do you do for a living?” asked my seatmate on the flight to Dallas. “Well,” I
responded, “My wife and I create unique and terrific products that make ancient
Jewish wisdom accessible and useful to everyone. How about you?”
answered, “I’m an accountant and I can’t wait to retire.” I told him how sorry I was to hear that and
why I wrote a book starting off with why one shouldn’t describe one’s
occupation as “making a living” and ending with why one shouldn’t retire.
both enjoyed the remainder of the flight discussing how important are the
beliefs you hold about your work.
Extracting a Bible from my briefcase, I showed him the following account
from the book of Judges, chapter 16:
Delilah entreated Samson to share the source of his strength, he lied to her
saying that if the Philistines shackled him with wet string his strength would
fail him. When she persisted, he lied
again. If only she would bind him with
new ropes, he explained, he would be like other men. She continued nagging and
Samson explained that if his hair was braided he would weaken. For the third time he lied to her.
persevered. Finally, exasperated, Samson
truthfully said that if his head was shaven, his strength would leave.
saw that he had told her all that was in his heart
did she believe him? After being lied to
three times, she should have been highly suspicious. Yet, Delilah was so confident, that she
summoned the Philistine officers to witness Samson’s fall.
Delilah’s credulity with Jacob’s reaction to his sons:
they told him that Joseph was alive and that he ruled
all Egypt but his heart rejected it, for he did not believe them.
in Genesis 37, the brothers misled their father into believing that Joseph was
dead. Not surprisingly, when they
returned from Egypt to announce the astounding news that Joseph was alive,
Jacob was skeptical. After lying, most people are not believed.
the question remains. How did Delilah recognize that Samson was finally being
honest while Jacob did not believe that his sons were telling the truth even
though they were?
Jewish wisdom points out the most important distinction between the two
examples. Samson knew he was lying when
he gave Delilah three false explanations for his strength. However, when Joseph’s brothers allowed Jacob
to draw the conclusion that Joseph was dead, they actually believed that to be
true. After all, what chance of survival
did Joseph have upon being sold as a slave in Egypt?
are two kinds of liars: those who know they are lying and those who believe
their own lies. Joseph’s brothers
believed their own lie thus Jacob had trouble discerning when they spoke truth.
knew that he was lying to Delilah those three times, which made his truthful
statement sound quite different.
machines or lie detectors are used by law enforcement agencies because people
who know they are lying have physiological reactions which can be detected. These subtle body signals can also be sensed
by some people. However, it is almost
impossible for polygraphs or sensitive individuals to detect a lie when the
liar believes what he is saying to be true.
Belief is so powerful that it can even make a lie behave like the truth.
the power of belief can be harnessed for good.
A coach uses it before a game when he helps his team believe it will
win. To be successful, sales
professionals must believe in the quality and value of their product or
service. To thrive in our professions,
each of us needs to believe in the value and morality of how we spend our days.
Work is not simply what we do as we aim for retirement.