aspect was managing all the different perspectives, different cultures and sense of humour! It’s taken some time, but admins play a huge role in setting the tone of a group and I think we have molded and conditioned members to understand and be tolerant of one another, as we are ourselves. So trying to accommodate so many different nationalities was perhaps the biggest challenge. But even now you always get the few that are always dissatisfied with something!”






Give more credit to social media users intelligence in Abu Dhabi. The well-heeled demographic here wants interactive and quality content. They want their voices heard. Facebook groups – although massively neglected by Facebook in my opinion – are perfect for this purpose and underrated in their influence. In the UAE, we are bombarded with advertising. And being mostly an expat populace without close friends and family here, ironically social media has disconnected us further from the human touch.


What ADQ&A does as a Facebook group in the capital is foster human relationships outside of the screen. So if you have an interest or passion you want to bring to social media: interact, meet and listen to your members/followers. Come out from behind the screen and meet people. When they hear and see you, they attach your attributes to your platform and very importantly – to your members/followers too.




  1. Work on something you love doing. If you don’t – don’t read further!
  2. Be consistent with your content.
  3. Remain close to your authentic model and belief for it. Don’t give up even on a bad day
  4. Find a team to help you. If you all get on and enjoy what you do, this will reflect in your content and appeal to your members
  5. Don’t spend money on unnecessary art work. Keep it real – there are tons of free apps which you can use and put your style on.
  6. Recognize and interact with your members so they feel valued. Even if you have less than 100 in the beginning. They will return to where they feel valued and become attached to you and your brand and become your brand ambassadors.
  7. Social media is fast changing so be ready for change and overnight surprises!
  8. Offer some spontaneity to members, as they are more likely to check your content regularly













Finding Happiness in Gratitude



Being light and being a light are admirable qualities. Finding happiness in everything and everywhere is a gift. Gratitude follows happiness.

The writer William Arthur Ward once wrote, “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”

When you maintain a positive and optimistic outlook, all events in life can harvest happiness and generate gratitude. Look around: there is life everywhere. The trees may be dormant in Winter, but will awake in Spring to reveal green leaves. The flowers are hiding now, but soon will bloom with colour, fragrance and life. Change is good because it renews, rejuvenates and invites possibility. Change in venue, outlook and perspective is where FUN resides.

I recently changed my personal venue: I repatriated to the USA to begin a new adventure. There are many “new” things here for me. This is a new city for me, so are the places, roads, stores and people all new. I see ducks flying overhead daily and lightening in the sky some nights. I welcome everything as an opportunity to learn and grow. I’m lighter because I’ve purged so much of my material possessions and made my living footprint smaller. Possessions that didn’t spark joy in me any longer were shared with friends and given to charity.


Recognizing commitment verses attachment is freeing. Keeping photos (digitally, please) and some treasures are important. Holding on to stuff because they belonged to a long-lost family member is expensive both financially (moving costs from place to place) and emotionally. I am more mobile because I can travel and move with less to tote along. I am focusing on the happy, positive and joyful aspects of this new place. Gratitude fills my heart when I see where I am and how much is ahead of me.

Another experience for me is driving around to explore. In the UAE, I relied on public transportation. Now I have a Jeep and Waze (mobile app) to get me around. Each time I buckle up, I am reminded that the journey is in front, to the left, the right and straight ahead of me. Long drives off the highway to see the land are ways I explore my new city. I am experiencing life through road trips and new eyes. There is always somewhere you can go that is new and different….I challenge you to explore.

Change your perspective and see your life anew. Be compassionate with yourself and you’ll feel your happiness levels arise.

Love deeply – live fully – laugh boldly are three keys to happiness. The good hormones (serotonin and dopamine) are released in the brain and pain, stress and sadness melt away. Sure, it’s not a panacea, but self-love and care can make a world of difference for a healthy, happy you.

Happiness must be a daily choice: you live only once, so make every day count, embrace it, love it. Shift your mood: get some sunshine, take stress for a trek, eat your favorite foods, have a long phone conversation with a friend.


Philosopher James Allen said, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”

Remember, as the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius said, “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”

Rock your greatness while you’re here and make it the best life ever! Be happy and have FUN every day!

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Time Capsule: Live life to the fullest, says this ace event organizer



Time Capsule - James Simmons

Life is all about taking whatever comes your way in your stride. While some like to follow a traded path, some find meaning in pursuing one’s instinct. Whatever the preferences, the ultimate goal is to achieve a better and prosperous life. Tempo’s Time Capsule gives individuals the opportunity to voice their opinions and share it with others in a bid to enhance and enrich life’s narrative.

Today, we present to you high flying event organizer James Simmons.

Name:  James Simmons

Age: 34


Profession: Event Organizer

Nationality: American

Motto: “Life is a marathon, enjoy the journey”

Instagram: jsentertainment81

Most valued possession: My most valued possession would have to be my laptop. It has all my photos (memories), documents, and just important information stored on it.


Time Capsule: James SimmonsWhere you hang out most: If I’m not out at an event or new restaurant I’m pretty much a home body chilling and watching Netflix or Sports.

One thing you cannot live without: I would have to say my phone.  My friends are always asking me “can you live without your phone???” The answer is no!

The person who inspires you the most: My dad and I have a close relationship and while I’m my own man he is someone I aspire to be like.


Five things you need for survival: Smartphone, Apple TV, DSLR Camera, big screen TV and Jawbone Up2 Activity Tracker

Car you would like to own: Mercedes Benz E350 Cabriolet


A typical day in your life: Organized chaos directed to achieve a set goal.

Where you see yourself in 10 years: I believe your life should get better with age; I see myself being a better and wiser person than I am today.

Your idea of peace: Being surrounded by family and friends with good food, laughter and fun. Those moments in life are priceless.

Goal in life: Live life to the fullest with no regrets.

Time Capsule: James SimmonsThree things that today has taught you: Work hard, have patience, and stick to your goals and you will ultimately find success.



Deserves a big old thank you: Too many to name. I’m grateful to have an amazing circle of people around me.


The craziest thing you have ever done: Skydiving in Dubai. It was planned with a group of friends and actually not as scary as I thought it would be.


Earliest memory: My earliest memory was when I was two or three years old and I would ask my parents and grandparents a lot of questions growing up. I was a very inquisitive child.


If your life were a book it would be called: Work Hard to Achieve Your Goals

To look good, you would wear: I believe less is more so I would go with a classic blazer and slacks, or a suit.

You would most like to be stuck in an elevator with: Warren Buffett. To be able to pick his brain would be an amazing experience.

If you could wake up tomorrow in the body of someone else currently living, you would pick: Barack Obama. I would love to go through a day and experience his life and his thoughts.

Current Last SONG syndrome (LSS):  the album that is in heavy rotation in my car is the new Common Album “Black America Again”


 If you could have personally witnessed one event in history, it would be: Mohamed Ali vs. George Foreman in Zaire (1974)

Time Capsule: James SimmonsYour idea of a perfect weekend: A city with great culture, food, and a beach.


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Lead meaningful happy life doing these 3 things



 I have been helping a lot of people evaluating their lives and changing some of their priorities to lead a more meaningful and rewarding life.

I signed up with UC, Berkeley to learn more about why and how to create more happiness in life and today I work as happiness expert and blogger for, a on-line and wellness platform. I also do my free Happiness Pep-talks driven by my vision to create a planet where people lead more flourishing lives. The science on happiness is here already, it just needs to be applied to people’s lives, corporates, and communities.


Our subjective state of mind and our experience of positive emotions is partly heritable – up to 50% is determined by our genes – so if you ask the question “why are some people happier than others?”, about 50 percent of the answer lies in genetics. About 10 percent lies in our life circumstances (some of us are married, some of us are not, some of us have kids, some of us have not, some of us are more or less attractive, more or less healthy etc.) which leaves us with 40 percent that we – according to happiness science – can influence by intentional activity.

Happiness scientists have been studying very happy people to reveal the secrets behind leading happy lives, and here is some of their findings: Happy people are really good at relationships. Happy people are more grateful, philanthropic and helpful, and they tend to savour pleasures in their lives. Happy people are committed to personal significant life goals, whether it’s raising moral children, or building a house, or advancing in their career.


Many companies and people are struggling at the moment due to downsizing, not only in Abu Dhabi but in the whole UAE, but even though they face extreme difficulties, they seem to hold on to the old way of doing business: the Industrial business paradigm with a constant focus on economic growth. Sadly this paradigm often fails to incorporate real meaning and pleasure in work, and as a result leave people unengaged and stressed in their job.


I’m delighted to share four happiness practices that will increase feelings of happiness and well-being.

Three Good Things

Journal and write down things that went well for you during the day, and make a mental investigation as to why they went well. It can be small things or relatively more important things, everything counts. Refocusing your mind on life’s good events and the positive feelings that came with them can make a real difference in how you feel.

Loving Kindness Meditation

This meditation practice is a way of developing and boosting compassion towards others and yourself. Search for “loving kindness meditation” guidance on the internet, get comfortable, relax and gently follow the instructions.

Gratitude letter

Feeling gratitude not only increases your level of positive emotions, it also strengthens your relationships.


Think about someone who did something you are extremely grateful for, but who you never thanked. Now write the person a letter expressing your deep gratitude and telling how they affected your life and why you’re so grateful. Plan to visit the person to deliver the letter.

AWE walk

AWE is a positive feeling and can be defined as the feeling of being in presence of something vast and greater than the self. We all know this almost divine feeling of experiencing something so beautiful, great or dislike that the only thing we can say is “awe”. Deliberately trying to plan for AWE experiences can increase feelings of happiness. When you are doing your AWE walk, make sure your cell phone is switched off, or even better, leave it at home. Here are some ideas for your AWE experience:

1. Plan for a hike in the mountains
2. Go to see the never-ending sand dunes in the dessert
3. Walk outside in the night and look up at the stars.
4.Watch the sunset from a beach
5. Visit a historic monument

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