Showing posts with label Self-Help. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Self-Help. Show all posts

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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February 17, 2019

You Can't See Yourself

So this donut-shaped art at the Outlets in Clarksburg is metallic and reflective. 

But what is really interesting to me is that when you stand in front of it (like I was literally doing here), you can't see yourself. 

It made me wonder how you can look at yourself and yet not see yourself. 

And I thought of this as being a bigger lesson in life. 

When we are looking at ourself and there is a big donut whole in the mirror of ourselves then we are left blind to what should be reflecting back at us.  

No matter how hard we try to see ourselves and what we are doing right and wrong, it's like a ghost out there--we are blind to it. 

To really see ourselves, our heart and mind have to be receptive to seeing the full picture. 

That means looking at ourselves as we really are, even when there seems to be a piece missing to the puzzle, and we have trouble being honest about what we see. 

To change, learn, grow--to become a better person, we need to look full on and be willing to see what we will see.  

You can't see yourself until you can.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 28, 2018

Emo Art

So I've been wanting to post this example of this special art form from my daughter, Rebecca. 

She makes this novel art called, "EMO", which stands for emotional.

In this art she mixes children and monsters--and it depicts how innocent kids have to deal with the monsters they find in an often unscrupulous and morally-tarnished society. 

I love the feelings and message of this art in that it encapsulates how children enter this world in purity, but how so many bad people and things around them (and us) can corrupt that. 

I always learned that the goal for each person was to leave the world a better place then the way we found it; however, I think a more personal goal should also be for us to leave here as better human beings than the day we arrived.  

Challenging ourselves--learning and maturing--yet at the same time keeping that essence of decency and integrity of mind, heart, and deed--that is a life where we can grow up, but not turn into the morally-bankrupt monsters that we see all around us. 

(Source Art: Rebecca Ochayon)
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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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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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April 2, 2018

The Heart and Soul Of The Matter

So I had a beautiful conversation with an older gentleman who works in a menial job for minimum wage for most of his life. 

But this person was shinning and smiling ear-to-ear. 

What happened, he got offered a job to work in a lovely school as their cook. 

He's been doing this as a special treat for the students once a year, and they decided to bring him on to do this full time. 

He pulled out his phone and proudly showed me a picture of himself in the classroom surrounded by all the children.  He was in an orange sweater and stood out in the middle of all of them and with a smile that lit up the entire room. 

He told me how the children thought of him as a celebrity chef and the teacher even organized autographs by him for the children.

His whole life, he questioned his worth, and now he felt recognized, appreciated, and loved. 

I told him that I thought he was indeed quite a special person. 

He said to me, you may have a talent or be special, but you have to recognize it--and he repeated aloud again at least three times emphasizing more and more on RECOGNIZE it. 

Surely, after so many years, only now was he being recognized and more so, recognizing it himself. 

Apparently, someone who worked in the school was also a renown food critic, and she had nothing but praises to sing of him. 

Talking with him, I felt my eyes being opened. 

Everyone can do good with their lives and have worth. 

We have to recognize it in ourselves. 

We need to just be given an opportunity to show it and share it. 

It doesn't matter what you are or earn.

It matters where your heart is.

For many, they earn gazillions, but their heart is a heart of stone. 

For others, they may earn minimum wage, but their heart is a heart of gold. 

It's not the money, it's not the power, it's not the prestige...it's the heart and soul of the matter. ;-)

(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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December 15, 2017

Slow Build - Rapid Demise

It takes time to build in life. 

Or as they say:
"Rome wasn't built in a day."

But it's not always easy to have patience. 

We all have to start somewhere and usually it's at the bottom.

And then we have to claw our way up (like Rocky).

Unless of course, you're one of those people born with a "silver spoon" in your mouth. 

The funny thing about building and climbing is that it can all be destroyed in a split second. 

One silly mistake, one stupid word, one indiscretion, one lackadaisical moment, a turn of bad luck...or a series thereof. 

It takes so much time and effort to build as we lay one brick of success upon another. 

And it takes just a split second to destroy it all. 

So watch-watch-watch your steps, because they can so easily turn into a rapid, spiraling, and even most deadly a fall.  ;-)

(Source Photo: 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 5, 2017

The Meaning Of Pain

Wow, I am so impressed with my daughter.

I spoke with her this evening and she has grown into such a smart, mature, and good person. 

We were talking about some hard times.

And she said to me so smartly (and I am so proud of her):
"The reason that we have pain is to avoid more pain."

Wow...think about that for a moment. 

Everyone gets physical, emotional, and even spiritual pain in their lives. 

Even little things like stubbing your toe, getting a small burn, or a paper cut--these things give you a instant or more of pain...but it jolts you into attention of what to avoid and to action how to protect yourself to prevent further and worse pain down the road. 

A little pain now can fortunately save you a lot of pain later!

(Or in the gym they say, "No pain, no gain.")

My father used to say about difficult life lessons:
"Better to cry now than to cry later!"

He was right--bad situations generally don't get better with age. 

Continuing the discussion with my lovely daughter tonight, she said to me:
"A person becomes better when they struggle. I've become better by struggling."

Again, like little pains, even larger struggles in life challenge us to learn, grow, and become better and stronger people. 

I remember as a kid--when we went through those growth spurts--it would actually hurt a little--some muscle aches here and some cramps there--whew, a few inches taller already. 

Growth hurts, but it's kind of a good hurt that only someone with the emotional intelligence to understand maturity and betterment can really grasp. 

No, I'm not advocating for self-flagellation--just that we know when pain and struggle is a defining moment in life--like shaping and sharpening a great sword in fierce fire. 

It's hot, but the heat is healing and necessary sometimes to grow as human and spiritual beings. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 26, 2017

Look Down To Feel Up

Listen, everyone has problems.

Whoever I talk to has something bad and fairly serious to complain about, and there seems to be new things coming all the time.

Just today, I heard from one person who went to the dentist with a tooth pain only to discover it had been silently infected for over a year, and was so serious that it literally could've killed him.

Another person told be about having a child with special needs and moving to an area with a school that could more effectively deal and help them. 

And a third person told me how they lost their husband many years ago at the age of just 39-years old and being left a widow. 

But people make the best of it!

They have to.

I remember my father saying when my mother got so sick with Parkinson's Disease:
"We are part of the survivors club."

It wasn't easy to see her endless suffering while he selflessly tried to help her day-in and -out and cope with the physical and emotional pain of it all. 

When I was younger my dad would teach me about not feeling bad whatever the situation, and to always be grateful for what you have, and he told the story:
"There was a poor man who had no shoes, and he felt very bad...that is, until he saw someone else who had no feet."

It doesn't take much for things to get really bad in life...sometimes it can seem like we're literally just holding on by a thin thread. 

But as G-d tests us and teaches us, we need to try to look on the bright side and be grateful that things aren't worse....and yes, they can even get better again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 24, 2017

Make The Oy Vey Go Away

What a wonderful way to make the oy veys go away...

This amazing beautiful flower.

Made by G-d Almighty.

See the perfection of the geometry and the shape that springs forth from mother earth.

Open your eyes to the magnificence and brightness of the colors. 

Feel in your mind's eye the soft texture of the petals and droplets. 

Breath in the smell of freshness and new air into your expanding lungs. 

Yes, whatever ails you...

Make this for yourself a renewal of spirit and of flesh. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 18, 2016

Should We Care What Others Think?

So I was talking with someone and they were telling me how self conscious they feel about what others think of them.

They said when they were in school, they were picked on, bullied, labeled, and made to feel different and excluded.

Whether it was their hair that was different or their lunchbox that got taken and hidden from them, the other kids were relentless. 

Now in life, they are still dealing with all those feelings.

Do they look right? 

Are they educated enough?

Is their profession something others will admire them for?

And on and on. 

And at a certain point, I said, "Isn't it more important what you think about yourself than what others think about you?"

And they said, "Sure, but I still feel like I have to live up to other people's standards. I don't want them to think bad about me or talk behind my back!"

I understand this way of thinking is based on trauma from the past and feelings of inadequacy and not fitting in. 

And we can spend our whole lives chasing this illusive acceptance from others. 

Or we can decide to pursue we what believe in and love, and to find healing in the good we do, rather than the nods or winks from others that we receive. 

If we are trying to live up to somebody else's arbitrary standards of perfection, cool, or being in the in-crowd, we may never be good enough.

Instead, if we pursue what we know is right from our moral compass and our heart and soul, and always do our best, we will attain the satisfaction that comes with healthy self-development and maturation. 

Seeking unconditional acceptance and love can definitely leave you feeling frustrated, self-hating, and even quite alone. 

But accepting yourself, developing yourself, and giving to G-d and to others will always leave you feeling fulfilled. 

Forget living as if your in the fishbowl, and strive for the Superbowl of achievement through incremental progress and goal attainment in your life. 

Start with making yourself proud and the others will come around. And if for some reason they don't, it's truly their deficiency and loss and not yours!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 30, 2016

(Not) Too Hard!

So there is someone that I think the world of. 

They are what we call "good people."

But like all of us, have challenges and difficulties in life. 

Maybe their load is heavier and more taxing. 

But it is what G-d has given them to bear and to work with. 

In talking with this person, at one point, they said, "It's too hard!"

And I think we all feel that way sometimes.

Bret Stephens quoted Bernard Lewis in the Wall Street Journal today, that in trying times, some ask, "Who did this to us?" While others ask, "What did we do wrong?"

Maybe the question should be, "What can we do now?"

While some throw in the towel and can't go on or go on in a bad way, others may get angry and bitter at their lot in life.

But yet like my inspiration, Rocky, some get up and fight for what they want. 

The down is only a temporary down, but not a knockout. 

The pain stings and hurts and leaves us blurry-eyed and dizzy, but our desire to succeed pushes the adrenaline through our coursing veins, and we get up again with even a greater determination. 

"The eye of the tiger, the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenges of our rivals..."

I take responsibility. I take accountability. I want to overcome. 

I shall prevail in life and even ultimately in death, my life will mean something to somebody. 

The end is the beginning again. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 22, 2016

Attitudinal Fix

So attitude goes a long way in shaping how we do in life. 

For some people, the glass is half full, and for others it's half empty--it's of course, just how you look at it. 

One colleague told me this week: 

"Life is 10% what happens 
and 
90% how you react to it."


I suppose we see that with so many people who have unbelievable daunting challenges in life, yet somehow they manage to put on a smile or give a thumbs up regardless, and just do what they need to do--they are troopers, survivors, and generally people of incredible character and caliber. 

These are the heroes that we can look up to. 

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going!"--and the going refers to doing what needs to get done, and not running away from your duty scared or not knowing what to do. 


Need to be courageous, resourceful, loyal, and giving to others.  

Stop the whining, the crying, the self pity, the questioning "why me"--what will any of that help?

Fight, fight, fight--that's what we're here for. 

Until our last breath, we can still make a difference. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 13, 2015

Rescue Yourself


This is an awesome potential lifesaving solution for getting out of a burning multi-story building. 

In an emergency...

Put on and fasten the SkySaver Rescue Device..

Attach it securely to a pre-installed anchor.

Now for this next part, you need some guts...exit and lower safely via an automatic mechanical breaking system for a controlled descent (hope this works). 

Carries up to 300 lbs from as high as 260 feet (and apparently a story is approx. 10 feet although this varies). 

I am not endorsing any vendor or product or giving advice on how to survive in an emergency like this, but I really like the thinking behind this product:

Self-Help

Portable 

Compact

Life-saving

Great idea! ;-)
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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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October 11, 2014

See It Change

This was a pretty cool effect at this hotel (The Sonesta) in Fort Lauderdale, where we stopped to cool off for a few minutes.

In the lobby, they have these wavy lines over the entire walls and doors where you come in. 

But what is even better is that the lines change color.

Here you can see three pictures of a door in the lobby.

One minute they are pink, next orange, and then yellow. 

The funny thing is I barely noticed it when I was there.

It is was such a subtle change.

Maybe that's the way to make change really take in your life--incrementally, rather than violently and abruptly.

Then instead of withdrawal and personal convulsions, you have a new and hopefully better you! ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 16, 2013

The Measure Of A Person

Another candidate for picture of the week. 

This guy is wearing "tape measure" suspenders. 

Oh, how fashionable! 

While the true measure of a person is their good deeds and relationships (to man and G-d), perhaps the suspenders is a reminder that we should take the time to stop and measure ourselves both quantitatively and qualitatively in our lives.

As we approach the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, a time of introspection and judgement, it is a good opportunity to take measure. 

Performance management is not just for work--we can look at ourselves both personally and professionally and commit to do better. 

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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May 18, 2013

Baby Frog, See You Now

So I took this picture of this baby frog while hiking. 

This was the first one we saw--on the foliage it completely blended in, but on the rocks we could see it clearly.

It was so little and cute--I had to zoom in to get this shot. 


After this, it actually jumped under a log and I got an action photo of its hind legs in mid-jump--going what seemed like super-frog speed. 


Once, I was attuned to the frogs color and motion, I was able to detect many of them in the forest today--all pretty much like this little baby. 

It was interesting to me learning from this, how before we are aware of something--it's as if it doesn't even exist (even with subtle ribbits in the air); and after you are sort of clued in to the surroundings, you almost can't help but see them.

To me, it's like life in general, when you don't see your own issues or life challenges, you can't even begin to work on them because your virtually oblivious to them, but once you see yourself for what you are--warts and all--you can begin to work through your problems, as if you have almost transcendental awareness. 

A little camouflaged frog, like subtle personal issues may be almost imperceptible in the forest of life, but against a contrasting background, you can get amazing clarity--to self-help and self-heal. 

Cute little frog, I can see you now and your not jumping away from me anymore. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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