Another year has gone by. How did I improve? I haven't... I’m stuck in the same situation, with the same problems, with the same bad luck. I didn’t come close to achieving any of my goals from last year. Life hasn’t improved and I haven’t improved.

Don't Think like this. Yes, we may not be able to point to any marked improvement but this isn’t the time for guilt. Rosh Hashana is a time for Simcha. The Mitzvah of VeSamchtah BeChagecha applies to Rosh HaShanah just as with any other Yom Tov. The Sefer HaChinuch explains that we are not sad on Rosh HaShana because it is an opportunity to improve. Hashem has done a kindness to us by giving us a chance to erase our sins. Otherwise we would have deserved to be destroyed long ago. It is a fresh chance.

Here is an illustration of how people should not let disappointments get the best of them.

I was opening a bottle of Coke at Seudah Shlishis (how do you spell Sha’ales Shudis?) and noticed the bottle cap. It was one of those instant winner games. Look under the cap to see if you are an instant winner.

So I looked under the cap. "Sorry, you are not an instant winner". Oh, so that would make me, what – an instant loser? "O.K. that’s it. No more coke for me. I’m through with being a loser".

Don’t look at yourself as an instant loser. Imagine if we stopped buying coke just because we lost an instant winner game. Why should anyone do that with their lives? We must read the rest of the wisdom hidden under the coke bottle cap: "Please try again".

I don’t accept this premise. We’re not instant anything. We are products of investments. Even if you won the silly game you still had to make an investment and buy the bottle. Should we really expect to be "instant" winners? Do we really expect to win anything just by purchasing more coke? Yes, we need Hashem’s help to make our lives with Hashem’s help, but we’ve got to do more than open coke bottles.

Be positive. Don’t give up. Daven. Work. And look at the bright side.

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