Evaluating Life’s Many Opportunities
ROBERT FROST once wrote in The Road Not Taken: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by; and that has made all the difference.”
It goes without saying that making decisions is never easy. However, making decisions in life cannot be avoided.
There is one particular surah or chapter of the Quran that is recited 17 times during the compulsory daily prayers. It is the Surah al-Fatihah, the first chapter.
The fifth verse of the surah, “Thee do we worship and Thine aid we seek” should be used as the core in making decisions.
It is God who decides all matters. Therefore, man should always turn to God in making decisions.
However, it is important that as the vicegerent of God on this planet, man should also endeavour to work hard before putting his trust on God.
Recently, a good friend was telling the writer of how he was being courted by one big corporation.
While he had yet to make any decision on whether to make a career move or otherwise, he was in quite a bit of a dilemma.
For one thing, the offer made to him was very attractive compared to his current paycheck. That alone, would entice anyone to make the jump.
But life, alas, is not as easy and straightforward as one would like to hope for.
If salary is the only factor in making a decision on career moves, then things are indeed simple.
Nonetheless, the friend has to look into many other factors, most of which are not of the concerns of the prospective employer, in order to make his decision.
This is, after all, logical. To make a decision such as a career move has a big impact on anyone’s future.
It is just like standing at a crossroad, trying to decide which path to take.
Where the path taken will lead to cannot be determined from the current position.
The only way to know is by making a decision and taking the path.
The catch, however, is that most of the times, there is no turning back.
While the pay being offered by the big corporation is tempting, the working condition is still a question mark.
The friend is very much happy with his current employer. The current working environment suits him well.
He is doing the things he loves doing, and has never complained about his work.
Making a decision is never easy. A decision made can have far-reaching ramifications, either good or bad.
The dilemma faced by the friend is understandable. In terms of loyalty, he is still very much devoted to his current employer.
While he loves his work, he is also tempted by the new paycheck being offered.
On the one hand, if he decides to make the jump, then he is facing a totally new environment which might not suit him at all.
On the other hand, if he decides to stay put, he might be left wondering about the future the offer holds.
In both cases, he is worried he would regret the choice that he makes.
To quote the Bard from his famous play Hamlet (1601): “To be or not to be, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them?”
It is important for anyone who wants to make a major decision in particular with regards to career to really know what he wants.
He should have his own idea as to where he wants to be and what he wants to achieve in life. This way, he would have his own set of targets.
Then he would also need to find out more about the organisation of his prospective employer.
What is the set-up like? What is the working culture there? What prospect does the organisation promise?
These are among the questions that need to be answered. Having more information on the organisation would help in making the right choice.In making decisions, in particular regarding career moves, it is imperative that one equips oneself with as much knowledge and information as possible.
Also equally important is to consult those who would be affected by any decision that is to be made.
In the case of the friend, he would certainly have to consult and discuss this matter with his spouse as his decision would have a direct impact on his family.
It is also important that he talks to his current employerto let him know of the new offer. Who knows, the current employer might want to counter the offer.The time will come for the friend to make his choice, whether to accept the lucrative job offer or to stay with his current employer.
Whatever choice that he will make will be crucial to his future.
Islam proposes that anyone unsure of his decision should observe a special prayer called the Istikharah,to get guidance from God Almighty so that the right choice can be made.
After making a decision, Muslims are encouraged to observe a state of tawakkal which is to put the trust in God on the choice made.
Perhaps it is worth being reminded of the words of Prophet Hud as mentioned in the Quran, verse 6 of Surah Hud: “I put my trust in God, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature, but He hath grasp of its fore-lock. Verily, it is my Lord that is on the straight path.”
In Surah al-Shura, verse 10, it is stated to the effect that: “Whatever it be wherein ye differ, the decision thereof
is with God, such is God my Lord–in Him I trust, and to Him I turn.”
The friend may choose to remain with his current employer and be in a familiar, stable and secure environment.
He may, to quote from Frost, also choose to “take the road less travelled” and see where it takes him.
His future would depend on which road he chooses to travel on. Tun Daim Zainuddin was once quoted as saying that making a bad decision is better than not to make a decision at all.
May be that quote is worth remembering when we have to make decisions.