Youthful Reflections on Faith

Posts tagged ‘success’

Moving On

Each time the news reaches us of the passing away of a peer, so many thoughts come to mind. One of the foremost is that it could have been me instead.

At Grandma`s Mini Garden

At Grandma`s Mini Garden (Photo credit: ukhti27)

Sharing the same age group, profession or background makes it hit so close home. It causes a BIG pause on our thinking and even actions.

It may trend briefly on FB and other social networks, with close friends sharing their tribute with the world, before the next breaking news or juicy conversation comes on.

After the pause, Life simply moves on because it has to.

But even with this knowledge comes shock, sadness and low spirit. And with these emotions come memories of the past. Whether it’s a laugh, conversation or times spent together .

And with all these come the painful reality!!! No more calls, arguments, messages or visits.

This life is indeed fragile, with its temporary web giving us support even as we dream and plan for tomorrow. Our faith keeps us firm and patient beyond the pause.

Surely, it is a reminder to buckle up and be alert for the seconds are closing in – one after the other. No delays or disruptions or errors are expected. And although we have absolutely no idea of the where, when or how – we remain humble with the certainty.

Our constant reminder should be that ”Everyone shall taste death”. [Q3. V.185]

Those bonds we nurture and share eventually get severed by an inevitable separation.

Through the pain and tears, we submit and seek comfort in the knowledge that there is a better abode for the believer. No special powers or intelligence removes us from this zone. And our extra time left is unknown – it could be minutes, days or even years.

Yet, the uncertainty wraps us in shaky comfort.

We make dua (supplication), for our dear departed loved ones. We make dua for our own souls still cruising the highway of life. We hasten to do good deeds, dream big and dare to make a difference.

The end will surely come but what matters is NOW; Moving ahead with a purpose.

There is no one like you or me – each unique in our special right. Let us live with a passion for life, while not forgetting the inevitable end. Invest in what you want to be remembered for.

Delay not what matters the most, in striving to gain Allah’s pleasure.

As we walk down the path of life, there are many free gifts to enjoy. Take with both hands what you need. But remember that when the end comes, none of it really matters except Taqwa (consciousness of God).

Besides the sadness & numbness, it always feels good to take a pause every now and then. Rebooting for a higher purpose, as we continue this race of life.

Race with one another in hastening towards forgiveness from your Lord (Allah), and Paradise the width whereof is a the width of the heaven and the earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He is pleased with. And Allah is the Owner of great bounty.”

[Q57: V21]

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In the footsteps of a Billionaire

An article on a young African Billionaire caught my attention, so out of curiosity I read it thinking it will typically detail the size of his mansions, number of planes/cars as well as favourite vacation spots. Surprisingly none of that was mentioned. What I read about instead was the story of a 31 year old entrepreneur who lived a life of hard work & integrity.

English: Footsteps in the south My footsteps i...

English: Footsteps in the south My footsteps in the snow on footpath from the road at Dunstall Common, to the north the path enters the southern end of Croome Park. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With issues such as sustainability high on his goals, his passion is to bring about positive change in the society and especially in the lives of young people. And so, his work and life is directed towards having a big and long lasting social impact; Beyond just making money. His was a story full of lessons for every person – from whatever age group, profession or background.

The story reminded me of the Billionaire who lived during the time of our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him), AbdurRahman Ibn Awf. A wealthy but humble companion; He migrated to a new land – Madina without his wealth, and worked hard refusing to accept handout and easy money. His hangout was the market place.

The fruits of his hard work, integrity and faith was seen throughout his lifetime in the form of blessed wealth, concern for the people and the greatest reward – promise of paradise. He was one of the ten companions promised paradise. He contributed actively to the society, and gave much just as he earned much.

What better reward can we hope for, in this life and in the next!

Only a few leave their footsteps in the sands of time. For those who do, we have important lessons to take.

1. Hard work: Never stop working hard. Work hard seeking for pure wealth, for Allah is pure and accepts only that which is pure.

2. Give back: Charity and other contributions to society never decreases wealth or knowledge, rather it benefits all including the giver & improves general relations.

3. Strive for balance: Life is temporary, so the wise ones seek for the best of the hereafter by means of what is best in the temporary world.

As the billionaire asked himself, ”How much am I really worth?”, ”How much have I given back?”; so must we all question ourselves.

Passion, hard work, selflessness, giving, having a worthy vision, making an impact & changing one’s mindset to that of success, cannot be found in a bank account, wallet or bank card.

Rather they all dwell in the heart and soul and is accessible to everyone in undue measures.

Redefining Success: Is it in the genes or just a matter of luck?

Outliers (book)

Outliers (book) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Book Review

of

[Outliers: The Story of Success]

by

Malcolm Gladwell

Hachette Book Group, Inc (2008)

Tagged as a #1 international bestseller and justifiably so. It is a very thought provoking book, and relatable in so many ways.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote about the stories of extraordinary people (outliers) from different areas of expertise & parts of the world. Their stories have a similar trend – utilising available life opportunities & demonstrating some effects of legacies particularly those of cultural origin, whether consciously or unconsciously.

All of the stories were taken from extensive researches as well as real life examples, the author’s life story included. He wrote about all – star soccer and hockey players, Bill Gates and other high profile experts from various fields.

The author redefined success as not being solely about aptitude but rather about an inter connection of some concepts and principles. These include advantages of time & location, social structures, opportunities, attitude, consistency, partaking in meaningful activities, hard work, traits of people such as communication etc.

Gladwell’s style of writing was quite familiar, after having read another of his book, ‘Tipping point’ earlier, but the write – up remained engaging throughout and full of surprises. His use of various forms of research data such as dates, charts and reconstruction of real life conversations was appealing.

It was an interesting bonus reading about the author’s personal background in the final section; And how he tied his roots, nurturing, experiences, opportunities, skills to his  achievements.

The author concluded on the note that ”The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all’. (p.334)

An example of cultural legacy as found in the principle of hard work, excellent planning and cooperation of the Chinese rice farmers was captured in some Chinese peasant proverbs. My favourite was ”No one who can rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year fails to make his family rich.” (p.278).

This was so profound because the night prayer (Tahajjud) which is highly recommended for Muslims obviously comes with many bonuses, apart from that of the blessings of worship. One of which is the blessings of the early part of the day, as many who experience it will testify because it allows them to accomplish a lot compared to waking up later.

Also following the prophetic saying which encourages ”taking advantage of 5 things before 5 others”, we understand that ‘youth hood’ is the ideal period for nurturing the mind and body to accomplish greater things.

”Outliers” carries profound lessons for every young person, parent, guardian and educator. What better time to inculcate good habits of worship, seeking knowledge, and building a good character! Imagine nurturing a lifestyle around knowledge & worship with 10,000 hours of practice. The importance of investing the period of childhood and youth to developing fine skills, character and qualities can easily be seen.

Other lessons are how parents can imbibe their savvy sense into the upbringing of their young ones and build them up on the culture of hard work and discipline. For those with a high degree of aptitude, such attitude of wisdom is needed to attain balance in the world for success. It is a lesson for every young person to work hard, and prevail in their area of interest or a particular field of knowledge rather than expecting quick get rich formulas for success.

And since success was described as following a ‘predictable course’, perhaps we can all take comfort in thinking that success is within an easy grasp.

Well it certainly won’t be an easy reach, but with the right combination of attitude and dedication, we can start our journey too. Who can say where we will be after putting in most of our 10,000 hours of practice.

The question is, are we ready for such a commitment?

If it’s not necessarily the brightest who succeed, as the stories and research figures showed, what excuses do we have left. Not too many I believe! We can all be successful if we learn the patterns of this ‘predictable course’, keep working hard and seek every opportunity available while put our trust in our Creator. This trust is a much needed resource that comes with faith. So let’s seek it, utilise and treasure it.

Our definition of success will determine how far we are willing to go to reach our goals. If it is beyond simple worldly goals, popularity and accolades, then every road block would be a minor distraction rather than a time for giving up.

Success for all believers come from correct worship to attain the pleasure of our Creator and attaining the best of this world and the hereafter. Faith is the gift that spurs success. And included in this faith package is correct knowledge, understanding, practice and action.

As the author reiterated, there are no short cuts to success, no mysterious routes or outside of ordinary experiences; rather it a net product of many principles all found in the simple reality of our everyday living.

4 Success lessons for every Ambitious person

1. Success is not by accident and also not merely based on luck.

2. Success goes beyond making money and amassing qualifications;  It is what you define it as.

3. Look closely at your culture and inheritance for merit able values and possibilities, for that could be a key to unleashing your success factor.

4. There are no hard and fast rules to success; The web of opportunities are many for the wise ones.

 

Do you have what it takes to be an achiever, a success, an outlier? Are you willing to explore what you have?

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