SEEKING THE RIGHT ALTERNATIVES

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan I Principles of Life

A luckless passenger rushed, panting, into the station just as his train was steaming out. His watch–unaccountably slow by ten minutes–­had let him down. “Don’t worry, Sir,” sympathized a porter, “There will be another train along in about a couple of hours. Why are you going away? Just wait here for it on this same platform.” The passenger, keen to reach his destination, decided to accept his advice, even if it meant waiting for two, long tedious hours. Reaching his destination was too important for him to think of spending time and energy in travelling to and from the station all over again, and perhaps missing his train in the process; so he stayed put and managed to catch the next train.

When we miss a train, there is always the comforting knowledge that another train is coming along. That is the lesson that the platform teaches. It is entirely upon us to make the correct decision about our next move. But it is surprising how many people fail to grasp this reality. They are inexplicably plunged into gloom and depression when initially they fail to grasp an opportunity and frequently adopt a pessimistic attitude and fritter away their precious energies in blaming others for their failures. How much better would it be if they were to make a proper assessment of the situation, taking all pos­sibilities into account, and then seek new ways and means of achieving their goals!  Even if it means a lengthy wait, it is a matter of patience and determination. There is always that “next train” for them to catch. It is merely a question of being alert and being ready to avail of that God-given second opportunity.

If, in any given situation, a business or personal relation turns hostile, pursuing a policy of open confronta­tion seldom reaps rewards. It is almost invariably more politic to ex­tend courtesy, love and sympathy. That is the way to a person’s heart. It is only by pursuing such a course that a formidable foe may be transformed into a faithful friend.

Often when someone does not pay us our dues, our first incli­nation is to enter into legal battles with him or wage a relentless psychological war on him. Either course should be eschewed, for the net result is generally wastage of time and money. Years can go by without receiving anything in return for a great deal of energy spent. It is better to ignore the injustice done to us, and to put our trust in hard work to get what we want out of life. It is perfectly possible that through sheer diligence we will succeed in achieving all those things which we wanted others to give us as a matter of right.

Most personal problems are the result of a limited outlook on life. If people are to broaden their perspectives, they will soon realize that there are different ways of approaching the same problem. It will become clear to them that things which are impos­sible to obtain by direct confrontation can be achieved by the patient fostering of mutual goodwill. Where provocation and retaliation fail, patience and human concern succeed.