Minute #582: Stop Sign

“I’m so frustrated,” Mrs. Bunim said. “I never seem able to do what I would like to do. I have so many good ideas as to how to help others, but they never materialize. I also come up with ways to improve myself and correct my flaws but they, too, somehow seem to fail as well. What’s a person to do?”

Mrs. Eichler listened attentively. She paused a moment to consider her friend’s dilemma and then, with an understanding smile, said, “When you’re driving your car, you often stop. It may be a stop sign, or perhaps a red traffic signal. Perhaps there is an obstacle in the middle of the road or maybe a school bus dropping off children. In any event, before you can move, the obstacle has to be removed. Can you tell me what’s stopping you from doing all these positive things that you think about?”

“I don’t know, exactly,” Mrs. Bunim replied. “Why is that important?”

“If you identify the problem, you’ll have taken the first step to solving the problem,” Mrs. Eichler said.

Knowing what’s stopping you from doing what you’d like enables you to move the obstacle out of the way and proceed forward.

If you lack knowledge, you must get information that will empower you to succeed. If you lack assets, your attention must be focused on financial techniques to supply the needed capital. Sometimes the problem is fear or anxiety created by visions of failure. You might know someone who has succeeded who might be able to alleviate your doubts by explaining how s/he dealt with similar fears.

In any event, identifying the “stop sign” will empower you to overcome any difficulty with positive results. Clear your path and get moving.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

By articulating your convictions and knowledge to others, you will clarify and reinforce them in yourself. … Rabbi Salanter goes so far as to say that by guiding others you will be transformed, attaining levels of mitzvot and holy thoughts that you previously thought were not within your reach. (Rabbi Zvi Miller, Windows of the Soul, p.156)