Showing posts with label Influence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Influence. Show all posts

July 16, 2019

We're Part of a Much Larger Script

I loved this explanation of the Book of Job by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

G-d answers by showing Job the incredible elements of creation and the universe.

Why?

1) Complexity and Interrelationship of the Universe:

As isolated individuals, we might expect to be judged solely by our individual deeds of good and bad (2-dimensional), but also we are cogs in the larger universe (the 3rd dimension).

Therefore, what happens to us is not just a result of what we do, but also is a part of G-d's larger overall plan for the world. 


Even small acts can have large impacts.

For example, you sneeze and somewhere down the line it causes a tsunami.

Similarly, like actors in a cosmic play of a billion pages, we may not see or understand why our individual role may be what it is, but if you would see and understand the context of the overall drama (what came before us, after us, and how it all interrelates) then from a G-d's eye view, it makes sense.

Every act of destruction can lead to a higher divine purpose.

Like the grass that is mowed over and uprooted to plants crops or the wheat that is harvested and ground up to make bread.

So, we can have faith that there is a reason and purpose for everything even if it is a mystery or unanswered question to us.


And even in our suffering, G-d, the master of the Universe, is saying that "I'm here with you thru it all." You are not alone!

2) By challenging us, G-d gives us the "tough gift" to cope, grow, and become better people.

Even though things that happen may look bad to you, they can lead to good for you.

You don't always get what you want, but you get what you need.

You have choice: you can be bitter, resentful, cynical, and angry or can look at life with hope, optimism and resilience.

Thus, suffering can be a vehicle of self-transformation and elevation. The challenges you face can help you become a different person--a greater person.

You can learn to feel not just your own pain and disappointment, but that of others.

You have the opportunity to grow yourself and the opportunity to help others.

(Thank you to Rebecca Ochayon for sending me this awesome video!)

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June 16, 2019

Never Alone Or Meaningless

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, "Never Alone or Meaningless."
  • We are never alone, because G-d is always right there with us, and in us!
  • And what we do is never meaningless, because everything we do affects the G-dliness of everything else--everything and everyone are wholly intertwined and connected.
Instead of feeling alone, aimless, and sad, we can delight in our oneness with G-d and the cosmos and in knowing the everything we do can have a positive impact on everything else.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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November 20, 2018

How Does It feel At The Top

A colleague told me something interesting about what it feels like at the top.

He said:
The 360 degree view is good, but it get's windy at times!

I thought this was pretty smart, and one reason that many people opt out of moving into senior and executive positions in their organizations. 

Yes, it's great to be able to lead and have more visibility, influence, and impact. 

But at the same time, this does not come for free or without risks. 

At the top of the pyramid or corporate offices or whatever, there is opportunity. 

Yet, your dealing with other top honchos with strong personalities, egos, and often harsh ways of dealing with others and conflict can be perilous for many. 

My father used to tell me his philosophy:
Better a little less, but you know what you have. 

There is definitely wisdom in those words. 

Maybe as with most things in life, there is a time and place for everything. 

It is great to have the opportunity to lead.

It's also not bad to have a time to follow and contribute in that way. 

What's important is that whatever role your in at the time, that you do it with integrity and passion to do good. 

So how does it feel at the top--sure, it's a nice view, but it can get very windy too. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 5, 2018

Cracking Heads--In War and Work

Thought this was an amazing painting of the medieval battlefield.

The warrior in the center is using his war hammer to literally split heads open.

Not only for physical fighting (i.e. life and death), I've heard this term in the past used in the office setting:
"Cracking heads" to get things done. 

While war is war, I don't think that getting to progress in the office ever merits cracking anyone's head--let along with a battle hammer. 

Yes, people can be stubborn and occasionally pose obstacles to moving forward, but that is what communication skills and persuasion are for.

You have to seriously question the leadership and sanity of anyone who thinks and talks about hurting people at work. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 9, 2018

Persuasion x 3

I liked this categorization of three types of tools of persuasion developed by Aristotle: 

- Ethos: Appeals to a sense of ethics, morals, and character. 

- Logos: Appeals to a sense of logic, reason, and rationality.

- Pathos: Appeals to a sense of emotion, empathy, and passion. 

I don't know about most people, but I don't get convinced easily. 

You need to show me, prove it to me, or convince me it's right. 

Some others, and I don't know why--it's like you can sell them the Brooklyn Bridge, as they say.  

I think that's dangerous!

Without critical thinking and evaluation, people can get led astray to do the wrong things...a perfect example is Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler (may his memory be forever cursed).  

Hitler appealed to the Germans people at the time:
- Emotionally to bring them back from the loss, destruction, and destitution that World War I inflicted and of course, to scapegoat the Jews, Gypsies, and political opponents and send them to the death camps. 
- Logically, that they were a strong and powerful people, the "Aryan nation," and they therefore, deserved to conquer and rule Europe and the World.
- Ethically--let's just say, this one didn't really apply to Hitler, probably the most evil and destructive man this world has ever known, except that even Hitler tried to fool his people falsely proclaiming, "G-d is with us!"

It's a war of good over evil out there, and we need to make our arguments to influence and persuade for the good, but we also have to be careful not to let others, who are not so good, manipulate us for their own selfish and depraved ends. 

Ethos, Logos, and Pathos--potent tools or weapons in the direction of mankind and civilization. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 16, 2018

Me Myself and I

I thought this was really fascinating about how we interact with others.

It's a theory by Martin Buber called the I-Thou relationship.

In every relationship, there are really 6 people in the room:

- Who I am.

- Who I want to be.

- Who I am perceived as.

-----------

- Who they are.

- Who they want to be.

- Who they are perceived as. 

----------

Taking about a break between reality, fantasy, and perception. 

Is it any wonder that there are so many communication breakdowns and relationship disappointments. 

We need to coalesce around a unified persona of I and thou--and if we don't know, perhaps we need to ask for clarification.

We don't want to talk past each other. 

We want to talk to and work with each other. 

I am me and you are you. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 4, 2018

Anus Protectus

So I learned this new phrase today:
"Anus Protectus"

It's what it sounds like.

It when you communicate (or do) something in order to "cover your a*s."

Sometimes we communicate as an FYI.

Other times as a FYSA.

And then there is the CYA. 

All of these are what we call "Purposeful communications."

The only real difference is their purposes. 

When you open your mouth or your email make sure you know your:

- Why (intent)
- Who (audience)
- How (persuasion techniques)

These are the secret sauce of good communication. 

More blogs to come on this important topic. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 4, 2018

Living Your Values

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This ultimately means my success and happiness! 

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

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

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

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

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 19, 2018

When People Fear You, You're Not A Leader

As the fortune cookie I came across yesterday says:

"Leadership is action, not position."

And actions demonstrate a good or evil heart.

When everyone hates a leader is that a "leader?"

- Fear is not leadership.

- Bullying is not leadership. 

- Corruption is not leadership. 

Leadership is:

- Showing others what is right and being a good influence. 

- Rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work alongside everyone else. 

- Helping others to achieve their potential. 

- When others see you as a leader based on your integrity of purpose and actions. 

How we treat others is as true a test of leadership as of where we want to go and how we want to get there. 

G-d sees everything man (leader or not) does, and only He in Heaven is the Leader of Leaders and the King of Kings.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 18, 2017

Brighten Your Mondays

So a colleague asked me why I wear bright, happy ties on Mondays. 

Well, I explain, I guess it's a combination of two reasons: 

1) I'm starting the week all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed coming off the weekend energized and ready for a brand new and exciting week.

2) I'm trying to counter what many consider the "Mondays Blues" and make them brighter and more cheerful for everyone. 

- Smile and the whole world smiles with you!

So the other person responds, as if all the craziness of the office and organizational psychos during the week will somehow wear down my good cheer:

"So by the time you get to Fridays, what are you wearing black ties???"

I guess everyone knows the workweek is the workweek.

And they don't call it work for nothing. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 13, 2017

Live 4 Something

I was on the treadmill the other evening. 

On the TV was Sylvester Stallone in the movie, Rambo. 

Ah, some nice welcome action to take my mind off the exercise.

Some doctors and missionaries are trying to make their way to to Burma to help the helpless victims being slaughtered by the military warlord and his henchmen. 

Stallone knows the danger in going there, and at first, he ties to discourage them from going.

The beautiful and sincere women in the group convinces him to take them there...to try to make a difference in these people's lives who are suffering. 

Stallone takes to the lesson and incorporates it into his inner persona. 

And later he says:

"Live for something 

Or

Die for nothing!"

I thought this was a really good philosophy. 

THINK ABOUT IT: 

- We can choose to make our lives meaningful and impactful or to hide in the closet or under the bed and really accomplish nothing.

Our lives are a gift, given to us to do something good with--it's a sin to waste that gift and not do everything we can to be a good influence, help others, and make this a better world. 

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 2, 2017

It's Just Bling

So sitting in synagogue today, my friend Jacob said something very interesting to me.

He was talking about some very wealthy people with multi-millions and even billions. 

And then he says, you know what the difference is between the rich and everyone else:
"Nothing!"

I asked him what he meant by this.

Then he starts listing off to me like this:
"Well, they live in a home, and you live in a home.
They drive a car, and you drive a car.
They eat food and you eat food."
And it was amazing how smart his words were, and it hit me how right he was. 

It's all sort of just in our minds.

Their homes are bigger and nicer; their cars are more luxurious and fancier; their food is better and tastier...but what difference is any of that really.

We both have a roof over our heads to protect us from the elements and a nice place to sleep. 

We both have a car that gets us from here to there and back again. 

We both have food and drink to fill our bellies and nourish us. 

Isn't the rest just a bunch of bling?

It's branding and marketing and the sense of luxury that some are better and have more than others. 

But beyond the essentials, we really don't need any of that!

What we do need is our relationships--people we care about and love and who love us. 

The ability to have a deep impact on others. 

To influence them and make a difference in their lives--in what they do and how they treat others. 

The ability to help people and society. 

The bling is just bling. 

The ability to love and influence that is true wealth. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 16, 2017

Your Everlasting Timeline

So I wanted to share this really smart thought about life and death:
"What is the most important part on a person's tombstone?
The dash!
Why the dash?
Because it represents what a person has done between the date they were born and the date they died!"
We tend to wildly celebrate birthdays.

Also, we perform a remembrance (or memorial) on the date of a person's death. 

But what is truly the significant part is what the person did during their life--the kind words, the good deeds, the positive influence that they had on people and the world around them. 

A simple dash between the DOB and DOD.

The small things are really the big things. 

No, an elaborate timeline of life events and doings.

Our time on Earth abbreviated, but not trivial at all. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 30, 2017

It's Like Saving The Whole World

I saw this sign hanging prominently in a large local Baltimore hospital here (and it comes from the Talmud): 

"He who saves one life...It is as if he saves a whole world."

For doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners, what greater purpose or joy in life than to save other human lives!

Each person is truly a whole world unto themselves...their thoughts, feelings, and their contributions!

Who knows what one single act of kindness or generosity from someone can have--what impacts down the line to one or even billions of others. 

Today, I have a friend that is undergoing a major operation in this hospital. 

My thoughts and prayers are with him. 

This is his third hospitalization in the last few weeks and it's time for the doctors--with G-d's help--to save his life.

I actually had something similar to this friend many years ago, but the technology wasn't there yet to diagnose it, and I had to have emergency surgery where they went in "exploratory" to find out what the heck was going on.

And thank G-d that they did--they literally saved my life at the time or I wouldn't be writing to you all today. 

I feel so grateful to G-d for his mercy to us and for giving us modern medicine and technology and all the wonderful people who work tirelessly to help all the sick people and to help save their very lives.

I am wishing the best of luck to my friend to come through this with a full and merciful healing.  ;-)

(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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June 26, 2017

Shock Value Gets The Ball Rolling

There is definitely something to be said for shock value. 

When you do or say something that is S~H~O~C~K~I~N~G.

And it jolts the other person out of their daily stupor so that they really take notice. 

It's hard to stand out in a global population of over 7.2 billion people and counting. 

Everyone wants to be special, unique, have an impact, and make a difference. 

It's our answer (partially) for why we are here and why it matters.

Our life is a journey and it can be a log slog if we don't have a purpose and meaning in it all. 

We look to the One Above for guidance, meaning, love, and protection.

But we also have to look at ourselves in the mirror...what are we doing with our lives. 

Shock value doesn't mean real value...it's just the initial jolt to get noticed...like that purple and green spiked hair or those sparkly shoes you adorned. 

So you have to take the initial jolt and make it into deep impact--by touching not just a cord, but the nerves that run through. 

In Florida, there was a funny sign along the highway with that shock value that said something like this:

"Your Wife Is Hot So Call {X} To Fix Your A/C!"

What did you say about my wife? 

You know you're right, I do need to invest in better air conditioning! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 20, 2017

Winning Attitude

I met this lady at the shopping outlets a few weeks ago. 

One of the awesome brand stores was running a sale with 70% off!

Check, check--not a gimmick--we race over with the crowd already forming lined up outside the doors. 

This salesperson was there to guide just a few people in at a time--I guess, so the mob wouldn't rip the joint to sale shreds!

This lady (pictured) had something awesome about her.

Working part time in retail, I'd imagine that it's not the job's salary and benefits that is perking her up or "getting her out of bed in the morning." 

Yet, she had the most unbelievably great attitude. 

She stopped to talk with us and tell us about her background studying and living in Israel during the year, and that she had a twin sister working in the same store for the Summer. 

Her energy and enthusiasm was inspirational and I would imagine could even be contagious to many who let themselves revel in it rather than resist it. 

As people waited on the line, this women offered them her umbrella to stay dry and cool. 

Waiting on line is not the most fun thing, even when it's for a 70% off sale, but this lady kept everyone smiling and sort of stress free with frequent updates and walking and talking up/down the line.

Listen, we all know people who do the same or similar jobs: one is grouchy, sullen, and is for all intensive purposes miserable all or most of the time; the other is generally smiling and happy to be there learning and contributing, and have the job.

What a difference between these 2 types of people!

And what a enormous contrast between the positive and negative impacts they have on others and on the organization. 

It's not just what you say and do, but how you go about doing it. 

Yes, we all have various challenges and problems in our lives, but how do you deal with it.

This doesn't mean you should be a phony baloney head--you need to be genuine and real to be credible and a high-functioning human being--and of course, everyone has bad days. 

But an overall winning attitude goes a long way in life and towards success--for yourself and how you can influence others. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 3, 2017

The UNITED States of America

Continuing the theme of unity...

I really liked this amazing American flag.

Instead of stars, it has the abbreviations for all 50 states.

Imagine what we can accomplish if we all learn to love each other and band together again.

And know for sure what will happen it this hate and infighting continues.

Unfortunately, there seems to be selfish forces of corruption and evil at play.

Put the country first.

By all means disagree and constructively criticize.

Influence things for the good.

Work together and solve problems.

And let's try to be the UNITED States once again!

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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February 24, 2017

The Trouble With Communication

So I remember this old comedy skit showing the problem with communication.

There is a deaf guy trying to communicate with a blind guy.

Boy, this is a real conundrum.

The deaf guy communicates with sign language that the blind guy can't see. 

And the blind guy communicates by talking which the deaf guy can't hear. 

So neither are getting any messaging across. 

This is sort of like every day life, where people communicate talking past each other. 

Each may only be concerned with what they feel, think, and have to say. 

They don't really care to listen or understand the other person. 

It like the blind and deaf guy communicating and neither can hear the other. 

Most importantly, we need to put ourselves in the other person's shoes. 

To think from their perspectives, and to communicate having in mind to fulfill for the other person--what's in it for me (WIIFM).

In Judaism, their is an important teaching that each person is an entire world unto themselves.

We need to be sensitive to their world and speak our mind, but definitely in their language. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 11, 2017

Media Is Becoming The Biggest Loser

So this is an interesting poll from Emerson College:
"49% of U.S. voters believe that the Trump administration is truthful, while only 39% feel that way about the news media."

Growing up, I never thought or felt the media was biasing the news.

Frankly, it never would have occurred to me. 

Maybe, I was too innocent or naive. 

But I always thought the media's job was to "tell it the way it is."

The media's job, I understood was to be a honest broker, investigate, report, and tell all sides of the issues to help inform and educate. 

What people then did with that information was up to them. 

They would be free in a democracy to form their own opinions and see things that were presented to them through their experiences and sense of identity and justice.
But now, the world is upside down, and bias, bigotry, and prejudice is embedded in the media news itself. 

The same story on a deportation case today can be told by CNN as one of racism and cruelty to immigrants for deporting a mother of two who was "a threat to nobody" or by FOX news as one of enforcing the laws and security against an undocumented immigrant with a felony conviction for social security fraud. 

It depends what colored glasses your looking through and how you want to influence or control what the masses think and do about it. 

No wonder, people don't trust the media!

Not only were the projections based on garbage polling completely wrong in terms of who would win the election, but the reporting out of daily events is done through one-sided reporting, "alternative facts," and "fake news."

The Democrats and Republicans are duking it out, but it's the media that it getting the biggest black eye on honesty and credibility, and losing the fight for influence over the American people. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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