OUR SPIRITUAL DNA
The Almighty Himself encoded inside each and every person a unique and individual system, our spiritual DNA. As the Talmud says, "The Almighty created every single individual in his own unique way" (Sanhedrin 37a). Although it is known that no two human beings are exactly physically alike, this DNA system is not a physical system but a spiritual one, a DNA that no microscope can decode. These core character traits are responsible for influencing the choices we make in life, the jobs we choose, the spouses we marry, and, ultimately, the person we become. When a person makes a major accounting of who he actually is, an accounting that spans the history of his life, he will realize that there are unique natural strengths that have always been present. These are not learned or acquired skills, but rather innate natural strengths that have formed major parts of their personality.
LET'S GET STARTED...
The first step in all personal growth is to gain awareness of who we really are. This process, applied in a personalized, systematic way in every one of the Seminar Options, involves paying close attention to our lives, the details of our inner world. We tend to waste so much of life constantly looking to the left or right of us for direction. It is time to start looking at ourselves. Many of us live our lives without deeply considering how the Almighty wants us to live. However, amazingly, the answer to so many of the questions with which we wrestle as individuals throughout our lives is encoded in our own unique spiritual DNA. The system of Greatness Within Seminars deciphers that DNA. It provides exercises that give you a clear picture of your true self and underscores all of the positive, unique aspects of your personality.
THE STANDARD APPROACH
When people think about living a life of greatness, their thoughts usually center around developing and perfecting their character. Today's standard approach to character development is to help a person move beyond the character traits that make him feel insecure or limited in life, by helping him expunge certain negative tendencies and traits in his personality. The expectation is that he will no longer be weighed down and will be free to live the life he desires.
This approach has been generally ineffective, primarily because of an intrinsic flaw in the assumption on which it is based. This approach assumes that people have total clarity about who they are, what their strengths are, and what they seek in life, and thus it asserts that if their burdens in life - that is, all of the character traits that prevent them from becoming who they really want to be - would be removed, they immediately would begin to rise to greatness. However, the truth is that people do not have such clarity, so training them to expunge their negative traits leaves them just as confused as before.
THE HOT AIR BALLOON THEORY
Take, for example, a hot air balloon. Before the balloon takes off,
it is tied to the ground by a series of ropes. When the ropes are
released, the balloon remains on the ground, contrary to what one
would expect. It begins its upward soar only when the fire switch is
pulled from within the cockpit. The heat gives the balloon the force
that it needs to defy gravity and soar upwards. We are the balloon,
and the ropes are our negative character traits. We assume that if
we just release the ropes, we will soar upwards. But in reality,
releasing the ropes does nothing; ropes released, we remain on the
ground, stuck motionless. On one hand, we are no longer tied to the
ground, but on the other hand, we are not rising towards the clouds.
Soaring requires something more than releasing the ropes.
Greatness Within Seminars provides the flame that will help us
Greatness Within Seminars presents an approach to character development from a new direction. Instead of attacking character development from where we are going wrong in life, we take the novel but logical approach of attacking it from where we are going right in life. We spend so much of our lives focusing on where we are lacking. Now is the time to shift our focus to a new focal point: where we are great - our natural strengths.
Working on the areas in life in which we are lacking is a secondary step to growth. Of course it is important to focus on our shortcomings, but at what stage of the growth process should we do so? When a person is not yet living his life exactly as he wants, he cannot have clarity on what his personality really lacks. Of course, we all have issues of jealousy, insecurity, anger, etc., but most of us spend too much time analyzing them and validating them when, in reality, if we lived a more fulfilled life, a life lived at maximum capacity, these issues would have far less influence in our lives, and perhaps have even no influence at all.
A more significant secret underlies the approach we seek to take. Let us consider again the example of the hot air balloon. When the balloon is tied to the ground, logic tells us that everything will remain stationary; the balloon will not move. The reality is that even when the balloon is tied to the ground, it is possible that if one gives it enough fire the balloon will begin to soar upwards, ripping the ropes from the ground with brute force. With this dynamic upward movement, we become empowered with an awesome direction and energy for our existence. As a result of this formula, we often discover that so many of the things that we thought were holding us back no longer exist, and those areas of our lives that truly need to be fixed become so much easier to fix. This phenomenon occurs as a result of two factors:
First, living in accordance with our absolute potential gives a lot of momentum to our lives. Momentum empowers us to work on things that are more difficult, since the negative trait no longer dominates our entire existence.
Second, we will be able to identify clearly each issue. When we attempt to fly a hot air balloon while it is still attached to the ground, there will always be a few ropes that stubbornly refuse to break, unlike the other ones that snapped instantaneously when the initial upward tension was applied.
A healthy engagement with life begins today. Many people are unaware that although they feel happy and successful, they are living life at only sixty percent of their capacity. They are like a person who drives a brand new Porsche, thinking that he is driving at maximum speed while the car is only in second gear. Whether your car is in second gear or you are driving closer to your maximum capacity in fifth gear, in today's world nothing short of full speed should satisfy one who is striving for greatness. The more a person aligns his daily life with the tools and inspirations of his internal world, the more positive and enriched his existence will be. The vision of living such a vibrant and exciting life does not have to remain a dream. The choice to live that way is an option, waiting for us to choose it.
THREE FUNDAMENTAL JEWISH ESSAYS FOR FURTHER READING
Personal Growth: The Challenge of Our Generation - Based on an essay by Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe zt'l
An Excerpt from "Created in God's Image" - A talk by Rav Nosson Tzvi Finkel zt'l, the "Alter of Slobodka"
Know Your Own Strengths - Notes from the VAAD of Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe zt'l