In this era of media and communication, a lot of importance is given to trainers, life coaches and mentors. Workshops on leadership skills, communication skills, basically people skills are getting very famous. Today there are hundreds of books out there on “How to Keep Ties”, “How to Deal with Your Boss”, or your colleagues, your employees, your family etc. There are some popular names who get paid millions of dollars just for telling people how to deal with others. And rightly so! What else would our life be about if not for the interaction with our own kind? That is how we survive!
And yet sadly, some really only survive. They don’t know why their same treatment of people works so well on some and not so well on others. The manager feels perplexed why the same motivational talk made one employee so excited and the other even more dull. The mother feels confused why the same method that worked every time on her eldest, doesn’t work on the youngest. The girl doesn’t know why the same beautiful apology doesn’t impress her friend when it was accepted wonderfully by the other friend a few weeks ago.
Why do these things happen? They happen because we fail to realize that everyone is different. It sounds very simple and basic, but trust me many fail at it when the situation arises. You might be very knowledgeable and smart otherwise but chances are you might be rubbing someone up the wrong way. Yes, every single person is different, has different potential, different IQ & EQ etc. How can we expect the same results from them by the same treatment?
The Companions asked their life coach various questions as well. And he in return would guide them and give them answers to make their lives and relationships better. After all, he was the best life coach to have ever walked on the face of this earth. ﷺ
Sahih Bukhari, 3383:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was asked, “Who is the most honourable amongst the people?” He replied, “The one who fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him”. The people said, “We do not want to ask you about this.” He said, “The most honourable person is Joseph (Yusuf), Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Prophet, the son of Allah’s Khalil (intimate friend)” The people said, ‘We do not want to ask you about this.” He said,”Then you want to ask me about the metal (origins) of the Arabs? People are like metals (of various natures and origins). The best in the pre-lslamic period are the best in Islam, provided they comprehend (the religious knowledge).”
He ﷺ said people are like metals or minerals. What a deep word. Metals and minerals are of so many different kinds. Some are very valuable, some are worthless. Some are cherished yet have no real benefit. Some are cheap and not prized yet are very useful. Some are not even recognized unless they are cleaned and cut, then they reveal their many facets. Some need high temperature to melt, some have to be always handled carefully.
Similarly, some humans are diamonds, some are gold, some silver and others are like copper, platinum etc. If you notice, none of the metals or minerals are completely useless. Humans if only dealt in the correct manner and according to their type, yield amazing results. We just need to remember that. You can’t make beautiful gold jewellery out of copper but then you can’t make electric copper wires out of gold either.
Parents and teachers sometimes unknowingly make horrible mistakes when they make unjust comparisons between children. This actually makes or breaks the child forever. I’m sure each one of you would know some such person whose life was ruined because of how wrongly he was dealt with in his childhood. People get hopeless, they give up on their dreams, they stop exploring the opportunities. And this is not just about children. Adults have to be treated according to their characteristics as well.
So where then do we learn the art of treating everyone according to their own unique self? We can learn that wisdom from none other than our beloved Prophet ﷺ who was the most wisest of us all. All his words and actions are based on wisdom and luckily we have all of it saved in authentic books which we can read and benefit from and thus learn to rub people up the right way. What a beautiful society it would create. It would also make us a lot more patient and tolerant with others.
Notice that in the hadith it is said the best of people are those who comprehend the religious knowledge. So at the end of the day, no level of smartness or intelligence or worldly success makes you the best person. It is only the comprehension i.e. knowledge, understanding and implementation of the religious knowledge that would make you a cut above the rest. :)