Success, a Human Right
The brilliant achievements of world's historic men as well as the amazing progress made by humanity in all the various technical, economic and social fields, have all been achieved through self- reliance and perseverance. Without self-confidence one cannot attain one's cherished goals and nothing worthwhile can be achieved without faith in one's capacities. Only with faith in one's success can goals be achieved, for this faith is the first step on the path of success.
Every undertaking is the result of one's determination, confidence, and ideas, and should these be deficient or inconsequential, the results would also be insignificant. One should not enclose one's mind within the confines of a single activity, big or small. Rather, every task, regardless of its magnitude, should be carried out with self-reliance and utmost care and sincerity. In every society there are self-made persons who, in the struggle of life, employ their inner merits and spiritual resources to pursue their high human goals. The more this original human-source is tapped, the more abundantly does it flow, and it is their timely use and the superior qualities of these individuals that put them in the rank of outstanding and great men, bringing them remarkable success in different stages of life.
The lack of hope and inner strength leads to personal stagnation and degeneration. Those who do not rely on their determination and effort and pin their hopes on others for securing material and spiritual happiness always need the support of some strong person. The doors of success remain closed for them and they are continually driven back by the advancing waves of life.
If the lack of self-confidence, which is the sign of belief in one's incapacity to perform tasks, were to take root in someone's mind, it would be rendered incapable of getting to the heart of anything. Such a person's power of thought would be paralysed and one cannot expect him at all to attain any kind of human perfection and sublimity.
How often it happens that outstanding capacities and talents die in their infancy as a result of lack of self-confidence, and how often edifying and brilliant aspirations remain sterile and unproductive for this reason! Someone with an average capacity but with an undefeatable determination and self- confidence can be many times more successful than one with outstanding abilities but possessing a shaky will and lacking self-confidence. That is because such a person is unable to mobilise his powers which might enable him to overcome obstacles and release the energies required for consistent effort and necessary for resolving complex and difficult situations.
There are many people who possess only an average level of abilities, but who advance in life and succeed brilliantly due to their spirit of self- confidence. In critical situations they take resort in their genuine inner powers in order to rescue themselves from dangers and thus remain unharmed by this means.
As a principle, difficult times of crisis become turning points in the lives of such persons, creating a positive and stable power within their minds, and anything that strengthens one's determination and will would undermine the negative forces that are harmful to one's self-confidence and activity.
Someone who reaches a firm decision with all his being will avoid negative thoughts with all his power, and he will resist any false idea of weakness and inadequacy. Nothing can make him abandon the correct path and goal that he has chosen and has faith in its being the right path. He has a firm faith that God does not deprive anyone from attaining the means of success and felicity, and he believes that deprivation and inability are products of the human mind. That is because it is a human right to attain success, and achievement of a goal is definite if pursued with a positive and constructive frame of mind and with faith and discipline.
Dr. Marden, a Western scholar, says:
Faith and self-confidence are a creative, constructive, and positive force while the lack of faith is a negative, retarding, and destructive force. Self-conscience removes doubt and vacillation and allows One to Advance firmly without halting and without spending extra energy. All inventors, reformers, explorers, discoverers, warriors and victors have had faith in their ability and power. On the contrary, if we were to study the personality of weak and defeated persons, we will find that most of them have lacked self-confidence and steadiness.
We do not know what kind of gifts God has bestowed upon persons who possess the ability to perform great tasks. All that we know is that the absolute confidence of a human being in the success of his work is a prominent sign of his ability. Those whom God has equipped with the weapon of absolute faith, He also assists them in succeeding in their efforts. Never lose your self-confidence, and do not permit others to shake it, because it is the basis of all your big achievements. Should this foundation be damaged, the superstructure will also collapse, and should it remain intact, the doors of hope will always remain open. 1
One's way of thinking is contagious, and its reflections have a great effect on the lives of other people as well as on various social relationships. If courage and confidence were to prevail over one's thoughts, one would carry along one's self-confidence and self-assurance wherever one went. On the contrary, if doubt and uncertainty were to overshadow one's mind and should one's self-assurance be nil, one's weakness will also spread to others' minds.
Some people have the capacity to poison the entire atmosphere around themselves. They infuse doubt and uncertainty into the minds of other people who have the capacity to grow into free and happy human beings. Persons with a negative bent of mind are like weeds in society who do not perform any function except weakening the creative spirit of others. It is natural that when there are a large number of such people in an environment, not only happiness and success will not flourish in it, but also self-confidence and determination will be cast into oblivion and there will be a general lack of interest in anything vital.
On the other hand, life become quite intolerable for the dynamic people who are forced into direct and continuous contact with such people. They feel light and relieved as soon as they get a chance to get away from them, as if a great burden has been removed from their shoulders.
You come across another group of people in society who have grown up to be such weaklings that they lack the determination to accomplish the simplest of tasks. Even at critical movements when they are required to take an irreversible decision in a situation which can give a new direction to their lives, they become so agitated and shaky that they immediately change their decisions at the smallest criticism form someone, however logical and correct it might have been.
Fears of failure and inability prompt them to give up and surrender immediately and unconditionally under the influence of others' remarks and suggestions without carefully examining them. As a result they leave unfinished even the tasks that they begin. Without doubt this great spiritual deficiency will not bring anything except retardation and stagnation in life, confining it within narrow limits.
The greater the degree of one's self-confidence, the more is the amount of confidence placed by others in one, as the influence one has on others depends on one's self-assurance and the strength of one's faith in one's capacities. If you have self-assurance and are confident of your abilities, you can acquire the confidence of those who come into contact with you. But as soon as your self-confidence is shaken and doubt and hesitation take hold of your mind, you will immediately find others losing their faith in you. Ultimately, any move on your part, whether it is inspired by self-assurance or doubt, will be echoed back to you in the form of others' reaction.
1. Marden, Orison Swett, The Victorious Attitude (?), Persian trans., Piruzl-ye fikr, p. 83.
Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"
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