Today, I’m pleased to announce that Asnat Greenberg from Israel is sharing her thoughts on perseverance with us. One of my favourite things about blogging is the people you randomly connect with from around the world. A reader of mine reached out and shared Asnat’s story with me. Thank you to both of you for reaching out and inspiring others. I’m excited to feature Asnat as part of my “Profiles of Perseverance” series!
Asnat Greenberg is an economist, an artist, and a writer. She worked in the Bank of Israel for 20 years as a Senior Economist, managing billions dollars worth of foreign investments. A few years ago, she followed her heart, left the Bank of Israel, and began to create art, exhibiting in the US and in Europe. Asnat is married, has three children, and lives in Jerusalem, Israel. Her art can be seen at: www.helen-and-asnat.com. Her book, Secrets of Kindness: A Journey among Good People, that has been published recently, is the story of her journey through the world of altruism. This fascinating mosaic of interviews with good people forms an impressive and inspiring document showing the human spirit at its best. As she describes her book: “Secrets of Kindness: A Journey Among Good People is the story of my journey in the altruistic world. The Dalai Lama said, “This is the time to start educating the heart.” I hope this book will contribute, even a little, to educating all our hearts.”
Asnat and I have that in common: we both speak from the heart! Check out her answers below.
1. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? Who did you receive it from?
I find it very difficult to specify the best advice I have ever received. Life is a complex series of experiences, encounters, and relationships which, over the years, help us gain a deep understanding of life’s journey.
However, one of the more important life lessons I have learned was taught to me recently by a teacher named Yehuda. Yehuda is one of the people I interviewed for my book Secrets of Kindness: A Journey among Good People. The book is a journey in the altruistic world, and it is a gripping puzzle of interviews with good people. One of them is a teacher named Yehuda. From Yehuda I learned about the responsibility and caution required of us when we help others. I would like to quote a few thoughts Yehuda had during the interview:
Yehuda talked a lot about the need to act with delicacy, from a pure place. “When I see distress,” he said, “I volunteer, but I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life because in volunteering too intensely, I tend to lose sight of myself or because I wasn’t aware of the fact that I had interests.”
“What interests?” I asked.
“To benefit personally in all kinds of ways: so people would say I’m a good person, so I would tell myself I’m a good person, or I would look smart and they would see I was right,” he replied. “When you’re conscious enough and you can beware of yourself, everything will be far clearer and more correct and, therefore, also better.”
2. How important is mentorship in terms of your success?
Many people who we meet in our lives are our mentors. That’s how I felt about all the people who I interviewed for my book, Secrets of Kindness: A Journey among Good People. These inspiring people are great teachers. It is worthwhile noting their insights, their perceptions of life, and the way they relate to those around them. In addition to those who inspire us, we can often learn important lessons from people who we have difficulty getting along with. People who anger or annoy us can also help us learn a lot about ourselves and the world surrounding us.
3. What has been the best moment in your life so far?
The happiest moments in my life are those that I share with my family and friends, as well as the time I spend connecting to my creative side by doing my art and writing.
4. What tips would you have for living a healthy life?
Being close with my family and friends. To love and be loved, and to fulfill oneself.
5. How do you motivate yourself to persist despite setbacks? See answer for 6. Asnat combined her answers for 5 & 6.
6. What has been your biggest setback? How did you deal with it? What did you learn from it?
Understanding that failure is a part of life helps me persevere. We all fail, be it something small or large. I believe that more often than not, failure teaches us something about ourselves or the path that we have chosen. This belief helps me cope with failure.
Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, in a speech to the graduating class of 2005 at Stanford University spoke about insights from his life. He spoke in favor of following our curiosity and intuition, and claimed that it’s impossible to understand the ramifications of events in our lives, good or bad, while they’re happening. They can only be understood in retrospect, with the perspective of time. He also spoke about failures in life, or what appeared to be an enormous failure for him at the time – his removal from Apple at the age of 30. In retrospect, he said, that failure turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him. Getting fired freed him and enabled him to move into one of the most creative periods of his life. “If you don’t love what you’re doing, keep looking,” he said. “Don’t compromise.”
7. How do you deal with critics?
Deep in our hearts, we know if the criticism we receive is justified or not. When I think that certain critiques are correct, no matter how difficult to hear, I accept them (by the way, it’s always difficult to hear). When the criticism does not resonate, I remain steadfast in my opinion and continue on my way.
8. How important is social support in overcoming obstacles?
To a person who is venturing on life’s path, social support is critical. We all need people who love us by our side. Life is not always easy. Compassion, empathy, and sharing our thoughts and emotions are what keep us afloat and allow us to overcome the obstacles in our way.
9. What advice would you give others about goal setting?
Just one piece of advice: go after your heart. Do the things that bring you internal happiness, and don’t fear change.
10. What life lesson have you learned that you would like to pass along to others?
There is an important lesson in life that I am still learning: avoid being critical and judgmental of people you meet.
Thank you, Asnat, for sharing your “random thoughts” with us and for speaking from the heart. I would also like to thank, Nitzan Rivlin, for reaching out to me and telling me about Asnat. Also, for translating Asnat’s answers from Hebrew to English for me – I greatly appreciate it!