While writing my next book, I came across a thought-provoking article written by a well-known Jewish rabbi, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. Its subject was the opal stone that we see in jewelry.
An opal gem consists of tiny silica balls and gaps between the balls, which in one context could be considered blemishes. However, it is the indentations that occur on the surface of the opal that create the beauty of the opal when it is highlighted. Light rays are deflected by spheres and gaps, splitting the light into a fiery array of component colors. The Rabbi's point is that we are like opals: what our flaws are when viewed in some way become our greatest sources of beauty in a different light.
Our flaws, in the right light, are our strengths.
For example, in one light, our ambition and achievement orientation are considered flaws, leading us to become so immersed in our work that we neglect our health and relationships. These flaws lead us to trade from ego, overreact to gains and losses, and cut ourselves short when big moves don't materialize.
On the other hand, our ambition and achievement orientation lead us to set and pursue goals and ideals and realize our vision of being the best possible version of ourselves.
There are many ways in which our flaws and strengths mirror each other. Think about how our sensitivity in relationships can lead to caring, but also hurt and disagreements. Think about how our desire for self-improvement can lead to personal growth – and to insensitivity to others. Think about how our commitment to not losing money can get in the way of making big money.
We are like opals, and our challenge is to find the light that enables us to shine.
Here's a simple exercise to help meet this challenge: Each week, identify the most satisfying and important event that happened to you over the past seven days. Then identify the most frustrating negative event during the same period. Then think about how the two are connected and what made the positive experience so special and what made the negative experience so disappointing. What is the light in which you are just a stone with circles and gaps, and what is the light in which you shine? Over time, while keeping this simple journal, you will discover the contexts in which you project your fire.
The goal is not to get rid of your flaws, but to turn them into sources of beauty.
Greatness in life and business