How many times have we come across people who complain about their work environment or family situation or even perhaps their dissatisfaction with a product or service? Now, compare that to the amount of times you have heard people praise their work environment or family situation or express their satisfaction towards a product or service. It is very likely that the former exceeds the latter quite significantly.
In my opinion, this is mainly so due to human nature and their tendency to get accustomed to the environment they are in due to a plethora of internal and external factors. These could range from peer pressure and fear of rejection to an individual’s financial/educational status and his/her personality traits.
This adaptation kills the drive to move forward and hence results in complacency, which in turn kills the chances of making a positive impact. The constant inability to create positive impact over an extended period of time gives birth to negativity that can destroy an organization or individual.
The question then obviously becomes “how do we undo this downward spiral into negativity?” Given my tendency to go back to religion for an answer, the first thing that came to my mind is the lives of the Prophets of Allah (Peace be upon them). Many of them endured hardships and in the end they were able to create a positive impact either on their people or in their own lives. So, I stumbled upon an Aya ( averse) in the Quran that describes how the Prophets achieved this and, in my point of view, describes the answer to our question.
“We listened to them … for they were ever quick in emulation in good works; they used to call on Us with love and reverence, and humble themselves before Us.” – The Holy Quran [21:90]
This Aya highlights 3 main points:
- They were ever quick in involving themselves in good work (taking initiative towards creating a positive impact)
- They used to call on us with love and reverence (perseverance and continuity)
- They were humble (towards the will of Allah and the reliance and dependence on him)
Now, let me add some personal views and walk you through these 3 points. Based on the above, I believe the creation of any positive impact can be achieved to counter negativity by taking initiative. In order to prove the success of the initiative it requires 3 main elements:
First, it is crucial one leaves his/her comfort zone and races or competes towards taking initiative. Things should not be put aside and left for tomorrow or delayed to another time. Out of the thousands of things we encounter every day, some examples are speaking up against corporate embezzlement, helping someone poor, or even discussing a problem with one’s spouse. It is essential however that only taking the initiative should be done immediately, the initiative itself on the other hand should be balanced between haste and laziness. One must work with the available tools and within or around the socially, politically, and economically accepted regulations and rules to create the necessary impact and not haste into irrational moves.
“Come forward and follow my lead, and let those who come after you follow your lead. People will continue to keep back till Allah will put them at the back.” – The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) , Sahih Muslim, Book of Prayers, 438
Second, it is important that we pull through the initiative and make it move forward and maintain momentum. It is only natural to encounter obstacles that impede our path to creating a positive impact. However, once we have embarked on an initiative, we must ensure to see it through. In this journey, it is best to have an open mind, accept changes along the way, and not get defensive of one’s perceived ideal path. We may not be able to be perfect all the time but one step in the right direction can create a platform for improvement. The key is to take those steps and keep improving until you are satisfied with the results. Make sure you don’t stop.
“I am not discouraged because every wrong attempt discarded is a step forward.” – Thomas Edison
Third, I believe we must have faith. Some people may call it luck or being in the right place at the right time and others may call it experienced gut feeling or educated guessing. Although all may be valid points, I believe the reality is all of the above along with true dependence and reliance on God. This reliance or “tawakkul” should be done in parallel with exploration and exhaustion of all necessary means possible. The combination of drive and faith provides the correct mindset and platform to create positive impact.
“No reason have we why we should not put our trust on Allah. Indeed He Has guided us to the Ways we (follow)… For those who put their trust should put their trust on Allah.” – The Holy Quran [14:12]
In summary, in order to create positive impact in; it is necessary to encompass all 3 parts mentioned above: Compete and race towards the initiative for creating positive impact, strive continuously towards achieving the goal, and finally, be humble to changes and put your faith in Allah to help you arrive at the destination of your journey.
I wish you all the very best in your endeavors and I hope these points help you achieve what you are looking for. They definitely have helped me.
Mohammed’s bi-monthly column aims to openly and honestly target issues around the native culture, society, religion, economy, and policy that have resulted as a consequence of the constantly changing demographics of the region. The column is characterized by a point-like articulate approach that gives the reader a comprehensive understanding of the discussed issues.