[ATTENTION: This is not a post about bragging or showing off my own victories, for I have none, this is merely a reminder for myself and everybody else about what it takes to succeed in any field. Now that that’s been clarified, in the Name Of Allah, we shall begin.]
Before we tackle 8 keys I believe to be important that we define what success is. Personally here’s the best definition I’ve ever read: “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. If a man is working toward a predetermined goal and knows where he’s going; that man is a success, if he’s not doing that; he’s a failure… A success is anyone who is doing DELIBERATELY a predetermined job because that’s what he/she decided to do… DELIBERATELY.” -Earl Nightingale. What this means is that success is not an event nor an achievement; it is a lifetime process, with a few speed bumps on the road. What this means also is that, if you had a few setbacks on your road to achieving what you WANT, you didn’t fail; but if you’re moving forward in some plan that you did not choose for yourself, you my friend have failed! And if I may add; personally, I believe that success is something you attract by the person you become or by the character you develop. (Although that’s a bit deep..!)
With that definition we shall enroll the 8 keys to be successful:
#01- Check your intentions: Here’s the deal, there’s absolutely no way for you to succeed in something that you’re not obsessed with, and if you do you’ll be miserable and hate your life. Because at some point, things will get hectic and you will need a lot of will power to get through those. If what you’re doing is not what you would die for… please stop it and move to something else. Be brave and do not conform to what society wants you to do. If all of your friends and relatives want to become doctors and you want to become an architect, do what you were born to do, even if it means at some point you’ll have to do construction labor job with you own hands! Checking your intentions also means that you need to make sure that behind the goal is a great message, a positive great message. Money, fame and titles should not be your end goal, for it will drag you down a dark road and you will find yourself regretting all of your decisions when it’s too late.
#02- Plan, but don’t over-plan: You need to see your end goal crystal clear in your mind. You have to know EXACTLY what you want and how you’re going to get it. BUT! Leave small details to destiny. Make your plan flexible. Leave room for surprises. After all, this is dunya, and not everything is supposed to be the way you want it to be. So learn to move with the flow and at the same time, keep your eyes on your dream and your feet stuffed as hard as you can into your values and principles. If your plan doesn’t work, change it, make a few adjustments but never change your goal or even think about giving up on your dream. When you learn to be flexible and accept challenges as growing tools, you will see miracles in your daily life! If an unexpected event pops us and breaks all your plans remind yourself of this: “We plan and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners”. Your plan, no matter how tightly and well built, is never above Allah’s plan for you. Have faith and trust in Him.
#03- Be open to change: This one looks a little bit like the previous, but in here we are not talking about changing your methods, we’re talking about the change of personality and character. As I mentioned earlier, success is something you attract with the person you become. Your dream will change you. Hopefully, change you for the best! For example; let’s say your goal is to lose weight, this will not only change your appearance, it will also change how you eat, what you eat and when you eat, it will change a lot of your daily routines if not all of them. And since habits are what makes you who you are; by the time you reach your desired weight, you’re entirely a different person. This kind of change is pricey. Building a new habit or destructing an old habit is an exhaustive task. Books have been written on this matter, big books! So be patient and prepared. As long as you’re not compromising your values, change is a good thing.
#04- Persist: No success is permanent, just like no failure is permanent. We live in a world of evolution. Everything is growing, changing and evolving, everyday at every moment. Nothing stops, and if you stop, you’re not still in the same place, you’re moving backward. Because this world doesn’t wait for anything nor anyone. Your job and my job is to keep learning, growing and moving forward. When things are good for you, you move on to the next thing, when things are bad for you, you must demonstrate discipline, stay focused and keep working. Persistence is self-discipline in action. You don’t stop when things are hard, and you don’t stop when things are good. If you must, you can take a breather in the face of setbacks and temporary failures, but only to study your strategies and approaches, and then get back to the battle field. Remember the warrior’s creed: “I will lay me down to bleed for awhile, and then rise and fight again”
#05- Don’t be outworked: Work harder than everyone else in the room. This is certainly the hardest and most important of all these keys. The world is ruled by those who hustle hard. And I’ve always believed that Allah does not care about your resources, your intelligence nor your strength as much as He cares about the amount of effort you’re putting in. Strive for excellence. Aim higher than you think you can reach. Keep pushing yourself to be better.
#06- Use what you have been blessed with: Speaking of resources, you need to understand that Allah is Just. Whatever he has given you up until this point is sufficient for you to get started, and as you move forward and grow you will be given more resources. But you must learn how to handle them. And how can you handle more if you’re not even thankful for what you believe to be little? Believe that what you have right now is more than enough for this particular moment, and you will find multiple ways of how to put it to use.
#07- Know the price: Brendon Burchard has a video on YouTube entitled “The pains of progress” which I highly recommend that you watch it because it gives you a taste of what it really takes to see progress so that you can ask yourself whether you’re up for it or not. But I’ll try to give you a brief summary of the video’s content. There are three major costs to see progress in your life. The first one is “Uncertainty”: you don’t know for sure whether what you want is going to work out or not, you don’t know whether people are going to love it or hate it, you don’t even know whether or not you’ll reach it. Which is scary. And that’s okay. The second one is “Judgments”: people tend to hate what they don’t understand. Therefore you will be judged, rejected and you will have very few if any supporters. And that’s okay too! The third one is “Hardships”: this one is very simple; it is going to be hard, uncomfortable, painful and exhaustive to reach your goal. And thank God it is!! Because that’s what makes the journey worth it… (This summary DOES NOT do the video any justice, please go watch the entire video on YouTube)
#08- Remember where you came from: “We belong to Allah and to Him we return…” your successes no matter how big, small, important or irrelevant they are should never deviate you from the straight path, and if they do, remember: “the best of sinners are those who repent…”. As long as you turn back to Allah, it is all good. When life knocks you down, stand up, turn back to Him and pray. When life treats you well, get down on your knees, turn back to Him and pray.
As I conclude this post, I would like to add one key; it may not be the key to success but it is definitely the key to happiness. Be kind. Treat everyone you come in contact with as best as you can. As Bob Proctor said: “Leave everyone you meet with the impression of increase.” Leave them feeling good. Leave a positive impact wherever you go. Serve others. Never miss an opportunity to help. Because in the end, people won’t remember your success as much as they remember how you made them feel…