In Jewish tradition, it is customary during a funeral, especially a funeral for one’s spouse, to ask for forgiveness from the deceased spouse for any transgressions that may have occurred throughout the entire marriage. Clearly, after 54 years of marriage, one would think that we would have plenty to ask forgiveness for. Maybe an ill thought, a bad word spoken in anger, something, anything and yet, during the funeral of the great Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach’s wife, people were stunned to hear the following message out of the mouth of the great Rabbi himself:
“Although it is customary to ask forgiveness from a person that has passed on,” “I shall not do so. Throughout our entire marriage we never offended or hurt one another. We conducted our lives according to the laws that govern our faith, and I have no reason to ask her forgiveness.”
After many, many years of marriage and what must feel like a lifetime, how could he utter those words with complete confidence? Surely one must have something to be forgiven for, no?
The Rabbi, a great teacher who was described as a “Gentle Giant”, once told a story that I feel shows a great sign of self-control. And better yet a “work around” that can be used in every aspect of todays life, especially in the business environment. He stated that everyday before he walked into his house, a home in which his lovely wife (Chaya Rivkah Ruchamkin) would be waiting to greet him, prior to walking through his front door, he would eat 2 COOKIES before entering the dwelling. He did this in preparation for the “unexpected.” What if dinner wasn’t ready? He didn’t want his hunger pangs to inflict any ills on anyone, especially not his wife, so he prepared ahead of time. 2 cookies, everyday before entering his home controlled any ravenous hunger pangs and thus caused the Rabbi to remain in control.
My question to you today is, What is Your Cookie?
What do you do everyday in anticipation for your less than perfect reaction? Reactions that if not anticipated ahead of time would hinder your progress in all you do or say. It is time to find your cookie. “Stack the deck” as we say in business. Don’t be blind to the behavioral traits you have that can cause an undesirable reaction. Don’t just stand there and say that you know you have this habit and you are “working” on breaking it. Work around it. Use the cookie and walk through life knowing you are in control of your thoughts, actions and ultimately your life and the way you want it to play out.
Develop a thorough understanding of what may cause you to react according to your surroundings and allow for a design to circumvent, that which may cause your legacy to be tainted. Like the Rabbi, whom, upon his death had a turnout of nearly 500,000 people at his funeral, you want to be remembered for your greatness in all areas of your life too; family, friends and not just business.
What are they going to think when you are not only gone, but simply when you step out of the room.
Leave your mark starting today……………What is your cookie?