Peak Performance: The Spiritual Underpinnings

From the wise sayings of King Solomon in the Book of Proverbs exhorting us to be diligent with our work so that we may “stand before Kings”, to the Quranic injunction for us to work righteousness, knowing that Allah sees what we do, sacred texts have been very clear about the need to not only work but to work effectively and efficiently. micropiles

Work, then, is part of the fulfillment of our purpose as human beings to worship the One True God for our benefit both in this world and in the hereafter. I believe that man was created purposely to worship Allah. So while we go about working and earning our living and comfort, the intention even there should be the acquisition of the wherewithal to effectively worship God.

In view of the foregoing, any attempt at peak performance that would be sustainable should have a spiritual foundation. Forget about those people who tend to use religion as “a shield” to defend themselves in their habits of sloth. Using religion as a shield in such cases could only be the result of misreading and misapplying scripture. Because the Bible teaches us to sow the good seed and goes further to assure us that “as you sow, so shall you reap”. I don’t see any room for complacency or sloth in the forgoing and many more words of wisdom from the words of the Prophets of old.

The Quran tells us in verse 39 of “Surah Najm”, That man can have nothing but what he strives for; so where is the seed of complacency in such verse? In Verse 105 of “Surah Tauba”, Allah commands us to “Work; so Allah will see your work and (so will) His Messenger and the believers… “

Our duty is to put in the effort; to sow the seed as the Bible would teach us. The results and the impact would have gone through many phases including (in my opinion,) not only physical and psychological but spiritual processes/processing. And that is why I connect very well with the thesis that when you work, your wage is not only limited to that cash in the envelope but there are also non-tangible benefits accruing to you for good honest work. Perhaps these other benefits are what inform the statement by Mihaly Csikszenmihalyi, the author of the classic “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience”: there is ample evidence that work can be enjoyable, and that indeed, it is often the most enjoyable part of life.

Therefore it is our duty to sow the seeds of good ethical work; then, and only then shall we reap the good harvest. In the words of the Persian Poet Jalaluddin Rumi:

If you really trust in God, then work hard,
Sow the seed, and lean in the Almighty’s help;
Struggle as long as you can in the way of the Prophets.
Effort isn’t a war with destiny:
Destiny itself has imposed on us this effort.

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