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

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)
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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 ...

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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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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)
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May 8, 2018

Don't / Can't - Turn Back Now

My father used to say a very wise thing:
You can only go forward.
You can't go back.

Often in life, I reflect on how wise this is and he was. 

Sometimes, we are hesitant or afraid of what lies ahead, and we turn our heads back and reinvent history and creatively fantasize how wonderful things were before and maybe we should go back.

Like the Israelites thousands of years ago, who G-d redeemed from the servitude of Egypt, but with hundreds of years of a slave mentality, they were in a sense paralyzed with fear of going into the foreboding expanse of the desert. 
"If only we had died by the L-rd's hand in Egypt. There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted. But You have brought us out to this dessert to starve this entire assembly to death." (Exodus 16:3)

But we know that going forward is the only way to learn, grow, and progress. 

Just like the Israelites that went forward through the depths of the Red Sea on dry land and to receive the Torah on Sinai and for forty years in the desert to ultimately get to the amazing promised land of Israel. 

Thank G-d, they didn't turn back--there really was no turning back.

Back is death.  

Forward is life. 

We have a journey that we need to complete. 

The destination is wherever G-d takes us. ;-)

(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 25, 2018

Improv, Let's Do it

What an incredible experience today. 

We went to the Atlas Theater in Washington, D.C. and did Improv (no script). 

For a Jewish kid from the Bronx, this was not something I was used to, but I loved it. 

- Say your name and an animal with the same first letter and act it out.

- Say something you love or hate and everyone gravitates on the stage towards or from it based on whether they agree.

- Repeat a word and action from someone else and pass it on.

- Act out an action that someone else calls out after yelling "Let's do it!" 

- As a group, answer a question from the audience, by each person adding a word to the aggregated answer. 

- Give your neighbor a pretend object and after they identify what they think it is and thank you for it, you explain why you gave it to them.

- Stand on an emotion (happy, sad, angry, scared) and act out a scene with someone else rotating through the feelings.

- Pretend you're a hitchhiker and infest the emotion with everyone else in the car.

I was really amazed at how good so many people were with doing these exercises. 

And I felt it was so freeing to be doing it too. 

I feel like I really learned a lot about being comfortable with yourself and just letting your inhibitions go and even though it was scary and hard, I would like to do this again. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 17, 2018

That Smug Face, Evil Haman


That Smug Face, Evil Haman.

Reclining back with legs crossed.

Know-it-all, interrupting others rudely.

Abusive, hurtful words.

Violent, loud, aggressive actions.

Narcissist, my way or the highway.

For their power and desires only.

They believe that might makes right.

In every generation, they rise to perpetuate suffering on others.

But G-d stands supreme.

He will evoke his judgment and rain His fiery wrath on the oppressive, evil, and haughty.

And He will restore good over evil in the world.

His faithful will praise His holy name forever.

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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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February 8, 2018

Adversity Is Not What You Think


This TEDx video is truly WOW!

Definitely worth watching in full.  

So many takeaways from this that I want to remember.

- Three things can happen in life:

1. What you hope will happen

2. What you fear will happen

3. What actually happens

- There is not always a tomorrow!

Think if you were paralyzed from the neck down, what would you wish you had done differently, and go do it.

- See adversity as a gift:

1. It is harsh and ruthless.

2. It shows up unannounced.

3. It doesn't care what you want.

4. It doesn't give a darn how you feel.

5. It doesn't take no for an answer.

6. It hates your weakness.

7. It is your best teacher.

8. It is the most honest person you will ever encounter.

9. It forces you to up your game.

10. It knows your true potential even if you don't.

11. It offers you no other choice, so the choice is simple.

12. At the end of the day, we are only as strong as the adversity we overcome!

13. It will recede, but the lessons will always remain.

14. It will strengthen you to endure your next battle, stronger and wiser than before.

15. How we overcome adversity is by facing it head on. (If you try to avoid it, it can crush you; and if you try to go around it, you will never avoid it's grasp.)

My absolute congratulations and gratitude to Marcus Aurelius Anderson on this magnificent and brilliant talk and lessons for all of us!

And thank you Minna Blumenthal for sharing this wisdom with me!
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