You sit with someone who is twenty years old and notice that he has particular etiquettes, logic and thought. You then sit with him when he is thirty to discover that he is exactly the way he was ten years ago and has not improved at all. Yet, you sit with others and you feel that they are actually taking benefit from their lives. You discover that they improve themselves on a daily basis. In fact, not an hour passes except that they improve either religiously or otherwise. If you wish to ponder upon the different types of people with respect to self-improvement, then think about the following: There are those who like to watch those satellite television channels that help their general knowledge and intelligence grow. They benefit from other people’s experiences by watching constructive discussions, from which they learn the characteristics of debating and improve their language, understanding, and expertise in debate and persuasion. Then there are those who cannot miss out on a series about a failed love story, or an emotional play, or a horror film, or films about useless fantasies with no link to reality at all. Notice the difference between the two after five or ten years.
Which of the two would have improved the most in his skills and ability to fathom information, gain general knowledge, have the power to convince others, or successfully be able to cope with diverse situations? No doubt the first person! You will find the mannerisms of the first person to be completely different. When he argues, he does so on the basis of legal references, facts and figures, while the second can only quote the words of actors and singers, so much so that one such person once said during a discussion, “Allah says: ‘Strive, my servant, and I shall strive with you!’’ We informed him that this is not a verse from the Qur’an. His complexion changed and he fell silent. I then thought about the phrase and it occurred to me that it is an Egyptian idiom which was imprinted on his mind after watching a drama series! Let’s look at it from another angle – that of reading newspapers and magazines. How many people take an interest in reading beneficial news and information that helps them in developing their personality, improves their skills and increases their general knowledge? Yet, how many are those who cannot read except sports and entertainment news? This is true to such an extent that many newspapers compete with each other by increasing the sports and entertainment pages at the cost of other sections. The same can be said about our gatherings and the things in which we spend our time. Hence, if you would like to be a head instead of a tail, then eagerly try to practice all skills, regardless of what they may be. ‘Abdullah was an energetic person but lacking in certain skills. One day, he left his home to pray Dhuhr in the mosque. It was his zeal for the prayer and respect for his religion which brought him out to pray. He was walking fast in order to reach the mosque before the Iqamah was given. On his way, he passed by a date-palm tree on top of which there was a man in uniform, working on the tree. ‘Abdullah became surprised and thought, “Who is this man that does not care about the prayer! It is as if he didn’t even hear the Adhan, or doesn’t care about the Iqamah, which is about to go!”