What Success Is Not: A Review of Sail Your Boat By Salamatu Sule

Book Title: Sail Your Boat: Success is a Lifestyle and a Journey
Name of Author: Musbahu El Yakubu
Genre: Nonfiction (Inspirational)
Publishers: Amazon
No. of Pages:177 (to include about the Author)
Year of Publication: 2018
Reviewer: Salamatu Sule

Reading inspirational books are a rare creative endeavor for me due to the simple fact that it gives short cuts to making money and not realistically for the sake of its entertainment and educational purpose. They also do not fall into the category of what we know as bibliotheraphies. When I first laid my hands on this very insightful and thought provoking book, I was skeptical, judging by the title, whether if the book will deliver on its thematic concern. I was not disappointed even though; curiosity bade me to go on this exciting journey.

Success is a subjective term as it has a different meaning to different people. Success as depicted by the sub tittle of the book is a lifestyle and a journey. As a lifestyle, it refers to how the assumed success was achieved or acquired. And as a journey, it refers to the method adopted in pursuing the assumed success. It is therefore the combined process and method of achieving success and its wider impact on the society that will determine what success really is.

In " Sail Your Boat", El Yakub adopted the use of the laws and theories of the physical Sciences to analyse, define and describe success. Like the Scientist that he is, he applied a method that he is conversant with as against the theories of the Social Sciences that are fluid. But to describe, define and analyse success, you have to realise and understand what it is and should be. According to him:
“Without a proper understanding of what true success is, generation upon generations of different nationalities all over the world risk using the wrong metrics for the assessment of personal and collective achievements. (Pg. 9) Therefore, the author is admonishing that, without understanding what success is, there is the likelihood that one spent wasteful years not knowing what exactly what he is looking for while also achieving nothing.

According to him, to understand success and to aspire for it, it is necessary to find answers to questions like:
1 What is success?
2 How do we measure it and;
3 How do we attain it?

He also categorised success into Three as to define and answer the above questions by giving examples of what constitute success.

He started by citing the examples of a Student who cheated during exams, the Internet Fraudster and the Corrupt Public Official who compromised his office for personal gains at the expense of his country. This people can be said to have achieved success but with serious consequences for the entire society.

The second category of successful people are those that overcame both physical and Social challenges to create value for the society.

This people are not only successful, but they also are inspiration to generations to come. They do not allow their physical and Social challenges to become impediments to their successful development. And all their achievements are within the limits of legislation.

He gave the examples of such people as:
Nick Vujicic who was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1982, with a rare disease known as Tetra Amelia, resulting in having none of his limbs developed. He overcome his challenges and founded a Not for Profit Organisation called "Life Without Limbs" in the United States of which he is the President. He also founded the "Attitude is Altitude" which is devoted to Motivational Speaking. He is the author of several books, the most popular being "Life without Limbs, Limitless and Unstoppable", a New York Times best seller.pg 9-10.

Stephen Hawking was also another example of an individual who overcame his physical challenges to succeed in life. He was born in 1942 in Oxford, England. He later on read Physics and Chemistry. He was later on diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis(ALS), also known as Motor Neuron disease. He became paralysed.

But despite this challenge, he was mentally alert, brilliant and humorous. He contributed to the field of Mathematics, Physics, Cosmology and Astronomy. He was later on awarded the "Presidential Medal of Freedom", which is the highest Civilian Honour.

Others like Kuma Ung Yingping from South Korea, who from being a Scientist at NASA in the USA moved to Civil Engineering in South Korea because he has a passion for it.  Another example of those who defy the Social challenges to become an Activist was Tawakal Karman of Yemen. She formed the Women Journalists Without Chains and was later to become the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Laureate. Others are John Harold Johnson, an African-American who established the "Negro Digest". Likewise, Dashrath Manjhi, an outcast and landless peasant in India who championed the construction of a road in his area so as to make it easy for his people to access health and education.

There are also others like Mandela, Bill Gates and Claudius, the Roman Emperor. This are examples of people who devoted their entire life to the course of their society. The success of such people have a positive effect on their society. This type of success can be classified as the most positive success. The interdependence of individuals in the society created an impact and the ripple effect of success on the Community is inevitable. Yakub likens this interdependence to the galaxy. According to him:
“From the great vastness of the known universe, we can still infer a direct connection to our tiny selves on our tiny planet. All the billions of galaxies exert certain physical influences on every other galaxy, no matter how infinitesimally small. Within each galaxy, all solar systems exert influences on other systems in the same way as others exert influence on them as well. (Pg. 36)
From the above, we can therefore see the interconnectivity of success by an individual and its implications for the society.

But to achieve success, there are qualities that the individual is expected to possess. These are:
Belief in oneself: You are expected to believe or have confidence in your ability to achieve your set objective (s).

Perseverance is another key factor as success does not come easily. You will encounter a lot of disappointments and trials, but persevere you must to get to achieving your goals.

Focus: Be focused. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted.

Be decisive. There are times that you need to take a firm decision. Don’t hesitate to do so.

Knowledge. You need to be knowledgeable about what you want to achieve. Therefore, struggle to be intellectually competent and perform in a manner that is impactful.

Take risks. In any venture, risks are inevitable as there’s no full proof plans. You learn from past mistakes.

Passion: Make sure you have passion for what you are doing. Pleasurable passion helps you drive home your point. 

But achieving of the above objectives is also dependent on what your personal qualities are; the timing or era at which you are trying to unveil your success plan and possibly; your location.

It is against this background that Yakub summarises success as, 
"Living a life in which we continuously apply ourselves to the best of our abilities in legitimate activities for the greatest benefit of the greatest benefit of the greatest number of people". Pg. 156.
 To be successful, Yakub cautioned that, 
From the start of your journey to its end, whatever you do will affect you and others. How best you are able to create a beneficial effect for everyone is your life of success. And it is your responsibility to understand, define and live it". Pg. 164