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The Twelve Steps to Goal Setting, Yosef’s Way

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In recent times, many books have been written on the subject of ‘Goal Setting’. These books explain how you can become a high achiever and succeed in today’s world. The gist of their suggestions is: “Aim for the stars and you’ll reach the moon”. They use examples of sports players who have won gold medals, politicians who reached positions of power, and people who have become financially successful. They use these techniques of encouraging people to emulate these success stories on a regular basis, either consciously or subconsciously, and they have been immensely successful as these books certainly sell! These books suggest that we use the sporting, business, political heroes as role models, and urge the reader to: “Do what they did, and you get the same results they got. If it worked for them, it will work for you”. Credit: Unsplash

Our Sages teach us that if you want to know whether something is good for us, examine what the Torah has to say about it. If it is good, the Torah will allow it, and if it is not, the Torah will instruct us not to do it. The Torah is called ‘Toras Chaim’, a Torah of life, so that following the ways of the Torah not only provides us with a reward in the World to Come but also guarantees a meaningful and satisfying life in this world as well.

Here is an example. In the late seventies- early eighties, there was a major shift in the role society wanted fathers to play at the time of childbirth. Until then, fathers had to wait outside the delivery room until after the baby was born. The new trend, however, claimed that it was very important for the father to be present inside the delivery room at the time of birth. The reason? The father’s presence meant that a firm bond would be formed between father and baby right from the moment of birth. The assumption was that by the father participating in the birth experience, a bond between the father the mother and the newborn child would be established, as they would have shared the experience of the birth.

At that time, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein a”h, along with various other Poskim, announced the following p’sak din. It read that according to Halacha it is forbidden for a husband to be present in the delivery room at the time of childbirth.

The publication of this ruling resulted in a huge outcry. – “How can the Rabbis refute what everyone in the medical field is saying?” But there were also those who argued, “Maybe times have changed. Now that doctors have discovered how important this bonding is, the Rabbis should find a way to allow it?” (Which reminds me- someone once complained to me, “who knows what we are missing out because the Rabbis are not telling us?”)

There is another very simple but unique approach. Regardless of what the doctors were saying, the simple fact that the Torah forbade it was proof enough that it could not be any good!

Indeed, in recent years, new evidence is emerging, suggesting that it can actually be quite damaging for the relationship, if the father is in fact present in the delivery room at childbirth.

So, let’s go back to Goal Setting and see if we can get some free advice from the Torah, without having to spend millions of dollars on research, or even $25 to buy a regular ‘Goal Setting Self-help’ book.

Rule 1: Desire It Advertisement

Desire is one of the highest powers of the soul, as without desire nothing would ever be achieved. No person, who attains the state of a happy marriage, financial security, and spiritual fulfillment, does so by accident. I have never heard a principal of a school or a president of any organization say, “I can’t understand how it all happened! I just woke up one morning and I found myself here as principal or president…”

Yosef had a vision. He wanted to be in a position where he could make a difference to the world. He wanted this so strongly and thought about it so much that he even had two dreams about it. It is for this reason that his brothers were so angry with him. They understood that what he spoke of was not merely a dream; it was a clear and strong desire, and they interpreted it to mean that he wanted to rule over them.

Rule 2: Be a Dreamer

All significant reality begins with a dream. The great achievers throughout time started their life’s journey with a dream. The definition of a dream is a vision that sounds and looks impossible when you measure it against your current stage in life and your past life’s experiences. The example of Yosef, dreaming at the age of seventeen, that one day he would be a king, regardless of current and past experiences, illustrates the powerful possibilities that can be initiated by a dream. What you need to decide is that the “past does not equal the future” and that you are prepared to take on and accomplish something that you have never done before! Advertisement

When you were a baby, you did not decide that judging by your past experiences, there was no way you would ever be able to walk. If you were to have adopted this approach, you would not be on your feet today. What did you do? You decided simply that you would go ahead and try. True, in the process, you fell a number of times, but nevertheless, you continued trying until the impossible happened, and your dream became a reality. The same method that worked then, can be applied to anything else you are prepared to dream about.

Rule 3: Be Careful Who You Share Your Goal With

In life, there are always some people around you (and you’d better find out who they are quickly if you don’t yet know) who feel that the pie called ‘Life’ is not big enough for everyone and that if you are going to have a part of it, they will be losing out. Know one thing – don’t ever share your dreams, goals and aspirations with them. They will try to undermine you.

Because Yosef shared his dreams with his brothers, indirectly caused their hatred of him to increase. Perhaps........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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