Figure out what you’re good at and be your best at it


Salam,

There comes a point in time where you ask yourself, “what am I really good at?” It may not be those exact words but in some form or another, this is what we ask ourselves. And we can ask ourselves this question for various reasons. It can be to make money, what kind career you would like to pursue, what you want to major in college, etc. What I would like to talk about, are the people who ask themselves this question for the purpose of contributing to society. The form of help can be in many ways but the point is to address what should be the best course of action to take and understanding what your role should really be in society.

Now all these suggestions and advice can apply to both Muslims and non-Muslims but since this is an Islamic blog, it will be geared towards Islam a little bit. However, it can easily be applied to non-Muslims as well.

For starters, only you know what you’re good at. This may seem like common sense but you may be surprised at how many people truly do not know what they’re good at. This is because they haven’t reached their definition of success. And they haven’t reached their definition of success simply because they’ve never defined it. You can’t look at other people’s definition of success and say that’s what it means. You can’t reach a goal that wasn’t set by yourself and you certainly can’t reach a goal that wasn’t meant for you to achieve. A classical example is the American Dream back in the early 1900’s in America. Everybody had the same idea that they will only be successful if they got rich through whatever means and buy a house and a car somewhere and retire and live happily ever after. Only, this dream was made by someone else. Some people may have achieved that dream but it certainly wasn’t meant for everyone. Many people committed suicide once reality hit them that they could never achieve this dream. They thought that life wasn’t worth living if they couldn’t reach that goal. But the people that defined their own success were contempt with their lives. They didn’t need a mansion, or a new car, they just needed to sustain themselves to live another day.

Some of you might not like history lessons so here’s another classical example. Beauty. Women that are obsessed with perfection will never achieve it. They can go through so much make up, fake hair and eyelashes, even plastic surgery and never even reach a centimeter closer to their goal of perfection. Only women who say and fully accept that they are perfect in their own way will achieve their own level of beauty. But for the rest, they will live the rest of their lives imitating women they see in beauty magazines thinking, they need to be just as beautiful or better when in fact, if these magazine companies found a prettier women, they would replace their current but now “ugly” model with her.

The point is, if you live your life by other people’s standards, you will never succeed. I’m quoting this:

“If you live your life by other people’s standards, you will never succeed.” – DaBash

Now go make me famous.

Start small when defining your success. If you’re in college, your success may be to pass a class with an A. For other people, as long as they pass a class, their successful. But the goal is to make your goals stack-able. As in, you can build on it to achieve your ultimate success. Don’t settle for getting C’s on all your classes and then try to be a CEO of a company that already exists. It just won’t happen. Be realistic with yourself and never give up hope. Make dua to Allah (SWT) to always be with you every step of the way.

Once you’ve reached or know your definition of success, you’re qualified to say that you are good at something. For example, you take great pictures so therefore, you must be a great photographer. You sell cars, hence you are a good car salesman. You have good Tajweed, hence you are a great reciter. You know all about technology, hence you are technology expert. You get the point. The only thing you got to do now is be the best at it. And when I say that, it would be best to keep the Muslim Ummah in mind. Think about how you’re going to contribute to society and help your fellow brothers and sisters in Islam and you may be helping some non-Muslims along the way as well.

Below are examples of what I mean by being your best at whatever you’re good at:

Your country is depressing. Nobody is successful over there. In fact, most of the citizens of that country are poor. You wish there was something you can do but you don’t know anything about politics or business to improve your country’s condition. But you know for a fact that you’re good at football (known as soccer in America). Your country is ranked as one of the lowest in the rankings. Go ahead and strive to be your best at football by joining your country’s football team. Try to raise your country’s ranks and generate excitement in your own country. Let them feel proud about something. Instead of sitting at home all day, they could be playing football in the streets and workout their legs or be active and fit. You could use the money you’ve earned playing the sport to establish educational centers where children can get a good education and give back to the country when they grow older. You could donate your money to help build homes for the homeless. You could get others excited and join the team which would then allow all of them to donate and give back to their country. Don’t get lost in all the potential fame obviously, but pursue your goals with the intention of pleasing Allah (SWT).

Since you were in high school, you were always going to the gym. You know all about your body and what it needs. You know what type of workouts help a certain body part. Now you are very fit and muscular. But look around you and see the condition that your brothers and sisters in Islam are in. Compare them to non-Muslims and most likely then not, non-Muslims are more fit and active than the Muslims. A lot of Muslims eat too much, eat unhealthy foods, they don’t take care of themselves, etc. You’ve already achieved a level of personal success. Now, be your best and expand on that. Don’t limit your expertise on just yourself. Go offer some free workout sessions at your local masjid and get your brothers active and fit. If you have a basement, free up your basement and make it a place to offer workout sessions. You could charge people a fee per month and it can be for Muslims or non-Muslims too. This can be your first stint at making money doing what you do best. Once you get married or are already married, make sure your wife is also working out and trying to be slim and fit. Don’t allow her to become one of those typical women who get fat over time during their marriages. Once she is as fit as you (obviously in her own way), let her teach and offer lessons for the sisters. Divide the workout classes into two sessions. The morning for sisters, and the afternoons for the brothers. Don’t stop there. Once you have enough money, open up a gym where men and women are separate and encourage people to subscribe to your gym. As you make more money, expand and open up more gyms at other places until you’ve expanded nationwide or even internationally. Benefit as much people as you can (especially the Muslims) with your skill and knowledge.

You have a wonderful voice. You grew up learning how to read Quran from an Islamic school and you know your tajweed level is decent. You may not know why certain ayats are recited in a certain way, but you’ve listened to reciters and mimicked the way they recite as you strive to memorize a surah. Take your tajweed to the next level. Go see a qualified Shaykh or Imam who can teach you proper tajweed and can teach you not only about pronunciation, but also about the rules of tajweed. Master it from him and if he tells you you’re qualified to teach others then go for it! Or travel to the Middle East with the intention of getting an ijaaza in tajweed and while you’re at it, you can try to be a hafiz as well! After all of that, you can use this knowledge to benefit others and improve their tajweed and memorization. You could eventually start a school or institution to benefit even more people at a time. 

You love taking pictures and videos. You understand that certain movies are not good to watch but at the same time know that pictures and videos can be beneficial if used or created properly. Improve your skills by practicing photography and video/film. Go to specialized colleges where they teach you about these things. Take pictures for the sake of allowing Muslims to use them to help promote their own Islamic cause. Create short films that will benefit the Muslims and educate the non-Muslims about Islam. With enough practice, you can be as good as a Hollywood director and start filming big-budget films with the purpose of educating the world about Islam. Pictures and Video aren’t haram as long as they are done and used in a matter that isn’t harmful and against what Islam teaches us.

As you can see by the examples above, you don’t have to be a Shakyh in order to benefit the world. You can be a doctor or engineer (regardless if that’s what your parents forced you to do) but strive to be your best at it. Always think about how you can benefit the Muslims. This is what people from other faiths are doing. There are people who work in real estate and guide certain people to a community that are just like them in order to foster an environment similar to ways back in their homeland countries. There are people who become billionaires and give back to their community and to the cause of their religion. We can do something similar. We do not need to be knowledgeable on the details of Islam (although we should put an effort to do so) but at least put an effort and think if you can’t be a scholar and benefit the ummah, then at least be the best at whatever you know you’re good at and help the Muslim ummah in that way.

Not everyone can be a scholar, shaykh or imam, however, we all have roles to play in benefiting our Muslim communities. Only Allah (SWT) knows how our lives will play out but let us make dua to Allah (SWT) that He blesses our efforts to become the best at what we’re good at and to allow us to benefit the Muslims with what we’re best at inshaAllah. Ameen.