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The psychology of success

The world champions often possess equal physical strength and capabilities and receive training of an almost equal standard. Then why does one win and another lose? This question has been a topic of research in America for some years. The report of the group of scientists working on this has recently been published.

They chose the top international wrestlers and made comparisons of their physical strength and psychological reserves. They found out that there is one marked difference between the winners and the losers in world competitions. It is not a physical difference, yet it plays the most crucial role in winning or losing a competition. The experts discovered that the winners were more conscientious and in control of themselves than the losers. The report is summed up as follows, “Losers tended to be more depressed and confused before competing, while the winners were positive and relaxed.” (The Times of India, 26th July 1981).

This applies equally to the broader field of life. In life when two individuals or two groups confront one another, their victory or defeat does not depend so much on material resources as on intellectual and psychological reserves.

The conviction that one’s goals are worthwhile, the observation of discipline with no contradiction between words and thoughts, cool thinking, even in times of crisis—all these are qualities of mind and heart which determine success, and obviate failure in the wider field of life.

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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