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How Valuable Are You?

May 23, 2019

How valuable are you?

What is the value of your life?

Do you let others determine your value?

Another story* of  Grandfatherly advice  

A little boy went to his grandfather and asked him, “What is the value of life grandfather?”

The grandfather gave him a stone and said, “First I want you to find out the value of this stone, but don’t sell it.”

The boy took the stone to a fruit vendor and asked him what its value would be.

The vendor saw the shiny stone and said, “How about you can take a dozen apples and give me the stone.”

The boy apologized and said that his grandfather had asked him not to sell it.

He went ahead and found a vegetable vendor.

“What could be the value of this stone?” he asked the vegetable vendor.

He saw the shiny stone and said, “How about you take a sack of potatoes and give me that stone.”

The boy again apologized and said he couldn’t sell it.

Further ahead, he went into a jewelry shop and asked the value of the stone.

The jeweler saw the stone under a lens and said, “I will give you one million dollars for this stone.”

The boy was surprised, but explained that he couldn’t sell the stone.

Further ahead, the boy saw a large shop of precious stones and asked the value of this stone.

When the precious stone shop owner was an expert in these matters. When he saw the stone, he lay down a cloth and put it on it.

Then he walked in circles around the stone and bent down and scratched his head in front of it. “From where did you bring this priceless uncut diamond from?” he asked.

“Even if I sell everything I own, my whole shop, I won’t be able to purchase this priceless diamond.”

Stunned and confused, the boy returned to his grandfather and told him what had happened.

His grandfather said,

“The answers you got from the fruit vendor, the vegetable vendor, the jeweler and the precious stone’s expert explain the value of your life.

You are a precious stone, even priceless, but, some people may value you based on their own limited perceptions, beliefs, motives and expectations.

For this reason it is important to value yourself. Respect yourself. No longer indulge in meaningless comparisons with others. For you are unique, original and the only one of your kind in this universe. This is the value of your life.

May you value the diamond in yourself and recognize the diamond in others as well.”


Be Good Do Good Think Good

* I wish I knew the origin of this story so that I could give proper attribution

Forgive and Forget??

May 16, 2019

A question arises from the last post (click here to read or re-read) about being thankful for that which is hateful to you, being done to you.  The question is, should you also be thankful to the person that did it?

As the last post said, be thankful for “that which is hateful to you”, being done unto you.  Thankful for the lesson it can teach you.  Simply stated, be thankful for the incident.  From the incident you can learn to not do that to another.

That doesn’t necessarily mean being thankful to the person who did it to you.  It also doesn’t mean to respond in-kind to that person.  It also doesn’t mean be angry and let anger overcome your ability to grow forward.

“Anger begins with madness and ends with regret.” – Ben Hamelech V’Hanazir

“He who angers you conquers you.” – Elizabeth Kenny

There is forgiving and there is forgetting.  We have all been there, here are some reminders on how not to stay there.

First, never forget, for forgetting is forgetting the lesson.  The lesson is what you carry with you to grow forward, consciously and eventually subconsciously/automatically.  The key is the strength to carry the lesson with you, not allowing the incident to be an anchor.

“To survive tragedy and trauma, first build the future. Only then, remember the past.” – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

As for forgiving, there is more than one variety.  Forgive to and for yourself, which is to say let go, so that you don’t get stuck with anger, resentment, or responding in kind.  That doesn’t necessarily mean automatically forgive the offender.

To Grow, Let Go

“Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting.” – William Arthur Ward

To an un-kind act or words, do not respond in-kind?  If you do, you allow it to take you down.  So resist that instinct and remind yourself that you can always elevate yourself.

“Don’t carry a grudge. While you’re carrying a grudge the other guy is dancing.” – Buddy Hackett

In order to completely forgive the offender directly, requires a form of apology acceptable to you in deeds and not just words.  That way you can completely let go and they can learn a lesson as well.

“An apology might help, but you can change your life without one”. – Robin Quivers

“Forgivness happens when we realize that our connection towards the person is much deeper than the act that separated us”. – Unknown

If you have forgiven the offender you must recognize that your forgiving should not lend itself to consciously and/or repeatedly exposing yourself to un-kind. Your kindness to un-kind has limits. If your kindness doesn’t lend itself to a re-examination from the un-kind one, you need to protect yourself.

For more on “kind or in-kind” (click here to read the series).  It discusses how to always respond and also protect yourself.

Be Good Do Good Think Good 

Be a Do-Gooder

April 16, 2019

Some more thoughts on doing good

In addition to learning to not do unto others “that which is hateful to you”, don’t let what was done unto you lead you to anger.  If it leads you to anger, you will at best be stuck where you are.

“Anger begins with madness and ends with regret.” – Ben Hamelech V’Hanazir

Instead be thankful for “that which is hateful to you”, being done unto you.  Thankful for the lesson it can teach you.  If everything happens for a reason, and it does, then what was done to you, is a lesson of what not to do to others.  If you are open to the lesson and use it, you will begin doing good or saying a good more often.

Think of a situation where you treated someone in a way that was good, kind, or helpful that was a result of your remembering the opposite being done to you.  Would you have done the good without the lesson.

“Experience is the best teacher, and the worst experiences teach the best lessons.” – Unknown

“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” – Tom Bodett

Then there are the unintendeds or unexpecteds of whatever we say or do.

When we do or say good, the unintendeds or unexpecteds will be more good for the initial recipient, you, and/or others.

When we do or say not so good, there are the consequences, which are not good.  The consequences, which you may think are unintended, shouldn’t be unexpected.  These unintended negative consequences will affect the initial recipient, you, and/or others, but obviously not in a good way.

Remembering this should help you in doing and saying good all the time.  Wouldn’t that be good.

With practice and more practice you will eventually do good simply because it’s good.

Then you will be following Maimonides advice

“do what is right because it is right”

Heart and Soul




Word Changes Or Sunny-mantics

April 4, 2019

We cannot control that which comes our way, but we can control how we respond.  In order to respond in a way that keeps you climbing your mountain, start with having a positive attitude.

In Dr. Viktor Frankl famous book “Man’s Search for Meaning”, he shows us that one can endure the unendurable and unimaginable, and still have a positive attitude.  He did this and witnessed this when he was in Auschwitz.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstances, to choose one’s own way”. – Dr. Viktor Frankl from “Man’s Search for Meaning”

Change your words and change your outlook

A positive attitude can be attained and maintained by reframing the thoughts and words we say to ourselves and others.  Changing your thoughts through word changes, will produce a different mindset, attitude, and mood.  Then you can continue to make progress or you will be stuck where you are or worse.

Here are some examples

We are often asked “How is life treating you”? That question creates a mindset of us as victims of circumstance. The question really should be “How are you treating life”?  Thinking that way creates a positive attitude shift.

“It did not matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us.” – Viktor Frankl speaking of himself and other inmates of Auschwitz from “Man’s Search for Meaning”

I once asked someone how they were late one afternoon, having sensed that he was troubled about something.  He said, “not so good, it’s been a tough day, tomorrow might be better”.  I said “today’s not over, why wait until tomorrow”.  His face went from a frown to a big smile.  He said enthusiastically “you’re right, Thank you”.

I have a good friend named Steve.  Whenever I spoke to Steve, his greeting was “Hello” and instead of the standard “how are you”, he would say, “tell me something good”.  So if you were feeling down and were about to kvetch if he asked how you were, now you didn’t or couldn’t.  You stopped and thought about something that was good in your life, and there always is.  This causes a tremendous attitude shift and sets the tone for at least the rest of the day.

These are a some examples of those seemingly small word changes that often produces a big change.  Some of these word changes might be called semantics.  Instead let’s call them “sunny-mantics”

Heart and Soul

Using the comment box share any Sunny-mantics you use or have heard

What Is Doing Good?

March 12, 2019

In the last post it was said “we do good by doing a good”.  That might raise the question of just what is good or a good?

We know, it comes under the headings of kindness, compassion, a listening heart, charity,…….

So how do you do good or a good, or know what is good?

Let’s start with

“That which is hateful to you, do not do unto others” – Hillel.

Make a list of “that which is hateful to you”.  As you make the list, think of the times that those things were done to you and how that made you feel.  Keep in mind that done to you also means said to you.  Remember the list and let it be a guide as you are about to do to another or say to another.

Just like the development of any good habit, with enough repetition, you won’t have to consciously refer to the list.

The people you come into contact with might consciously or unconsciously pick up that same habit.  Wouldn’t that be good!

Never forget in all you say and do to elevate yourself.  Never allow an unkind to cause you to respond in kind.

Here are some things I’m sure we would all not find hateful done unto us and therefore these are good to do unto others

Always wear a smile

Make someone smile or laugh

Actually listen to the answer when you ask someone how they are and respond accordingly

tell someone who matters to you, that they do and how much

stay in touch and return phone calls, texts, emails……

Keep promises

Visit the sick


Give charity

By using the comment box, Please share with me and the other readers what else you think belongs on the list

Heart and Soul


P.S. I wrote this as a reminder to you as well as to myself.

The Best-Est, Cont’d

February 26, 2019

As was said in the last post, your quest to be the best (est) starts with “Love your fellow as yourself”.  In order to properly “love your fellow”, you have to love yourself first.  What fellow wants you to love them as yourself, if you don’t love yourself?

To love yourself begins with internalizing through constantly reminding yourself of the words of the Grandfather, “No one ever was or ever will be made just like you.  You are a gift and have a gift.  G-d gave you life and gave us you for a very, very special reason”.

In other words, you matter.  You are not just matter, it’s you that matters.

You are here on purpose for a purpose.  While you may not know your specific purpose, know this, It’s to do good by doing a good.  So by endeavoring to always do good, you will accomplish your specific purpose sooner or later.  You will accomplish it even though you may not know it.  That’s okay because you’re doing good and that’s all that matters.

Always doing good by doing a good is like shooting an arrow at a target with a very large bullseye.  Every good done is a bullseye.

The more good you do, the more you will love yourself, and be truly able to love your fellow.

Then you will be the Best-Est you.  You will love being you.

When the great Rabbi Zusha was on his deathbed, He was surrounded by family, friends, and students. They saw him crying and asked if he was crying because he feared death. He explained that he wasn’t afraid of dying. He was afraid that when he died and met G-d, he wouldn’t be asked why he wasn’t more like Moses or Abraham; he would be asked why he wasn’t more like Zusha.

Heart and Soul


The Best-Est

February 7, 2019

This is a story about a young boy, let’s call him Isaac, who like so many others wanted to be the Best, at least at something.

He came home from his first day in kindergarten so very excited and happy.  His Mother asked him what he was so happy about.  He told her that he “was the Tallest in the class”.  The next year, when he came home from his first day in the First Grade, he was sad.  His Mother asked him why he was sad.  He said that he was “no longer the Tallest”.

A little later that year, in P.E., they had a race.  He came home that day happy again.  Why, because he was the Fastest.  A little later that year, there was a race for the whole grade.  He came home sad that day.  Again, his Mother asked him why he was sad.  He said that he was “no longer the Fastest”.

This went on and on with spelling bees, I.Q. tests, other contests in P.E., best looking, and………

Now he was sad a lot of the time.  His Mother reminded him that his Grandfather, was a very learned and wise man.  She took him to see his Grandfather.  He told his Grandfather why he was sad.

His Grandfather told him that he knew of the one thing that he could be the very best of in the whole wide world.  Young Isaac was so excited to hear what that was.  His Grandfather told him that “you could be the very best you ever.  No one could be better at being you and who you are meant to be than you.  No one ever was or ever will be made just like you.  You are a gift and have a gift.  G-d gave you life and gave us you for a very, very special reason.

Isaac asked him, what was the gift and reason?  He was told “Let’s start with “love your fellow as yourself”*, and when you’re ready we’ll talk some more”.

Isaac was now so excited and the sadness melted away as he believed and followed his Grandfathers words and advice.  He never forgot his Grandfathers words.

The Grandfathers words are a lesson and reminder that applies to each and every one of us, young or not.  Internalize and carry this thought with you every day.

Heart and Soul

To be continued

*Leviticus 19:18



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