When we’re young we’re often asked a seemingly simple question. What do you want to be when you grow up? As kids we can think of a million things we want to be: superheroes, firefighters, veterinarians, doctors perhaps even florists, nothing was impossible to our little minds. Then we grow up and the reality of the world hits us as we’re asked the same question—that used to fill us with joy and games to play for hours as we ran around the house roleplaying our destiny—but now the same question freezes our mind. Sure, we may have a slight idea, a dream, but then we’re plagued with doubt.
Is it really right for me?
Can I actually accomplish it?
Will I really get there?
These thoughts, unfortunately for many, often lead to anxiety and stress, as we envision who we want to be…but we don’t know how to get there, how to achieve it, and again can I? We spend all day worrying about it, which naturally leads us to taking no steps at all because we can’t think of anything but the next step, which still remains a mystery. Then after some time passes, a week, a month, sometimes a year we look back and realize all the time we’ve wasted worrying, being anxious and realize that we’re not any closer to becoming that person we dream to become. However, what most don’t recognize is that the secret of becoming that person starts with our today.
We tend to live in this dilemma of regret of the past and anxiety of the future and we forget to live in our today. We fret over what we can’t change (yesterday) and we stress over what may never happen (tomorrow) to the point that we no longer have a today. Today is a gift from Allah SWT with no promise of tomorrow as stated by Ibn Umar:
“When morning comes don’t expect to live until evening and when evening comes, don’t expect to live until morning.”
Meaning: Take advantage of the time you have in your hand and don’t worry about tomorrow until/if it comes.
One of the things most people take for granted is their youth. As youth, we are mostly free from major responsibilities, like heading a household and paying the bills, and are full of energy, completely capable of doing so many things for the sake of Allah SWT and reaching our maximum potential. And yes, to answer your unspoken doubt, you can reach your maximum potential! See the secret is taking that goal, dream, potential, whatever you want to call it, bite by bite and doing a little bit of it today. Because when you spend your time making the best of the time you have in front of you, you’ll see that little bit you do today will build up and that over time will lead to those goals and that potential.
Anas ibn Malik reported: A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I leave her untied and trust in Allah?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Tie her and trust in Allah.” At Tirmidhi
In Islam, we’re taught to use our time wisely and to tie our camel, do our part and put your best effort in. Put in your best effort and work on your goal today and trust in Allah SWT. Trust that He will take care of that future that you are working so hard for.
“And in Allah (Alone) let the believers put their trust” 14:11
Stop beating yourself up and realize that you are a work in progress, which means you will get there a little at a time and not all at once. Take note that the struggle that you’re going through today is indeed building the strength that you need for tomorrow and that no matter how hard we try, it’s impossible to escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. Make the most of your today because as they say: “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”
Take hold of that enthusiasm that you had when you were a kid and make this year’s resolution one to put your best effort in, trust the future to Allah SWT and make the most of your today.