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CHIZUK-----how to set priorities

MODERATOR Posted - 28 December 2005 5:10

Many posts have come in for the longest time asking for advice regarding setting priorities in life. "How do I know what's most important" type of thing, etc. Here's my advice:

Make believe that your doctor c"v told you that you have one week to live. What would you want to accomplish that week?

Those are your top priorities in life.

Then make believe that you had one month to live. What you would want to do during that month are your next level priorities.

Then make believe you only had one year to live. Your list of things you want to accomplish during that year are your third level priorities.

The things on this list are the most important things to you. The yare the things that will give you the most satisfaction in life. Make sure you don’t put them on the back burner.

One more important note: When making life decisions, teenagers - and adults - often think of "success" in terms of society's standards. In terms of career, they think doctor, lawyer, SVP, etc. This is a mistake. You need to focus not on what is considered "successful" in society, but on what will make you happiest and most productive. For this, you need good measure of independent thinking, which is a part of being mature enough to be ready to make these decisions. Not everyone is cut out to be what society considers "successful". If you try to satisfy secular society's standards, which has to do with how much money you make, or how much power you wield, you will make yourself into a robotic servant to standards arbitrarily set for you by others.

Hashem puts inside each of us a certain innate desire for a certain profession. He does this in order for the world can function properly. We need all kinds of people to make all kinds of contributions to the world. "Even a tanner's work (i.e. someone who processes hides of animals, a smelly, difficult job) is sweet to him. And Hashem did this on order for the world not to be missing any type of work." (Rashi Brachos 43b).

Instead of focusing on what Hashem put inside each of us that will make us happy, we tend to focus on what will make society happy with us. That’s a mistake. Everyone was put on this world d to make his own contribution -- in Gashmiyus or Ruchniyus. When we know enough about ourselves to realize what we are good at and what we will be successful at, and when we are mature enough to be able to pursue that path, then we are ready to make career decisions.

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