Envy is irrational. When you are burning with envy, the person you are envious of is not affected. If he has a knowledge, he remains knowledgeable. If he has wealth, he remains wealthy. The envious person just destroys himself. The more he complains about someone’s good fortune, the more he harms himself.
It is impossible to quench the thirst for desires by giving into desires. Just the opposite occurs. A person becomes thirstier for more desires. Trying to acquire good traits is entirely different. When you first try to acquire those virtues, you might find it bitter. However, when you master the habit of doing good, you feel great sweetness. Therefore the person who seeks his pleasure in becoming a better person will find true enjoyment in his life.
Logical and rational thinking shows us that since it is impossible for a person to save himself from the difficulties and misfortunes of life, it makes sense to accept them with a positive attitude. This ensures a person a happy life.
The majority of people who seek physical pleasures and all forms of entertainment are trying to push away the gnawing feeling of emptiness in their lives and the sadness that is an integral part of worldly matters.
The person who desires more physical pleasures will frequently feel frustrated since he always desires more than he can obtain. On the other hand, the person who desires to do good deeds is easily able to find good deeds to engage in.
The pleasure we feel with what we have does not come only from the thing itself, but also from whom we received it. That is the lessons of the blessings we make. They help us appreciate that the Almighty is the One who has bestowed us with the pleasures of this world - this awareness greatly enhances the value of these pleasures.
When a person focuses on the goals of his life, he is able to overcome the difficulties involved. When one’s focus is on olam haboh [world-to-come], he lives in a state of happiness even though he experiences many inconveniences along his relatively short trip.
When someone asks you for advice, don’t give an immediate reply. Think over your response for at least five minutes. Before you speak to someone, think first about your goals. Think of how you will say something before you say it.