Positive Living & Avoiding Negativity

In Parasha Vayetse, the great Ohr Hachaim hakadosh explains – the reason why Yaakov was upset at Rachel’s pleading to him of “Give me children” lest she die (Bereshit 30:1) was twofold. Firstly She should have said “pray for me to have children”. Her words implied that it was in Yaakov’s hands for her to conceive. Yaakov told her it is only in Hashem’s hands.

He was also upset about her expression Lest she die. a person should never say negative things – “Al tiftach pe le satan” Don’t open the mouth to the Evil force – Lest it come true.

Daven to Hashem and think and talk positively.

Awareness of Yourself – Thinking Outside Your Interests

you’re getting annoyed.

your child is knocking down things in your home office.

your office report is due.

people are relying on you for the report.

just then your child starts nagging and crying.

“i am justified in getting angry. let me belt out a yell and put things in order” – you think.

You lose it. You scream and scare the kid. then you realize he pulled your papers off the desk because he wanted to get his bottle.

he was thirsty. you got angry. you yelled at a hungry child.

poor child – no milk. no food. and he’s getting yelled at by his mother (or father).

let’s re-frame the situation.

the same happens –

on the verge screaming and scaring the kid. you realize he pulled your papers off the desk because he wanted to get his bottle. he was thirsty. you refrain from getting angry.

“What does this child want from me? Perhaps he is hungry.” Now your anger turns to mercy. This child didn’t eat all the time I was engrossed in my report.

you put the report on hold and feed the hungry child.

this happens frequently. One acts. We react. We react based upon – what is in my best interest.

The idea is to see the other person’s best interest as well.

both gain when we think for two.

Not just you.

Stop Taking Care of Business – Enjoy What You are Doing.

Want to be more productive?

One rule of personal effectiveness is start the day with the things you would rather not do.

Some do. Some Push these off. But pushing off challenges leads to mediocrity – in the aspect you push off. Push off your fund-raising – one usually ends up with mediocrity in donations. Push off your Job search – one usually ends up with mediocrity in income.

Ok. Now you choose to do the task you dislike in the morning. Cleaning the potatoes. Cleaning your room or the kitchen. Paying your bills. Cold calling. Getting your daughter ready for school.

So you can dread it. But you have already dedicated time for it. So instead of dreading it, enjoy it. You have to do it. So you might as well learn to enjoy it.

Getting Organized – Tips for a More Productive You

Getting Organized –  tips for effectiveness

My office was in disorder. What can I do?

It being in this state was causing me to procrastinate. A clean room allows a person to better concentrate. I had to do something great. So I would not hand things in late. I didn’t want to be relegated to fate. So I had to start with a clean slate. (and desk for that matter)

Ever wonder where the quote of “cleanliness is next to godliness.”

In Mesilat Yesharim  / the Path of the Righteous – Rabbi Moshe Haim Luzatto teaches the path of how to achieve “cleanliness is next to godliness.” Here is the quote:

 

“From here Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair derived: Torah brings to watchfulness; Watchfulness brings to Zeal; Zeal brings to Cleanliness; Cleanliness brings to Separation; Separation brings to Purity; Purity brings to Piety; Piety brings to Humility; Humility brings to Fear of Sin; Fear of Sin brings to Holiness; Holiness brings to the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit brings to the Revival of the Dead.” … 

 

When i go to study in the Beit Midrash / House of study – the first thing I try to do is to clean and clear the desk. This way i can concentrate better.

Here are some tips to run a cleaner office or home.

One-time rule

Encountering things you don’t need constantly? Use the one time rule – deal with it and file it away or discard it.

Remove everything rule.

Decide on a corner or area to clean. Remove everything from one corner put it in a box and then put the things you need back. it’s easier than deciding whether to keep or throw away everything when everything is on your desk.

Remove distractions

Put a cap on internet, email, whatsapp, face book etc.

Get an online Dropbox account

Dropbox allows your files to be synchronized on all your computers, phone and/or tablets. it saves time from you updating every file every time.

Connect or un-connect

Should you have an attached (with cable) mouse or keyboard or unattached (bluetooth). it depends. are you someone who tends to lose things. it is better to have a cable. or several mice (in case one is lost)

Use things for their purpose.

I have a filing cabinet. For many years i used it to store tools. Then I figured it out. Perhaps it is better to use it to file folders. I had much paper lying around. I filed them away and made things less cluttered.

Don’t fall back into messiness

Make procedures that your clean desk does not become a mess again. Each thing should have its place. also clean desk once a day or week.

Electric notes.

Tons of little paper notes? File them on a note system – like Evernote or another cloud note system

Light.

Light can make you more efficient. One because you become more cheerful. Secondly you see things better. Add light to a room or desk.

Bigger monitor.

Get a bigger monitor if you work on a computer. You use a laptop? Get a monitor to attach it to when you are at home office or work.

Frequency of access

A common sense rule is – what you need frequently keep close and easily accessible. That you use infrequently can be put away farther.

Get shelves and plastic storage boxes – label each box

Delegate
Delegate to others the task of filing papers

Once you determined the categories of your files by putting initial clean-up files in your filing cabinet.

Label it

It is good to have a quick label printer to label things quickly. Make address labels or label folders or places where you put things. You might want to purchase a dymo 450 turbo label printer.

Definitely Keep – Definitely Throw – Definitely Give

Once you put everything in your drop box – take out the things that you definitely want to keep, throw or give. Make those three piles.

There will be little stuff left. Small things put in a ziplock bag to deal with later

Put ideas and other random notes on notepad program

Type them there – it might be easier to copy and paste to other programs afterward than to be distracted by other features of programs.

 

Serenity in Life & the Sukkah

The Torah says: ‘In Sukkot you shall dwell for seven days… so that your generations shall know, that I hosted the children of Israel in Sukkot when I brought them forth from the land of Egypt… [Vayikra / Leviticus 23]

One of the reasons why we build and live in the Sukkah is to remember the clouds of glory with which Hashem protected us when we were traveling in the desert after the exodus from Egypt. Living with this idea ,believing in G-d’s constant protection, allows us to live a more serene life.

Getting Rid of Whatsapp for a Bank Fee – When Persistence Pays Off

It was a late Friday afternoon – close to the start of Shabbat. After it starts – for about 25 hours – I don’t use a phone or engage electricity.

Earlier that day, I made an Amazon purchase. I put it on the wrong debit card.

If Amazon debits the card I get an overdraft fee. I had to make a deposit and quick to avoid the fee. One Small Concern. I had no check to deposit.

What now?

Relegate myself to another $35 overdraft fee? No way. I’m not giving up so easily.

I ask a parent for a check. Sorry, they brought no checks. I asked other family members – no check. Time is ticking. Shabbat is approaching.

How about checking the mailbox.

Wow. I find a check sent in the other other day.

Now to deposit the check – that’s no problem I just borrow a phone with the bank app. I borrow phone. Sorry the camera is working intermittently and now it decides not to work. Last resort – reload the bank app that i uninstalled on my own phone. But there is no space. Which app should I choose to lose?

Whatsapp takes a lot of space. How about I get rid of it. I do it. I load the bank app and deposit the check.

The way you want to go – G-d will help you.

We just have to choose the right path and be persistent. G-D WILL HELP.

Enough Already. Stop Blaming G-d or Anyone Else for that Matter.

It is a beautiful day. You are on the beach at sunrise. Alone. The cool breeze wafts by your face.

The perfect day.

You remember the good times as a youth. You glance back. And feel thankful you are alive.

Whose doing? G-d.

He created the sun. The earth. You. The sand. The sky. Air.

What G-d Really Does for You

Nice children – G-d.

A decent job – G-d.

Nice friends – G-d.

A nice home – G-d

Everything good that you have -G-d.

Breaking potential

I know a person. A nice person. A good person deep down. He has two points that broke his potential in life

1. Seeking pity and

2. Blaming others.

He could have been an aeronautical engineer. But his self pity kept him blaming others instead of going forward.

Don’t Criticize, Condemn or Complain

Each one of us – may have this aspect of blaming others in some small way.

When we blame – we feel less culpable – but on the other hand we lose our potential.

Instead of improving our situation, we sulk, blame and do nothing about improving our lot.

Some blame g-d. Some blame others. Some blame both. Some blame Jews. Some blame parents.

G-d gives Challenges to help us Improve

G-d puts us in a situation to help us overcome challenges.

To help us become the best we can be.

Some blame G-d for the holocaust and divorce themselves from the responsibility of following Torah. Others blame him for childhood difficulties.

What about looking at all the good Hash-m / G-d gives on a constant basis?

A blamer should ask – am i blaming because it is really the other’s fault and there is nothing i can do about it or is it just a convenient excuse to shirk my responsibility to excel.

The mediocrity of blaming

Many blame the Jews. What comes out of it?

Mediocrity, hatred and waste of time. But the propagators of the hate gain by keeping the haters occupied while they run away with the cash or shift the blame of problems they are responsible for on someone else. They found a scape goat and people to follow their propaganda.

The haters and the hate propagators don’t achieve. They played a trick on themselves. The hatred caused them to destroy rather to build. The first one that they destroyed was themselves.

One Problem of Lashon HaRa / Derogatory Speech

Don’t fall for it when a friend tells you a negative story of a fellow Jew.

You become a hater. You lose your potential. Perhaps you could have done a good business deal with that person. Perhaps you could have learned from him.

This is the trick of the Yetzer Hara / the Evil Inclination. Get a person to speak lashon hara / derogatory speech and three people fall. The person who says it. The person who heard it and the person the derogatory information is about.

Have pity on your potential and purpose in life.

Build. Don’t blame.

The Good Snake – What comes from G-d is Good

In Parashat / Weekly Torah Reading Hukat – (Bamidbar / Numbers 19:1 – 22:1)
When certain Israelites were being bitten by snakes for speaking badly about Moses, G-d instructed Moses to make a Copper snake for people to look upon and be healed. “And you shall look at it (the copper snake) and live.” (21:8) A snake is dangerous. what message is this teaching us?

Everything that Hashem does is for good. Even, when something appears bad, like a snake, if is sent by Hashem it is good.

Some say if I dont work on SHABBAT, I will not make money for my family. But really it is the opposite. One who observes Shabbat makes blessing rest on his or her parnassa / income enabling them to feed their family with abundance.

Learning from Spies – Using Good Times of Past to have a Positive Future Outlook

The Israelites in the Sinai Desert sent Spies to investigate Israel, the Promised Land. Before, Moses asked G-d – should they send these spies. He responded – “Send men for Yourself. I know that it is a good land.” G-d was a upset that they needed spies – when He had already promised that it is a good land.

The Spies come back and give a report of the land of Israel. They say it is a land of milk and honey … But there are giants that dwell there and it is a land that devours its inhabitants.”

Calev, one of the spies says “We can overcome the people and conquer the land.” The people cry in fear. G-d tells the Jewish People because they cried in vain – they will stay wandering in the desert for 40 years – one year for each day that the Spies spied.

G-d then tells Moshe / Moses – how come these people don’t believe in me after all of the wonders I did for them in bringing them out from Egypt.

Two questions – 1) Why were they punished by One Year for each Day? 2) Why does G-d say why didn’t they believe in me after all the signs and wonders I Showed them? Out of all the people in the world who heard about all the miracles that G-d did for the Jews, only one person – Yitro / Jethro – out of all the nations of the world were impressed enough to come and convert to Judaism.

Apparently, one answer is :

A person is supposed to learn from the past. If G-d did good for him in the past – it is likely he will continue to good to him in the future. There are three reasons why people adapt a negative attitude in life :

1) They don’t recognize the constant blessings that G-d gives them on a daily basis – like, air, food, life, children, a job, a home, a family, friends, money, etc. This is either because they don’t believe in G-d or they do believe in Him but don’t attribute the good they have to Him.

2) They do recognize the constant blessings that G-d gives them, but they think they are or will be unworthy of his blessings in the future.

Both attitudes may lead to depression.

The Solution:

Learn from the past. If you were able to overcome a difficulty in the past, you will be able to overcome it in the future. If G-d helped you in the past, he will hep you in the future. You make your effort to solve the problem – but it is in G-d’s hands to actually solve it. The effort is in your hands – the solving is in G-d’s. If it is solved after your effort and prayer to Hash-m / G-d – Good. If it is not – perhaps you need to make a greater effort or pray more to Hash-m.

If you did both and still the problem is not solved – the problem it is not being solved for your good.

It’s a win-win situation.

I have been having issues with my car. Check engine light is on. With that you cannot pass inspection. I brought it to 3 mechanics and 2 car dealers. The light is still on. Apart from the fact that this problem is some kind of reason to get me to improve myself for a past misdeed – which I still must figure out which (as there are many 🙂 ), it has helped me to use my bicycle more and get more into shape. Look at the silver lining in each difficulty.

Think positive. Let’s work on ourselves to think of how we overcame difficulties, with G-d’s help, in the past to have a more positive outlook in the future. G-d expects it from us. G-d believes in us. Shouldn’t we believe in ourselves.

Source: Parasha Shelah’ Lekha in Bamidbar / Numbers

Can You Lift This? A Lesson from a Sanitation Worker

In New York City, 3 types of waste are collected.
– compost
recycling
– waste

Compost is organic material used to fertilize soil. I went out to talk with sanitation worker. I told him in some of our waste bins was compost. Apparently my compost bin was a bit heavy. He said pointing to te compost bin “Come here! Can you lift this?”

I tried. It was on the heavy side. I replied with a negative. “So how do you expect me to lift it?”

I learned several things from that short conversation. If you can’t lift something yourself – don’t expect others to. Meaning if you can’t lift a bag of waste don’t expect others to do it. Make your waste bags light enough that a normal person can lift.

Meaning – if you can’t run a marathon – don’t expect other average people to do so. If they are highly trained that’s another thing.

So really a person should not speak badly of others. “This guy steals pencils from his workplace.” But if you can’t refrain from doing the same don’t speak badly about him or her.

Or if you can’t do a difficult task don’t expect others to do it for you (unless you pay them).

Another Lesson – Get Help from others

It’s annoying when only after the situation has passed that you think of the perfect answer. I should have said “you could lift it with two people.” At times a person has a difficulty, problem or concern – if you can’t lift it by yourself – so ask another person to help you. Don’t try to lift your problem by yourself – turn to someone else who can help you lift your problem off your shoulders.