If you truly want to get the most out of your life, there are 48 ways to help you. (Ethics of our Father 6:6). Rabbi Noach Weinberg, the rosh yeshiva of Aish Hatorah, explains the 48 ways to attain wisdom from ancient Jewish sources, translated into today’s terms. Each one of the 48 ways is an amazing tool to improve your life skills, and fully realize life’s potential. It’s no wonder that the name “Torah” means “Instructions for life.” It instructs us how to live life to the fullest.
If you apply the 48 principles, it doesn’t matter what goal you’re striving for, you’ll find yourself achieving success. Want to succeed in a business? Then the 48 ways to wisdom is right for you! Want to succeed in your marriage? Then 48 Ways is for you! Want to reach the crest of the Everest? Use the 48 Ways. Just don’t forget to choose the right goal before you set out on the way. You, after all, want to be happy at the end… You don’t want to end your life a miserable millionaire. Decide upon your goal, use the 48 ways to wisdom, and then achieve whatever you want!!!
Note: The Ways to Wisdom apply equally to men and women.
Be Loved By Others (Ahuv)
Sometimes we tell ourselves, “I don’t need anybody else. I can manage by myself!” But this is a mistake.
Ahuv means “beloved by others.” Because whether it involves family relationships, business partners or friends, the human need to be loved is deep and natural. We need it like fresh air.
Of course, love has to be earned justly. King Solomon said: “As water reflects a face, so is a person’s heart to his fellow man.” (Proverbs 27:19) Just as a face sees its reflection in water, so does one’s heart feel how another feels about him. If you project coldness, you will attract coldness; if you convey warmth, you will attract warmth.
When people love you, they want to help you become wise and wealthy. They’ll invite you to social functions, and patronize your business. They’ll give you good advice and eagerly accept yours. Their love will help you succeed in all areas of life.
What Do You Love About Others?
We can define love as “taking pleasure in another’s virtues.” Make a list of the people you love. Study it and ask yourself: What is it that I like about them? Which traits, behaviors, talents…? Once you see the virtues that appeal to you, you have the basis for a true love relationship.
Likewise, to be loved by others, they must see you as virtuous too. Do for them what you would want them to do for you. This will identify you as a source of pleasure—and everyone loves those who give them pleasure!
A general rule to keep yourself happy and upbeat is to avoid people who mope and complain about every little thing. Be full of joy and vitality and you’ll be well-loved!
Radiate Your Love
All parents love their children. So why is it that many children feel their parents don’t care about them? Because feeling love toward others is only a part of it. We also have to communicate that love. Many children only hear their parents’ annoyance and criticisms. They get the wrong message.
To communicate love, you have to show you understand, appreciate and take pleasure in the other person. Take time to analyze the good they do, and stop focusing on their flaws. Openly show that you appreciate their virtues, and they themselves will try to overcome their shortcomings — for your sake. Make it a habit to show people how much you appreciate them.
Practice saying statements like: “I like what you said.” “I’m glad you came.” “You did a terrific job.”
Beware of flattery (i.e. insincere praise). Some people give insincere compliments. They are not lovers of people, but flatterers. Judaism forbids flattery because it is misleading and manipulative. The flatterer conceals shortcomings and changes the truth to get something out of the person he is flattering. Flattery deprives a person of perceiving his faults and changing them.
Be sure your appreciation is honest, and not just to get some advantage.
Giving is the Key
The most effective way to get others to love you is to give to them. When you give physical, material, emotional, and spiritual pleasure with no strings attached, they will love you.
In practice, how does someone become a “giver”? The answer is simple: Start giving.
Some people say “I can only give to someone I love”. This is wrong. The Hebrew word for “give,” hav, is the same root as ahava, meaning “love.” The Jewish idea is that giving is what leads to love. When I give to you, I have invested a part of myself in you. You then become more precious to me and I love you more.
This is why parents love their children most of all. Their children is the greatest investment they ever made.
Resolve in your mind and your heart that helping others will be part of your life’s agenda.
You might volunteer to serve meals at a homeless shelter, or do the dishes at home even when it’s not your turn… Emulate God and be a giver. Do it with all your heart. And inspire those around you to act the same way.
Their Pleasure is Your Pleasure
Giving others pleasure provides us with a tremendous source of pleasure. The pleasure derives from our realization that we have the power to make a positive impact. So why don’t we do it all the time?
Because we’re tied up in the narcissistic bonds of self-love and are racing after our own pleasure.
So get out of your own small universe. Reach out. A simple “hello” lifts a person’s spirits, and shows that you care. Simple things can make a huge difference! This is particularly true in a marriage, where giving is the foundation of the relationship.
When two people are focused on giving to one another, the relationship flows in two directions and reinforces and forges the marital bond. But when both are focused on taking, then the dynamic is pulling in opposite directions—creating strain and frustration.
Unfortunately today, many people get married expecting that their spouse will provide them with pleasure, rather than planning to give their spouse pleasure. How long can a marriage like that survive?
Love and Admiration
“Admiration” is not “love.” Society tends to admire people for their accomplishments. Being “admired” means you are appreciated for what you have done. But being loved means you are appreciated for who you are—shortcomings included!
True love doesn’t ignore the shortcomings of the one beloved, but views it with understanding and forgiveness. A true lover will help his beloved change for the good.
Although achievements like a promotion or college degree may gain you more admiration, it’s not going to gain you love. Those who seek the admiration of others usually end up losing it. But one who is loved by others has received a gift that lasts a lifetime.
Fear of Intimacy
In order to be loved, you must allow yourself to be loved.
Why are some people wary of becoming too close to other people?
1. A person may be afraid of getting hurt. (If I lower my defenses, I may get hurt.)
2. A person may be afraid he’ll have to face unpleasant things about himself. (If people get too close to me, they may discover all kinds of things I’m trying to hide.)
3. A person may simply want to be alone by himself.
If you sense any of these issues, make it a priority to work them out. Until you do, you’re pushing away the love of others.
Gifts can create strong bonds. We don’t mean “souvenirs” which are given without thought to everyone, but real gifts given from the heart, which show you know the recipient, are thinking about him and remembering him.
If this is true for material gifts, it’s far truer for spiritual gifts. The greatest gift you can give someone you love is wisdom. A pair of socks will wear out in a year, but a great insight can change someone’s life forever.
From now on, whenever you learn a piece of wisdom, think who could benefit from it. Who would enjoy hearing it? Who would gain pleasure or some benefit from it? Don’t forget to “gift wrap” the wisdom.
It is not very smart to approach a friend and tell him, “Hey, I read on the Internet how to overcome pride and I straightaway thought of you!” Think about the person you’re talking to, try out what you want to say, and think what will get him to want to listen and apply your words. “I know that you like to hear new ideas. I just heard an idea that I thought you would like.” Don’t bore people, step on their toes, or preach to them.
Even if you’re repeating an idea that’s “old,” convey it with the same freshness as the day you first heard it. At the very least, don’t hurt people. Don’t criticize them and then tell them: “It’s for your own good.” He’s a real human being, just like you. Think about who he is and what he needs. Be friendly. Help him out. Share his worries.
Sometimes taking is also giving. Be a good student. Listen, pay attention, grow and get wiser. And don’t forget to show your sincere appreciation. This will give your teacher pleasure, and he/she will want to teach you more.
Why is “Being Loved” the 30th Way to Wisdom?
Giving others pleasure gives you pleasure.
Seeing the virtues in others is the greatest virtue. If you love others this way, they will love you in return.
The first place to show appreciation is within your own family.
Love brings unity. And unity is power.
Published courtesy of Aish Hatorah.