Maulana Wahiduddin Khan | The Sunday Guardian | Nov 5, 2017
As human beings, we have the capacity to think, in the sense that we can, at a purely intellectual level, conceptualize and discriminate between right and wrong, good and bad. Animals, on the other hand, are governed by their instincts. The greatness of humanity lies in our ability to think and plan a course of action. Animals have no need to do this and are not liable to err, for their actions are governed by their natural instincts.
Since human beings are endowed with the ability to decide on a course of action (and cannot, in reality, do otherwise), it is necessary for everyone to fully awaken their senses and bend their mental faculties to the right way of thinking. Once we start thinking right, our actions will consequently be right.
Right living is an art. Those who have learned the art can construct a successful life in this world. Those who are oblivious to it have nothing but failure in store for them.
To put it briefly, this art can be described as ‘positive thinking’. That is, keeping an open mind, so that we can rise above the psychology of reaction or retaliation and plan objectively, after having arrived at rational conclusions. If positive thinking gives us the direction to use our intellectual capacity, negative thinking acts as a check upon the development of that intellectual capacity. Those who have a tendency towards negative thinking, think and plan only under the influence of external situations, which may or may not be particularly good.
Humans are social beings. We cannot survive by ourselves. We need each other to sustain our needs. We are all, in one way or the other, indispensable to each other. In such a situation, reacting negatively is never beneficial. Success will come only to those who respond positively, even in negative situations.