Showing posts with label Courage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Courage. Show all posts

May 6, 2019

Wrong Direction--Who Stands For The Truth?

So I thought this was pretty funny in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. 
A wife is listening to the radio and she hears that a car is dangerously going in the wrong direction on the highway. 

Immediately, she calls her husband to tell him about the car going in the wrong direction, and to be careful. 

He husband replies: One car going in the wrong direction...there are hundreds of cars going in the wrong direction!

How true this little story is about life and what direction we choose for ourselves--in the face of the groupthink and the tidal wave of public opinion that will sweep you away if you aren't strong of mind and especially of character. 

Whenever we choose the road less traveled, others see us as dangerous and going the wrong way. 

Yet to us, others may just be following blindly, and we may truly see something that everyone else is missing...could it possibly be that they are really the ones going the wrong way!

But there is always some doubt in our minds...we are fallible, we can wrong, we can be crazy.  

Whose truth is it anyway--Mine?  Yours?  Or could it really be "The (objective) Truth"?

Alternatively, maybe we just lack confidence or courage?

It is very hard to be the nail that stands up (and doesn't get hammered down) and say that something is wrong and everyone should pay attention and change direction or their ways. 

Perhaps, they are all heading off a moral cliff or just heading towards disaster.

In some cases...

We know the agendas of the people who want to steer you wrong. 

We hear the propaganda and lies they are feeding you. 

We can see down the road or just around the bend where the danger lies in wait. 

- Can we stand up to the crowd?  

- Can we demonstrate the moral truth?  

- Can we get others to see what we see?  

It is certainly not easy to be the contrarian in the crowd. 

Not only may you not be recognized for what you are doing, but you may even be persecuted for it. 

It doesn't matter...

Because you need to do it anyway just because you know deep inside that it's the right thing to do. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 15, 2018

It's Fight or Surrender!



This is why President Reagan was able to "tear down that wall" and win the Cold War. 

He was a true role model for leadership and what a President is. 

- Faith in G-d.

- A strength of convictions.

- The Integrity that touches hearts. 

- Courage to carry forward. 

- Pride in our nation.

- Judicious use of our might.

Go USA! ;-)
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June 20, 2018

The Anxiety Filter

What a brilliant picture of "Anxiety" by a child in Montgomery County, Maryland. 

Notice the great big letters--and all in caps--for what ANXIETY feels like. 

Anxiety is black--it's when we are in a dark foreboding place and we can't find our way out--it holds us back from doing what we need and like to do. 

Anxiety feels so all-enveloping and ginormous--it dwarfs us in the "I"--and we feel so small and are paralyzed, incapable of freeing ourselves from it. 

Anxiety is a cognitive and emotional bias where we see things in black and white--everything is to the extreme--and there are no greys; we tend to talk in all or nothing and our actions may mimic our extreme feelings. 

Around the anxiety, we are bordering in blood red--we are in a dangerous place--where our feelings of fear, inadequacy, and being incapable of overcoming it can lead us to do something desperate and final. 

When we are drowning in anxiety, it is like a lens or filter that clouds our vision and thinking, so we can make bad decisions, not make any decisions, or just procrastinate in order to avoid the issue and thing we are afraid of. 

We have to fight off the octopus grip of anxiety.

We have to find our courage within and from G-d.

We have to conquer our demons so we can meet our destiny head-on. 

We have a mission to fulfill in our life, and we can't let anything get in the way. 

Fate is waiting for us to make our important contribution, so then we can be gathered to our fathers and rest in final peace. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 10, 2018

Living Life Vicariously

So the Capitals won the Stanley Cup.  Go DC!

This little figurine made a debut on the counter of the concierge late last week for us to cheer them on!

You can ring the bell for help and while your waiting, get excited about the game. 

While these types of sports are not my thing per se, I do like watching a good Rocky movie or action flick where the good guys beat the sh*t out of the bad guys.

Whether you'watching your favorite sports team, your Hollywood dream stars, or even an occasional do (something) good politician, we are living vicariously through them. 

It's not our success we are seeing, but somehow we temporarily suspend our own selves and live through others (their eyes, their actions) and we partake just for a second of what it's like to be them winning or doing something really significant in life. 

We all can't be superstars in the center ring duking it out (all the time) and so we take a step back to see others that we relate to face up to the challenge, fight and hopefully win big. 

We don't walk away with the trophy, prize money, or fame, but we congratulate ourselves somehow for being on the winning team. 

Heck, I didn't do anything but have faith, go along for the ride, and then take pleasure in seeing my guy(s) win. 

Yet, from the humdrumness of perhaps some of our own everyday lives, we fantasize and garner the courage and strength to do our own great things. 

We can't be the strongest, smartest, most good-looking, personable, and talented in the world, but we can see parts of ourselves in others and we can try to model the best of them in ourselves and leverage what we got going on!

I don't really like spending a lot of precious time living like this through others--I don't mind getting inspiration when I see something amazing, but really I just want to try my hardest to be the best that I can be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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March 13, 2018

Outgunned Yes


I liked this saying that I heard:

"Outnumbered and outgunned, but not outsmarted."

I think there is a lot of truth to this. 

Might does not make right. 

Right makes right. 

There is a G-d above who watches over us. 

Those with the big guns may just end up shooting themselves in the foot. 

G-d reigns supreme and he gives wisdom and courage to his faithful. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 7, 2018

Cross The Street

I like this saying by life coach Iyanla Vanzant"
"When you see crazy coming, cross the street!"

I remember learning similarly from experts that the first lesson in self defense is always:
"If you can run, run!"

That doesn't mean your not strong or courageous.

It's just common sense to try to avoid trouble if you can. 

When people seriously fight, both usually can end up with a black eye or worse. 

And there are truly a lot of crazies out there.

Peace is always desired.

But strength (and preparedness) is always required. 

This makes sense as well in the larger context of the USA upgrading it's nuke arsenal and other weapons systems and platforms to deter enemy aggression.

Thus, peace through strength and of course, prayer! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 11, 2018

Bringing Down The House

I love this silver sculpture of Samson.

And one of my favorite stories and Biblical characters. 

Samson was dedicated to G-d from birth and was an enormous warrior. 

Even when he was betrayed, blinded, and bound, he maintained his ultimate faith in G-d.

He prayed that he be given the strength one more time to bring justice to G-d's enemies. 

And that's when he pushed against the pillars and brought the house down on them.

On one hand, a tragic figure that trusted and was fooled by the beautiful Delilah, but a completely heroic man of great integrity, who believed in G-d and in vanquishing his enemies.

Look to the Heavens for your strength and G-d can grant you the ultimate strength to achieve your mission in life and even in death. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 6, 2017

Mazel Tov On Jerusalem

Today, Jerusalem has been recognized as the capital of Israel--Mazel tov!

- 70 years after President Truman instructed the State Department to support the U.N. partition plan.

- 50 years since the Six Day War in which Jerusalem was reunified.

- 22 years after the Jerusalem Embassy Act was passed for relocating the U.S. Embassy to the capital, Jerusalem.

Everyone has been patient and waited a long time for this.

As President Trump stated, we are recognizing the reality, the obvious, and "it is the right thing to do!"

Yes, Israel is a sovereign nation with the right to determine their own capital as every nation does. 

And Jerusalem is that capital today as it has been historically from the times of the Bible. 

We are blessed to be witnessing in our time the miraculous fulfillment of G-d's promise for the quintessential return of the Israelites to the Promised Land, and toward the ultimate redemption.

From the ashes of the Holocaust, G-d has resurrected and brought us alive again.

Many that I have spoken with today express genuine fear about the ramifications of this announcement of recognition. 

But as President Trump displayed today, we must all go forward together courageously and in celebration. 

The State of Israel is blooming from its agricultural fields to the incredible medical and technological innovations that are helping people throughout the world.

We must never forget that it is only with G-d's blessing and under his watchful eye.

May we all pray for peace and security, and let their not be war or terrorism anymore! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via WhiteHouse.gov)
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November 10, 2017

Mechanisms for Coping With Stress

Just reflecting on the day off today on helpful ways for being resilient and coping with day-to-day stress. 

1. Teamwork - Remember you're not alone and you can rely on your colleagues/teammates at work and your family/friends at home to work with you, help you, and also be a support. Together, when you distribute the weight, the load is lighter and more manageable for everyone doing the lifting! 

2. Work-Life Balance - Listen, all work and no play is good for no one. When you create a healthy balance in your own life--professional, emotional, intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual--then you will be more balanced, holistic, and better able to manage the ups and downs in any one or more areas of your life. The whole of you is larger than the sum of the parts!

3. Perspective - You've got to maintain a healthy perspective and attitude in life. All is not doom and gloom. Not every setback is catastrophic. There is good and bad in everything. And we need to use the challenges in life as learning and growth opportunities. Also, remember that there are many others in even worse shoes than us and their fortitude and seeing it through can be an inspiration to us. At the end of the day, look at the bright side--we all have so much to be grateful for, and every moment of life is a blessing!

4. Sense of Humor - When all else fails, a sense of humor can sometimes be the savings grace of the moment. When you're looking out over the abyss and you are seeing things dark and maybe quite ugly...perhaps, you can find in yourself, in others, or from a moment in time, something ridiculous or absurdly funny to think back on and laugh to yourself a good, strong, and healthy laugh!

5. Faith - No matter what...G-d is always there for you. Always watching. Always guiding. Always caring and loving you. You can have faith that whatever He does for you is ultimately for your best. The G-d of your forefathers/mothers, the G-d who created you, the G-d who sustains you every moment of every day will not abandon you in your time of need. If you have faith, He will protect and save you and after your amazing life's journey eventually comes to an end, He will bring you home to reunite with Him!

On my Bar-Mitzvah, now many years ago, my father gave a speech and he said to me from the prayers, be strong and remember:

"The L-rd is with me, I will not fear!" (or in Hebrew "Adonai li v'lo ira")

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 10, 2017

Face The Fear

I have to give my wife credit. 

She said something to me the other day that was really profound and had a deep impact on me. 

Something bad had happened and honestly, it was a truly frightening situation.

At first, it seemed like one of those negative surprises in life that brings bad news and you are at first sort of shocked. 

As things progress though and the news unfortunately doesn't get better, but in fact gets worse, the shock turns to fear and maybe even panic. 

Oh shit, what do I do now?

Turn this way..no good. 

Turn that way...no good.

Retreat...not an option.

So I speak to my wife, and at first she says:
"Just look away."
But I can't look away...I can't ignore a problem...my instinct is that I have to plan for it, deal with it, solve it. 

I go back to my wife, and she says to me:
"Face the fear, and walk through it."
And I had to stop in my tracks at that. 

She was right--there is no use being fearful or worrying--I would face it and walk through it, and come out the other side better for it. 

That was some of the best advice anyone I think has ever given to me. 

Got to be strong, have courage, face the challenges in life, and "walk through it!" 

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. 

Have to have emunah (faith), and realize it's just a test. 

And the Almighty G-d is my shield and protector. 

It's a test, but I can pass it with G-d's help, and everything will be alright. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 1, 2017

And It Will Come To Pass

I was walking today and this is what was in my mind...

And it will be in the days of Putin king of Russia and Xi Jinping king of China that Trump king of the USA will advance peace between Israel and its neighbors. 

So that nation shall not life up sword again nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

And you will quiet your enemies to the north, and to the southwest, and to the far east. 

None shall stand against you. 

The time is coming when great arrows will pierce the hearts of your enemies, and the eyes of the people shall see and know that G-d, the protector of Israel and the judge of all, doth live and fulfills all his promises to those that honor their commitments to Him. 

The answer is in your words and deeds to bring glory to the Maker of Heaven and Earth. 

Sharpen your swords, gird your tongue in prayer, and cover yourselves in the everlasting deeds of your forefathers and mothers. 

The time arrives for all mankind to witness the long arm of the L-rd and know his reign and mercy endures forever. 

Be of faith and good courage. 

And Israel will dwell in peace and security and the world will prosper in the redemption. 

The ambers and ash of history are still warm, but the times of evil and destruction shall give way to a renewal of the simple, the good, and the peaceful following.

He who sits on the throne that is the foundation of all that lives gazes upon his creation with a sadness and promise. 

Those who commit the worst evils will be found guilty and cleansed, and those of pure heart will be guiltless.

Evil will not stand in the presence of the L-rd of Hosts. 

Redemption is at hand and the glorious saving by the spirit that is the spirit that speaks to all with a voice of thunder and lightening, and the angels will be awakened, and man will know and serve Him once more with a full heart and mindfulness to the Almighty.

Blessed be His name and His deeds are magnificent beyond wonder, generosity, and holiness. 

Amen, Amen, Amen.   

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 3, 2017

Under The Feet Of Haters

So there is a saying in Washington, D.C....

"You know you've made it when you have your haters."

This is a very political town!

But more than that, a leader has to take a position. 

You have to stand for something. 

There are oodles of constituencies and no matter how hard you try, you will never satisfy everyone. 

Yes ideally, we always want to create a win-win situation. 

However, every give, usually has a take, since the pie isn't infinite. 

Compromise where possible, but hold your ground where necessary. 

The key is to choose a direction from your conscience and follow your moral compass and do the most good for the most people and what's right in the eyes of G-d. 

Unfortunately, some people will declare themselves your mortal enemy and try to stamp you out of existence just for being and following who you are. 

Many of us who have experienced racism, discrimination, slavery, and even genocide know this senseless hate all too well. 

Be strong of of good courage and do righteousness. 

G-d is our rock and shield. 
Psalm 27: "The L-rd is my light and salvation--whom shall I fear?  The L-rd is the stronghold of my life--of whom shall I be afraid." 
So as your enemies advance to step on and try and crush you, remember that G-d will decide where their feet actually land and how they will fall. :-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 27, 2017

Courage To Do The Right Thing

So it takes courage to do the right thing. 

It's the easy way out to shut your eyes and overlook when things are wrong. 

Taking a stand and standing up for what's right often means fighting the good fight. 

But who wants to fight?

Everyone wants to live in peace and quiet. 

In fact, every day we pray repeatedly in the Amidah for peace

In the 19th prayer...
May it please you to bless your people Israel at all times and in every hour with your peace. Blessed are you, O Lord, who blesses his people Israel with peace.

Then again after the prayer for thanks...
Bestow peace, goodness and blessing, life, graciousness, kindness and mercy, upon us and upon all Your people Israel...May it be favorable in Your eyes to bless Your people Israel, at all times and at every moment, with Your peace.
And yet a third time at the end...
He who makes peace in His heavens, may He make peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.
What can be more desired than peace and wellness in our lives?

Yet, when we see corruption, wrongdoing, and evil, people are called on the confront it, and stand up for good. 

Because when evil prevails, there is no real peace in the world. 

Hence, the courageous and righteous are called on to stand up based on integrity, merit, and values, and to work to return a state of justice and peace. 

G-d watches to see to it that good ultimately prevails over evil. 

May He who makes peace, make peace for us and all Israel, and let us say Amen. ;-) 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 17, 2017

The Success Iceberg

Thought this was really so true.

Under the tip of the iceberg of success lay all the factors that most people don't see.

The vast mass of persistence, failures, sacrifices, disappointments, good habits, hard work, and dedication. 

Success really is an iceberg!

Don't be jealous of the success at the tip of the iceberg of others unless you put in all the ingredients beneath--plus a prayer to the Almighty Above for his blessings.

Have a Shabbat Shalom!

(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)
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October 15, 2016

Peace Through Strength

So this is what I've learned about conflict management...

Obviously, we are better off without conflict and to simply all get along--that's the ideal!

Now unfortunately, in real life there may be situations where we may have fundamental differences of opinions and goals, and at times these may seriously clash. 

What's good for you, may be bad for me (or vice versa)...that's called a win-lose situation. 

And when we don't see eye to eye and can't get along, then either we can try to work it out and that's where diplomacy comes in or at other times, we may have no choice but to take up arms and go to war.

Our first choice is diplomacy. Here, we sit down to listen and try genuinely to understand each other, and have empathy on others...life is not easy for anyone. 

Still we need to mesh what others want with what we need for our own wellbeing and progress, and that's where negotiation, compromise, and de-escalation come into play. 

Best case scenario, we come up with a win-win situation, where we can both walk away from the table with a respectable enough amount of what we each want and our egos still intact, so that that we can all go our merry ways and pursue our lives and live within our values and amidst security.  

However, in some cases, some may be so unreasonable, intractable, and their actions so aggressive, egregious, and dangerous as to threaten, harm, and violate the lives of others, that it's intolerable for it to continue any longer.

What's left when we can't put up and shut up, and when talk is exhausted, is to fight for what we believe in, for who we are, and for our right to live and prosper. 

Once, twice, three times and you're out of time and luck--we are seriously headed for a clash of persons and/or civilizations. 

Peace is better won without firing a shot, but when it's time to pull out the guns, they better be damn big and deadly ones. 

That is called peace through strength...where we have the guts and means to back up our position with force, if necessary. 

None of this bullshit of bringing a knife to a gunfight; instead, when we have no choice but to fight, we fight to win and everything is on the table. 

Peace is the preference, but if war is the only answer, then the other side may have unleashed hell, and that is what they will get from peace through strength delivered! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 16, 2016

Look Who I Found In Synagogue

Well, this was quite a surprise in the hip Magen David Synagogue today.

I captured this amazing Pokemon. 

I can't say that I actually saw him davening (praying) in shule. 

But he was on the way down to the kiddush (blessing and meal) after services. 

No virtual apps needed for this Pokemon.  

He was right there over the chulent (bean and meat stew)--Oh, that must've been another week. 

Anyway, this Pokemon is ready to defend in the next battle of good and evil. 

Thanks to Nintendo, Pokemon goes these days where the rest of our leaders are afraid to endeavor. 

Hence the search for Pokemon far and wide...it's a true craze. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 16, 2016

Setbacks Lead To Comebacks

My wife, Danielle Blumenthal, sent me this beautiful quote from Joel Osteen's book called, "It's Your time."

"For every setback, G-d has prearranged a comeback

For every failure, G-d has prearranged mercy. 

For every disappointment, G-d has prearranged restoration. 

For every unfair thing, G-d has prearranged vindication....

It's easy to get discouraged, lose your enthusiasm, or even be tempted to just settle where you are.

But if we're going to see G-d's best, when you get knocked down, you don't stay down. You get back up again.You have to know that every time adversity comes against you, it's a setup for a comeback."

Often we look at some people, and think that they have everything. 

But no one does--life is a bunch of trade-offs. 

Some are blessed with family and friends, others with health and longevity, and still others with peace or prosperity, but no one has it all. 

And if you think they do, then you don't really know them and their circumstances. 

In life, everyone has weaknesses, setbacks and failures...it's how we learn, it's how we grow.

Understanding that setbacks doesn't necessarily mean "game over" and that as long as there is life, there is hope, can give us the courage to go on, and the strength to get up when it seems like we are down for the count, and to make a comeback to live and thrive yet another day. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 22, 2016

Attitudinal Fix

So attitude goes a long way in shaping how we do in life. 

For some people, the glass is half full, and for others it's half empty--it's of course, just how you look at it. 

One colleague told me this week: 

"Life is 10% what happens 
and 
90% how you react to it."


I suppose we see that with so many people who have unbelievable daunting challenges in life, yet somehow they manage to put on a smile or give a thumbs up regardless, and just do what they need to do--they are troopers, survivors, and generally people of incredible character and caliber. 

These are the heroes that we can look up to. 

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"--and the going refers to doing what needs to get done, and not running away from your duty scared or not knowing what to do. 


Need to be courageous, resourceful, loyal, and giving to others.  

Stop the whining, the crying, the self pity, the questioning "why me"--what will any of that help?

Fight, fight, fight--that's what we're here for. 

Until our last breath, we can still make a difference. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 12, 2016

Head Of Peace Now Is A Moron

I don't often go about calling people names.

It's not diplomatic or politically correct, of course. 

But I want to make an exception on this special occasion.

And that is when this week, the head of Peace Now, Yariv Oppenheimer, actually had the audacity to criticize terror victim, Yonatan Azriaev, in Israel.

The victim was savagely stabbed by a terrorist, yet the victim managed to pull the knife from his own neck and trust it into his attacker, killing him.

What an unbelievable act of courage, strength, and heroism!

But to the leader of Peace Now, he blames the victim and calls this an extra-judicial execution, instead of a completely appropriate act of self-defense against a terrorist on a murderous rampage.

All I can say is the guy is a complete moron (yes, I said it) and shame on the self-hating, anti-Semitic, Peace Now members who are indirectly supporting terrorism, instead of defending their brothers and sisters. 

Let's hope and pray for a genuine peace with security for the Holy Land.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 27, 2015

Become A HITFIT

A misfit is someone who doesn't fit in. 

He/she is missing the mark in terms of the thing or group they are trying to fit into.

The opposite of missing the target is hitting the target, hence a "hitfit" (my term)--someone who is in congruence with who he/she is and what they can do well. 

At times, we are all misfits--at work, school, places of worship, and even with family and friends--the personality, chemistry, and KSA (knowledge, skills, or abilities) are just not right.

Hence, people miserably fail in one environment or set of circumstance, but yet they thrive in others. 

What happens when you're the misfit?  

- You feel like you've been relegated to moron status, sitting in a corner or closet somewhere (and now envision the dunce cap on your head). 

- Essentailly everyone else seems to be meshing and doing great, but you're the odd man out. Nothing you seem to do is right, you can't perform or you just stop trying, and you feel like a worthless sh*t!

But then what happens?

- With courage, determination, and hard work, you pull yourself up by your trousers and you make a significant change in your life--your job, school, community, even your spouse or friends--you're the shinning star that you always knew or hoped you could be--you're the hitfit!

I've seen this happen again and again with people. 

Why?

So often people are not "bad," "stupid," or "losers"--they are just not in their groove for who they are. 

If you give people a chance to find themselves and leverage their strengths,. and strengthen (or challenge) their weaknesses, they can and will do superbly!

None of us are perfect (except G-d)--we are all frail human beings, even the strongest, smartest, fastest, and greatest among us. If you're put or find yourself in a bad situation--recognize your part in it, but also understand that sometimes it's just a misfit, and time to make a positive change in life. 

Do you research, test the waters, get primed, and find your hitfit and your happiness--you can do it, with G-d's help, everyone can! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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