THE fact that we are of the common lot of mankind is no hindrance to greatness. It only serves to remind us of the mighty power of God, accomplishing His purpose in men who are fully yielded to His control. After all, His power resides in your subconscious mind. It isn’t who we are but who God is that makes the difference. Allah would not cast His pearls before those who did not want them.
Besides, unless you grasped the meaning of prayer and learned how to practise it consistently, not much would ever come from your life. In practical terms we live by what we do. Which is why learning by doing is the ultimate school of life. Emerson Fosdick said, “No life ever grow great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined.” Thus, your ability to win happiness is the true measure of your success in life. Happiness is the ultimate goal of life. If you accomplish every material particular in your life but you are not happy, you have actually failed at fulfilling your full potential as a human being.
It is only when you are in complete control of your life that you are truly happy. Brian Tracy in his book: Maximum Achievement, taught the importance of the Law of Control, which states that, “you feel happy to the degree to which you feel you are in control of your life. You feel unhappy to the degree to which you feel you are not in control of others. Psychologists call this locus of control. Fifty years of research on this subject concludes that stress and unhappiness arise when you feel controlled by others or outside circumstances. This explains the difference between an internal locus of control meaning happiness and an external locus of control, which means unhappiness.
When you have an internal locus of control, you are happy, you feel you are in charge of your life, you are behind the wheel on the driver’s seat. You are determining what happens to you, thus, you feel strong, purposeful and happy. An example of external locus of control is when you are controlled by a bad marriage or relationship from which you cannot escape. You may feel controlled by your bills, by the money you owe and your obligations to maintain your standard of living. The key to replacing an external locus of control with an internal locus is for you to decide today to take complete charge of your life. You must accept that you make your own decisions and that you are where you are and what you are because of yourself. What to do is for you to discipline yourself to do whatever it takes to change the situation. The essence of happiness is found in the old saying: Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get. When your income and life are consistent with your goals and expectations and you are content with your situation, that is happiness. However, happiness is a by-product that comes to you when you are engaged in doing something that you enjoy. Happiness isn’t a goal that you can aim at and achieve of itself. Thus, happiness is the systematic realization of a cherished goal. Whenever you are moving step by step towards achieving a goal, you automatically become happy. Here are five ingredients of happiness.
One, having good health and energy; two, maintaining harmonious relationships. Three, meaningful work, being able to keep an active and fulfilling job. To be truly happy you must be engaged in some form of work. Four, financial freedom, our greatest fears are of being destitute and dependent on others. The happiest people are those devoid of financial worries. Financial freedom cannot be left to chance. It has to be planned and achieved. Finally, self actualization. This is the feeling of self satisfaction, of achieving what you are capable of becoming. The famous sociologist, Abraham Maslow is best known for his Hierarchy of Needs. People strive either to compensate for their deficiencies or to realize their potentials. Deficiency needs are safety and survival. Others are security, belongingness and self esteem. But the highest human need is self actualization. Maslow concludes that less than two per cent of the population ever reaches their height of personal fulfillment.
Our champion today is Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, Saudi Arabian politician who was minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources from 1962 till 1986, a minister in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for 25 years.
Yamani was born in Mecca in June 1930, one of three children of his father, Hassan Yamani, a judge in Hejaz and a respected Islamic Scholar. His father also worked as appeal court justice in Indonesia and Malaysia. Yamani’s grandfather was a justice of appeal in Turkey. The Yamani surname originates from Yemen where his paternal grandfathers came from.
At 17, Yamani entered Cairo University and earned a bachelor’s degree in law in 1951. Inspired by his father and grand father, Yamani sought to become a teacher of Sharia. But on leaving college, Yamani got a job at the Ministry of Finance in Mecca, teaching Sharia law in his own time.
Later, the Saudi government sent Yamani to study Comparative Law at the New York University Law School and in 1955 he received the LLM degree in Comparative Jurisprudence. While at NYU, Yamani met his first wife, Laila, from Iraq. Thereafter, Yamani spent a year at Harvard Law School, earning his second master’s in 1956. Then he returned to the Ministry of Finance. The same year he founded his own private law firm where he practiced.
Yamani married his second wife, Tammam in March 1975. In 1957, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, Faisal bin Abdelaziz invited Yamani to work as his legal Adviser. In 1962, King Saud appointed Yamani Oil Minister, replacing Abdallah Tariki, the founding father of OPEC. Although the suave Yamani is distinguished from his fiery predecessor, he had a common goal with Tariki in moving towards the nationalization of Aramco Oil Company, the operating oil company in Saudi Arabia at the time. Thereafter, Yamani established the Petroleum and Mineral Organisation (Petromin) as a state oil company. Further in 1964, he established the University of Petroleum with the aim of producing Saudis with the skills to manage Saudi oil resources. Following OPEC negotiations in 1972, the Saudi government bought 25 per cent ownership of Aramco. In 1974 Saudi participation increased to 60 per cent and in 1976 total Saudi ownership of Aramco was agreed upon.
As Oil Minister of oil rich Saudi Arabia, Yamani was noted as having a moderate oil policy. Faced with the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Yamani opposed the Arab oil embargo, to the displeasure of Israel’s Arab neighbours and Iraq. The oil embargo was ineffective, this led to the formation in 1968 of the organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries comprising Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Libya. Egypt, Syria and Iraq joined later.
Following the humiliation of the Arabs by the Six Day War, demands for the use of oil as a weapon of war intensified throughout the Arab world. In October 1973, six Persian Gulf Oil Producers met in Kuwait and raised oil prices by 70 per cent, that was the first time oil producers would set the price of their oil. Thus, Arab oil producers in unison cut back oil output, forcing the U.S., the EEC and Japan to call on Israel to withdraw from Arab territories. The embargo was lifted in 1974 following Arab disengagement agreements with Israel.
However, in March 1975 Yamani’s friend King Faisal was assassinated by Faisal bin Musad, the King’s nephew. Buoyed by his global pre-eminence, Yamani remained oil minister for another eleven years. But in December 1975, Yamani survived as a hostage of the terrorist Carlos the Jackal in Vienna, Austria. In 1979, the Iranian Revolution resulted in the 1979 energy crisis. Saudi Arabia increased oil production to replace that lost from Iran. The panic buying of 1979 led to oil glut in the 1980s. Then King Khaled died in June 1982, then Prince Fahd became King and Premier. King Fahd’s rule was marred by reduced oil income making him to demand the increase in the price of oil. Yamani refused to acceed to his request and on October 29, 1986, King Fahd dismissed Sheikh Yamani as Saudi Oil Minister. He was replaced by Hisham Nazer. Yamani is still alive.