Showing posts with label Try Your Best. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Try Your Best. Show all posts

October 19, 2019

Get Over It

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

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

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

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

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. 

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

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

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

October 7, 2019

It Spills Over

Sometimes the glass is not half full or half empty. 

But rather is spills over entirely. 

There is nothing, nothing left inside. 

Worse even is when the glass completely shatters.

Then there isn't even a vessel anymore. 

All that's left is to pick up the pieces. 

As humans, we try to fill up the water, stop the water inside from spilling out, and to save the glass.

The rest is in G-d's hands. 

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

July 24, 2019

Excellence Vs. Mediocrity

So we all know how hard it can be to get ahead.  

The long hours, hard work, and grueling repetition to try to reach near-perfection. 

Even then, of course, we need G-d's mercy and blessings and a measure of good luck to succeed. 

Also, by definition, not everyone can be "the best" at everything. 

I suppose the expectation for most people is that they try at least to excel at the things that they need to do or are most important to them, as well as maintain work-life balance. 

In this light, it was interesting to hear a story recently about mediocrity (and not excellence). 

When asked to step up on the job, one person responded in the negative saying:
C's get degrees (too)!

Of course, this must have sounded pretty shocking and off-putting. 

In other words, they weren't going for the "A" or even a "B".  A "C" grade was fine for them--as long as they didn't completely fail with a big "F".

Who knows what circumstances may have led this person to settle for mediocrity--just wanting to pass.

Perhaps they had serious personal or family issues--and had good reason to be taking a step back (for a while). 

But I think there could also be more tactful ways to say it too--like explaining if there were mitigating or challenging circumstances in their life right now. 

If there really wasn't mitigating circumstances and the person was just "slacking off" or didn't care, one has to wonder why--are they just "milking the system" or is there something more fundamentally wrong?

C's get degrees, but to me the real question is: Are you doing your best given your particular life circumstances?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

April 1, 2019

Victory Or Defeat

I was reading Vladimir Jabotinsky's "Story of My Life."

And there is this quote that I really like attributed to Kipling in it:
Victory or defeat: learn to accept both with equanimity since both are deceptions.
I just thought this is profound.  

We never really fully win or lose. 


Everything is on a spectrum. 

And where we think we are on that spectrum is often not even nearly correct. 

You think you won that one, but guess what someone else has outsmarted you and you don't even know it yet. 

Also, wins can be easily followed by loses and vice versa.

Things can turn on a dime and who's up becomes who's down--as the wheel of life turns and turns again. 

Recognize that you don't control everything--actually, the only thing you do control is how you react and behave.

Everything else is a test to teach you and help you grow. 

And as I heard from a speaker yesterday, "you can't make up in space, what you have lost in time."

Victory or defeat, both are deceptions. 

Only how you choose to act is the real win or lose. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

February 2, 2019

Moses' Handicap

Please see new my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Moses's Handicap."
In truth, we are all handicapped in one way or another. One person comes from a meager financial background, another has no education, and yet another has any of a host of physical, mental, or emotional challenges. Essentially, we all have something that rightfully can hold us back. But still G-d chooses us to do His bidding. Whether it’s leading the Jews out of Egypt or standing up and doing what’s right in situations that we are confronted with every day, we are asked to go beyond our handicap.

We can't let our handicaps prevent us from fulfilling our purpose in life--we need to meet the challenges head on with G-d's help.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 7, 2019

No One Cares How You Feel

So parenting is not always an easy job. 

But it is one full of love and helping your kids. 

Sometimes, I remember listening to my kids say that they feel this or that and seeing that it was holding them back from accomplishing their goals.  

Often, I would tell them that the only people that really care about how they feel is your mother and father--but generally-speaking, it a tough world out there, and: 
"No one [else] cares about how you feel."

I tried to focus them--not on being cold and unfeeling--but rather on being strong inside and focusing on the tasks that need to get done. 

Sure, feelings are important, but if you are getting held back from doing what you need to do--then there are times when you need to put the feelings in abeyance and go forward. 

Overall, there is plenty of time to feel what you feel, but don't let anger, fear, or anxiety get in the way of you accomplishing your dreams. 

In a book that I am reading by Amos Oz, "A Tale of Love and Darkness," he writes: 
'I want' and 'I don't want' aren't reasons, they can only be defined as self-indulgence.

Yes, it's a little tough love, but also it is out of true love to help the kids to be willing and determined to try their best and not get held back by anything in the pursuit of the destiny they choose to follow. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

January 3, 2019

In The Blink Of An Eye

Please see my new article in The Times Of Israel called, "In The Blink Of An Eye." 
It all seems to happen in the blink of an eye. Those moments when your life or those of a loved one hang in the balance. It can go either way--you can end up on the road to success or potentially in the morgue. 
In those pivotal split seconds--your life can go this way or that. Do you recognize who is pushing on the scales of justice and are you ready on where to go from there? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

December 17, 2018

Don't Give A Fire Truck

Sometimes, others can get negative at you in life.

People are unhappy. 

They are being unreasonable.

Complaints are rolling in. 

It seems like you can't do right.

But you have to have a thick skin or as one colleague told me:
You need to be like Teflon and have it all just roll off you.

And this book title reminded me of this:
"The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck"

Yes, we do have to care about doing good in what we do. 

It's just that we shouldn't "give a f*ck" when others are just wanting to tear us down and enjoying it. 

Constructive feedback is good. 

But destructive negativity at every turn is just hurtful.

It's also a way for others to not take ownership.

We all need to do our part to make things better in this world. 

Sure, no one does everything right and no one is perfect. 

But everyone needs to try their best, and when others just want to beat on you...

That's a completely appropriate time to not give a firetruck. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

November 11, 2018

Stretch Goals That Break The Band

So I learned some important lesson about stretch goals. 

You want to have stretch goals because they make your strive to do and be your best. 

When you have to stretch yourself above your normal then you can take yourself to whole new levels of performance and achievement. 

However, if the stretch goals are ridiculously unachievable than you simply set yourself up for frustration and failure. 

Goals need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. 

But too often they are DUMB goals: Directed by others, Unachievable, Made to fail, and Based on false assumptions. 

For example, if someone tells you to jump off that bridge into the whitewater beneath because they assume that somehow you can spread you bare arms and fly--guess what is going to happen to you?

Goals can help you get to new heights of accomplishment in life or they can pull you down in false condemnation and despair. 

Like in fighting the good fight...be careful when you are sent to the front lines in trench warfare with heavily dug fortifications, machine guns and artillery placements aimed your way and yelled at with no rational strategy to "Advance!"

The only place that is going to take you is to an early grave. 

Instead, fight smart and take the hill when the hill is takable--you save a lot more lives that way and you actually take that hill! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 21, 2018

Be Strong!


Just a saying about inner strength that I liked:
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."
(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

August 20, 2018

When It Turns In

A friend told me something interesting about anxiety and depression...

Depression is anxiety turned inward. 

When people feel anxious and that they don't have control over their situation that make them feel in a sense helpless, and then the anxiety "has no where to go," it becomes depression. 

I guess it make sense that if you feel that you can't really do anything to make things better--and no matter how hard you try--then you feel somewhat helpless/hopeless and get depressed

Perhaps it's almost like a frustration at your own inability to change things you feel you need to change. 

That is why a person's feeling some sense of control over their environment and life is so important. 

When things are looking down, it helps to try and do something to take back control over what feels like spiraling uncontrollable events and circumstances.  

Of course, only G-d really has control over what ultimately happens. 

But we need to do our part to try to make things better. 

Just taking that first (and second and third) step is freeing. 

I'm pretty sure that an element of this is that you can tell yourself that you "did everything you could" so in effect there is a lifting of guilt about the situation, but at the same time there is also a genuine feeling that you are here for a purpose and perhaps have made a difference in this world. 

Some people feel big and important, but the reality is that we are all so small in a very big world and universe where suffering and loss can strike (G-d forbid) at any moment. 

Man is but a speck of dust in the realm of things. 

But at the same time, our speck is filled with a soul of the living G-d. 

So we must do what we can to be a good influence and impact. 

Whatever it is, it is what we can do. 

If everyone--7.6 billion of us out there---does their part that can make a difference. 

Don't let life's anxieties become your depression.

Look for what you can contribute--do it!--try your best to make a difference and make the world better.

It's what you're here for and what you can positively do.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 10, 2018

Living Life Vicariously

So the Capitals won the Stanley Cup.  Go DC!

This little figurine made a debut on the counter of the concierge late last week for us to cheer them on!

You can ring the bell for help and while your waiting, get excited about the game. 

While these types of sports are not my thing per se, I do like watching a good Rocky movie or action flick where the good guys beat the sh*t out of the bad guys.

Whether you'watching your favorite sports team, your Hollywood dream stars, or even an occasional do (something) good politician, we are living vicariously through them. 

It's not our success we are seeing, but somehow we temporarily suspend our own selves and live through others (their eyes, their actions) and we partake just for a second of what it's like to be them winning or doing something really significant in life. 

We all can't be superstars in the center ring duking it out (all the time) and so we take a step back to see others that we relate to face up to the challenge, fight and hopefully win big. 

We don't walk away with the trophy, prize money, or fame, but we congratulate ourselves somehow for being on the winning team. 

Heck, I didn't do anything but have faith, go along for the ride, and then take pleasure in seeing my guy(s) win. 

Yet, from the humdrumness of perhaps some of our own everyday lives, we fantasize and garner the courage and strength to do our own great things. 

We can't be the strongest, smartest, most good-looking, personable, and talented in the world, but we can see parts of ourselves in others and we can try to model the best of them in ourselves and leverage what we got going on!

I don't really like spending a lot of precious time living like this through others--I don't mind getting inspiration when I see something amazing, but really I just want to try my hardest to be the best that I can be. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
Share/Save/Bookmark

December 17, 2017

Failing Forward

There were 2 inspirational student speakers today at my daughter's graduation from American University.

One spoke about how he got sick soon after starting college with a serious vascular disease, but despite numerous hopsitalizations, treatments, and falling behind his peers, he persevered and was graduating today and in very good spirits. 

Another women spoke about her many failures leading up to the success today of her graduation. She described how her father used to ask her: 
"What did you fail at this week?"

Why?

Because even though we don't like to admit it, most people have many, many more failures in life than successes.  

Even Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb is said to have failed 1,000 times before getting it right.

This women explained how failure is actually something to celebrate--does that sound crazy?.

But it's really not, and here's why?
"To fail is to learn.
To learn is to grow.
To fail is to grow forward."
Now, I had heard about failing up, but never failing forward. 

Many who fail still manage to advance themselves in the process. 

But failing forward is different. 

It's not taking advantage of the failure, but legitimately learning from the experience so that you can grow yourself, and advance yourself, by becoming a smarter, stronger, and more capable person from it. 

Sure, it hurts to fail. 

Who would normally want to celebrate failure?

But if we understand life as a journey and not a specific destination, then we enjoy every blessed moment that we have to become better today and tomorrow than we were yesterday. 

In this case, failure is not the opposite of success, but rather is part and parcel of achieving it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

November 27, 2017

Motivation, Hard Work, and Blessings

So I am incredibly impressed at how talented so many people are. 

And I'll tell you, people are motivated to get ahead and they are working hard to do it. 

I took Lyft to a couple of destinations down here in Florida. 

Two drivers that I had just yesterday were both from relatively poor backgrounds in Jamaica. 

And both were incredible in what they've been able to accomplish for themselves.  

One was a senior communications technologist with a large cable company.

Another was a pretty impressive and successful Reggae music star. 

Both had come to this country and made amazing lives for themselves. 

In meeting these incredible people, I learned that everyone is driving Uber and Lyft now-a-days. :)

Both were driving as they told me just to keep busy on their days off--because they "hate being bored!"

More importantly, I learned that despite whatever background, hardships, or adversity you come from or have experienced, you can make it in your own way! 

Motivation and hard work coupled with mercy and blessings from, and faith in the Almighty Above are an incredible combination that can propel people towards incredible levels of success in life that maybe many would've never even really dreamed of. 

There is no easy road--just one filled with trying your best, plenty of obstacles, stumbles, and falls, and then picking yourself up and trying again and again until hopefully and with G-d's help you break the bonds and chains keeping you from your amazing levels of potential and contribution to this world. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

June 12, 2017

The Knowable and Unknowable

So as we all do, I often come across challenging and perplexing issues or problems in life. 

And my nature is to try to understand them, solve them, fix them--is it survival or the challenge or both?

But then we come across some things that are just beyond our [mere mortal] understanding or ability to simply fix them. 

I remember as a youngster learning in Yeshiva about when it says in the Bible that G-d hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he continued to refuse to let the Jews go from their enslavement in Egypt.

And the classic mind-bending question is how could G-d harden his heart if Pharaoh retained free will which we all have to choose good or evil.

Did G-d harden his heart or did he have free will--which is it?  And if G-d hardened his heart, then how could Pharaoh and the Egyptians be punished for something they didn't fully control? 

One explanation is that by facing the punishing plagues, Pharoah was losing his free will to decide what to do with the Israelites, so by hardening his heart, G-d was actually restoring his free will to choose once again...interesting. 

Of course in life, there is also the philosophical dimensions of so many seeming contradictions such as the cliche about what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.

Which wins out if one is unstoppable and the other is unmovable?

No, I don't think these are just riddles, but the testing of the abilities of our human minds to understand further and further into the mysteries of G-d, creation, and the universe. 

So what do we do in life when confronted by things that are seemingly or really beyond our human capacities? 

- We ponder these weighty matters and sometimes we get frustrated and rip our little-left hair out or laugh at ourselves as to why we can't just get it.

- We look to understand the deeper spiritual meanings of these challenges in the context of our earthly lives. 

- We try to solve and fix what we can within the confines of our spaghetti brain matter and flesh and bone bodies. 

- At the end of the day, we acknowledge our human limitations, and look to the Heavens for answers or at least for Divine guidance and protection along the way.

While we cannot understand everything or always reach our destination that we set for ourselves that should never prevent us from trying our hardest and going as far as we can on our journeys--and letting the next person, and the next person pick up the torch and carry it forward. 

In the Jewish prayers, we say that the matters of the earth are for our exploration and striving, but the ultimate secrets of the Heaven are for G-d alone. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

June 5, 2017

What A Climb!

So I bought one these climbers--this one very colorful--to hang on one of my walls. 

I like the image of climbing and overcoming--with G-d's help--whatever obstacle is in our path.

It's not easy to climb and keep climbing, because the higher you go, the thinner the air, the more tired you get, and the further you have to fall!

But what I also realized about the image of the climber is that if you turn it on it's side, then the same person who is climbing...is now crawling. 

What at times in life can be a beautiful climb up, at other times can be any of us on all fours. 

There is no easy path straight up, although there is definitely one that can go straight down!

Sometimes, we are vertical--living and working hard trying to achieve something. 

And other times, we are horizontal--resting, asleep, or even in a hospital bed fighting for our lives just to survive another moment or day.

When we climb, we may literally be trying to conquer mountains.

But when you crawl, you may literally be on the ground begging for mercy.

Climbing and crawling are really not that far apart in terms about 90 degrees and how quickly change can happen and a person goes from an upward trajectory to a more devastating one. 

Some things to keep in mind...anchor your feet solidly and hold on to that rope tightly and even for dear life. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark

December 30, 2016

On The Train Of Life

My beautiful daughter, Michelle, forwarded this wonderful message to me about our journey through life, and I wanted to share it with everyone.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋
Life is like a journey on a train...
with its stations...
with changes of routes...
and with accidents !

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

We board this train when we are born and our parents are the ones who get our ticket.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

We believe they will always travel on this train with us.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

However, at some station our parents will get off the train, leaving us alone on this journey.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

As time goes by, other passengers will board the train, many of whom will be significant - our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of our life.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

Many will get off during the journey and leave a permanent vacuum in our lives.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

Many will go so unnoticed that we won't even know when they vacated their seats and got off the train!

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, good-byes, and farewells.

🚂🚋🚋🚋

A good journey is helping, loving, having a good relationship with all co passengers...and making sure that we give our best to make their journey comfortable.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

The mystery of this fabulous journey is:
We do not know at which station we ourselves are going to get off.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

So, we must live in the best way - adjust, forget, forgive and offer the best of what we have.

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to leave our seat... we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life."

🚂🚋🚋🚋🚋

Thank you for being one of the important passengers on my train... don't know when my station will come... don't want 2 miss saying: "Thank you."

🚂🚋🚋🚋

Share/Save/Bookmark

June 16, 2016

Setbacks Lead To Comebacks

My wife, Danielle Blumenthal, sent me this beautiful quote from Joel Osteen's book called, "It's Your time."

"For every setback, G-d has prearranged a comeback

For every failure, G-d has prearranged mercy. 

For every disappointment, G-d has prearranged restoration. 

For every unfair thing, G-d has prearranged vindication....

It's easy to get discouraged, lose your enthusiasm, or even be tempted to just settle where you are.

But if we're going to see G-d's best, when you get knocked down, you don't stay down. You get back up again.You have to know that every time adversity comes against you, it's a setup for a comeback."

Often we look at some people, and think that they have everything. 

But no one does--life is a bunch of trade-offs. 

Some are blessed with family and friends, others with health and longevity, and still others with peace or prosperity, but no one has it all. 

And if you think they do, then you don't really know them and their circumstances. 

In life, everyone has weaknesses, setbacks and failures...it's how we learn, it's how we grow.

Understanding that setbacks doesn't necessarily mean "game over" and that as long as there is life, there is hope, can give us the courage to go on, and the strength to get up when it seems like we are down for the count, and to make a comeback to live and thrive yet another day. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Share/Save/Bookmark

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)
Share/Save/Bookmark

April 21, 2016

Prove Them Wrong

So I was recently teaching a certification class. 

And this was a very high-caliber class of professionals attending. 

One gentlemen was a wonderful African American who I will call John. 

As part of one of the class assignments, John,  a very successful man, told of how as a young man growing up in the DC projects, a neighbor told him something very hurtful and potentially devastating to him.

The neighbor angrily said, "You'll never be anything in your life!"

And John described how he pursued his education, his career goals, his family, as well as philanthropic pursuits to give back to the community--and he went quite far. 

He told with great emotion and tears in his eyes how ten years ago, he went back to his old neighborhood to thank this neighbor for motivating him (even though in a negative way) to go as far in life as he did. 

You could hear a pin drop in the class--I think a lot of people could relate to this story in their own lives. 

I know that I for one certainly could. 

For me, while I am a simple person and have not gone so far, I have certainly had an interesting life and lots of wonderful opportunities.

Yet, I too remember more than 20 years ago, when I had taken a job in a wild pursuit in my youthful ambitions that one crazy boss that I was briefly working for who was considerably older than me and with his own business abusively said to me one day, "You're not half of what you think you are!"

BAM! Like a huge sledge hammer hitting me right across my head--I was still relatively young and impressionable.

Also, I came from a pretty blue collar-type working family and although upwardly mobile, and I was certainly trying to become "more," I never really felt at all entitled. 

Anyway, the story this student told really brought my own experience hurling back to me from my past. 

In the class, John said--you have to go out and "Prove them wrong." 

And while I don't exactly feel that proving others who wish us bad to be wrong is the point, I do agree that we shouldn't let any of these negative nellies in our own lives drag us down. 

We all have our mission in life--and it's up to us to become the best people that we can--and to hell with everyone who looks down on us, discourages us, maybe are competitive with us or jealous in some way, or simply don't wish us the best. 

So John is right--go out there and do great things! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
Share/Save/Bookmark