16 Sivan 5779 / Wednesday, June 19, 2019 | Torah Reading: Shelach Lecho
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Milestone Makers    

Milestone Makers

It only takes the first person to believe that something 'impossible' is possible, and to do it, to open the gates wide to a whole bunch of other people who can emulate…


Do you remember Roger Bannister? He was the first human to ever run a mile in less than four minutes. Before him, nobody else in history had managed to do that, so people thought it was an impossible feat. He came along, ran his four-minute mile, and set a new world record in the process. How did he do that? First, he worked on himself repeatedly; that meant he was out running and training. But before he got anywhere near realizing his goal of running a four-minute mile, he first conquered it in his head. Over and over, he imagined seeing himself crossing the finishing line at the four-minute mark.


Once he'd fixed that image in his head, his body just did what needed to be done. He stretched his mind, and his body followed along afterwards. But it wasn't enough just to visualize and to practice, he also had to do these things in a happy state of mind. If Roger Bannister had been training in a depressed state of mind, with all sorts of negative ideas in his head, like his strength's going to fail at the last minute; or that he's going to get nervous and seize up; or that he's going to fall over - then no matter how many hours he'd have spent physically training, he would have still been conditioning himself to fail, mentally.


The mind has to be clean and focused on the right things and imagining success. In Bannister's case, he was obviously successful. Interestingly, in the next two years after he broke that world record, 37 other people also became four-minute-milers. All of a sudden, it wasn't so hard. They saw that this guy can stretch himself and do it, and so could they.


It works that way in other areas of human endeavor, too. It only takes the first person to believe that something 'impossible' is possible, and to do it, to open the gates wide to a whole bunch of other people who can emulate, and even surpass, that initial achievement.


One guy proved you could make a million in one day on the internet, and then others saw that it could be done, and started trying to make a million in an hour.


This is all great when it works. But my question is this: what happens when all that positive visualization, and believing we can achieve amazing things, doesn't work? What if you go to the event, or the seminar, and you buy all the DVDs, and you pump yourself up, and you get into a 'peak state' just like they recommend, and you're thinking positively - but it still just doesn't go?


Let's say you start a new business, and it flops… How are you going to unlock your power now? Where is your power, even?


This whole question of where your power is, is crucial. Because the 'power' we have is not actually in our hands. The power we have to achieve or accomplish something, to make a lot of money, to grow in wisdom, or to have a great relationship with our spouse - that's not our power. We've been given that power from Above.


There are two ways of looking at the world, two main choices we can make:


Choice one:


Is to believe that we run the world, and we can shape our own destiny, and we can carve our own success. At most, there is maybe 1-2% of the world's population who can even come close to claiming this, people like Roger Bannister, or all those successful 'entrepreneurs' in the world who are rich and getting richer by the day. According to this philosophy, the only reason there are poor people in the world is because those poor people aren't buying motivational DVDs, or attending self-help seminars, or going for personal coaching.


Choice two:


This is the authentic Jewish choice that says that G-d is running the world, and that the world isn't running itself, with a bit of help from us. This choice says that the world is being run by a Supreme Intelligence, or Supreme Being, who is kind and benevolent, and who has His own wisdom about what's really good for us, His creations. And usually, we don't have an inkling of what that might be, as so many of us are walking around in the dark, and we have no idea who's plan we are really following, or whether our own plans are going to materialize.


The people in the first group believe that they can plan and design life. We say: you can't. But the advantage of being part of the second group is that when things don't come easy, and when they don't go to plan, and when they don't work out - if we still have faith, then we still have all the tools and strategies available to us to turn those failures into real successes.


In fact, the tools that are available to the people in the second group may be even more powerful when things aren't going to plan, because when people get stuck and they can see that secular methods haven't worked for them, they are ready to put themselves whole-heartedly into the truly effective alternative.



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We invite you to visit Dr. Zev Ballen's popular daily web journal Spiritual Coaching.

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