By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
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.
A Self-Making Person
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; where there is no profit to be gained for him he does not care to venture. 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
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. He does not differentiate between his own people and others. 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. Such a man lives a life of principles, not interest. He does not deviate from the path of justice, even when it concerns his opponent or enemy. Living a cautious life he remains patient in adversity. In times of personal disaster he does not become full of hate, pride and egoism. He is strict with himself and tolerant towards others. He has a realistic attitude and welcomes failures and learns from them. He is thus able to progress in spite of setbacks.
He realizes that he does not need to change the situation; rather he needs to change himself. He understands that any change in the external world is not a solution, because each unwanted situation will be replaced by another unwanted situation. He does not adopt a pro-change strategy; but accepts the status quo by ignoring the problems. He realizes that it is very easy to complain, but it is impossible to change the situation. So he opts for the possible and leaves what is impossible. By adopting this formula he is able to become a master of situation.
It is people such as these who are not only destined to succeed in life but also 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.
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