Showing posts with label Human Relations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Human Relations. Show all posts

August 28, 2020

Better Than Hand Sanitizer LOL

What a great way to fulfill Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Tier 3 for love and belonging. 

Just use this bottle of Social Belonging! 

Better than dish detergent or hand sanitizer.

Good for attaining love, friends, societal and other belonging needs. 

22 fluid ounces!

That's enough to get you through the Coronavirus quarantine's loneliness and then some.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 25, 2020

Happy Days

Nothing says happy like a big smile. 

This smiley face in the yard in front of the house was a perfect real estate addition. 

As my father used to sing so beautifully:
When you're smiling, the whole world smiles with you! 

It really is a beautiful and positively contagious thing!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 21, 2019

OFNR Communications Model


This is a useful 4-part communications process (developed by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg):

1. Observations:  Tell the other person the behavior you observe from them that is making you uncomfortable. 
When I Observe...

2. Feelings:  Explain how the person's behavior makes you feel (happy, sad, angry, annoyed, excited, worried, scared, hurt, embarrassed, confused)
I feel...

3. Needs: Describe what you need from the other person (physiological, safety, social, esteem, self-actualization)
Because I need...

4. Requests: Ask them specifically what you'd like them to do.
Would you be willing to... 
It's a way to make your feelings and needs known and ask nicely what you'd like from others. 

This provides a mechanism to give feedback and work with other people without being confrontational, threatening, dictatorial, or nasty. 

When I see you reading my blog, I feel happy, because I need to try to be a good person and good influence in this world. Would you be willing to share my blog with others? ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal and Colleague from Work)
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May 1, 2019

Contributors and Whiners


Have you ever noticed the relationship between those that contribute and those that whine. 

The bad news is there is a highly inverse relationship between contributing and whining.

- Those that contribute, don't whine--they are focused on how to make things better!

- Those that whine, don't contribute--they complain and naysay, but add no real value.

The good news is that some solid contributors can more than counterbalance the whiners.

- Unfortunately, too often the whiners outnumber the contributors.

- But fortunately the contributors outweigh the whiners.

Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to make the whiners stop whining and throwing up roadblocks. 

You're often best-off spending your time working with the other contributors who want to see things through to success. 

Be a leader, not a babysitter and help the contributors win! ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal adapted from here with attribution to mediamodifier)
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April 3, 2019

Relax, It's Just Sex

Just thought this was a really funny-sad display in the window of this store in Tel Aviv. 

It says:
Relex It's Just Sex
Forget that Relax is spelled wrong. 

But advertising for sexual items in such a casual way...like it's sex and what's the big deal.

Maybe I am old school, where sex actually meant a deep personal relationship and emotional intimacy. 

...Where you partner was also your spouse and best friend.

Now--unfortunately--it's just sex!

I think as a society that we have lost something here. 

...Something important. 

If it's just sex, and it's just with anyone, then what does that leave for us with that someone truly special in our lives? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 28, 2019

Who Is The Most Dangerous?

Recently, I started watching this show called "Billions."

I'm in the middle of Season 2, and it is a brilliant and mesmerizing show that depicts the battle between the CEO of a Wall Street Hedge Fund and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY.

Ands it is a true battle of wits, might, and it gets ugly in every way. 

(I won't spoil the show...)

But there is one line from the show that came out in the heat of an exchange between the two at the end of Season One that I wanted to share:
The only thing more dangerous than a person with unlimited resources is a person who has nothing to lose.

When you think about it, there is tremendous wisdom and truth in this, and a poignant lesson to be learned for every person, organization, and even nation of great power.

No matter how much money, people, and assets you may have to fight...

...if the other guy has nothing to lose and is willing to go do the unthinkable then we have a very big problem indeed. 
Desperate times call for desperate measures. 

From those desperate and willing to act as suicide bombers to those that would actually push the button on a nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological attack, there is no winning even if you are the last one left standing.

The other guy who feels he has already lost is willing to take you with him by any and all means. 

Therefore, we cannot and should not ever think that the battle against evil is won, because even when the opponent appears in all respects to be defeated that may be when they become even more dangerous to us than ever.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 27, 2019

Having Those Difficult Conversations

Took an interesting class recently in having difficult conversations.

These are the conversations you need to have about performance, accountability, expectations, bad news, conflict, and so on. 

Often these are the conversations we tend to avoid, because we don't know how to have them without making things worse where things get emotionally charged, people become defensive, things gets misinterpreted, and they get escalated. 

And it's even more difficult when there is a discrepancy in power between the people having the dialogue. 

But it is important to have the critical conversations in order to solve the underlying problems!

Often problems are rooted in that we judge others too quickly and erroneously, or we just don't have all the facts. 

The data points we do have get filtered, interpreted, assumptions are made, conclusions are drawn, beliefs are adopted, and actions are taken that may be wrong (reference: The Ladder of Inference by Chris Argyris).

The key to having a productive conversation is to explain the issue and the impact, acknowledge your part in the problem, describe the desired outcome for the relationship and the work, and most importantly, give space for the other person to respond.

We need to get the other person's point of view, including the data points that we may have missed or misunderstood, generate options, and agree how to solve the issue.

Unfortunately, there are times when the other person digs in and isn't open to working on or resolving the problem, in which case you may need to decide whether to grin and bear it (i.e. live with it) or leave the relationship, because it has become too unproductive and toxic. 

The instructor said it well: This is about problem-solving. But life is too short to deal with jerks!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 5, 2019

Why We Chase Love

Being a heart alone in this world is very lonely, indeed. 

Chasing another heart, so that we can pair together makes two less lonely hearts.

Two hearts that beat as one making beautiful music together. 

When the hearts are in harmony, we sway and are uplifted flying away into the heavens.  

And when the music is discordant, we are forced to retune and to grow wings that we never even knew we had. 

Hearts that complement each other, help us face the questions we often fear to ask ourselves. 

When these hearts meet, they touch so gently, and like silk they dance a perfect dance.  

What is meaningless alone is all of a sudden meaningful with another. 

What is too painful to bear by oneself is manageable when shared between two. 

And what is joyful is magnified in sweetness when there is someone else to enjoy it with. 

One heart chases another until they embrace that long blissful embrace. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 13, 2019

Colleagues That Care

I loved this from a colleague the other day.

When things got a little tough in the office, I came in the next day to 6 smiley faces lined up on my desk. 

This is something that I really appreciate from some people:

Their HUMANITY.

Even though my colleague faced the same tough day, she was thoughtful of others and the impact on them (not herself). 

There are some amazing people out there, and I thank G-d for putting them in my orbit. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 4, 2019

Them Tables Always Turn

Just wanted to share a saying that I liked.

It is an ancient Mongolian proverb and was in the movie, "Mogul" about the rise of Genghis Khan:
Do not scorn a weak cub; he may become a brutal tiger. 
I think this is the Asian equivalent of:

1) Don't burn your bridges.
2  Don't start a war you can't win. 
3) Pick on someone your own size.
4) What goes around comes around.

The Asian version is better! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 30, 2018

Alternatives Are More Valuable Than Criticism

So one lesson of life that I have learned is about criticism. 

It's easy to criticize, but tough to come up with real solutions. 

Criticizing someone else, does not usually provoke a good response. 

UNLESS, you can provide a bona fide better alternative in a loving way. 

It's important to solve problems and not just create new ones. 

Criticizing without an alternative just causes anxiety and frustration in the other person. 

But when you says something isn't right and why, and provide a better alternative, now the other person can see concretely what you are talking about, and they know they have options and that you are trying to help. 

No one wants to be told they are no good or their choices are no good. 

But people don't mind and perhaps may even embrace being told that there is even something better for them out there.

Don't criticize, instead give alternatives that are good for the other person. 

That's real love without being a jerk. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 16, 2018

My First Interfaith Event

So I attended my first interfaith event today at Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

The first lady that I spoke to said that she wasn't any one religion.  

When I asked more about this, she said:
The core to all religions is Rachamim (mercy, compassion) and Ahavah (love).

Pictured above are the table seating cards that directed people to sit next to people of other religions:  Jewish, Muslim, Other. 

The event was led by the One America Movement, and the Director, Andrew Hanauer spoke very well about bridging what divides us. 

Here are some of the take-a-ways:

- We need to address the divisiveness, polarization, and conflict. 



- Remember that we are talking with other human beings and not with labels.

- Polarization is not just issues, but devolves into identity--"I hate your stupid face!"



- But we are all human beings (and children of G-d). 



- Republicans and Democrats each say that the other is 20% less human than they are. 

- We all have our own "facts":  My facts vs. Your Facts. 

- We attribute good that happens to us as being because of "us," but bad that happens to us because of "them."

- Similarly, we believe that we act out of love, but they act out of hate--and:

- We interpret threats to our viewpoints (political and otherwise), as threats to our groups and to ourselves. 

- Try to remove binary thinking (right and wrong, left and right, etc.), critique your own point of view, and share doubts


- Reconciliation:  If we can cross the divide, have open dialogue, and positive interactions with each others, and develop cross-cutting identities then we will make it easier to counter divisive narratives, solve problems, and reduce violence. 



(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 15, 2018

Listen, Empathize, Give A Little

A colleague was talking to me about negotiating and working with others:

He said something I liked: 

Listen, empathize, and give a little. 

Yes, we each have our beliefs and positions on things.

But we don't live in a vacuum.

Other people have their own views, sensitivities, and wants. 

We have to get along so we can work together, and get things done. 

It starts by listening--not just hearing, but really listening to what the other person is saying. 

But that's not really enough. 

To really understand the other person, we have to try to empathize with what they are feeling--we need to try to walk in their shoes even if just for a moment. 

But that also isn't enough. 

We can't have it all our way--we need to give a little to get a little. 

No one can have everything and have a good relationship like that. 

We need to compromise--as long as it's not on things of integrity, conviction, or G-d. 

Everything else we have to listen, empathize, and give a little.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 18, 2018

Never Say Anything

So I overhear this conversation...

Woman:  "Never say never and never say always."

Man: "Well then what should I say?"

Woman: "Just keep your mouth shut!"

Yeah, that's one for the books.

Anyway, thinking about this a little more--there is an exception to every rule. 

Never say never is itself violating this rule of thumb. 

Hence one conclusion perhaps is that many rules are so stupid to begin with! :-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 13, 2018

Succeed OR Fail

So I liked this saying from a colleague of mine at work:
We succeed or fail as a team.

It's not me. 

It's not you. 

It's not him.

It's not her. 
It's us!

No one can do it alone. 

- If we fail, we fail as a team. 

- If we succeed, we succeed as a team. 

So let's come together and be a team and give it our best shot! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 5, 2018

Cracking Heads--In War and Work

Thought this was an amazing painting of the medieval battlefield.

The warrior in the center is using his war hammer to literally split heads open.

Not only for physical fighting (i.e. life and death), I've heard this term in the past used in the office setting:
"Cracking heads" to get things done. 

While war is war, I don't think that getting to progress in the office ever merits cracking anyone's head--let along with a battle hammer. 

Yes, people can be stubborn and occasionally pose obstacles to moving forward, but that is what communication skills and persuasion are for.

You have to seriously question the leadership and sanity of anyone who thinks and talks about hurting people at work. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 1, 2018

If You Give A Moose A Muffin

So one of my colleagues told me an interesting saying:
If you give a moose a muffin, they will never go away. 

What a funny image and thing to say. 

But I get the idea that if you keep giving freebies and treats to people, they will just keep coming back for more. 

Everyone needs to be taught self-sufficiency to the extent possible. 

These days where everyone is some sort of specialists and "subject matter expert," there are very few people who are really self-sufficient and can survive on their own. 

Instead, we have a society of people that are mutually dependent (codependent)--and most would starve or freeze to death if they didn't have someone else supplying the "muffins."

This all reminds me of a funny story when I was a kid, where a crazy lady friend of my parents came over to their house when my parents were sitting shiva (in mourning after the loss of one of my grandparents).  

This crazy lady actually laid down on their living room couch so the other people coming to pay their respects couldn't, and then she wouldn't leave--hint after hint, she just laid there sprawled on their couch. 

Finally, my dad got up from his mourning, fed her some food, and actually gave her some money--literally to leave--which she finally did and not to be mean, but really as a relief to everyone. 

In this case, my dad gave the moose a muffin to go away and it worked, thank G-d. 

But as is with moose's, I am pretty sure she came back another day for more muffins. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to OpenClipart-Vectors)
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August 9, 2018

Why Can't People Be Genuine

Why all the phonies, users, shysters, and scammers out there?

It starts perhaps with that big, warm smile.

Maybe a handshake and hug. 

Perhaps, you even get a kiss or two (it's cultural, I think, LOL).

Colleagues, friends, you're just like family.

Sometimes it's real and you truly found something valuable in your life.

There are good people of soul and conscience out there. 

But other times it's an act, a sham, deception, you're the fool. 

The other person wants something--cash, control, connections.
Oh by the way, can I ask you for just a "little" favor?
You wouldn't mind if...?
Just do XYZ for me, I got your back. 
I see you know so and so, would you introduce me?
I have a great investment opportunity for you, let me tell you all about it.
Sure it's okay and actually wonderful in a real relationship for people to be there for each other and help each others..."that's what [real] friends are for!"

The problem is where the friendship is only about the ask for the benefit of the other and no care for you as a person. 

Then the smile isn't a genuine collegial or friendship one of happiness and outreach. but rather it's upside down to get you to do something legit or illegit for the person pressing their lips up and out into that smile you already know is all about the ask. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 30, 2018

That's The Power Of Love

Please see my new article in Times of Israel called, "Shabbat Nachamu: That's The Power of Love."

We don't have to fight, but even when we fight, we can overcome through compassion, love, and constructive reconciliation.  

Love and friendship can win over anger and fighting, and help to usher in the ultimate redemption. 

Hope you enjoy the article. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 25, 2018

In the Know Or Dark

So here is one way that some people can (try to) manipulate you--positively or negatively. 

They can help either to keep you "in the know" or "in the dark."

As we all know by now, information is power!

When you're in the know--you are a trusted agent and a valuable resource; you have more dots and more connections between the dots to make; you are able to analyze what's happening and make better decision going forward; you can lead with knowledge, wisdom, and hopefully understanding. People come to you for advice, guidance, and because you are a true asset to the team, your superiors, and the organization. 

When you're in the dark--you are untrusted and unvalued, you may actually be seen as the enemy who needs to be marginalized, put out or taken out! You are kept out of meetings, uninformed or misinformed, and so you become more and more intellectually worthless. Further, others are implicitly or explicitly told that you are poisonous and not to get caught up in the pending slaughter.  A colleague of mine put it this way: "Don't get between a man and his firing squad."   

So with others, there can be information alliances as well as information warfare. 

To a great extent, you are responsible for keeping yourself in the know. You need to build relationships, bridges, and networks. You need to read, observe, and talk to lots of people. You need time to digest and analyze what you learn.  And you must build your information store so that it is ready and actionable. 

But to another extent, there are others--superiors, competitors, bullies, abusers--who just might seek to keep you in the dark and bring you down. Not everyone is your friend...some maybe just the opposite. (Wouldn't it be nice, if we all were just friends!) But showing you the intellectual ass of the group is a powerful nut that once superimposed as an image, cannot be easily distilled. There is plenty of groupthink to go around. And taking out a perceived enemy diffuses their power to everyone else.  What a lousy coup by some nasty f*ckers!

Why some friend and others foe you--who the heck knows. Perhaps some is chemistry; some is tit for tat; some is personal bias and bigotry; and some just the crapshoot of fate. 

In the end, keep doing your part to enhance your value, your friendships, and your integrity. The rest, you have to be vigilant about and realize not everyone wants the lights kept on. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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