We come across diverse people in our lives, those who are constantly grateful for what they have been blessed with, those who complain about everything, and then those who work tirelessly to make a substantial impact on the world. Taking a closer look, we realize that these alleged ‘Movers and Shakers’ are just ordinary people like us who have defied the status quo and are driven by the need to do something great. People presume that this last group of incredibly successful people have a secret formula or some specific routine or action for guaranteed success. Maybe it is true, sometimes. Nonetheless, the secret to success – whether it be professional or personal or spiritual – is not based solely on what we should do but is based on what we should be.
In today’s volatile environment, obtaining positive traits such as humility, optimism, adaptability, selflessness and honesty and integrity is essential for success.
Let’s take a look at how we Muslims could inculcate these essential traits in us.
Being humble means being open to others’ opinion and to focus on others’ needs. Humility may not come easy to everyone but it is a sign of strength and shows that you are open to ask for help and to learn. A humble person deals with people with grace, compassion and care. The best way to achieve humility is to follow the example of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who lived in a humble way and taught his followers to do the same. He said, “Verily, Allah (SWT) has revealed to me that you must be humble towards one another, so that no one wrongs another or boasts to another (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim).
Humility is an overlooked trait that will not only help us value others but also will help us to seek constructive feedback and grow.
Optimists are positive influencers who are ready to learn and are not shy to try new things. They are constantly pushing boundaries, striving to learn and grow more. They are happy and content people who spread positive energy and enrich the lives of all they interact with. They embrace changes, welcome challenges and are open to learning and experiencing new possibilities. Prophet Muhammed (SWT) had a positive, ever-smiling personality and he exuded optimism. With all the negativity around us it’s easy to get depressed and agonize over what might go wrong. Optimism helps us focus on what we can do right. It is infectious and as stated in the hadith, “Hoping for good is also an act of worship of Allah” (Tirmidhi and Hakim), a positive approach will open our mind and help us to see, learn, and experience new things on the way to being a better servant of Allah (SWT).
Selflessness is a coveted trait that is emphasized in Islam and it is what makes us care deeply for others. It’s all about living and actively applying the old adage, “The more you give, the more you get”. Selfless people are open to help and support others. They respect and value others and want others to grow. They share their knowledge, talent and experiences with others and think about the betterment of others. They are empathetic, compassionate, and kind and go out of the way to make a true positive influence in others’ lives. They build genuine relationships with people and understand the people around them, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said “None of you truly believes until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” (Bukhari)
As Muslims, we need to constantly adapt to the changing global atmosphere and confront the challenges facing us. Most people tend to fear the unknown and feel the need to control their lives and hence resist change. Also, inflexible people tend to grow uncomfortable with too much change and even positive change feels uncomfortable to them. Consecutively, successful Muslims take charge of the situation and stay obedient to Allah (SWT) even during times of adversity. Instead of worrying too much about the future they stay persistent and patient and rely upon Allah (SWT) alone – “And whoever relies upon Allah – He will be sufficient for him. (At-Talaq: 3). We need to surround ourselves with such successful people who are highly adaptable, and learn from them as such people anticipate change and embrace it more easily.
5) Honesty and Integrity
The cornerstone of any kind of success whether it be personal or professional is to trust and be trusted. Without honesty and integrity there is no foundation to build a meaningful relationship with someone. Honesty and integrity in turn foster trust, without trust we cannot create a positive personal impact on people and provide strong leadership. Honesty, integrity, and generosity are some of the characteristics on which successful people create their personal brand. Undoubtedly, the most honest person to ever walk the earth was the Prophet (SAW). He was known as Sadiq, “The Truthful” and Al-Amin,“The Faithful”.
Honesty is an excellent virtue and a defining characteristic of most successful people. If we truly respect ourselves then we will choose to be genuine and will show our true selves to others. Honesty is essence of our faith and engenders strength on every level. And of course, honesty will be of immeasurable benefit to us in this world as well as the Hereafter. “Allah will say, ‘This is the Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness.’ For them are gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever, Allah being pleased with them, and they with Him. That is the great attainment.” (Al-Maidah :119)
Armed with the above five highly desirable traits, anyone will be able to acquire the right attitude to transform and create a successful life they truly want to live. And these qualities will not only help one to cope with everyday challenges but also will help transform the challenges into opportunities to grow and thrive.
This article was previously published at Sisters Magazine.