Zelig Pliskin


American Rabbi, Psychologist, Author and Lecturer

Author Quotes

Whatever you focus your attention on [good or bad, desired or not], you increase. This one principle is the key to mastering any trait and skill.

Who Is An Honorable Person? A major underlying issue in many quarrels is that people feel that someone else didn't treat them with the proper respect. The specific details of the quarrel are trivial compared to the fundamental need to be treated with respect. 'Who is an honorable person?' ask the Sages (Pirkei Avos 4:1 - Ethics Of The Fathers 4:1). 'The one who shows [politeness] honor and respect to others.' That is, your honor and respect does not depend on how others treat you. Rather, the more honor and respect that you express to others, the more honorable you yourself are. We all want to be treated with basic respect. And as we internalize the essential message of the Sages, we will decrease our concern about how others treat us and we will increase our concern about how we treat others.

When ['bad'] events occur in your life, at least leave the situation as a question mark in your mind, 'How do I know this will really turn out bad for me?' The answer is that you never know with absolute certainty that it will. Many things that you now perceive as strongly negative are questionable if they will really turn out bad. Why make yourself irritated in a doubtful situation by taking for granted that this is really so negative?

Will Power: A Jewish principle states that 'nothing can stand in the way when you have strong desire to accomplish something.' Think of something that you would like to accomplish but are not doing all you can in this area. Increase your intensity of 'will', and be totally motivated to utilize all your resources and energy to accomplish it.

When a person looks through a colored lens, everything seems to be that color. If the lens is tinted yellow or blue, everything seems yellow or blue. A person who looks at life through the lens of gratitude will always find things to be grateful for.

Worry is Created by [your imagination and] Self-Talk: The more you engage in joyful and grateful [imagination and] self-talk, the more your mind will be free from worry [and fear]. Some people tell themselves, 'It?s my nature to worry [imagine negative experiences].' But the truth is that no one is born a worrier. A person might have started worrying at a young age and have many early memories of worrying. A person might find it very difficult not to worry. But this isn?t someone?s basic nature. Worry is essentially [imagination and] self-talk about something negative that you hope won?t happen. You feel anxious and distressed about the possibility. One way out of the worry pattern is to think of potential solutions. Whenever you worry about something, imagine three or more alternate [positive or neutral] outcomes. A happy and joyful person has mastered the art of thinking in patterns that create happiness and joy. Let this be your mind.

When a shirt falls from a high place, there are some people who say, 'I am grateful I was not in that shirt.' At first glance, this seems like a very odd thing to say. But after some thought we can see it makes sense. Human beings are susceptible to all sorts of diseases and accidents. Many things can harm a person. Even a person walking on solid ground can trip and break a limb. Someone could choke on his food. With imagination you can picture events that have remote possibilities of actually happening. A wise person is constantly aware of his lack of power to protect himself and realizes how easily he can be harmed. When he observes something falling, he is immediately aware that he could easily fall down, too. This serves as a reminder that he should be grateful [not only for the good that he has but for the bad that he doesn't have]... The main desire of each and every person is to live a life of happiness. This is the underlying motivation behind diversions such as games and music. Why should the art of feeling joy that potential harm did not happen be less than the art of enjoying music? The person who can feel joy because he is not ill or injured lives a happy life.

Worry is when you choose from millions of possible thoughts, only the few which deal with a potential misfortune or problem. Once you accept your worrying as the act of choosing specific thoughts, you can consciously make an effort to avoid those thoughts that cause you needless pain and choose more constructive, positive thoughts.

When dealing with a person you find difficult, keep in mind that this person's way of behaving and thinking might be causing him to suffer even more than he is causing you to suffer. See life from his point of view - and be compassionate.

Would you rather feel worse than you have to? Do you want to choose to feel happy? At the root of complaining is thinking that the situation could be better. At the root of satisfaction is being aware that the situation could be worse. In almost all instances things could be worse and they could be better. To master happiness a person needs to have a constant awareness that things are better than they could be. A person lacking flexibility in his ways of looking at things is apt to have difficulty with the concept of changing one?s perspective.

When performing a good deed that is difficult for you to do, instead of thinking how awful it is, appreciate that the difficulty is what elevates [grows and evolves] you!

Write a list of ways that you have benefited from being married to your spouse. Then write a list of your spouse's positive patterns and qualities. Keep adding to the lists and reread them frequently.

When someone is doing something wrong, feel sorry for him that he is harming himself by doing the wrong thing. Feelings of compassion will prevent feelings of anger.

You always have a choice of your self-talk. Ask yourself, 'What can I think about now that will improve the way I am feeling?' You can always think, 'The more challenging a situation, the more I can grow from it.' The more skilled you are about creating positive self-talk in challenging situations, the easier it will be for you to handle new challenges in the future. [In every situation in life there is the objective situation and there is the subjective way we see and talk about it to ourselves and others.]

When working on improving yourself, it is easy to become discouraged because you do not see sufficient progress. Keep trying and do not give up. Every small amount of improvement is a success.

You are constantly writing your autobiography, even if it isn't written on paper. The choices [plans] you make are the materials which shape your autobiography.

When you believe that you can do something, you will have greater ability to accomplish.

You Become What You Think About [imagine and focus persistently on]: One of the most important and valuable concepts about our mind and thoughts is that you become what you think about. This idea has the potential to be highly empowering. It means that by gaining greater mastery over your thoughts, you gain greater mastery over your life. It means that by mastering your thoughts, you will be able to make and reach important goals. -- When you consistently think about being happy and joyful in your life, you will become happier and more joyful. -- When you consistently think about being kinder and more compassionate, you will become kinder and more compassionate. -- When you consistently think about being more confident and courageous, you will become more confident and courageous. -- When you consistently think about being calm and serene, you will become calmer and more serene. -- When you consistently think about being more patient and persistent, you will become more patient and persistent. -- When you consistently think about your most important goals in life and what you need to do to reach them, you will find yourself accomplishing and achieving more.

When you experience joy, you feel good because your magnificent brain produces hormones called endorphins. These self-produced chemicals give you happy and joyful feelings. Research on these biochemicals has proven that the brain-produced hormones enter your blood stream even if you just act joyful, not only when you really are happy. Although the joyful experience is totally imaginary and you know that it didn?t actually happen, when you speak and act as if that imaginary experience did happen, you get a dose of endorphins. These chemicals are naturally produced by your brain. They are totally free and entirely healthy. Many people find that this knowledge inspires them to create more joyful moments. It?s not just an abstract idea, but a physical reality.

You create your emotional world... We constantly talk to ourselves. We can choose to be our own best friend by telling ourselves positive thoughts or our own worst enemy by repeating negative thoughts.

We have the ability to form the habit of changing our thoughts to other subjects as soon as we think negatively about others unless it?s for a practical and constructive purpose. When we do think about other people, the question to keep in mind is, ?How can I do some act of kindness for this person?? If we focus on helping others, we will not become angry at them.

When you have a goal [especially one of the sequence of baby-step sub-goals] in mind, keep your focus on reaching it, and do not allow yourself to be sidetracked by anything else.

You have infinite value and worth! You already know you have strengths and inner resources. But you have even more strengths and resources that you are not yet fully aware of, and they will enhance your life as you become more aware of them. There are many more strengths and inner resources that you can gain and build up from now on.

We never had it so good: Every person alive today derives great benefit from comforts and pleasures that were not available in the past. All of the latest technological advances serve us to a remarkable degree. For all this we should be full of appreciation and gratitude.

When you have a sincere desire to grow and develop - you will appreciate the opportunities that arise for further growth and development [including criticism and difficulties].

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American Rabbi, Psychologist, Author and Lecturer