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A Little that Holds a Lot

There’s a chassidic saying, “Muet haMachzig haMerube,” a little that holds a lot.

Throughout a day, there are many important activities one needs to and wants to engage in. A person has to sleep, exercise, bathe, eat, drink, pray, perhaps meditate, learn, spend time with friends and family, and many other activities unique to the individual.

In every activity, there’s a question asked by many, asked often, and in different forms:

How much is enough? How many hours of sleep are necessary for quality rest? How long of exercise is necessary? What’s the minimum effective dose? The smallest doable unit? How much should I eat/drink? What’s the duration necessary for a quality meditation and/or prayer service? If I only have 5, 10, 15 minutes to do this activity, is it worth it? Will it have an effect? I can make time to do it, but is it really necessary?

There’s experimentation, trial and error, rinse and repeat, to see how much is necessary and how much is affordable at a particular time. It may be important to note that a person can make time for an activity by taking away time from another activity - usually sleep - which doesn't alway end positively. Hence, the researching of the above questions because these mentioned activities are important and nobody wants to "spread oneself too thin," or force anything.

Depending on what’s most important now is where the most time is allocated. Also, when first building a new skill it may require more time to hone. Once the practice becomes a skill, maintenance takes half the time and effort. For example, when first exercising for a fitness goal an hour may be required. Then, once the fitness goal is achieved and another area of life becomes more important, maintaining the fitness level can take less time. In fact, sometimes a person may even be pushed to achieve the effect of a full workout in a small amount of time.

The human brain, based on the input given, has it’s limitations. The brain is a record of the past. When it comes to achieving a goal or doing an activity mentioned above, it thinks the way to achieve this goal is by doing a, b, and c. In that order. Or, in order to get a quality rest, workout, learning, building a skill, etc, there's a need for x amount of time. No less.

However, it’s not necessarily always so absolute. It is possible to achieve a goal in a way unseen at first. It is possible to get a quality workout in 20 minutes. It’s even possible to get quality exercise without a formal workout, as per the study with the Hotel Maids. It is possible to have a quality meditation in 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the day. It is possible to effectively learn information or build a skill with 10 minutes one day, 30 minutes the next day, and 5 minutes the following day.

It is possible to say a little and mean a lot, to write a little and mean a lot, to have “a little that holds a lot.”

The Freideker Rebbe would go to a dacha, a Russian suburban country house to have leisure time for health reasons. He would arrive to his room, remove a few garments, sit in a chair, and then would consider himself, “yotzei,” meaning he “fulfilled the requirements” of relaxing.

Often we just need a little to facilitate and allow what we need and want.

We just need to think positive and be positive, exercise discipline, yet embrace flexibility, and adjust to circumstances.

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“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
It's not the daily increase, but the decrease. Hack away at the unessential" — Bruce Lee.
If you can fill the unforgiving minute, With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run. — If* by Rudyard Kipling

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