Dear Readers,

Nowadays, positive psychology assures us that we can be whoever we want to be. It is just a matter of thinking positively, training our mindset or attracting positive forces to our life. Gain the confidence to chase your dreams. Mind over matter. Hard work will yield results.

And so, many of us start to work really hard. We train our thoughts and mind on our goal. We learn practical tools and implement specific strategies.

Yet despite all our valiant efforts, we fail. We haven’t become the “whoever we want to be!”

The very determined ones among us think that failure is just the first step to success. We try harder. We become obsessed with attaining that elusive goal. We fall and get up, numerous times, again and again, convinced that this is a mere prelude for the prize of becoming more.

But after some time, we take an honest look in the mirror and realize that although we may have grown, we have not reached the definition of success that we had set for ourselves. Despite our hard work, despite our positive mindset, even though we “believed that we could,” we didn’t become the “whatever” or “whoever” we set out to be.

What now? Maybe it’s time to surrender and realize the fallacy of this approach.

Surrendering is not failing.

Surrendering means realizing that who I am and where I am in this life of mine is exactly where I am supposed to be. This is who G‑d wants me to be. This is how He wants me to live my life. I am effecting positive change in my world, but perhaps a different change than what I sought. I am accomplishing and improving, but in a different way than I had envisioned.

So the truth is that we can’t be whatever or whoever we want to be. I may never sing like a soprano, have the body of a super model, write an epic blockbuster or become a fabulously generous philanthropist. Nor will I become an amazing hostess like my neighbor, or as sensitive and considerate as my friend. G‑d doesn’t need me to be someone else. But I can and will try to be a better version of myself.

Tracht gut, vet zein gut—“Think good and it will be good” doesn’t mean that my mind will enable my life to unfold exactly as I desire. (Yes, it may, because G‑d is infinitely capable of doing what He wants. But it also may not.)

“Think positive” does mean, however, that at some point I need to surrender to the fact that my life, my circumstances and who I am are already positive.

Surrendering is not a cop-out. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t work harder to improve our lives and strive to be more. But sometimes, the hardest work is the realization and the appreciation that this life that I lead is exactly the life that I am intended to live.

Chana Weisberg
Editor, TJW