This past week I went to a book store and as I usually do in these settings, ventured into the “self-help” section. I’m always interested to see who the newest author on the block is trying to guide me on a journey to “become successful and get rich”. Standing there I couldn’t help but pull out my phone, open the Evernote app, and make a note to myself to write about it.
At this particular book store, the self-help section is positioned near the front door. So I glanced over the books that were in front of me, then looked to my right, through the glass doors out onto the street. I did this a couple of times. I was trying to wrap my head around the idea of what these authors are selling versus what’s actually going on in the world. COVID, BLM, economic uncertainty…it just didn’t line up.
One of the struggles that I have and have had with these sections for years now is this: The overarching goal of many of these books is to help you achieve and live out a more successful life; however, success is very much aligned with wealth. “If you do this, you’ll gain more wealth, resulting in higher levels of success and a more complete and fulfilling life”. Essentially, wealth = success.
The concept is great. A bunch of wealthy people laying out a step-by-step guide for me to live a more successful life. They’ve created a door, I just need to walk through it and bam! More wealth, more success, right? Like I said earlier, standing in front of the self-help section and then glancing outside and seeing reality, it just didn’t line up. People are fighting COVID, fighting against systemic oppression, fighting just to put food on the table, are they really trying to live a more “successful” life by trying to gain wealth at this moment in time?
It wasn’t sitting well, at all. Then I remembered حي على الفلاح(Hayya lal Falah). We hear it 5 times a day, every day. “Rush to success”. Amazing, right? Success has not only been laid out for us, but we’re commanded to go to it, 5 times a day.
Again, glancing out onto the street, we’re living through times where humanity needs as much success as possible, and it’s probably better that we accept the one that’s found on a prayer mat, rather than at a bookstore.