Showing posts with label Overcome. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Overcome. Show all posts

August 4, 2019

Open Your Eyes

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Open Your Eyes to Hashem."


G-d has a plan and a reason for everything–not only for them, but for all of us. We are all on a journey, and even if we don’t always readily see G-d, it’s part of our core faith that He is always there, He is guiding us, and that everything is for the best. Yet despite our best efforts to have faith, at times, we may feel that we don’t know what we’re doing here–why we’re at this place, at this time, or even how we got here–we may actually feel a little lost. Maybe we just can rattle off a list of “Well I did this and then that and then this other thing happened.” But exactly how we got to where we are, regardless of our best laid plans, is often a mystery to us as human beings. As I often tell students and colleagues in the planning discipline of enterprise architecture, “Man plans, and G-d laughs.”

While we may think we are going about fulfilling our plans and accomplishing our life dreams, the truth is that everything ultimately comes from G-d. He gives you the strength, the health, the family and friends as support, the talent, the opportunity, and the right thoughts in your head and the right words in your mouth to do what you do. Of course, we must do our part and the hard work to find and fulfill our mission in life and to overcome the challenges we face, but we are flesh and blood and in the bigger realm of things, messengers of G-d in fulfilling his bigger plan for all of us. If we open our eyes, we realize that wherever we end up and whatever happens to us is by His merciful decree.


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

July 30, 2019

Win Rocky Win

I found this Rocky gem on eBay.

And it arrived, all wrapped up nicely, in the mail yesterday.  

Rocky working out and training. 

His shirt says:
Win Rocky Win

I posed him with his arms up in the air like after a fight in the ring. 

Love his fighting spirit, determination, and integrity. 

Overcoming against all odds. 

Great inspiration. 

Some say we actually look alike. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 24, 2019

Excellence Vs. Mediocrity

So we all know how hard it can be to get ahead.  

The long hours, hard work, and grueling repetition to try to reach near-perfection. 

Even then, of course, we need G-d's mercy and blessings and a measure of good luck to succeed. 

Also, by definition, not everyone can be "the best" at everything. 

I suppose the expectation for most people is that they try at least to excel at the things that they need to do or are most important to them, as well as maintain work-life balance. 

In this light, it was interesting to hear a story recently about mediocrity (and not excellence). 

When asked to step up on the job, one person responded in the negative saying:
C's get degrees (too)!

Of course, this must have sounded pretty shocking and off-putting. 

In other words, they weren't going for the "A" or even a "B".  A "C" grade was fine for them--as long as they didn't completely fail with a big "F".

Who knows what circumstances may have led this person to settle for mediocrity--just wanting to pass.

Perhaps they had serious personal or family issues--and had good reason to be taking a step back (for a while). 

But I think there could also be more tactful ways to say it too--like explaining if there were mitigating or challenging circumstances in their life right now. 

If there really wasn't mitigating circumstances and the person was just "slacking off" or didn't care, one has to wonder why--are they just "milking the system" or is there something more fundamentally wrong?

C's get degrees, but to me the real question is: Are you doing your best given your particular life circumstances?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 15, 2019

OMG, What A Beautiful Song

And Even In Hiding
By Yaakov Shwekey & Kobi Peretz
Even though I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death
I fear no evil
Because you are with me
Even behind the difficult things you are going through
I stand...I stand...I stand
Even in the place which is hidden, within that which is hidden
Surely, the blessed Hashem is found there too 

My heart and soul are uplifted by this beautiful song. ;-)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 11, 2019

OOOC...Order Out Of Chaos

Life is not meant to be chaos (or partially that is). 

That's why G-d created a natural order and rules of nature. 

From the laws of physics to repeatable mathematical formulations, the universe may be infinitely large and complex, but it is not without standards of function. 

According to the Law of Causality, the world is a pattern of action and reaction (or effect), where everything is a consequence of something prior. 

Even in Chaos Theory, we find that in apparent randomness, there are underlying patterns. 

Absent a miracle, the sun rises every morning and sets every evening. 

Yet, nature and man can also bring catastrophe whereby the world seems like one big chaotic mess. 

Whether from illness, natural disaster, or conflict, our world, can in a moment be turned on it's head. 

Moreover, it's all predictably unpredictable. 

And it's up to us to make Order Out Of Chaos (OOOC). 

This is where many of us either sink or swim. 

When the chips are down, and all the world seems to be imploding with dysfunction, this is where we need to find and make sense and order.

Bad things happen even to good people. 

Good people need to find the faith and the strength, and with G-d's help, rise to the challenge. 

Easier said than done, for sure. 

In the chaos of things, time may stop and everything becomes a blur.  

We may become like a deer in the headlights--frozen with panic and truly not knowing what to do. 

But if we can just find which way is up. 

Then we can redirect ourselves--rising from the depths of despair to the surface, where the sun is shining and we can gasp a breath again. 

Even around our dysfunction is function to be had. 

Solve a problem, do something constructive, and help others...it's all part of making order out of chaos.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 25, 2019

Life = Growth

Thought this was an interesting photo at REI.

It says behind the cash registers:
People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. - Eleanor Roosevelt

The  background has this serene river flow--along with some obvious whitewater. 

But in front of it, the cash register area is hopping crazy and messy.

It's a contradiction--not unlike life itself which is full of it's own ups and downs that challenge us routinely. 

Life is where we get the experience that shapes us and strengthens us, as long as it does not break us.  

Life = Growth

Why else would we be here?

G-d is the best teacher. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

May 30, 2019

Hungry Pac-Man

Saw this in a window from the street. 

Pac-Man eating the dots/pellets and going for the ghost. 

The classic arcade video game from 1980s still speaks volumes. 

Pac-Man is goal-oriented and hungrily eat the pellet pieces, but if the ghosts touch him first then he's toast (or at least one of his 3 lives are).

Not so different from real life...

We try to reach our goals, by taking one bite at a time until we "eat the elephant."

But if those people who are naysayers, haters, Debbie Downers, and obstructionists, get to us first, then we can not only lose momentum, and but also eventually be forced to divert or miss out on achieving our goals. 

Ghosts aren't hollow friendly creatures, but those who want to stop progress, stop you, and maybe even end your pellet-eating life. 

You need to eat the super "power pellets" to overcome and eat the ghosts.

Eating all the pellets can be a herculean task requirement strength, resourcefulness, and determination, but that's what takes you to the next level in the game of life. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

May 2, 2019

Beautiful Anne Frank


In Remembrance of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Observance) today:

This is a beautiful Hebrew song about Anne Frank who at age 13 went into hiding in Amsterdam from the Nazis.

For two years, they stayed in the attic...not being able to make a sound or open a window.

But she kept an amazing diary that preserves for us the life and suffering they went through. 

After 761 days, they were discovered and Anne Frank was was sent to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. 

Anne and her sister Margot died in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.

This child was beautiful and her story lives to remind us of the evil that we face and the survival that we all must.  ;-)

___
Song:

Anne Frank's Diary

Lyrics:

A bookcase hides me. 
And what, what a fear.
My father, my mother and my sister,
With the neighbors together.
We are all in silence and quiet,
With only the heart whispering whispers.
Here they hide from the soldiers,
Which our soul seeks.
My diary, my precious,
Oh Kitty, my friend.
Will I ever see a sunrise?
Will I find my death?
In the tiny rooms, From a suffocating feeling.
Cold days and clouds.
Nights of terror and silence.
It's not true, it's not right,
I want to laugh out loud.
Dance, sing and play,
I'm a child, all in all.
My diary, my precious ...
There are terrible moments,
In our relations.
So crowded here in the apartment, Everything is closing in on us.
Food is also very lacking, The war within the city.
Will I live? Will I survive?
Do you still love and sing?
My diary, my precious ...

Share/Save/Bookmark

April 24, 2019

Project Suicide

This was sort of a funny scene in a project meeting. 

One person describing the challenges at one point, spontaneously and dramatically motions to take a knife and slit both wrists.

This absolutely got people's attention.

Understanding the struggles the person was expressing, and trying to add a little lightheartedness to the situation, I say:

"This is a tough project, pass around the knife."

This got a good hearty laugh around the table, with one person saying that this was the quote of the day. 

Anyway, we want to make operations as effortless as possible on people, but the project work to get there is definitely making people work for it. 

Let's avoid project or people suicide--be supportive of each other, pace ourselves, team together, and problem-solve to get it successfully over the finish line.

Soon we can celebrate all the challenges we overcame together and from our determined efforts, all the wonderful results. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

April 16, 2019

(Maybe) Stop Complaining

So this past Shabbat, there was a wonderful guest speaker at Aish, Rav Gav(riel) Friedman. 

He was a very lively speaker and with a lot of worthy teachings for his lucky audience. 

One thing he said that really stuck with me is about people that complain. 

People have hard lives!

As he said, "I don't know what each of you has been through."

But one thing that can help us cope with our challenges is our perspective.  

And then he said the following:
We need to be glad that we have something to complain about!

Huh, what does that mean?

Well, think about it...

- If you complain about your spouse, thank G-d that you are married (and have a life partner) to complain about. 

- If you complain about your job, thank G-d that you have a job (and income) that you can complain about. 

- If you complain about your food, thank G-d that you have food to eat (and sustenance for your body) to complain about.

And so on and so forth. 

Whatever we complain about, think about what you actually have (the big picture) and what you are complaining about (usually the little picture). 

Really, we have so much to be grateful for that we can easily just forget or take for granted. 

So next time your complaining, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE that you are complaining about--you might stop yourself from complaining.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

February 26, 2019

From Chaos to Order

The world challenges us all the time. 

Yes, the world functions based on the "laws of nature," scientific facts, and mathematical formulas, and so you'd think everything in our lives would be orderly and work like clockwork.

But, as human beings, our lives are too a great extend a function of what gets thrown at us and how we react to them, and not the constancy of the world context that these things are happening in. 

It's easy to be surprised, become overwhelmed, or even be stumped by the daily barrage of things that we are new to us or we simply don't know how to handle.

A world governed by Mother Nature thus, often seems more like a world ruled by Murphy's Law. 

In a world that we can often experience as chaotic and disorderly, the answer is not to break down and cry or run and hide, but rather to create our own sense of order. 

Thus, the antagonist of chaos and disorder is consequence and order. 

The way to get to order in your life is through planning and preparation. 

The more you plan and prepare, the better you are able to deal with the challenges you are dealt. 

I believe this is the cornerstone of what a good education and training is--preparing you for real life!

Generally, if you plan and prepare for a broad spectrum of scenarios (especially the worst cast scenarios), you won't be left sitting out there scratching your head when the proverbial "sh*t hits the fan."

Thinking out of the box and ahead of the curve, and using scenario-based planning and preparation can give you the tools and confidence to leave the anxiety behind and move more swiftly to confront challenges head-on. 

Of course, we'll never be able to imagine or be prepared for everything that can happen--but the more you can free your mind to think about the "what if's" and how to mitigate the risks, the better shape you are in to act with determination and decisively when you really need to.  ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Elisa Riva)
Share/Save/Bookmark

February 14, 2019

Diamonds Under Pressure

So someone reminded me about stress and pressure in life. 

They said:
Pressure makes diamonds.

Diamonds are of the most beautiful and precious items in the world that we give to our loved ones as a symbol of our tremendous love for them. 

Diamonds are crystals made of pure carbon that formed under high temperature and extreme pressure. 

People too are often under extreme pressure in life from all sorts of demands and challenges whether it be work, family, threats, or illness.  

But just like from pressure comes diamonds, so too can pressure make us from rough and imperfect human beings into smooth, polished, and spectacular people. 

Rather than crack under pressure, we need to cope with it and let it strengthen us and shape us to be the gems we can be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

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)
Share/Save/Bookmark

February 2, 2019

Moses' Handicap

Please see new my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Moses's Handicap."
In truth, we are all handicapped in one way or another. One person comes from a meager financial background, another has no education, and yet another has any of a host of physical, mental, or emotional challenges. Essentially, we all have something that rightfully can hold us back. But still G-d chooses us to do His bidding. Whether it’s leading the Jews out of Egypt or standing up and doing what’s right in situations that we are confronted with every day, we are asked to go beyond our handicap.

We can't let our handicaps prevent us from fulfilling our purpose in life--we need to meet the challenges head on with G-d's help.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 29, 2018

Just One Mistake

So all it takes is one mistake. 

And your whole life can be completely altered. 

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

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

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

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

He moves here and finds work as an electrician. 

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

All is well and then...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He has lost everything he had in this country.

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

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

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

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

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

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 28, 2018

Upside Down Flower On Stairs

Thought this was an interesting picture to take. 

It's an upside-down pink flower bent over a concrete stair. 

And the stem is sticking straight up and out. 

The contrast of the live soft pink flower and the cold hard grey of the concrete stairs is astounding to me.

Life can so easily be bent over, squished out, and left for dead in the cold harsh realities of this world 

We are alive, but life can be hard. 

We fight to go on, but life is sometimes unforgiving.

The bright spark of life seeks to illuminate the hard grey block.

Breath, beat, live...good health is unbelievably precious.

Arise flower and once again stand tall in the glowing sunshine and the pouring rain. 

Nourish yourself in the soil of the Earth, give praise to the L-rd as only life can do. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 24, 2018

"Shock And Awe" Project Management

So this is a new type of project management and it can be very effective. 

It's called (my name): 
Shock and Awe Project Management

This technique is similar to the military doctrine of shock and awe that uses speed and overwhelming power to dominate the battlefield and vanquish the enemy.

In project management too, there are often naysayers, Debbie Downers, resisters, excuse makers, and people that lay down obstacle after obstacle to progress. 

This invariably derails projects and causes them to fall behind schedule, go over budget, experience scope creep, not meet the genuine user requirements, and ultimately fail!

However, if you manage the project with "shock and awe" and set aggressive timelines, assign substantial and very good resources, and move the project full speed ahead, then you can similarly create a momentum to the project that enables it to overcome the "enemies of the progress" (i.e. those that don't really want it to succeed or are too busying covering their own a*ses).

This approach is not advocating speed at the expense of quality nor is it calling for cutting corners or riding roughshod over people, but rather to the contrary, it calls for techniques similar to the military of moving with absolute focus, determination, efficiency, collaboration, synchronization, and overwhelming "project power" to ensure it's success. 


Projects, like battles, can be "won" by putting the right resources on the field and moving them to get quick wins in rapid succession (where the enemies of progress don't stand a real fight) so that the projects get not only completed on time and within budget, but most importantly to real stakeholder satisfaction and the organization's success. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to AlexVan)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 21, 2018

Be Strong!


Just a saying about inner strength that I liked:
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."
(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 7, 2018

Feeling Blue, Feel Better

Life is filled with so many wonderful marvels and joys--thank you G-d!

Yet interspersed is what feels like a series of non-ending life challenges. 

Yes, of course we wouldn't recognize or appreciate the good, if we didn't have the bad to compare it to. 

But just when you think you've gotten through one obstacle and are cruising nicely down Life Lane, then it seems like it's time for the next speed bump.

I know that having faith through thick and thin is a huge part of it. 

Also, challenging oneself to be strong and work through the next life dilemma. 

Sure, not everything is life and death, thank G-d.  

But even daily upsets can be frustrating.

I know inside though that in a weird sense, this is really what life is all about. 

It's not paradise we are living in--that comes later when we get our angel wings!

This is a world that challenges, teaches, and grows us. 

We are not here just to have a merry 'ol good time day in and day out. 

While that may be nice for a while, it would get pretty tiresome and pointless. 

Life is like a puzzle--a very big puzzle--and we are here to help solve it and in the process, we have the opportunity to become better souls for it.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 20, 2018

The Anxiety Filter

What a brilliant picture of "Anxiety" by a child in Montgomery County, Maryland. 

Notice the great big letters--and all in caps--for what ANXIETY feels like. 

Anxiety is black--it's when we are in a dark foreboding place and we can't find our way out--it holds us back from doing what we need and like to do. 

Anxiety feels so all-enveloping and ginormous--it dwarfs us in the "I"--and we feel so small and are paralyzed, incapable of freeing ourselves from it. 

Anxiety is a cognitive and emotional bias where we see things in black and white--everything is to the extreme--and there are no greys; we tend to talk in all or nothing and our actions may mimic our extreme feelings. 

Around the anxiety, we are bordering in blood red--we are in a dangerous place--where our feelings of fear, inadequacy, and being incapable of overcoming it can lead us to do something desperate and final. 

When we are drowning in anxiety, it is like a lens or filter that clouds our vision and thinking, so we can make bad decisions, not make any decisions, or just procrastinate in order to avoid the issue and thing we are afraid of. 

We have to fight off the octopus grip of anxiety.

We have to find our courage within and from G-d.

We have to conquer our demons so we can meet our destiny head-on. 

We have a mission to fulfill in our life, and we can't let anything get in the way. 

Fate is waiting for us to make our important contribution, so then we can be gathered to our fathers and rest in final peace. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark