"What's on your mind? Success?"
Inspiration, Aspiration and Perspiration
By: Ameen Misran
“The secrets of success are Inspiration, Aspiration and Perspiration” says my mother to me. I felt a little bit awkward because in the middle of nothing, she voiced out this phrase. “Strange”, but I’m not going to express my feelings because something else might happen if I do so. I might break her heart.
My mother seemed very determined and serious when she conveyed her message just, her face and hand gesture are like she is giving a talk to a mass of people. Wow!
But because of my blurriness and my facial expression changed from feeling “strange” to “confusion”; her face also changed.
“Do you understand what I said just now?” she asked seeing me in the state of confusion.
“Hmm… I didn’t really get it mama” I said while scratching my head and carving a smile.
“What comes to your mind when I say Inspiration, Aspiration and Perspiration” she asked me again, determined to make me understand. She is my mother alright. She will do what it takes to enlighten me with new knowledge. That’s what mothers do right?
“Hehe… You know, all of a sudden, images of my Phonetics classes flashes to my mind” I explained, half laughing.
“Ei? What do you mean?” Now my mother is confused. LOL.
“Yeah… Inspiration I definitely know. But for aspiration, according to Phonetics, the meaning of aspiration, that is a scientific term, the release of a strong burst of air after some obstruent’s making it the process of speech production. And perspiration is kinda like sweating. So how come it is related to success?” I argued in brief. I know my mother understands what I said because she is also an English major like I am. She even has a PHD in English. If a non-English major hears this, one will definitely feel like “Huh! What is this?”. My mother only smiled seeing her son in the state of confusion.
“Not that one my son!” She said while placing her hand on both of my shoulders. WOW! My mother really loves me! Her eyes are burning with determination.
“So please enlighten me mama!” Now I feel motivated and moved to understand what she is trying to tell me. Now it was my turn to place my hands on both of mama’s shoulder. I am way higher than my mother, so I have to bend a little bit down. This scene is like two people in love holding shoulders and full of love in eye to eye contact. Beautiful. Don’t get it wrong, my mother and me are in love! A love from a mother to her son and vice versa!
“Ok lemme get this straight,” my mother started lecturing; my eyes are focusing on her mouth now.
“I will give the explanation of Inspiration, Aspiration and Perspiration one by one respectively and you will understand how it is related to success. Here I go” she has finished her introduction. My mother asked me to sit down on the chair while she explains like a true professional.
“What is inspiration?” She attracts my attention with a question. “Inspiration is a motivating and mesmerizing influence. A feeling that makes you moved. You are going to be inspired by looking at people around you. You will be jealous at the same time motivated by reading on the most successful people’s achievement. You will feel like mapping their achievement into yours. You will see that these people can do the impossible and can change all the so called ‘Impossible’ things to become things as easy as ABC.” A long detailed info is explained.
“Wow” I said.
“You’re amazed already? We haven’t come to the climax yet. This means that you are already inspired by me. Hehe” my mother said. She is a true motivator. I am moved.
“Ok. Aspiration. We are not talking on either ASPIRE by Acer or aspiration like you said earlier. But what we understand here is that aspiration is a strong desire, aim and longing. Aspiration is an extension of inspiration. When you are inspired, you will be aspired, meaning that a strong drive will exist in your soul. You will set a goal in your life. Let’s say, one day you wanna be the best singer or poet in the world, even beating Maher Zain! That is aspiration.” Another thorough explanation from my mother. She even mentioned Maher Zain; my favorite singer of all times! Maybe because she always sees me singing Maher Zain’s songs; that’s why she took it as an example.
“And the last showdown my son! Perspiration. Perspiration literally means sweating, you were right but you are lack of something. What is it?” My mother asked.
“Dunno, you tell me love” I said.
“You are lack of analogy. You are always too scientific. Loosen up a little bit! Explore the world of literature through the world of analogy! The analogy of perspiration or in others words, sweating is effort. Let’s say you wanna be the number one runner in a cross-country. The distance is 5KM, what will you have to do to make sure you are fit? What will you have to do to make sure you maintain and improve your stamina? You need to run. You need a hell lot of training. And through the process of training, you will sweat profusely. This is the same in studying or achieving something. If you do not ‘sweat’, then you will not succeed.” Detail, detail indeed.
“Does that mean I have to sweat and bring extra clothes everywhere I go?” I asked, I actually already understand my mother’s explanation, but just to see how she reacts.
“No! You don’t need to literally sweat, but you need to be wholeheartedly in doing your job. You mustn’t take everything for granted.” Love my mother’s determination, full of gestures and the voice intonation is smooth. I smiled looking at my mother’s reaction. Heee….
“Why are you smiling? Something wrong?”
“No, no, not at all mother”
“What I’ve explained before you are not just merely words, but it is a concept you must apply in your daily lives. I’ll give you an example. If you wanna be a great person in both academic and Deen, you need to become an ‘Alim Mujahid. Ever heard the word ‘Alim Mujahid before?
“Alim is knowledgeable… Mujahid is…erm… Terrorist?” I said.
“Hah! No, No. You got it all wrong.”
“A Mujahid is not a terrorist. Do not follow the conventional definition you hear on the news. Ok. ‘Alim’ means Knowledgeable. ‘Mujahid’ means someone who is active and fights for Islam. Fight here does not limit it to wars, but it gives the connotation of doing the best as you are fighting for something. So ‘Alim Mujahid means a knowledgeable person who fights for Islam. In some other terms, you can use, PRO-TAZ which means Professional Ustaz.”
“So how can you become an ‘Alim Mujahid, Ameen?” My mother asks me.
But she answered her question. “You need to find your source of inspiration to make sure your motivation remains ‘strong’. You can contemplate the stories of the great Islamic achievemnents in history and even present. Then you must set your goal, that is your aspiration, what do you have to accomplish in a period of time. And lastly, you need to put your inspiration and aspiration into action. If it is left in your head, then it is just left as a dream, a dream that will not come true.”
I nodded my head, now I really understand what success is.
My mother continued “One more thing son-” she stopped half a second, her toned has changed to a little bit slower than before “when people put an effort, what they are dying to wait is to see the results. This is not what I understand. How the results are gonna be is Allah’s doings. We plan doing something, but Allah’s plan will always prevail. That is why we put an effort on something not for the sake of results, but for the sake of Allah alone. What may be the outcome, good or bad, it is Allah’s doings. Our part, we need to try to cope and adapt what Allah has given us.”
Masha Allah! I learnt so many things today. “Thanks mom!” I said.
“Here’s a little souvenir for you, son” she handed over to me a sheet of paper. A clean sheet of paper.
“What this for?” I asked. I thought that I would receive a payment check or something else more valuable.
“Get your pen and write I’m gonna say.”
“Huh…” I sighed.
“It’s for your own good son”
“There are five qualities of an ‘Alim Mujahid, there are –“ before my mother could finish, I cut in “Wait! Don’t go too fast.”
“The first is, an ‘Alim Mujahid has a sound ‘Aqidah (Muslim belief system).” My mother paused for a second or two. I managed to scribble her words slowly.
“The second is an ‘Alim Mujahid has a clear understanding on Islam.”
“The third is that an ‘Alim Mujahid must be excellent in their academic performance. DL is a must for you Ameen.” Says my mum.
“What’s DL?” I asked, never heard of the term.
“Dean List. DL.”
“Dean list!? That’s impossible….”
“Nothing is impossible, Impossible is nothing” My mother said with a smile.
“The fourth is an ‘Alim Mujahid must be active in spreading Islam. In other words active in Da’wah”
“And the final quality is an ‘Alim Mujahid must use their career as a medium to spread Da’wah. That is all. Don’t write that is all” My mother finished her ‘speech’.
She added “You still remember the concept of Inspiration, Aspiration and Perspiration? Apply it in becoming an ‘Alim Mujahid. And it is not necessary to take Deen courses if you wanna be an ‘Alim Mujahid. You can take whatever you want but still you can become an ‘Alim Mujahid.”
“Huhu… Whatever you may say mom, it is still hard”
“No pain no gain then. If I can obtain a PHD, why can’t you my son? Right?”
“But what? You know, who says the deaf cannot hear? Who says the dump cannot see? They can hear, they can see to an extent, way better than us. Who says that there is no life for disabled? Even the maimed can walk and stand up. We have to stand up even when standing is hard.”
“Hmm.. Ok mum. I’ll try.”
“Yes, you have to try, and then you’ll learn. Come, go have some rest. It’s already 12 midnight.”
“Ok mama. Love you.” I blew a midnight kiss to my mother and went to my room.
Climbed the stairs one by one. My room is on the second level of our house.
I went straight to the rest room to ease myself before going to be.
As I entered my room, I’m tired. My room was full of light. I killed off the lights. Only light from the street light coming from my room window is seen. Light was dimmed; I am in a lonely room. Crawled into my bed. Closed my eyes.
My eyes are closed but my mind is still thinking of Inspiration, Aspiration and Perspiration and ‘Alim Mujahid. I kept on saying that “I can’t become one, I can’t do it”.
But remembering what my mother said, “We need to stand even when standing is hard”
I made up my mind, I think can do it!
“I’ll become an ‘Alim Mujahid!”
I will one day!