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the Message Continues ... 6/69


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                       Planning to Fail?

                                        By Mohamedarif M Suleman (Nairobi, Kenya)



The Irish Philosopher Edmund Burke wrote in his 1790 treatise “Reflections on the Revolution in France” stated “I have never yet seen any plan which has not been mended by the observations of those who were much inferior in understanding to the person who took the lead in the business.”.  Not to be outdone in his own understanding about Planning, the Polish-born British novelist Joseph Conrad (The Mirror of the Sea; 1906) said “To have his path made clear for him is the aspiration of every human being in our beclouded and tempestuous existence.  And crowning them all is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a famous German poet and dramatist (of the Goethe Institute) who was found stating “The day is for mistake and error, sequence of time for success and carrying out. The one who anticipates is master of the day.”


Undoubtedly, the context of planning in our lives is synonymous with the ability to succeed.  Success in all departments and avenues is highly critical of how we have chosen to plan ourselves.


When visiting a famous city in the West, a friend of mine was stunned at the way young professionals plan themselves in their career paths and of how focused they stay in attaining some sort of excellence in their respective corporate ladder.  Alongside each plan, they speak about what extra work they may have to do to gain vicinity to the next higher level.  All of this, of course, meaning and tending towards better pay.  And while this example may be subject to anxious scrutiny by the proponents of a balanced life taking a swipe at such single-laned professionals, who then subsequently fail to attain success in other areas of life including family-building activities, the one admirable quality that does emerge from this narrative is that planning does help.


Now whether it is Strategic Planning (the long term goals if you may), Tactical Planning (medium and short term concepts that need to happen in order to actually make the strategic planning come to life) or Contingency Planning (where original plans fail, what detours need to be taken), Planning is essentially a vital component in our individual and family lives as much as it is in our business and professional environments.


If you were to state that your strategic plan was to be a leading provider of Solution A in your area of business or service, your tactical plan would naturally have to revolve around meeting that dream objective.  Further still, the contingency plan would have to evolve out of the failures of certain tactical approaches so that a similar result is targeted for using a measured approach.


In the same manner, young Muslim parents of the community must plan in a similar manner in order to rear children that are useful for the society in general are do in fact embolden our daily ritual prayer of being associated in Imam Hujja’s army of truth.  It would be awful, would it not, if we were to hope for pious and conscientious children when our tactical planning would actually give rise to opposing individuals.


Time, sirs and madams, is the only crucial ingredient that must be given to our children with a clear Islamic direction provided by exemplified leadership in our homes that would stir up the making of a future Muslim or Muslimah who would serve the cause of Allah (SWT).  Of course, each individual may have their own ways to reach their, but to reach we must.  It is immaterial what we think of our children, it is pertinent that we think of them in honest terms and therefore having given them the gifts of good Muslim names, we must then ingrain the very attributes that impersonify them.


And whereas the duel with the media in ensuring that they do not get side tracked is horrendous, as parents we must stay vigil and work extra hard to provide some solid backing to our budding youth.  If we think we can correct their wrongs when they are already in their teens, we must now understand that our planning is defective.


Perhaps the best advise comes from Herodotus, the Greek historian who said “He is the best man who, when making his plans, fears and reflects on everything that can happen to him, but in the moment of action is bold.”  He then reminds us of the presence of some luck as well (for those of us who have been fortunate that even in absence of a plan, we succeeded somehow)…” The man who has planned badly, if fortune is on his side, may have had a stroke of luck; but his plan was a bad one nonetheless.”





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