Aug 16, 2010

Important: A-Jewel-A-Day: Elul 6

Dear Chevreh,

Jewels of Elul is an incredible project spearheaded by our teacher Craig Taubman.  If you haven't tapped into the daily messages leading to Rosh HaShannah, today's jewel by Eli Broad (pasted below) should make clear why we all should.

Kol Tuv,

Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Congregation Netivot Shalom  ||  Bay Area Masorti  ||  || 
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Jewels of Elul VI - The Art of Beginning...Again

Elul 6

What If? by Eli Broad

It seems I was born without the gene that makes a person afraid to try new things.  I only know about this gene because I'm often asked, "Weren't you afraid when you started (fill in the blank)?"  The honest answer is always, "No, I wasn't."  This isn't because I am fearless, it's merely because it never occurred to me to be afraid. I simply asked myself, "What's the worst that can happen?"

During my life, I have launched many initiatives, and I can tell you: Beginnings are best.  They are moments of shining opportunity and exciting challenge.  They are ventures into an unknown that you then get to shape.  Thanks to the fact I was unconstrained by fear, I was able to create two Fortune 500 companies and am now, through our family's two foundations, working to improve K-12 education, discover cures for some of mankind's worst afflictions, and make the arts more accessible to more people.  
Of course, all beginnings do not end in success, and I have had my share of disappointments. But even these have been successes of a sort.  My initial hopes may not have been realized, but I was able to see how these concepts played out, learn from my mistakes, and then begin again. The answer to that question, "What's the worst that can happen?" has always been, "Not as bad as wondering 'what if?'"  It's far better to pursue an idea, a dream, or a relationship that doesn't work out, than to spend your life adrift in an ocean of regret.

Indeed, assuming you possess that pesky gene that discourages beginnings, may I suggest you turn it on its head and use it to your advantage.  The next time you find yourself not beginning something because you're afraid, simply view that fear as a certain sign that you should immediately roll up your sleeves … and begin.  

Eli Broad is an American philanthropist residing in Los Angeles.