Some make themselves, others make history

Some make themselves, others make history

Personal gain is uppermost in his mind; he will sacrifice everything in order to achieve it. He abides neither by promise nor by principle.
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There are two types of people in this world—the self-making type and the history-making type. The aim of those who are self-making is to serve themselves, whereas history-making people seek to serve humanity as a whole.

The attention of a self-making person revolves around himself. He hovers around those areas where his own self-interest is likely to be served; he does not care to venture where there is no profit to be gained for himself. His heart flutters with excitement when he is set to make some gain, but if there is nothing to be gained, no excitement is aroused within him.

Personal gain is uppermost in his mind; he will sacrifice everything in order to achieve it. He abides neither by promise nor by principle. Free of the influence of both moral exigencies and the needs of humanity, he can put everything aside in pursuit of his own ends. All other considerations fade into insignificance as he relentlessly seeks to fulfill his selfish desires.

A history-making person is quite different. Emerging from his own shell, he lives not for himself but for a higher purpose. What matters to him is principle, not profit. He cares not whether he himself wins or loses; what is of importance to him is that his ideal should be served. It is as if he has detached himself from his own person and pinned his flag to the needs of humanity as a whole.

In order to become a history-making person, there is one thing that has to be done: one has to stop being self-making. As soon as a person effaces himself, he becomes capable of building for the future of humanity. Such a person lays personal grievances to one side. As his own self-interest and ambitions evaporate before his eyes, he shows no reaction, as if all this were not happening to him at all.

It is people such as these who are destined to forge human history. They are the ones who, of their own free will, are concerned about the rest of humanity; they have no rights to be safeguarded; they have only responsibilities, which they discharge, whatever the cost to themselves.

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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