A Piece of Advice That Changed Your Life

February 8, 2022
Jessica Gelman

Dix Hills, New York, United States

Class of 2023

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At around 9:20 pm on Friday, December 10th, the first night of Nassau Suffolk’s Winter Convention, each BBG chapter got into a single file line and walked into a dark room at Hudson Valley Resort and Spa named Ballroom A. Filing into the room, each BBG was told to follow the person in front of them and face inwards. Within ten minutes, 223 BBGs were sitting facing each other. Some faces I was surrounded with were those of my best friends while some were faces of people I had yet to introduce myself to. Nonetheless, I was looking forward to engaging in the Separates program, since it is one of the most meaningful programs I’ve attended in the past.

Regional board members began walking within the center of the circle, telling stories of advice they have heard that changed their life. Multiple quotes were shared in the room, and every single one of them allowed me to reflect on my own life. Here’s what I learned:

“You cannot love others without loving yourself.” Strive to live a life that you are proud of and work to better that of which you are insecure.

“Everything happens for a reason.” A quote I always live by. Every door that closes opens tons of new ones. Every path has twists and turns.

“You only have one life, so you gotta live it big time.” Live each moment to the most and make sure to live in the present. 

“If not now, tell me when.” Words from a song that reminds me of the best experience I had the opportunity to take part in. Do not set aside your goals; work to accomplish your dreams. 

While many other quotes made an impact on my weekend, these quotes were ones that got me thinking about the one piece of advice that changed my own life.

I took a second to think to myself what quote truly sums up the values that I live by. After very little thought, the quote “the only person you should try to be better than was the person you were yesterday” popped into my head. 

While I do not remember the first time I heard this quote, I do remember that when I was ten years old, I went to a pottery place with my mom and sisters and wrote this quote on an 8x8 square plaque. Even when I was younger, I understood the magnitude of this quote and how important of a lesson it is. 

Now, 12 years later, this quote is still something that I live by. To me, this means focusing on getting better at what you do and competing with yourself to reach your goals. Everyone is on a different path, and it is not beneficial to compare your success or failure to that of others. Work hard and persevere every day; do not let challenges stop you from reaching your goals. Challenges make you stronger and allow you to grow as a person. Strive to become a better version of yourself and appreciate what you have in the present.  

Being prompted to think about a piece of advice I was given that changed my life was all that I needed to see the impact of a quote, and how it encompasses the morals that I live by.

I was handed a pen and paper and told to write down the piece of advice that I would like to share with others. Sitting in the pitch back, I took my orange marker and small yellow piece of paper and wrote, “the only person you should try to be better than was the person you were yesterday.”

Jessica Gelman is a BBG from Nassau Suffolk Region, and she loves to help others.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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