The Power of Perseverance: Why Hard Work Trumps Shortcuts

Ease after hardship

In this world, just as ease always follows hardship, so fruitful results come only from arduous, painstaking processes.

Anyone who has experienced a dust or sand storm in desert regions will know what traumatic experience they are. There does not appear to be anything good about the scorching, blinding winds. But Soviet meteorologists have—in the Karakoram desert—made investigations into the properties of dust storms and found that they are nature’s way of controlling extreme climates. The strong winds raise the dust up to form a screen in the atmosphere, guarding the earth from the intensity of the sun’s heat. The surface of the desert, scalded by the summer sun, is considerably cooled when it erupts in a dust storm. Sometimes the resultant change of temperature can be felt, say, in America and the Arctic as far afield as from Arabia and Central Asia.

Such is the order of nature. In this world, just as ease always follows hardship, so fruitful results come only from arduous, painstaking processes. This is how nature works; from it we can see how we should live on earth. We should be prepared for a period of hard struggle before we can expect to reap desired results. This law is established by the Maker of the universe, and it is only by complying with it that we can advance towards our goal in life. If we wanted to accomplish things an easier way, we should have to create another world in which cooling clouds—for instance—are not preceded by scorching winds.

There is no doubting the fact that failure in life usually results from the quest for immediate success. The word “short-cut” may be applicable to the world of roads and footpaths, but there are no shortcuts in the struggles of life. This fact frequently evinces itself in untoward ways.

Take the instance of a young man in the town of Surat, in Gujarat, who entered a jeweler’s shop, stole a piece of jewellery, then tried to make a quick exit. His line of retreat to the staircase being cut off by the suspicious shopkeeper, he made a dash for the nearest window and crashed his way—as he thought—to freedom. But this bold attempt ended disastrously. His leap from the second-floor window resulted in his instant death. (The Times of India, January 21, 1980)

This might appear to be just an isolated incident involving a foolhardy youth. However, one finds people who are generally considered to be intelligent committing the same mistake in their lives. When an individual tries to accomplish instantly what should be worked for over a long period—like the youth who sought to reach ground level by jumping instead of walking down the stairs—he condemns himself to destruction. When the leaders of a nation do likewise, they are spelling doom for all those who follow their lead.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is an Islamic spiritual scholar who has authored over 200 books on Islam, spirituality, and peaceful coexistence in a multi-ethnic society.




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