Showing posts with label Ego. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ego. Show all posts

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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April 11, 2019

Black Hole--What's Really Important?

Amazing beautiful photos of a black hole from 55 million light years (311 million trillion miles) away. 

It measures about 25 billion miles across--about the size of 29,000 suns. 

If this doesn't make you (with all the money, smarts, good looks, and ego to match) feel small, nothing will. 

We are but a speck of dust in this vast universe (maybe not even that). 

Perspective is in order for your life and what it means. 

Forget the money-grubbing and honor-seeking.

Realize what's really important is what you do in terms of choosing right from wrong and good over evil in every small thing you do.  ;-)

(Photo Credit: Event Horizon Telescope)
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December 20, 2018

Don't Get a Huge Hierarchy or a Big Fat Flat

So organizations are a funny thing.

Too hierarchical and you can get lost in the maze of corner offices.

Too flat, and there is no one to make a darn decision. 

Huge hierarchies can be costly and inefficient, but flat as a board organization are mob rule.

I think there has got to be a happy medium.

- One, where there is leadership, accountability, a reasonable span of control, and room for professional growth. 

- Two, where there is dignity and respect for everyone, and your tile and level doesn't make any difference in terms of having your voice heard and being able to make a difference. 

Hierarchies that reach to the pompous sky and flat organizations where all the air is let out and nothing can get done are those that need to be hailed away in a big menacing orange wheel lock.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 10, 2018

Cool Car DC

Who would think you'd find a car like this in Washington, D.C.?

Definitely a standout, you think. 

Although it seems like the people crossing the street don't even notice it.

Ah, wake up people!

Anyway, where do you park a car like that?

It's nice to look at, but between people wanting to steal it or deface it, I think it's probably more trouble than it's worth. 

There are enough loonies out there...why give them a reason. 

Then again, if you tether yourself to it, maybe it's good for a joy ride around the Capital especially before the new tariffs kick in.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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November 15, 2017

Body Morphic Disorder

So often you hear about people with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD). 

This is a psychiatric disorder where people are obsessed with their real or perceived body flaws. 

Often their notions of a physical flaw is widely exaggerated like someone who has a barely noticeable mole, but they see it as a major blotch on their skin that everyone must be staring at and repulsed by.  

People with this disorder may often stand in front of the mirror starring at themselves obsessing over these minor imperfections. 

But there is something major that is missing here. 

And it is the polar opposite of BDD.

I would call it the Body Morphic Disorder (BMD). 

My notion of BMD is where people are similarly obsessed with their bodies, but rather than real or perceived flaws, they are focused on real or perceived notions of their body's beauty and  perfection!

Instead of looking in the mirror and perceiving problems and feeling self-loathsome, these people are excessively vain and see themselves as a (near) perfect specimen of a human being. 

"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?"

Or the equivalent of ain't I just grand!

It's funny-weird that we perceive criticism and self-contempt (BDD) as a psychiatric disorder, but we don't generally see narcissistic self-worship as a personality disorder!

Yet any extreme is a bad thing. 

Excessive loving or hating of your physical self--is the kiss of death when it comes to seeing things the way they really are and being a genuine human being. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 3, 2017

Tooting Your Own Horn

So I always try to see the best in people.

But sometimes it is hard when they are so intent on tooting their own horns. 

Bragging, boasting, patting themselves on the back about how smart they are or a job so incredibly well done.

Oh, you've got to ask yourself...

Is it all really true?

OR  

Do we have perhaps some slight exaggeration going on with a dose of self-aggrandizement, a spoonful of self-promotion, and more than a pinch of big ego?

Perhaps, also the person is in denial as to what their own capabilities--and limitations--really are. 

For example, many artists are enthralled with their work and themselves.
"Isn't this so good?"
"Can you believe I made this?
"Wow, this is impressive, right?"

Sure, there are plenty of talented people out there doing good and even amazing work. 

But even then tempering your achievements with a little modesty and balance, like "I do this well, but I need to grow more in that area"--goes a long way to making the admirable talents and achievements more honest, humble, and believable. 

Always, people are good at some things, and worse at others.

We all have things to work on and improve, and nobody is so perfect in this world!

We can try to come close--that's our job to strive for it--but true perfection belongs to G-d alone. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 20, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017

In honor of the solar eclipse tomorrow, the local grocery store was selling these cool celebratory pies!

Everyone is excited about this eclipse that is cutting a path across the U.S. 

The last one that did this was almost 100 years ago in 1918.

It's a magnificent thing to see two amazing and large celestial spheres like this literally cross paths. 
"Hi sun."
"Hello moon."
"Nice to meet you!" 

We are so small in the realm of these universal things...it's almost funny how big we think we are. 

Yet, we have so much ambition and desire to be bigger--to solve problems, innovate, and delve into the depths of the sea and to the far reaches of heavens.

You can blot out the sun, but we'll still figure out all the details on precisely when, where, and which goo goo goggles to wear so we don't hurt our eyes. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 28, 2017

The All-Knowing (Not)

Check out this guy's shirt:
"Those who think they know EVERYthing
annoy those of us who do."

What would make this grown man put this handwritten sign on his shirt like this?  

It's funny some people really do think they know everything. 

And they are the hardest and most annoying people to listen to, because their pompous arrogance blinds them to what others think, feel, and have to say. 

The only way to really know many different things is to learn from others and then incorporate that into your brain matter. 

Progress (societal and self), including thinking, is incremental--that's why education is so important!

No one (except G-d, of course) knows everything, but everyone knows something. 

So we can learn from everyone!

Don't fear other's people knowledge, skills, and abilities--we are a community and we really only work well when we function together. 

It's like on most of the survival shows I've seen--one or two people (even those highly trained) fail miserably at long- (or short-) term surviving, because "it takes a village!"

Overall, I like my father's humble version on life much better:
"I know nothing and I can prove it." ;-)
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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July 5, 2017

Big Mouths Alert

So I took this photo in the Museum of Natural History. 

As you can see, this hippopotamus has quite a big mouth. 

He is also not alive and is behind a glass-enclosed case for viewing. 

To me this screams that those with big mouths often don't end up well. 

I remember a relative of mine used to bluntly call it, "being full of sh*t."

Whether these people are in politics, your neighborhood, bullies at work and school, or even those in the fake news media...they have become all to somewhat frequent.

Sure there are other animals with small mouths in the same situation, but the hippo truly is a decreasing and vulnerable species.

And like it's neighbor in the museum, the dinosaur--another one who has a big mouth--that ended up extinct, the prospects for talking big, but accomplishing little is sort of part of the character. 

The hippopotamus is mostly a herbivore--it has a big mouth and some big sharp teeth, but it mainly eats humble plants and doesn't pursue the hunt of the big game and eat lots of red meat. 

Listen, big mouths can still be highly dangerous--words are powerful and can do a lot of damage. 

But overall "talk is cheap," especially when people focus on words and not good deeds and who don't have the right intentions. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 3, 2017

Satisfied and Bless G-d

I loved Chabad Rabbi Schneur Kaplan's speech today in synagogue.

It was about how we can learn to be happy with what we have in life.

The biggest marketing gimmick is to say to the guy, "Look at what your neighbor has next door!"

Jealousy, desire, greed, having more and better than the next guy/girl...

That's what many people live for and how they think.

Some can have as much as the founders of Apple, Google, and Facebook combined and still it's not enough.

If just one person has something more...it can drive that person crazy.

Like Haman on Purim, who had wealth, power, large family and everyone bowed down to him...

Except one person named Mordecai who wouldn't bow.

And despite having everything, but missing that one thing drove Haman so crazy--it was his downfall!

When we eat, we can be satisfied with one slice of pizza and say grace or we can have four slices and still not be satisfied.

How do we look at things?

We can be grateful for whatever we have and say that G-d gave us just what we needed at this time and place.

Or we can look at what we don't have, and forever be bitter and unsatisfied.

What joy we can experience in life when we realize the graciousness for what G-d has bestowed on us and we are thankful for what we have. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 7, 2017

Sharing The Loaf

So I am continuing to learn so much about who is good and who is not so good. 

Some people are literally so amazing--giving and caring of others--if they literally have just a single loaf of bread, they will share that willingly with others.

- Their perspective in grounded in a faith that whatever they have, they see it as a gift from G-d and it is only given to them as an opportunity to do good with it. 

Then there are others that no matter how much they seem have--and it could be millions of $$$--yet they still can't stand to see others with even half a mouthful of bread.

- In their narcissistic view, what's theirs is exceedingly and deservingly theirs, and what's yours, they believe should also be theirs!

Yet sometimes we misjudge people out of fear or just not knowing enough about them.

We don't know which category they fall into. 

Will they give you the shirt off their back or would they rip the shirt off you blind?

These are some of the challenges we face when confronting others in this scary world of souls being perfected and those that are still all too sullied. 

But the righteous will inherit the earth and more importantly, the Heavens...because the truth becomes known and is always absolutely clear to The One Above--and the evil ones, they will wither and die. 

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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January 24, 2017

Don't Push The Button

Thought this was a really funny quote about getting your buttons pushed: 

"Don't push my buttons without reading the manual."


- Gadgetmobile, Inspector Gadget


In terms of not pushing other people's buttons:


"Remember, you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudice, and motivated by pride and vanity."


- Dale Carnegie

 (Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 18, 2016

Telling The Next Guy

This was one for the books today.

Obama tells Trump that he needs to stand up to Putin (i.e. don't wimp out)!

Uh, who's the guy who has been in office the last 8 years? 

An during those years, our standing and national security has suffered from disengagement and utter weakness at virtually every turn of the globe. 

- We let red lines be violated in Syria and watched our Ambassador murdered in Libya

- Russia expanded into Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria, and now it's looking to Cuba and Vietnam.

- China has been rapidly militarizing into the South China Sea and expanding it's economic influence in Africa.

- We made the "worst deal in history" in Iran that allows them to eventually go nuclear!

- North Korea continues to expand it's nuclear arsenal and ballistic missile technology. 

- The Philippines told the President to "go to h*ll" and threatens to break from the U.S. militarily. 

- U.S. backed off support for democracy in Egypt after the military coup that overthrew Morsi

- Venezuela expelled our top diplomat and 2 other embassy officials ratcheting up hostilities with the U.S. 

- Cyberattacks have plagued the U.S. and we haven't been able to defend ourselves. 

- ISIS has demonstrated success and our strategy has not made them less dangerous and lethal. 

- After years of mounting terrorism, our leaders still refuse to even say the words, "radical Islam."

I'm not sure why people are so tempted to give advice and preach to others, when they themselves have so many failings. 

I think it's certainly okay to humbly share our experiences and lessons learned if we have any. 

But perhaps when you don't have the best record on something, as they old saying goes, you should refrain from throwing large stones in your very fragile glass houses!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 17, 2016

Getting Past The Political Blame Game

Really liked this Japanese bowl and cup set--so cute. 

The head is the bowl, and the cup which holds all the water and has the handle is the body. 


The head is much bigger than the body, like people's egos are bigger than their sense of responsibility. 

Today, I read again about some leaders blaming others for the world problems:

"Obama said Trump's election and the U.K.'s vote to leave the EU were spawned by world leaders' mishandling of globalization."

Note, he blames these unspecified "world leaders," with no attribution or responsibility to himself

To be clear, he is resolute that his policies and way of governing had no impact on the rise of President-elect Trump, his diametric opposite!

This is similar to Hillary Clinton blaming her election loss on the FBI Director investigating her, and not taking responsibility for her own lengthy history of scandals.

Again on Sunday, the New York Times blamed the gender-based, glass ceiling on Hillary's defeat, rather than acknowledging the impact of the "corruption ceiling" that may have prevented her winning. 

And there is a long pattern of this blaming in politics whether for gridlock, the deficit, healthcare, divisiveness, violence in inner cities, terrorism, improprieties, distrust of government, and more. 

In the extreme, some leaders even blamed the U.S. people themselves for the suffering caused by radical Islamic terrorism!

Even in the recent election, some blamed their own constituents for insulting and ruining their legacy if they don't go out and vote for his DNC hand-picked successor. 

Yet despite the endless blame game, Obama attacked Trump for whining and blaming rigged elections, saying that this demonstrated a lack of leadership or toughness to be president. 

But at the same time, he takes credit for everything good that happens: for ending Iraq war, for killing Bin Laden, for saving the world economy, for reforming our schools, for "stamping out" Ebola, for $2 gas, and even for the success of Fox news!

How wonderful (NOT) is this philosophy and practice of leadership:

If something good happens, you take the credit; If something bad happens, you blame someone else. 

That's a very big head on top of that very narrow body. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 27, 2016

How Great Are You?

INDISPENSABLE?

      Sometime, when you’re feeling important,
      
      Sometime, when your ego’s in bloom,
      
      Sometime, when you take it for granted,
      
      You’re the best qualified in the room.
      
      Sometime when you feel that your going,
      
      Would leave an unfillable hole,
      
      Just follow these simple instructions,
      
      And see how it humbles your soul.
      
      Take a bucket and fill it with water.
      
      Put your hand in it, up to the wrist;
      
      Pull it out; and the hole that’s remaining, 
      
      Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.
      
      You may splash all you please when you enter,
      
      You can stir up the water galore,
      
      But stop, and you’ll find in a minute,
      
      That it looks quite the same as before.
      
      The moral in this quaint example,
      
      Is just do the best that you can,
      
      Be proud of yourself, but remember,
      
      There’s no indispensable man.
            
      - Saxon White Kessinger

(Thank you to my daughter, Minna Blumenthal, for sharing this)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 14, 2016

Got Mic

My daughter went to a cool work seminar yesterday on emotional intelligence and she told me five important takeaways for creating EI health:

1. Self-awareness

2. Self-regulation

3. Self-motivation

4. Effective relationships

5. Empathy

Certainly, exerting self-control and working effectively with others is sort of obvious.

But it is not necessarily easy for everyone to do. 

Reflecting on this, some people seem to need no microphone or megaphone. 

They can't get off the elevating soapbox and behave instead is as if they are the whole show onto themselves. 

Enjoying to talk alone or above everyone else, maneuvering with drama and theatrics, and being cemented squarely in that center stage.

Perhaps highly intelligent about the subject matter, but often quite low on emotional intelligence. 

Seeing neither the objective nor the team, unable to recognize and respect others or to listen to alternate points of view, it may go on for quite some time before they come up for air. 

Overly extroverted, oblivious, uncaring, or perhaps needy or narcissistic.

Seeming to say, "I was created and stand in the center of the universe and all revolves around me!"

Chasing honor and dismissive as to their way or the highway--threats lurk, right or wrong. 

This is definitely a job for self-improvement and to personal advancement. 

Can EI be learned? 

Perhaps if the person can stop for a sec and just listen and be humbly part of the human race. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 16, 2016

Wanting It Too Much

It's funny how we all dream about something...

Money, honor, success, piety, large families, health, beauty, popularity, big houses, fancy cars, exciting vacations, and so on. 

Some people even dream of technology and big data, and wanting to either come up with "the next big thing" or simply have all the answers to everything. 

In the election session now, Saturday Night Live (SNL) frequently makes fun of some candidates at how much they desperately want to be president. 

I wonder though between the connection of wanting something so much and actually getting it. 

Does wanting it...led you to actually get it. 

OR

Perhaps, it actually can push it further away. 

One women who I was talking with told me that the more you want something, the less likely you are to get it, period.

You want it too much (you're greedy, narcissistic, or think you are somehow ultimately deserving and the world just owes it to you)!

The universe just won't let you have it when you are desperate for it. 

You have to be ready for it...cool with it...and most importantly, at peace with yourself, and then you can get where you want to be. 

There is something that rings so true about that. 

Desperation and success do not make good bedfellows. 

In fact, the more you know somebody wants something, isn't that just such a huge turn-off (you start questioning their motives and everything) and in a way you want to recoil and not give it to them. 

Sure, knowing what you want helps. 

Hard work helps. 

But being okay with whatever G-d decides for you is critical. 

You can't go with your head through the door!

G-d will either open or close the path to you...and all the kings horses and all the kings men won't make the difference in the end. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 30, 2015

Who's Getting The Attention Now?

I took this photo of this couple online in Starbucks this morning. 

It was very hard not to notice this guy's sneakers and socks (on the left). 

Hot pink sneakers with matching Homer Simpson pink socks. 

I thought to myself that you've got to be pretty bold to go out and wear that. 

It's funny how people love attention, and often it seems like they will say, wear, and act any which way they have to in order to get it. 

Maybe (good) attention is like currency:

- It's valuable when your noticed (you become instantaneously cool, one to follow, maybe gets into the school or job you always wanted, oh and don't forget all the likes on Facebook or the paparazzi).

- It feels good to have some (who wants to be ignored or looked down on? Positive attention is like an addictive drug to many people).

- You can trade attention with others (they give you some and you give them some--it's like rubbing each others backs, but in this case it's your egos instead). 

- Perhaps, you can even save some up in the (memory) bank (where people remember what a great gal or guy you are). 

Think about what do you do to get attention and is it something you are proud of or are you acting a little mischievous, naughty, and outlandish to get it? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 2, 2015

The Lights Never Really Go Off

It was interesting at work recently, when a colleague was contemplating what to do about some key person being out of the office and unavailable...

And they go: "Next man or women up--last one flips off the light."

In other words as they say, the show must go on!

So hurry up and let's get the person's deputy, "second," or the next one on the ladder read in and working on this. 

When it comes to work, we can't stop because someone is "out of pocket"--the job presuposes any particular person or persons.

While many peope think (or wish) they are irreplaceable, the truth is that with the exception of your closest family and friends, we are all just shy of, "Okay, whose up next?"

I remember a friend who told me many years ago that he believed that the whole world revolved around him (yes really), and that everyone else was "just a figment of my imagination."

Ha, I'm pretty sure that a lot of people have had a similar thought or sentiment about themselves. 

But the truth is that while everyone is unique and invaluable--there are over 7 billion of us out there and growing--so there is always someone else waiting in the wings to jump on an opportunity to fill someone else's shoes (no matter how big). 

It is a harsh world and reality--but we are here as long as we are here, and then there are others who come after. 

In a sense, this is a good thing, because as mere mortals, we don't want everything to depend on us--we are frail, we get sick, we die--but by having others who can step in and carry the flag forward, our efforts do not end with us. :-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Niklas Morberg)
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January 30, 2015

Going To War, In The Office

So occasionally in the office, people perhaps forget where they are...

And instead of working together to solve problems, they go to war with each other and make more problems. 

Yes, there are power politics and plenty of my slice of the pie versus your slice of the pie--whose slice is bigger, whose got more cheese and toppings, and whose slice is pipping hot. 

Most often these office controversies happen behind the scenes or closed doors.

Behind the scenes, you can't see the knives violently slashing and behind paper-thin closed doors you (usually) can't hear the screaming!

But every once in a while the "passion" of the work spills over into the public domain--sometimes in a meeting, hallway, cafeteria, or the even the company picnic. 

In all these cases, the professionalism goes out the window way too fast and out comes the drawing of lines in sand, the I'm right and you're wrong (including wagers for a good lunch or even maybe a nice crisp $100 bill), and threats to escalate (as if this wasn't ugly enough already).

What comes over people in the moment--perhaps they simply feel like they are in the right or that they are simply defending themselves, or maybe there is spillover from problems at home, ego at play, socialization issues, or even personality disorders.

Whatever the reason, as one of my best friend's fathers used to say, "When 2 people fight, they are both wrong!"

Or some people say that "they both end up with black eyes"--even if one comes away worse than the other...

And I think if you've ever had a car accident with another driver, you would know that the insurance companies agree with this principle, and attribute some portion of blame to each driver--whether 50/50 or 99/1--everybody plays a part whether in an accident, dispute, or an all out brawl.

What's interesting watching these unfold is how the participants are almost in their own world with everyone else as bystanders, sort of just fading into the distance--so they do everything wrong:

They speak emphatically in absolutes (and maybe even yell a little), cite chapter and verse (but from different books), name drop (ever bigger executives in the organization whether they really know them or their positions on the issues or not), name call and make personal digs, and perhaps--although it should absolutely never come to this--get physical (like slamming their portfolios, coffee mugs, and doors, or I heard one person who even threw something at their colleague).

Aside from these folks typically losing the argument and whatever they were after, what's worse is they lose everyone's respect, and maybe even their jobs. 

The arrow of the workplace fight shoots way up, and comes down hard and fast right in their behinds...it's a stupid, but endlessly painful and deserved ouch.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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