Showing posts with label Guilt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guilt. Show all posts

October 5, 2018

Justice Under The Microscope

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "We Are All Kavanaugh."
Under the microscope of the media, political pundits, and the FBI, no one is guiltless. 

When it comes to promoting and appointing people to the highest positions of our great nations, businesses, and organizations, we need to ensure the highest integrity. 

At the same time, we need to weigh the good and the bad in people, and not hold them to a bar that no one can live up to. 

This is a difficult time for the nation where we must always protect women's rights and also protect people from being presumed guilty.  

Let's hope for Heaven's guidance in ensuring a good decision for the Supreme court and the Justice System.  

(Photo Credit: Andy Blumenthal)
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January 2, 2017

Can You Do No Right?

Do you ever feel like you can do no right?

That whatever you do or choose, you are opening yourself up to criticism by others or more importantly from yourself.

That's because in life every moment is a choice and each selection of what you do with your time and efforts means by definition that you are not doing something else important then.

- Take the mother or father who chooses to spend time raising their children, but then are not focused as much on their career.

- Take the student who is working really hard on getting those good grades and SAT scores, but then are not doing as much or well with extracurricular activities like sports or socializing. 

- Take the spiritual or religious person or clergy who chooses to focuses their life studying and performing holy speech and deeds but not so much other earthly and material matters. 

- Take the athlete who works out and eats right focusing on toning and honing their body and physical skills but doesn't spend as much time and effort on intellectual interests or more standard career pursuits. 

- Take the extrovert who focuses on building and maintaining relationships and networks--family, friends, community, colleagues, others--but are not putting the same time and attention to enhancing their other knowledge, skills, and abilities. 

So you say, but why can't we just do everything we're supposed to do, and simply balance?

Well, that is what we all try to do in our own way, but still each time and every moment you are doing one thing, you are not at that moment doing something else or being somewhere else. 

So that causes tension, perhaps a tug-of-war within ourselves, stress, and even guilt. 

The impact is that we often run from one thing to another or we get distracted in what we are doing--"Honey can you answer the phone?"

Some classic examples are when we race home from the office to pick the kids up from school or while playing with sweet little Johny or Suzie, the phone rings and and we have to pick up that call from the boss at work. 

As they say, you can't be--physically or mentally--in two places at the same time!

Hence, now the movement for mindfulness, being in the moment and focused.

But as the demands in life forever ask more of us--even amidst ever greater technology and automation to assist us--somehow we can never do enough because of course, the bar gets raised for ourselves and the competition gets tougher from those who make choices to focus on specific areas that we are not as much. 

So say that you are splitting your time between work and family, but someone else is single or doesn't have kids and they are full in with work, staying late, going in weekends, getting those extra credentials, and just putting in every extra effort there...well, how do you think you will stack up?

Yes, some of us recognize the importance of work-life balance and even focusing incrementally across the many important areas of our life: physically, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and socially.

Never-the-less every moment, in a time- and space-bound world, we are forced to choose this or that. 

There is no one right answer for everyone!

And every choice in every moment is the opportunity for you to criticize yourself or for others to criticize you that you weren't paying attention, focused, doing your best, etc.

But who cares--it's our life to live and we can live it as we want?

True, however as inevitably important things or relationships break down or fail, have mistakes or errors, or aren't going as we would ultimately want or dream they should--we ask ourselves, could we have done things differently or somehow managed our time, efforts, and focus better.

(Source Photo: Online Advertisement provided by Dannielle Blumenthal)
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February 11, 2016

You're Wealthy Nuts

So Bloomberg Businessweek has a really funny article about all the wealthy people that need to go see shrinks. 

Get this--overall wealthy people are cursed with "Affluenza" (not influenza silly) and have "elevated levels of depression, anxiety, psychosomatic issues (physical symptoms from stress), and self-mutilation."

Some specific reasons they go for mental health help:

- Why Me--A trying issue to deal with is their guilt feelings about being so darn rich, while others are starving, homeless, and can't make ends meet. 

- Feeling A Little Lonely (And Hated)--They can't help thinking that perhaps people only like them for their money.

- Aimless In Life--What's the purpose of their lives if they are living on easy street, don't have to work, and can buy their way out of trouble. 

- Money To Mess You Up--Some people have so much money, they can squander it on bad investments, but also on alcohol, drugs, sex, and so on.  

- Fear Of Losing It All--Terrible thing about having so much money is you have to worry about losing so much money.  

So next time you are thinking about protesting against the top .1% who have as much as the bottom 90%, have a heart because the wealthy have a lot of problems too. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Chris Goldberg)
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November 16, 2014

Didn't Do It

My elderly father retold a funny joke to us yesterday when we visited him at his assisted living home.

It goes like this...

A teacher in school asks the classroom of children, "Who killed Abraham Lincoln?"

One little child in the front of the room meekly raises his hand, and when called on by the teacher answers,"I didn't do it!"

The teacher is taken aback at the response, and after class calls the child's father and tell him to come in after school to discuss this. 

After school, the father shows up and sits down with the teacher, and listens to him repeat the story about what happened in class.

The father is visibly annoyed, and when the teacher is done staunchly says, "If my son says he didn't do it, then he didn't do it!"

Ah, I suppose one could take this as a sad commentary either generally-speaking on the state of our education system or in particular of this family that is quite clueless--and where it's clear that the apple does not fall far from the tree. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 8, 2014

Free Behind Bars

Fascinating piece in the Wall Street Journal about going to mock prison to get away from the stresses of life.

Ok, so you know your working too hard, when your only escape is to lock yourself up and throw away the key for a few days. 

In South Korea, where they work 18% more than on average (2090 hours per year vs. 1765)--their is a great need to get away from it all.

There where life satisfaction rates a 4.3 out of 10, which is 34% lower than the average (of 6.6), putting yourself in prison is a quality of life thing. 

A two-night stay in the makeshift prison for extreme relaxation costs $146--and there you can meditate to your hearts delight. 

You can also attend "spiritual classes" and participate in "healing plays."

Normally smartphones wouldn't be allowed, but people freak out without them, so they get to check them once a day while on the inside. 

Being locked behind bars is a punishment in most places, but here its time to think, reflect, and get back to yourself--most of all you don't have to go to work on those days. 

It's funny, but one of the hardest things is generally for people just to stop and think--really stop and think--it's much easier to drown ourselves in endless activity and never have to deal with what's going on inside.

When we stop to let our thoughts catch up, to deal with our anxieties and fears, to confront ourselves and all the mistakes we make, and to let ourselves feel what can be an tidal wave of pent up feelings--that is a freedom that few can bear to make. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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August 26, 2013

Where Do You Find G-d?

My dad told me this joke over the weekend.

It's about the Rabbi who asked the little boy in school... 

"WHERE do you find G-d?"

Raising his voice again...

"Where do you find G-D?"

Stretching out his arms to the heavens....

"Where do YOU find G-d?"  

The boy rushes outside, nearly in tears, and finds his little brother and says:

"The Rabbi thinks we stole G-d."

I'm not sure if the joke itself is really funny or just the way my dad tells it. 

But I can almost see that child panicking and thinking he was being accused of something terrible. 

Anyway, as we all know G-d is everywhere and most importantly inside all of us. 

That's the spark that burns--our soul from above. 

(Source Photo: adapted from here with attribution to Kigaliwire)


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July 22, 2013

Live A Good Life, Choose Right


Whether you're Jewish, Christian, Muslim, or any other religion, I think this is a great music video on living an introspective life, choosing right from wrong, and replacing guilt with inspiration. 

We are all confronted every day with situations that are tests of our moral fiber and courage to do what's right--not necessarily what is easy,

We should choose carefully, consciously, and with a mind toward the master of the universe who watches over us. 

While we don't control everything that happens, we can definitely make a difference in the world by the way we conduct ourselves to our G-d and to each other. 

Listening, caring, being sensitive to others, treating others with respect and dignity, trying to help wherever and whenever we can--we can all make a positive contribution. 

Well done with the music video to remind us of what's important--thank you Maccabeats!
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April 7, 2012

Passover 21st Century


This video (2011) by Aish.com is terrific! The story of Passover--"Google Exodus"-- with all the technology of instant messaging, email, social networking, mapping, and more.

I love how they make the traditional and sacred, new and promising again by "letting people go" and being able to see and interact with it in modern terms. 

While some may find it challenging not to lose the essence of the old, when keeping it fresh, I think the past becomes more meaningful when we can truly integrate it into our daily lives. 

I personally am still not comfortable with the idea of online Passover Seders or DIY Haggadah's--and I don't think I ever really will be--probably more because of guilt at not following strictly and the concern that people may change things so much as to either misinterpret or actually distort the truth of G-d.

However, I do think that we can strengthen regular people's connection to their past and their faith only by truly bringing it in our present and looking to the future, as well. 

The world of religion-can often be filled with controversy between those that maintain iron-clad religious practices from thousands of years ago and those that seek evolving routes to religion and G-d today.  

When we can use technology to help people bridge the religious divide, we are helping people connect with their G-d and choose good over evil in their daily lives. 

Neither modernism nor technology is inherently "bad," and we do not have to run away from it--or escape through the Red Sea from it.  

Rather, faith in the Almighty, in His hand that guides all, and in the doing good in all that we do, are fundamental to religion and can be shared online and off, as G-d is truly everywhere and in each of us. 

Sometimes, I wonder when Orthodox people probe and judge with incessant questions of "What Shul do you go to?" "What Yeshiva do your kids attend?" "Do you keep Kosher?"  and more, I imagine G-d looking down on his "people of the book," not with satisfaction that they follow his commandments, but with disdain for how people can hurt others and not even realize that is not religious. 

While I agree that unguided, people and practices can go astray, I also believe that automatic suspicion and rejection of new things is impractical and actually harmful. 

Modernism and technology can be a blessing, if coupled with faith and integrity.

Congratulations to Aish.com for the good work they are doing in helping people integrate the old and new in a balanced way.

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December 17, 2011

Modesty In A Social Media World

New "love" app out of the U.K. called I Just Made Love (IJML).
This one is not for the modest or privacy-conscious.
The app is available for download for both the iPhone and Android.
Essentially, people are going out and using location-based services (i.e. GPS) and self-identifying their love-making--act by act. We're up to 194,000+ already!
Not to be gross, but the app lets people not only report on doing the act and where, but also using check boxes with icons, you can identify the details such as the context: couch, indoor and outdoor, as well as how: 5 top positions--which is way more information than I care to hear about.
In our often hedonistic society, there are of course, other services such as Four-Square that lets you broadcast where you fulfill other bodily pleasures like eating, drinking, and shopping.
Personally, I don't care to know what people are doing or where--too intrusive for my liking. But I can see why others may want to use FourSquare type apps (not IJML or who knows) with friends and family who may want to connect in this way--like to meet for Happy Hour at Old Town.
And certainly, marketers are interested in capturing valuable personal information on what you are doing, where and with whom, and using it to drive their sales and profits. Maybe you get a coupon out of it. :-)
With the love app, it seems like some people want to brag, appear the Don Juan, raise their "macho" social status, or just perhaps enjoy being exhibitionists.
From my perspective, the main pro of this app is to promote the concept (not the act itself) of love over things like war, hate, discrimination, etc.
Even with that being said, it seems like some things are just better off left as intimate moments between you and your special other.
Interesting to me, this topic of disclosure came up big time in the Orthodox Jewish world with the publication in the Yeshiva University Beacon (5 December 2011) of a much written-about article entitled "How Do I Even Begin To Explain This," where a frum Jewish girl from Stern College discloses her story of illicit rendezvous in a hotel room with a gentlemen and at the same time the "walk of shame the day after."
The dichotomy between her "Orthodox" beliefs and her "secular" actions and her publication of this article in a Yeshiva newspaper and her explicit description of sexual deeds is a perfect example of the tear in our society between privacy and social probity on one hand, and the desire or need to share and be "free" of all constraints on the other.
As a social commentary, we are at a point where it seems that nothing is real unless we share it with others, and that can be good or bad--it can lead to greater wisdom and societal advancement or it can lead us to do things we shouldn't do, are sorry we did, and where we feel shame afterwards.

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May 28, 2011

Perfect Is The Enemy of Good

Perfection is a destructive force.

And the French philosopher, Voltaire recognized this when he said "Perfect is the enemy of good."

I never really fully understood this saying, until recently reading a Harvard Business Review article (June 2011) called "The Paradox of Excellence."

The article states: "High achievers often undermine their leadership by being afraid to show their limitations."

At the heart of it...high achievers can let anxiety impede their progress through stress, alienating others, and failure to seize real opportunities.

Here from the article are some of the "classic high achiever" behaviors that can get in the way of success unless artfully managed and balanced (my views):

1) Results-driven: High-achievers can be so work-oriented that they forget the people the make it all it happen. This is why they need to remember to delegate, empower, share, and CARE about others. The work is a team effort!

2) Highly-motivated: They can be so serious about all aspects of their jobs that they "fail to distinguish between the urgent and the merely important." Instead, they should take a bigger-picture PERSPECTIVE on the tasks and prioritize these accordingly. Not everything is life and death, thank G-d, and we need to keep a sense of humor and take the time to enjoy what we are doing.

3) Competitive: They "obsessively compare themselves with others," which can cause them to feel insufficient or make false calibrations. You have to remember to INTERNALIZE that the competition is not with others but with yourself--be the best you can be!

4) Risk-managed: "They may shy away from the unknown" and avoid risky endeavors. As they say in Wall Street, without risk, there is no reward. To INNOVATE and transform, you need to take calculated risks (without betting the farm!) after doing due diligence on an investment or opportunity.

5) Passion: This can lead to powerful, productive highs, but can also result in "crippling lows." Recognize that there are natural ups and downs in the course of one's work. You can STEADY yourself through these by seeing it as incremental growth and improvement, rather than as either pure success or failure.

6) Guilt: "No matter how much they accomplish, they feel like they aren't doing enough." This is an endless trap of it's never enough and never good enough. Hey, we're all mortal. Do what you can and balance the many demands that you have on you in your life, but FOCUS on what's most important, since you can't do it all and you can never get it all done.

7) Feedback: High-achievers "care intensely about how others view their work" and they require a steady stream of positive feedback. Don't get hung up by what other people say or think--it's not personal and they have their own problems. Stay focused on delivering excellence in products and services to the customer, and use whatever feedback you can get--positive or negative--as valuable information to IMPROVE your offering.

If you are a high-achiever and demand much (if not the impossible from yourself), take a step back and a breath in and out--you can accomplish a lot more of what's important to you if stop trying to be perfect, admit your vulnerabilities and limitations, and just try to do your best--that's all that anyone can ask.

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