Yesterday, I tuned in to a podcast where the host and guest were accomplished young men. They seemed to have everything one could desire – mingling with influential people, indulging in their purchases, and traveling to various places. It made me wonder if their lives could get any more ideal.
However, during the podcast, one of the guests opened up about his personal challenges. Despite achieving great success, he felt a deep sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction within himself. He underwent several months of therapy to alleviate these feelings. While his external life appeared glamorous with wealth, fame, and a successful podcast, he still struggled internally.
This may seem uncommon, but when you hear from individuals deemed “successful,” you discover that they face similar challenges as everyone else. This begs the question – what truly defines success and how do we measure it?
Most of what we do is to gain happiness. But no human has a perpetual happiness and that is by design. We can have a few good days and then a few bad days and the cycle continues.
Warren Buffet said that he measures success by how many people love him. This would be hard to measure as it’s difficult, if not impossible, to know if the people are praising the person due to genuine love or because of what he owns.
In today’s society, we often associate success with financial prosperity and power. If you were to conduct a poll on the street and ask what constitutes a successful person, the majority of responses would likely involve wealth or financial status. Another common marker of success is the number of social media followers, which ultimately still ties back to the influence and monetary gain associated with a large following.
But what if the acquired assets are through unethical or downright criminal means? Some might still consider that person to be successful because he has achieved wealth and power.
Listening to some of the rich and famous people will make you realize that deep down inside some of them are not enjoying the things that ordinary folks would do anything to get. One very famous personality, when asked if she was happy, struggled to answer the question before finally saying that generally she is miserable.
The question remains unanswered: What exactly is success and how can it be attained?
Islam clearly defines what success is and divides life in two parts. The first part is life on earth and the second part is what is called the hereafter. The ultimate success is the success of the hereafter.
If you had to stay at a resort for two days and then travel to a new place where you plan to spend the rest of your life, which one would hold more value? Would you put your effort in preparing for the two days as you would for the final destination in the same way. A person with foresight would most definitely use their time and resources to plan for the place where they would spend more time.
The hereafter is eternal and life here in this world is just temporary. No matter how long one lives, eventually they have to transition to the final place – a place that is mysterious and hidden away but explained in great lengths.
Success in this life does not necessarily translate into success in the afterlife, as the concept of success is subjective and varies greatly between individuals. There is no one-size-fits-all definition of success, as it can encompass vastly different things for different people. For some, success may be finding happiness, while for others, it could be attaining financial prosperity.
Compare this to the hereafter, where success is clear. A person who makes it to the everlasting paradise, has indeed succeeded. There will be no more trials or death. This is the ultimate freedom and the highest achievement. The things that we crave for in this world like peace, fulfilling desires, happiness etc, will all be there in paradise with none of the elements that we detest like sadness and grief. Unlike the world where even prosperity creates boredom, the paradise will be very fulfilling and the inhabitants will never be bored.
Islam foretells what will happen when humans die and then describes in immense detail the path that will lead a person to ultimate success. The focus is on action and those actions will determine the outcome. Whatever action is taken, it affects the hereafter. This is by default that everything affects everything else. It is where freedom of choice comes in.
Discipline, hard work and dedication when combined with spiritual growth can yield massive results. This creates a balanced and fulfilling life. I was listening to a billionaire who coaches big names and he said out of all the super rich and famous people he asked if they feel fulfilled only five of them answered in affirmative. If the purpose of life is not clear and the intent is only for this world, then this would be considered superficial and will not lead to a meaningful life.
To live a fulfilled life, spiritual connection with the Creator is a prerequisite. It is important to work both for this world and more importantly the next one. Success in this life and failure in the next one is no success at all. Ultimate success is the life that is everlasting where one can attain paradise and truly live the life of immense pleasure.
Have more questions? Call 877-WhyIslam or visit whyislam.org. You deserve to know!