Minute #605: Psycho-Armor

“I’m excited!” Yosef exclaimed. “This is going to be big! It’s sorely needed and I believe the potential is unlimited.”

“I don’t think it will work; it’s just too massive a project,” Yissachar commented. “That’s probably why no one has done it up to now.”

“All big things start small,” Yosef insisted. “Saying ‘maybe no one has done it’ would have prevented most improvements people have made over the last 5,000 years. Innovative ideas have created institutions and devices that have improved the quality of life from generation to generation.”

“I know that,” Yissachar said. “But we don’t have the money! We don’t have the organization! We don’t have the background! Need I go on?”

“Maybe you’re right,” Yosef yielded. “Maybe it’s an idea whose time has not yet come.”

Pessimism is a disease of the mind that inhibits a person’s ability to achieve. Success may be reachable, yet a negative attitude will prevent one from taking the necessary steps to bring an idea to fruition. Many who could have been successful remained anonymous, mundane members of society rather than contributors to the world’s improvement because they saw challenges as insurmountable problems.

But the negative effects of pessimism don’t remain confined to the negative person. Pessimism is contagious. People have an inborn fear of failure. They regard embarrassment as tantamount to death. “Why expose myself to ridicule?” is the mantra of failure. One may start off with an enthusiastic, optimistic approach to a project only to fall prey to another who paints challenges the color of obstacles. Little hills are portrayed as mountains and may deter even the most positive of people from proceeding to overcome a challenge.

Don’t give in to defeatist attitudes. Do your part and pray that Hashem will provide achievement and success.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

The Talmud (Shabbat 32a) warns that we should be careful not to stand in a place where we are endangering our lives. The Chazon Ish commented that this is true with physical dangers; all the more so we should be careful not to place ourselves in a situation where our souls are in danger (Emunah U’bitachon, 4:9). (Rabbi Zelig Pliskin, Gateway to Happiness, p. 264)