Since Mr. Dichter worked at a sedentary job, he was punctilious about maintaining a rigid regimen of aerobic and strength-building exercises. Once a week he joined his contemporaries in a game of basketball. His strict adherence to his workout schedule made his doctor smile and say, “You’re one of my youngest patients for your age. Keep it up and let’s pray for many healthy years to come.”
“I’ve started to teach my son how to shoot baskets,” Mr. Dichter said. “At school he sits at a desk most of the day, with only a short break for physical activity.”
“It’s good to start them young. If he gets proficient he’ll enjoy it more and keep it up,” the doctor replied. “Is he a good shooter?”
“That’s what I’m working on now,” Mr. Dichter replied. “He shoots too high and is getting frustrated.”
“My dad taught me a good technique,” the doctor volunteered. “Have him shoot low but tell him to aim right over the top of the basket rim. If he doesn’t shoot too high it’ll go through the hoop.”
People who have high aspirations often develop low self-esteem because they fail to achieve their lofty goals. The failure to complete the task successfully makes them feel deficient. They don’t realize that in this world, perfection is the exception rather than the rule.
As a person ages and matures, it’s important to realize that in every area of life there are many acceptable levels of performance that might not be perfect. A failure should be a prompt to correct and try again. One should focus on improvement rather than perfection.
If one learns to set realistic goals one will achieve a higher score of successes. Shooting slightly higher than before rather than shooting too high will yield healthy self-esteem and a true realization of self-worth.
One More Second: Another Thought for the Day
A wise man once said, “No one ever insulted me more than once. The first time someone insults me I calmly accept it and remain silent. My ignoring the insult insures that the person does not repeat it.” (Rabbi Moshe Levinson, Maaneh Rach, Chap. 13)
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.