Showing posts with label Words. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Words. Show all posts

August 7, 2019

Ocean of Words

I really like this phrase from a book that I'm reading called "Like Dreamers."
An ocean of words and a desert of ideas.

Too often, we hear people who like to hear themselves talk, think very highly of themselves, show off, or just spout away. 

And while they say a lot...

There may not be a lot there. 

New ideas, thoughts, ways of looking at things, innovation, creativity, outside the box thinking--that's like a desert!

In Yiddish (and it's always funnier in Yiddish), we say:
A big, big mouth, and a tiny, tiny head.

Similarly, in Hebrew, there is phrase that translates to:
Say a little, and do a lot. 

Sometimes, the smartest people are the ones who use their words wisely, strategically, with depth and meaning, and when they really have something to say.

It's at that time that you better be listening.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 26, 2019

The Beauty Of Words

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "The Beauty of Words."
Before Amos Oz could read the words themselves (by sounding our the letters), he learned to read by shapes!  Amazingly, he saw the words in a whole new way. The "S" in "Snake" looks like a snake. Similarly the "F" in "Flag" looks like a flag on a pole. Again, an "eye" looks like a pair of eyes with the bridge of a nose between them. 

"Language arts" really is an art that is poetic in sound, meaningful in thought, and even beautiful to look at--no different than a work of art by Picasso or Mozart. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 17, 2018

Trump's Uncanny Ability To Call A Horse A Horse

So President Trump has an uncanny ability to call something what it is and literally brand it that way. 

After Stormy Daniels lost a recent lawsuit against Trump, he called her "Horseface."

Not a nice term about people and things he doesn't like.

But you know what when I looked at her, I could see what he saw.

And you know what, she will go down in the history books as Horseface. 

Similarly, with many other brands Trump has bestowed on others:

"Crooked Hillary (Clinton)"

"Failing New York Times"

"Crazy Joe (Biden)"

"Criminal Enterprise (Clinton Foundation)"

"Save Your Energy Rex (Tillerson)"

"Countries That Rip Us Off (NATO)"

"Worst Deal Ever (Iran Nuclear Deal)"

"Losers, Thugs (Islamic State)"

"Fake News (CNN)"

"Pocahontas (Elizabeth Warren)"

"Cryin Chuck (Schumer)"

"Will Make America Weak Again (Nancy Pelosi)"

"Crazy Rants (Maxine Waters)"

"Rocket Man (Kim Jong-Un)"

"Doing Many Bad Things Behind Our Back (Iran)"

Again, I'm not condoning name-calling of any kind.

And words certainly do hurt. 

However, Trump does seem to see things that are like, "Oh yeah!"

And once, he coins a term, it sticks!

Not that it's right, but he has a genius to brand people and things.  

What he sees and what he calls it, just like a branding iron, will stick with them forever. 

Why?  Because a horse is a horse, especially once it gets called out. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 17, 2018

From Mouth To Friendship

So it's amazing how people are so willing to throw away friendship. 

They get angry about something having nothing even to do with you.

They say things they probably don't even mean, and in turn you may say things you don't even mean. 

Often you say things just to bring the other person to their senses. 

But sometimes they don't come to their senses. 

They need to let out on someone and you're the convenient scapegoat. 

Before you know it, they throw your friendship under a bus. 

Personally, I'm not one to make friends that easily or quickly--there needs to be some real chemistry and the building of trust--but then I am one who is an eternally loyal friend. 

Yet, I see others, they kiss and hug and say you're like family, but then when they get angry, oh boy, you are gone like the wind. 

Maybe that's not what real friendship is. 

To me, friendship surpasses dumb deeds and words and stupid fights, it's about being there through thick and thin.

Take the false teeth out and put some permanent ones in--they last much longer. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 12, 2018

Tongue-Tied Silence

Sometimes in life, people are left tongue-tied. 

Too shocked, shamed, confused, or abused to speak or perhaps to even know what to say anymore. 

Maybe in the face of some horrible things that happen in life, there really are no words.

Instead, the vacant or crazed look in the eyes says it all.

People go through a lot--some of it is inhumane.

Sometimes, only tears can even begin to express what they are feeling. 

I think one thing that is important to do, even when we're not sure what to say, is to acknowledge that it is okay. 

Silence is often golden. 

Listen more, watch more, feel more, learn more, reflect more. 

Ask more questions. 

Usually, I'm told to ask at least 5 times (i'd say at least 3) to decompose to what is really going on underneath the superficial covers. 
"Tell me more."
"What else?"
"Can you elaborate?"

Sometimes, people have difficulty getting in touch with their true feelings or accurately diagnosing what's bothering them.  

It's more than okay to be thoughtful, be deliberative. 

Words are often cheap, but they shouldn't be. 

Our words should be truthful, meaningful, insightful, even righteous. 

Take all the time you need, your words are worth it. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 7, 2018

Power of Speech

I loved this magnet on this wonderful old Jewish ladies refrigerator who lives in our community.
"If you have nothing good to say...
Say nothing."
I remember we used to talk about this saying in my house growing up too. 

It is a famous teaching from the holy Chofetz Chaim.

I remember as a bar-mitzvah boy, someone in our community in Riverdale, NY gave me a set of the Chofetz Chaim's books.

And I enjoyed reading from them daily about always being careful with how you use your words:

- Not to hurt anyone.

- Not to speak bad about anyone (i.e. Lashon Hara)

- But rather to use words pointedly and always for the good. 

Kind words.

Gentle words.

Complimentary words.

Words of love and caring. 

Holy words. 

The Chofetz Chaim seemed to have an endless number of wonderful stories to demonstrate the power of speech and the importance of using it for the good. 

The old saying of "The pen is mightier than the sword," can be used replacing the pen with the tongue and power of speech in general. 

Words can cut someone like a knife and even kill or words can create a tremendous healing when it's full of love and caring for others. 

Actions speak louder than words, but words can speak and perform volumes in the eternal fight of good over evil. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 19, 2017

White Lie, Black Truth

No this is not another civil or human rights post, although I like writing those as well. 

Rather, this is about how we use our words to help and not hurt others. 
"White Lie, 
Black Truth"

Yes, we all know that it's wrong to lie (it's even in the 10 Commandments). 

Except, of course, when we need to tell a "white lie" in order to keep someone's feelings from getting hurt.

For example, I may not like your new haircut, but when you ask me glowingly what I think, instead of telling you how it's too short or whatever, I tell you, "Yeah, it looks great!"

Then, there is the "black truth."

That's when we swallow hard and tell the  truth to someone, even though it may hurt their feelings, it's ultimately for their good. 

For example, your child may be going of course with their lives, and while you don't want to hurt their feelings, you know you need to tell them the truth in order to help them course-correct.

Telling lies or truth can be hurtful to people, but a white lie isn't really bad, because it's used to protect someone's feeling, the black truth, is also not so dark and foreboding, because there are times when you need to get past the superficial, be real with someone, and tell them the hard truth in order to help them in a very practical sense. 

That's one of life's most difficult lessons, that not everything is black or white. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 27, 2017

The Meaning of Silence

Is silence a good thing or a bad thing--what does it really mean?

On the plus or neutral side:

Silence can mean modesty and humility--you withhold speaking out of turn or having a big mouth; you recognize that you don't know everything and what you do know is not intended to put down or shame others. 

Silence can means secrets and privacy--you don't say everything; you treat information properly based on need to know and propriety of sharing. 

Silence can mean good situational judgement--that you know prudently when to let others have their say, or when your opinion isn't really welcome, or when it's best to just stay below the radar. 

Silence can mean you simply don't know--and it's something you need to listen and learn more about rather than speak; it's why we're told that we have two ears and one mouth.

Silence can mean that maybe you don't care about something--why get fired up or "waste your breath" on it when it's just not your thing.

When can it be a negative:

There was a sign in the local school window that silence means (wrongful) acceptance; that is also something I learned in in the Talmud in yeshiva; if you see something wrong and don't say or do something, you are (partially) responsible.

Silence can mean fear--perhaps you don't accept something, but you're afraid to speak truth or morality to power; you sit silently cowering, when you should stand up tall and speak out. 

Silence may also mean shame--you've done something wrong or don't want others to know something that could make you look bad or put you in jeopardy. 

Silence can mean you are hiding something--it can be that you don't trust or aren't trustful; silence at a time when you need to answer or respond can result in suspicion about why you are "holding back," instead of being forthcoming and truthful.

When to talk and when to remain silent? 

Certainly, "you have the right to remain silent."

We need to use words with care and intent--to always seek to help and not to hurt. 

Words are so potent--the mouth is perhaps the strongest part of the human body, just like the pen is mightier than the sword. 

That's why I pray that G-d put the "right words" in my mouth--to be constructive, positive, effective and impactful--to do good as much as possible with words and with silence. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 18, 2017

The Nature of Good and Evil


Like in the Bible...

When our forefather Itzchak was about to bless his son Jacob and he said the words (are good) like Jacob, but the hands (deeds) feel like Esau.

Words are cheap, and actions speak volumes louder!

Good deeds mean something, but words are easily manipulated.

We can all spot good deeds, and that is what must guide our judgement of people and situations--that is where the truth rests.

Like my father and grandfather always taught me--some people are good and some are not so good.  ;-)

(Source Video: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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March 26, 2017

Taking It Back

So I was watching Baahubali, the highest grossing movie in India, ever. 

Enjoyed the Bollywood action and pageantry and am looking forward to the sequel coming out this week.

There was one line in the movie, spoken between swordsmen that stood out to me:

"Spoken words and spilled blood can never be taken back."

Mean and harsh word can cut like a knife and hurting someone with words or deeds, can never really be taken back. 

Sure, we can ask for forgiveness and try to make amends.

But it's like once you let the genie out the bottle, you can never really put her and keep her back in. 

A veteran recently fought to have a VA hospital in Florida put the picture of the President up instead of the blank frame on the wall they had (some nonsensical notion of resistance indicating "not my president")--the veteran said about trying to right this wrong:
"It's like trying to put 5 pounds of baloney back in a bag that only holds 2 pounds."

People are doing bad things and saying bad these things these days that can't be just taken back. 

Family, friends, and colleagues--are fighting it out and splitting up.

Each side tells themselves and the other that their cause is right and noble.  

But how much of it is really just brainwashing, hyperbole, and politicking?

While our values as individuals and as a nation should never be put at stake, maybe we could get more done and better by working together than spilling blood--friend and friend, neighbor and neighbor. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 13, 2016

How-To Book Craze

I took this photo of a person reading a how to take great photos book.

Sort of ironic, funny, no?

You can read about it or do it. 

I'm one of those people who learn more by actually doing. 

Ok, I'm not the greatest photographer in the world (by a really long shot).

But for me it's more about the idea I'm trying to convey than the pure artistic value per se. 

Anyway, in the vein of words being cheap, "Reading is fundamental," but doing is absolutely fundamental. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 6, 2016

Is There Anyone Out There To Lead

Interesting editorial in the Wall Street Journal today titled, "These Five Are the Best We Can Do?" referring to the current slate of Presidential candidates. 

According to the author, Joseph Epstein: "Viewing the candidates of both parties during the debates, one felt that nearly everyone of the participants was in the business for him- or herself."

Yes, so many people are getting turned off by the selfishness, obscurity and outright deceit, vulgarity, and off-the-chart impractical and impolitic views of the candidates.

Yet the editorial mistakenly attributes the presumed dearth of good-to-great candidates is due to no one impressive wanting to run in the age when "media and Internet are the major instruments of contemporary political degradation."

In other words, no normal person wants to be put under a microscope for their person, rather than their personal views of where to take this country. 

However, this doesn't ring true to me. 

I think that true leaders are and would be willing to endure the scrutiny of the traditional media and social media in order to take us into a meaningful, righteous, and better future--it's simply part of the job like Moses having to endure the gripes against him when he led the Children of Israel out of Egypt and to the Promised Land. 

Maybe the real reason that we don't think we have the quality of leadership that we expect is that there is a perception of a genuine dearth of sincere, unadulterated, whole-package leadership out there. 

Think about it--with a virtually unlimited supply of false messiahs across the leadership spectrum from politics to corporate and religious life--we have been let down by fraudsters, liars, thieves, and sex abusers. 

Like with the Israelites in Egypt who waited hundreds of years for G-d to bring a Moses to lead his people, perhaps we are looking with eyes heavenward for an appropriate gifted leader to take us into the future...and this is more than just what an education or pedigree can provide, but rather a person inspired by a purity of heart and a clarity of vision. 

For that, we need a leader that will not just talk the scripted talk or walk the overconfident boisterous walk, but we need to see the person whose promising words match their deeds and whose heart is aligned with the people and the nation for a truly greater future and not just for the political donations, superdelegate counts, their party nomination and the electoral college votes to land them the coveted Oval Office. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 1, 2015

There You Are

So my niece forwarded this over, and I thought it was really worth sharing...

It's about how our lives are really a bunch of building blocks, and each thing we do contributes to the next step.

So we have to be careful all along the way to do the right thing--so we can achieve the results we want and can be proud of.

It goes like this:

"Watch you thoughts; they become words.

Watch you words; they become actions.

Watch you actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits, they become character.

Watch your character; it becomes your destiny."

Sometimes, we ask ourselves how we got to where we are today--almost as if we are surprised--but the reality is that most of the time, we are going through our lives inch by inch and step by step in an incremental and causal fashion. 

Yes sh*t happens--bad things (and good things), and they test and challenge us and take us to the next playing level.

But for the most part, we didn't just arrive at this moment out of the blue, but rather given what G-d has given us, we mold ourselves brick by brick....until there we are. ;-)

(Thank you to Chana Rivkah Herbsman and Minna Blumenthal)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 28, 2015

Big Kiss Followed By Hard Slap

So I share this story not out of anger, but to tell of something important that happened to me.

It was when I was very sick last year from surgical complications...


And someone did one of the nicest things for me...and also one of the most hurtful.


This was at the point of hospitalization #3, I think (there was more after), and the doctors were shaking their heads--uh, not a good sign. 


Frankly, I didn't know anymore whether I was going to make it. 


At that time, someone close reached out to me and my wife and said they were going to hold a prayer vigil for me in their home one evening to try and help. 


They did and even sent me photographs of the wonderful people taking the time to ask G-d to save me...I was deeply moved and grateful. 


But subsequently on a phone call with the person who set this up, they said to me seemingly with resentment at having to have done it and undoing all the good they had done...


"You know you really need to get some zechusim of your own!"


Zuchusim means qualities or deeds that merit some reward or good.


In other words, I was getting judged and scolded and was being told that I was in pain, suffering, and sick because basically I MUST be an aweful person who deserves it


And if not for her organizing the prayer group and those others with zuchusim that attended, I on my own probably did not even deserve to live. 


Gee, thanks for the slap, slap, and slap.


While I am sure her words were intended to help me by exhorting ultimate life betterment, at the time and even now, the roughness and shrill of them hurt--it's nothing less than a matter of soul!


While I am no saint--and I think few of us can claim that title no matter how hard we may put ourselves on that lofty pedestal--I know that in my own way--maybe not the most traditional way that other religious people can fully relate to--I try my best to serve G-d, be a decent human being, and a good influence...while not perfect by any sense of the word. 


Laying sick and vulnerable, I needed to be told that I was okay and everything would be okay with G-d's blessing--that whatever the suffering and whatever the reason, my life has good in it and meaning to it--even while we can all better ourselves. 


But while I felt the kiss from this person when they organized the beautiful prayer group for me, I soon felt the sting of the slap from the strict harsh "religious" judgement from someone that didn't even really know my days in and outs. 


While I know I can do better--and I am committed to continue to try to learn and grow as a person--and serve G-d and help others--but for crying out loud have some compassion, go easy on the severity of the judgement and exhortations, and maybe give some benefit of the doubt. 


Words have meaning even though deeds surpass words, and we should be careful with both. ;-)


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos posting of Batmancomic.infogenerator)

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August 30, 2014

Erase Me Not

So in the war between good and evil, the battlefield has become a war of words as much as that of guns and bombs. 

If you can't exterminate a people physically, then why not try to do it historically? 

With despots like former Iranian president Ahmadinejad as a exemplar for Holocaust denial, history revisionists now make fair game of rewriting the past, so that it plays their way.

How convenient--if you don't like how something turns out, simply change it in the history books so it never even happened. 

I was surprised recently to see how far this method of verbal warfare has gone, when I happened to look up some information online about the Jewish Exodus from slavery in Egypt and trek to the Promised Land of Israel, only to find that in Wikipedia, this has now been deemed a "Charter Myth."

I wondered how both the thousands year old Jewish Torah and the Christian Old Testament that records my people's hundreds of years of slavery and redemption in the Biblical book of Exodus was now just recorded in the most prominent online encyclopedia on the web as a false belief!

Ah, maybe those pyramids in Giza just showed up one day--and my people didn't build them with straw, mortar, and dead Jewish slave bodies.

Forget about how convenient calling this a myth is to the terrorists who don't want to acknowledge that the Land of Israel was given by G-d to the Jewish people and instead want to believe in Jihad against all "infidels."

My daughter asked me on a recent walk why they hate us? 

And I answered and said, if another people--i.e. the existence of the Jews and their homeland, Israel--is a refutation of their hate-filled "religious" beliefs, then maybe we can understand why they want to get rid of us, the inconvenient evidence.

This same story is playing out in the fighting between Israel and Hamas, where despite incredible destruction to Hamas in Gaza, they are claiming victory on social media. 

The Jewish people are small in numbers, and if millions of religious militants wants to write us off in the history books and on the web, they can certainly try. 

But what Jewish people do that is smarter than trying to erase something bad from history is that we force ourselves to remember it--to learn lessons from it and become better despite what happened. 

That is why we celebrate Passover to remember the Exodus from many thousands of years ago. The same with Yom Hashoah to memorialize the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust, and Tisha B'Av to remember the destruction of the two Jewish temples. 

Even we the commandment to blot of the remembrance of the evil that Amalek did in attacking the our infirm and elderly among us in the dessert in Exodus, we remember this annually!

The Jews are a people of the book--we remember, we study, we learn, we grow. 

In the Bible, there are plenty of people that did bad things, but we would never think to rewrite it or any portion of it. It is sacred and most valuable to learn from--the good and the bad. 

While damning the memory of someone bad is not uncommon among all cultures, it is really more a remembrance of what they did bad, rather than forgetting they ever did it. 

It is far more courageous to remember history and learn from it, then try fledglingly to rewrite the parts that you don't like or are inconvenient to you. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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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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August 4, 2012

Words Have Meaning

Recently, I heard a very smart mentor tell a crowd that "words have meaning."

The context was that even in relation to giving criticism, it is important to be constructive, and not destructive to those receiving it. 

Some are not good at giving criticism and others can be downright sadistic--humiliating, embarrassing, marginalizing, verbally abusing, and even throwing things. 

Words can really hurt people, and the kids song about "stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me"--is just not true for children or adults. 

From a work perspective, I relate this to what I learned earlier in my life about being not only balanced with people and their performance, but also seeing the whole human being--listening to them and being empathetic. 

In performance terms, it's as important to say what people are doing well, as well as to point out areas where their is room for improvement--and yes, it's hard to admit it, but no one of us is perfect, and at the same time, no one really likes to be criticized. 

So it takes a special talent, but one that can be learned--if you have an open mind--to have a heart-to-heart with others, and show that you are not just criticizing to be an S.O.B., but that you genuinely accept the person for who they are, and want to help them learn and grow--and do even better in the future. 

We all have strengths and weakness, and with kindness, we can help others to rise above their limitations and break new barriers in their lives. 

I came across a different example of where words have meaning in terms of people looking for opportunity. 

I heard a story about this person who when asked why they should get a job, responded because they are a "good person."

Word do have meaning and we don't give opportunities to people because they like the person they are, but rather because they have "earned it" professionally--life is competitive and opportunities are not just handed out. 

One more example of how words have meaning, happened when I heard one lady ask another what her son was doing for the summer (given all the unemployment). The other lady replied, "oh, he's busy--sleeping and eating."

Ouch. Yes, times are tough out there, but to hear the mother say it--in that way--about her own child, just sounded perhaps a little harsh and judgmental, but who really knows their particular circumstance. 

Words have meaning--they can bring lovers together, hurt those you love the most, damage reputations, destroy lives, and tear nations apart or bring unity to them and determination to their cause. 

Watching what we say and how we say it--is important for us in growing as decent and thoughtful human beings and in becoming good leaders--in both, we have to have heart and treat others well in both word and deed. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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June 24, 2012

It's The Right Thing To Do

In election season, there is a lot of confusing messaging and as citizens, we are left trying to figure out where to go with our country's leadership next. 

The rhetoric is heating up as each side tries to outdo the other on why they are right and the other side is wrong on the issues and who will be better at leading us into the future. 

- But where is the negotiation, balance, compromise, and win-win for all the people? 

Then of course, there is the blame game that seems to go on too, with politicians saying things aren't getting done because of partisanship or this administration or that's mistakes--this is the finger-pointing. 

- What ever happened to the buck stops here? 

Related, we have others that won't even admit what they've said or where they stand on the issues--first, they may just try to deny it and say they never said it, and perhaps later, they admit they said it, but they didn't mean it quite that way--like, it's a sound bit taken out of context. 

- Is this conviction or just playing to the audience? 

Finally, what are candidates even trying to sell us when they are electioneering--slogans, potshots, sleight-of-hands, political publicists or genuine direction for how to make this country great.

- Is it a person, a party, or a platform that we are even voting for and how does race, ethnicity, sex, religion and so forth factor in to the votes? 

Some commentators, like Peggy Noonan, have rightfully said (Wall Street Journal, 18-19 June 2012) that candidates must find a theme that people can sensibly grasp unto--something that gives a "sense of meaning" for their run.

Ultimately, we need to know who the candidates are as human beings--what is in their soul--what do they really think--and most important, what will they actually do, if they have the power. 

A few weeks ago the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial called "Four Words that Moved The World: 'Tear Down This Wall'"--those where the words uttered by then President Ronald Reagan on June 12, 1987 in a speech in front of the Berlin Wall. 

Reagan told his deputy chief of staff that even though some would be mad at him for saying it, "it's the right thing to do." 

Those six words are even more powerful than the four in his speech, because, especially as a leader, doing--not just saying--the right thing, is everything!

The hard part, as voters, is figuring out who will do what the right thing when they are called on. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Randy Robertson)

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February 12, 2012

Reprogramming Your Inner Software


The importance of positive life energy (or Ch'i) is something that both the Asian culture teaches and which the self-healing industry has picked up on. 

I remember when my cousin had a brain tumor, and people used to tell him to envision himself healthy and cancer free; he fought for a decade of survival before the tumor eventually took his life. 

His mother too died from cancer at a young age, hers was leukemia and she didn't have a fighting chance. 

While surrounding yourself with positive people and energy helps us to stay focused, positive, and strong, it, in and of itself, is not a cure-all.

Many extreme athletes and hyper-achieving professionals are often told or tell themselves to envision actually performing unbelievable feats--they do this until they can literally see it happening in their "mind's eye"--this then supposedly helps them to ultimately perform accordingly. 

On Sunday mornings, Joel Osteen's popular message is the same idea--you are not what others say you are or criticize you to be, rather "you are what G-d says you are." 

Today, Osteen compared us to computers, where often our external hardware is functioning okay, but our internal software is messed up and needs reprogramming. Osteen said you need to hit the delete key--delete those who say that you cannot or will not succeed, and instead fill yourself with faith that you can become what the almighty has designated you to be. One story, Osteen told, was about the father who always told his kid that he was a good-for-nothing, and even on his deathbed, he said, "your brother is a nothing, and you are and always will be a nothing too."

These words hurt and can haunt people all their lives; the words echo in people's heads and souls and prevent them from fulfilling their life missions, unless they "hit the delete key" and refocus themselves on the positive message that they are a child of the G-d most high who has breathed life into them, not for nothing, but to achieve their destiny. 

I remember hearing a crummy boss at work yell at a subordinate in front of the rest of the office and tell them "you are not half what you think you are." Similarly, at school, children are notorious for tearing at other kids for being too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, too dumb, and too smart. 

At work, at school, and at home, people can be vicious in bringing others down and the impact of these negative messages on people's lives is crushing. 

So surround yourself with positive people and positive energy--people who tell you that you can do it and are genuinely rooting for you to succeed, not in a fanciful way, but in a sincere and loving way; these are your biggest allies in life. 

Groucho Marx joked that "behind every successful man is a woman, and behind her is his wife."  Seriously though, behind every successful person are all those who love, believe, and support them to be able to achieve what they do or as the poet John Donne wrote, "no man is an Island entire unto itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main."

In the movie Saints and Soldiers, a group of American and a British soldiers in World War II are on a trek to reach allied forces with vital information to save them from German attack--in one scene the British airman get the others to tell him their personal life secrets, and then when they turn around and ask him what his story is, he says "I'm not going to tell you that, I barely know you."

While it's sort of humorous, in life a lot of people are unfortunately that way--they take from you, but then do not give back. For example, at work, the worst bosses may "use you and spit you out" and when you say oh, I'm been loyal to you for X years, the response is cold and muted, like I the British soldier that after taking in their personal stories, responds that he barely knows them.

In families too, this happens when for example, parents sacrifice to give their children "everything", but later in life, the children don't even have the inclination to call or visit or "give them the time of day."

This is like one of favorite songs by Harry Chapin called "Cats In The Cradle," in this case though the father was always too busy for the son and then later in life the son had no time for his dad--"and as I got off the phone it occurred to me, he'd grown up just like me." 

We can rise above the selfishness, the coldness, and the negative attitudes, and we can be giving to others in our lives--the words we speak and the actions we show have lasting impact.  

Rather than being the target of someone's "delete" button in their life, wouldn't it be nice to be cherished for their "save" button--and help them to achieve in life what they came here for to begin with.

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December 21, 2011

Getting Control By Getting Back To Basics

I don't know if you've seen this--it's pretty popular, but I just really liked it:
“Beware of your thoughts, they become your words.
Beware of your words, they become your actions.
Beware of your actions, they become your habits.
Beware of your habits, they become your character.
Beware of your character, it becomes your destiny.”

To me it just makes so much sense--and it's how we can either get ourselves on a track for successful living or potentially into some pretty big trouble:

It starts with a simple thought--good or bad--light bulb goes on, bling!
Utter the thought (in word) and it begins to take form--blah, blah, blah.
Put that thought into action, and now--boy oh boy--what have you done?
Repeat once, twice, three times, and you have a habit--or in Jewish tradition a "Chazakah," something firm or established--think of it as, you're hooked.
Habits sure as heck breed character--and don't pretend otherwise...
And your character is your calling card with others and ultimately with G-d.

The good thing is that we have 5 steps to intervene--to gain control over where we are going with our lives.

And we can turn things around, at any time.
- Change your thinking.
- Clean up your mouthpiece.
- Act with kindness.
- Repeat only the things you want to ingrain.
- Guard your character through regular monitoring and course correction.

(Source Photo: here)

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