Praise and adoration is due to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. We beseech His blessings on the noble soul of the best of mankind, Muhammad (salaLlahu ‘alayhi wassalam), his companions, his household, and all of those who tread his path till the day of Recompense: Aameen.
It would not sound so alien to anyone the assertion: success lies in doing that which you ought to do even when you do not feel like doing it. Yeah? One way or the other, it must have crossed our path, and really, that is quite splendid.
We are humans, yes, and by nature, we love comfort and ease (it is just normal); Allah says in Q44:27 “and comforts of life wherein they used to delight”. Whilst knowing very well that we “need” to make more efforts and sacrifice a few more things for the greater good, we usually still find ourselves doing quite the opposite: there is a wide gap between knowing and doing, usually, we choose to stay content in knowing what is right than doing what is right. Why? Your answer is just as good as mine, I assure you.
I was just reading a piece on entrepreneurship, and wow, the points really just strike home so hard, making me come down with the question: really, so, in so long and with so many beautiful ideas, what have you done, Ghaniyyah? (You want to proffer an answer as this applies to you as well? I’ll rather give you the benefit of doubts please). A lot of times, we find ourselves doing things out of spontaneity: just what is needed for sustenance at the moment, on impulse, without making plans for it at all. Now, if that fills up our scale more than calculated steps and actions, are we heading for success or failure?
Think about this: you would start doing something because you CANNOT NOT do it, then, you reach a point where you feel you can actually leave it off and be just fine. It would be harder doing it anyway (as it was from the onset, just that the difference is; you had no choice earlier), so now that you can give it up without having to bear some weighty brunt, you would do just that: sink back in your comfort zone. Sounds like you? Well, sounds very much like me too; let’s change the narrative, willfully, together. Shall we?
Procrastination is another variable that comes handy on this topic; you push off things till “later” (which usually never arrives) because, right now doesn’t feel “good enough” for you. There is just this attachment to our comfort zones that we principally cannot explain, shifting the faults towards the “do your best and leave the rest” notion (put more casually; I cannot come and kill myself).
How many times does our conscience jolt us into remembering that we are actually wasting our time on something that wouldn’t be adding any value to our lives, whilst we can invest that time on something more productive? Such as chatting or surfing the net for long hours when you have books to read, portions of the Qur’an or other beneficial books to memorize, perform some legislated optional prayers (nawafil; Tahajjud, Duha, etc.), or other chores to do? You remember that the former is actually “more beneficial”, but (the very but that keeps you grounded in making the wrong decision) it is “less fun”, so yeah, being the average human that you are, you stick to that which soothes your Nafs more. In “doing your best”, you convince and console yourself with the thought of doing that which you enjoy, and enjoying it “while it lasts”, leaving off the doing the right thing at the right time in order to get the right results.
Going more practical; you have exams which you know you are currently not prepared for in the least, then, you decide to get online and “glimpse” through your chats and attend to “important” messages before turning your phone off so you can dedicate your full attention to the books. Now, you got online and got an “important” message from a friend which you just couldn’t ignore (you got hooked). In the course of that chat, another friend comes online and starts up another “interesting” conversation. The chain goes on and on, and in the end? You realize you have basically no time left to brush through your notes. Sighs… you console yourself with the “what will be will be” line. You walk to the exam hall with mixed feelings, knowing within your conscience that you made a terrible mistake and tossed your fair chance at an adequate preparation; but you know, there is another part of your mind that wouldn’t let you process that guilt correctly. Lucky you, results were released and you did “well”; there is a voice that will chide you to remember that you could have done “weller” if only you had prepared “better”.
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The list of instances where we let our “comfort” override our good judgment is actually endless, so, na’am, we will stop at those.
Until you are able to consciously “decide” to sacrifice your pleasure every time necessity calls for it, you wouldn’t be able to hold the treasure you deserve in your hands, let that sink.
Everything you put off wouldn’t get done until you do it; you know, right? So why not do it NOW when it is most appropriate? Another popular saying comes to mind yet again: there’s no gain without pain (there’s nothing anybody can do about that, it is just the way of the world).
There are addictions, yeah, and we all have our own fair share of them; things we would find “so very hard” to shelve for things “so very essential” to our meaningful living: those are our comfort zones. There are attachments too; things we find “very interesting” and enjoy doing, such that we don’t ever want to part with them for any reason: those are from our comfort zones too.
The glaring truth that we all choose to ignore is that; we can barely get anything meaningful done in our comfort zones! Yes, we need to outgrow them and learn to set our priorities right in order to really make impactful changes; bring our ideal into reality. We can go on and on wishing and dreaming and planning; what matters most is how ready we are to take steps and bring these plans into fruition. Another hard truth is that the sources of our entertainment and enjoyment aren’t actually going anywhere! Yes, you can always go and come back to them; they’re not going anywhere. And even when they do go, there will always be a better replacement; you can testify to that yourself, right?
All of what we do and acquire of goodness, in the affairs of our lives in this Dunya and for the Akhirah, require that we move beyond our comfort zones. Remember the promise of Allah as regard the successful servants who shall enter His Jannah (may Allah make us from among them); “Eat and drink at ease for that which you have sent on before you in days past!” (Q69:24). You need to get bold enough and care about yourself enough to make concrete plans and stay true to them. You need to know what exactly should be done and when, in order to achieve the best results. Now, just knowing them isn’t enough; you know, right? Yeah, knowing them should translate into you converting those into the blueprint upon which your actions will be based.
Do you still see yourself remaining on that bed and laughing [with your friends (chatting, playing games, reading trends, etc.)] and putting off making a step towards achieving your goals till later? Do you still feel cool about having to battle deep regrets after repeating the same mistake over and again? Do you still think you have no power over your Nafs and wouldn’t be able to really put off that string of Shaytan that makes you feel you shouldn’t go away from that source of enjoyment just yet? Is this what you want to build those awesome dreams and set your existence upon?
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Okay, here’s the simple question I’ll be rounding off with: Does anything happen according to your plan when you stay fixated in your comfort zone?
If not, then, now is the time to give up that bad habit. I will do it, and you will do it too, in shaa Allah.
As Allah informs us in Q20:26 of a prayer said by Prophet Musa (‘alayhi salaam) “And ease my task for me.” May Allah ease and rectify our affairs and safeguard our Deen: Aameen.