I have a question.
When you’re; admitted to your dream university, accepted to the job you’ve always wanted, featured on a business magazine or maybe married to the person you love,
Is that success?
Is that happiness you are feeling?
Yes, that brief moment when the whole world seems to stop its gravitation just to revolve around you, when there is something rushing inside you, your heart beats so fast, you just can’t wait to tell everyone. Your eyes are even teary.
Yes, that sense of achievement. You feel that what you have been striving for is finally paid off.
You’ve arrived at your destination.
If these things are your source of happiness,
They won’t last.
They are temporary.
Soon enough, after a tough semester at the university, all those deadlines at work, and a little fight with your spouse.
That happiness you were feeling is gone before you even realized.
Even if they lasted for a while, don’t they need an “upgrade” of somekind?
It’s human nature to never feel satisfied. There will always be that emptiness you are longing to fill, and that’s okay, because that’s what makes us human, that is hope. A fuel to keep us going.
After being admitted to the university, dean’s list might be your next definition of success, after a while on the job, being promoted is next on the list, and after you get married, having child is.
And the thing is, they are relative. For someone, getting a dean’s list might be a very “normal” thing she gets every semester without even trying, she doesn’t even feel happy, it’s only when, if by any chance, there is a semester that she didn’t, then she will feel somekind of dissapointment. But there is also someone, who’ve been trying so hard every single day, but still never got into the list, and only in the very last semester at the university that she finally gets it. That is beyond happiness she is feeling.
The level of appreciation,sense of achievement, and degree of fulfillment are indeed different for everyone of us.
And oftentimes, what you perceived to be a big success on another, might not be the case for that very person. You only see at things, not through things.
You must’ve heard the grass is greener on the other side? Might sound cliche, but it does actually happen.
You can only see the green grass. The end product. The success. The destination. Not the journey.
You didn’t see how they planted the seed very carefully, watered it every single day, cut the bad outgrowns patiently, and how hard they tried to keep off the grass, even when they really wanted to. You didn’t see their struggle, their endeavours.
But the sad thing is, although you take care of it better than anything else, what once green would turn brown, they’d die. They don’t last forever.
In fact, there is no forever in this Dunya.
Because aren’t these things only gifts that Allah SWT has entrusted you with?
Which could be taken away anytime Allah SWT wills.
If your source of happiness and definition of success is not even yours to begin with, isn’t it too vivid to call it your success, “My Success”?
So Vin, do you think there is a true definition of sucess? If yes, what is it?
Yes. I think there is.
It is your relationship with Allah SWT. The tranquility, love, peace, and closeness you have. Your Taqwaa is. Your Imaan is.
Unlike those worldly things. This success lasts. This source of happiness stays.
Allah SWT is always there. It is us who often leave. Left Him for the sake of those temporary things.
We missed prayers for a meeting with our clients, for a class, for an exam.
People often forget the giver for the gift.
And for me, that’s not what success is.
That’s not happiness you are feeling.
And that’ll always be that emptiness you can’t fill.
Because the very space that was supposed to be for Allah SWT the greatest is filled with those worldy things that are full of flaws, temporary, and are not perfect in nature.
But as Ustadha Yasmin Mogahed said on her book, that the only perfection is awaiting in the hereafter. World is indeed not supposed to be perfect. And that’s okay.
What’s not okay is if that makes us away from Allah SWT. This world is only a means, a journey, a short ride, and if the vehicle you hop on getting you farther from your designated destination. And only to take you to the wrong destination instead.
What’s the point?
You’ll never get there.
You’ll never be “happy” happy. You’ll never be the most successful person on earth.
Unless your barometer changes.
When you finally understand that only what’s eternal, Allah SWT, should be your barometer of success and happiness.
“That is when you are truly successful. That is when happiness lasts forever. “