Showing posts with label Introspection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Introspection. Show all posts

September 14, 2019

Facing Facts on Rosh Hashanah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Facing Facts on Rosh Hashanah."
In a sense, we all live at least two lives–represented by the two faces we wear: The first is the happy face, where we portray ourselves as if everything is going so well, almost near-perfect in our lives (our vacations, accomplishments, celebrations, and so on), and this is the face that we routinely show to the world. Then, there is the second face, which is essentially where everything is not (always) quite so rosy, where life’s challenges, troubles, and hardships take their tangible toll, and this is the face that we learn to keep private and regularly hide from the world. Usually, it comes down to a rationale that goes something like this: just imagine what would people think of us if they really knew us for who we are and what we were actually going through? Yet the funny thing is that everyone is going through something–that’s life!
In a couple of weeks, when we celebrate Rosh Hashanah, we come knowing that there is no mask to be worn in front of our Maker, and truly, we are naked before Him in all our thoughts and deeds. We can’t pretend anymore that our lives or ourselves are perfect, but rather this is the time for true and earnest reflection, repentance, as well as judgment for the New Year based on what each of us is really all about. May each of us have the courage and conviction to face our real selves, to learn, grow, improve, and ultimately to self-actualize, and may we receive G-d’s mercy and blessings for a happy and healthy New Year!

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 28, 2017

Arguing The Negative

I thought this was an interesting sign this gentlemen had.

It says:


"Those who reject Jesus do so because of sin, not science or evidence."

Overall, religion is a matter of personal faith not to be argued, but rather when based to good, to be wholly respected. 

This argument though was basically saying, not to reject this particular tenet of faith of a major religion because there is "not science or evidence" from which to reject.

But usually, don't we look for science or evidence to accept or do something. 

In other words, the default usually is that if you want me to believe in something or somebody, prove to me why I should

It's a bad argument when you ask me to prove to you why you shouldn't believe in something. 

Very often this is the same argument people use in relationships and in organizations.

We do the same thing everyday or over and over again, and we often don't ask ourselves why we do it this way or believe this is a good way of doing something...we just do it. 

And in fact, when someone new comes in with "fresh eyes" and questions why we do it a certain way or have we considered another approach, we ask them to prove to us with "science or evidence" why their way is better, rather than reexamine our own ways and means.

I'm not in any way questioning here G-d or religion, but rather simply our approach to self-examination, introspection, and betterment.

Don't ask me to prove to you why you should reject something, but rather be prepared to defend your hypothesis. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 22, 2016

Stop To Think OR Stop Thinking

The Thinker.

It's very important to have time (and space) to sit down and think. 

Not just go through life in the motions--"doing"--because that's the way we always did it or that's the way your parents did it, or that's what your teachers or society told you to do. 

Thinking means we evaluate and assess what we are doing.  Are we going in the right direction?  Are we happy with ourselves?  Are we good people doing good things?  Are there things that we regret and need to learn from and/or course correct. Can we do better and what does better mean? 

I remember at a certain point in my life working very hard, but also feeling like I was in a fugue--and when I "awoke" I couldn't figure out where the time went to and why I had been sort of numb for a time. Were some things perhaps too raw or painful to deal with (better to shut them off somewhere in a little box) or was I just moving so fast and so hard that I just lost sight of my surroundings and the meaning or lack from it all. 

But then I started to feel and think again. And I knew it because it was like an monumental awakening from a long hibernation through eons of time and space. What precipitated it all, I don't really know. But when it started coming back--memories, feelings, some satisfactions, too many regrets--I knew that I had been gone a while and wasn't sure exactly where I'd been. 

So need to regularly stop and "smell the coffee"--think and feel--not just do like a real dummy or stubborn a*s. 

The dilemma with thinking is too much or too little is that it can be a dangerous thing. 

Too much time to ponder and you can become lost in thought or mired in analysis paralysis. Don't bother me, I'm still thinking about it. Or perhaps, your thinking can be "all wrong" and messed up--your misunderstanding, misconstruing, not thinking clearly or brainwashed by others--maybe those with good intentions who want you to be like them, who think they know better, who mean well but are misguided when it comes to YOU or are engulfed by their own zealousness, self-righteousness or are even jerks trying to f*ck with you. 

Also, while ample time to think can leave you revitalized, with new direction, commitment, and enthusiasm, the flip side is you can become demoralized or depressed by "it all," It's too much, it's too hard, it's too meaningless, or even it's too overwhelming important and meaningful. 

Then there is too little thinking going on in that head of yours, and you are a dumb, numb robot who washes, rinses, repeats...not knowing why they are doing it or maybe even that they are doing anything, just that they are in a state of being. It easy maybe to turn off to the world, to keep running on the treadmill of life, get up and do the same routine day-in and day-out.  Not questioning.  Not feeling.  Not getting hurt or dealing with issues better left for another day. But that's not living. That's a life of a sick roaming flesh-eating zombie. Someone just stick that iron rod through that useless skull already. 

Think and live...live and think...go forward as in a directed, meaningful way, and not as the walking dead in pain and sorrow or lost in the abyss of lifelessness. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 7, 2015

Taking Back Control

Ok, I've had mobility issues for over 2 years now that started with a broken foot and ended in 3 surgeries and 2 hip replacements.

Over this time, I have had enormous pain walking and doing other activities. 

And unfortunately, I have put on some extra weight, which I am unhappy about. 

Today though this changes, please G-d.  

I am taking back my life!

I want to lose the weight and be what I know I can be. 

Time to stop the excuses.

It's Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) next week, and this is a good time to reflect, be introspective, self-critical, and aim high. 

G-d, please help me to be strong, to resist temptation, and shut my mouth from eating the wrong foods. 

I am determined, but G-d I need your help to be successful. 

We've accomplished so much together--let's do this! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 22, 2015

Self-Aware Graffiti Artist

So got to hand it to this graffiti artist. 

He/she is quite introspective. 

They wrote on this pole in D.C. "Writes his problems away!"

Thus, it's not just any old graffiti that often desecrates public or private property, but in this case it is an emotional and psychological catharsis for the artist.  

Sure when you write, you can express yourself and your feelings--you can think things through and work them out in your head. 

Also, you can share of yourself with others and influence them too. 

On the lamp pole, bus stop, or building wall--ah, not the best place to work these things out. 

But on paper or the computer, if you have something important to say, get it off your chest--go for it--and you can feel better too! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 15, 2014

Fighting With A Fear Of G-d


Amazing video from Al Jazeera Arabic that praises the Israeli and French militaries for respecting and protecting civilians.

This, in contrast--as Al Jazeera reports--to Hezbollah, Syria, and others extremist militants that deliberately target civilians and use them as human shields. 

We've heard in recent days again, how the IDF continues to go to great lengths to avoid hitting mosques, hospitals, and even trying to warn residents before an attack to save their lives. 

While mistakes happen in fighting and war, I must say how proud I am of the IDF for their efforts to act humanely under inhumane circumstances, while attacks are underway across the nation, and to always consider the moral implications of what they do. 

In the Wall Street Journal today, Bret Stephens states, that the weakness of the Israel is only through moral defeat, because the Jewish people "favors moral self-regard over normal self interest."

Similarly, Woody Allen's frequent humorous portrayal in the movies of Jewish introspection is funny, because it resonates so true for a people always trying to do and make right. 

Again today, we saw that Israel, not wanting to fight unless absolutely necessary, respected the ceasefire with Gaza, while Hamas outright rejected it and continued shooting off volleys of missiles indiscriminantly into Israel.

As Hamas has themselves stated about their waves of suicide bombers, rocket launches at population centers and critical infrastructure, and other dirty tactics, "We love death more than you love life."

The IDF is an inspiring example of fighting with ethics, dignity, and ultimately a fear of G-d more than any enemy could evoke. 
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July 5, 2014

Just Can't Bear To Think

Whether though endless work, family activities, exercise, computer time, or whatever, people have a hard time just stopping to think. 

According to the Washington Post, a study in Science shows that people would rather do just about anything--including administer electric shocks to themselves--rather than having to just think for a little while. 

Fully 67% of men and 25% of women chose electric shocks over sitting and thinking for just 6-15 minutes!

People are "desperate for distractions"--whether through social media or smartphones and more. 

This is why many ancient practices such as Buddhism, martial arts, yoga, and other disciplines teach meditation--sitting silently, without distraction, deeply in thought. 

People are afraid to stop their endless running, rounds of chores and activities, hustle and bustle, and just think about what they are actually doing and where they are going.

Sitting alone with yourself--you have to confront you!

  • Fears and anxieties
  • Life problems of all sorts
  • Mistakes and personal inadequacies
  • Bad habits and even dangerous addictions

Keeping yourself endlessly busy is an enabler to avoid sometimes painful reflection, introspection, and even necessary self-help. 

While you often hear that doctors recommend a certain amount of activity to keep physically healthy, I believe that similarly, mental and spiritual guidance would be for carving out time for physical inactivity and instead focusing on meditation and reflection. 

Perhaps, this is one reason that the Sabbath (kept in various ways by religions around the world) is so important to the mind and soul--it is a time to stop the work and daily mundane activities and instead focus on your spiritual side. 

Contrary to what you might think, refraining from all the activity may be one of the hardest things to actually do, but stopping and thinking (instead of just continuously doing), confronting yourself, and making life course corrections can be some of the most rewarding. 

Can you stop and think for just 15 minutes or do you need that next fix of compulsive distraction? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 13, 2014

Who Do You Want To Be?

Walking through the halls of one of the local schools, there was this awesome display of cutout hands. 

Each hand, done by a student, was supposed to represent who they wanted to be as people. 

In the center of each was a core saying/belief of the student written on the palm.

And then on each of the five fingers was their personal aspirations:

Emotionally
Physically
Socially
Intellectually
Spiritually

I thought this was a really cool assignment to think and focus on where we're going with our lives and what our personal goals are. 

Like a mini-personal architecture, these hands are the hands of our young people who have their lives ahead of them and the energy and opportunity to shape their futures. 

No, none of us has control over the future, but we can do our part to shape who we are as human beings, as this student says: 

"I am who I want to be."

Of course, we have to choose wisely, work hard, and go for it! 

We never know if there are any true second chances.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 16, 2013

The Measure Of A Person

Another candidate for picture of the week. 

This guy is wearing "tape measure" suspenders. 

Oh, how fashionable! 

While the true measure of a person is their good deeds and relationships (to man and G-d), perhaps the suspenders is a reminder that we should take the time to stop and measure ourselves both quantitatively and qualitatively in our lives.

As we approach the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, a time of introspection and judgement, it is a good opportunity to take measure. 

Performance management is not just for work--we can look at ourselves both personally and professionally and commit to do better. 

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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July 22, 2013

Live A Good Life, Choose Right


Whether you're Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or any other religion, I think this is a great music video on living an introspective life, choosing right from wrong, and replacing guilt with inspiration. 

We are all confronted every day with situations that are tests of our moral fiber and courage to do what's right--not necessarily what is easy,

We should choose carefully, consciously, and with a mind toward the master of the universe who watches over us. 

While we don't control everything that happens, we can definitely make a difference in the world by the way we conduct ourselves to our G-d and to each other. 

Listening, caring, being sensitive to others, treating others with respect and dignity, trying to help wherever and whenever we can--we can all make a positive contribution. 

Well done with the music video to remind us of what's important--thank you Maccabeats!
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May 16, 2013

So Sorry, Charlie

In the old Starkist Tuna commercials, Charlie the cool tuna thinks he's all that, but he keeps getting rejected by Starkist, because he's just not good enough and then the narrator comes on and says, "Sorry Charlie!"

These days, from my perspective, people often do not take responsibility when they mess up and arrogantly  they can't bring themselves to just say, "I'm sorry"--it was my responsibility, I messed up, and I am committed to doing better in the future.

It's really not so hard to say sorry, if you let your ego go. Most often, from what I've seen, unless the boss, spouse, or friend is just a jerk, saying sorry goes a long way to making things right--it shows you care about the relationship, your human and fallible (like the rest of us) and you are able to introspect, self-help, and learn from mistakes. 

In contrast, Bloomberg BusinessWeek (18 April 2013) says sillily, "Don't Apologize"--that refusing to apologize makes a person feel better about themselves, more powerful, and less of a victim.

Certainly, we don't want to apologize for things we didn't do, when we really don't mean it, or to give someone on a pure power binge the satisfaction of making us beg--in those cases, we should be truthful and respectful and set the record straight. We should also, make it clear that we will not be victimized by anyone, at anytime.

But when we are wrong--and it's not easy for everyone to recognize or admit it--just say so. It won't kill you and you'll usually see the other person lighten up on the punishing diatribe and maybe even admit their part in it or the stupid things they may have done at other times. 

No one is so perfect--despite some very large egos out there. And the bigger the ego, the bigger the jerk. The humbler the person, the nicer and more workable they are. 

Don't apologize for things you didn't do or to satisfy someone's bullying, but do apologize when you could've done better and you are committed to improving yourself and building the relationship. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 10, 2013

Some Questions To Change Your Life

If you haven't seen this, Inc. ran an article (19 February 2013) on "11 Life-Changing Questions You Musk Ask Yourself."

I like the introspective and thoughtful questions posed and believe it's well worth our time to think about these. 

Looking back from your deathbed: 
The first three questions (1-3) have to do looking at your life in terms of how you lived your life and how it will be viewed at the end. The point is not what title you achieved (CEO, VP, etc.) or how much money you accumulated in your life, but whose lives you touched and how profoundly.

Working to live:
The next two questions (4-5) have to do with how you earn you keep. I remember learning that life is not about living to work, but rather working to live. Do you work hard and contribute something real and meaningful, and is it something that you can be proud of. 

Embrace good change:
There are two question (6-7) then about how you deal with change. When everyday is fundamentally the same and you're afraid to try new things, then you may very well be stuck in some sort of a rut. If you have the leeway to pick your change--look for ways to change that helps you grow into the person you want to be (and not just changing for changes sake). 

Spend your time valuably:
Two questions (8-9) are about that the best things in life cannot be bought--real relationships, good deeds, being a mensch. Your time is your most valuable resource. Flower, candy, gifts are a nice gesture but don't make up for time invested and well-spent together with those you most deeply care about. Words and gifts are cheap, actions speak louder than words--volumes--about who we really are. 

Treat others as G-d's creatures:
Question 10 points that people are G-d's precious creatures and the biggest test is how we treat them--do we do it with selfish interest or with empathy, kindess, and charity. I have never understood the many charity dinners and events where people get honored for their giving, rather than the honor being in the act of giving, itself. 

Challenge yourself to be more:
The 11th question isn't about doing scary, stupid things, but rather challenging and pushing yourself to overcome what seems like our innate limitations and instead go beyond (break those barriers!). 

While it is tempting to tire, to give up, or to just claim victory, as my grandfather used to say, "There is enough time to sleep after 120." ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 1, 2013

Washington DC In 1892

This is a beautiful lithograph from Currier and Ives that I came across of Washington D.C.

It is called Chesapeake Bay Area - The City of Washington. 

It's amazing how much less developed things were just a little more than a century ago. 

You can clearly see the major landmarks and institutions like The Capitol, the Washington Monument, and The White House, but not much else in terms of government.

Notice that even the Supreme Court building isn't there--it wasn't completed until 1935. 

We are a fast-growing and advancing society with a maturing government and capital city that today makes this historical photo look almost as if it's from fairy tale. 

It's nice to look back and see how far we've come and introspect on where we are going. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 22, 2012

Leadership Lessons In a Pie

There is an interesting exercise that examines and trains leaders on strengths and weaknesses.


In the exercise, there are 8 primary skills written on the floor in a pie shape taped off into slices.

People are instructed to step into the slice where they think they are the strongest.

For example, some stepped into slices labeled visionaries, others into change catalysts, team building, or communication, and so on.

Then the group of people from each slice takes a turn and explains to everyone else how to become good at that particular skill, where they are the experts.

Then the exercise is reversed and the participants are asked to find and step into the slice that is the most challenging for them.

In this second part, the group of people in each slice then explain to the rest of the participants what makes that skill in their slice so challenging for them. 

This is a thought-provoking and helpful leadership exercise that gives people an opportunity to examine and discuss their strengths and weakness and learn from each other.

While I wouldn't say that they all slices had the same number of people--they didn't, some had more and some less--each slice did some people to represent that skill.

Some thoughts on this pie exercise:

- By having to choose only one key strength (i.e. only one slice to stand in), it is humbling to realize all the other skills where you aren't as strong, but seeing other people in spread across those slices too--let's you know that it is possible. 

- Also, by having to identify your most challenging leadership skill, the one where you need to focus the most attention on, it is comforting to see other people in the same slice--you are not alone.

- Seeing and hearing about the multiple leadership areas for people--both strengths and weaknesses--points to the importance of diversity of people and skills in the workplace--everyone can do something, but no one can do everything perfect.

- It is healthy to take a self-accounting of your strengths and weaknesses and learn where you can help others and where you can learn from others--thus, teamwork in leadership is just as critical as what is expected in the proverbial "rank and file."

- Leadership skills are generally not something that you are born mastering--although some are labeled "born leaders" (or maybe  "born with a silver spoon in their mouth" in more appropriate)--the vast majority of people learn and grow their leadership skills over a lifetime--and that is a good thing, so stick with it! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 16, 2012

The Shofar: We Can All Improve


The Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) is tonight, and it is a time of introspection and commitment to do better in the future.


On Rosh Hashanah, we blow the Shofar (traditionally made from a ram's horn) in synagogue.

My sister-in-law, Sara Herbsman, told me a beautiful learning about the three types of blasts on the Shofar that correspond to 3 types of people that think they may be beyond repair, but who can still improve their lives:

1) Tekiah--tekiah means rooted and is one long blast--a person is never too stuck, stubborn, or set in their ways to change.

2) Shevarim--shevar means broken and the sound is 3 short broken blasts--that is a person is never to broken to fix.

3) Teruah--comes from the word Ra which means bad and is 9 rapid very short alarm blasts--that is a person is never too bad or evil to repent.

For those who have heard the Shofar blast, it is a moving experience--as if your very soul is stirred to introspection and fear of heaven.  

I remember learning in Jewish Day School that our prayers would ascend to G-d in heaven on the blast of the Shofar. 

But what I always like the best was the story of the one little boy in synagogue who did not know how to pray, but instead just cried--and his tears, full of sincerity, ascended beyond all the other prayers all the way to throne of the Almighty. 

May G-d bless us with a happy, healthy, prosperous, and peaceful New Year. 

Andy

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Elias Punch)

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June 14, 2012

Accomplishing What?

What do you want to accomplish before you die?

Four university students in Canada developed a list of 100 things a few years ago and as of the publishing of their book on this called The Buried Life, they had accomplished 53 of them--including playing basketball with President Obama at the White House!

Also on their list was to "get in a fight"--and so a couple of them beat the h*ll out of each other. Uh, now you can cross that one off your list.

Number 100 on their list is "go to space"--now are they really going to make it there?  Maybe one call to CEO Elon Musk and they'll get on the next flight of the new SpaceX Dragon capsule. 

MTV made this into a reality TV show in 2010 and aired it for two seasons, and it was nominated for a number of awards.

The book came out in March 2012 and it hit #1 on the New York Times best seller list the very first week!

The premise of the book is pretty cool--they collected ten of thousands of entries on what people wanted to do before they died, chose the ones they thought best, and had an artist creatively portray these.

Some of the items in the book are things you'd expect from people in terms of becoming rich, powerful, famous, and so on.  Others are more intimate and from the heart like reconciling with estranged family members, forgiving those that have hurt them, understanding why bad things happened to them, and even finding true love.

What I find interesting is not so much even what people want to do with their lives, but how everyone is in a way (or actually many ways) imperfect and they seek to fill the voids in their hearts, souls, and lives.

Does creating a list of 100 things and checking off the list really mean anything or is it just a gimmick to get on TV, write a book, and earn some cash?

I think to me it's not how many things we accomplish, but what we are really trying to achieve--is it bragging rights and fulfillment of our mortal desires, or is it to get a deeper understanding of ourselves, improve who we are, and give back to others.

I don't have a list of a 100 things or even 10 things...I just want to live my life where I can look myself in the mirror in the morning for who I am as a husband, father, son, as a professional, and as a Jew.

I am not sure it is the big splashy things like the authors put down, including getting into the Guinness World Records that is all it's cracked up to be--but all the power to them.

My parents used to have a little sign hanging over the kitchen that said "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice"---yes, a little corny and cliche, but the point is well taken about setting priorities for ourselves that we can truly be proud of--and those things don't necessarily make a list, a record, or get you an ovation.

Today, I read in the news about how Lance Armstrong, champion cyclist, may end up losing all 7 of his Tour de France titles for doping--just another example of what people are willing to do or give up of themselves to get what they want in life.

I say dream big, try your hardest, but don't get lost in lists of accomplishments and stardom--stay true to who you really are and want to be.

And like the picture shows, it's good not to take yourself too seriously.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

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March 19, 2011

Who Are You Trying To Please?


by Dale Wimbrow, (c) 1934
When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,
And the world makes you King for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that guy has to say.
For it isn't your Father, or Mother, or Wife,
Who judgement upon you must pass.
The feller whose verdict counts most in your life
Is the guy staring back from the glass.
He's the feller to please, never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end,
And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test
If the guy in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and "chisel" a plum,
And think you're a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you're only a bum
If you can't look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,
And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be heartaches and tears
If you've cheated the guy in the glass.
---------------------------------------
In grateful memory of our father, the author, Dale Wimbrow
1895-1954

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September 3, 2010

Revenge of the Introverts

I am an introvert.

Does this mean I am among a minority of the population that is shy, anti-social, “snooty,” or worse?

Many people have misperceptions like these, which is why Psychology Today’s current issue has a feature story on the realities vs. the myths of introverts. Actually half of the people you meet on any given day are introverts.

According to the story, introverts are:

Collectors of thoughts…(and) solitude is the place where the collection is curated…to make sense of the present and the future.”

Most of us don’t realize that there are many introverts, because “perceptual biases lead us all to overestimate the number of extraverts among us.” (Basically you extraverts take up a lot of attention :-).)

To me, being an introvert is extremely helpful in my professional role because it enables me to accomplish some very important goals:

- I can apply my thinking to large and complex issues. Because I gravitate to working in a quiet (i.e. professional) environment, I am able to focus on studying issues, coming up with solutions, and seeing the impact of incremental improvements. (This will be TMI for some, but when I was a kid I had to study with noise reducing headphones on to get that absolute quiet to concentrate totally.)

- I like to develop meaningful relationships through all types of outreach, but especially when interacting one-on-one with people. As opposed to meaningless cocktail party chatter – “Hello, How are you today?” “Fine. And how are you?” “Fine.” Help, get me out of here!

- I get my energy from introspection and reflecting; therefore, I tend to be alert to areas where I may be making a mistake and I try to correct those early. In short, “I am my own biggest critic.”

So while it may be more fun to be an extrovert—“the life of the party”—and “the party’s going on all the time”—I like being an introvert and spending enough time thinking to make the doing in my life that much more meaningful and rewarding.

[Note: Lest you think that I hold a grudge against extraverts, not at all—you all are some of my best buds and frequently inspire me with your creativity and drive!]


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October 1, 2008

Personal Enterprise Architecture

For a long time, I’ve wondered about the application of “enterprise” architecture to the person. In other words, can the principles of EA that are typically applied to an organization be relevant to us as individuals. And frankly, I am certain that they can!
Personal Enterprise Architecture (PEA)—essentially, this means that you’re your own enterprise. And you need to treat your life in the same (or even better) careful and planned manner that you would treat the organization that you care about and are hired to steward. This means taking an accounting of where you are in your life (your personal baseline), figuring out where you are going or want to be (your personal target), and then coming up with a game plan of how you are going to get there (usually through some sort of combination of hard work, personal investment, and self-sacrifice).

As this particular time of year, the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), Personal EA is especially meaningful. Rosh Hashanah is a time of personal judgment. It is a time of introspection—where we reflect on our actions of the past year (our personal baseline); we feel and express regret for the things that we’ve done wrong; we commit to do better in the future (our personal target); and we plan how we can be better human beings in the year ahead of us (our personal transition plan).



In a sense, our lives can actually be more complicated than business processes and technology enablers. There is a Jewish saying that every human being is a whole world unto themselves. I believe this applies in terms of our value in the eyes of G-d, complexity as a combination of individualized nature and nurture, and in terms of potential to do great things.

True, we sometimes do things in an automated fashion—by rote, without thinking, sometimes callous of others feelings and the impact our actions have on ourselves and others. But we are not automatons!
As human beings, we are all faced with enormous personal tests and challenges. Unlike an organization, it’s not just about making money or achieving the organizational goals (however important those may be). But rather, we must face difficult and daunting human issues, day-in and day-out. We all know these human challenges. They are on one hand the most personal and often painful and on the other, the most central and meaningful. For each of us, these challenges are different. But the issues test our faith, demand compassion for others, and involve personal sacrifice.
Whatever your religion and whenever your new year (and time of reflection and judgment) is, we all share a commonality. We are human being endowed by our creator with a soul that drives us to pick ourselves up from wherever we are today and strive for a better tomorrow. What more noble an EA can there be?

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