Showing posts with label Deeds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Deeds. Show all posts

October 13, 2019

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Actions Speak Louder Than Words."
When we see wrong and evil in this world, we have a duty to stand up and speak out with truth and integrity, to be a good influence and guide things for the better, and even to repair the world ("Tikkun Olam")...Words are perhaps a good start, but also, "words are cheap." The way to really judge someone is less by their words, and far more so by their actual deeds. Moreover, sometimes words aren't enough and we need to not just say something, but do something! As Edmund Burke stated, "The only thing necessary for triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." It's great to speak out when we see wrong, but more than that we have to be willing, when necessary, to act out--to do something.

As Jews, we need to be ready, willing, and able to stand up for what is right in the never ending war of good over evil in this world--regardless of silver or lead, G-d forbid--with our words and with our deeds.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 7, 2019

Ocean of Words

I really like this phrase from a book that I'm reading called "Like Dreamers."
An ocean of words and a desert of ideas.

Too often, we hear people who like to hear themselves talk, think very highly of themselves, show off, or just spout away. 

And while they say a lot...

There may not be a lot there. 

New ideas, thoughts, ways of looking at things, innovation, creativity, outside the box thinking--that's like a desert!

In Yiddish (and it's always funnier in Yiddish), we say:
A big, big mouth, and a tiny, tiny head.

Similarly, in Hebrew, there is phrase that translates to:
Say a little, and do a lot. 

Sometimes, the smartest people are the ones who use their words wisely, strategically, with depth and meaning, and when they really have something to say.

It's at that time that you better be listening.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 7, 2018

Shame As An Effective Motivator

This last week protesters against Justice Kavanaugh came up against Senator Manchin (D. WV) in a head on confrontation. 

He was being interviewed by the media. 

But the protesters drowned him out with chants of "Shame" and "Shame on you!"

Similar to the series Game Of Thrones, where the evil Queen Cersis must "Take the walk of shame" for sleeping with and having a child with her own brother. 

She must walk through the city with all the people yelling "Shame" at her, spitting on her, throwing rotten vegetables at her, etc. 

There is no place to hide. 

Her hair has been shorn off. 

Her clothes have been stripped from her. 

Without her clothes and pretense, she is naked, but she is also naked because her soul is bearing her sin before everybody.

This week life imitated art and the protesters stood in judgment over Senator Manchin's decision to vote yes for and support Kavanaugh.

He was surrounded by shame. 

It was not meant to be politic, respectful, or open any sort of dialogue, but simply to tear the Senator down and humiliate him for his decision. 

I could imagine how he must feel being surrounded by all these people telling him he was a disgrace and that should be completely ashamed of himself. 

There seemed no one left to strand up for him, defend him, and let him save face. 

I am not saying his decision was right or wrong, just that when seemingly everybody passes judgment on you as evil and a disgrace, there is no where to hide or anyone to defend himself in this mob lynching. 

I imagine that this feeling of shame is sort of what happens when we die and we must face everyone we dealt favorably and unfavorably with.  

For those who we wronged, the chant of shame echoes through G-d's heavenly court. 

There is no place to hide as we must now pay the piper for each and every thing we did or didn't do.  

Our deeds are no longer hidden, but exposed for everyone to see. 

We cannot pretend to be good when we were not.

The veil and pretense of righteousness disintegrates.

We are exposed for who we really are. 

Our true selves and our sins are there in full sight and for which we must bear out our ultimate shame. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 26, 2017

Taking It Back

So I was watching Baahubali, the highest grossing movie in India, ever. 

Enjoyed the Bollywood action and pageantry and am looking forward to the sequel coming out this week.

There was one line in the movie, spoken between swordsmen that stood out to me:

"Spoken words and spilled blood can never be taken back."

Mean and harsh word can cut like a knife and hurting someone with words or deeds, can never really be taken back. 

Sure, we can ask for forgiveness and try to make amends.

But it's like once you let the genie out the bottle, you can never really put her and keep her back in. 

A veteran recently fought to have a VA hospital in Florida put the picture of the President up instead of the blank frame on the wall they had (some nonsensical notion of resistance indicating "not my president")--the veteran said about trying to right this wrong:
"It's like trying to put 5 pounds of baloney back in a bag that only holds 2 pounds."

People are doing bad things and saying bad these things these days that can't be just taken back. 

Family, friends, and colleagues--are fighting it out and splitting up.

Each side tells themselves and the other that their cause is right and noble.  

But how much of it is really just brainwashing, hyperbole, and politicking?

While our values as individuals and as a nation should never be put at stake, maybe we could get more done and better by working together than spilling blood--friend and friend, neighbor and neighbor. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 6, 2016

Is There Anyone Out There To Lead

Interesting editorial in the Wall Street Journal today titled, "These Five Are the Best We Can Do?" referring to the current slate of Presidential candidates. 

According to the author, Joseph Epstein: "Viewing the candidates of both parties during the debates, one felt that nearly everyone of the participants was in the business for him- or herself."

Yes, so many people are getting turned off by the selfishness, obscurity and outright deceit, vulgarity, and off-the-chart impractical and impolitic views of the candidates.

Yet the editorial mistakenly attributes the presumed dearth of good-to-great candidates is due to no one impressive wanting to run in the age when "media and Internet are the major instruments of contemporary political degradation."

In other words, no normal person wants to be put under a microscope for their person, rather than their personal views of where to take this country. 

However, this doesn't ring true to me. 

I think that true leaders are and would be willing to endure the scrutiny of the traditional media and social media in order to take us into a meaningful, righteous, and better future--it's simply part of the job like Moses having to endure the gripes against him when he led the Children of Israel out of Egypt and to the Promised Land. 

Maybe the real reason that we don't think we have the quality of leadership that we expect is that there is a perception of a genuine dearth of sincere, unadulterated, whole-package leadership out there. 

Think about it--with a virtually unlimited supply of false messiahs across the leadership spectrum from politics to corporate and religious life--we have been let down by fraudsters, liars, thieves, and sex abusers. 

Like with the Israelites in Egypt who waited hundreds of years for G-d to bring a Moses to lead his people, perhaps we are looking with eyes heavenward for an appropriate gifted leader to take us into the future...and this is more than just what an education or pedigree can provide, but rather a person inspired by a purity of heart and a clarity of vision. 

For that, we need a leader that will not just talk the scripted talk or walk the overconfident boisterous walk, but we need to see the person whose promising words match their deeds and whose heart is aligned with the people and the nation for a truly greater future and not just for the political donations, superdelegate counts, their party nomination and the electoral college votes to land them the coveted Oval Office. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 1, 2015

There You Are

So my niece forwarded this over, and I thought it was really worth sharing...

It's about how our lives are really a bunch of building blocks, and each thing we do contributes to the next step.

So we have to be careful all along the way to do the right thing--so we can achieve the results we want and can be proud of.

It goes like this:

"Watch you thoughts; they become words.

Watch you words; they become actions.

Watch you actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits, they become character.

Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."

Sometimes, we ask ourselves how we got to where we are today--almost as if we are surprised--but the reality is that most of the time, we are going through our lives inch by inch and step by step in an incremental and causal fashion. 

Yes sh*t happens--bad things (and good things), and they test and challenge us and take us to the next playing level.

But for the most part, we didn't just arrive at this moment out of the blue, but rather given what G-d has given us, we mold ourselves brick by brick....until there we are. ;-)

(Thank you to Chana Rivkah Herbsman and Minna Blumenthal)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 4, 2012

Words Have Meaning

Recently, I heard a very smart mentor tell a crowd that "words have meaning."

The context was that even in relation to giving criticism, it is important to be constructive, and not destructive to those receiving it. 

Some are not good at giving criticism and others can be downright sadistic--humiliating, embarrassing, marginalizing, verbally abusing, and even throwing things. 

Words can really hurt people, and the kids song about "stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me"--is just not true for children or adults. 

From a work perspective, I relate this to what I learned earlier in my life about being not only balanced with people and their performance, but also seeing the whole human being--listening to them and being empathetic. 

In performance terms, it's as important to say what people are doing well, as well as to point out areas where their is room for improvement--and yes, it's hard to admit it, but no one of us is perfect, and at the same time, no one really likes to be criticized. 

So it takes a special talent, but one that can be learned--if you have an open mind--to have a heart-to-heart with others, and show that you are not just criticizing to be an S.O.B., but that you genuinely accept the person for who they are, and want to help them learn and grow--and do even better in the future. 

We all have strengths and weakness, and with kindness, we can help others to rise above their limitations and break new barriers in their lives. 

I came across a different example of where words have meaning in terms of people looking for opportunity. 

I heard a story about this person who when asked why they should get a job, responded because they are a "good person."

Word do have meaning and we don't give opportunities to people because they like the person they are, but rather because they have "earned it" professionally--life is competitive and opportunities are not just handed out. 

One more example of how words have meaning, happened when I heard one lady ask another what her son was doing for the summer (given all the unemployment). The other lady replied, "oh, he's busy--sleeping and eating."

Ouch. Yes, times are tough out there, but to hear the mother say it--in that way--about her own child, just sounded perhaps a little harsh and judgmental, but who really knows their particular circumstance. 

Words have meaning--they can bring lovers together, hurt those you love the most, damage reputations, destroy lives, and tear nations apart or bring unity to them and determination to their cause. 

Watching what we say and how we say it--is important for us in growing as decent and thoughtful human beings and in becoming good leaders--in both, we have to have heart and treat others well in both word and deed. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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