Life / Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveitchik

Does hard work automatically stand for Success?

Many people constantly tell us that “we could accomplish anything if we just put enough effort into it”. The more we work on our success, we will finally gain it by force. Simply because we worked so hard.
This may be true with some people but what we have to realize is that life works in very different ways. There are people who permanently work to succeed but don’t see any improvement in their relationship, career or a relationship with G – d. Others seem to gain everything they want. Even without putting too much time or effort into it.
Life and G – d don’t always work the way WE want it. As Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik points out: “Humans are limited and vulnerable.” The Rabbi learned his lesson later on in life after his beloved wife and also his father passed away. Suddenly Rabbi Soloveitchik discovered his own sense of helplessness.
What is someone supposed to do when he faces difficulties in life? Try and force himself to succeed? Well, some people do that and others don’t have the strength. It doesn’t mean that they give up but, just as Rabbi Soloveitchik, they discover their own vulnerability. We humans cannot force success. We don’t always succeed the way we want but have to overcome our individual obstacles in life. The loss of people we love, our limited health and other issues.
So, does this mean that there won’t be any success at all after working hard? As soon as we work on something, there already is a success called “making an effort”. We should learn how to look at the smallest effort as a success and not only concentrate on the greatest achievements.

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