Showing posts with label Resilience. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Resilience. Show all posts

October 19, 2019

Get Over It

Thought this was a funny title for a book:
"Sh*t Happens So Get Over It."
There are no perfect lives out there. 

I reminded again this week how everyone has something: Mark Herd, Co-CEO of Oracle, died at 62 and and Elijah Cummings, elected to 12 terms in the House of Representatives, died at 68.

All the success int he world on the surface doesn't mean that there isn't plenty of schlimazel (misfortune) under the surface.

Unfortunately, sh*t definitely happens in life and we can get all spun up over it or we can take everything in faith and stride. 

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. 

What does kill takes us to the next phase of existence. 

All you can do is your best, the rest is in the hands of the Almighty above. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 11, 2019

The Humanity of Routine

People are creatures of habit. 

They form routines and function with relative comfort and efficiency within that. 

And for the most part, we can recognize our own patterns in life. 

Get up, brush our teeth, dress, daven (pray), go to work and so on. 

After a while, you can do it mostly in your sleep. 

We sort of become like automatons. 

Flip the switch and we go.

When routine and structure become so rigid that we can no longer improvise or innovate then we have a big problem in higher order functioning. 

But also when we break people's structures and habits, we find that they can quickly lose their sh*t. 

People need to control their time and maintain their patterns of life. 

Therein lies a certain safety and comfort in that repetitive doing.

You know what you're doing--you've done it before, so you can do it again.

If you strip a person of their control over their time and the structure of their behavior, they are truly naked and in much more than a physical sense.  (They articulated this in The Punisher, Season One, on Netflix)

All of a sudden they don't know what to do or how to do it. 

Do they go crazy, breakdown, or tell you everything you want to know. 

Torture is not just physical, but also mental and emotional. 

It is not hard to take away something so simple and a person is no longer a full person anymore. 

People need solid coping as well as survival skills to deal with the unknown.

Finally, appreciate when everything is more or less under control, because that's truly a blessing.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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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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)
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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 7, 2019

Bar Mitzvah Speech Page 3

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Bar Mitzvah Speech Page 3."
I wondered to myself how come this bar mitzvah boy didn’t end his speech with the traditional thank you to: my loving mother and father, my dear grandparents, my annoying brothers and sisters, and all my terrific uncle and aunts who came from Israel, Europe, and Canada to be with me here on this special day? There was none of that, and I was puzzled — how can he not thank everyone who made this day possible?
This was a true lesson about always being prepared and resilient, because that is what true empowerment is all about. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 17, 2018

Rocky Says

A quote from my role model Rocky: 
It's not about how hard you hit.
It's about how hard you get hit.
And keep moving on.
That's how winning is done.
Go Rocky!

And by the way, you should hit pretty hard also. ;-)

(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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January 23, 2018

Until My Last Breath

The Shema Yisrael.
Hear O' Israel. The L-rd our G-d. The L-rd is one.

The most sacred and fundamental of prayers in Judaism. 

Declaring our monotheistic belief and faith in the One Above who has created and sustains us daily. 

These are words we call out from the depths of our heart and soul--in joy, in suffering, in life, and ultimately as we leave this world.

No one can take this from us. 

Only G-d decrees who shall live and who shall die...who shall be exalted and who shall be made low. 
Hear O' Israel.
The L-rd our G-d.
The L-rd is one. 
Everything is life is given true perspective by this.

People may rise against us and situations may look dire.

But in the realm of G-d, these are all fleeting like the dust that blows in the wind. 

So too shall G-d remove our troubles and bring us comfort. 

It is a test; it is all a test--remember, Hear O' Israel--and pass it with flying colors. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 19, 2017

What Do You Do With Fear?

Thought this was a really good perspective on fear.

"You have two options:

Forget Everything And Run

Or

Face Everything And Rise"

It the old fight or flight!

- Running may be good when you can avoid a devastating fight and get yourself and your loved one to safety.

- But sometimes you don't have that option and you have to "fight the good fight" and overcome the devils you face. 

Everyone is afraid of something(s) and/or somebodies. 

If someone isn't afraid then they are brain dead!

Strengthen yourselves, ready yourselves, and pray. 

What do you fear and how will you face it? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 29, 2017

It's Not (Always) Easy

Sometimes, we see people--especially on social media these days--and they look "all that!"--so happy, so loved, so rich, so with everything--so it seems (superficially). 

But there is definitely another reality out there, and that is that everyone has problems:

- Family
- Health
- Finances
- Work
- School
- Conflict
- Spiritual

Like Helen Keller said: 
"I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet."

I remember as a child, if I felt sad about something, my dad at times would remind me about the children in the hospital, and to think about how we can help others less fortunate--and he was right!

What I see in life is a lot of people trying, but also so many challenges, failures, and suffering along the way...unfortunately, it's part of the learning and growth equation, and in why we're here. 

In college, I always remember one (English) professor who taught me from Henry David Thoreau:
"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation."

Sometimes, in our solitude or when we speak quietly from our heart with our closest loved ones, we feel and express some of those deep feelings of hurt, pain, and suffering from our lives.  

Those experiences, memories, and feelings are not all that there is of us, but it is certainly a part of all of us--although maybe only the brave will admit theirs.

It's not shameful to feel, to cry, and to be human. 

It's certainly not what Facebook and Twitter are all about. 

But it's a genuine and critical part of us which recognizes as my dad also taught me that--life is not easy--and that we have to fight every day to do our best and to help others to do theirs. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 14, 2016

Making a Right, Left, or Straight

This was a funny sign to an Ethiopian cafe in downtown Washington, D.C. 

"When Nothing Goes Right, Go Left."

(and next to it is another sign that says, "Money isn't everything, but it keeps the kids in touch.")

So what type of person are you?

When the going gets tough and nothing is going right, where do you go--to the coffee shop, door on the left--or more seriously do you:

- Close your eyes and keep marching forward like a good soldier?

- Get scared off, turn around, and run the other way?

- Take a break or slow down, stopping long enough to figure out what's wrong, and come up with solutions? 

Maybe you do a little of all three--sort of the Curly Shuffle. 

But aside from faith in G-d (and coffee-drinking), perhaps two really critical traits for success in life are resilence in the face of adversity and your problem-solving skills.

That doesn't mean that you never plow on or turn back--these are appropriate at times too--but that you know when to turn right, left, or make a straight dash to the goal line. ;-)

(Source Photo: Danielle Blumenthal)
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February 9, 2013

Have Some Chutzpah


Nobody likes to get or feel rejected--whether asking someone on a date, applying for a job, coming up with a new idea...you don't want to get shot down...you want to be appreciated for who are you and what you "bring to the table." 

I used to have a teacher who used to tell his students "nobody appreciates how great you are like your mother does."

In other words, don't get overconfident and think your so smart, so good-looking, or so otherwise great--just because you received unconditional love from your parents--who tell you everything you do is so amazing and you are G-d's greatest gift to mankind--doesn't mean it's really true.

So get real about yourself!

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (7 January 2013) had an article about something called "Rejection Therapy"--where for 100 days, this guy--Jia Jiang--"makes at least one preposterous demand everyday" that get him "strange looks, rude comments, and outright dismissal."

He posts videos of this to his site entresting.com or "Hope from nope."

Jiang is trying to learn a little chutzpah and determination in the face of rejection--especially for landing some venture capital funding for a social networking app he wants to build. 

To teach himself to get out there, try his best, be willing to fall off the horse and get right back up again, Jiang now purposely seeks to get rejected every day--thinking that "Everybody has failures periodically. The people who are generally successful are the ones who bounce right back."

So he asks random people for crazy things...like a policeman, if he can sit in his/her squad car--just to see what happens and if he gets rejected whether he can brush it off--and generally be strong in the face of (repeated) failure and some accompanying adversity. 

It's a crazy experiment, but one that is getting Jiang noticed--maybe you've got to be a little crazy to stand out from the crowd. 
In the end, it's not about rejection, but about trying your best and being willing to take some bruises and bumps along the way to your goals. 

The path to success is littered with wounded and even dead bodies--to succeed you've got to have some chutzpah--plus a dose of resilience and perseverance--to get out there and try, try again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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December 27, 2012

Resilience In The Face Of Disaster


This year when ball drops in Time Square next week to usher in the New Year, it will be a little different than in prior years, because rather than blanket cheer, there will be a good amount of consternation as we hit the debt limit of $16.4 trillion as well as the Fiscal Cliff where broad spending cuts and tax increases are to go into effect (whether in full, partial with some sort of deal, or in deferral).

Like the statue pictured here, the strength and resilience of the American people will be tested and we will need to stand tall and strong. 

In this context, it was interesting to read in Wired Magazine (January 2013) a interview with Andrew Zolli, the author of Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back, an exploration of the importance of resilience in the face of adversity. 

Whether in response to natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy or man-made ones like the financial crisis and terrorism, we need to be prepared to adapt to disaster, respond and continue operations, and recover quickly to rebuild and grow. 

According to Zolli, we need shock absorbers for our social systems that can "anticipate events...sense their own state...and can reorganize to maintain their core purpose amid disruption."

Adaptability is important, so that we can continue to operate in an emergency, but also vital is "self-repair" so we can "bounce back."

These concepts for resiliency in emergency management are similar to how Government Computer News (December 2012) describes the desire for building autonomous self-healing computer systems that can defend and recover from attacks. 

The notion is that when our computer systems are under cyber attack, we need to be able to defend them in an automated way to counter the threats in a timely fashion. 

Thus, acccording to GCN, we need IT systems that have situational monitoring for self awareness, real-time identification of an attack, continuous learning to adapt and defend againt changing attack patterns, and self-healing to recover from them. 

Thus, bouncing back from social and cyber disasters really requires similar resilience, and for some challenges, it may be sooner than later that we are tested. ;-)

(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal)

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