Minute 726: If It’s Not One Thing…

“I think we’ll be done soon,” Adam said. “It’s not what I expected, but at least I’ll be able to relax and get back to a normal work schedule.”

“Normal?” Isaac asked. “What’s normal? Before this problem arose we were involved in damage control on the Gleason project, and before that it was the fix on the computer glitch that was driving everyone crazy.”

“Now that you mention it, I think you’re right,” Adam admitted. “If it’s not one thing it’s another. Our lives are just a series of problems.”

Disappointment is a result of expecting perfection. One who expects that no one will ever be late, new products will always work exactly as described, and the easy-to-assemble will indeed be easy — will be disappointed more often than not. Flaws, delays and failures are not only common; they are the rule rather than the exception.

Some envision a trouble-free world when they reach the next stage of life. One who is at odds with siblings dreams of them moving out to establish homes of their own. Parents of young children fantasize about the day when they’ll all be married, the house will be neat and clean, and sleeping late will be possible once again. But the reality is that as soon as mom is done raising her brood, with Hashem’s help she becomes a grandma!

People dream of a perfect world: an 8-hour workday with a set time for lunch, a shiur that starts on time and goes on without interruption, a month without unexpected expenses. It would be nice — but one shouldn’t expect it. Life is a series of difficulties meant to refine and develop human character. A life without challenges is a life without growth.

One More Second: Another Thought for the Day

We have no problem finding even the smallest faults in others and in demanding that they adhere to a high standard, but we often fail to see similar faults in ourselves.

A wise man makes great demands of himself. He wants to meet his own criteria. He wants to see whether he can outdo his own record of achievements.

(Avi Shulman, Vitamins for the Spirit, p. 203)


Rabbi Raymond Beyda serves in the Sephardic Community in Brooklyn, N.Y. He lectures to audiences all over the world. He has distributed over 500,000 recorded lessons free of charge. He is author of the book 1 Minute With Yourself: A Minute a Day to Self-Improvement, Sephardic Press, 2008.