It’s hard to believe we are already halfway through the month of January. Some people are still working on their new year’s resolutions. Many of us, however, have already settled back into our old routines, and the dreams of working out every day, eating better, or getting up earlier are already distant memories. We might even feel a sense of disappointment or defeat against that one thing we were going to tackle in 2018, but seemingly failed to accomplish.
Nobody likes to fail. In fact, we often view failure as a negative thing. But what if we embraced it? What if, deep within disappointment and defeat, lies the secret to understanding, compassion, and a better appreciation of our successes? What if walking down a difficult path drives us to help others who may follow behind us?
I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal titled “‘I Wish You Bad Luck’, He Said with Good Intentions”, which highlighted Chief Justice John Roberts’ commencement address at his son’s ninth-grade graduation.
Among his remarks, Chief Justice Roberts said, “I hope that you will suffer betrayal, because that will teach you the importance of loyalty… I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the roll of chance in life, and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either… I hope you’ll be ignored so that you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion.”
Although his remarks seemed tough at first, I quickly understood his words. In life, we will experience failure, bad luck, and pain. It’s inevitable. It’s what we do with that experience that counts.
Not only do hardships make us appreciate the good in our lives, but it also can drive us to give back to others who may experience some of the same pain, disappointments and bad luck we experienced before them.
Although I personally don’t wish anyone bad luck or disappointment, I hope if you do experience hardships in your life, you know the Jewish Federation and our local Jewish community are here to support you and help you.