Showing posts with label Fate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fate. Show all posts

January 22, 2021

Let Go of the Ego and Follow G-d


Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Let Go of the Ego and Follow G-d."

As we know, Pharaoh refused to let the Jews go from Egypt, whether because G-d hardened his heart for some of the plagues or he just couldn’t bear to see his Jewish slaves free through the final knock-out rounds. Through ten plagues that destroyed Egypt and much of their people, including their first born males in the tenth plague, Pharaoh is intransigent and suffers the terrible consequences....Aside from Pharaoh, perhaps the second most stubborn individual in the Torah is Bilam, who was asked by Balak, the king of Moav, to curse the Jews....even though each and every time, G-d instead blessed them.

In both cases, it is clear that no individual, whether a king or a prophet, can go against that which G-d has decreed!

The lesson is clear: it is best to try to see what direction G-d is leading us forward in and to follow Him all the way, not only because that is the path of least resistance, but because that is what we are meant to do and where we are meant to go in our lives.

(Credit Photo: Minna Meles)


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August 29, 2018

Just One Mistake

So all it takes is one mistake. 

And your whole life can be completely altered. 

The consequences for a slip up in a split second in time. 

I'm talking to someone today and he tells me his story and it goes like this:

He came here from overseas in early 2000 after winning the lottery for a green card.  

split second and his life is changed miraculously for the better. 

He moves here and finds work as an electrician. 

He saves money, gets married, and is living a decent life. 

All is well and then...

One day, another split second and he is on the scaffolding doing his work as an electrician and suddenly it collapses, and he falls severely breaking his leg and knee.  

He is taken to the hospital where the doctor tells him his injuries are too severe and he is transported to another major metropolitan hospital. 

After three surgeries, his leg is put back together with metal plates, rods, and bolts. 

He is unable to work, loses his job, and eats through his savings living off it while his leg slowly heals. 

Next, the hospital comes after him for $60,000 in medical bills. 

He says he has no choice but to leave the country to escape the debt, which he cannot pay. 

After 7 years and with the debt forgotten, he is able to return to this country.

His wife who he married here claims he abandoned her and divorces him.

He has lost everything he had in this country.

He shows me that his leg has huge scars up and down the sides and he bangs on his leg multiple times to show me the metal plates holding it together. 

He also demonstrates to me also that even after all these years, he still can't run and as he tries in slow motion, his knee collapses and he visibly starts to lose his balance. 

I asked if he still has pain these 10 years later, and he says, "Yes!" 

Then he comes closer, turns to me, and with a very serious look, he shakes his head.

He says, "It only takes one mistake...just one mistake."  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 29, 2017

Things Still Happen

So I know that I'm stating the obvious, but still I can’t help but reflect…

No matter how successful people are, things—bad things—still unfortunately happen.

This weekend, I read about how tragedy struck Uber's founder and CEO—of a $70 billion company--and he lost his mother in a freak boating accident. 

A few years back, Facebook’s, powerful Chief Operating Officer and billionaire lost her husband on a treadmill in a hotel.

Other famous people, like superstar icon, Michael Jackson, died at a young age from an overdose. 

Life events can G-d forbid overtake us suddenly and with devastating impact. 

It’s scary, and it just never seems to end (B’AH).

No matter who you are or how rich and powerful, G-d is the most powerful.

While we can control only what we can control, there is no escape from ultimate fate that awaits when it is so decreed by the One Above—it should all be in His ever-bounding mercy. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 1, 2012

Playing The Hand We Are Dealt


It's a new year--2012--congratulations, we made it!

For the new year, I wanted to share this photo that I came across of "The World's Largest Monopoly Game."

To me, the most striking aspect of this photo is not the size of the game board, but that the people are actually the pieces.

So often life seems like we are pieces in a big game--as if someone is spinning the dice of life and depending on what number comes up--so goes our fortune.
But inside, I don't really believe that--that is too fatalistic and too defeatist. At the same time, I don't believe that we are in control of everything that happens every moment. To me, there are larger forces at work--emanating from G-d, and we must "play" the hand we are dealt.

G-d sends us tests and trusts in life, as Rick Warren says--we do not directly control these.

The tests and trusts give us the opportunity to grow beyond what we are today, to learn life's hard lessons, to care for others, and ultimately to elevate ourselves.

Indirectly, how we do and how well we learn life's lessons--sometimes "hard knocks"--may influence the nature of the future tests and trusts that G-d sends us.

In Monopoly, the roll of the dice or the Chance and Community Chest cards seem to determine our fate--how many spaces we move ahead, how much we have to pay or how much we receive, or whether we end up in the proverbial Monopoly jail. In contrast, in real life, we have the power to choose how we react to to those "chance" events--do we get angry, do we lash out, do we become defeatist or do we fight for what we want and really believe in.

For the New Year, what a great time to resolve to take back some control over lives and to not just be like human pieces in a big game of Monopoly--to choose instead to accept the tests and trusts that you are give and to do the best that you can to grow from them.

This morning, I heard Joel Osteen say on TV that we should prophesize good for ourselves, so that our words can open the door for G-d to bless us.
While, I do not think that our words of desire control what G-d does, I do believe that how we act does influence events, although not always in the way we think.

There is the age old question of why do the evil prosper and the good people suffer? Often, I've heard various answers given that either we don't really know who is good or evil, we can't understand G-d's plan, or the real reward and punishment is in the World to Come.

However you see it--G-d's plan and ultimate justice--what we can constructively do is to try our best everyday and in every way--what a better plan than just circling the Monopoly board like a helpless and hapless piece in one big game.

(Source photo: here)

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April 25, 2008

Self-Determination and Enterprise Architecture

There is an age old question whether we make our own fate or whether it is predetermined.

For thousands of years, people have turned to prophets, fortune tellers, mystics, and star gazing to try and divine their futures. Yet, at the same time, we are taught that every child has the opportunity to become the President of the United States or an astronaut, or whatever their hearts desire; that laser-like focus, discipline, repetition and determination breeds success. Haven’t we always been taught to always try our best?

Surely, this is one of the irresolvable conflicts that philosophically can never be truly resolved: If the future is already predetermined, then how can we affect it? Further, if our actions can impact the future, then how the future be predetermined?

The way ahead is to work to influence our future, knowing full well that many things are indeed beyond our control.

From an organization perspective, there are no guarantees for the future, so we must take the reins of change, plan and manage it: one way we do this is through enterprise architecture.

In Fortune Magazine, 5 May 2008, in an article entitled, “The Secret of Enduring Greatness,” it states that “the best corporate leaders never point out the window to blame external conditions; they look in the mirror and say, ‘We are responsible for the results.’”

The future of our organizations are not static and so our leadership cannot rest on its laurels, rather we must continually plan for and execute innovation and transformation.

If we look at the largest corporations in America, the Fortune 500, we see that companies rise and fall to/from prominence with almost unbelievable speed. Here are some examples:

  • “The vast majority of those on the list 50 years ago are nowhere to be found on the current list” (only 71 of the original 500 companies from 1955 are still on the list today).
  • “Nearly 2000 companies have appeared on the list since its inception.”
  • “Some of the most powerful companies on today’s list—businesses like Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Dell, and Google” didn’t even exist in 1955 and conversely, “some of the most celebrated companies in history no longer even appear on the 500, having fallen from great to good to gone.”

So if the tides start to turn down for a company, what are they to do—simply accept their fate, and perish like so many of those that came before them or do they fight to survive, knowing full well that they may not or will likely not succeed?

I say we fight to survive—we plan and execute change—we transform, and we live to fight another day.

“Just because a company stumbles—or gets smacked upside the head by an unexpected event or a new challenge—does not mean that it must continue to decline. Companies do not fall primarily because of what the world does to them or because of how the world changes around them; they fall first and foremost because of what they do to themselves.”

One example is IBM that stumbled in the late 1980’s in relying on what was becoming commoditized hardware, but transformed themselves in the early 1990’s to a software and services juggernaut. Similarly, Apple transformed from a niche computer manufacturer to a consumer electronics dynamo with their innovations such as the iPod and iPhone.

Essentially it comes down to the ability of the organization to manage change and complexity (as John Zachman stated) to adapt and transform, and we do this through enterprise architecture


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