Showing posts with label Selfish. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Selfish. Show all posts

July 18, 2019

When People Can't Admit They're Wrong

So he's a story from the pool today...

I'm doing my laps minding my own business.

And this guy gets to the pool, sits down, and immediately pulls out his cellphone.

Then he proceeds to literally yell into his phone for probably a good half an hour. 

I'm doing my laps and I can hear this guy yelling:

- At his end of the pool 

- ALL the way at the opposite end of the pool

- With earplugs

- AND even underwater

And he goes on and on and on. 

Doesn't stop for even a breath of air. 

Now, in all the years swimming, I've never had to approach someone about their behavior like this.

BUT this was too much as my head was pounding from his incessant yelling.

I waited until he finished his call. 

And it happened to coincide with me finishing my laps. 

I come out of the pool and grabbed my stuff. 

I have to pass him on the way out. 

And I'm still debating with myself whether this schlemiel is even worth it. 

My head is still throbbing from his yelling.

I stop in front of his chair. 

Now he's pulled out a book and is trying to read. 

I say:
Excuse me.
He knows he did something wrong, and he barely looks up, trying to ignore me. 

I say again:
Excuse me. Did you intend for everyone at the pool to hear your ENTIRE conversation?

He starts murmuring something, and then says throwing it back on me:
What's the problem?

So I say:
You were speaking so loud, I could hear you all the way on the opposite end of the pool.  I could even hear you under the water. 

He's agitating now and he says:
Well, I was speaking to someone 85-years old who doesn't hear well.  You get it?

So I say respectfully:
I am sorry that he doesn't hear well, but does everyone else here around the pool also need to hear the conversation? 

Then he says:
So what--I don't care if everyone hears.

I try one more time.
Do you see all these other people trying to read, rest, swim--do you at all care?

He still can't get himself to come around, and instead doubles down and says, 
Well. I'll do whatever I want!

Now, I've had enough, and I say:
So basically you don't give a shit for ANY of your neighbors, do you?

Finally, he must of been embarrassed enough at his terrible behavior, and he backs down and says:
Next time he calls me, I'll take the conversation inside!

At which point, he goes back to his book, and I complete my exit. 

It took all that just to get him to say he'll handle it differently next time and basically be respectful of his neighbors and not a selfish pig!

It's amazing--some people really just can't own up to when they are being a jerk.

But I was glad this guy finally came around--maybe there is still hope. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 7, 2018

Nimbyism By All

So I learned a new word this week:

Nimby, which stands for:

Not 
I
M
Back
Yard

It refers to people who object to and don't want something unpleasant or dangerous in their neighborhood. 

Prisons
Homeless Shelters
Garbage Dumps
Radioactive Waste Sites
Oil and Gas Pipelines
Noisy Railroads
Polluting Factories
Adult Entertainment
etc. 

Yes, society as a whole apparently wants or needs these things, but the individuals just want to see it someplace (anyplace) else. 

People want the benefits, but don't want the costs and risks associated with these things near them. 

The problem is when everyone feels this way then you are left either choosing somewhere despite the nimbyism protests or you have to locate them in remote places that are not always functional, fair or efficient for society. 

Perhaps this is where incentives or compensation comes in for people to get in order to "put up" with the placement of things in their backyard that they rather not have there. 

Is that what it means that nimbyism aside, "everyone has their price"?

(Source Photo: here with attribution to creative2/usa)
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July 9, 2018

Know Before Whom You Are Standing

So many synagogues have this important saying at the top of the Holy Ark where the Torahs are kept in front of the shul.

It says, translated into English:

"Know before who you are standing (i.e. G-d)."

The idea is to remember when you are in the holy place of worship that you are standing and praying before G-d and should conduct yourself appropriately and with respect and reverence. 

While certainly there are times when people forget themselves in the synagogue and say or do something not completely appropriate (e.g. socializing, talking, or even telling jokes to their neighbors during the service), usually it is not intended to be disrespectful, but rather to be friendly with their neighbors and community. 

However, this past Shabbat I witnessed behavior in the synagogue (name withheld)  that was truly a chillul Hashem (desecration of G-d). 

Out of respect for the Rabbi (and Rabbabite), I will neither mention their names or go into the details about what happened except to say that it involved the politics surrounding the end of the Rabbi's 3-year term and the inability for him and the board to come to terms on a new agreement (even though one had  apparently been signed and reneged on). 

This did not belong in the synagogue on the holy Shabbat, period. 

Those embracing and kissing the Rabbi in his support and going against the President and the board that is elected to represent the congregation was disgraceful. 

Further, while I support the Rabbi saying his farewells, demanding to speak without the permission of the President and the board, and even before the President gave his regular announcements was inexcusable. 

And when the fighting between the Rabbi and President brought yelling and fighting to the congregants, this should have been a sign for that behavior to immediately cease. 

The desecration of the "peace" of the Shabbat with the politics, money, and contract issues and the ensuing fighting (almost civil war between those supporting the Rabbi and those the President and the board) before the Holy Ark filled with the Torahs was reprehensible. 

For the spiritual leadership to behave in such a crude and disrespectful fashion was a mark of utter disgrace in the synagogue before G-d. 

I have never seen anything like this before and hope never to have to witness anything so irreverent again. 

This was a most traumatic event for the community and I hope we will recover in time and have a complete healing. 

Moreover, I pray that G-d forgives the behavior that happened and has mercy on this congregation because things got out of control and I think they forgot before whom they were standing.  ;-)

(Source Photo and not of the synagogue under discussion: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 2, 2018

How Do I Choose?

So I thought this was an interesting topic for the sermon on Shabbat by Ben Shemony. 

It was about how we are confronted in life with whether to follow our impulses or our values. 

I think there is a lot to this topic...

Some may see it as the little good angel standing over one shoulder and another bad angel standing over the other trying to convince us what to do when it's decision time.  

Others may be perpetually torn between temptations or pleasures of materialism and the flesh versus of pursuing what you know to be spiritually good and right in this world. 

Either way, as human beings, we are a complex make-up of both body and soul.

Do we give in to temptation and do what feels good--more money, more food, more clothes and jewelry, more houses, cars, and yachts, more vacations, more carnal pleasures from the proverbial "wine, women, and song" or do we pursue the path of spirituality, serving our maker, caring and giving and doing good for others and the world?  

It sounds simple, but our impulses tell us one thing and our values tell us another. 

Are we being selfish or selfless?

Perhaps, too much of anything is bad for us--even too much giving and selflessness--we need to care for ourselves too--we are mortal, we have needs, we have to nourish ourselves, and we need to live. 

But you can't be a glutton or a slave to your impulses--you can't take and not give, your can't indulge until you make yourself sick, or take at the expense of and harm to others.

Like all things in life, there is a need for balance.

Certainly our spirit should guide our animal. 

If and when our animal is dictating to our spirit then we are in real trouble. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 3, 2018

Good People And Bad

So what is one of the hardest lessons in life to learn?

There are really good and holy people out there, but there are also truly bad and evil ones. 

It's not such a difficult concept, except if you just don't think that way. 

I think some of us just want to believe that at the heart of it all, people are fundamentally good--or at the very least they struggle in order to fight off the evil impulse.

They are created by G-d.

They have parents and families.

They have challenges and disappointments. 

They have a good soul. 

Or do they?

Perhaps like everything in life--G-d created everything and it's opposite.

- There is life and death.

- There is light and dark. 

- There is cold and hot.

- There is land and water. 

- There is male and female. 

- There is pleasure and pain.

- There is work and rest. 

- There is holy and profane.

Everything has it's counterpart.

- In this respect then, there are good people and there are bad.

Not that there aren't people who are both--they do some good things and some bad.

Just like with everything, you can have greys or mixtures--some of this AND some of that. 

But still, G-d created everything and its opposite.

- Again, there is heaven and hell. 

And yes, there are some people that are perhaps truly good and others that are very bad.

The really good ones--they are holy, they give, they love, they inspire. 

The really bad ones--they are vicious devil wolves. 

That doesn't mean anyone is completely perfect or imperfect, but as with everything, there are people as there are inanimate objects that function at the extremes. 

Most of us don't live in the extreme, yet we do see those that we know are examples of each:

We recognize the best and these are people with a heart of gold and a soul that shines light, love, and gives to others.

Similarly, the worst ones are with a heart that is selfish and greedy and a soul that is dark, hateful. and violent.

We don't like to think of the extremes.

They either are too perfect or too frighteningly evil, but yet they do exist and we know it just as we know life and death, light and dark, cold and hot, land and water, male and female, pleasure and pain, work and rest, holy and profane, and even the destinations of heaven and hell. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 21, 2017

Killer Organizational Sharks

There are sharks out there. 

And it's not just in the oceans. 

There are plenty in your organizations. 

They make for lots of dysfunction and conflict. 

The organizational sharks see themselves as the bigger and more important fish in the sea. 

They look for weakness in others---they smell blood and when they do, they usually follow it to the kill!

These sharks are the types of people that attack their colleagues when they should be assisting them. 

Not only do they lack respect for others, but instead see them as the enemy and eat them as prey, when instead, they need to be chewing up the outside competition.

It's an attitude of us versus them misplaced within the organization, rather than external-facing. 

These organizational sharks could be in leadership positions, in which case, their attitudes filter down infecting the rest of their staffs. 

Instead of unity, cohesion, and working together to get the mission and job down, the sharks are selfishly worrying about and working to build their own power base. 

It's a dysfunctional culture that allows these sharks to exist and swarm in their organizational waters. 

Sharks for some reason fail to see that their boats are hitched to everyone else in the organization, and that all the organizational boats rise together or fill with polluted water and sink to the bottom.

As leaders, we need to focus and agree on supporting each other to achieve the success of all. 

Even sharks should learn to be nice and play together with all the other fish in the organizational sea. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 7, 2017

Sharing The Loaf

So I am continuing to learn so much about who is good and who is not so good. 

Some people are literally so amazing--giving and caring of others--if they literally have just a single loaf of bread, they will share that willingly with others.

- Their perspective in grounded in a faith that whatever they have, they see it as a gift from G-d and it is only given to them as an opportunity to do good with it. 

Then there are others that no matter how much they seem have--and it could be millions of $$$--yet they still can't stand to see others with even half a mouthful of bread.

- In their narcissistic view, what's theirs is exceedingly and deservingly theirs, and what's yours, they believe should also be theirs!

Yet sometimes we misjudge people out of fear or just not knowing enough about them.

We don't know which category they fall into. 

Will they give you the shirt off their back or would they rip the shirt off you blind?

These are some of the challenges we face when confronting others in this scary world of souls being perfected and those that are still all too sullied. 

But the righteous will inherit the earth and more importantly, the Heavens...because the truth becomes known and is always absolutely clear to The One Above--and the evil ones, they will wither and die. 

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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October 24, 2016

Money Makes The World Go Round

I remember from years ago hearing this song called, "Money makes the world go around."

It's an unfortunate song. 

"The clinking clanking clunking sound."

Then this week, I saw this sign in someone's office. 

It was hung under a framed dollar bill, and said:

"VERY IMPORTANT MONEY FIRST"

It doesn't say G-d first, or family, or integrity, or compassion, or anything meaningful and good. 

No, instead just money. 

What is wrong with people?

Yes, we all need money to live.

Life isn't free. 

There are bills to pay and money to be saved for a rainy day.


But, "money first"???

"Very important!"

There is definitely something wrong with some people's values.

They think:

To hell with doing the right thing if you can make lots of money.

To hell with being honest in business if you can make more money.

To hell with earning a decent day's pay for an honest day's work.

No, to some misguided people, it's simply money first. 

And money also means power.

More, more, more...at almost any cost that is. 

Sell your souls to the devil for a buck fifty.

Is the temporary satisfaction that money can buy you really worth it.

No, money is not first, and never should be. 

Money is a means to an end, but never an end in itself.

Money is not the root of all evil, but perhaps underlying greed is. 

Take that awful sign down and the dollar bill in the shiny frame at the very top of the wall too! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 18, 2016

Reflection, Summer Don't Go

Starting to feel Summer slipping away, again. 

Kids are getting ready to go back to school.

Weather is starting to feel a little cooler. 

But got to love the beautiful nature we have this time of year. 

When the flowers are in bloom and the days are long. 

Appreciate every moment of every day.

It's a gift from the One Above. 

Some people have a bucket list of where they want to go or what they want do, extravagantly, before they die. 

For others, it's about material possessions: finding the precious gems of "things" out there, and collecting, hoarding, and showing them off. 

Really though, it's not the places you visit, the outrageous things you get to do, or the possessions you accumulate, but rather what positive influence you can have--even on a single life or the more the better.

That good lasts a lot longer and has much more wide-ranging impact than the momentary high of simple and selfish--my places, events, and things.

We all need to enjoy life--it's wondrous and beautiful--but perhaps not live for the empty revelry alone.

Smell the roses and enjoy G-d's gifts of life, and then get back out there and do some good stuff, won't you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 16, 2016

From Fractured to ONE

I really liked this T-shirt.

It says volunteer, but in three rows like this:

vOl
uNt
eEr

So in the center is ONE!

When we give of ourselves, we shed our billions of individual selfish natures to be one--with humanity and with G-d.

These days, seeing from how shattered and fractured this nation and world is, it is just a dream again for unity.

- The fighting between different races and castes of people

- The fighting between rich and poor

- The fighting between communities or family members

- The fighting between unarmed (and armed) civilians and police

- The fighting between republicans and democrats

- The fighting between proponents and opponents of X, Y, or Z policy, person, place, or thing

- The fighting between governed and those who govern

- The fighting between terrorists and terrorized

- The fighting between religions and within religions

- The fighting between East and West

- The fighting between good and evil

This reminds me learning in yeshiva from Zechariah 14:9 (when the destroyers of Jerusalem will themselves be destroyed)"
"And the L-rd will be king over all the Earth. On that day, the L-rd will be one and his name one."
Oneness--unity--peace is a vision and a goal. 

With unity we recognize our ONE true maker and guider of all creation.

And with unity we seek and find solutions to the world's big problems (global poverty, disease, war and so on).

Fractured and fighting among ourselves, we are small, petty, selfish, and weak. 

But together, we can unite with Heaven and conquer all that ails humanity. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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July 23, 2016

Building An Appropriate Wall

Ok, let's be honest, Trump is right about the border.  

And no, I do not believe that he is fascist and evil like the social engineers in politics would like you to believe for their own motives. 

Let's face it, the border needs to be appropriately secured once and for all from illegal immigration. 

We need to support our law enforcement agents such as the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in protecting this great country. 

Why all the argument about "illegal" Immigration...it's illegal!

By all means, provide amble and robust ways for peaceful-loving people to come to this country legally, especially for family, refuge, asylum, and to escape violence, persecution, and war.  

But if someone is here illegally, then Trump is right, we need to see that valid moral law and order is reestablished and not permit violence, crime, and chaos to continue by edict, closing our eyes to it, or even tacit permission. 

Whoever calls this fascism is either a liar or possibly some sort of anarchist and dangerous to a civilized way of life, plain and simple. 

How do any of our politicians who take the oath of office and swear to uphold our constitution try to get around this?

Here are some statistics relevant to the issue of secure borders:

Human Trafficking: There are 29.8 people in the world trapped in modern slavery or 1 out of every 236!  And there are 60,000 victims reported in the United States of America.  


Deadly Terrorism: The deadly toll of Terrorism has increased 800% since 2010 with an average of 30,000 people killed annually. "More attacks are happening and they tend to be deadlier than ever."

Violent Crime and Murders:  In the five states of California, Texas, Arizona, Florida, and New York, illegal aliens accounted for 38% of all murder convictions, equating to over 7,000 of the murders. 

Economic Effects:  While undocumented workers do obviously help perform work particularly in some important lower wage jobs for us, there are also many negative economic effects of illegal aliens to consider such as undercutting wages or taking jobs from other who are legally entitled to the work. Additionally, the cost for their healthcare and education that is covered by the American people contributes to the overall staggering national debt. 

Overall, while "who we are" and want to be is a compassionate and generous people, there is no reason to circumvent the law and to let people into the country who have not duly applied and been permitted entry and stay.  

Shenanigans of "catch and release" or not to deport illegal immigrants "who don't have a criminal record"--is completely nonsensical since being illegal is criminal!

We need to secure our country from human trafficking, drug trafficking, terrorism, murders, as well as the negative economic effects of illegal immigration, while at the same time opening our hearts and the process for vetted legal immigrants to make their way here and become productive citizens. 

We are and should be good people, but that doesn't mean we need to be stupid and irresponsible and put at risk our nation's security through unnecessarily reckless open and porous borders. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 7, 2016

It's Not Easy

So I went for a haircut yesterday evening.

And when I walked into the Hair Cuttery, there were a number of mentally disabled people waiting there. 

3 had already gotten their haircuts, and 1 was still in the barber's chair. 

One of the 3 said hello to me and started conversing with me even though he  had obvious difficulty getting the words out. 

There was an open chair between them, and he even offered me to sit down with them, which I did. 

I asked about him and he told me the others we're his roommates.

I asked how he liked his roommates and he gave a big smile, nodded, said how nice they were, and while pointing to them started to introduce them and encouraged them to speak with me as well. 

I could see as they interacted and later got up how they shared some challenges, but also how each clearly had their own unique difficulties to deal with--for example, one was stooped and went along with a limp, while another was more reticent and seemed openly annoyed by the others trying to get his attention. 

When it was my turn for the haircut, they were heading out and a couple of them waved goodbye to me. 

I said goodbye back and was sad seeing how difficult people's lives are. 

It strikes me that even for those in the healthiest states, life can be very difficult at times.

So I imagine how much more so for those with physical and developmental disabilities--the things we take for granted can be extremely difficult for others to navigate around, reach, manipulate, read, hear, understand, speak, and do.

Life seems unforgiving at times. 

My daughter said to me that while it's natural for people to look out for their own self-interests, really we all need each other to survive and make it. 

Our self confidence in our stand-alone capacities is really just an illusion. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 12, 2015

Yeah, A Pat On The Back

Ah, this doodle says it all...

Some people deserve a pat on the back--truly great job, went the extra mile, great collaboration, communication, and results. 

Others deserve A PAT ON THE BACK (or a good kick in the behind)--nasty, dirty, selfish, do little, take a lot, backstabbers.

I only know people in the first category. ;-)

(Source Doodle: Linkedin)
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October 10, 2014

Selfie Heaven

So this lady found out how to take the best selfies.

She has an extendable stick with an adjustable ball head that attaches to her smartphone, and a separate remote control for snapping the photos.

Here she is with the camera snapping away.

I looked it up on Amazon and this device is only around $6.

For a completely ego-centric society without friends, why not get this doodad and you too can take selfish selfies all day long. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 17, 2014

You're Not All That

So they say that all sin is rooted in arrogance. 

We get too big for our britches and think we can do whatever we want including stepping on others and defying our maker. 

An interesting article in Harvard Business Review reminds us to beware of narcissism and hubris. 

Narcissism is a character disorder where because of feelings of inadequancy from childhood, people have to self-promote themselves every which way toSunday--they are "insufferably self-centered."

Hubris is a reactive disorder where due to past success and accolades from others, we become overconfidant, until the luck changes "toppling from their pedestals" and shrinking their ego back down to size."

I like the reminders from HBR cautioning about these:

- "Have more than thou showest; speak less than thou knowest." - Shakespear

- "Humble pie should be the only dessert served."

It's one thing to have decent self-esteem anchored in your knowing right from wrong and acting accordingly, and it's another to think and act like you have all the answers--none of us do. 

If your showing it off, it's likely a turn off. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Jampa)
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April 1, 2014

Why Do People Take The Cheese Off?

So my question of the day is why do people feel it's okay to take the cheese off the delicious macaronic AND cheese?

While I understand that it is the best part, isn't just a little bit of antisocial behavior that would drive people do something like this and leave everyone else with just the noodles underneath...


Anyway on the way back, one of my colleagues stopped me in the street to tell me some philosophy of life about how love makes the world go around, but revenge is the axis it turns on. Ouch@!


Perhaps this is April fools day making people a little snappy today. 


One last thought is from episode last week on The Vikings (great show on the History Channel)--excellent battle scene, but also memorable when the one of the characters says "Bad news travels a great deal slower than good news."


Maybe that's why no one told me before about the missing cheese on the macaroni today? ;-)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 28, 2014

The Movers and Shakers

For a long time, I've heard of "The movers and shakers" as the ones who get things done. 

But I think there is another and more accurate meaning to this phase.

And it is related to the old adage of "those who can do, and those who can't teach." 

Note, there is no disrespect intended to good, solid teachers here, as they have one of the most important jobs in society in educating and molding our children, but the point is that there are some that can only talk theory, but haven't actually done the job!

Similarly, in the organizations, movers and shakers are often not one and the same, but two different types of people.

We have those who are "the movers"--who actually get things done, who break logjams, who overcome bureaucracy, who solve problems, who make things better.

And then there are "the shakers," those who do more jumping up and down and waving to get attention for themselves, their egos, their resumes, and their bogus brands, but don't or can't actually deliver the goods--real results. 

The movers are the genuine, hardworking doers and carers of our organizations; the shakers are the Billie Big Mouth Bass showpeople. 

The movers work the problems everyday and make progress and it is wonderful to celebrate their hardwork and successes, but the shakers are the attention-grabbers, boasting more about what they do, instead of actually doing much of anything. 

Beware of those that talk a good game, but can't actually hit the ball--and the recognition and attention they are bathing in may actually just be a good cover like from a tanning salon and not from the real beach. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to RedHerring1up)
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January 25, 2014

I, U, Y Talk Like That

Already young children in pre-school learn that "Words have meaning, and words can hurt."

All through life, we refine our communication skills learning what works and what doesn't.

Here are three letter-words with which to beware:

- "I" (Use sparingly) - I is usually people's favorite word; they love to talk about themselves. I this. I that. I like. I hate. The problem is that "I" can also be selfish, egotistical, and narcissistic. Without tempering talking about I all the time, you run the very large risk of overdoing it.  All the I can easily end up boring other people to near death or simply make them want to run the other way to get some needed healthy attention for themselves.

- "U" (Use carefully) - U is most often used to criticize.  U should do this. U did something wrong. U are a blankety-blank. While it's also caring, loving, and empathetic to talk about U (i.e. taking a genuine interest in the other person), talking about U can easily go astray and lead to disapproval, denunciation, and censure. We should and need to talk about U, but more from the perspective of understanding U and how can I help U.

- "Y" (Use almost never) - Y is used to ask questions, but usually ends up being used judgmentally. Y did you do that? Sometimes we question honestly and with positive intentions to understand, but very often we end up using the response to evaluate their actions, and pronounce judgement on them. From all the interrogative questions (who, what, where, when, Y, and how), Y should be used the absolute least, if ever. 

 I, U, Y - are letter-words that can imply selfishness, criticism, and judgement.  

While, they can't exactly be banned from the alphabet or dictionary, they are dangerous words that can get you misunderstood, alienate others, and hurt people in the process, and therefore use them, but with extreme caution, please. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to id-iom)
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January 18, 2014

What Would MLK Say?

Bloomberg BusinessWeek writes about how Congress orders NASA to complete a testing tower for rocket engines at Stennis Space Center that is no longer needed, since the rockets themselves were cancelled. 

The price tag of this tower is $350M!

But not to worry because NASA caught in this muddle says they will maintain the tower in case it's needed in the future at a cost of just $840,000 more a year. 

Why does this happen?

Pork barrel politics, where the the Congressmen and -women (in this case of Mississippi) don't want to lose out on the federal spending, so they make deals whereby they get what they want and others what they want for their home states--even if the taxpayers end up getting little to nothing. 

Peggy Noonan writes in the Wall Street Journal that while public servants are "expected to be less selfish than the average Joe...they are [actually] the locus of selfishness."

She writes, "there isn't a staffer on the Hill who won't tell you 90% of members are driven by their own needs, wants, and interests, not America's."

Essentially what Noonan describes is a broken political system, where we elect individuals as politicians to represent us, but they take our vote of confidence and their elected office platform and instead use it to vote either for what they think should be done--not what their constituents think or want--or they work the system in order to make themselves look good and line up votes for their next run at office. 

Either way, we don't get representation of the people, for the people, with big picture strategic decisions for the future of the nation, but rather we get narrow thinking and voting driven by self-centered thinking of what's in it for me (WIIFM). 

Freedom is not free, especially when we make bad decisions to fund testing towers that are no longer needed or bridges to nowhere. 

How we fix this is by having politicians with a genuine vision of where we need to go, anchored in the thinking of the people they represent and a foundation of integrity.

The leader can create a shared vision by explaining why, what, and how and building a genuine consensus around it. 

Selfishness is not an inherent trait of politics--it can be replaced by selflessness when the greater good of the nation is placed above any one "I"--whether that be a person, party, state, or special interest. 

(Source Photo: here)
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June 2, 2012

Which Five Do You Keep?

So my father used to teach me that the Ten Commandments were divided with the first five being between man and G-d (e.g. "thou shalt not take the name of the L-rd, thy G-d, in vain") and the second five being between man and man (e.g. "thou shalt not Kill").  
Note: The fifth one of "Honor they mother and father" is viewed as between man and G-d, since we honor our parents as partners with G-d in our creation and upbringing. 

My father said well that some people keep the first five and some the second, but very few keep both sets. 

I am aware of many examples of this from the "religious" Rabbis and Priests who sickeningly molest children to "unreligious" people who give charitably and do good deeds to others in countless of ways. 

I do not know why most people cannot be both faithful to G-d and good to other people--are these somehow mutually exclusive in people's minds? Is it somehow blasphemous to both worship G-d and genuinely respect and care for our fellow humans? 

Perhaps, some think that if they are close to G-d, then other people are sort of besides the point, while others believe that if they act kindly to their fellow "man", then they will be considered righteous in G-d's eyes anyway.

The funny thing is that both--the ones that follow the laws having to do with G-d and those having to do with other people--seem to think that they are the "truly" righteous ones.  

Today, I saw a an event that reminded me of this whole lesson and spiritual question, as follows:

A car pulls up in front of the house of worship and in the driving lane, just stops and double parks, even though, right there--and even closer yet to the house of worship--is an empty oversized space to just pull into. 

The driver gets out and his wife gets out on the other side.  

The car behind him beeps to let them know they are waiting to pass. 
 
The man throws his hand up in a gesture of "too bad" and proceeds to escort his wife into the house of worship--all the while leaving his car blocking the driveway and the car behind him. 

After about 5 minutes, the first driver finally comes back to move his car.  

The second driver--of the car that has been waiting--goes up to driver of the first car and asks why he just left his car in the driving lane and didn't even bother to pull over.

The first driver says that his wife can't walk well and he wanted to escort her into the house of worship, and so the other car could wait until he returned. 

The second driver is startled by this and says "but you saw I was behind you waiting and wanted to get in with my family to pray as well--why couldn't you either circle back around or pull into the empty spot right there at the entrance?"

The first driver says, "well, you were the only other car behind me."

By this time the second driver is clearly annoyed and says, "but I am a human being too!" 

He continues clearly amazed at the callousness of the first and says, "how is it that you go to the house of worship, but you don't care about another human being--how can you be so selfish?

The first driver raises his hand and flips it again indicating that he just didn't care --going full circle to how this event began when he first stopped his car--and then he simply says as a matter of fact and sort of sarcastically "good day" and just walks away. 

What an encounter with the first driver on his way to worship G-d, yet completely callous to his fellow human being waiting to do the same--he was following the first five commandments, but brushing aside the second five.  

I wish for the day that people could embrace both sets of commandments! So that faith and decency could coexist, rather than battle in the hearts and soul of humans. 

What a better world it could be...

(Source photo: here)

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