Showing posts with label Change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Change. Show all posts

February 4, 2022

Stop The Excuses

Change is hard, but often necessary.

As they say, "adapt or die." 

Of course, you can change when you stop:

  1. Procrastinating
  2. Being lazy
  3. Accepting the status quo
  4. Making excuses 

Take control of your life: change yourself before life bites back at you (and maybe hard).

We've got to slay our own demons not only outside, but inside. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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November 17, 2021

Gorgeous Fall Leaves


Wow, gorgeous fall change of colors for the leaves. 

It almost looks like the tree is golden, heavenly and floating. 

We're so lucky to get to experience the wonders of nature. 

Thank you G-d!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Minna Blumenthal)


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September 29, 2021

True Self Is Helping Others

 

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called "True Self is Helping Others."

The Rebbe’s message was that self-improvement was really about helping others! All the changes we commit to around the Jewish New Year and make in ourselves is not really about us, but rather about us being able to develop ourselves in order to “give it all away” to help others. Too often, people think in terms of self-help, self-improvement, where everything is sort of in terms, well, ourselves–my looks, my degrees, my career, my bank account, my family, and so on. However, people should not lose sight that everything that Hashem gives us is really for a higher spiritual purpose, for giving to others or “paying it forward.”

In this vein, we learn Torah not just for the sake of learning, but rather in order to actually do Mitzvot! Rabbi Kaplan explained that the Rebbe would make each and every person feel special and important. Why? Because by building up the individual, each could then go out and build up the world. And this is one of the reasons that I love and respect Chabad so much—from my experience, people like Rabbi Kaplan and Chabad in general, are all about living this life lesson from the Rebbe and giving, giving, and then giving some more in order to really improve the Jewish community globally and by extension the world.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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April 4, 2020

From Hate To Love

Just a self-reflection today...

Important to me. 

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

Who I became. 

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

- Reading

- Writing

- Swimming

- Hebrew

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

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

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

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

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

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 5, 2020

Dysfunctional Breeds Dysfunction

A colleague was telling me a while back about a dysfunctional organization they were in and how it made them feel...well, dysfunctional. 

I told them:
Never let the organization define you!  You are who you are. 

Honestly, I could see how this situation wore on them.

Then we met up again, and it was like they were a new person. 

I asked them what happened and they said how they made a change in their life and sure enough in a healthy setting and culture, they felt great again!

It's incredible the negative impact that a bad organizational culture can have on its people. 

But it's up to you to find the right place for you, so you can be who you are!  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 17, 2019

Copy Any Key

Thought this was pretty cool in Safeway supermarket.

A automated key copy machine. 

You insert your key. 

And out pops a duplicate for you. 

Home, car, business, whatever.

What is happening to that guy who used to work the key copy machine at the local locksmith?

Who says automation and robotics isn't taking and going to take away jobs. 

I still remember that key machine--where the locksmith would put the key on one side and a blank on the other, and the machine would copy the surface grooves of one unto the other. 

Now even that is gone. 

I guess we're lucky still to have keys (for now).  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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July 13, 2019

I Pray For The Day

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "I Pray For The Day."

While I am a staunch supporter for the security of Israel, I pray for the day (a miracle) when Jews and Arabs can be brothers again--shoulder to shoulder--that embrace and help each other, rather than enemies "at each others' throats."

In my mind and heart, there has got to come a time when the hatred and violence ends, and when instead peace can and will prevail. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 12, 2018

Loneliness Is Death

There is a very important article in the Wall Street Journal today on the link of loneliness to death. 

Frightening loneliness statistics:

- One in 11 Americans over age 50 "lacks a spouse, partner, or living child."

- More than 1 in 4 baby boomers is divorced or never married.  

- 1 out of every 6 people lives alone. 

Research indicates that loneliness leads to early death. 

The impact of loneliness is equivalent to:

- Smoking 15 cigarettes a day

- Drinking 6 alcoholic beverages a day

Loneliness is worse for mortality than:

- Obesity 

- Physical activity

"The effect of isolation is extraordinarily powerful...we have to address loneliness," says the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

Whether you are extroverted or introverted, we all need human interaction, sharing, caring, touch, and love.  

Truly, no man is an island!

Those that are stranded on loneliness island need to escape it and make their way back to human civilization.

Alone our lives are dull and stunted; but together, we have the inherent social dynamics to be able to experientially learn, grow, change and mature. 

Alone we die--together we live. 

It's not just power in numbers, it's life itself. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 12, 2017

Wherever You Go

So my father used to say this idea about dealing with life's challenges:
"Wherever you go, that's where you are!"
If you think about it for a moment, it really is very profound. 

Some people think that they can run away from their problems.

Move here, there, everywhere. 

Change schools, jobs, spouses, whatever. 

But you can't run away from yourself. 

Wherever you run, you're still you!

So you need to fix yourself, your problems, your life. 

Yes, sometimes your in a place is bad, a bad fit, the people are bad, the chemistry is bad, the circumstances are bad. 

And then change can certainly be a welcome and good thing.

But when you change the external, the internal has to keep developing and changing as well, so that we learn and grow to be better people.  

Change your place is not a substitute for changing and growing yourself--that is the only constant with change. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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September 4, 2017

G-d Created Evolution

So I've been thinking a little bit about evolution.

And I don't see any contradiction between evolution and creation.

In fact, G-d created evolution!

You see, in His infinite wisdom and love, G-d made his creations with the ability to change over time. 

We are not static creatures, but we are able to evolve, adapt, transform, and grow ourselves, our species, and our world over time. 

But, but, but...there are fossils hundreds of millions years old...how could G-d have created the world less than 6,000 years ago?

Well, who says G-d created the world at time horizon zero--if the world was fully formed with trees and plants, and fish, birds, animals, and people--then these could all have had age associated with and built into them already. 

Boom...G-d just created Adam and Eve--was that from the point of conception, day of birth, or fully grown adult?  Similarly, how old is the tallest mountain or the fullest forest when it was created? 

Time is not a function of G-d who is timeless. 

And the formed world appears at the blink of G-d's eye and it can disappear that way too. 

Similarly, we learn in the Bible how G-d created the world in 6 "days" and rested on the 7th, but who says a day is literally that.

Couldn't a day as in 1, 2, 3, etc. be phases of creation...where a day could be anything from a split second to a millennium or even a hundred million years.

To the G-d who Was, Is, and Will Be--what is a day, but a span of infinitesimal to infinite time to create His children and the world to teach and grow them. 

We are here in a infinite universe enveloped by the love of a limitless G-d. 

Evolution is no more a constraint on G-d then time or space is--to the contrary, evolution is a blessing of G-d that lets things develop and mature from the image of G-d to the imagination of His mind's glory. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 16, 2017

Going Down B4 You Go Up

So a really special person that I know is going through some major life changes...

And they told me this interesting, wonderful, and faithful perspective.

"Sometimes you go down before you go up!"

Like the Wheel of Life (Gilgal Hachozer), what goes down, thank G-d can and does tend to go back up--it's a return to the mean and then some. 

When you realize that challenges and even hardships are part of the cycle, and that these test and grow you and your ability to overcome, then you can face them knowing that you can rise up and hopefully to another level of maturation and happiness. 

Yes, know that nothing is easy in life!

Often we take a step back to take two forward or a step down to boost ourselves further up. 

It's the nature of progress.

Don't be afraid to go down a little right before you're about to go way on up. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 5, 2017

From Cradle To Grave

It's funny how in organizations talk about the lifecycle of people. 

From a full lifecycle perspective, it's "cradle to grave!"

In terms of lifecycle on the job, it's "hire to retire (or to fire)."

Really the lifecycles are intertwined. 

It starts with the cradle...we are born and go through a maturation process that focuses on our education and preparation for life. 

Then we get hired into our (hopefully) dream jobs, where we spend our careers until we retire--or if you mess up badly and get fired or decide to change career course--you may have to go back to "go" and "do not collect $200" and you get hired again for another career round. 

Eventually you retire and start your 2nd life in retirement, where please G-d, you have the health and prosperity to enjoy the fruits of your labor and your families. 

Ultimately, our lifecycle ends at the grave with the death of our bodies--our souls go on to Heaven and live forever basking in the light of the Almighty. 

Thus, the human capital lifecycle. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 7, 2017

Enter With A HANDSHAKE & Leave With A HUG

So after almost 6 years at the U.S. Department of State, I am moving forward in my career to a very exciting role at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

As I look back, I have fond memories of the wonderful high-performance division I was part of and the many amazing achievements we had together, and what our Deputy Assistant Secretary called, the "A Team."

But one thing today is sticking out in my mind and it's this image.
"Enter with a handshake and leave with a hug."

On the first days, when I arrived it was all formality and firm welcome handshakes.

We don't really know you and you don't really know us, but we're embarking on this journey together, and where it takes us no one really knows, BUT we wish you the best of luck--now go out and do great things!

Then on the last days, as I was preparing to leave, the formal handshakes were long gone and instead they were replaced with warm heartfelt hugs (and some special emotional words and cards). 

I was no longer a mystery of a person, with just my reputation, coming in to do G-d knows what. 

Now, I was a human being that had a genuine history with them, formed relationships with many, had faced challenges together, and had touched not only minds, but also it was apparent, hearts. 

I will not forget the special people, nor the many times shared, our accomplishments as an organization, and how we grew. 

I am moving forward not only with their tight hugs to more handshakes anew, but also to once again hopefully grow heart-to-heart with people, as further relationships are formed and we make, please G-d, amazing new progress together--for the mission and for the people. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 22, 2016

Hope vs. Change

So we were promised hope and change, but what's the difference?

Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal says, "Hope is the helium -filled ballon of politics. Governing in office is the gravity that pulls it back down to earth."

Many politicians are giving the false impression that "giving people the rhetoric of hope, lifting them with words, is more important than delivering results, which some might call change."

Despair is when we are told that there is hope and promise, but we don't get meaningful, impactful, and lasting positive change.

The hard work of leadership is not just providing a beautiful Garden of Eden vision for people to salivate over and to get their votes, but rather it is making something REAL happen that makes people's lives and the world better. 

As they say is plain english, "Words are cheap!"

We don't need any more fancy oratory skills--Hitler had those too and it led to the murderous genocidal Holocaust and disaster of World War II. 

Time for some elbow grease and some results that aren't fake like the news we've been getting. 

We've heard too many lies, too much spin, and been subjected to language control of the "media echo chamber."

Just one prominent example has been regarding terrorism and radical Islam which is not and never has been "workplace violence" and traffic accidents. 

Who is the President of the U.S. fooling when he says that theres been "no foreign-planned terror attacks in 8 years."

Gee, ISIS and their numerous terror supporters seem to violently disagree about the many terrorist attacks we indeed did have on U.S. soil in the last 8-years, including Orlando, Garland, Fort Hood, San Bernardino, MinnesotaOhio University, and many more.  

It's time that we stop being fed a bunch of false hope and political malarkey and instead we get some genuine change, improvement, and progress in our lives and the nation. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 4, 2016

What Path Are We On This July 4th?


Over and over again, I hear people say that as a country we are on the wrong path.

According to recent polls, around 70% think we're moving in the wrong direction!

Very pessimistic bunch or something more going on?  

Despite all the technology advances--from smartphones to video-on-demand, drones to 3-D printing--people are still feeling like things are a mess. 

And the upcoming election seems to have given everyone with half a brain, reason to pause. 

The world seems like a very dangerous place these days with a resurgent Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and ISIS with your guess as to where terrorism of the day will be hitting. 

Moreover, weapons of mass destruction are proliferating from nukes to chemical and biological weapons...can anyone say $350 billion in the next 10 years to modernize America's nuclear arsenal

Deadly diseases from Ebola in Africa to Zika in South America are striking without warning and causing horrible sudden death and frightening birth defects in infant babies. 

The economy and politics of the world are grossly unstable with many banks now offering negative interest rates and Brexit tearing at the very core of the EU.  

Hundreds of thousands are dying in the Arab Spring and Middle East wars and millions of refugees are streaming to Europe and as far away as America. 

Ballooning national debts are leading to the looming bankruptcies of not only Greece, Spain, Ireland, and Puerto Rico, but also the 3 pillars of American entitlements: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. 

Unemployment shows at a deceptive 4.7%, but yet anyone looking for a job knows this is far from reality, and robots, artificial intelligence, and automation loom large over any future prospects. 

Racism and hate are all too alive and well as tempers seem to be boiling over in city after city, with or without police shootings precipitating things. 

Already as a kid, I always used to ask my dad rhetorically, "What's gonna be?"

As an adult, I understand that this was a question born of the deterioration of the moral and leadership fiber of our society and a future that was far from certain in the inner city or beyond, along with the anxiety born of wanting to have some reassurance that things somehow would end up being okay. 

But things aren't okay in our f*cked up world!

Especially with political jockeying to gerrymandering, from sit-ins to sequestration, from pork-barrel projects to outright fraud, waste, and abuse...the system is getting so broken. 

Now when I think in my head, what's gonna be, my mom and dad are not here anymore to reassure me that everything will be alright, and frankly in this day and age, those reassurances would not even be able to ring true. 

We need change and hope, but perhaps we must look Heavenward for it to come, because down here, things are looking more like a creeping hell, than a heaven that awaits.  

But good people can help to change things...one good thought, word, and deed at a time. You and I can be influences for good, for a brighter tomorrow, for peace, for freedom and equality, and for prosperity for everyone that doesn't buy into the status quo and the spin and lies that sustain it any longer. 

This is our magic wand to wave and wave and make good times based on values and faith return again. ;-)

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 31, 2016

Broken Mirror Reflections D.C.

So I took this photo of a smashed mirror hanging out of a corner trash can in downtown D.C.

Half is reflecting the garbage in the can and half is reflecting the buildings and trees outside. 

Such a metaphor for the society we live in these days. 

Where we are broken, and society is broken, and certainly lots of government is broken. 

And the shards of glass reflect on the both the garbage of what has piled up inside us and the system, but also the possibilities on the outside for development, growth, and change. 

The broken mirror with the sharp glass shards is dangerous, but perhaps by seeing the mess we are in, we can finally step up and do something to fix it. 

No more circling the wagons, infighting or deflecting from the issues; no more blaming the past or demonizing the opposition; no more excuses for stagnation, incompetence, or impotence; no more whitewashing and red tape; no more firefighting, shoddy quick fixes or waiting for another break/fix; no more whirlwind spin around the dazed and confused; no more sugar-coating, backpedaling, or dressing up or down the facts; no more playing politics or deceiving ourselves and others--is that even possible any longer?

Instead, we change to a model of acknowledging that which is broken and teaming together to fix it--doing something positive, and constructive for ourselves and the world--oh, fix it Dear Henry, please fix it.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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May 27, 2016

Cabs R Colorblind

This was funny when a cab pulls up to the curb in Washington, D.C. 

And some people walk out from the building and get in. 

Call them and they will come.

It's a black and deep orange vehicle. 

On the side of the cab is the name, "Yellow Cab Company."

Now why would you paint yourself a (fleet of) orange vehicle(s) and call yourself a yellow cab company?

At least back in New York City, taxis really were yellow--and they were really taxis and had a medallion to prove it!

These days, car ride services like Uber drive around with "U" sticker in the window, where the U is practically closed at the top. 

And Lyft cars have that cute, but ridiculous mustache on the front grill.  

Taxi services are desperate to get a brand that customers will recognize and want to call. 

No more lifting you hand and index (or middle) finger on the street curb to hail one of a blizzard of cabbies racing down Main Street.

Now it push button easy to ride a yellow, blue, red, or orange cab--with or without mustache--anywhere you want to go.

But the more things change, the more they don't stay the same---Next stop already is driverless cars. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 9, 2016

First Cherry Blossom Of The Season

Cherry Blossom in downtown Washington, D.C.

So happy winter is over and Spring has sprung. 

Sunshine, cool breeze, so good.

Feels like more. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 5, 2016

The Voter Psychology Behind A Trump

Over and over again the left AND the right try to get a knockout on Donald Trump. 

But what happens?

He's not knocked out.

He's not even knocked down.

To the contrary, he is still standing and seems to become stronger!

What is going on with this phenomenon?

Some would like to call it perhaps a psychosis of the masses

Other like to belittle those that like him by dissing their intellectual status and calling them stupid

Many even seem to go to every extreme to to make him out as crazy, fascist, bigoted, hateful, and a con man

Yet, for the most part it's doesn't seem to be working--people are still flocking to him

It's like the more they try to gang up on him, torment him, bash him, and zing him--and rather than buckle, he is still there standing and remains strong--perhaps, the more "proof" it is for people that he can and will stand up for America!

With dismal ratings for the President, Congress, and government overall, the outsider, the business man, the billionaire, the dealmaker, the one who isn't afraid to speak his mind and to say to the people the non-politically correct thing is coming across refreshing to many who are seeking change from the the last 7 years, 15 years, or further. 

With many seeing the current politics of the U.S. as leading from behind, appeasement, weak, divisive, and disengaged, it is not surprising to see bands across America yearning for something more. 

Is Donald Trump strong and anti-establishment or truly bad and dangerous?

This is for America to seek the truth on and wisely decide. 

What's riding on this?

Whether Trump OR another candidate to be determined --(someone/anyone) -- can potentially get things positively and constructively done in our large and complex political machine that has in many ways become increasingly stymied by bureaucracy, obstructionism, defeatism, game-playing, selfishness, pork barrel politics, (corruption,) sequestration, government closures, and political fighting across the aisle/behind the aisle/and in the aisle.

Let's hope for America and the world's sake the voters get it right.

But keep bashing Trump and you are keeping his message of superior strength and hope very much alive. ;-)

(Note: This is not an endorsement for any candidate or political party)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 1, 2015

Awesome Northeast Fall Season

Just wanted to share this awesome photo that my beautiful daughter, Michelle, took this last week. 

I love how it vividly captures the Fall colors, the falling leaves, and the changing seasons. 

The bridge seems to magically span the lush green before with the orange and tan hues of the after all under a clear light blue sky. 

The scene definitely looks like a cozy and happy time and place I want to be in. ;-)

(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)
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