The Vilna Gaon tells us that the main reason for life is to change our middos -“If not” he says, “Why should a person have life?”


The difficulty with this mandate is that it means: I have to change. While in theory I may be open to grow — I may even recognize the many advantage to my life, in practice we humans find it very difficult to change.  Ask a person who has smoked for 20 years, “How easy it is to change?” Ask a person who is 40 lbs overweight, “Don’t you want to lose weight?” The reality is that even when we recognize the need to change, actually carrying out the process seems to be a daunting task-and it’s not just about willpower.


This is part one of a series of Shmuzin, focusing on the dynamics of change.  Whether my aim is to stop: gambling, over eating, drinking, or improving my character traits; by understanding the different stages, techniques and mental states, that are a necessary part of change, we can be more successful at attaining our goals.