Arts & Culture

Jewish Wisdom for Recession-Proofing Yourself

So now we know for sure that consumers are buying less and it seems clear that we are in a recession. Markets all around the world have reacted and massive amounts of wealth have been wiped out as a result. … Read More

By / October 16, 2008

So now we know for sure that consumers are buying less and it seems clear that we are in a recession. Markets all around the world have reacted and massive amounts of wealth have been wiped out as a result. We have already had a bumpy ride this year and it looks like it is going to get much worse before it begins to get better. But where does that lead us, the average consumers on Main Street? Clearly we must all brace ourselves for difficult times ahead.

Here are two tips that come from my book Jewish Wisdom for Business Success that may be of particular help:

Dealing with failure

All of us are going to experience some setbacks over the next twelve months or so—some of us have already had setbacks. The test will be how we deal with these setbacks. Will we be able to see the silver lining inherent within them or will we begin to see ourselves as a failure instead?

The Israelites in the dessert sinned when they served the golden calf and because of that Moses dropped the two tablets and broke them. But according to Jewish tradition, the second set of tablets he received in their place came together with a much deeper understanding to the Divine will than the first set of tablets offered. In this way, the failure of the golden calf ended in a much greater success.

The lesson is clear. Whenever we experience a setback we must realize that it has a silver lining out of which a far greater success will likely flow. We must look around and find the opportunity inherent in all of the negativity that we see around us. Those who are able to see beyond the failure and into the opportunity will be the winners in all of this.

For each person the opportunity will be different. I was just recently reading how Warren Buffet’s father, Howard Buffet, was able to prosper during the great depression by starting a stock brokerage that catered to those who still wanted to invest. He saw that all of the other brokerages had closed down and there was therefore an opportunity to make a buck. Just keep your eyes out for the opportunities amongst all the pain, then take advantage of them and you will be alright.

Positive thinking

In these troubled economic times it is easy to get despondent. Yes, it is true that many people will get badly hurt. But there will be some—a minority—who will prosper despite the difficult times. Why shouldn’t we—you and I—be amongst the minority who will prosper? We must not allow ourselves to become negative just because things are bad in the economy in general. Look out for new opportunities, work hard, don’t give up, and remain positive. The power of positive thinking should not be underestimated especially when so few people are practicing it today. As the great Jewish mystics said, “Think good and it will be good.”

Rabbi Levi Brackman, co-author of Jewish Wisdom for Business Success, is guest-blogging on Jewcy with fellow co-author Sam Jaffe. He’ll be here all week. Stay tuned.