Showing posts with label Self Control. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Self Control. Show all posts

March 26, 2019

Out of Control Ice Cream


I'm not sure how you control yourself around this Alpaca Ice Cream.

But somehow I managed not to get any...this time.  

I promise!  

LOL

These are made with fresh hot waffles wrapped around your choice of ice cream and toppings. 

As you can see these are pretty big and scrumptious!

Anyway, they have a store in Rockville and I absolutely must stay away from it. 

Oh, maybe I just go in once for a taste.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 9, 2019

Choosing Good Over Vice

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called "Choosing Good Over Vice."
But yet, if everyone would just act out on each other based on their unbridled wants and desires, oy vey what a truly terrible world that would be...From uncontrolled desires for food, drugs, alcohol, gambling, honor, money, power, sex, and more–it seems like everyone has their little secret fetish. Whether it's coming from their head, their heart, or down below...the key questions is how much can they control themselves.

However, inside us, our soul, like the Ten Commandments in the Holy Ark, guide us so that we aren't just animals chasing game or tail, but are human beings trying to become angels.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 20, 2018

How Angry Do You Get?

Anger is one of those emotions (like jealousy) that can clearly get the best of people. 

Hence, the term anger management!

The Talmud teaches that there are 3 ways to know a person's real character: 

- Koso, Kiso, and Ka'aso.

From Aramaic to English it translates as:

- Cup, Purse, and Anger. 

In other words...

Cup--When a person "drinks," this is how they handle their alcohol and how they act when physically (or perhaps emotionally) inebriated or as we say, "When the wine goes in, the secrets come out!" Are they jumping on the bar, ripping it all off and saying and doing the inappropriate and profane or are they able to recognize their point of weakness and ask someone for a ride safely home. 

Purse--This is how a person handles money (and power). Materialism of people speaks volumes. Are they cheap, misery, and narcissistic or compassionate, caring, and giving to others.  

Anger--When a person is angry, this is often when their "true colors" show.  Do they get mean, bullying, abusive, and violent--do they go for the throat and the kill or are they situationally aware, measured, and do they listen, understand, and are they able to cope well when "under the gun."  

Focusing on the anger piece...

It's easy to get angry, and it's also easy to look for a scapegoat and let it out on people that really have nothing to do with why you're really angry. 

Maybe people can't always address their anger with the true source, maybe they don't even recognize their feelings fully, or have no idea how to safely release and reset.

In any case, anger is a dangerous emotion if not dealt with. 

Many mistakes are made that cannot be undone when people lose their cool (or sh*t, as now seems more commonly said). 

Thoughts on this...

Take a breath, slow down. 

Evaluate what's really going on

Think about whether it's truly the end of the world or not. 

Assess the options for coping with it. 

Look for ways to deescalate and resolve. 

If necessary, seek help from others.

Finally, where possible be compassionate and forgiving. 

And where not, cope, cope, cope--and survive another day!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 27, 2018

Keep A Cool Temperament

So this was amazing. 

I was working with someone for a number of weeks/months. 

All of a sudden, I got a complete blow off email from them that said they are done and they wished me well in a sort of very sarcastic and even contemptuous way--like a real f*ck off!

Were they just being nasty or trying to pick a fight or something?

First, I was taken aback and honestly hurt--like what the heck happened that they showed their true strips...did I miss it all along. 

I showed my wife their email, and she read it the same way, and said "What an asshole!"

I continued to hold my mouthpiece and feelings as I contemplated how I would respond. 

I have to admit that some choice words and wishes back to them definitely came to mind. 

But I said to myself, "Hold, hold, hold!"

It wasn't easy not to respond in kind--lash back out at them--and even then some for good measure. 

No, that isn't the way. 

You can rise above this. 

I kept my mouth shut and literally controlled my reactions.

Well, lo' and behold, I thought I would never hear from this person again the way they spoke to me, but then a few days later,  I received another email where apparently they rethought what they did.

It didn't have to come from me to them to "set them straight!"

Their own conscience seemed to have played on them and they came to their own senses about how they behaved and spoke. 

I learned from this that it is critical to maintain your composure and keep your cool under all circumstances, no matter how trying. 

Don't stoop to their level--you rise above it!

Sometimes, the other person may just surprise you and rise back up too and do the right thing in the end. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 21, 2017

Naked Sitting

This was some amazing sculpture at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. 

This "Big Man" is just sitting in the corner at the top of the escalator.

Sitting naked and looking deep in thought and down on his luck.

In a sense, as we sit or stand in front of our Maker, we are all naked bearing witness to our transgressions and trespasses. 

What are we to do when we give in to weakness?

We see people looking around and hoping no one is seeing them as they try to get away with doing the wrong thing.

But as my Oma (grandmother) used to say in German to me: 
"Liebe Gott sieht alles" 

Almighty G-d sees everything!

Our souls, and the souls of those that came before us, and those that will come after us, are all around us, without limitation to time or space. 

Our nakedness is revealed no matter what we use to try to cover up with. 

Hunched in the corner, we don't really know what to do, but to try to do better with each and every next time.

We have opportunities to right the wrongs, if we get up and exert self control and overcome our mortal and character weaknesses. 

Then our nakedness won't be foul in sight and smell, but will be radiant, with our spirits having risen to the occasion of what we can be as the children of G-d. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 8, 2016

Content Filtering - Should We Restrain Ourselves?

So the Rabbi today spoke about thinking before you speak, and not letting your emotions overcome your logic. 

He mentioned, for example, how some people have so much rage--road rage, email rage, etc.--and you can't let your rage dictate your actions. 

People can certainly get under your skin--just look at the candidates for President doing that to each other.

But rather than just react and blurt out stupid or horrible things in a tit-for-tat, we need to stop and think.

The Rabbi recounted the old advice of counting to ten before saying or doing something rash that you will regret. 

The joke was about the one guy bullying another, and the victim counts to ten like he's supposed to, but then rather than take things down a notch or two, he surprises the bully when he hits ten by punching him right in the nose! (lol)

Another cute idea the Rabbi put out there was for marriage counseling--that husbands and wives should drink this "special water" that they hold in their mouth--this way when they are fighting, they have to pause and can't say anything provocative and aggressive to each other. 

The speak then turned high-tech to some of the new apps for content filtering that help you not to send emails or texts that you are sorry for afterwards. 

And I leaned over to my neighbor in synagogue and said that is so funny, because I just saw this 16-year Indian old girl on Shark Tank who developed this app called ReThink that does just that. 

When you write something negative like ugly or stupid etc., a pop up box comes up and ask whether you really want to say that--it gives you pause to rethink what you are saying and doing. 

She notes from her studies of adolescents that when given the opportunity from this pause, "93% of the time, [they] decide not to post an offensive message on social media."

I remember one colleague at work used to recommend, "write what you want [with all your emotions], but then delete it, and write what will be constructive to the situation [with your logic]."

Getting back to the election, a lot of what the candidates are saying now and from decades ago is stupid or shameful--"locker room banter"--maybe we need to have a filter on our mouths even when we think other people aren't listening. 

Realistically, we can't and shouldn't have to go around filtering every word we say and holding back on every deed we do--there is something to be said for simply following your moral compass in the moment and reacting naturally, talking and doing from the heart and based on instinct, inner belief, and passion. 

But if you are getting angry, then it is best to hit the pause button and filter yourself before someone else has to count to ten and pop you one in your big dumb coconut face. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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September 19, 2016

Globs of Fat

So I went to get my flu shot today in the office. 

Yes, it's that time of year to start getting ready for Winter and all the germs that come with it. 

Anyway, while I was at the health center, they had this model of what body fat looks like. 

It was sort of just laying right on the table in the waiting room--yeah a big ick! 

It said:
"Globs of FatThis glob represents the look and feel of 5 pounds of body fat."

And this thing was enormous, bigger than someones hand, maybe even two hands. 

There was some text about another 1 pound piece of body fat, but I didn't see that lying around anywhere (and frankly the 5 pound glob was enough to get the point without comparison). 

This fat demonstration would make practically anyone want to chuck the carbohydrates and forever.

Pizza, pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, cereal, crackers, cookies, cakes--be gone!

Having recently done this myself, I can really appreciate how important this is and also how hard it can be. 

The food industry has us addicted to this crap and really it should be illegal. 

The high carb diet in America is truly of epidemic proportions and is potentially catastrophic to our health and longevity.

The only thing that glob of fat is good for is tossing it out the window and into the garbage dump. 

A high carb diet that makes people fat is death and we want to live! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 10, 2016

Success Is Not A Silver Spoon

So there is a disappointing editorial in the Sunday New York Times Review Section today. 

It is by Christopher Chabris and Joshua Hart in "How Not To Explain Success."

They attempt to dispel the explanation of 2 Yale law professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld that various ethnic and religious minorities (e.g. Cubans, Jews, Indians, etc.) "had achieved disproportionate success in America" because of three things:

1) "A belief that their group was inherently superior to others"

2) "A sense of personal insecurity"

3) "A high degree of impulse control"

But Chabris and Hart claim this is falsehood and instead attribute the success to the people's innate higher intelligence and superior socioeconomic background.

In other words, Chabris and Hart would have us believe that the ethnic and religious minorities they speak of were somehow "born with a silver spoon in their mouths"-- which is complete NONSENSE.

While Chabris and Hart (of Union College) themselves claim vastly superior empirical evidence from their survey of a whopping 1,258 adults, they dismiss others' arguments such as Yale University professors, Chua and Rubenfeld, as mere "circumstantial evidence."

Well I and many of my family and friends that I grew up with must be part of that silly circumstantial evidence, called PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

You see, we are part of the generation of Holocaust Survivors and Children Of Holocaust Survivors, who came to America, as my grandmother said "without a chair to sit on" or a dime in their pockets. 

My father worked long, hard hours in a factory eventually becoming its manager and he and my mom provided for our family. Both my parents lost most of their education due to the War and the need to "go out and earn a living."

Similarly, one of my best friends grew up also the child of survivors. His father came from the Holocaust and ended up working blue collar work as an electrician, eventually owning his business.  

Neither family started with much--I ended up managing technology in some awesome agencies for the Federal government and my friend as an executive in the cruise industry.  

Virtually, the entire generation of Jews who fled to America as refugees from the Holocaust came with nothing...yet the people and their children worked hard, very hard, and they were blessed, and become successful. 

So, I have no surveys to back me up, but I do have my life and that of almost an entire generation of real life facts from people's lives--not made up of speculative survey questions and their interpretation of results.

So from my perspective, it is Chabris and Hart that are 100% WRONG!

You see they don't know from where we came and under what horrible conditions and how we arrived here as immigrants with nothing but our faith in G-d Almighty and the love of our families and community. 

And for the record, Chua and Rubenfeld are right:

Point #1, we were clearly taught a sense of superiority--but not what people mistakenly think--it is not based on intelligence, looks, or on physical strength, but rather based on that we were Biblically expected to behave differently as Jews and live more stringently. 

And that goes clearly to point #3, which is impulse control...the Jewish religion is based on 613 commandments--we are expected to eat a certain way, dress a certain way, keep Shabbat and holidays a certain way, raise a family a certain way...there is a huge amount of impulse control involved and in fact, not all of us are successful meeting all those stringent requirements--but it is a precondition upon which many of us grow up. 

Finally, in terms of point #2--personal insecurity, I am not sure how much more insecure you can be when your people just got slaughtered in the Holocaust, the world's worst genocide ever known, and you are one of the survivors who has to rebuild--Yes, that is an incredible motivator!

If Chabris and Hart believe that we made it here based on pure intellect or positive socioeconomic factors--they are either complete idiots or sickly delusional.

While people's personal success is highly subjective for them, as a whole group though, I most certainly believe that G-d blessed the Jewish people after the horrors and unbelievable suffering of the Holocaust. 

No level of intelligence or falsely perceived socioeconomics can explain what only G-d's infinite mercy can endow. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 22, 2014

BIG Smile

This was a nice big smile on the base of a light pole. 

It's funny, aside from the smile, the mouth on this reminds me of something very smart my daughter, Rebecca told me the other day.


She said, "Don't let your tongue be bigger than your mouth."


In other words, don't be a big mouth, watch your words, speak carefully and thoughtfully. 


Some very good advice, probably for most of us out there. 


Mr. Light pole, I have a feeling you don't overdo it with this, and maybe that's why you're smiling so much. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 5, 2013

The Nature of Envy and Ambition

I watched a really good movie the other day called "The Violin."

It was about a civil war in a South American country where freedom fighters are vastly outnumbered and outgunned and an old violinist tries to smuggle weapons and ammunition to his people in his violin case. 

At one point in the movie, their village in overrun by the army, and the boy's mother and sister are killed. 

The little boy asks the grandfather to explain the horrible life events that have befallen them to him and the grandfather tells how G-d created the world with good people as well as people the are envious and ambitious and those people sought to take everything away from the others--no matter how much they accumulated, they wanted more.

I thought about this with respect to a quote I had learned in Yeshiva that "absolute power corrupts absolutely"--that those who have unbridled power and ability, will use it without limitation and in wrong and harmful ways to others, because they can.

Envy and ambition and power--can be used for good--when people see others succeed and are motivated to work hard and do their best too. 

But when people become blindly consumed with it for its own sake--they can't stand anyone having more than them or even having anything--they think they should just as well have it all--then they will not just work hard to achieve it, but they will act out against others to unjustly take what they want and as much as they want. 

My father always taught me never to be jeoulous of anyone. He told me that if you knew what really went on in their lives--what their basket [of good and bad] was--you wouldn't trade places with them in a million years. 

And I believe he was right. Often when I know someone only superficially and their life looks so grand and "perfect," it is tempting to think they have it all or even just better, but then when you get to know their life challenges--sickness, abuse, death, loneliness, and other hardships--you realize how things could always be a lot worse and how truly lucky you are. 

Of course, there will there always be people who are superficial, materialistic, and can't control their urge for power and things--and they will try to take more than their fair due and by force if necessary. In the end, will it bring them real fulfillment and happiness, the answer is obvious. 

I believe it was my Oma (grandmother), a survivor of The Holocaust, who used to say "count your blessings"--she was right. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 15, 2012

EI Differentiates Us From ET


Alien_boy
An extra-terrestrial (ET) from outer-space is alien to the human race and our culture and norms.

You wouldn't expect an ET--despite maybe their great technology that gets them here--to understand us Earthlings and treat us properly.

They may try and capture us and even harvest our vital resources (and organs), but no, they probably wouldn't be overly concerned with with how they act or treat us.

Hence, Emotional Intelligence (EI) is what differentiates us from ETs.

With EI we manage both our ourselves and our relationships--like (proper) human beings.

EI is made up of personal competencies and social competencies.
In terms of personal competencies--we need to be self-aware and manage ourselves with authenticity and self control--and not act like a bunch of unseemly aliens.

From a social competency perspective--we must extend ourselves to become socially aware and manage our relationships tactfully--so we don't go chasing and laser-beaming others.

There are a number of important social skills for us Earthlings to master if we want to live nicely with others:

- Listening--that's why G-d gave people 2 ears and 1 month (of course, aliens have the opposite--2 mouths and 1 ear).

- Feeling--showing empathy for our fellow human beings--understanding their interests, concerns, and perspectives (like no alien can).

- Giving--being selfless, giving, and nurturing to others personally and having a service-orientation to our customers.

- Teaming--developing and maintaining a breadth of interpersonal relationships and sharing and collaborating with them (this will help you fight off the invading ETs when they arrive).

- Managing conflict--deescalating issues and negotiating with others to reach agreements and resolutions (if only we could negotiate with the aliens not to eat us). 

- Visioning--coming up with and championing a forward-thinking and compelling strategy.

- Managing change--influencing and leading others to adopt new ideas and change the status quo (we need to change, learn, grow, and improve--because it's a big intergalactic world out there).

These are a lot of critical and challenging skills to master and no one is perfect at all of them.

But as imperfect as we are, it is our trust and test in life to be more than warring Earthlings fighting each other over continuously scarce resources, but instead to become social creatures as well--where we lean to gracefully manage ourselves and our relationships. 

Unlike ETs, we human beings are in so many ways--with EI--better than that! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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