Showing posts with label Greatness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greatness. Show all posts

November 4, 2018

Problems Are Earthly

This was a saying that I really liked. 
"G-d is greater than you problem"

- Problems may seem like the end.

But G-d is the root of all BEGINNINGS!

- Problems may be overwhelming. 

But G-d is your HEAVENLY FATHER AND MOTHER!

- Problems may be big.

But G-d is INFINITE!

- Problems may be tough.

But G-d is ALL POWERFUL!

- Problems may be challenging.

But G-d has all the ANSWERS!

- Don't let your problems get you down. 

See the bigger picture. 

Know you are not alone in the universe. 

Have faith that everything is in G-d's hands and will be alright. ;-)

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 5, 2018

Growing With The Challenge

Thought this was a good saying, and wanted to share it. 
"A man grows with the greatness of his task."

In Hebrew, there is a similar saying:
"Lefum Tzaara Agra." (Which translates roughly too: "As the suffering, so to is the reward.")

Adversity, hardships, challenges, pain, suffering--these all test our mettle.

Obviously, these are not fun, but in the end, we are forced to grow from these experiences. 

- What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. 

Sometimes though, they really can kill us. 

So, push yourself as far and as fast as you can, but also you better know your true limits. 

And we all have them, even when we think we're invincible. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 27, 2018

The Most Precious and Beautiful Song

Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from the Earth.

Sing throughout all the Heavens.

Sing from the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.


Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from the People.

Sing throughout all the Angelic Host.

Sing from the Animals, the Fish, and the Fowl.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.


Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from the Begining of Time.

Sing throughout the End of Time.

Sing in the Morning, the Noon, and the Night.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.



Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from the Mountains.

Sing throughout the rolling Valleys.

Sing in the Forests, the Cities, and the Seas.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.


Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from every Tree.

Sing throughout the sprawling blades of grass.

Sing from every drop of dew, pouring of rain, and howling of wind.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.


Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from each Word.

Sing throughout all your Deeds.

Sing in the Thinking, the Doing, and the Speaking.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.


Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from every beating Heartbeat.

Sing throughout all your Breaths.

Sing in your Comings, your Goings, and Wherever you are.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.


Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing with your Material wealth.

Sing throughout all your Spiritual awakenings.

Sing during your Journey, at your Milestones, and when you arrive at your Destination.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.


Sing the most precious and beautiful song to the King of Kings.

Sing from your successes.

Sing throughout all your failures.

Sing during your tryings, your learnings, and your growing.

Sing with all your heart and soul to the Almighty G-d.

(Note 1: Incredibly, this is my first song and it came to me early on the Shabbat where we read the portion of the Torah when G-d miraculously led the Israelites through the split sea and they sang the "Shirah" (song) of thanksgiving to G-d for saving and redeeming them from slavery to freedom, and I didn't even know it was this Shabbat!)

(Note 2: I would love if someone can put this to music and make this into an amazing song to G-d.)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 13, 2017

Inspiring Greatness

I thought this was inspirational. 

Muhammad Ali believing that he's the greatest boxer.

And the child sitting in front with these huge red boxing gloves on--presumably dreaming about becoming the next Muhammad Ali!

The butterfly sitting on the boxing gloves in front of the child adds an interesting dimension, where the child dreams of developing into the "next great one," just like a butterfly morphs from a caterpillar into a beautiful flying creatures with colorful and expansive wings. 

This child wants to fly and soar to greatness like Muhammad Ali did. 

We all need an inspiration that has overcome adversity to make it against all odds. 

For me, this inspiration was Rocky who rose from the streets to become a fighter and winner not only in the ring, but in life as a person of integrity and a mensch. 

If we dream it, it can be--with G-d's blessing and plenty of hard work. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 26, 2017

Memorial Day Stars and Stripes

Loved this lady's sweater of the American Flag.

So cool with the stars on the sleeve like that. 

I thought this was especially nice for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

As we remember those that have sacrificed so much, and the many that have fallen making the ultimate sacrifice, so that all we could be free. 

"In the olden days," they used to say America was the "goldene medina"--the golden country--the land of opportunity!

But really, the gold itself is just fools gold, the real greatness of being here is the freedom to be who you are and to have the human rights and protections to pursue whatever your dreams are. 

Maybe that's what the stars on the flag are really all about--we can all reach for the stars--whatever stars we want--and many will actually be able to achieve the impossible. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 1, 2017

Beautiful Bartholdi Fountain

I tool this picture of beautiful Bartholdi Fountain.

This statue and fountain sits between the U.S. Botanic Gardens, the American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial, the Rayburn House Office Building, and the Department of Health and Human Services (in the background). 

French sculptor, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, who designed this amazing fountain, is the same artist who made the Statue of Liberty. 

This 30 feet tall, 15-ton, cast-iron statue sits marvelously at the base of Capitol Hill. 

Next to the American Flag, this stands out as another shining symbol of our democracy, liberty, and national strength. 

If as a nation we can once again unify, emulating the 3 women figures who are together holding up the massive fountain bowl over their heads, we too can accomplish great feats for the American people and our nation. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 20, 2017

Congrats @POTUS








May G-d bless the United States of America and our true friends and allies!

It doesn't matter whether you are Republican or Democrat, Black or White, Jew or Christian, Male or Female--we need to unite and move this country forward and be great again!

Strength, Security, Health, Economy, Jobs, Education, Environment, Space, Jobs, Freedom, and Human Rights.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via Fox News)
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November 26, 2016

The Nature of Charisma

So what's with charisma?

Is it like they say, either you have it or you don't?

The power of personality, your energy, your aura, your chemistry, your strength in connecting with others, your ability to influence people and to move them in thought and deed.

Truly, for some people, you would follow them into the battlefield or the boardroom.

And for others, you know they're no good and you'd probably just as soon do the opposite of what they say since you don't believe in them and what they stand for.

Today, I was expecting to see a special chabad Rabbi in Florida, but they were up in NY--I missed them having not seen them for many months.

I was disappointed, even though I really enjoyed the other people and the services that I attended. 

Some people...there is a magic to them...a genuineness, a warmth, a centeredness, with certain integrity, and driven to something greater. 

We need people like this in our life.  

Of course, we have G-d, always.

But we also need other human beings that move us.

People with charisma often make awesome leaders. 

It not about them remember, but rather about the mission they and we are on together. 

And being a mensch to other people. 

A real smile, a warm embrace, a kind word, a caring nature, a giving soul, a person with belief, someone who can inspire and motivate.

These people are rare, but when you find them, they are gems.

They are a blessing among us.

The last thing we need though is a false messiah, but rather the real McCoy to work with us to reach new heights of greatness, achievement, and happiness in life.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 19, 2016

The Softer Side of Trump

So Trump has gotten a lot of flack. 

Some of it is deserved for saying the wrong things or saying them too harshly. 

Some of it is because of the biased Media and the political machine that would seek to bury any opponent with truth or lies, it doesn't really matter when it comes to power!

But with Trump, one question that people are asking--which is a fair one--is why doesn't he soften it up now...especially since he has overcome all the odds, the media, the elite, and Hillary's potent political machine?

Peggy Noonan asks today, why doesn't Trump "go to a series of schools, bring the press, and speak to children, telling them that he has nothing in his heart but the desire to do good and help people"?

Others, like the editorial board of the New York Times have called for Trump to "denounce the hate...[and] unequivocally repudiate...racist, sexist, xenophobic, Anti-Semitic, and homophobic insults, threats, and attacks."

While in my mind, I do not believe that Trump is those things--I think he has been misunderstood, mischaracterized, taken out of context, and even demonized; yet, I ask myself why doesn't he come out and simply build on his 60-minutes interview where he told people, "Don't be afraid. We are going to bring America back. But certainly, don't be afraid."

It's a simple thing to go further from this and tell people that he is understanding and compassionate to everyone, that he harbors no ill will to anyone, and that he wants to advance the country for all our benefits.

So I am sure, the haters on the left are saying, that Trump doesn't do this because obviously he really is all those bad things, and means bad by all those people, and therefore, he doesn't say those coexistence and loving things, because that's not what's in his heart!

But I am not convinced.

I think Trump is hard, because he has learned to be hard. That's his idea of what it takes to win. He is a fighter. He believes in winning. He doesn't apologize or grovel. He represents as his slogan, "Peace through strength!"

In fighting, Trump will do what it takes to "Make America Great Again,"--he will take down his enemies and ours, wherever they come at us from, but I believe always with an eye on the benefits to this country and for us. 

If he goes after good people (and those here legally) that would certainly be the time to call him out, and to do it in no uncertain terms. 

Bias, bigotry, and hate have NO place in this country (or the world)!

The left needs to stop denouncing Trump and all his supporters as racist, deplorables, irredeemables, etc. It is simply not true; it is biased and hateful itself, and counterproductive to moving this country forward. 

Crying wolf only dilutes the message of denouncing extremism, bigoty, and hate from when it is genuinely founded, and moreover, as in labeling theory, hate only begets hate. 

I say give Trump a genuine chance, even though I doubt many of the extremists on the left will give him anything near as much as the endless slack it gave Obama who could essentially do no wrong, ever (and regardless of how many things were falling apart in this country and around the globe). 

Still I agree that Trump should soften up--even as a fighter--he needs to show Ying and Yang and that the fight is ultimately one founded in integrity and not just winning. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 27, 2016

How Great Are You?

INDISPENSABLE?

      Sometime, when you’re feeling important,
      
      Sometime, when your ego’s in bloom,
      
      Sometime, when you take it for granted,
      
      You’re the best qualified in the room.
      
      Sometime when you feel that your going,
      
      Would leave an unfillable hole,
      
      Just follow these simple instructions,
      
      And see how it humbles your soul.
      
      Take a bucket and fill it with water.
      
      Put your hand in it, up to the wrist;
      
      Pull it out; and the hole that’s remaining, 
      
      Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.
      
      You may splash all you please when you enter,
      
      You can stir up the water galore,
      
      But stop, and you’ll find in a minute,
      
      That it looks quite the same as before.
      
      The moral in this quaint example,
      
      Is just do the best that you can,
      
      Be proud of yourself, but remember,
      
      There’s no indispensable man.
            
      - Saxon White Kessinger

(Thank you to my daughter, Minna Blumenthal, for sharing this)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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November 22, 2015

I Am Doing

Today, a disabled man asked the lifeguard at the pool, "How are you doing?"

The lifeguard couldn't understand or fully hear the disabled man who had to repeat the question multiple times.

Then, the lifeguard responded, "I am doing well. How are you doing?"

The disabled man with a blank to sad look on his face says, "I am doing."

His response of just "doing" (not well, good, or fine) was like just going on day-to-day amidst very challenging life circumstances of illness and disability--just in a state of being, but certainly not feeling like he was thriving in his current life. 

It reminded me of my own parents, survivors of the Holocaust. 

After the horror and loss of the Holocaust everything, including coming to this country without a dime or a job was just a cakewalk in comparison. 

For 25-years, my dad would never even go to the doctor. 

He would say, "G-d is my doctor!"

Only later in life, when all his friends were sick or failing, and my mom was so sick with Parkinson's would my dad respond to people's questions of how he was, by saying simply, "Surviving!"

And then often adding, "We are part of the survivors' club."

When we're young, healthy, and vibrant, the world seems too small compared to what we think we can do and accomplish.

That's good--it gives us the thrusters in life to go as far as we can with accomplishments and progress. 

As we age though, the realities of life and health come into vision and we realize that we can't lift cars with one hand (anymore) or fly lightening speed with just our cape around the globe--we're mortal. 

This doesn't mean that we can't do great things for ourselves and the world at any age and with any (dis)ability, just that it many not be as simple or as easy any longer--we have to fight harder and be part of the survivor's club. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 21, 2015

A Dumb Dumb World

So I took this photo on the Metro in Washington, D.C.

One person is on their "smart" phone, and the other is reading a book called "Our Dumb World."

This is a contrast supreme. and I was intrigued. 

I couldn't exactly ask what the man was doing on his smartphone... but presumably email, texting, news, a video, maybe even some gaming.

The other person reading about the dumb world--what's that all about?

So I looked this book up, and apparently the satarists at The Onion make some laughing-stock fun in their "fake" atlas of the world. 

So stupidity is out there every day...

But stupid isn't the worst part of it..."stupid is as stupid does"-- not sure you can blame someone for doing dumb things when they're done innocently and by accident.  

But what is really bad is when dumb things are done with intent and malice--for power or to get what you want when you want it.

Leadership often treats the masses as the dumb people who can be fooled some, if not all, of the time. 

But people are smarter than you think, eventually seeing through the amalgam of lies, deceit, and spin--thrown at them through the old world media as well as in social media. 

That type of dumb becomes a foolish legacy--not a laughing matter. 

Real, ongoing passion and care for the people and the progress of our nation within the larger world context...we can see it in the eyes, hear it in the words, feel it in our bones--it's tangible and it lifts us to achieve greatness.

Those things are smart--and what we need more of in the "real" world atlas. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 7, 2013

Lessons From Breaking A Leg

Some things I learned from breaking an ankle this week:

1) Beware of the Crazies:  There are a lot of crazy people out there. This guy on the street in Washington, D.C. was yelling and screaming and when I turned to see what all the commotion was about, my foot pivoted sideways off the pavement and crack! I was cussing under my breath at the nut on the street and the pain shooting out of my foot. Thank G-d for the parking meter, which I lunged toward and grabbed to keep myself vertical!

2) Be great: The lady in the hospital that did my cast was amazing. She was so nice to me and talented as a medical professional. She was able to take even a sort of routine task like making a cast (she probably does thousands of them) and do it with an artistic flair and near perfection--I'm telling you this lady was able to make great out of the mundane. All the time explaining to me what she was doing, asking me how it felt, and then helping me test it out. She was like an angel. 

3) Easy is hard: The crutches are large and clumsy--they help to redistribute the weight off the foot, but they are uncomfortable to use and look ridiculous. But getting around on crutches, I am realizing that all the things every day that I take for granted as easy are pretty hard with a broken bone. On the first day, I went courageously out to the Metro and was going to head down to work, but when it started raining I realized this was not going to work--how to you carry yourself on crutches and hold an umbrella at the same time and not get your cast wet and ruin it. The next day, I found myself hopping on and off the escalator trying to keep balanced, keep the weight off the foot, and grab the crutches along with me--this was almost comical. Then trying to stay on the crutches, while using the metro card to activate the turnstile, and go through this narrow passage quickly, I found myself wedged between the turnstile gates. Then the morning coffee was a no-no; how do you carry a coffee while navigating on crutches, which then left me with a caffeine withdrawal headache. I could go on, but you get the picture.

Being sick and injured is lousy, but I appreciate my health anew. And I thank G-d for teaching me some valuable lessons--many refreshers--and keeping me from an even worse outcome. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 21, 2013

Are They Anything Without Him?


Sometimes, one person can be so instrumental to the success of an organization that they really are, for all intensive purposes, irreplaceable.

Leadership classes and anecdotes about great leaders tell us that one of leaders primary duties is a good succession plan. 

But what happens, when a visionary place like Apple, loses their very special talent--someone that is truly their "secret sauce"--someone like a Steve Jobs--who you can't just replicate or replace (easily or maybe at all)?

While Apple still makes great products, the jury is still out on whether they can truly innovate without Job's vision, exacting attention to detail, and bigger than life persona. 

Hence, the question, are they anything without him?

Perhaps, Apple can find the next Steve Jobs--who will bring new energy and talents and keep them a great organization--or perhaps not.

This new movie about Jobs--played by Ashton Kutcher will remind us of the magic that a truly special leader can bring to an organization. 

If only there was a pill to swallow to make talented leaders--now that would be a job for Jobs. ;-)
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February 6, 2010

Why Be Led By You?

To be a great leader, you have to have the qualities that make others want to be led by you. Obviously, a leader without followers can’t lead anything.

A classic article in Harvard Business Review called “Why should Anyone Be Led By You?” by Goffee and Jones starts this way: “If you want to silence a room of executives try this small trick. Ask them, ‘why would anyone want to be led by you?’”…without fail, the response is a sudden hush. All you can hear are knees knocking.”

It’s humorous, but also right on. There are lots of people out there who are appointed, anointed, or otherwise advanced to positions of responsibility over others, but this does not make them leaders. To be a leader, a person must not ‘rule’ by authority alone, but by their ability to move people and organizations to greatness.

Most people say that what makes a leader is vision. And yes that is a vital trait, but there is a lot more—here are some others that differentiate the real leaders from the frauds:

· Wisdom—having the knowledge as well as ability to apply it to the specific situation. A leader knows what to do and when to do it. There is an implication of timely and relevant action. Finally, wisdom implies openness to new ideas and ways of doing things—innovation—and the customer-centric application of those.

· Integrity—a leader is reasonable, upright and equitable in his dealing with others. In contrast, corruption, dishonesty, greed, and nepotism undermine the very fabric of leading by example and preclude the possibility of creating a better world. Following a leader with integrity of being and of purpose is inherently meaningful and just.

· Compassion—some people call it empathy, but it is really more than just feeling for others, it is feeling altogether. It includes having the passion and determination to help the people and the organization innovate, modernize, and transform while being sensitive and responsive to all stakeholders affected.

· Humaneness—a leader is human being subject to frailties and failures, and is not to be confused with G-d (although some seem to think themselves almost nothing short of divine). Understanding that we all have weakness and vulnerabilities is critical to accepting risks, mistakes, and learning from these and growing past them. While we should demand and strive for excellence, we cannot expect perfection at every turn.

· Harmony—leading people means creating harmony between competing and conflicting people and points of view, so the organization can move forward in unity of purpose and the strength the comes with it. Often the biggest obstacle to success is not the competition, but the division or fighting from within. A leader brings people together and synergizes them so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

· Communication—While people are sensitive to non-verbal cues, they are not telepathic, so clear, consistent, and compelling communication is essential to building the common vision and action plans to achieve the goals set out upon. A gifted, articulate leader can move people to action with urgency, purpose, and undying belief that neither reward nor retribution alone could rouse.

A leader with these six traits does not need to worry next time someone asks them “why should anyone be led by you?” The answer for them is clear.


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October 25, 2008

Talent, Determination, and The Total CIO

To become a great CIO or a great anything, what is the driving factor—talent or determination?
Fortune Magazine, 27 October 2008, has a book excerpt from Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin.
Often, as individuals we’re afraid that if we don’t have the inborn talent then we can’t really compete and certainly won’t succeed. But that isn’t true!
Here’s an interesting anecdote about Jeffrey Immelt and Steven Balmer. “One of them recalls, ‘we were voted two guys probably least likely to succeed.’” They played waste-pin basketball with waded-up memos at P&G before becoming CEOs of General Electric and Microsoft.
Research shows talent is not the decisive factor:
“In studies of accomplished individuals, researchers have found few signs of precocious achievement before the individuals started intensive training…Such findings do not prove that talent doesn’t exist. But they do suggest an intriguing possibility: that if it does, it may be irrelevant.”
So if innate talent is what makes for high achievement, what does?
The answer is…”deliberate practice” characterized by the following:
  • Stretch goals—“continually stretching an individual just beyond his ir her current abilities.”
  • Repetition—“top performers repeat their practice activities to a stultifying extent.”
  • Feedback—“in many important situations, a teacher, a coach, or mentor is vital for providing crucial feedback.”
  • No pain, no gain—“we identify the painful, difficult activities that will make us better and do those things over and over…if the activities that lead to greatness were easy and fun, then everyone would do them.”
So what do you do if you want to be a great CIO or successful in any professional endeavor?
  • Set goals.
  • Plan how to reach them.
  • Observe yourself/self-regulate.
  • Self-evaluate.
  • Adapt to perform better.
  • Repeat.
This is where determination comes in and makes the difference between success and failure.
What you want—really, deeply want—is fundamental because deliberate practice is an investment. The costs come now, the benefits later. The more you want something, the easier it will be for you to sustain the needed effort.”
In any case, “the evidence…shows that the price of top level achievement is extraordinarily high…by understanding how a few become great, all can become better.”

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