A little different from my usual weekly musings on Torah topics, something on the weekly Parasha, a little gentle rebuke or not so gentle a rebuke, this week, I would like to share with you an idea that I came across in the writings of Rabbi Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of Great Britain. You know by now that I appreciate “signs” from heaven, so when I saw the same idea in 3 places I reckon it was my cue to sit down and share this with those of you who have not seen it yet.
What would you pay for the single most significant ingredient to ensure success for your children and loved ones? If you are normal I would guess a lot. Well don’t worry because this advice is absolutely free. And I believe it will resonate well in all of those who will hear it.
Allow me to quote verbatim “What makes some children succeed while others fail? More generally, what drives some people to great achievement while others languish, their dreams unfulfilled? That is the question that intrigued American writer Paul Tough. His answer is contained in his book How Children Succeed, published last month.
Tough discovered that what makes the difference is not intelligence, skill or native ability. It isn’t cognitive at all. The difference, he argues, lies in character, in traits such as discipline, persistence, self-control, zest, gratitude, optimism, curiosity, courage and conscientiousness. One dimension, though, matters more than all the others. He calls it grit: the ability to keep going despite repeated failures and setbacks.
People with grit grow. People without it are either defeated by life’s challenges or – more likely – become risk-averse. They play it safe”. So the one essential ingredient is GRIT. It encapsulates determination, strength of character, to just keep going till you are have done exactly what you set out to do.
Avraham Avinu was 75 when he set out on his mission. He is tested with 10 of the most difficult trails and not even one of them, nor all 10 combined could cause him to veer off his chosen path. Imagine what kind of a world we would now have sans the influence of Avraham and his descendants to this day! If we want it, it is in our spiritual genes to access whenever we want.
Says Chief Rabbi Sacks “The greatest source of grit I know, the force that allows us to overcome every failure, every setback, every defeat, and keep going and growing, is faith in God’s faith in us.” Could not have said it better myself.
Rabbi David Shaw