Quoting: Re-Channel Your Enthusiasm

Develop even more enthusiasm for doing good deeds and spiritual growth – than you have for financial gain and physical pleasures.

For a series of probing questions on this topic, see Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Self Knowledge,” p.220


Quoting: Your Anger Causes You Harm

The Talmud states: “When a person becomes angry, he acquires only his anger.”

There are usually no benefits in becoming angry at others. Becoming angry merely causes harm to your health and makes you feel miserable. Your anger does not help you, and the person you are angry with usually pays less attention to what you are saying than if you’d have said it tactfully and patiently.

Sources: Kiddushin 41a; Toras Avraham, p.440; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Happiness,” p.189

Quoting: Learn from All of Life

Be resolved to learn constantly from everyone in your immediate surroundings. When you see someone with positive character traits, learn from him traits you can work on developing. And when you see someone with negative traits, focus on the harm of having those traits!

Keep learning from life itself. There is no phenomenon in the world from which you cannot learn something practical. By utilizing every opportunity to gain wisdom, you will constantly keep improving and growing.

Today, list at least five people you encounter frequently. Then think of a positive quality you can learn from each one.

-See Rabbi Chaim Mordechai Katz – Beair Mechokaik, p.192

Quoting: Don’t Spread the Insult

Some people become so upset when they are insulted, that they repeat the incident to others who would otherwise not know about it! By giving the matter additional attention, you are causing yourself additional embarrassment!

Sources: Rabainu Yonah to Mishle 12:16; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Happiness,” p.298

Interestingly enough, thanks to sharing, retweeting, and reblogging, insults get spread all the time, spreading outrage and indignation to epic proportions, even when the original event might have been relatively minor.

Quoting: Help As Only You Can

Every person has unique talents, skills, knowledge, and resources.

Utilize these to help others in ways that are uniquely yours. Learn from the kind deeds of other people, but don’t compare yourself with anyone else. Others will be able to do things that you can’t. And only you will be able to do certain things.

-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book “Kindness.”

Quoting: The Benefits of Trust

When you have trust in the Almighty, you have peace of mind. Even in very troubled times, a person with this trust will be able to handle life without worry and sadness. He experiences joy regardless of how much he possesses. He does not feel a lack, and he does not worry about what will happen tomorrow. He feels intensely that when he has this trust, he has everything.

Moreover, even if he does lack something today, he does not worry about it. His situation is similar to a growing, successful company. Even if on one particular day no orders come in, they don’t worry. They know they have the right product and eventually will make a large profit.

So, too, with a person who has trust in the Almighty. Even if he is temporarily missing some things he needs, he will not complain. He feels secure that the Almighty will send him all that he truly needs. He maintains an inner serenity because he is certain that his path is the path of life.

Sources: see Rabbi Yosef Hurwitz of Nevardok – Madraigos Haadam – Bitachon; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Consulting the Wise”

Quoting: Give the People What They Want

Every person in the world waits for signs of recognition and affection.

Students wait for signs of friendliness from their teacher; teachers await signs of respect from students. Children want signs of empathy from their parents; parents hunger for affection from their children. A customer wants his needs to be understood; a salesperson needs to feel that his merchandise is appreciated.

So give people what they want!

Sources: Alai Shur, vol.1, p.191; Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s Gateway to Happiness, p.138

Quoting: Do Your Best

Our goal should be to keep improving ourselves, rather than “being the best.”

Someone who feels the need to be “the best” should ask himself, “Why do I really have to be better than others? What is so awful if someone else is better than me in any given area?”

People who feel the need to be “the best” often suffer much anxiety. They frequently tell themselves, “If I am not the best, then I am a failure. I am nothing.”

There is no basis for this. In ultimate terms, no human can really say who is best. Comparing yourself to anyone else is arbitrary — so why cause yourself misery by doing so?

-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s “Gateway to Happiness,” p.130

If you’re a regular reader here, you have probably noticed that my productivity has fallen off lately. I’ve been crazy busy, both at my day job and at home, so haven’t had the bandwidth to do much (if any) writing. I hope this changes soon.