“As Salam Alaykom Adam!” I greeted the grumpy teenager. “So how was your weekend?”
“Yeah, whatever!” Adam spat out. “Let’s get this over with!” He sunk into the chair across from me and took out his earphones, totally uninterested in what I had to say. “What’s your Wi-Fi password?” He asked.
“Listening to music, huh? Why don’t you put it on speaker and we can listen together” I suggested.
“I thought you were an Islamic psychologist! Isn’t listening to music ‘haram’ like everything else in this world?” He mocked.
“Well… That’s one way to look at it. But now if everything is ‘haram’, the word ‘halal’ wouldn’t exist, now would it?” I smiled.
“Cut it out! We both know I’m here only because I got suspended! So, how about you tell me what it is I need to say or do for you to sign this slip. I can’t miss the finals this year! My gramps promised me a sports car if I graduate high school!”
“What about your parents?” I asked.
“What about them? They’re cool either way! I wouldn’t know really. I hardly see them,” Adam shrugged. From the innocent look on his face, I could tell his mind had wandered far back into the past.
“I said, I want my mommy!” Little Adam stomped his feet. It has been six days in a row now, and his nanny was honestly too tired to come up with cover stories on why his mom had disappeared.
“Go, watch TV till your dad comes. He said something about taking you out for ice cream!” She sighed.
“Hey, buddy, what’re you watching?” Adam’s dad walked in three hours later. His dad had been weirdly nice and attentive this past week, Adam thought. Ten minutes later he found out why…
“Listen, Adam. Something came up. I’m going to have to move to a different country for work. But I promise I’ll try to come see you as much as I can!” His dad explained.
Adam soon discovered ‘as much as I can’ actually meant ‘a couple of days every other year’. His dad was a workaholic. He lived and breathed for his job, neglecting everything else, including his beautiful lonely wife and only son. He figured showering them with gifts would make up for his non-existence. Sadly, Adam’s dad had no idea the more money he gave, the emptier his family felt inside…
“Mom! Wake up! I need you to sign my report card!” Adam said. “Come on, I’m late for school!”
“Let grandpa sign it!” His mom slurred.
“Why?” Adam asked. He had secretly wished his mom would see it and praise him for his good grades. Fifth grade is hard you know!
“Because I said so!” His mom snapped.
“Good one, mom! You should be a lawyer!” Adam stormed out.
She was either sleeping, watching TV or out with her weird friends. His mom was obviously not interested in motherhood, so why should he worry about being a good son?
Adam quickly went from being a straight ‘A’ student to being an ‘A’ class bully, surrounded by corrupt friends and hardly passing his tests. The school principal was one of the few people who believed in Adam and was devastated to see such a bright talented boy spiral out of control. He was given another chance on one condition! He must seek therapy!
“Where do you see yourself in ten years Adam?” I asked when he put his iPod away.
“Successful! Rich! Traveling around the world on my private jet,” he replied.
“But do you have a plan to make those dreams come true? I’m sure you know how the saying goes. ‘Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow,’” I added.
“I don’t know,” Adam shrugged. “But I’m sure I’ll find a way! I always do!”
“Okay, I’ll tell you what! If you can tell me the three ingredients of success, I’ll sign this slip and you’ll be free to go! A pretty sweet deal, no?” I challenged.
“Just like that?” He asked suspiciously.
When I nodded, Adam walked to the big white board and started scribbling, before listing them all beautifully. I knew the seed of knowledge was in there somewhere.
Successful people have one thing in common. They respect each tick of the clock! They are never late, never waste time and their schedule is perfectly managed and organized. If they have an important meeting, they make sure they are there before it starts.
2. Practice with Passion
Successful people are fully dedicated to their goals. They are focused, consistent, and determined. They are always practicing and reviewing to stay on top of their game.
Successful people are respectful and humble enough to learn.
I crossed my arms and stared at Adam, hardly able to control my proud smile.
“Yeah, I read a lot!” He said, blushing a little bit.
“Well, since you turned out to be a genius, I have a couple more questions!” I added.
“But that wasn’t part of the deal!” Adam complained.
“Well, now it is, so sue me!” I said. “Do you pray?” I asked.
“Sometimes!” Adam replied. “My gramps drags me to Friday prayer every week!”
“What if I tell you that you’ll never be successful if you don’t pray!” I asked.
“I’ll prove you wrong!” Adam replied. “Lots of people don’t pray, yet they roll in piles of money! Many have received awards, or have the coolest jobs, or have so much power and they don’t even pray!”
“If success is another word for wealth and power, then would you consider the drowned Pharaoh successful?” I asked. “Us Muslims, we know better! Success is the true joy, inner peace, Adam, and no money in the world can buy you that!”
“But what does praying have to do with that?” Adam asked.
“When we fail or make a mistake in our job, we tend to avoid our boss or the person in charge. And when we fail in life, when we sin or go astray, some of us abandon prayer because they’re too ashamed to run to Allah . But only those who want to succeed have the perseverance to keep trying. Only successful people are never late for their most important meetings in their lives: ‘salah’. They practice their faith with passion and they stand humbly before their Lord. Those are the ingredients of success in this world and the Hereafter, and that’s why it’s the second pillar of Islam and the essence of our faith. Without this connection to Allah , we have no identity whatsoever!” I said as I signed the school slip and handed it to Adam.
“That’s it?” He asked.
“You can watch success from far or you can become it! It’s your choice.” I said.
Adam walked out towards what I am sure would be a bright future in shah Allah, for one cannot unsee the truth after seeing it so clearly. I went home feeling so peaceful and came back to the office the next day all bright and shiny for my next appointment.
“Leave the door open, please” I instructed my assistant before my patient started relating his story.
“I have a perfect life! And, yes, I pray five times a day! I’ve reached my goals! I have a loving family, more money than I can count, fame, wisdom, health… you name it! I’m a billboard ad for success! All my dreams came true, yet my life is a nightmare! I have an invisible illness no one can diagnose! You say you help people find their path to peace and happiness? I have found it and I’m STILL SO UNHAPPY!” My patient slammed the desk violently.
“Okay, take a deep breath Mr. Ramzy. Calm down” I said.
“Don’t tell me to calm down! FIX IT!” He yelled!
To be continued…
What are your three ingredients for success? How essential do you think salah is as an element of success? Share your answers with us in the comments section below!