Showing posts with label Listening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Listening. Show all posts

July 16, 2019

Never Get In a Pissing Contest



I saw this and thought this was a clean version of "Never get into a pissing contest."  ;-)

(Credit Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 17, 2019

Wrong and Wrong

I thought this was a funny saying that my friend told me. 
I'd agree with you but then we'd both be wrong!

He said that he actually liked it so much that he got a sign with it and put it in his office. 

As they say, "Two wrongs don't make right."

If you think something is wrong, hold your ground--otherwise no one will be right. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 25, 2019

Confidence Speaks

I found this interesting about communications management. 

On one hand, when discussing issues, you want to listen to everyone's input, and consider all sides. 

On the other hand, it's critical to be competent, confident, and "know what you're talking about."

Amos Oz wrote:
Those who hesitate and doubt are convinced by those who are strong-minded. 

So it's an important balancing act:

- Not to be so self-confident that you aren't listening to others, 
- But also not being so unsure and hesitant that you don't stand behind your values and views. 

Confidence speaks, but overconfidence is deaf. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 5, 2019

Not Caring or Worse

It's interesting...

There are a lot of good people out there, but there are probably more in your orbit that simply don't care or worse. 

You can have this problem or that. 

If they even "give you the time of day," people will nod, tell you how sorry they are, and probably relate some of their own misery.

The good people try to see if and how they may be able to help. 

The others really don't want to know, certainly don't care, and just see you as baggage in the way. 

But everyone has their problems!  

If only people could look with compassion on each other. 

We all struggle with our demons in this world.  

Of course, we can't let troubles get in the way of our doing what we need to do. 

But people can make all the difference in just providing a compassionate ear and being willing to open themselves up to understanding others and helping each other or making reasonable accommodations so people can help themselves. 

Listen, we all have our day--wouldn't it be nice to be that person who is kind and generous to others and have others treat us that way too. 

(Source Photo: 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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July 3, 2018

Going Back To Ulpan

So yesterday, I started Ulpan classes to improve my Hebrew language skills (currently, I'm not very skillful with it).

It was 2.5 hours and it was such a joy for me and my wife and one of my daughter to have the wonderful opportunity to participate in this. 

It wasn't like in Yeshiva where we focused on learning the Biblical and prayer book Hebrew, and on Aramaic from the Talmud, but was more focused on modern-day conversational Hebrew. 

I loved learning and speaking the words, for example to describe a large cosmopolitan city like Tel Aviv. 

We also listened to recordings of others speaking, read the text, and learned verbs. 

It reminded me of my mom, who also used to love to take Ulpan, and carried around her notebook with the Hebrew words and their translation and the many descriptive verbs--she was so happy learning and practicing. 

Given my horrible language skills, it was funny for me that I was asked if I wanted to join the advanced class...ah, no!  (or at least not yet...)

While so many languages (and cultures) have died over the ages, Hebrew and the modern State of Israel is a complete revival--it's truly miraculous!

There were people in the class from Asia, South America, and all over the world!

And from all the people there, I felt a tremendous love not only for the language, but for the land of Israel, and the Jewish people. 

I wish like this beautiful language we all embraced, everyone could love and not hate us anymore!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 16, 2018

Me Myself and I

I thought this was really fascinating about how we interact with others.

It's a theory by Martin Buber called the I-Thou relationship.

In every relationship, there are really 6 people in the room:

- Who I am.

- Who I want to be.

- Who I am perceived as.

-----------

- Who they are.

- Who they want to be.

- Who they are perceived as. 

----------

Taking about a break between reality, fantasy, and perception. 

Is it any wonder that there are so many communication breakdowns and relationship disappointments. 

We need to coalesce around a unified persona of I and thou--and if we don't know, perhaps we need to ask for clarification.

We don't want to talk past each other. 

We want to talk to and work with each other. 

I am me and you are you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 18, 2018

Listen Better, Empathize More

So I am working on myself to improve and be a better person.

Recently, I had a number of experiences with people telling me of some very trying circumstances.

And at first, I found myself listening and talking to them about it, but then my mind started to get distracted by other things going on and other problems in my life that I needed to deal with.

So after we finished speaking about their respective family, work, and even health problems, I felt that I may have cut off some of these conversations too early or without enough empathy. 

After clearing my head, I thought to myself, I really want to listen better and empathize more. 

And so I went back and did just that. 

I found each person (in person, by phone, or email), and I said that I felt sorry for what they were going through, and I asked more questions and tried to really just be in the moment and there for them.

They seemed to each really appreciate me taking the time and effort to come speak with them and that I cared. 

I know that I am human and make mistakes, but I want to continually grow and do better in life. 

In this case, listening better and empathizing more--it felt great and I learned to listen to my conscience and do more when I think it's right! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 14, 2017

What Women Want From Men?

So I was talking to this nice gentleman.

He was telling me that he lost his wife of over 27 years to cancer--this happened over 15 years ago. 

And since then, he had a girlfriend who recently broke his heart and married someone else. 

I felt really bad and sorry for this nice man--who is always so friendly and intelligent.  

He says to me:
"Over the years, I've learned what women want from men."

I ask him inquiringly:
"And what is that?"

He's obviously glad that I asked, and he proceeds to tell me:
"Women want two things: curiosity and security."

Not understanding what he means by the first one, I ask:
"What do you mean curiosity?"

He looks intently at me and says:
"Women want to talk, and they want to know what's going on."

He explains to me that if you talk and be a good listener to women and provide (your part) materially in a stable relationship with them--they will be happy and you will be happy. 

This is sort of the "Happy wife, happy life" idea that I've heard before. 

Listen, even at this stage in my life, with a wife and two lovely daughters, I can still learn something about what makes women happy...teach me the pearls of wisdom and I will learn it well. ;-)

(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 24, 2017

Going From Hearing To Listening

I thought this was pretty good. 

How do we go from hearing to listening?

We have to be silent (and contemplative)!

- Check out the letters in the word silent.

- They are exactly the same as the letters in the word listen.

Keep the mouth shut and really listen to the what the other person has to say, and you might actually learn something. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 24, 2017

Way Out Of Social Bounds

So on the 10th anniversary of the iPhone...

I want to say that the iPhone is probably one of the greatest inventions of all times...congratulations to Apple and especially to Steve Jobs!

I also want to say how far people have gone crazy in using these smartphones without any filters as to privacy or propriety. 

HERE IS A TRUE STORY THAT JUST HAPPENED :

We are in this building waiting for an elevator to come. 

A man comes around the corner speaking into his smartphone held at chest height with the speaker on blast!

He sees us, but apparently doesn't even think to pause the conversation or turn off the speaker and put the device to his ear.

Instead, we hear from the phone from what is apparently his immediate family member.


"That's right, it's a yeast infection!"

We are looking at each other like is this really happening or are we on Candid Camera or something.

And he respond still on with the speaker as we get on the elevator:


"A yeast infection, yeah, yeah, you better not let it get any worse."

Then from the phone:


"With these yeast infections, you know how it can be. I'll try to take care of it today,"

Him again, now as he's getting off the elevator:


"Well anyway, hope I'll be seeing you over later today."

My wife and I look at each other, and I blurt out after the elevator door closes:


"Yeah, yeah, I guess we'll be seeing you later today--with that yeast infection and all--hope it's not contagious!"


And we both start cracking up at how insane people are. 

While we can't (completely) help what people are over-hearing -and seeing through surveillance mechanisms on our smartphones, this guy with his phone, he didn't even flinch at the conversation he was having in the open on the speaker. 

It's a different day and age, and some people have no sense of boundaries anymore. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 24, 2017

The Trouble With Communication

So I remember this old comedy skit showing the problem with communication.

There is a deaf guy trying to communicate with a blind guy.

Boy, this is a real conundrum.

The deaf guy communicates with sign language that the blind guy can't see. 

And the blind guy communicates by talking which the deaf guy can't hear. 

So neither are getting any messaging across. 

This is sort of like every day life, where people communicate talking past each other. 

Each may only be concerned with what they feel, think, and have to say. 

They don't really care to listen or understand the other person. 

It like the blind and deaf guy communicating and neither can hear the other. 

Most importantly, we need to put ourselves in the other person's shoes. 

To think from their perspectives, and to communicate having in mind to fulfill for the other person--what's in it for me (WIIFM).

In Judaism, their is an important teaching that each person is an entire world unto themselves.

We need to be sensitive to their world and speak our mind, but definitely in their language. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 15, 2017

Compromise Preferred


Sometimes we may feel that we are right and that's it.

Our inclination is perhaps to just do what we think and hold the line. 

But if we can take a step back and listen to the concerns of others then we can be the bigger for it. 

That sweet spot of compromise is where we keep both our integrity intact and still find a middle ground that's acceptable to the many. 

Compromise is better than just giving someone the proverbial finger and telling them where to go and how to get there. 

Strength is peace...and peace is strength.

When that doesn't work, then there still always the alternative for good to overcome evil in this world. ;-)

(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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June 29, 2016

Compassion Instead Of Anger

So I was speaking to someone recently about how angry they were with some stressful things and people in their life. 

I listened carefully and tried to empathize--also in full transparency, it got to be a lot and I at some point was begging them to stop!

At one point, I just said, instead of being angry maybe try to be compassionate. 

And I could see in other person's reaction that they thought perhaps that I had hit on something a little eye-opening here. 

We can get angry about all the stresses and injustices that we perceive in our lives. 

People blame us, attack us, don't appreciate us, talk down to us, disrespect us, even bully us or try to hurt us.

Also life throws some pretty stinging to earth-shattering circumstances upon us.

And maybe we have every right to feel angry.

But usually the anger, unless we need the adrenaline-rush in fighting for our survival and for our core beliefs and values, doesn't help us achieve what we really want. 

What we want most of the time is to resolve things!

But getting angry and lashing out often only makes things worse. 

We act rashly, we overreact, we say and do things we may regret afterwards, and the consequences of our reaction can be severe to us afterwards in terms of alienating and harming others, escalating the situation and making it worse, creating hurt and destruction in our own wake, and even losing jobs or getting yourself in trouble and sent to the pokey.

If instead of getting angry and flinging arrows, we look at things from eyes of compassion, we can listen to others more carefully, understand the situation better, and try to rectify bad relationships or cope with stressful life events by employing emotional intelligence and a soft hand/skills. 

This is not to say that we should excuse really bad behavior or truly unforgivable misdeeds, but rather that we should look at things in a larger context, the role we play, and as part of our our life challenges to make things better and overcome.

Anger and the associated response is appropriate when the little devil is doing their misdeeds (lashing out severely and/or repeatedly with harm and intent), but compassion can help to see everything else for what it is or isn't and gives us an opportunity to react with a level head, a stable hand, and humanity as a first resort. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 31, 2016

613 Menu

So for those of you following my blogs about 613 (the number of commandments in the Torah)--this is blog 6 in the monthly series. 

And here it is again, on the menu for a simple Caesar Salad--depending on the size, it's $6 or $13.

I'm sorry but I don't need a statistician to tell me that the number of times and places for the revealing of 613--without even looking for it (seriously)--is extraordinary. indeed. 

G-d has a message for us of hope and faith--613--I plan on listening. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 18, 2015

Ready To Explode

So have you ever had to deal with someone at work and they are NOT exactly acting the consummate professional?

They may be volatile, angry, raising their voice, intransigent, threatening, acting the a*s, maybe even a little meshuga.

Yeah, unfortunately it happens (although it absolutely shouldn't)!  

People have crap going on in the office, at home, and sometimes they come in and they just can't cope.  

G-d forbid, they should never really "go postal" as in real violence--but you never really know what you are going to be dealing with. 

One colleague said some people are just "hypervolic"--a new word for someone who is excessive, over the top, and emotionally volcanic!

Yikes--scary enough. 

Another colleague I know who is excellent with people and has decades of experience dealing with a cast of characters told me, "I just look at everyone as a bomb ready to go off."

Ugh, not exactly how I would want to perceive people around me, but the point is well taken--you never know (and you can almost hear the ticking now). 

With some people we sort of know from dealing with them that they have some marbles loose, and while others may appear calm, cool, and collected on the outside, on the inside they may be a volcano ready to blow. 

Heck, you can't read everyone right and even if you do, you can try to calm them down, listen to them, work with them, talk sense to them, suggest some counseling or other outside assistance, but even then they may go off the deep end. 

Lots of personalities out there, lots of people with problems and stresses, and sometimes we in our best intentions may make mistakes or unknowingly say the wrong thing and it only inflames the situation.

Of course hopefully, calmer heads will prevail, professionalism will take front seat, and people will get some perspective and do the right thing...chill man!

But also keep in mind what my colleagues said, some people may  just be ready to go explode--like a volcano--and we need to be ready for that too. 

How do you prepare for this?

Yeah, I don't remember them covering that subject in leadership training--maybe with the exception of listen, show empathy, and if worst comes to worst you can either head for the exits to get away or shelter in place before the human stress bomb goes big boom! ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Camilo Rueda Lopez)
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February 13, 2015

tURNING yOUR dEVICE aGAINST yOU!

So interesting article in BBC about the Samsung's "Listening TV."

This TV has voice activated controls and they don't just take commands, but...


"If your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party."


So aside from hackers (and spies) being able to turn your phone and computer mics, cameras, and GPS location data on and off to surveil and eavesdrop on you, now the dumb television set can listen in as well. 


You can be heard, seen, and found...whether you know it or not. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal with eyes and ears from here and here with attribution to Firas and Simon James)

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December 14, 2014

Reach Out To Lead

The New York Times today had an editorial called “Our Unrealistic Hopes for Presidents.”

In this piece, Brendan Nyhan lowers the bar on all leadership, and most importantly on the President of the United States. 

He advocates for us to “give up on the idea of a leader who will magically bring consensus and unity to our politics.”

While I agree that there is no “magic” in leadership or politics, it is precisely a leader's job to see to the vetting of ideas, compromise and consensus, and a way forward for the people, organization, and/or nation.

The leader, especially the president, establishes the vision, motivates and inspires, so that we are elevated from being focused on our own selfish motives  to being “One nation under G-d with liberty and justice for all.” (Pledge of Allegiance)

Or as JFK stated:

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” 

This is the type of greatness that our leaders can raise us to and it defies race, party, or creed.

Certainly it wasn't easy for the founding fathers of this nation to come together and write the Constitution and Bill of Rights that is not geared to the right or left, but is just plain brilliant and correct!

Yes, this is precisely what leadership is--not blame, finger pointing, go it alone, or defeatism--and that is why NOT everyone is cut out for the “top job" and why we seek the the 1 in 311 million for the job!

Nyhan writes “At election time, candidates seduce us with promises to bring America together, but inevitably fall short and end up leaving office with the country more polarized than when they arrived.”

In plain English...this is called broken promises and failed leadership!

A leader, absolutely, must bridge the divide, create an overall unity, a sense of purpose, bring the commitment of the hearts and minds--whether to feed the hungry, land a man on the moon, or win the war whether against fascism or terrorism.

Nyhan states disparagingly about us that “The public and the news media still want someone…a uniting figure who works across the aisle to build support”—Uh YES, how else will we ever get anything big and meaningful really done?

He tells us to “stop asking who can achieve the unity,” that times have changed, and that instead we should accept the “norm of polarization,” conflict, and disharmony in our nation. 

Sure, there are times of urgency and crisis, when a leader must decide and act in lifesaving haste; however, in most usual cases, decisions and actions can come about by joining together rather than tearing asunder. 

No, we should never stop demanding great leadership--those who can overcome both the petty divides as well as the more substantial differences, to see through to a greater good, common purpose, and a better future for us all. 

We can’t do this as Nyhan proposes by giving up on working together, and trying to go it along, without anyone who thinks differently than us, and “govern well without their support.” 

In corporate America or politics, leadership by decree is known as dictatorship, and that is not what this democracy or for that matter real success is about. 

Whether in the boardroom or the Oval Office, we need to demand leadership that explains their point of view, listens to other perspectives, and is able to form compromise and win-win scenarios.

When one side feels ignored or that they've been worked around instead of with, then the result is sure to be bitterness and prolonged fighting to overturn the "my way or the highway" decision or to poke the other side right back in the eye when they have the chance. 

We don't need excuses, but strong leaders who know how to “work the room" or "reach across the aisle"-- to bring facts to the table, and sentiment to touch people’s hearts, to give clear vision to help us see “the bigger picture” of what can be done, if we only can act deliberately as one.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Niels Linneberg)
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