Are you willing to pay the price?
A disciple said that we were once sitting in the mosque and the beloved master (peace be upon him) walked in, he (peace be upon him) said “I saw a dream, the angel Jibreel was standing next to my bed and angel Mikael stood at my feet, Mikael said ‘shall we give him the good news?’. So, he said, ‘Messenger, your example among people is like a ruler who built a splendid garden and a beautiful palace in the centre with a banquet Hall. Then he sent a messenger to invite people to the dinner. You are that Messenger” (Ahmad).
In this dream, Allah is the king, the superb garden is the religion of Islam, and the palace is paradise. Those who answered him will enter paradise. So, whoever believes and follows the messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) will eat from the Divine banquet. This is true success. “The believers are successful, who pray with full attention, avoid vain activities, are charitable, and live pure lives” (Al Mu’minun: 1-5).
Allah wants you to succeed, but it won’t fall from the sky and land in your hands, like a cricket ball. He promised to reward you for every good you do. “The believers who are righteous will be fully rewarded” (Ale Imran: 57).
You must pay the price of success – Hard work
“One day a grandfather told his grandchildren the story of how he came to live in England. He told them about the train and ship that took him from his home in Kashmir. He told of being processed along with other immigrants, and how he’d gone to a cafeteria in London to get something to eat. He sat down at an empty table and waited a long time for someone to take his order, but nobody came. Finally, a woman with a tray full of food sat down opposite him and explained how a cafeteria works. ‘You start there,’ she said, pointing towards a stack of trays. ‘Then you go along the food line and pick out what you want. At the other end, they’ll tell you how much you must pay.’ The grandfather said, ‘I soon learned that’s how everything works in the UK. Life is like a cafeteria here. You can get anything you want – even great success – if you’re willing to pay the price. But you’ll never get what you want if you wait for someone to bring it to you. You must get up and get it yourself”.
Three tips for real success
- Preparation, monitoring and evaluation:
We all want freedom and flexibility of choice. So, we can indulge in mindless activities, pleasure-seeking activities, and a carefree attitude. We don’t want anyone to monitor us and we want zero feedback. Well, with this attitude you’ll stay in the rut, your miserable condition forever. An assessment by your parents, teacher, Imam or spiritual guide will help to bring you out of that Catch-22, they will support you and track your progress. These people know you and have your interest at heart. They know how to mentor and coach. They will help you overcome your dullness, laziness, and procrastination in putting off those assignments. But they will also help you flourish mentally and morally by getting rid of your anger, arrogance, jealousy, and greed. You want to wear designer clothes so you can boast of vanity, and you want to enjoy Michelin-star restaurant meals, but they will keep you on the straight and narrow. You need them to oversee your progress and to inform you of how you are doing.
- Responsibility and the sense of heightened accountability:
Stop wasting your time and energy, and make a plan. Can you visualise this plan? Make a schedule. Be responsible to ensure you achieve it. How? By being accountable for the choices you make, what programs you watch, who you speak with on the phone, the places you visit, people you visit. Get to know what works and what doesn’t. In specific activities that work but the fact that you know that you are following the rules and guidelines. You already have the blueprint for success, Islam your religion. Now resolve to apply it fully.
- Motivation, intention, and clear goal:
People often tell me that they are genuine and sincere about their goals. I have no doubt. Intention means to do it for a reason. Motivation is the energy that drives your intention forward. Give energy to your intention. I have seen worshippers attending the Friday prayer for years, but due to a lack of energy to change, they have remained the same. Also due to complacency. So long as you stay mindful of these three pillars of changing yourselves nothing can stop you from succeeding, Insha-Allah.