Be consistent in your actions
One of the most challenging aspects of creating a New Year’s resolution is that as human beings we are often so overwhelmed by the gap between one’s ideal self and one’s present reality. As a result, we may feel despondent and give up too soon.
I would like to explore a powerful tool that can be used by all individuals that yearn for self-actualisation.
We learn about Rabbi Akiva, who was a simple shepherd and completely illiterate at the age of forty. However, despite his age and educational limitations he set his mind to start learning the Aleph Bet with the intention of becoming a Torah scholar. Through his hard work and dedication, Akiva was transformed from a simple shepherd into the greatest Sage of his generation with 24 000 students.
How is this possible? We are told that Rabbi Akiva accessed his inner ability and strength to grow when he witnessed how tiny drops of water had created a hole in a rock. The masters of the school of Mussar (introspection) explain that Rabbi Akiva asked himself – how is it possible that something as soft and ineffective as a little drop of water can carve a deep hole into something as hard and impenetrable as a huge rock? His answer was that this hole does not appear magically after many years. Rather, each drop of water creates an imperceptible minute dent in the rock.
It is not through making resolutions that we are able to self-actualise. If a person takes on an action but is not consistent in implementing that action on a regular basis they will not experience tangible growth.
Ironically, what creates the biggest difference in self-development is the antonym for change; consistency. Consistency enabled a simple shepherd to become one of the greatest Sages in Jewish history. If we apply the principle of consistency to our actions through our small yet consistent, positive acts, we will evolve into great individuals.
Therefore, it is not our actions in isolation that creates a tremendous change, but rather the consistency of our actions which is the difference that really makes a difference.
Rebbetzin Sara Ozhekh (Ohr Somayach) has worked extensively in the Jewish community, planning events, lecturing and working with at-risk teenagers and young adults. She is a qualified Jewish Marriage Education counsellor, has a degree in psychology and is aspiring to complete her qualification as a clinical psychologist.