ZEN Hustlers
Balance on the edge

The Balance Blog

Abbas Mohamed - Zen Hustler Profile

Age: 26
Work roles:
• Co-Founder, Compassion Crew
• Co-Founder and poet, The Verveside Collective
• Executive Director of GAMA Collective: Gathering All Muslim Artists
• Social Media and Entertainment, Halal Food Festival
• Clinical Data Management Associate, Gilead
Location: Oakland, CA
Profiles: @babyshamss @thegamacollective • @babyrumii  • @quranquotesdaily • @halalfest • @failunfailunmefailun • @brotheraliisblind
Favorite hashtags: #passion #love

Favorite place to visit in the world and why?
As of late, its been SouthEast Asia. I can tolerate and actually prefer humidity and rain over the cold and the dry. Southeast Asia just has the best food that matches my favorite flavors. The culture and art coming out of that part of the world is amazing, as well as the innovation and entrepreneurship, especially Kuala Lumpur. Not to mention the beautiful beaches, and the fact that my dollar goes a really long way no matter what part of SEA I am in (Bali, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, etc)


One person you want to meet?
Alex Atala, Brazilian chef. Check out the episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix that explores Alex and you’ll understand why. Same with Francis Mallman... I am not sure which one I would want to meet more. They’re both really unique...but that is all that I am saying for now... watch their episodes!


One person you wanted to meet? 
Kahlil Gibran 1883-1931
Lebanese-American poet, writer, artist, and philosopher

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
— Kahlil Gibran

How does your work fulfill you, your purpose in life?
My purpose in life is service to the community through empowerment. I am able to do that through food, and the arts, which is very fulfilling. At my day job, I am able to support clinical studies that are making a significant impact in the world through curing diseases that disproportionately affect globally marginalized communities such as HIV, Hep B, etc.


What are you reading now?
The Autobiography of Malcolm X as compiled and written by Alex Haley. Crucial book for understanding America, and a gateway book to a whole world of new understandings.


What are you watching?
If any… food shows are my guilty pleasure. Currently watching, and loving, Ugly Delicious on Netflix.


What do you do to really relax?
Anything creative, to get me out of my analytical/strategic mind. Love doing things that get me present and in the moment. Hanging out with friends, going to art galleries, painting, beach days, anything that draws me out of my head and into the present.


When are you most in flow?
When the tasks I am working on match up perfectly with my higher purpose, and my interests. The perfect example is when I am cooking for people that I love... including myself!


Do you meditate or practice mindfulness?
I meditate from time to time, but with no regular practice. I practice mindfulness when I cook, and eat though.


Who taught you how to hustle?
Self-taught... I have my anxiety to thank for most of my hustling.


What keeps you up at night?
Coffee. Also understanding that the only meaning that we can glean from our day to day lives is the meaning that we give it, that we are only in this world for a limited time, and that we should be spending that time connecting to a higher power, higher purpose, and submitting to that higher purpose to make the largest possible net positive impact in the world.


Do you exercise? 


What community’s inspire you?
I am constantly inspired... on a daily basis... by what the artists in the GAMA collective are up to. Sure, I may be biased, but in all honesty, it is hard not to be inspired all the time when you are surrounded by and exposed to all of the mastery that these creative individuals bring into the world! GAMA = Gather All Muslim Artists


Are you more Hustle or more Zen?

I don’t belief that you have to choose between the two. I think that you can have components of both in your life. In order to be a true hustler, you need to have elements of balance and peace in your life, otherwise you WILL burnout, guaranteed.
— Abbas Mohamed


What would you do if you did not do this work?
I can not imagine a life where I did not do what I currently do, and that is... that I pursue my dreams in full force whenever the opportunity arises.


How do you define work-life balance, and how important is it?
For me, it is all about compartmentalization. This means leaving work at work, and scheduling in time for family and loved ones, because it can be so hard to juggle competing priorities without including them into your life’s structure.


Are you married, with kids? Has this affected your balance?
Married... no kids. It is a challenge but also a constant reminder to keep everything balanced. If I wasn’t married I would probably pour myself more into my work, and although I may become more productive at first, it would lead to my downfall by burnout. By being married to an awesome partner who reminds me to practice self-care and balance my schedule, my long term productivity is boosted, and I am able to be a more balanced and mentally healthy individual!


What advice you would give to other Zen Hustlers to find balance on the edge?
Focus on your strengths and get really really good at them. Forgive yourself for having weaknesses and seek out a team or partners that compensate for them. Not everyone can do everything. Don’t forget to stay genuine and true to yourself.


What advice would you tell your younger overworked self?
Drink more water, breathe deeper, and take regular breaks!


What is one issue you are out to change in the world?
Empowering creative and passionate individuals to represent their own true narratives in the best way that they can.


Your last 2¢?
Life is short, and we all will die. No point in working so hard to build something that you won’t be around to enjoy. Sure you can go full speed in your rocket ship to the future, but don’t forget to look out the window and enjoy the view along the way. Also... never forget why you started. If you can, write it down, print it out, and keep it somewhere where you can see it every day. Too often to we get so caught up in the mechanics of what we do that we forget about the motivations that led us there in the first place.



Abbas Mohamed is a social entrepreneur whose dream is to help empower the dreams of others. He helped start up and maintain organizations including The Verveside Collective, a poetry collective, and Compassion Crew, an organization that focuses on cultivating a compassionate lifestyle. His most current initiative is the newly formed non profit organization GAMA, which creates a platform of support and empowerment for artists in the Muslim community. More information on G.A.M.A. at www.theGAMAcollective.com

He has been passionate about food since as far back as he can remember. In fact, he is so obsessed with food he hasn't gone a single day without it! He combines food and cooking with his other passions: community and sustainability, and presents, organizes, and educates audiences on what he has found. He graduated from UC Davis where he was researching honeybees and their detoxification enzymes, and graduated from UCSC in 2012. Connect at: @babyrumii