Ten Lessons from the Story of Creation (2 of 3) Steve Rosner

This is the second in our 3 part series of 10 lessons we all can learn from the Story of Creation. (See the archives for Parts 1 and 3.) Last week we discussed the first 3 lessons. This week we will propose 4 more.

So why not take advantage of the Best Teacher of all: God! For as any good teacher, God designed the Pentateuch to enable and encourage us use our minds and hearts so we can discover and mine the gold and diamonds that lie within.

Lesson 4: Savor Your Accomplishments.

Do you take the time to savor and enjoy what you have accomplished! Or are you off rushing to start the next project? If you are, it's about time you stopped and smelled the roses! Why start immediately on something new? Call your wife and/or best friend; parents or business colleagues: to tell them about what you have just completed. Or just stop to admire and congratulate yourself for your accomplishment. There is nothing wrong with that. If you finished a thesis, make copies and send it to your relatives. If you received a promotion after much hard work, let your closest buddies know and take them out to dinner. If you built a deck around your house, stop to take pictures. Send them via the internet to your friends.

Only keep a balance. It is not necessary to call everyone in the world; nor should you brag about your accomplishments. Be careful to distinguish between self-appreciation and boasting. Inform a few close friends, and let them inform others. As my father would tell me, quoting from the Talmud, "If you run after honor, it runs away from you, but if you don't seek it, it will come towards you."

Explanation: After each major task in the creation of our universe, God took time out to observe and evaluate it. (i.e. "It was good.") If He could do so—after all, is it possible God could do something that was NOT good—I believe it is a message to us that we can do so too. Now God stopped to enjoy His work once for each task, and once when Creation was completed. As humans, however, we probably could be a little more liberal and get the pleasure associated with reviewing our accomplishments and communicating it to others 3-4 times.

But again, don't overdo it. For example, as one who has written in many different genres, I would often re-read something I wrote half-a-dozen times or more, getting pleasure from my own writing each and every time. Then I'd solicit others to read it to them...I realize now that was a bit too much ego-gratification, and self-aggrandizement. Probably by the 7th time God was shaking His head. Fortunately, He has abundant mercy and let me get away with it. Still, that was a bit too much. Not to mention, God inspired my writing anyway and should have received al least some credit! For as the Bible teaches us, we should keep in mind from whence our blessings come.

...When thou have eaten and are full, and have built goodly homes, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou have is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt...And thou say in thine heart, 'My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.' But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that give thee power to gain wealth. (Deuteronomy 8:;12-18)

Lesson 5: Observe the Speed Limit!

Are you a workaholic who remains in the office, or works at home past 10, 11, even midnight to finish various tasks for the following day. What for? Truly, does anyone really care? Is it that critical for your firm, college, or place of business to have what you are working on first thing the next day—without which everything would cease and gridlock would ensue? Perhaps your dedication is just an escape, as an excuse not to attend to other matters. Or are you trying to please an insensitive boss who lacks wisdom pressuring you to do more than your job requires so he/she looks good? Give me—no, yourself—a break. Please! I worked long enough in corporations and I have observed first hand that 99 percent of the time what was stated to be most critical and needed ASAP, never was even made use of until days later, if that soon.

Are you driven to succeed; obsessed with goals; constantly rushing to get things done? Are you the type who must earn a B.A. in 3 years; become a chess master in a year; become a 10 handicap golfer in 6 months; build a deck in a weekend? SLOW DOWN! More than likely you'll burn yourself out before you are halfway through! Relax. Plan a strategy. Take the time you need on projects. Don't try to do a week's work in a day, a month's work in a week. Everything has a normal development cycle. Try to short-circuit it and you'll wind up in trouble. Resist those that would ask, or worse, demand, that something be completed more quickly than you know in your heart it can reasonably be done.

Explanation: God took 6 days to create our universe. Could he not have done it in a day. an hour, or a second, for that matter? So why are we always trying to do everything immediately. And too often, in business, being victim, or worse, demanding others to finish XYZ as of yesterday? That is insane! Learn this lesson well. Don't overburden others with impossible demands. That, I would aver, is morally wrong! Nor be subject to other's unreasonable pressure. That is plain foolish!

Lesson 6: Enjoy The Journey.

This is the psychological counterpart to Lesson 6. Are you totally goal oriented? Can you just see the finish line? Then, that's sad; indeed, tragic. Because once you get there, that precious moment will only last a minute or two.

Rather, begin to enjoy the process! The time you took to work on a project should be as joyous as the end result. We are far too much a goal oriented society. That is unfortunate and foolish! Life was not meant to achieve 100 goals and then die. You cannot take a Ph.D. (let alone 5 million dollars in the bank, a dozen two million dollar homes all over the world, or 666 pair of shoes to heaven(assuming you earned the right to get there). Do what is enjoyable and enjoy what you accomplish while doing it!

Explanation: Once again, the fact God took 6 days to create the universe should make the above obvious. He is teaching us that process is at least as important as results.

Lesson 7:Create "Form" before "Content."

I can testify to the above personally from my years as a programmer/analyst. How many times have I seen computer programmers sit down and start to "code" (write instructions for the computer) an hour after getting specifications(not smart and usually resulting in major problems upon system implementation). I, however, would sit and review what the end-user would need in my mind for hours at a time. Then I would begin to think about the overall architecture of the system I would be designing. Eventually I'd put it on paper and review it once again. Only then would I be ready to begin programming. I often would not write one line of code until weeks or more. (I always wondered whether management, seeing me sitting at my desk apparently doing nothing, thought I was not working very hard(especially during the days I was a consultant, being paid by the hour) Anyway, invariably I finished my projects on or before schedule, and my system worked with very few problems.

Explanation: God, the ultimate architect, had a plan. He did not make our universe haphazardly. He first created the structure, separating the waters by creating a firmament (heaven) and then gathering the waters under the firmament together, and creating dry land (earth). Only later did He start adding content: the vegetation. fish, birds, animals, and ultimately, we, humans.


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He who cannot make up his mind, who will not introduce his soul to the Bible until the reasons for its divine dignity have gone all the way to meet his mind, is like a person who refuses to look at a painting before he can decipher the name of the artist signed at its corner. He does not realize it is the work which identifies the signature. Signatures may be forged, a work of art must be created.

Abraham Joshua Heschel

Articles in Steve's Page are designed to get one to think critically; to look beyond the superficial and the obvious. Why not spend 20-30 minutes or so, with a loved one if possible, examining the idea in question and discussing possibilities and alternatives. See whether you agree with the author. (There are no right answers, just opinions.) Readers who feel columns would be of value to another are free to copy it and/or send it on.

©2012 Steve Rosner
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