MAULANA WAHIDUDDIN KHAN analyses the path to becoming a super-achiever

The American writer, Charles Garfield, who has made a thorough study of the psychology of peak achievement, says that, “in a study of 90 leaders in business, politics, sports and arts, many spoke of ‘false starts’ but never of ‘failure’. Disappointment spawns greater resolve, growth or change. Moreover, no matter how rough things get, super-achievers always feel there are other avenues they can explore. They always have another idea to test.”

The writer emphasises the fact that these high achievers are neither superhuman, nor charismatic or even singularly talented. What they do have in common is an “uncanny knack for increasing the odds in their favour through simple techniques that almost anyone can cultivate.”

He delineates three major areas of action. First and foremost, one must have a great sense of mission, and a strong desire to turn everything that comes one’s way to good account.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan

Secondly, one must be result-oriented, so that one is not just preoccupied with unceasing activities, but with a definite outcome of one’s efforts.

Thirdly, one must take stock of whatever knowledge and skills one has and bring out whatever is latent and waiting to be used, so that it can be tuned up to a peak of perfection. Very often, it is not so much a question of adding to one’s knowledge and skills as of developing what is already there — capacities of which we are sometimes barely aware. Frequently, it is one’s initial sense of mission which taps these hidden resources.

Sometimes it is impossible to achieve distant goals without the aid of one’s fellow men; in which case, one has to develop the capacity to inspire the team spirit in others. Particularly in highly competitive situations, it is essential to be able to encourage other competent people to make a significant contribution to one’s own performance.

But no one sails through life without bumping into obstacles and suffering a variety of setbacks. This is when one must beware of lapsing into passivity. Then one has to take things firmly in hand and decide to look upon such things not as great gulfs from which one will never emerge, but simply as hurdles which have to be surmounted if one is to finish the race.

The initial feeling of disappointment should quickly transform itself into a great determination to try harder, to alter one’s approach, to seek different and better ways of achieving one’s goal, and to channel one’s energies more effectively towards the ultimate target.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, 95, is an Islamic spiritual scholar who has adopted peace as the mission of his life. Author of more than 200 books, he is known for his Gandhian views, and considers non-violence as the only method to achieve success.

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