The human mind isn’t designed to make you happy. It’s designed to help you survive. The mind is always on the lookout for what’s wrong, for what can wound you, so that you can either fight it or take flight from it. It tends to automatically download, “I am fearful, I am worried.” So if you leave your brain’s software to run your life, you’ve got little chance at enjoying it. You will be filled with stress and anxiety.
The good news is, there’s another path: one that involves directing your thoughts so that your mind does your bidding, not the other way around. This path leads to not just survival, but thriving.
This speech draws from Jewish practice, Biblical tales and a custom of the Rebbe to demonstrate how to change one's mindset to one of optimism and confidence. Echoing Tracht Gut Vet Zein Gut, we cite remarkable studies, and anecdotes, that demonstrate the power of self-perception to influence reality and even to change history. We learn that our choice of words affects our unconscious patterns — diminishing or unleashing our true potential.
We explore the theme of Hineni -- a word recently made famous by legendary Jewish songwriter Leonard Cohen -- and a puzzling midrashic comment. We find out what was going through the mind of the woman who finished the marathon on crutches.
We conclude for a call to greater Jewish observance. Imagine, if in the morning, before you hit the traffic and take on the day, you take a few minutes and wrap tefillin around your arm and head…
We each have a Promised Land, and we stand on its threshold. We have dreams for our future, and need the courage to realize them. We each face obstacles that we need to imagine overcoming. On Rosh Hashanah, G-d is creating a new world. New light and energy is shining down upon us. Let us seize the moment. Let us march forward into our Promised Land.