How can I make it to the top?

I would like to know  how I can get God’s help in being successful in reaching top position in the area of finance when the competition is so high and there are people who are smarter than me and I have been encountering so many defeats  and humiliation while I am working towards my goal.

Kurian K.J.

Dear Kurian,

Based on your letter, we are assuming that English isn’t your native tongue, but we hope we understand your question correctly.

Sometimes, when addressing live audiences,  I (Rabbi Daniel Lapin) ask them if they think God wants us to be rich.  Some say ‘yes’ and some answer, ‘no’.  I then explain that God hasn’t shared His desire on this with me. However, I do know that a good and loving God, in the grand scheme of things, set up a system that rewards those of His children who devote their lives to helping His other children. In general, the more people you help and the more unique that help is, the better you will do financially.

All of this is to say, that if your goal is getting to the top of the ladder and getting rich, you’re wasting your time by asking God for His help.  He has no interest in selfish humans.  However, if your goal is to help other people, then you can proudly and confidently ask for God’s favor.

At the same time, however, there are no “tricks” to make God do what you want Him to do. Enlisting His help is vital, but in order to reach your goal you have to do everything in your power to act in accordance  with how He wants us to behave.  To illustrate an extreme, praying fervently and frequently while sitting home watching TV will get you nowhere.

You mention that others are smarter than you. Assuming a basic level of intelligence, which you obviously have, you can be confident that achievement doesn’t equate with IQ. Many of the world’s smartest people do very poorly in life, both socially and financially. Knowing how to understand and get along with others and how to work hard is of more value to most of us than a few more IQ points. 

We’re sorry that you have felt humiliations while working towards your goal, but you may feel positive about your defeats.  Failures are usually a necessary part of success; those who never fail very rarely achieve very much. In any event, our experience is that most people feel more humiliation and embarrassment at their failures than they should.  Most other people are too busy with their own lives to point fingers at yours.

We encourage you to stay positive and optimistic as well as be open to zigzags in direction. Sometimes, we need to doggedly persevere in our path while other times changing our route is the right thing to do. 

Without knowing you, we can’t give you more specific advice. We would encourage you to find a mentor who can guide you in more practical steps.  Depending on which path you have chosen to serve God’s other children, there are wonderful teaching resources available to help you gain in skills and knowledge.  Persevere, produce, perform and prosper.

Best wishes,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

12 thoughts on “How can I make it to the top?”

  1. Hello Rabbi,

    I’m Alex from South Africa. I just finished watching one of your interviews on The 700 club…. WOW!!!
    Around 2 years ago I prayed and asked God to bless me with a job. I asked God to make sure my boss would be a Jewish man. I always wanted to work closely for a well known Jewish man named Gavin varejes, but that didn’t happen. I was approached by a gentleman a few weeks later offering me a job to work for a Jewish family, WOW! Long story short, I worked for this wonderful family and no longer do but, the best part of it is that I have become very good friends with One the Sons. Thought I would just share that. God answers prayers.

    Rabbi, I have had and still have this explosive feeling that I will be super rich, rich not only for me but for my entire family. My mind constantly thinks of ways to do business and make money, literally every minute of the day I’m thinking thinking thinking and then I put it on paper and then another business idea comes to mind. It’s a bit frustrating.. Lol. I think so much and spider diagram those thoughts but I do nothing about them. Please could you give me some wise advice and which book would you recommend I read.

    Love and respect

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Alex–
      I remain so fond of the people of South Africa where I was born. I enjoyed doing that 700 Club interview with the great Pat Robertson, may God grant him good health. Alex, success lies not only in envisioning ideas but in executing them. The conception is vital but if the baby doesn’t get born, then the conception was for nought. I recommend, at this point in your path, none of my books or resources yet. I advise you to dive into 3 areas of preliminary exploration. Study these topics (there are books and also online information), absorb them into your soul, and then make them part of your entire being. These 3 areas are: (i) How to say ‘no’ and reject ideas and projects thereby leaving you free and focused for the one. The main thing is that the main thing remains the main thing. (ii) Execution; how to convert the idea into reality. (iii) Yourself; discover who you really are and how you can best serve other human beings. That will help you exclude many of the ideas that spring from your fertile mind and allow you to focus on those best suited to you.

  2. Rabbi, I wonder if there were a way you could set a network of people that may offer some of the services like what you suggested to Kurian. I know there are coaches and mentors for hire, but I think it would be wonderful to have a resource of those who share your same values. Possibly like Dave Ramsey’s ELP program. Just a thought. Thank you so much for all you do. I am a better person, due in no small part to your ministry. It truly is invaluable.


    Glenn Gilbert

    1. Rabbi Daniel Lapin

      Dear Glenn–
      I really appreciate your good words and am thinking seriously about your idea.

  3. What an outstanding topic rabbi!!
    Every success depends on serving our fellow humans. Unless one is maybe a government bureucrat of some weird sort.
    The most frustrating is when you do all in your power to serve your fellow humans, praying along the way, improving every day in your business but despite the effort you only end up generating obscene costs to your employer as well as unneeded workload for your colleagues. Opposite to your intention. That’s hard. But the blessing will never miss you. How come?
    A) You are blessed to be a human with the capacity to adapt and change. You can learn from your failures and transform them into a success. You simply must be brutally efficient in helping others. Just like Navy seal is in copleting his mission. Defeats shaped them too.
    B) The change required might be out of your talents and capabilities. It happens. Do not buy into the myth that anybody can successfuly do anything! Now where is the blessing? In case you are employed it is called getting fired. For the enterpreneurs it is called bancrupcy. I know this sounds harsh. Sometimes one goes down a path unsuited for him. These events, no matter how unpleasant, are here to make you go the way better suited toward the service. At any rate, resigning is probably preferable action. As are all the preemptive measures to known problems.

    Never forget you are blessed, even if you are failing. Go on, pray and trust the lord.

    Be great!

  4. Being helpful to other people in your department is a good way to start. Start really thinking about what is going on with the things you do. Don’t just do things in your department. Make sure you understand them too. This will probably involve working additional hours.

    I worked in the actuarial department at an insurance company. I wanted to get out of the financial reporting section I worked in. So I decided to become the derivatives expert in actuarial. I studied many hours on my own time. I built many derivatives models in Excel. After a couple of years I really knew my stuff. Then one day a new section was created about managing both assets and liabilities. I got the job in this new section in part because of all the derivatives knowledge in my head.

    1. Great advice, Matt. Always look to do more than your area of responsibility and to learn and acquire more skills than are needed at the moment.

  5. Well Said Rabbi!
    In my almost 60 yrs, I can attest to the fact that I have NEVER been happier than when I was helping others in some form. And NEVER more miserable than when I was focused upon myself!

    Gods blessings upon Yourself, Susan and your ministry!

  6. Dear Rabbi & Susan,

    This was a very good topic of discussion. I’m in Real Estate and wanted so to help my Family financially my mother went ahead and sold our family home and I was left homeless. I now live with my daughter in another state starting over. I’m moving forward yet I forgive her but desire no contact with her. I have found a mentor and am believing I will be successful I now have a grandson and still a young adult daughter who lives with my other mother. Like the gentleman I desire success in every area, however not seeking to be rich but to be financially stable to be blessed to be a blessing. And I am that now whatever I have I share and give to bless others, yet Money is not everything yet it is a vehicle and a tool used to get us from one place to another to help others.. Blessings great article..


    1. Isonka, one of the points my husband stresses in his books is that, as much as God (and we) are in favor of being charitable, work in and of itself is a way of helping others as long as it is honest and moral. Before you give away a cent you are doing much for others.

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