Secrets of Success
By: Ayatullah Jafar Subhani
The Period of Hopes and Aspirations
The period of youth is an age of aspirations and hopes. A time to be happy. This is the time when the future of every young person comes before his eyes in the form of sweet dreams. He begins to think. He makes programs and treasures grand ambitions in his heart.
However, sometimes it also happens that a man breaks down right during the time of his youth. Such a person is never able to achieve any of his aspirations, even till the time he becomes old.
Sometimes it also happens that, quite unexpectedly, a person obtains much beyond his expectations and all of his sweet dreams become reality.
Surely one man’s success and another’s failure are not accidental or without reason behind them. The causes of both must be sought in the very lives of the persons concerned.
We can be sure that one who succeeds has started life in a way, which assures his success and one who fails, most probably, does so due to his own mistakes. It is because he has walked a path that did not lead to his destination.
In this book, our aim is to describe the reasons for the success of the world’s successful people so that the young generation may benefit by it and adopt the path, which is straight, and avoid the alleys, which are unknown and full of hurdles.
Secrets of success are not merely one or two. Though a part of their success is due to what they had obtained as legacy from their parents in the form of internal qualifications, natural traits and intelligence. Certainly such traits cannot be obtained by making efforts, as they are Divine gifts, which the Almighty God has bestowed upon them for administering their worldly affairs.
This book will also prove that even though such factors facilitate the development of the youths they are not the sole determinants of a successful life. The actual factors of progress are different and they are such that anyone who aspires to be successful can seek them out easily and use them to his advantage. By adopting such techniques he can certainly become a distinct member of the society if not one of the most successful persons of the world. Such an achievement too is praiseworthy and laudable, because, there are so many young people who miss the path of success and meet failure in life.
The progress of man mostly depends upon training, zest, struggle and proper programming. The readers will find these things in the following pages of the first part. The influence of ‘heredity’ is much less in comparison to them.
We shall now explain briefly the secrets of success illustrating the same by examples from the lives of great men.
Liking and Enthusiasm
One of the causes of success is taking up the vocation to your liking and that which commensurate to your intelligence or mental ability.
God has not created all of us alike. We all are not bestowed with the ability of doing everything. But, in order to run the society smoothly He has given a distinct taste and tendency to everyone. It is so, in order that one may take up the profession of ones own liking or bent of mind, and that, which attracts one; thus deriving benefit from ones natural competence.
Generally one of the causes of young people’s failure and defeat is not following this established rule. As a result of wrong propaganda and faulty training they go after jobs, which are not according to their aptitude. They take up vocations for which they are not suitable.
They forget the accepted principle: “Every mind has certain predisposition. Lucky is the one who finds it out.”
I remember that in the years 1951-53 the subject of oil had seized public attention. Every Iranian man and woman was thinking only about oil. The value of oil exports had soared high in the eyes of the Iranian society. This had caused a change in the thinking of the student community. All or most of the students desired to join the oil industry though many of them did not have a natural bent for it.
The progress and success of a student gets a lethal blow if he enters a field, which is not in line with his or her natural bent. For instance, if a youth is interested in literature, if his tongue and pen spread literary pearls and he has no liking at all for mathematics he will definitely not succeed except in the field of literature.
A page from the Biography of a Famous Painter
Now let us read an extract from the diary of a famous painter: He was an idle boy during his college days. He neither studied properly nor allowed his companions to do so. He was a thorn both in his own path and that of others. Yet his appearance showed that he was a capable boy.
A professor who was an expert psychologist called him, gave him some advice and warned him of the bad consequences of his life-style. He counseled: Nobody is fortunate enough to have the protection of a father forever. Life is full of difficulties. The way you live will make you suffer badly in future…
However, the professor observed that when he was advising the boy he was busy drawing a picture with a piece of coal on the floor.
The intelligent professor at once understood that this boy was born to be an artist and had nothing to do with the problems of algebra. No amount of effort in the field of mathematics would benefit him.
Realizing his responsibility in this connection, he informed the boy’s guardian of this discovery. He told the boy’s father to the effect: “Your son is very much interested in drawing. If you change his faculty, he might earn much fame in art.”
Days passed and the words of the professor came true. That boy soon became an expert painter.
Edison was asked by some, “Why most of the young people are unable to live a successful life?” He replied, “Because they are not aware of their path and they traverse other routes.”
Such people prove harmful to the society in two ways: They do not adopt the vocation for which they are capable and wherein they can get success and another harm is that they take upon themselves a responsibility which they are unable to fulfill.
The arrow showing aptitude
Every child is born with a sign, which shows the field of activity for which he is born. Lucky is the one whose guardians can read this sign in time. Nowadays the talents of the people are ascertained through vocational tests in advanced countries and they are advised to go for the course for which they are most suitable.
How nice it would have been if the scientist, along with instruments of measuring temperature and tremors, also invented something to measure the capacity and capability of people and install it in all educational institutions! It would have saved many people’s talents.
Galileo was fond of making toys in his childhood. His parents ignored this aptitude of their son and got him admitted to a course in medicine. He could make no progress. Thereafter he studied Maths and Physics and as a result his talents in astronomy became apparent.
Galileo was the first one to prove that the earth revolves around the sun. He was the first to invent the pendulum, which was widely put to use in the manufacture of clocks.
Tolstoy loved books while yet a child. He read many books on philosophy. While reading he was trying to understand various issues about life. Till the end of his life he remained occupied in this field.
George Moreland took up drawing the figures of animals. His art became apparent from the time he was only six. Though he lived for only 41 years he left numerous memorable pieces of art.
The expertise of Zerah Calburn in mathematics could also be seen right from his childhood. Some times people used to ask him as to how many seconds were there in a year or more and he would give the correct answer in an instant.
James Watt was the inventor of many machines and the one who had discovered the power of steam. He was very fond of conducting experiments in his childhood. Subsequently he attained much fame in the world of physics.
Darwin had domesticated a number of animals in his childhood. This hobby encouraged him to study the lives of animals and the changes through which they passed. After making a long journey he wrote a book classifying and describing the different kinds of animals and put forth a new theory of evolution.
Our religious leaders have emphasized that we must know and be acquainted with ourselves; that we should delve deep to find out our inner self.
Our internal feelings are like a magnet attracting similar things. They store things or events in ‘memory’ so as to bring them out later when needed. Man is able to savor their benefits then.
If whatever we learn is in line with our inner aptitude then it is easily stored up in the treasury of our memory and remains safe for a long period.
But if we do a thing, which is contrary to our liking, then our mind forgets it soon. Thus the chances of our success are reduced.
One who has ignored his natural aptitude is like one who swims against the currents or like the one who has entrusted himself to the giant waves which could sweep him away to the other side. Such a man seldom succeeds in his work.
In short, when man becomes aware of his capabilities and knows his liking and then adopts a suitable vocation he soon becomes successful because he has a powerful inner attraction for the same.
Some powers appear at a certain time. An able and expert psychologist can detect them. Sometimes it so happens that a person appears a slow learner in the early stage of his schooling. But the same student proves to be intelligent later on. Obviously, particular conditions are required for the blossoming of such talents.
It is said that Einstein, who was a great scholar and mathematician of his time used to fail in his primary school examinations. But in particular circumstances his competence came out shining.
Sometimes it so happens that an officer appears to be mild and timid for sometime. But when the occasion arises he exhibits such bravery and courage that onlookers become spellbound.
News reached Malik Shah, the Seljuk king that the Qaiser of Rome was planning to conquer Baghdad. The Shah moved toward the borders of Iran with his regular army.
His Minister Khwaja Nizamul Mulk was once inspecting the forces when he spotted a short-stature soldier. He ordered that he should be brought out of the ranks.
He was of the opinion that a man of such a short stature would not be of any use in the army. But Malik Shah told his vizier, “How do you know? Maybe this man captures the Qaiser himself.”
Finally the Muslims were victorious and this soldier was the one to capture the Qaiser!
The system of world and every page of human history testify that everybody’s success is invariably related to his efforts. It takes hundreds of chemical actions and reactions for a small plant to become a big tree. Every living thing naturally knows that its existence depends upon struggle and efforts.
There are several reasons why our youths fail in their professions. One of the reasons of such failure is lack of continuous effort.
The rush of promising youths toward minor organizations shows that they have lost the enthusiasm and longing for great jobs. Consequently they become consumers of wealth instead of producers.
Lives of successful men show that each of them were ever struggling hard workers always making relentless efforts towards their goals.
Alexander Hamilton, a thinker and an intelligent man of his time says, “People say that I am very intelligent. But I am unaware of any such thing. I only know that I am merely a hardworking person.”
Another wise man says, “Whatever I am today is merely the result of my effort. I have not partaken even a single morsel that was not earned by me with my own effort.”
All the wonderful inventions are the fruits of untiring efforts of the scientists. The inventor of radio sometimes worked through the night while his family members slept soundly.
Edison, in order to complete some of his inventions, did not come out of his laboratory for days together. With an aim to control electrical energy in a way that its use may be cheap and easy, he often remained inside his laboratory for two or three days at a stretch. Sometimes he even forgot to eat. At other times he took only a few bites of dry bread and returned to his work immediately.
In the life history of the great French scholar, Pasteur, we see that the basic principle of his life was ‘work’. Sometimes he was so deeply engrossed in his work that he could not hear anything outside. So much so that when the Germans surrounded Paris and the guns were roaring, making deafening noise Pasteur was busy in his laboratory.
Napoleon slept only five hours a day and was busy the remaining nineteen hours daily.
A very intelligent scientist of the East, Ibne Sina (Avicenna) was a very studious and hardworking person. His numerous books on various subjects are the fruits of his relentless efforts. His masterpiece in philosophy Shifa and another of his great work Canon in medicine have earned global fame. Another of his book has been translated into several languages of the world.
Not a single day of the great Muslim scholar Ibne Rushd passed without reading and contemplating ever since he learnt how to read.
Jawahiral Kalam is a very valuable book and the fountainhead of Islamic jurisprudence. Till date no other Fiqh book has been written so comprehensively. Its last edition consists of around forty bulky volumes.
Muhammad Taqi Qummi is a great Iranian personality living in Egypt. He says, “When I showed all the aforesaid volumes to the professors in the University of Egypt and told them that all these books have been written so minutely by a single person they were astounded.”
Another great scholar, the late Shahabadi, who was an expert in science, philosophy and scholastic theology, narrates that his father was one of the students of the writer of Jawahiral Kalam. One day when that great scholar’s great and intelligent son passed away and it was nearly midnight by the time bathing and covering of the body was over, it was decided to put the corpse in one of the rooms around the shrine of Imam Ali (a.s.) till the next morning so that more people may be able to attend the burial.
Though the author of Jawaahir had suffered a shocking blow just a few hours ago he did not postpone his routine reading and writing after reciting some parts from the holy Quran besides the body of the departed son. Thus he gave a proof of his extraordinary patience, endurance and fortitude.
The great Islamic jurisprudent, Agha Burujardi says: One night I was pondering over a problem of the principles of jurisprudence and making notes. I was so much engrossed in this that I forgot that it was time to go to bed. When I heard the Morning Azan I realized that it was dawn and that I had been working the whole night.
Let us now consider this. All of us have heard folk tales regarding treasures that lie buried in the earth guarded by huge dragons and that unless we overcome the dragon we cannot get the treasure. Though some believe it to be true the majority thinks it is just folklore. But let us think this way: Those treasures are, in fact, the mental or physical capabilities, which have been bestowed upon man, and the dragons are the barriers and difficulties, which come in the way of attaining those treasures.
Edison says, “None of my discoveries was accidental. Whenever it came to my mind that a certain work would be beneficial I used to engage myself in it. Then I used to conduct experiment after experiment until I succeeded.”
Newton has said, “If I have reached any elevated status, it is only the result of work and effort.”
Mc Launge says, “If people knew how much troubles I have taken upon myself for attaining this position of a tutor they would not feel surprised at my wonderful success.”
In the words of Buzurgmehr, “Mouth must be kept shut and hands free; we must go on working with our hands and never talk of rest and should have faith that the golden key to success is effort.”
Masterpieces Created in Prisons
Really, some people are indeed great. They remain restless like the waves of the sea. Love for work and longing for the goal keeps them busy forever and to such an extent that they do not cease working even in the most difficult moments of their lives.
The great Muslim historian, Ibne Khaldun, had written his masterpiece Muqaddimah during his exile.
The famous philosopher of the East, Khwaja Nasiruddin Tusi was imprisoned by the Ismailis at ‘The Fort of Death’. He wrote his world famous book Ishaaraat there.
Our great scholar, Shahid-e-Awwal had authored his precious book on the Islamic Laws, Lumaa in the prison of Damascus.
The History of the World was written by Sir Walter in jail.
Robin Crumm had authored many famous literary books during detention...
We conclude this discussion here and present the words of wisdom uttered by our respected religious leaders about hard work.