Get the Powers to Act from Fresh Ideas

December 19, 2012

Effectiveness Choices | Moses says "Journey Forth!"

History and Movies are not only for inspiration but also for your mental rehearsals of success. Here I'd like to share a lesson of history from the book, Jewish Wisdom for Business Success.

Frankly, it's not a remarkable book, not worth-reading in details. But there are peaks which you should not miss. I've chosen one such peak to discuss here.
Panic Buttons
Human beings under severe pressure usually limit themselves to only the three options of fight, flee, or freeze. Animals are also known to behave in this way. How can we expand our options at such critical moments of life?
How did Moses do in Exodus?
Our book describes a scene in which the Israelis were caught between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army. The Israelis had been running away from the Pharaoh and now the king's army was coming to re-capture and enslave them again. All around there was desert and the Red Sea was blocking their escape.

The Israelis came up with four different options.
(1) Kill themselves, which the authors classify as self-destruction.
(2) Fight the pursuing army to death, which the authors say was unlikely to succeed.
(3) Surrender to the army.
(4) Pray to God, which the authors classify as "learned helplessness."

Mose's decision was "Journey Forth!"

A Ninja warrior, a Maoist guerrilla would have applauded this choice. It echoes what the Law of Attraction cult would advise "Don't solve the problem, just go after what you want."
"Remain silent," Don't pray to God now
The authors point out that it was very unusual of a prophet like Moses to ask his people not to pray. They interpret this as Mose's injunction to his followers to jerk themselves free from learned helplessness, and to take responsibility for their own destiny.

I have a different interpretation: True believers do not put their god to a test, a dilemma in this way. They take responsibility for their own actions. They don't punish themselves or choose deliberately to suffer in any way in the name of a God.

Don't just pray. Journey forth.

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