Archive for the ‘Business and Maggidut’ Category

New Beginnings

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Ten years ago, after returning from a vacation for my birthday, I was let go by the company I helped start ten years before that. In the intervening ten years, I’ve learned a lot about the healthcare industry, and have seen my career move forward quite nicely.

Now, ten years after that last dismissal, history has repeated itself, albeit without the benefit of a vacation! So I am embarked on yet another new beginning, where the paths are varied and not entirely clear.

I’ve grown a lot in the last decade, particularly Jewishly. I know that my real desire pulls me to work in that world, but this may or may not be the right decade for it.

So think of us, pray for us, and if you’re struck by an idea as to where I might find an opportunity – particularly within the Jewish world! – please let me know.

Yesterday, I told one of my favorite stories at the Christian Science Reading Room: the story of Simcha Bunim who, when faced with financial ruin, trusted that something better was on its way. When at the last moment a philanthropist offered him a job, he turned it down, and instead proposed that she take him on as an equal partner. She appreciated his hutzpah and took him on and, of course, the story ends happily. When asked by his Rebbe why he took such a chance, Bunim replied: “I knew the gates of heaven were opening; I thought I might be able to open them a little wider.”

May it be so for all of us.

Learning and Motivation

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Summarized from “How We Decide,” by Jonah Lehrer, 2009:

In the 1990’s, research was conducted on over 400 fifth grade students in a dozen NYC schools. Each student was given a very simple set of puzzles to solve, and then told (no matter what the outcome) one of two things: “You’re really smart at this,” or “I can see you worked very hard at this.”

Each student was then given the choice of working with a hard puzzle or an easy puzzle. 90% of the ones praised for their efforts took the hard puzzle; most of the ones praised for their success took the easy one.

Then each student was given a very difficult puzzle, and was told that it was a hard puzzle, but that they would learn a lot from working at it. Those who had been praised for their efforts worked long and hard at it, and most declared that it was the best puzzle so far. Most of those praised for their success gave up quickly.

Finally, each student was given the original puzzles to solve. Those who had been praised for their success suffered a 20% reduction in their performance.

This has implications for our secular and spiritual lives.

Do we seek success or struggle? Do we expect G!d to answer our prayers, or wrestle with us? Do we ask our colleagues to play it safe, or stretch themselves – and us?

To rephrase Ahnold: “Come with me, if you want to wrestle!”

The Maggidut of Listening

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

We had an interesting session at Vital Conversations last night; the guest spoke about his wrestling with his faith, and how when he finally was ready to truly doubt he finally began to really live.

He is, amongst other things, a professional counselor, and so some of the conversation turned to what is required to build trust, love and relationship between people; truly listening was the obvious foundation.

So what does listening have to do with maggidut – often thought of inspirational telling?