Egyptian writer NAGLAA MAHFOUZ  spells out the dos and don’ts of success

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ” This is a beautiful quote by Mark Twain and so very relevant. When we study the biographies of successful people, the relevance of this quote becomes evident. None of them let the bowlines hamper the momentum of their lives, and they all were keen to cross and outpace all shackles and obstacles.

They triumphed over obstacles and achieved success by overcoming multiple setbacks; they never gave up on the pretext that fate was hostile and cruel to them. In fact, they believed that in life no valuable thing comes free of cost, but has a price attached to it. That price is not really in terms of money, but in the form of toil and struggle to deserve a good quality of life.  

Success doesn’t come on a silver platter or it is not something that can be achieved instantaneously ― it is not a privilege that we can expect  even if we have outstanding talents. Rather success comes to those with the utmost determination and commitment, which should never falter or lose momentum.

Naglaa Mahfouz

 A successful person  does not spend his life in pursuit of worthless and irrelevant things.  She or he does not wait for opportunities, but rather endeavours to create them. Success does not come to those who look for guarantees before embarking on something beneficial, be it something related to skill enhancement courses or foreign language proficiency.  

There are many people who look for preconditions and seek guarantees before embarking on a venture. They ask themselves: “What will I do if I do not get what I am looking for even after spending efforts?” The only answer is that if success was to be guaranteed, everybody would run after it.

 For sure, the very first thing you achieve in your pursuit of success is self-esteem, dignity and contentment that you did not give up.  Success is much like the stairs of a ladder, where every stair elevates you to the higher one, provided you do not step forward hurriedly; for, whoever tries to climb up in a hurry is vulnerable to falling down.

Perseverance safeguards you from tripping from the ladder and delivers you better results in the best timely fashion; it makes you revel when you reap the fruits of your endeavour. Every person faces hurdles on the road to success. There is no denying the fact that failures can cause slackening of one’s pace, a slowdown. But such a slowdown is interim and not permanent.

However, after the slowdown it is necessary to recoup and rejuvenate ourselves. This may not be possible on our own. So, we should pray to God, the Compassionate, for help. We should keep a record of all the details of the difficulties and probable causes of our slowdown. Writing or recording helps in draining out the negative energies and makes us see clearly the details of what happened and assess what our role was in the failure to achieve success at that time.

Under no circumstance should we be self-deprecating  and say, “I am a failure,” “Where my mind was at that time” or “I thought I was smart” and so on. Such words kill one’s self-confidence and abort all attempts for a comeback in case of failure again.

We can surely convert a loss into a gain we deserve. Moreover, we should avoid talking to those people who like to blame us and undermine tour confidence; rather we should look for someone who is a guide or beacon.

We should not be so over ambitious that we defeat our very chances of success,  but at the same time, we should also not under-estimate our potential. The best approach is moderation in our endeavours for success. We should not be dependent on others for our success, while seeking out those who are our honest critics.  

Success is not only to get better jobs and bid for higher achievements as many people think; rather success must targeted at  good psychological health, physical soundness, and resistance  to bad addictions and habits that slowly destroy our mind, body and spirit.

An aware mind deeply observes the happenings around and  refuses to get influenced by the opinions of others, although he derives benefits from the constructive observations of others.

A truly successful person  develops a beautiful heart, empty of hatred and brimming with love for worthy and well-deserving souls. Let us strive to fill our life with success, not merely in the material sense, but more in the spiritual realm.

Naglaa Mahfouz,  an Egyptian writer, is deputy editor of the reputed Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram (The Pyramid). A prolific writer, human development expert, and a counsellor concerned on psychological and social problems, she has authored 48 books ― eight on self-development, 10 on social literature, 23 on social topics, and seven short story collections. She also penned 56 books for children. An artist, she has so far held six special exhibitions on oil painting, ceramics and sculpture.

Ubaidur Rahman

Ubaidur Rahman is a student of M.A. Arabic at Jawaharlal Nehru University. He is a freelance writer and translator, and has written a couple of articles in Arabic newspapers, and translated a couple of Arabic books into English.