Showing posts with label Values. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Values. Show all posts

October 5, 2020

What Type of Sick Puppy

What type of sick puppy puts a girl in a caged pen with the dog?

This was in a woman's clothing/fashion store in the local mall. 

There is something really screwed up with people's thinking and our culture. 

Even if this lady likes to pet the dog, this is horrible messaging!

We need a serious reset on how to treat women and show them proper respect!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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January 30, 2020

Your Expiration Date

So I was talking to someone about their challenges in life.

And they said something that really hit a chord:
You never know what your expiration date is!

What an interesting way to say you never know when your time is up.

They used the phrase "expiration date" like we so commonly see on food and medicine products. 

You know when you read the label and it tells you to discard after a certain date. 

So people are like all these other goods that have a date stamped on them.

We have a date stamped on us (maybe it's on our forehead or some other less conspicuous place), and we just can't see it. 

Yet, we need to live every day as if that expiration date is coming due. 

Because like that stale food in your fridge or the old medicine in your cabinets, everything and everybody has a shelf life.

So you better live every day good and meaningfully before your expiration date comes due. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 27, 2020

Life Equated With Hate

Does anyone get this sign from the Pro-Life rally last week?
Pro-Life is Pro-Hate

But equating Pro-Life with hate doesn't add up.

It actually seems the opposite that if you want to sanctify and protect life that you are loving people, not hating. 

Sometimes to make a point, people will just say anything. 

It's related to "gaslighting" where they want to manipulate you into questioning your own beliefs, values, and sanity.

Perhaps, throwing around terms like hate just dilutes the real meaning of it similar to making other false accusations against people. 

We need to argue the issues, and not attack each other. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 23, 2019

The Life and Legacy of Sarah

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "The Life and Legacy of Sarah."


The Rebbetzin explained beautifully that when we live a good life, not only does our soul live on in the afterlife, but our good deeds continue to have an influence in this world even after we, ourselves, have passed.

We should never underestimate our influence in this world, and that what we say and do reverberates like concentric circles that spread out from the source farther and farther. Moreover, while you might not think that what you do matters all that much or is a big deal, you never really know the outsize impact that it can have. Therefore, even while Sarah had passed and Abraham mourned her, the truth is that her legacy of the great Jewish nation was only just beginning!


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 2, 2019

Pyramid of Emotional Intelligence

I really like this Pyramid of Emotional Intelligence (EI). 

It starts at the bottom with your own personal self-awareness--knowing who you are, including your beliefs, values, priorities, needs, and dreams, and being able to express this. 

Next level is your personal self-control--being able to manage your feelings, control your actions, and cope with challenges and adversity. 

Moving to the social level is then social awareness--having a consciousness and respect of others, their feelings, thoughts, motivations, needs, desires, and rights.

Finally, at the top is relationship management--the ability to actively listen and empathize, assert and influence, be patience and unconditionally accept differences, develop trust, give and take, collaborate, and manage conflict.

Most people work on developing these areas of the EI their whole life, and it is definitely a pyramid worthy of the climb. ;-)

(Credit Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 25, 2019

Confidence Speaks

I found this interesting about communications management. 

On one hand, when discussing issues, you want to listen to everyone's input, and consider all sides. 

On the other hand, it's critical to be competent, confident, and "know what you're talking about."

Amos Oz wrote:
Those who hesitate and doubt are convinced by those who are strong-minded. 

So it's an important balancing act:

- Not to be so self-confident that you aren't listening to others, 
- But also not being so unsure and hesitant that you don't stand behind your values and views. 

Confidence speaks, but overconfidence is deaf. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 23, 2019

Hopefully, All's Well That Ends Well

I liked this Hebrew sign that says (translated):
When the end is good, all is good. 

Or as we commonly say:
All's well that end's well. 

Lot of truth to this. 

And there are so many languages that talk to this.

I remember my father used to say it in German as well.

When things end well, it's as if everything went well. And when things end badly, it's as if everything was bad. 

The human mind seems to focus on the last thing (and forgets virtually everything leading up to it). 

Perhaps, we justify the means with the end (i.e. all the time and effort leading up to it). 

Or maybe we recap our lives as either a success or failure by how things ended up. 

In 20/20 hindsight, we can see the consequences of our actions.

- Was all the hard work worth it?

- Did we even focus on the right priorities and goals in life?

- Were the choices and decisions we made well-founded? 

- What was the impact on ourselves, our loved ones, and more broadly?

We look for meaning and purpose in our lives, and hopefully in the end when we look back, we are blessed to see that it was all for the good. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 4, 2019

What Makes Happy

So the same things don't seem to drive happiness for everyone. 

Some like big jobs and lots of power. 

Others are happier with more work-life balance. 

Some like to pursue lots of degrees and certifications.

Others like to learn on their own and through life experience. 

Some like to travel the world.

Others like a day in nature or at the museum. 

Some like big families and lots of people around them. 

Others like smaller families, close friends, intimacy, or even being more on their own. 

Some like lots of money. 

Other are happy with having what they need.

Some like to be tremendous athletes. 

Other like to just stay fit or maybe are more comfy as "couch potatoes."

Some like to be very religious and follow all the laws.

Others prefer mindfulness, a sense of spirituality and being a "good person."  

Some like lots of activities and to always do different things. 

Others are more comfortable with routine and incremental change. 

We all have basic needs, but we also have different values, priorities and comfort zones. 

Happiness isn't a yes or no answer, but what makes us feel on track and doing good. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 11, 2018

Blood Libels Unabated

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel, called "The Jews Control It."

Unfortunately, the anti-Semites continue their refrain of "The Jews control the world" from Wall Street to Main Street to K Street.

But what they are completely missing are the true secrets of Jewish creativity and thought.

I hope you will read the article to learn about Jewish values and our faith. ;-)

(Source Photo: 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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May 26, 2018

Amazon's Dangerous Genius

I am marveling at the Genius of Amazon and Jeff Bezos but also concerned about their future direction. 

Traditionally, they have invested for the long-haul!

For years, Amazon never made a dime, actually operating at a loss.

But all the time making long-term investments in infrastructure (warehouses, supply chain, logistics, etc.) and in customer acquisition. 

Their great selection, reasonable pricing, free shipping, and easy return policy lured hundreds of millions of people to drop the brick-and-mortar stores and even other online retailers to go Amazon all the way. 

Most people I know get virtually everything and anything on Amazon these days. 

Of course, the fear always was that Amazon would become such a dominant player and monopoly that no one else could compete. 

For a long time, they didn't even charge sales tax!

It seems people can't even imagine not having Amazon--where in the world would they shop and get all their stuff in 2-days or less (Prime Customers) and still be able to return all the crap they don't even want. 

So here is the rub.

Now that Amazon is so dominant, guess what?  They are raising the Prime Rates and cutting back on returns--with customers actually being banned for returning too much. 

Ah, the lure, bait and switch. 

Amazon got us all as their slave customers--and we let them and love them for it. 

And after they snared us with all the convenience and security of being able to return stuff, they pull the rug and what can you do, but cry foul?

I love Amazon for their genius and what they have done for eCommerce, but I don't like that they've built in a sense a dark empire to prey on their loyal customer base. 

Mr. Bezos, here is my message to you...

Please stay true to your ideals of customer-centricity and long-term investment in the company that has been the foundation for what you have built into such a retail juggernaut.  

Keep valuing your customers and serving them well and not trading them in for short-term profit gain.

In the end, that is a winning strategy that won't land you in either regulatory hell and/or antitrust action to then force you to bend your knee or your ultimate breakup. 

Remember, you have one chance to make the right decision for Amazon or I fear that it's not product returns that you'll be for long worrying about. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 10, 2018

The Essence of Time Management

So here are some quickies on the essence of time management.

1. Urgency vs Importance:

Don't sacrifice the important items for the urgent ones!

- Focus on the items that are important on the right side of the matrix--if they are urgent (upper-right), you need to do now; if they aren't urgent, but they are important (lower-right), you need to make time for them. 

- Deemphasize the items that aren't important on the left side of the matrix--if they are urgent and not important (upper-left), limit them or delegate them; if they aren't urgent or important (lower-left), delete them. 

There are two potential areas of dissonance that can cause you tension, stress, and anxiety.

- When the urgent top row items and the lower-left life necessities get in the way of your focusing on the quality life items that are of long-term importance to you (the lower-left).  For example, work and errands can crowd out your personal, family, community, and spiritual time. 

- When you have too many items in the lower-right quality time area and these are in competition with each other for your time and attention, and you don't know how to prioritize them and get it all done.  It's like there is never enough time. For example, we ignore our spouse, the kids, or closeness with G-d, because we just can't get to it all.

This is where our personal values and conscience come into play to drive what we do and how we spend our precious time in this world. 

We all only have 24 hours in a day, so our actions need to be purposeful and driven by our values!

2. Tasks vs Relationships

Imagine another matrix with focus on tasks on the vertical access and focus on relationships on the horizontal access. 

Again here, we want to ensure a healthy balance of focus on both task and relationships (upper-right corner). 

If we focus on tasks at the expense of relationships or relationships at the expense of tasks, we are going to have a problem.  Moreover, it makes no sense to focus on items that are neither task- nor relationship-focused (lower-left).  

We need to collaborate with others to accomplish great, complex tasks (we can only accomplish so much alone). 

Again, dissonance (tension, stress, anxiety) is caused when we are pulled off-balance to focus on work or people to the exclusion of the other.  

As they say,

"Mission first, people always!"

We've got to build meaningful relationships and work together to get the mission done and the mission can be helping people and building a better society in a variety of ways. 

In a sense, it's people helping people. Love thy neighbor to help thy neighbor.  

Time is of the essence--we have so little of it--it is precious--we can't get it back--it goes so fast--we need to manage it like gold. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 4, 2018

Living Your Values

So I had this great conversation today with someone about values.

Thinking about what I really value and whether I am living consistently with these...

For me, I was able to clarify for myself these critical values:

1) Being a good person and influence in the world (having a positive impact on people and ideas)

2) Being a good family man (a loving husband, father, and previously son)

3) Being spiritual and serving G-d (living selflessly for my Maker and not selfishly for myself)

4) Being a hard worker (living productively and not as a laggard or sloth)

5) Being a balanced person (living along the "golden path" or "middle of the road"--not an extremist)

6) Being a generally healthy person (living a lifestyle that includes activity, exercise, good nutrition, and no smoking, drugs, or excessive drinking)

What I realized is that when I need to let my values guide me every moment of every day. 

This ultimately means my success and happiness! 

Being what I think that I am supposed to be or what others would want me to be, just doesn't work--it's a strategy for failure. 

My father used to tell me:
"Let your conscience be your guide"  (that and the Torah, of course)

This is the answer to a lot of questions that I have in my life--about what to do with my life and what decisions to make.

Values--driven by conscience and integrity--that's where I want to go next and next. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 12, 2018

The Culture Key To Organizational Success

As I continue to learn more about organizational success strategies, I am coming to understand that the underlying culture of the organization is so very fundamental to its success.

I believe this is especially the case in terms of three critical competency areas:

- Communication - needs to be timely, constructive, multi-directional, and with emotional intelligence.

- Trust - must be be based on honesty and integrity including consistently supporting the success of everyone professionally and as a organization. 

- Collaboration - must be be anchored in respecting, valuing, empowering, and rewarding each and every person for their views and the contributions, both individually and as team members, and in treating diversity and collaboration, as a true force-multiplier. 

If any of these elements are missing or broken then it does not seem to me that the organization will be able to be successful for the long term.

Organizational success is built on ingredients that strengthen the ties of leadership and individuals and that foster contribution as individuals and as team members. 

No amount of smart, innovative, and even hard work, in my mind, will make up for shortfalls in these critical organizational success factors. 

So when planning for organizational success, make sure to build these in from the get-go. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 7, 2017

The CEO and The Janitor

Wow, I heard a powerful story from a colleague that I wanted to share.

The colleague's father was a industrial psychologist and he would go into some relatively big organizations to improve the functioning and culture. 

One of the things that he would do is get the CEO and the janitor in the same room together. 

And he would say:
"Both of you have vital jobs in the organization and you need to appreciate each other!"

At this point, the CEO and the janitor would be looking around the room super quizzically.

And the psychologist would to the janitor and say:
"The CEO's job is critical, because without the CEO, we wouldn't have the leadership and vision for the organization to be successful, and you wouldn't have a job and salary.

Then he'd turn to the CEO and  explain:
The Janitor's job is critical, because without the janitor, we wouldn't have a clean and functioning building and facilities for everyone to do their jobs and be successful, and you wouldn't be able to come to work ever day."

It's really amazing that despite all the fancy titles, corners offices, and rich compensation packages for some, really everyone in the organization is vital in their own way!

We need to remember that when we deal with others that they are human beings--in the image of G-d--and we need to treat all with the utmost dignity and respect for both who they are and what they contribute. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 29, 2017

Doctors In Houston

With the crisis of Hurricane Harvey and the rains still battering Houston...

It was so amazing to read this morning about the doctors who are going all out to help people in need there.

Doctors staying in the hospital for days to cover their patients stuck there and requiring care and treatment.

And others that are wading through the waters at there own risk to get there to treat the sick.

One doctor mentioned was Adi Diab M.D. who trekked 3 miles through a foot of water to get Anderson Cancer Center "to attend to a patient undergoing an experimental cancer treatment."

He did this so as not to interfere with the patients scheduled treatment for the re-engineering of immune cells to fight a tumor.

I'll tell you, there really are some truly amazing people out there--whether doctors and nurses, firefighters and emergency responders, law enforcement and military personnel.

They run into danger and disaster zones when everyone else is running out. 

Is it professionalism, dedication, duty, or an angelic calling to help people and the nation in need.

This is our nation at its best--united!!!--and helping our neighbors, saving lives, and putting others before self.

"Houston there is a problem", and as unbelievably horrible and unfortunate as it is, perhaps it is also a critical reminder of what's really important and a healing to our great nation.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 26, 2017

Faces of The Metro and The Times





Do these people look happy and fulfilled or are they looking more vacant, exhausted, and miserable to you?

Is it the Metro? 
Is it Washington, D.C.? 
Is it their work? 
Is it family issues? 
Is it the economy?
Is it health problems?

For a superpower country with supposed incredible wealth, might, and freedom to enjoy it all--what the heck is going on.

Should we blame the politics and fighting? 
Should we blame the fake news optics?
Should we blame our gnawing adversaries (Axis of Evil Russia, Iran, North Korea...)?
Should we blame materialism and consumerism (and a corresponding lack of spirituality and values in our lives)? 

We have the greatest advances in history--revolutionizing energy, transportation, healthcare, communications, and more--so much to advance our well-being, to savor, and seemingly endless more to come. 

Why aren't people smiling?
Why aren't people jumping for joy more? 
Why aren't people even awake with eyes open to enjoy the life's journey?

There should be great hope in the future--with fruitful life there is hope and with hope there is excitement and joy--but without hope all is meaningless and lost.  

What is going on out there--psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, clergy?

We are trying to do everything right.

So where are we going wrong-wrong-wrong? ;-)

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 4, 2017

Wow 4th of July Flowers

Wow, these flowers were made for 4th of July, right?

How amazing that G-d (maybe with some man adjustments) made these beautiful red, white, and blue flowers--all-in-one! 

Go USA!

It's truly fantastic to have independence, freedom, human rights, democracy.

We have so much to be grateful for. 

And there is so much that the world can learn and benefit from America.

We're not perfect--nobody and nothing (but G-d) is. 

But we stand for some really amazing things--and these values are worth sharing and defending. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 7, 2017

How Much Can You Love Something?


Notice that the title of this blog is not how much can you love G-d or someone...

Those can be virtually infinite. 

I remember my dad was so devoted to G-d and his family. 

He used to say:

"I would go through fire for my family [and of course G-d]."

And we all knew from his daily actions that he meant it! 

But how about for things--how much do some people love their things?

I read today in the Wall Street Journal how David Rockefeller's estate of paintings, porcelain, and silver was slated to sell for $700 million!

That's a lot of prized possessions of [lovely] material things!

But even things that aren't so pricey are incredibly beloved to many people. 

In these photos, someone who must really love bowling has adorned their home and property with dozens of bowling bowls. 


Literally on the fence and in big piles as decoration in the yard all around the home. 

True, it's colorful, novel, and sort of interesting, but really you love bowling that much!

Yes, we are want to be comfortable with our special things especially when they provide good memories and sentimental feelings.

But whether a bowling bowl house or a Rockefeller estate, it's only truly worth something if there is G-d and loving people in it with you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 30, 2017

Jewish In Florida



These were three beautiful Jewish things that I saw in Florida in 24 hours.

The first was a billboard touting the wonderful America-Israel friendship and partnership.
"Frontline in the global war on terror.
Best friend and ally of the US.
Providing religious freedom and liberty.
Thank you Israel for sharing American values."
The second were about 20 cans ("pushkas") for collecting charity for the poor in a local kosher Pita Plus restaurant.  

Have a great shawarma plater (with mounds of meat) and give back to others in need and hungry. 

The third was a sign in a discount beachy clothing store with the holy Jewish blessing of Shema Israel.
"Hear O Israel:
The L-rd is our G-d.
The L-rd is One."
There is definitely more than sun and surf and vacation here...

There is a feeling of G-d and faith, of charity and giving, and of special partnership between friends and allies, USA-Israel. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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