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The Shortest Road to Success

In the scheme of creation, every being that comes into existence develops and grows in struggle and adversity right from the first day of its life until the time when it attains to the apex of its perfection. This is a law of nature that rules over all existents.

Every person is inclined to select the shortest route to success in life and to get the fastest results from his efforts. But in any enterprise one cannot shorten his route without patience and reach the desired objective. There is no possibility of progress or development without this moral virtue.

Anyone who desires to achieve success and lead a fruitful existence, whether he is a man of ordinary talents or someone endowed with exceptional creativity, will power, intelligence and genius, must cultivate patience by drawing inspiration from the workings of the system of creation. With wisdom and a realistic outlook, he should view life in its vast and resplendent panorama.

A great work is never accomplished instantaneously and spontaneously. A huge amount of energy and time is required to implement big plans and to bring valuable undertakings to fruition. A short-lived effort, however brilliant, will not result in lasting success.

Yes, it is by self-reliance and endurance that one can remove all the various kinds of obstacles from the path of progress and plough through adversity and hardship, because victory is always associated with a series of problems and impediments.

We observe some people achieve remarkable success in life, while there are some who languish behind the caravan of life. The basic difference between those who succeed and others who fail and lag behind lies in the quality of their efforts and the extent of their steadfastness in the face of life's adverse factors. There are many people who, instead of thinking of a solution, come to a standstill as soon as they encounter a small obstacle on their way, although they possess real and remarkable abilities; or they act in a haphazard manner without accomplishing with seriousness and steadfastness any of the tasks that they undertake. Their morale is always shaky and accompanied with a lack of confidence. Negligence and default have become second nature with them. Such people never achieve success in life.

Life is a relentless and intense struggle extending from the first phases of life to its last moments. Patience and fortitude are the most effective weapon in this unceasing battle. Victory on this battlefield belongs to those who are courageous and unflinching and who do not succumb to obstacles under any condition. No matter how frequently they may stumble and fall, they rise up and continue their endeavour and overcome difficulties with sagacity and level headedness.

If our spiritual capacities be of a mediocre or even a poor quality and should we be of quite ordinary intelligence, fortitude can strengthen and complement our personality. The removal of one obstacle and the solution of a problem prepares us further for facing new obstacles and creates a measure of inner resilience. Every small task that we accomplish adds to the momentum of the flywheel of our activity, guides us towards bigger and worthier tasks, and gives greater preparedness to our minds in combating problems and pursuing our goals.

Dr. Marden describes the role of adversity in the development of man's spiritual faculties in these words:

In the same way as the best and strongest tools are forged with the help of the heat of a furnace, so also noble morals develop in the straits of hardship. The greater the hardness and brilliance of a diamond, the more is the friction required to grind it.

Kant, the German philosopher, says: "A pigeon in its flight considers the air to be the only hindrance in its way; it imagines that had there been no air it would have flown faster and with greater ease. Yet without the air it would have been unable to fly in a vacuum and would fall to the ground. Hence the same element that poses resistance to the pigeon in its flight is basically that which makes flight at all possible."

The effort to climb to an elevated station is greatly valuable: even if one fails to reach his intended goal, such effort would make him stronger. An encounter with great events may lead lethargic persons who do not use their brains and have no aim in life to acquire unprecedented abilities and success in life.

Often a young man faced with his father's death or the loss of wealth or some other calamity, loses the crutches that he leaned upon and acquires an unusual and remarkable vigour. Imprisonment has often revealed the hidden fire that lay in many individuals. When God wishes to train a man and raise him to a high station He sends him to the school of necessity and need not to that of ease and good fortune.

Take two acorns each of which has been plucked from the same oak tree and which are almost identical. Plant them in two separate places one on a mountain slope and another in a dense forest. Then observe how their roots grow. The oak that grows on the mountainside where it has to withstand wind rain and storms runs its roots in all directions and grows into a sturdy and shadowy tree. But the oak planted he oak in the woods since it is situated under the shadow of other trees grows to he lean and weak.

In the same way take two boys who are about similar and bring them up in two different places. That is put one of them in an environment where he is forced to face hard and difficult conditions right from his childhood and is deprived of wealth or any kind of supports. Such a one should he stumble and fall will get up again with a firmer determination like a ball which bounces to a greater height the more forcefully it is hit against the ground. The greater the obstacles he encounters the more determined he will become. But the other child brought up in ease and plenty and in the care of a team of nurses who got everything he desired and had lots of money will be less resistant in the face of hardship and will break down sooner. 1


1. Orison Swett Mardenm, The Victorious Attitude, pp. 59-61

Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"

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