A baseball player who fails to hit safely seven out of ten chances at bat commands a salary of millions of dollars.
What is the determination of our personal success? How do we define fulfillment and how do we confront failure?
In Moses final address to the Jewish people in the Bible he addresses these questions. He reminds the Jewish people of all 42 locations of the journeys during the 40 years of wandering in the desert. Place after place is mentioned. Why does Moses remind them and what does the list convey?
The answer emerges from Moses words themselves. The journeys are described as “their goings out” and “their journeys”. Moses encourages the Jewish people to see themselves not as only traveling from their former home but to their desired destination. Every stop and experience is an opportunity for growth and learning.
As Hank Aaron said “I have always felt that although someone may defeat me and I strike out, the pitcher on that day was the best player. But I know that when I see him again, I am going to be ready for his curve ball. Failure is a part of success. Failure will never stand in the way of success if you learn from it.”
Like the Jews in the desert, our lives are always moving forward, changing and hopefully growing. Rabbi David Aaron suggests” We are not really human beings: we are actually human becomings. The mistake people make is in thinking that there is some moment in the future when they reach their goal, when they are going to be happy. The goal is not be happy…but to be in rhythm with the movement of life, living the entire spectrum of human experience and this unique challenge and opportunity for growth each situation offers.”
Every day is an opportunity for growth. Think about a recent setback you experienced. How did you respond? No matter how difficult problems your problems were, the key to overcoming them does not lie in changing your circumstances. It is in changing yourself.
Remember the perspective of the late Senator Sam Ervin Jr. “Defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out.”
Rabbi Daniel Cohen