8 Keys to Success, with Ruchi Koval
Want to be more successful in your life and business, gain more recognition and respect, create more impact, accomplish your goals, reach financial targets, increase your income, and raise happy kids? Then it’s time you found a secret hidden in the timeless Jewish practice of Mussar, as shared by Ruchi Koval.
It’s not where we usually start. We look for strategies, scripts, tools, and tricks to beat the odds and get there faster. But today, motivational speaker, coach, and author of Soul Construction, Ruchi Koval shares the real keys to success that are found much deeper… by developing character.
So, if you want to become financially successful, then be prepared for a challenging, growing conversation that will help you have the right relationship with money… tune in now!
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Table of contents
What is Mussar?
[5:12] “I was basically raised on the precepts of Mussar, from the time I was little enough to speak. So Musar is a concept of ethical character development… Throughout the generations, people have been asking themselves, ‘How can we make faith relevant to the next generation?’ One of the answers that came forth in the 1800s was this concept of Mussar, which had been in existence, but kind of latent—that a primary path to spirituality could be focusing on our character traits.”
Before this, there were other popular schools of thought about how to achieve spirituality in the Jewish faith. It was Rabbi Yisroel Salanter who really brought this thinking to the forefront and inspired the Mussar movement. The Rabbi who founded the school that Ruchi attended was the son of a Mussar master.
The character traits in question include things such as patience, kindness, joy, and humility. Ruchi also highlights that it’s also important to work on controlling your anger or allowing people to have their way.
[6:38] “That was as Jewish as charity and traveling to Israel and, you know, observing the Sabbath.”
Why Does Character Development Matter?
[8:43] “I believe that ancient Jewish wisdom is universal. That means that it can apply to anyone. That’s why this book that I wrote—Soul Construction—is not just targeted for Jews. It’s targeted for anybody, because I do believe that it’s universal wisdom. The point of Mussar is really self-transformation, but it definitely affects everybody around us.”
Part of Mussar that Ruchi shares is to have your character traits in balance. Anything to an extreme, on either end of the spectrum, is unhealthy. For example, you must have generosity in balance. You want to tithe and be generous, but you also want to keep some of that money so you can do more with it and better your family. Ambition, too, can be a good thing, unless taken too far. Then, it becomes greed.
Keeping your character traits in balance not only allows you to be more spiritual, but it can also help you in your pursuit of certain things, like abundance.
[11:55] “If I can get my character traits in balance, then my pursuit of money could be something that is fulfilling for me and my family, and will create harmony and not discord.
Money Doesn’t Define You
[17:10] “So ancient Jewish wisdom actually teaches that money doesn’t define you… How much you have of it doesn’t define you at all.”
In fact, Judaism recognizes wealth as a blessing from God. So earning a certain dollar amount cannot define you. It’s your attitude toward what you have and what you choose to do with it that defines you. If you’re generous, humble, and grateful, that speaks volumes no matter your income. It also speaks volumes if you’re miserly, snobbish, and conceited.
If you’re concerned about having entitled children because you’re leaving an inheritance, it’s critical to raise them not to be that way. Their character isn’t defined by what you leave to them. It depends on how you raise them to understand money, and how to treat other people. And parents must be clear and communicative with children.
[23:12] “The most important thing we want to give to the next generation is values. And that can all be undone because of a messy will.”
Character Development is a Lifelong Process
[41:56] “That’s the concept of Mussar, truly, is that it’s a lifelong process. Because anything that is of value takes time. And this is just as applicable to money, right? I mean I tell this to my kids: if there’s some get-rich-quick scheme, it’s probably a scheme. Because real money takes time to build and grow and invest and earn.”
Furthermore, in order to keep earning an income, you have to keep offering a quality product or service. There’s no real point at which you’re done—if you build a business or have an income, you’re always going to have to work at it. The same is for character development. You are always going to have to work for it. You’ll stumble, have to apologize, and need to build relationships back up.
Connect with Ruchi Koval
- Out of the Ortho Box
- Soul Construction
About Ruchi Koval
Ruchi Koval is the co-founder and Associate Director of Congregation JFX, an innovative community in Cleveland, Ohio. She has been a Jewish educator for two decades, leading self-development groups for adults and teens, and mentoring educators around the world. Ruchi is a certified parenting coach, motivational speaker, musician, author, and mother.
She is a Trip Leader for Momentum, inspiring hundreds of women on their journeys in Israel. She is also a columnist for the Cleveland Jewish News, and the author of two books: Conversations with God, and Soul Construction. Find Ruchi on Facebook and Instagram, on her blog at outoftheorthobox.com, and on her podcasts on iTunes or Spotify. Download her free Ruchi Koval app to listen to many of her lectures online.
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