The Rewards of Gratitude


Excerpts from a great piece,
“48 Ways to Wisdom” (in the merit of Rabbi Noah Weinberg, the beloved founder and dean of Aish HaTorah—Yisrael Noach ben Yitzhak Mattisyahu), found here. Also, check out the audio lecture here:

Acknowledge your gifts and be grateful to the source. Because if you know from whom you’re receiving, you can always go back for more.

After hearing a good story, joke, or idea, we’re anxious to repeat it to others. But in doing so, the tendency is to present it as our own original invention.

Ha’omer davar bi’shaim omro literally means “say it in the name of the one who said it.” Whenever quoting something, you should always acknowledge the source. In other words, “don’t steal credit.”

The Talmud, the classical book of wisdom, goes to great lengths to trace the intellectual lineage of an idea: “So-and-so said in the name of So-and-so, who said in the name of So-and-so.”

So next time you’re ready to share a juicy one, don’t forget to mention: Where did you get it from?

VALUE THE SOURCE

When you acknowledge the source, you don’t lose, you win. You will never be able to appreciate a piece of wisdom, an insight into living, unless you are willing to acknowledge the gift. Because by denying the gift, you downgrade its value. Therefore you won’t apply it seriously—because to you it doesn’t have value.

Furthermore, if you are consciously aware of where your wisdom is coming from, then you’re much more likely to go get more.

Direct others to the source as well. Let everybody know. When somebody else is happy, it doesn’t steal any happiness from you. Actually, the more people who are happy, the easier it is for you to be happy.

When there’s more wisdom around, the greater life becomes for us all.

WARNING SIGNS

Why do people have a hard time acknowledging someone else as the source of an idea?

The reality is that people crave independence, and are grappling for status and one-upmanship. Debts to others seem to threaten that stature. We don’t like to imagine that we weren’t smart enough to “figure it out for ourselves.”

In truth, independence means that you pay your debts.

What does this tell us? Whenever you feel the need to take credit for someone else’s work, alarm bells should ring. It’s a warning sign of insecurity. Because even though it may “make us look good,” it’s actually a cheap substitute for legitimate self-improvement.

If you want credit for a good idea, think of one yourself!

Beyond this, if others find out about your “theft,” then you’ve lost credibility in their eyes. And even if no one else finds out, you’ve damaged your self-respect. These are hard commodities to get back.

Give credit where credit is due. People will respect you for it, and you’ll feel good about yourself—even better than if you’d taken the credit!

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