In the movie “The Adjustment Bureau,” the hero character, David Norris, played by Matt Damon, goes against the higher powers (the bureau) and its master plan to be with the woman he loves. In that pursuit, he had to defy the preset life the bureau had destined for him. The bureau’s agents would try to keep him and the woman he loves apart by all possible and impossible means, yet they fail. It is an excellent movie about not giving up on what you want, believing in your dreaming, and, most importantly, having faith and patience that if you try hard enough, you will get what you want.
Around a year ago, I started A PLAN. This plan was set to take me to where I want to be, and being the person I am, I went deep in setting the plan, its details, and all possible scenarios, not to mention the timeline for it and the KPIs. Now mind you, this is not a business goal by any means, but a personal one, and yet I treated the way I treat everything else in my life, with a PLAN. Well, my plan failed in the set timeline I had in mind, and I got really devastated and upset for around a month or so, after which I reviewed what went wrong and how did it end up like this, yet I was not able to figure it out, which got me even more upset and frustrated. So I swamped myself with more readings and research just to learn more about what had happened, as this goal meant so much to me that I was really upset that it failed. So a close friend of mine who knew what happened simply told me, “maybe it was just not meant to be, or it’s just not time yet; everything happens for a reason, you know,” and it was then that it hit me, yes I know, or I should have known. Between my pursuit of the plan and my grief with the loss, I neglected the most crucial part of all, faith. I went back and looked at all my losses in my life, how upset I was when they happened, and how I feel about them now, which in most cases, I was actually glad that they did. Today they are merely a collection of memories; I realized that this was all part of the plan, not mine, but God’s.
In Islamic literature, a famous proverb says, “If God reveals his master plan for you and allows you to see your own future, you will choose what he had planned for you and what you are in today.” This quote means that if you trust in God and know that he loves you. He will always give you what is best for you, and you will realize that whatever happened and upset you were meant to happen the way it did, and while you might not know it now, you will figure out the lesson from it when the time is right, as it is all part of the master plan to make you who you are. Every experience in life is meant to teach us something and make us richer and wiser, as we are a collection of our past experiences, which makes us who we are today; the good and the bad combined to create the whole entity of you. It is, of course, our choice to learn from that and practice our learnings moving forward or not. We get overworked most of our lives, with the race to make our livings and follow our plans so profoundly that we forget to live. We forget that it doesn’t always work the way we want, but that is only to set us up for a better thing that we still don’t know what it is yet. “Everyone believes that the main aim in life is to follow a plan. They accumulate experiences, memories, things, and other people’s ideas, and it’s more than what they can possibly cope with. And that is why they forget their dreams”. – The Zahir, by Paulo Coelho.
I recall when a friend of mine went through a nasty divorce with his wife, he thought back then that she was the love of his life, and after the divorce, he was so depressed he went into therapy. A few years later, however, this friend met his soul mate, his true soul mate. If you ask him about that divorce today, he would tell you it was a blessing in disguise, and he is thankful for his ex-wife for asking for that divorce, for he would never have met his soul mate if he had not gotten through that divorce. I guess it’s, as they say, God works in mysterious ways. Personally, when I landed a job in Riyadh over two years ago and had to move out of Jeddah, I was upset about it. Today, I would gladly say that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
So back to my original saga, my plan. After I understood my friend’s simple yet profound comment, I realized that while planning things in life is essential, I realized that I forgot to let my heart in on it and allow my trust and belief to create that crucial balance between the mind and the heart when I am following my dreams or goals, as it is the only way to be at peace with yourself when that balance is done. You see, my plan will work eventually, but in my opinion, it’s just not time yet, so I need to be patient and trust that if I want something hard enough, it will work. I also learned the following:
- Don’t forget to live today. Today is the only day you have in your hand right now, so live it, seize it, and don’t waste it. Don’t let today be the yesterday you lost and wish it to come back. Make sure you make it worth the twenty-four hours you spend; make someone happy, help someone in need, read a good book, spend quality time with your loved ones, or anything that would make you say when you go to bed that night that this was a really good day.
- Always keep a positive attitude. Your positive attitude is key to your success, and all religions and schools of thoughts emphasize it. All ancient scriptures say that a positive attitude attracts positive things to you, and vice versa; negative thinking will only attract negativity into your life. In Islam, Prophet Mohammed PBUH said, “Think good things, and good things shall come.” We all know the famous book “The Secret” and its idea of thinking positive thoughts to attract good things to your life.
- The past and the future are not in your hand. Don’t dwell on the past, as it will not change, so learn the lesson it teaches you and let go of the past. As for the future, don’t overthink it; as long as you are doing the right things, trust that you will get what you want, or maybe something else even better; just have faith that God is fair and that he knows best. Overthinking always makes things worse.
- Never forget your dreams. Dreams are those magical thoughts that fuel us with energy and hope, and life with no energy or hope is not a life worth living. So never give up on your dreams, but also don’t just keep their dreams as they will only be wishful thoughts, rather do something about them. But be patient and allow things to take their time; as they say, “good things happen to those who wait.”
“It is never too late or too soon; it is when it is supposed to happen.” – The Timekeeper, Mitch Album