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

April 16, 2020

Our Journey To Freedom Is Almost At The End

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Our Journey To Freedom Is Almost At The End."
Despite our redemption from slavery in Egypt (1312 BCE), we continue through cycle after cycle of enslavement and exile.

In Kabbalah, we learn that the Jewish soul reincarnates until it reaches its spiritual enlightenment and fulfills all the mitzvot. Similarly, the soul of the Jewish people is reincarnated and relives painful destruction, slavery, and exile until we learn, grow, and finally become what we are destined to be as servants only of Hashem and as a light unto the nations. This has been our fate, but also it is one that we are finally nearing the end of with the return to the Promised Land and perhaps even the arrival soon of Mashiach.

(Free Photo via Pixabay)

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April 4, 2020

From Hate To Love

Just a self-reflection today...

Important to me. 

It's about who I thought I was and...

Who I became. 

Truly, I went full circle from a child's hate to an adult's love relationship with:

- Reading

- Writing

- Swimming

- Hebrew

As a kid, I tried to avoid these like the plague, and as an adult I like to practice these every single day of my life. 

I wonder to myself is it that I strove to become good (or decent) at what I have previously been bad at or was somehow afraid of. 

Yet now, they are integral to my life, learning, and growth. 

Like the hands of a clock that circle and tick the hours and minutes. 

My life takes me full circle and brings me home to who I am and what I really love spending time at. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 23, 2014

Freedom Pays

Another great article by Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal today.

The usual saying is that freedom is not free (i.e. that we must fight for it). 

But Stephens shows us that Freedom actually pays. 

It is our freedom that helps us to be creative and innovative like no others on this Earth.

Stephens comments on his growing up as an American abroad:

"I find it amazing that, in the U.S., I can drink water straight from a tap, that a policeman has never asked me for a 'contribution,' that my luggage has never been stolen, that notbody gets kidnapped for ransom, that Mao-esque political purges are conducted only inthe editorial of the New York Times."

Instead of having to focus on fear in everyday life--we can use our energies to plow creatively into the next great thing for mankind. 

In sync with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, when we are not scavaging for food and huttling in some abandoned building or cave to protect ourselves from marauding bandits or corrupt dictators, we can self-actualize ourselves by leaps and bound contributions through science, technology, engineering, mathematics, humanities and arts. 

Our society looks for opportunities, rather than having to look over our shoulder at daily threats.

We run to invest in great ideas, rather than have to use our money to escape the corruption and tyranny that surround us.

With the holidays are upon us, it's a perfect time to reflect on our good fortune at being part of a democracy where freedom and human rights power our success.

Thank G-d for where we live and what we are able to achieve. ;-)

(Source photo: here with attribution to Eric Magnuson)
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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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April 10, 2013

Growing And Getting Old Together

The Wall Street Journal had a good book review on "The End of Sex" by Donna Freitas. 

The book is about the casual hook-up culture, where a sexual interaction is brief--like a single night--purely physical, and "no strings" attached--"you just do it, you're done, and you can forget about it."


Essentially it is a purely hedonistic, selfish act, for one's own pleasure--where the other person (if you even know their name) doesn't count. 


The review recounts studies that show that the percentage of undergraduates that have participated in hookups is as high as 65 to 75%!


People are searching a quick fix "without the constraints and sacrifices" that real committed relationships require. 


According to the review, hookups are not liberating and empowering, but denigrating and dehumanizing--where the other person is just a thing to use for self-pleasure.


It can certainly be understandable that college-aged students are driven to exploration and experimentation, and those unattached can be frustrated and alone and are looking for love. 


Whether hookup are the right way to find this--is an individual choice--however from my Jewish upbringing, I was raised to appreciate those who maintain modesty before marriage, because that way the bond of marriage is stronger for it. 


The book review seems to imply that hooking up for sex is perhaps just steps away from "sexual assault"--taking sex through violence --one way or another.  In a sense, the animal nature takes over and the spiritual element and higher connection is absent. Whether the means is consensual or forced, self-satisfaction is the end. 


While sex is a genuine human need, waking up to a stranger--no matter how attractive--is not a great substitute for sharing life's joys (and sorrows) with your true other half, because meaning means more than just the self and the moment. 


On one hand, if people can't find emotional love, then they can be left with the physical aspect of sex alone. On the other hand, even some in relationships may not be in the "right" relationships, and may be left searching for more. And still others may use sex to express their power over others--taking what they want, when they want, and how they want. 


At the most elementary level, people are motivated to pure self-satisfaction, yet as they rise up to higher orders of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, they are driven further to self-actualization


Seeing grandparents, parents and others grow a bond of giving and fidelity that is built up over decades is a truly beautiful thing--where love can deepen over time, rather than be forgotten the next morning. 


Meeting other people, dating, and developing relationships are markers on the road for those who are fortunate enough to find their true life partners--those with whom they can grow and get old together with. ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 11, 2012

Radiate Possibilities

Today, I had the opportunity to see one of the best leadership videos I have ever seen, called "Leadership: An Art of Possibility." 


It features Ben Zander, an Orchestra Conductor who is not just a leader of making music, but of driving people to excellence.

Zander's passion and energy bring out the best in people--and you can literally see them transformed as their playing comes alive, their faces shine, and they glow under coaching of this conductor extraordinaire. 

His leadership principles are:

- Speak possibility--create a shift in being (transformation) by seeing the possibility in everyone, and lead people by empowering, not commanding; help people get in touch with their inner passion, so they remember why they love what they do and why it is ultimately important.

- Quiet the inner voices--communicate that everyone can get an A and everyone has value; assume the best of everyone, eliminate the fear of judgement, barriers, and mindset of "I can't do it," so people can genuinely perform. 

- Enroll every voice in the vision--make every person feel and realize that they can contribute and make a difference on our journey together; shift from a mindset of pure individuals to that of living in a connected world; like in a symphony-- we create a "sounding together."

- Look for shining eyes and radiating faces--you know you are positively reaching people and impacting them when their eyes and face light up; and you need to ask yourself what you are missing, when you aren't getting this guttural reaction. 

- Rule #6 ("the only rule")--Don't take yourself so %@&$! seriously; mistakes happen and life goes on; really feel the joy, relief, ease, spontaneity, and community around what we do. 

The art of possibility is a paradigm shift where we move from having an external standard to live up to, and instead move to fulfilling the possibility we can live into. 

In essence, Zander's leadership philosophy is about removing the barriers that inhibit us and releasing our deep inner talents, so we can achieve our marvelous potentials--and self-actualize. 

As Zander states: the conductor actually does not make a sound, yet by empowering people, he leads them to make the most beautiful music together. 

If you get a chance to watch this video, I believe it is extremely valuable because the passion, love, and energy that Zander demonstrates turns every face into a presence radiating their own joy and excellence--it is truly leadership unleashed. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 19, 2012

When TMI Is PC

An interesting editorial in the New York Times (19 August 2012) bemoans the state of affairs in the workplace, where generation Y'ers, take the liberty of sharing too much [personal] information (TMI) with others.

The author, Peggy Klaus, gives examples of young workers talking about their looking for other positions, recounting family birthing experiences, or discussing sexual exploits or a shortage thereof. 

Klaus see this as a carryover of people's online social behavior or what she calls "Facebook in your face"--where you "tell everybody everything"--whether appropriate or important, or not at all!

Similarly, this behavior is viewed by some as young people simply acting out what they learned from their helicopter parents--who instilled "an overblown sense of worth" on them--where every poop is worth sharing from infancy through adulthood. 

Ms. Klaus refers to this as O.S.D. or Obsessive Sharing Disorder--and she instead calls for "decency, common sense, and just plain good manners" in deciding what to share and when.

While I agree with a certain amount of base political correctness and decorum in the office, I think too much control (TMC) over our workforce is not a good thing.

We cannot expect people to fit in, be enthusiastic about coming to work, and be innovative and productive in their jobs--when they have to constantly be on guard--watching what they say and what they do, and worrying about making any mistake. 

Assuming that people are not doing anything that hurts themselves or others, I think we should give people more room to breath, be themselves, and to self-actualize.

Holding the reins too tightly on workers, risks developing a cookie-cutter workforce--where everyone must look-alike, talk-alike, and think-alike--like virtual automatons--and such a telling and controlling environment destroys the very motivated, creative, and entrepreneurial workforce we desire and need to be globally competitive and individually fulfilled. 

Best practices for teleworking, flexible work schedules, and clubs and activities at work that let people be human and themselves--makes for a happier, more committed, and more productive workforce. 

Creating climates of workplace sterility, and fear and intimidation for every miscued word or imperfect deed--is neither realistic for human beings that are prone to make mistakes--nor conducive to learning and growing to be the best that each person can be.

I am not a generation Y'er, but I appreciate people who are real, words that are sincere, and deeds that are their personal best--whether it's the way I would do it or not. 

Yes, don't talk and act stupid at work--and shame yourself or others with hateful or abusive behavior--but do feel free to be honestly you as an individual and as a contributor to the broader team--that is better than a zombie army of worker bees who faithfully watch every word and constrain every deed. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Irregular Shed)

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April 9, 2012

Changing Regrets Into Fulfillment

The Guardian (1 February 2012) published an important article called "The Top Five Regrets of the Dying."

The items mentioned were compiled by a palliative nurse caring for patients at end of life. 

The list is a wake up call for many of us who work hard, but in the process perhaps forget the most important aspects of life are the people we love and the pursuit of opportunities to really be ourselves and achieve our purpose.  

Here is the list of top 5 things you can do different in your life before it passes you by:

1. Be your true self--"I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me." 

- Ask yourself what are your dreams and how can you make them happen!

2. Work less--"I wish I hadn't worked so hard." 

- Ask yourself are you living to work or working to live? 

3. Express yourself--"I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings."

- Ask yourself if you've told significant others how you really feel and genuinely worked things out with them.

4. Maintain relationships--"I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends"

- Ask yourself have you been generous with your time, emotions, and material things with family, friends, and others important to you?

5. Seek out opportunities for happiness--"I wish that I had let myself be happier."

- Ask yourself what does happiness even really mean to you and how can you find it amidst the daily grind.

Life is always too short and everyone makes mistakes and has regrets--that's part of being human, learning, and growing. 

But if we can get our priorities straights and set clear goals, perhaps we can leave the world with less bitterness and more fulfillment in lives granted and well spent. 

(Source Photo: here with Attribution to Raspberries1)

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February 5, 2012

Leadership Lessons From The Shaolin

I watched a Sunday movie called Shaolin, a martial arts film from Hong Kong (2011). 

What I really enjoyed about this movie aside from action and adventure was the teachings of the Shaolin monks.

Some highlights that I took away:

- Everything has a purpose: "Which is more useful a pile of gold or of mud? To a seedling, it is the pile of mud." One thing or one person is not better than another, but are just different and each serves their own purpose in life. 

- Greed is the root of all evil: "All negative deeds are done for greed." We need to be willing to let go of the desire for material things and instead value doing good deeds.
 
- Evil causes suffering: "From evil comes suffering. With justice, they are gone." In Judaism, there is a similar notion that one bad deed begets another and causes suffering, and vice versa good deeds spur more good in the world.

- Repentance is learning and growth: "The one who repents is a hero." Everyone makes mistakes and does bad at some point in their life--no one is an angel--but the key is to learn from these and commit to do better the next time. 

- Compassion is the way to peace: By being compassionate to others, we can purge ourselves of discontent and anger, and find inner peace and enlightenment.

Below is how I summarize the steps from materialism to enlightenment.

Hopefully, we can all find our way to achieving our true potentials for the good.
 





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