My father-in-law Michael Scaba was born in Lebanon, grew up in Israel, participated in 3 wars fighting in the front and later became a successful businessman. I had the luck to marry his daughter, and he became one of my mentors. Below are 5 lessons I learned from him, based on ancient wisdom:
“You are making a hole in the water” = “אתה עושה חור במים”
My father-in-law uses this expression to let me know that I’m trying to do something impossible, or that I’m wasting my time doing something that has no chance to be successful. Of course it is not possible to make a hole in the water, so he uses this advice to let me know clearly and directly that I should focus my efforts on some other initiative.
“A single hand cannot clap hands” = “יד אחת לא מוחא כפיים”
This is his favorite expression when he wants to tell me that I should not try to do everything alone, or, in other words, that I need a business partner. It was important for me to get this kind of advice, because I personally had a tendency to work alone. Today I am much more aware that there are many things we cannot do without partners.
“Don’t take it on your heart, carry it on your shoulders” = “אל תיקח ללב, תיקח על הכתף”
My father-in-law uses this expression very often to help us face our failures and frustrations. Instead of getting hurt when things don’t work as expected, he motivates us to use our strengths to overcome the difficulties. Yes, our heart feels sad when we fail, but we should remember that we have two strong shoulders with the ability to carry this weight.
“It’s not worth it” = “זה לא שווה”
This is a very simple expression, but also very powerful. It happened many times that I explained a situation to my father-in-law and he immediately answered: “It’s not worth it!” First of all, this demonstrates his ability to make fast decisions. But the most important thing for me was learning to say “no”. One of the biggest challenges for an entrepreneur is to be able to reject all kinds of random business opportunities and focus on his/her vision.
“Die honest and not rich” = “תמות ביושר ולא בעושר”
Any business person has many opportunities to make some extra cash by doing things that are not completely legal, like working without receipts or avoiding paying some taxes. Of course these are not big crimes, so it may be difficult to resist the temptation to increase our income. But my father-in-law claims that in the long run a person cannot feel proud of money that he/she has obtained and accumulated dishonestly.