So there you are doing what every other kid in the country does: getting by at school, playing a little football (or cricket) in the evening and finding your way into meaningless fights with your peers. Every day passes by like the dreary one before. You look back at the week and the only thing you’ve achieved is perhaps spreading that gossip about that celebrity doing that thing. And nothing else. Well guess what, that’s not cool because what you are doing is a prime example of being ordinary, passive and dare I say, average? You are just one more kid doing absolutely nothing that sets him apart from the crowd. And the scary part is that you are fine with it. That’s something that needs to change. (Did I just say ‘change’? Oh you bet I did.)
A khutbah by a motivational khateeb will leave you with a renewed sense of purpose and give you the belief that no one can harm you unless Allah wills. Later in the day, you’ll probably forget what the khateeb said and will go on to watch a Jackie Chan flick after which you’ll feel like the most powerful person in the world. And then the next day when you hand in a brilliantly written article about your favourite hobby, your teacher will comment on how you were born to be a writer. And then you will go home, watch TV and head to bed. What a waste.
All the things up there are true: despite how things might seem, no one really can affect you unless the will of the divine One allows for it. You really can do magnificent things if you set your head to it. And yes, you really can be a writer. But you prefer to indulge in materialistic talk and mock those who try to take an initiative. You are an average person who loves nothing better but to dream about being like a said sports star...while doing nothing that will get you there. I think the following quote sets things into perspective: “Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that makes a difference.” (By...well you don’t care about that now do you?)
So unless you still didn’t get it, living life as it presents itself is not getting you anywhere. You might get lucky every now and then, but the sad reality is that in order to get somewhere meaningful, you need to take an initiative and follow through with it. You need to get your act together, reflect on your khateeb’s talk, think about becoming a writer and do something about that idea you came up with during your shower.
Well then, let’s elaborate on this thing called ‘taking an initiative.’ Say you are a sixteen year old doing what other sixteen year olds do: talk about cricket, make fun of each other and ‘hang out.’ Taking an initiative is not that, rather it’s doing something that you (or others) won’t normally do. It could be volunteering at the local medical centre or I don’t know, forming a soccer club? Get a job, write an article, learn about your deen and read ahead on your studies. Feeling a little enthusiastic? Well try running for the position of the president at your school or maybe even make a magazine. See, as long as you make the effort to do something extraordinary in your life, you are doing fine.
Or are you? So you set out to do that magazine we talked about but two months in, you quit. People at the medical centre gossipped about how you stopped showing up for volunteering. And yes, the cruel people at your soccer club popularised your name for being a no-show. See the thing is you cannot just go about starting things but not following through with them. You need to commit yourself and see the task to its completion. In Islam, doing even a small task regularly is better than doing something better just once. So stick through with whatever ideas you come up with and perform such exceptional tasks with consistency. After all, who likes quitters?
Writing this article was a bit like looking into the mirror. I am not the most productive person around and I suppose a lot of what I said up there applies to me too. But having said that, I am now taking the initiative to overwhelm my weaknesses with my strengths. I always try to do something exemplary, try something completely new and commit to my ideals so that I can, one day Insha Allah, be much more than just an average human being...so that I can be outstanding both in this world and in the hereafter. I pray that Allah, our Creator, the most Merciful, helps us in this cause. Aaameen.
Oh my God, you are sooo right. I love the way you've written that article. It's got wit and humour and just the right kind of tone. I want to be a writer too and you've really given me some pointers. I understand what you're saying in the article. We need to 'stand out in a crowd', right?