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Attitude Changes Everything

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To seek and attain inner peace, live simply, think deeply, act nobly; and leave the world a better place than you found it.

A DEAR colleague’s son was recently called to the Bar. At the dinner to commemorate the occasion, several of us were asked to share a few words of advice.

The wise among us spoke because they had something to say.

Lesser people like me spoke because we were asked to say something. This is what I could manage.

In the journey of life, a new destination beckons you. We, the friends of your parents, pray fervently that your journey on the highway of life will be successful; that you will blaze new trails; that the road ahead will lead you to many summits; and that each panoramic view will stir in you a striving for the horizons beyond.

Success, is, of course, a matter of personal perception.

To some people, wealth, power, influence and status are the tests of having made it.

To others – and I hope you will be in this category – success is to bring sunshine into the lives of others.

When you do that, some of that sunshine will illuminate your life as well.

Whatever your concept of success is, its attainment is rooted in some conducive mental attitudes and a great deal of planned, hard work.

Visualising and envisioning: You must envision, constructively imagine and role-play whatever you wish to be.

Dreams are the foundation of reality. If you can dream it, you can achieve it.

Any fulfillment is, of course, subject to your courage and discipline to act on your dreams and materialise them into concrete actions. Kipling’s admonition must be remembered: “If you can dream and not make dreams your master. If you can think but not make thoughts your aim”.

Daily planning: On a daily basis, plan your schedule. Fill every minute with 60 seconds of distance run. Sail a chartered course. Do not drift in the wind and the waves.

Act on, not just react to, things as they come. Do not let others lead you by the nose. Do not count on luck. Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Mapping the road ahead: Careers are like ladders with many rungs. Map out the steps. Fix time frames. Periodically review your progress towards your long-term goals.

Intensity: There must be an intensity of commitment, a fire, a burning desire, an over-riding, if not single-minded, determination to attain your goals.

Ambition: Think big. Do not settle for too little. Make plans to reach the sky. If you land on the clouds, that’s OK. Strive harder next time.

Faith in God: When confronted by inevitable storms, trust God. God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear.

Self-confidence: We are all specks of dust in the universe. This necessary humility can, however, go hand in hand with a self-confidence that everything is attainable if we strive hard enough.

We must doubt our doubts but not our beliefs. We must remember that attitude, more than aptitude, determines our altitude.

Discipline and hard work: Work is part of worship and must be given the same type of devotion. Hard work compensates for lack of genius.

Many ordinary people achieve extraordinary things because they toil through the night while the world sleeps. Genius is 10% inspiration; 90% perspiration. A toiling tortoise can beat a heady hare.

Over the course of four decades, I have seen scores of extremely intelligent people fail in their endeavours because they lacked the humility that drives hard work; the discipline and planning that ensures progress; and the courage and persistence that overcome odds.

In most challenges in life, natural talents do not take us very far. Discipline does.

Passion: Whatever you do, do well. Let reason be the rudder and passion the sail. There are no small jobs; only small people.

There is honour in every profession provided we put our heart and soul into it and do ordinary things extraordinarily well.

It is often the case that those who do small jobs meticulously are likely to confront major challenges majestically.

Do not wait for ideal conditions: Do not wait for the perfect time to start building on your dreams. External conditions will never be ideal. We have to make do with what we have.

The wind often changes for the better once we set sail. It is our inner determination that makes the world stand aside to let pass a man who knows where he is going.

Show-case your talents: At a place of work, substance and form, isih dan gaya, the ability to be relevant, as well as to seem competent, are all equally important. Don’t be like the peacock that dances in the jungle but is not seen by anyone.

Find sophisticated and civilised ways to show-case your talents. Polish up your communication and PR skills so that your hard work and competence will be known.

Rewards come in many ways: It is natural to expect appreciation and recognition.

However, one must remember that in the workplace there are rivalries, jealousies and injustices.

As in the outside world, so in the workplace, justice does not usually prevail.

If the rewards do not come when they are due, remember that God is watching. His justice will one day prevail.

Work never goes to waste. A competent man is like the moon. Clouds can hide the moon for a while but in the end the beams of light will break through and the world will be filled with their luminescence.

Remember also that hard work with sincerity is nourishing for the soul and good for health.

The rewards of hard workare long term, internal and intangible. We all know that of all the things that matter in life, most are not things.

Success and failure: Success is never final. It is a journey, not a destination. It is a continuing process of repeating, reinforcing past accomplishments and conquering new challenges by adapting to a changed world.

Success is sustained effort over time and persistence in the face of hurdles. It is an attitude of “I think I can”. It is the courage to treat adversity as an opportunity. It is the willingness to regard every dare as a door.

Falling down does not amount to failure. Failure is to stay down. Falling down is never fatal. Life breaks all of us. The thing to do is to learn from our failings and to emerge stronger where we’re broken.

Happiness: To seek inner peace, live simply. Richness is not the accumulation of wealth but the smallness of needs. Think deeply. Act nobly. Leave the world a better place than you found it. Learn from people you admire.

“Lives of great men all remind us; we can make our lives sublime and departing leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time”.

By: Shad Saleem Faruqi – TSO