Showing posts with label Opportunity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Opportunity. Show all posts

July 16, 2019

We're Part of a Much Larger Script

I loved this explanation of the Book of Job by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

G-d answers by showing Job the incredible elements of creation and the universe.

Why?

1) Complexity and Interrelationship of the Universe:

As isolated individuals, we might expect to be judged solely by our individual deeds of good and bad (2-dimensional), but also we are cogs in the larger universe (the 3rd dimension).

Therefore, what happens to us is not just a result of what we do, but also is a part of G-d's larger overall plan for the world. 


Even small acts can have large impacts.

For example, you sneeze and somewhere down the line it causes a tsunami.

Similarly, like actors in a cosmic play of a billion pages, we may not see or understand why our individual role may be what it is, but if you would see and understand the context of the overall drama (what came before us, after us, and how it all interrelates) then from a G-d's eye view, it makes sense.

Every act of destruction can lead to a higher divine purpose.

Like the grass that is mowed over and uprooted to plants crops or the wheat that is harvested and ground up to make bread.

So, we can have faith that there is a reason and purpose for everything even if it is a mystery or unanswered question to us.


And even in our suffering, G-d, the master of the Universe, is saying that "I'm here with you thru it all." You are not alone!

2) By challenging us, G-d gives us the "tough gift" to cope, grow, and become better people.

Even though things that happen may look bad to you, they can lead to good for you.

You don't always get what you want, but you get what you need.

You have choice: you can be bitter, resentful, cynical, and angry or can look at life with hope, optimism and resilience.

Thus, suffering can be a vehicle of self-transformation and elevation. The challenges you face can help you become a different person--a greater person.

You can learn to feel not just your own pain and disappointment, but that of others.

You have the opportunity to grow yourself and the opportunity to help others.

(Thank you to Rebecca Ochayon for sending me this awesome video!)

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April 22, 2019

You Ended Up In Hell City

So a friend told me something funny.

It was about being given what appears to be a wonderful opportunity, but in reality it's not all roses. 

In short, it went something like this:
There was an exciting competition and a prize at the end. 
Everyone prepared and worked hard to win it. 
But when the competition was over, what was the prize?
The 2nd place was two weeks in Philadelphia. 
The 1st place was one week in Philadelphia. 

I had to think about that for a second, but that is really pretty funny and true. 

No not about Philadelphia, but about life--that what we often mistakenly want so badly and strive for with all our energies, and then only to find out that it really wasn't as good or amazing for us and our families as we imagined. 

Yes, very often you set your sights on certain goals to win the competition, but then you find out that the BIG prize ("first place") is really not something to get excited about, because it's in Philadelphia!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 18, 2018

Everything Is 4 The Best

So it's easy to get down on life when bad things happen. 

But it's funny how when we just take a little perspective or in retrospect...

We realize that everything G-d does is really for our best!

It may not look and feel that way at the moment. 

But there comes an inner awakening about things when we see the bigger picture. 

And then we sort of nod our heads knowingly:
"Ah, that's why that happened!"

There are many reasons, G-d may be directing something: 

- Opening new and better opportunities for us. 

- Teaching us important life lessons.

- Putting us someplace we need to be to help someone else. 

- Even saving us from some worse catastrophe. 

For G-d, there is no time or space--He supersedes all of these. 

He puts us where we need to be when we need to be for His bigger plan for our good. 

Also, when you think you have a problem, remember to look at what others may be going through.

Because there are problems and then there are problems!

As my dad used to say:

"The guy complained he had no shoes, until he saw the guy without any feet!"

Is your problem really so bad--maybe yes, maybe no.

Try for a second to think of others you know and what they are going through. 

Imagine for a moment--what does really bad look like, feels like. 

G-d works in what seems like mysterious ways.

But we can uncover the mystery and discover the holiness and grand plan of it all--if we just look beyond ourselves and towards the heavens.

Oh G-d, thank you for all that you do for us--your wisdom is glorious; your lessons are to teach me to be a better me; and your mercy endures forever. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 16, 2018

It's For Us

I love this saying from one of my colleagues:
"G-d doesn't do it to us. 
He does it for us!"

Instead of asking with anger and resentment "why me?" -- perhaps we can try to see the larger picture and be grateful for all the blessings and opportunities that G-d does give us. 

While certainly there is pain and suffering in this world, there is also the chance to learn, grow, and become stronger and better people. 

We are here to hopefully leave the world a better place than before we got here. 

The perspective that the challenges and obstacles are not meant to really harm us, but to help us is not an easy pill to swallow.

But maybe it really is the enlightened view of faith that we all need to fight on and overcome. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 2, 2018

Something Better In Store For You

So I recently had what I thought was a big opportunity slip by me.

My first reaction was to be disappointed, upset, angry, and question why.

But then I remembered something I heard the other day:
"If something doesn't work out then it's because something even better is coming."

Wow, that's powerful!

Think about it...

What do we mortal human beings really know?

We think something is right for us--but only G-d really knows what the future will bring.

Perhaps with this or that thing that we think we so want, instead of joy and fulfillment, it's really just heartache or disaster in the waiting.

My father used to say and was so right about it:
"Better to cry now then to cry later." 

G-d loves us and has our best interests at heart--He saves us and has something better in store for us. 

My father also taught me:
"What can any man do to us when we have faith in G-d."

And he really lived that way!

He never worried about what any person or event could do to him--faith always protected him and even when he was sick and was dying, and I asked how he was, he told me:
"I have no pain." 

And I could see truly with his deep faith in the Almighty, he really did not feel any pain--it was amazing and miraculous!

Like my dear father, when I remember that G-d has the whole world in Hands, and He watches over us then my heart is uplifted and all I want to do is sing His praises, and that is what I will do. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 12, 2017

Wherever You Go

So my father used to say this idea about dealing with life's challenges:
"Wherever you go, that's where you are!"
If you think about it for a moment, it really is very profound. 

Some people think that they can run away from their problems.

Move here, there, everywhere. 

Change schools, jobs, spouses, whatever. 

But you can't run away from yourself. 

Wherever you run, you're still you!

So you need to fix yourself, your problems, your life. 

Yes, sometimes your in a place is bad, a bad fit, the people are bad, the chemistry is bad, the circumstances are bad. 

And then change can certainly be a welcome and good thing.

But when you change the external, the internal has to keep developing and changing as well, so that we learn and grow to be better people.  

Change your place is not a substitute for changing and growing yourself--that is the only constant with change. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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October 24, 2017

G-d Holds All The Keys

So what is there to fear in this world. 

Whatever happens, happens. 

And G-d is the master over it all. 

He holds all the keys. 

G-d opens doors. 

When we are being challenged, look toward the Heavens. 

There is a door there somewhere. 

What can ANY man do to us?

When G-d reigns over ALL men.

In G-d, there is salvation and mercy. 

G-d will watch over His people.

And He will bless them in peace! ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 18, 2017

Character Building Day

So I really like this...

A friend told me that when they have a really tough day, they call it:
"A Character Building Day!"

I thought that was pretty astute. 

When people are up against the wall...

And they feel like they practically have their hands and legs tied...

And the world is spinning around them out of control...

And others are throwing tomatoes, darts, arrows, and all types of other sh*t their way...

- We can either just close our eyes, feel powerless, get upset and depressed, and basically give up

OR

- We can see the tough times as challenges--however great--to build our character.

Every situation is a learning and growth opportunity. 

Don't give in--Get up and fight.

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger!

Yes, many days are character building days--it doesn't always feel good--often it feels horrible--but we can approach it with the right attitude and help shape our character and soul for the better.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 10, 2017

@Takoma Park Folk Festival


So today we were at the Takoma Park Folk Festival. 

It was a combination of food, chachkas, art, dance, and music--thank G-d, it was a good time!

When we were going through the booths, I came across this one artist pictured here. 

A little scary looking at first, but actually seemed nice enough and he stopped to speak with us. 

I asked about his very cool jacket.

And he told me, how he had actually made it with all the artistic things on it, including spikes, skulls, medals, patches, and even a pair of teeth!

Then he took off his jacket and turned around to show me his vest. 

On the back was this awesome fighting foe.

I said feigning surprise:
"Oh, and it says RESIST on top?"

He replies:
"Yeah, never miss an opportunity to share a message!"

I thought to myself this guy is pretty smart, especially as he started to explain not only his jacket, but the meanings behind some of his other artwork. 

Creativity is a wonderful thing--especially when no one gets hurt :-)--and it immediately sparks interest and dialogue.

How'd you do that?  What gave you that idea?  How do you use it?

The boring becomes exciting when another soul expresses itself. 

Yes, we're all the same, but also we're all different!

It's by "going there," you explore and learn new things.  ;-) 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 29, 2017

Go U.S.A.!


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May 26, 2017

Memorial Day Stars and Stripes

Loved this lady's sweater of the American Flag.

So cool with the stars on the sleeve like that. 

I thought this was especially nice for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

As we remember those that have sacrificed so much, and the many that have fallen making the ultimate sacrifice, so that all we could be free. 

"In the olden days," they used to say America was the "goldene medina"--the golden country--the land of opportunity!

But really, the gold itself is just fools gold, the real greatness of being here is the freedom to be who you are and to have the human rights and protections to pursue whatever your dreams are. 

Maybe that's what the stars on the flag are really all about--we can all reach for the stars--whatever stars we want--and many will actually be able to achieve the impossible. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 6, 2017

Smell The Roses

I am a big proponent of stopping to smell the roses. 

These purple, yellow, red, and pink flowers were sitting on the counter in Whole Foods, and I had to stop, back up, and take this amazing photo.

They were absolutely gorgeous!

Sometimes, I can't believe the beautiful things and people that G-d has made. 

We're part of a most-amazing and perfect world. 

Of course, there are also hardships and suffering in this world - illness, disability, hunger, homelessness, violence, loneliness, and loss. 

Perhaps, these are the most difficult of things for us as human beings to reconcile with the beautiful world that G-d has set us in. 

While surrounded by beauty, people are also beset by life's many challenges. 

Maybe all the more reason to stop and smell the roses even for just a moment--to enjoy the spirit of life and of our amazing Creator, and the opportunity to make the most of it all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 13, 2017

New Beginnings

New beginnings this week at HHS.

This is the view from HQs. 

Grateful for the opportunity to serve.

Thank you G-d. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 22, 2016

Wouldn't You Like To Be A Govie Too

Some people have a negative perception of government workers ("govies").  

They think that it's just a cushy job with a lot of free time and benefits. 

Sort of like the photo above with the lady streched out over her laptop, eyes half shut, and with the lightbulb above her head--thinking up great ideas for running the government and regulating the people. 

Ah, no--it's not like that at all. 

Okay, maybe a little for some people. 

Having been in both the private and public sectors about 40-60 of my career, I can tell you that there is plenty of unproductiveness (i.e. dead weight) wherever you go. 

But there is also a lot of hardworking (some super hardworking) and really smart people too. 

Yes, there are meetings (lots of them) and paperwork (piled high), but there is also a good amount of out-of-the-box thinking and trying to figure out how to do more with the same or less.  

There is also some really big thinking like how to win the next Big One (i.e. war), how to protect the country from deadly terrorism, disasters, weapons of mass destruction, and cyber attack, how to partner with others around the world to achieve big ambitious projects and peace, how to colonize outer space, protect the environment, and improve the economy, healthcare, education, and so much more. 

Not all the big thinking is good thinking--some of it is unrealistic, biased towards this or that constituency, counterproductive, or even corrupt. 

But many govies really do want to do a great job and save the world!

If you think there isn't plenty of hard work, passion, dedication--you're wrong.

If you think, everyone is doing the right thing for the right reasons--your delusional.

Like with people all over the world, there's a mix of good and some not so good, but overall, there is lots of opportunity to lead, problem solve, and do good and great things with real effect, nationally and globally. 

And if for that alone, being a govie is an amazing career move where you can have an influence on matters of tremendous importance and lasting impact. 

Wild perceptions and pictures can be deceiving--instead think about the hero that you can and want to be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 12, 2016

Keeping Perspective

I thought this was a good photo to depict the importance of keeping perspective in life.

It is easy for any of us to "get bent out of shape" over big and little things alike. 

But if we sort of zoom out a little and see the larger perspective of things then perhaps we can realize that while our problems may be big for us, they are really small in comparison to the bigger picture or G-d's eye view. 

Yes, to us, little can be big, and big can be little, but if we could just recognize that we are part of something so much more, we can get that finer-tuned perspective on what's truly important and what's more trivial. 

It doesn't mean that our feelings of hurt, pain, loneliness, or injustices in the world are not important. 

They are significant for us to try to deal with them and make things better. 

Yet, we cannot go back in time and right all the wrongs, and we cannot change all the things about ourselves that we'd like to in a presto change-O wave of the hand moment. 

Life, change, and improvement are incremental. 

Sometimes, we make progress only then to fall back some. 

But overall, we need to keep the momentum of positive change for ourselves, forward.

But why are we even here? 

My wife said something the other day as follows:


"We are here in order to learn why we are here!"

Sounds confusing, but really maybe it's not. 

Our souls are sent here in the temporary vessels of our mortal bodies.

We are here so we can spend time here in this complex and interactive world, and learn from our relationships, positively and negatively with each other. 

The learning corrects our soul's imperfections and makes us better human and spiritual beings and brings us closer to G-d. 

At the same time that we are here, we should make it as pleasant as possible for ourselves and each other (but not over-the-top in a nihilistic and debauchery type of way). 

Stay fit, support yourselves and your family, live reasonably comfortably, so that you can pursue your karmic-driven learning and growth toward inner perfection. 

Like Buddha, we seek to purify our souls before they return to our Maker. 

In the realm of things, we are a very small microscopic human insect, but in the bigger picture, we are part of the ultimate magnanimous giving of opportunity to fix and maybe even come close to perfecting ourselves to be more like our beautiful and merciful Creator. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 7, 2016

Playing The Work Game Can End In More Ways Than One


This game takes working to a whole new level of absurdity. 

It's called "Don't Get Fired!

And it's by a 29-year old South Korean programmer who found a way to vent his own frustration with the crazy working world by making it into a mobile game. 

The goal is to "rise through the ranks of a nameless corporation by performing an endless string of mind-numbing tasks, while avoiding  a long list of fireable offenses."

I did a screenshot here after I passed the interview and did the tasks that the various levels of management told me to by yelling at me with exclamation marks. 

The more exclamation marks means the more yelling and critical the tasks are from the seniors in the organization. 

Here the added stressor is everyone is in "fever mode," because the president is in town, so now you are getting work from everyone and have to manage all the competing priorities. 

See me, the intern in the lower right corner with the work piled up on my desk.

You have to tap furiously on each task to turn them green and eventually make them disappear as completed.

In the game, you basically "get fired again and again in a cycle of humiliation and false hope." 

There are no less than "29 ways to get fired, including opening a box of donuts that doesn't belong to you,...addressing colleagues with the wrong level of formality, or failing to laugh hard enough at the jokes of a company vice president."

One game player said, "sometimes you just have to laugh at the futility of life" or in this case I think he is referring to meaningless work tasks. 

Mind-numbing tasks and yelling in the office are not what decent work life is about.  

It's no wonder that doing meaningful work, being treated with dignity and respect, and having the opportunity to learn and grow are some of the most important aspects of a satisfying job.

Then why get fired, when instead you can get promoted. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 7, 2016

The Revolving Door

So work is a revolving door of people onboarding and offboarding.

New people are getting hired.

Old people are leaving.

Nothing is stable.

The relationships you made yesterday just left the revolving door today, and it's time to make new ones.

One "ran from Dodge."  Another retired.  A third left for the private sector.  Someone else is going just down the block.

On the inbound train are Summer interns. Contractors being hired on as regular staff.  Brand new people.  And even some people coming back after leaving for a short time.

People get antsy or have enough doing what they were doing, dealing with who they are dealing, or simply want a change and a challenge.

Others are shown the door under less fortunate circumstances.

Whether looking to pave new trails, find yourself a seat at the table, a leadership position, or a fatter paycheck--the eyes see, and the heart wants.

Some people are tethered to their job or even "retired in place (RIP)"--perhaps it's truly a great job and fit or it's like their life blood (their whole identity, their reason for being) or maybe, they just like collecting what they consider "easy money" for a job they know and love or can skate by on, or maybe they work with other great people they really like and every day is a fresh challenge and even fun. 

Recents studies indicate that retiring later in life actually increases longevity, but when is enough enough or are we leaving ourselves enough time to sit at the pool side and just enjoy life a little?

Millennials, famous for changing jobs often, now are at an average of 4 jobs by the time they hit 32.

And in Information Technology, job hopping is considered "the world's biggest game of musical chairs."

Why the increase in the job hopping bug in people's you know what?

Sure there is more opportunity for those that have the right skills, and people getting bored or stale is a bad thing, everyone wants to find a good fit for themselves and where they can have a real impact, and economic and social pressures push people to make the leap, perhaps there is also some foolishness involved--where the grass is always greener or not.

Sometimes though it really may be right for the person--and that's for each to explore and decide for themselves. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to John Garghan)
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March 8, 2016

Meeting the Boss, John Kerry

What an awesome day today getting to meet Secretary of State, John Kerry. 

It is truly very cool to work for the Federal government and to be part of something much bigger than ourselves.

Meaning, purpose, contribution, service, and constant learning--that is a lot of goodness and opportunity to receive in one's career. 

Thank you G-d for the amazing moments as well as the daily grind to work through it all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Colleague)

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April 8, 2015

The Soul Of A Fighter

This was an awesome piece of art on the street in downtown Washington, D.C. 

The boxer against the bright yellow background and wearing red boxing gloves that say "Soul Matters" is striking.

For many year, I had a wonderful Rocky poster with the words, "His whole life was a million to one shot."

I emphathize with and respect the person who has to fight (practically) against all odds to overcome challenges and but through the grace of G-d and a strong fighting spirit goes forward for their chance at success.

It almost doesn't matter whether you (fully) succeed, but rather that you gave it your best shot, fought the good fight, and put your heart and soul into it. 

Always do the right thing and pray for the opportunity to make a difference. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 5, 2014

Good Spreads Good

This was a nice note to see this morning at the parking garage. 

"To the good samaritan who picked up an Amex card on 11/3: Thank you! You are awesome."

Look at how good deeds work and spread:

Someone lost their Amex credit card.

Another found it and went out of their way to take the time to safeguard it and turn it in.

The person who lost it then got to recognize the kind act and in turn make the effort to write this nice thank you note and post it. 

Other people passing this by get to see this and learn from it, and hopefully do similar nice things when they are presented the opportunity.

Do you look the other way and run off to do just your own (selfish) things or do you take the time to help others when they are in need?  

The answer may not be obvious to everyone or all the time, but we can all learn and grow. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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