Friday, March 5

A Distinct Lack Of Ambition

Our wonderful English teacher Mr Adams once handed us a classtime assignment, something about us having to write about how we imagined our adult lives to be. While everyone around me talked about being doctors and architects, driving in fast cars and living in fancy houses, mine was pretty staid: I wanted a terraced three bedroom house in a suburb with a four door hatchback parked on the street outside and a 9-5, Monday-Friday desk job.

Mr Adams, as awesome as he was, rejected my submission. Apparently the work was an exercise in creativity, ambition and imagination and mine didn't quite have enough of any of that. I argued that for me it fulfilled the set criteria, that it was precisely what I wanted and what would make me happy, but after realising that wasn't the point I relented and rewrote my piece, this time writing about yachts and mansions made out of gold. As an aside, I think that was when I learned how important it was to answer the question that was being posed, rather than the one I wanted to, a realisation that put me in good stead academically for years to come.

Back to the point though: looking at my home it was clear where I had gotten this simplistic attitude from. Like most other immigrant or partially immigrant families back then, mine as a whole wasn't an extremely ambitious one; having a good, stable job and owning a home was more than others managed to accomplish, particularly since it was my father who had come to this country to marry rather than the other way around (assuming we're sticking to traditional roles, I figure it's harder for a immigrant husband to establish himself than a wife). We weren't really known for anything in particular and weren't at the forefront of society or community. We did participate - my mum used to come on school trips and mix with the other mothers, and we were regulars at the local mosque and stuff, but nothing more than that.

We didn't go out much, and when we did it was as a family to the houses of other families. Our hobbies consisted of watching TV and movies together, while regular holidays were mainly to the exotic land of Pakistan (although we did go to Paris once). We drove various Nissans and hadn't even heard of Mercedes or other brands (I suspect the biggest brand in our house at the time was Sky TV). We didn't read poetry or appreciate art or create music; culture largely consisted of following the Top 40 each Sunday and, sometimes, Eastenders.

But we were happy and comfortable. Moreover we knew we were, which might explain why we didn't really need much else.

This ability to know what made us happy was pivotal in any family decision we made. So for example my father would decline quite big career changing opportunities if it meant displacing or him having to be away from his family. He didn't need more money or status since what he already had was enough for his family (and I'm not talking about the poverty line here, we were lucky enough to have anything we wanted; we just didn't want much). On the other hand my mum raised and fed us while making sure our house was clean and homely - her way of enabling her family as my dad enabled his. It was hardly thrilling or exciting and perhaps not even challenging for either of them, but they made their personal goals about other people rather than themselves. For some reason it was enough.

And it really was. Despite not having any impressive achievements to list on their personal CVs, I did see how we as a family were much happier than quite a few of the others around us. We never seemed to have any of those personal or dark problems other families had (with debt or family politics or even crime), we were never preoccupied with chasing money or status or careers and had no need or desire to go on exotic holidays to Turkey (we enjoyed Pakistan way too much). It was amazingly boring yet we were more content with our lot than others seemed to be with theirs.

I guess it was this attitude that disassociated the concepts of ambition and success, something that was aptly demonstrated in that particular piece of English work I did. But for me it didn't end there: just take my education for example. For my parents it was never about us kids getting straight As or going to prestigious grammar schools but more about us being happy while studying. I picked a degree which provided the fastest route to financial security for the wife I was yet to find and the kids I was yet to have - IT offered high pay for little effort, unlike subjects like medicine or law which required long hours or a long term commitment, things I found as obstacles to my real goals of family and home building. I had never even touched a PC to program it before university, so Computing was hardly a deep rooted passion for me.

Even now we each ensure that we have these boring yet sensible things in place: health, savings, qualifications, credibility and even a decent credit rating - all things which we see as contributors to well-being and stability. Even when I quit an (at the time) extremely stable job in finance, it was to start a business that would at a minimum contribute to my CV. My change of career was more to do with leveraging my current situation than chasing a dream of success or fame; I've always maintained that as much as I'm enjoying what I'm currently doing I would immediately drop it for a job - any job - if my position happens to change. Decisions like not taking a graduate job at an investment bank, declining places at grammar schools or quitting my hedge fund were easy to make and instantly rewarding for me, while others looked on as if I was crazy for taking such massive risks.

That wasn't to say that we don't appreciate success and status. I'm sure my parents would have bragged about me being a doctor as much as any other parent would, and I wouldn't say no to being able to drive a sports car around or flying first class. But we as a family realised that these things alone wouldn't make us happy. The same goes for things like travel and socialising; rather than necessities which I think are obligatory I see them as luxurious bonuses which can easily be discarded with little effect on my happiness.

Without this impetus to visibly succeed we were also never bothered about proving ourselves and were completely secure in who we were. Self-worth was thus established via internal and hidden processes that we decided rather than external and visible ones quantified by those around us. The upside of this was that it was easy for us to find maximum happiness without relying on anyone or anything else while the drawback was that we might not have yet reached our full potential according to society. Yet paradoxically despite that material successes did come: I did get good grades and jobs, we did travel and enjoy a decent standard of living. I mean hey, make no mistake here: I fully acknowledge all of our achievements and experiences and am grateful that we were blessed with each and every one of them, even if we didn't require them.

I guess some could (and do) say that we as a family aimed quite low - whether that's true or not I don't know, but we're not currently driving any fancy German cars - but I will say that judging by where we are now we succeeded in achieving what we really want in a way very few the more typically ambitious people do. Of course on the flip side I could just be taking for granted the relative success that we have found ourselves in, be it due to luck or hard work or whatever. Maybe we've just simply not had the same obstacles that others have had and have therefore not had to tackle them?

But it's not really about the lack of ambition or drive but more that the priority for my parents, and in turn us, their children, wasn't to be a director or PhD or someone who had seen the world or written books on Islamic philosophy (heck, I have a blog for that), but to ensure the happiness of those around them in the best way that they could manage; anything else would be a rare, but appreciated, bonus. Of course this in itself doesn't preclude an exciting and ambitious life, although looking around now I don't see many who manage to have both fully, even if they claim to. In fact sometimes I struggle to understand the price some people pay, be it willingly or not, to achieve what they think they want to: friends, family, homes and ironically even their happiness all take a backseat for something they think instead will make them content, but rarely does. This isn't about aiming low in order to increase the chance of succeeding in everything you plan, but more about not requiring ever more in order to be happy, and not feeling incomplete when you find out that, as a human, you can't do or have everything.

So I'd say that my family and I are as ambitious as the rest, but just in a different way and with different goals. Perhaps we don't take a happy family and warm home for granted and see that it takes effort; as much effort and focus (if not more) than a job would. I saw this in the sweat of my parents are they lived out their boring and domestic life how much hard work it is, be it the rat race for my dad or domestic chores for my mum or even us kids having to study hard. But just like with a career it was this hard work which brought with it the same reward others seemed to only get from work. In that sense I'd say that we are quite lucky.

Amusingly I have been challenged a few times on this attitude of mine; at best I'm being lazy and at worst selfish as I'm not fulfilling my (possibly Islamic) duty to contribute to the world and make it a better place. With respect to laziness, personally I just think I'm lucky in that I don't really need much to feel happy and fulfilled. To develop or evolve are a means to an end for me, and not goals in themselves. In fact I'd say its the less sexy things which take priority over the quite modern concepts of personal fulfilment and enjoyment. I'd even say that an explicit die-hard chase for success indicates that one may not realise that all we attain actually comes from God, and not ourselves, in the first place. And although it's not in the scope of this post to determine whether a desire is worldly or not, I do personally think that a lot of things typically pursued with ambition are short term goals; and that includes careers.

As for contributions, well my input to the world may not be as explicit as others but that doesn't mean that it's not there. I just don't seem to have that overwhelming need to explicitly add value or contribute - the extent of my political involvement ends at voting (something we as a family have always done). In fact I'd say in the long run living a personal and self-involved yet righteous and happy life is a much more effective way to add value to and better society than becoming a Member of Parliament or even starting the more grassroot projects like a local charity.

That's not to say I see ambition as a bad thing. In fact I'm quite impressed by the drive some people have to establish businesses or projects, or those who become really good at an extra-curricular hobby or pasttime - but only provided it doesn't get in the way of what's important. I'm not sure I can claim to have such a drive, and I always struggle to list stuff under "hobbies and interests" mainly because I usually don't have more than a passing or incidental interest in the things I happen to do.

It's also important to note that it's not just about chasing money either. In fact it's sometimes the lack of a financial incentive which fools some into thinking their ambition is well placed. That's not to say it necessarily isn't, but I would suggest that more noble passions like volunteering, studying, art and culture or even religion can be a distraction to what's really important to someone. Why can't we enjoy a night in watching X-Factor just as much as a night out at the theatre? Why do we only feel intellectually validated only after we've attended a well marketed class or talk? Why do we need to drag our babies and young children to Egypt when they would just as much (or even more so) enjoy a trip to the seaside? Why are exotic Rumi quotes the only way we're able to express how we feel to others on our Facebook statuses or Twitter feeds? Why do we need fancy clothes in order to look good? Why does food at a restaurant only taste good if we've paid over 20 quid for it? It quite depresses me that I've not been to a Pizza Hut in years solely because no one thinks it's cool enough to want to go with me. Like Pizza Express is any more classy.

Why do some things hold more of a perceived value just because we're told they do?

But why does such a topic deserve such a lengthy post? Well in my case it seems to be this lack of ambition which most contributes to the conclusion of incompatibility myself and a potential rishta settle on. It's not that anyone has incorrect or wrong priorities, but I feel what drives someone has to match or at least be understood and supported by a partner for a marriage to be successful. And if a potential rishta lists being a partner or having her own business or even travelling the world as life goals with not even a single mention of a family or how it would be a part of them, well let's just say it becomes a bit of a barrier - partly because it's not what I want, but mostly because I wouldn't be sure enough of being able to provide her with what she says she needs to keep her happy.

Unfortunately (for me, not them) the vast majority of women I meet demonstrate this attitude, while seeing what I explicitly say I want as a silent inevitability or even triviality. You see, I wasn't the only one who was berated by a teacher for not aiming high. Girls who said that they just wanted babies and take care of a home and family were being told at school (and ironically sometimes even at home by peers who didn't appreciate the beauty and strength of their own simple way of living) that this was nowhere near high enough an aim; that these things would all come in time anyway and so existing efforts would be better directed elsewhere instead. This advice (as well as those to their guy counterparts) sometimes had the double whammy of making some strive for these other, grander, things in life, as well as later making them feel like discontent failures if they weren't achieved.

Judging by the people I meet I will say that my family and I are in a pretty tiny minority especially when you consider the Asian Muslim community as a whole. I won't even attempt to explain it but I do sometimes wonder why we don't have the incessant need to achieve and possibly even prove ourselves that our peers do. And even when I find that I can't answer that question I'm always thankful that, for us, happiness and contentment has always been so easily and boringly attainable.

Originally drafted 1st of July 2009


  1. Great post. I loved reading it.

  2. Excellent post. I completely agree with you.

    We are hardwired to aim for a financially rewarding career, European cars, mc mansions, et al. and that's how success is measured. This pursuit sometimes leads us to believe that a happy family like yours (mashAllah) doesn't need work/care/attention, and we end up taking family (the most important unit) for granted.

  3. Nice post!

    Although I notice you write "we're not CURRENTLY driving any fancy German cars". (my caps). I recall you giving me a lift in a rather fancy German car once. Although "fancy" is a relative term, and I think of that as quite fancy as I'm content with my charismatic 12 year old Fiat. Hey, it's Italian and it's red. Isn't that what a lot of boy racers want? :-D

  4. Anonymous04:24

    "I won't even attempt to explain why but I do sometimes wonder why we don't have the incessant need to achieve and possibly even prove ourselves that our peers do."

    My family is very similar to yours in that regard. The parental units wanted us (kids) to succeed in school for the simple reason of being to function in this world. But when it came to scholarships or awards, they were very hesitant. Don't get me wrong, mum and dad are incredibly proud of us, but they didn't want us to fall into the trap of believing those achievements were all to be had in life. Unfortunately, when living the "high life" one tends to forget the important things: religion, family, etc etc.

    In a nutshell, my parents raised us to expound our energies on implementing Islam into our daily lives, but not forgetting that a good education was essential to surviving in this dunya.

    I hope this makes some sense; it's rather late here. =)

    (found your blog through mash)

  5. Anonymous16:26

    "I'm not sure I can claim to have such a drive, and I always struggle to list stuff under "hobbies and interests" mainly because I usually don't have more than a passing or incidental interest in the things I happen to do.
    in my case it seems to be this lack of ambition which most contributes to the conclusion of incompatibility myself and a potential rishta settle on. It's not that anyone has incorrect or wrong priorities, but I feel what drives someone has to match or at least be understood and supported by a partner for a marriage to be successful"

    I am completely agree with you in regards to the rishta process. Especially when you get auntie jis calling us and are taken aback when my mother tells them I don't want to work despite my qualifications and just want to be homemaker. Lack of ambition from a well educated woman appears to be a sign of backwardness and laziness. And if I can't tell them that I have an office job or something, then I'm expected to invent new and exciting hobbies/interests to prove I am outgoing and fun and not just a boring homemaker or a doormat. Sod off, I say.

    It's definately important for two people to understand what drives the other, but unfortunately very few understand what drives the homemaker!

  6. Really nice post Shak.

  7. Excellent. I find myself relating to a lot of what you said. And while you say you are in the tiny minority, I think attitudes are changing with our generation. Unfortunately though, when it comes to rishta searching we have a long way to go. I've often been rejected for my lack of a formal education, it seems that for some, it is the only benchmark to measure success As anon says wanting to be a homemaker just isn't deemed aspiring enough. Good old values just aren't enough these days.

  8. nice post and over the last 3-4 years I've slowly found my opinions changing and I agree with the gist of the post. especially the point about all the other stuff being the icing on the cake rather than the things to aim for.

    making a family work is tough. and the reason a lot of people fail at it is because they don't think those relationships/spaces need attention.

  9. Anonymous21:13

    I loved what you have wrote, I agree with it all, but it has me thinking about my life and the choses I have made or better said the choses that had to be made.

    For a along time I did not do more then what you have said, but as my children are growing my needs are also. I want to inspire them to be more then just being alive, I want to bring out the best within them, to teach them not to worry overly about others and their abitions and drives to do what makes them happy as idviduals. To be true to oneself, but then you have to know oneself from within. Life is about growing, changing and bettering oneself and I am not talking about money.

    I am talking about your chacecter, attrubutes, self worth, confidence, belief, self respect and much more that comes from life experinces not text books or someone telling you. The best lessons you learn come from mistakes, but first you must understand you have made one.

    Knowing right from wrong.

    My need now is to prove myself to me. I feel like I have been asleep for so long and I am now awake. I do feel like that we as parents need to lead the way for our children so much of our society needs to change for the better, but change first has to come from within, then home, family, freinds, community and society. We always want someone else to do the fighting and making the hard decions and our answer is that society has to change. No first we need to change and the little thing do matter; which we always forget; comfort, security, love, care, kindness, understanding, patients, tolerance and forgiveness.

    Every thing comes down to balance and what your needs are today does not mean it will be the same tommorow.

    What my needs where at 16 would not have worked at 19 when I married. What my needs where when I was only a wife is now not the same as I am a mother of 4 boys.

    Who now need us to be providers, protectors, nutures, guiders and encouragers. We need to lead the way for them to function later in life.

    As your lives change your needs will change but the trick will be balancing it all and it is never easy, it may look it but it never is.

  10. Princess Pink Moon09:08

    You sound like a really wholesome and happy person. Achieving that in itself is a remarkable feat. That being the ultimate thing that we all are striving for in our own individual ways and so few manage to attain. I'm definitely having Pizza Hut today... Thank you for your post. xx

  11. To be direct, I think there is a lot of rationalization in your post.

    Also the level of sincerity varies from paragraph to paragraph, and actually seems more forced as you progress, which is a little unsettling considering the sensitivity and intelligence which has been invested in this post.

    I appreciate that you have chosen 'a middle way', a safe and less troubled way... but ...

    Isn't your life the expression of your soul?

    If you take no risks how can you grow spiritually?

    Out of interest, do you feel your approach to Islam is more communitarian?



  12. I think you should try and find out who Anon 1 is.

  13. They know where I am.

    Seriously though, what's really quite frustrating is that I write stuff like this, get a pretty unexpected level of response and collective nod of agreement (which is great), but then nothing actually changes.

    Either I'm being misunderstood here or we're all still not saying what we want or representing ourselves on the ground in real life where it matters.

    I think a future post will have to be about how potential mates aren't mindreaders.

  14. Anonymous22:19

    maybe you could reflect on that very point "nothing actually changes".. what exactly are your expectations from publically writing such posts??
    maybe some sort of encouragment/tap on the back. some sort of affirmation/confirmation/acknowledgment or justificaton of your position/struggle?? maye a hey look at me or a yeah shak you carry on as you are your right on this?
    yes i agree with everything you say, but what about it?? im of exactly the same way of thinking yet my whole life others led me to think i was the problem with my attitude to life.
    if this is what u believe and is important to you then things will happen when the time is right.
    but im not sure exactly what your expectations are from writing about it??

  15. everything changes.

    only the mentally blind and spiritually stagnant ignore the moral impact of time...

  16. Anonymous06:57

    it appears u r living in your head as oposed to the real world
    you are trying to justify to the world who you are and why you are who you are
    what others think and how they reposnd to you means something for you
    or you are expecting someone to miraculasily get you by reading this which may possibly mean there is little you expect yourself to do to find ms right..
    the time it takes you to do this and reflect on this could be spent on living rather than reflecting and thinking why you are who you are
    start living rather than theorising

    i remember the time when i was of that view point.. maybe i too had this over burning desire to explain to people why i am the way i am and why i cant seem to find mr right but i wasn't so public maybe i needed some reassurance that what im looking is right and the way i choose to live is right..
    but i dont think it was necessary we dont need ot explain to anybody otehr than allah but even then allah knows what is in our hearts so it doesnt matter really..

  17. The first time we met we ate at pizza hut mwahahaha :-D

    Shak,firstly- wonderful post. I really really enjoyed reading this. Having met your folks- i can say that you are a testimony to their brilliant parenting and contentment with what they have in life. There is so much hamony in your home that i can appreciate why you want the things you do and why certain qualities are preferred and prioritised.

    However, sometimes im not sure that youre being fair. You know shak, plenty of women dont even realise that they would be completely content being a housewife and mother. We have these dreams and ambitions that go beyong selfish needs in alot of cases (for example: i always wanted to do clinical because i care about people- im not in it for money or fame or anything like that). I never thought i would be so darn ecstatic about looking after my home, caring for my husband, nurturing my son... its not something i even contemplated. But life has a way of unfolding its own plans and sometimes you just go with them and you realise that doing something different to what you expected doesnt make you any less happy.

    If youre taking about not being open and welcoming to those situations and adjustments to begin with- then yes i can understand how that could be a problem, but what im saying is- dont just assume that when a woman says she has dreams and ambitions that should life take a different turn- she wouldnt be able to cope of love it any less. Theres a power in women that men underestimate. The only thing i would say (which im positive youre plenty aware of because i know you)! is that.. it should be an option she is fully able to accept (the option of staying home etc) because problems only arise when one feels as though they have been sideshafted or made to give up whats important to them, this only breeds resentment and THATS what leads to unsuccessful marriages.

    Word veri is HINGIN hehehehehe :-P

  18. Anonymous07:12

    This was a brilliant post, and I loved and agreed with most of it. I came to the realisation of work/money/things not bringing happiness a while back, and it has completely changed my way of life. I am all the more appreciative for what I have, and the little required to make me happy.

    On the note, of finding a potential partner that is passionate about being a homemaker, I agree with Zahera that you are potentially being unfair to women. Not all women currently working do so out of choice, some have financial responsibilities. In today's society others do so out of a desire for independence, should the future marriage turn out badly, at least they are able to be self sufficient and not rely on either the husband or family... This may seem callous to men, but I think in today’s lifestyle it’s being realistic and responsible.

    Maybe we've just simply not had the same obstacles that others have had and have therefore not had to tackle them?

    I think you have been very lucky, Alhamdulillah that you have lived a simple, happy life. Many people search for this simple happiness, it took me a long time to find that myself.

    As for whether your post actually results in any change, I think many people feel as you do, yet change doesn't happen overnight and you shouldn't expect it to. I think the most significant change would be the awareness of one's current life and motivation behind actions which will result in conscious efforts being made to change such actions and motivations.

  19. Just to clear something up: By "things not changing" I didn't mean the attitudes of others, but more about my own luck during my search: if there are so many people who agree with what I'm saying why am I not meeting them in real life? Am I asking the wrong questions? Are they not being honest about their answers and thus giving a wrong impression of who they are?

    My article wasn't about preaching to others to change what drives them, or to undermine their ambitions - I respect all of my friends and family (many of whom are women) who show a passion in the things I might not, and I certainly don't think they should or need to change for marriage or any other reason, and neither am I saying my attitude is universally and inherently the best and one that everyone should aim for.

    However for a wife I don't think this mutual respect is enough; you need an understanding and shared goals too. That's what I'm struggling to find. So this is about finding someone who already thinks the same way rather than changing the attitudes of anyone else. If I'm not finding these people via the routes I'm using now, then perhaps it's me who needs to change where I'm looking.

    As for being unfair to women, Zahera might be right. However it's not like I immediately discount any girl who has a job etc - any conclusion we both (mutually) come to is always after talking about it in relative detail and asking each other what we expect from marriage and life in general. It's not a snap decision. In fact most will say that they're not pursuing a career for financial reasons but mostly because they enjoy it (not a bad thing); and that this is why they'd want to carry on since for them a more traditional role wouldn't give them that enjoyment. I've yet to find a girl, without exception, who says they work purely for the financial and supporting reasons I do.

    Maybe like you both imply some women are wrong about what will make them happy, but they certainly seem sure about it enough for me to believe them. Who am I to second guess what they're saying? Perhaps I should assume a girl doesn't really mean what she says, but I'd say that's a dangerous game to play.

    Amazingly some people (all who were girls but one) have even suggested I should be a bit unethical and "go along" with the goals of a potential and then exploit the "natural changes she's bound to have after marriage". Quite frankly I'm not sure what advice Zahera is giving here; I don't think I can count on someone "realising what really makes them happy" after our nikkah. That sounds quite risky.

    Finally my stance is precisely because I don't want to "shaft" someone or make them give up anything they really want. In fact I'd say the majority of women I talk to WOULD quit their jobs and take care of the home if I insisted that they do. However I'd rather marry someone who is happy to do this herself than someone who would reluctantly due to my own shortcomings and inflexibility.

  20. Anonymous16:17

    Well, if all the women you meet are happy to work and you are happy not to, why don't you stay home and do the family role?

  21. Anonymous19:32

    @That Mash Guy - Shak already knows Anon1 (aka me :P)

    Shak: It's funny reading all these posts and finding that it's mostly women responding. What I want to kow is - how many guys are there out there who feel the same way as you? Who want wives, not halal girlfriends? How many guys are happy with just homemakers? I've come across the type of guys who wont consider anyone without a career, there's the type that want a woman to be working but then give it up after they get married (makes sense...?), then there's the type who don't mind either way (which to me sounds more like 'I don't care'). oh and there's also the type that would prefer career women but woukd reconsider if a potential is really hot.

    I'm seriously struggling to come across any well educated working professionals who actually want a homemaker (and, I should add, NOT also have to be a tall, fair skinned, slim, utterly toned supermodel...but since that would put me in rant mode I should probably stop).

    I think men are so spoilt for choice considering how many well educated professional women there are on market, that considering someone without a career, or even some random office job, would be downgrading.

  22. I don't think this situation has come out of women's own doing. It's a societal problem and there are plenty of "ambitious" men who'd rather stay at work till whatever late or go on weeks long business trips than come home in time to tuck their kids into bed. As I noted, my observation is with regards to the Asian community and not just women, but since I'm not looking to marry a guy I (quite selfishly perhaps) was only explicit about one particular gender toward the end of my post.

    >considering someone without a career, or even some random office job, would be downgrading.

    Well personally I've now started to quite actively look for women who don't currently have big degrees or jobs. Maybe there are some of the former who are willing to give it all up, but judging by the experiences I've had I honestly no longer have the time or inclination to find out. As such your assertion of how there are "so many well educated professional women" (which I agree with) is actually a limiter for me. So much for being spoilt for choice.

  23. Anonymous01:49

    love your post, honest, very honest in fact.

    do you look only for an asian wife? or you are open to any races?

    maybe marrying an alien is an answer to your frustration? at least she wouldn't be prejudiced and except anything from you except for love:)

  24. Salams,

    I find it awkward to post a comment, not having met you in person or known you and having been granted permission to post my thoughts honestly, yet since you have granted me this privilege, here goes.

    I see you constantly having to define yourself in comparison to 'others'? Other asians, other people, other ideas..?

    Everyone has a struggle in their life and perhaps this is your intellectual dilemma In as far as I have understood life, this path is possibly what will drive you towards the spiritual lessons you need to learn during your time in this dunya.

    Good luck!