Soon the time came for him to go away to yeshiva. In that city the only karate school he could find was in a third style, so again he began from the basics with the new stances, kicks, and punches. And in this style as well he was awarded a yellow belt. In tenth grade, he switched yeshivas and began the same process again. At the end of five years of training, the young man had attained the rank of yellow belt in five styles – a beginner! Had he spent the same amount of time and effort in one style, he would have attained the rank of black belt – a master. It wasn’t that he wasn’t diligent, and it wasn’t that he didn’t apply himself, but because his focus was changed and he had to begin again from the beginning each time, his advancement was stymied. At the end of it, he hadn’t reached any high rank.
This is a powerful mashol to our lives. Most of our lives are spent with changing priorities – that which is so important at one stage becomes insignificant at another.
To a young boy growing up in America, sports are king. But that doesn’t last; it is soon replaced by friends and being popular. As he matures, grades and what college he gets into become the measure of success. Within a short while, his career and making money are all that really matter. Yet this stage also passes, and shortly he will trade away huge amounts of his wealth to build his reputation. As he nears retirement, health and old-age care are primary concerns. Throughout his existence, that which was precious and coveted at one stage becomes devalued and traded away as new priorities take over. The currency is constantly changing. While at each stage of life he may have done well, the totality of what he accomplished may not be much. He became a yellow belt in five styles.
When we leave this earth we will clearly view everything we did through a different looking glass. The currency then will be different than it is now. The Avos lived their lives with Olam Haba currency firmly in place, and that value system motivated them in everything they did. The more a person shapes his currency on values that are immortal and truly valuable, the more he can attain greatness and shape his destiny.