Baruch Hashem I’ve had the zechus to not only blow the shofar for many years on Rosh Hashana, but I’ve also had the amazing opportunity to teach others how to successfully blow the shofar.
One of the lessons that I teach is that to blow a teruah, you need to blow 14 small sounds.
“Wait a minute,” you ask. “Isn’t a teruah 9 small sounds?
“I was taught in school that a shevarim is 3 and a teruah is 9. Why are you saying that you need to blow 14?”
Yes, a kosher teruah has 9 small sounds. However, good luck convincing your minyan that you blew 9 sounds.
Blow 9 and they’ll say you did less than 9.
When I first started to blow, I would do 9 or 10 sounds in a teruah. One morning during an Elul Shachris an elderly gentleman took my shofar from me, yelled at me that I was blowing the teruah incorrectly, and handed my shofar to someone else for them to blow it for the minyan.
If your goal is to get the minimum, you won’t succeed.
And even when you do, others won’t recognize your success.
Whether it be shofar or any other endeavor in life, don’t rely on minimums.