Do you feel stuck in a rut? Do you ever fantasize about making a bold change in your life, perhaps starting a new career or moving to another city?

Whether it’s our domestic chores, the daily challenge of homework with children or the endless list of things that need fixing, by the time a day is over, we’re exhausted. Novelty seems far away.

There’s a wonderful children’s story about a discontented stonecutter, whose backbreaking job it was to hack at a stone mountain all day with his heavy axe. What an inconsequential occupation, let alone a life’s mission. He didn’t want to chop at mountains; he wanted to move mountains! He wanted to be a mover and a shaker! A somebody. Do you feel stuck in a rut?And—he wanted an easier ride. This stonecutting was exhausting labor.

One day, a chariot transporting a mighty monarch passed by. “Ah,” thought the stonecutter, “to be a king—what a dream! It’s easy and so‑o‑o glamorous.” As he fantasized how wonderful and stimulating that role would be, presto! His wish became a reality, and he was suddenly sitting in a royal, splendid coach. How powerful and mighty he felt, issuing commands to his subjects—until the sun started to beat mercilessly on him. He realized the sun was mightier than he, and he wished to become the sun. Poof! He became the sun, beaming its powerful rays toward the earth.

But his quest to be the ultimate “someone” did not end there. He became the clouds that blocked the sun, then the powerful wind that was able to blow away the clouds, then the mountain that was able to stand its ground against the wind, until . . . a stonecutter came along and began to chisel away at his mountainside. When he realized what power the simple stonecutter wielded, power over the great big mountain, he decided to become—a stonecutter. He was back where he had started—but not really. There was new vigor in every chop and new glamour in every chip. Every small action was making a huge difference.

It’s tempting to fantasize about a better life. We’d love to dodge our own reality, our never-ending workload, the monotony of our existence. We dream of escaping, some exciting new means of self-fulfillment. And something easy. Who wants to work hard, anyway?

The world is a very exciting place, but if we don’t think that what we’re doing is any big deal, if we fail to see the redeeming value of our daily routine, we can become jaded and seek out fun-filled fantasies. We’re dazzled by things that have high visibility and make a public splash; we’re impressed by titles and multiple letters after one’s name. Our rational sight is clouded by the glitz and glare, while authentic Judaism is swept aside by the winds of “progress.”

Being out in the public eye, being conspicuous, noticed and wowed over is not the source of our distinctiveness. Were the cameras flashing when Moses came to the rescue of the daughters of Yitro (Jethro) at the well? When the relieved daughters returned home and recounted how a stranger had delivered them from the shepherds’ malevolent mischief, Yitro asked them, “Where is he (Ayo)? A person of this caliber would This was an extraordinary display of modestybe a good marriage candidate for one of you.”

His query was an echo of an earlier verse in the Torah. “Where is she (Ayeh Sarah)?” the three angels asked about Sarah, their hostess in the desert. “Where is Sarah, in whose merit the world is blessed?”

Moses’s “no-show” reminded Yitro of Sarah. Moses did not follow Yitro’s daughters home, and so did not receive praise and recognition for his heroic act. This was an extraordinary trait of modesty, Maharal explains. Yitro realized that the stranger must be a descendant of the woman who prepared a beautiful repast for her guests but did not feel any need for recognition. Sarah remained inconspicuous, doing the ordinary everyday things that exceptional people do. It was enough for her to be in the right place at the right time.

The presumption that “to be noticed proves that I’m a somebody” is a fallacy. There’s a better, more effective way to be celebrated. Every act that we do with the correct intention is special. And G‑d cherishes every one of those acts, no matter how trivial—forever.

For G‑d values modesty. He values one who is focused on inner qualities, not externalities, accolades and attention.

What is most hidden is ultimately the most sought after.