The Vilna Gaon tells us that the main reason for life is to change our middos. “If not,” he says, “why should a person have life?”
The difficulty with this mandate is that it means I have to change. While in theory I may be open to growing, I may even recognize the many advantage to my life, in practice, we humans find it very difficult to change. Ask a person who has smoked for twenty years. Ask someone who is forty pounds overweight. The reality is that even when we recognize the need to change, actually carrying out the process seems to be a daunting task – and it’s not just about willpower.
This is Part One of a series of Shmuzin that focus on the dynamics of change. Whether my aim is to stop gambling, overeating, drinking, or to improve my character traits, by understanding the different stages, techniques, and mental states that are a necessary part of change, we can be more successful at attaining our goals.