Showing posts with label Lessons Learned. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lessons Learned. Show all posts

April 11, 2019

Black Hole--What's Really Important?

Amazing beautiful photos of a black hole from 55 million light years (311 million trillion miles) away. 

It measures about 25 billion miles across--about the size of 29,000 suns. 

If this doesn't make you (with all the money, smarts, good looks, and ego to match) feel small, nothing will. 

We are but a speck of dust in this vast universe (maybe not even that). 

Perspective is in order for your life and what it means. 

Forget the money-grubbing and honor-seeking.

Realize what's really important is what you do in terms of choosing right from wrong and good over evil in every small thing you do.  ;-)

(Photo Credit: Event Horizon Telescope)
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April 1, 2019

Victory Or Defeat

I was reading Vladimir Jabotinsky's "Story of My Life."

And there is this quote that I really like attributed to Kipling in it:
Victory or defeat: learn to accept both with equanimity since both are deceptions.
I just thought this is profound.  

We never really fully win or lose. 


Everything is on a spectrum. 

And where we think we are on that spectrum is often not even nearly correct. 

You think you won that one, but guess what someone else has outsmarted you and you don't even know it yet. 

Also, wins can be easily followed by loses and vice versa.

Things can turn on a dime and who's up becomes who's down--as the wheel of life turns and turns again. 

Recognize that you don't control everything--actually, the only thing you do control is how you react and behave.

Everything else is a test to teach you and help you grow. 

And as I heard from a speaker yesterday, "you can't make up in space, what you have lost in time."

Victory or defeat, both are deceptions. 

Only how you choose to act is the real win or lose. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 8, 2018

Think Back, Think Forward

So yesterday I attended a colleagues's leadership program graduation. 

There were about 20 people in the graduating class. 

One thing that I liked was that when they called up each person to shake hands and get their diplomas, each graduate was given the opportunity to say a few words. 

It was amazing to me how 20 people could give a thank you, what I learned, and what I will do with it speech in 20 completely different ways. 

20 people, 20 personalities, 20 ways of thinking and saying something. 

We really are all the similar to and different from one anther at the same time!

I remember one graduate in particular.

He talked about how the leadership program challenged him, and he said:
It made me think back, and it made me think forward. 

I loved that!

This is really what learning is all about. 

Reflecting back and using that to think forward--how to apply it, how to shape it, and how to innovate from it.

Thinking forward starts with thinking back to where we came from and all the lessons learned in our lives. 

It all starts at the beginning and it goes forward from there. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 14, 2018

Taking Pride In Your Work

I thought this was a nice necklace. 

The lady in the hair salon had a necklace in the shape of a scissors.

I asked her about it because it seemed sort of unusual and neat. 

She said, "It's a scissors!"

And then she proceeded to squeeze the miniature two handles, and said, "You see, it actually opens and closes too!"

I could see and hear how proud she was of what she does for a living. 

Yes, maybe it doesn't earn as much as some other professions, but it was her job and she loved it. 

I think we should all try to take such pride in our work and in doing a great job!

Everyone has something important to contribute and every contribution truly counts. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 
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July 11, 2018

Not A Kiss

So I learned a lesson recently.

Sometimes, a kiss is not a kiss. 

It could be a phony show. 

Like a snake. 

It slithers and fools people into complacency. 

Kiss kiss!

Hug hug!

But around the back is a hand holding a dangerous dagger. 

It stands ready to swing and plunge into your soft unsuspecting tissue. 

The more kisses, perhaps the more hiding of their true intentions. 

People are complex and sometimes malevolent. 

They want what they want, and when they want it. 

When the time comes, a kiss can turn into a sharp knife. 

You wonder how is it that person has no more kisses.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 20, 2017

There Is Always A Bigger Fish

So as we are about to enter Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year...

I want to share a very important lesson that I came across again this year. 

The lesson is:
No matter how big a fish you think you are, there is ALWAYS a bigger fish out there.

You may have position, title, money, status, and all the trimmings, but someone with more of this and that and the other thing (and overall power) can come along at any time--at G-d's decree--and swallow you right up.  

I connect this to the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah when it is customary to go and cast bread (symbolic for our sins) into a natural body of water, so the fish can eat them up--and in a spiritual sense we throw away our sins and cleanse ourselves of our wrongdoings over the last year--let the fish have them. 

And like the fish eating our sins, I think another more powerful person can come and swallow us up and even spit us out (like Jonah and the Whale)--we are all fallible and mortal. 

We are made from dust and we go to dust, and my dad would joke to clean up the mounds of dust under my bed!

As we enter the New Year, may Hashem have mercy on us and bless us, and may we have peace, health, and prosperity, and may we be written in the Book of Life.

Oh yeah, and may no fish big or small come against us to cause us distress or harm--G-d is the Almighty Protector--Amen! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 5, 2017

The Meaning Of Pain

Wow, I am so impressed with my daughter.

I spoke with her this evening and she has grown into such a smart, mature, and good person. 

We were talking about some hard times.

And she said to me so smartly (and I am so proud of her):
"The reason that we have pain is to avoid more pain."

Wow...think about that for a moment. 

Everyone gets physical, emotional, and even spiritual pain in their lives. 

Even little things like stubbing your toe, getting a small burn, or a paper cut--these things give you a instant or more of pain...but it jolts you into attention of what to avoid and to action how to protect yourself to prevent further and worse pain down the road. 

A little pain now can fortunately save you a lot of pain later!

(Or in the gym they say, "No pain, no gain.")

My father used to say about difficult life lessons:
"Better to cry now than to cry later!"

He was right--bad situations generally don't get better with age. 

Continuing the discussion with my lovely daughter tonight, she said to me:
"A person becomes better when they struggle. I've become better by struggling."

Again, like little pains, even larger struggles in life challenge us to learn, grow, and become better and stronger people. 

I remember as a kid--when we went through those growth spurts--it would actually hurt a little--some muscle aches here and some cramps there--whew, a few inches taller already. 

Growth hurts, but it's kind of a good hurt that only someone with the emotional intelligence to understand maturity and betterment can really grasp. 

No, I'm not advocating for self-flagellation--just that we know when pain and struggle is a defining moment in life--like shaping and sharpening a great sword in fierce fire. 

It's hot, but the heat is healing and necessary sometimes to grow as human and spiritual beings. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 24, 2017

Going From Hearing To Listening

I thought this was pretty good. 

How do we go from hearing to listening?

We have to be silent (and contemplative)!

- Check out the letters in the word silent.

- They are exactly the same as the letters in the word listen.

Keep the mouth shut and really listen to the what the other person has to say, and you might actually learn something. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 15, 2017

Aging Is A Process

This guy was a hoot on the Metro in Washington, D.C. 

His shirt says:

"With age comes oldness."

Ah, yeah!

When he was sitting, he had his arms crossed over his chest, and I thought it said:


"With age, comes baldness."

That too!

Getting old is not easy.

Being young is not easy either. 

But it's really how you handle yourself during every stage and turn in life that defines who you are and what you become as an person and a creation of G-d. 

You've got to get up and walk the dance through thick and thin...life bring old age and oldness...what's the alternative. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 18, 2017

The Nature of Good and Evil


Like in the Bible...

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

Words are cheap, and actions speak volumes louder!

Good deeds mean something, but words are easily manipulated.

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

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

(Source Video: Dannielle Blumenthal)
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August 3, 2016

Snipped My Tie

This was pretty funny.

I had a loose thread on my tie as is wont to happen. 

And I know well enough not to try and pull it, because then you can really mess the tie up. 

But I am so busy in the office rushing around doing a million things.

So I pull out a scissors and still in a hurry just try to snip off the thread.

Well, I snipped it a little to close to the tie apparently.

This turned out not as a haircut, but more like a scalping. 

No more thread, and no more tie!  

Thank G-d, this wasn't a circumcision or we'd really be in trouble. 

One more lesson is always keep an extra tie at work. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 26, 2015

When In Doubt

I like this sign that I saw in a local place of business that buys and sells goods. 

"When in doubt--PASS!"

How many times are we faced with a challenging situation, and we are not quite sure what to do.

We hem and haw and go back and forth in our minds whether we should really do it?

But like my wife and I came to with decision-making in general a while ago, "If it isn't yes, then it's no."

When that little something inside is giving you pause, doubt, and holding you back...there is usually a very good reason. 

STOP yourself right there--listen to your gut and instinct.

If you don't, you'll pay the price afterwards for making a bad call that you knew deep down was a big no-no to begin with. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy and Dossy Blumenthal)
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December 5, 2014

Paper Thin

I took this photo to show something "paper thin."

Did this after my daughter told me a quote she thought was pretty smart and which I immediately liked as well:

"No matter how thin you slice it, there will always be two sides."

- Jewish Philosopher, Baruch Spinoza

I think of the two sides in terms of peoples opinions.

And it's true, no matter how thin you cut the differences, there will always be at least two views about it--usually more! 

It doesn't make it easy to get to consensus, but I guess we all have to give a little. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal, excuse the glare)
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September 15, 2014

Doctor In Context

I took this photo in the doctor's office. 

No, this is not my doctor, but a statue of one on the countertop.  

What's funny to me is how he looks in context of the bottles and anatomical models all around him.  

Either the doctor has shrunk or the other things are really huge.

My dad used to tell me that doctors only know what G-d tells them, so we should pray that G-d gives them the wisdom to help us. 

And my grandfather used to say in German that "G-d is my doctor."

Maybe that's why the image of the doctor is looking up--to get the guidance from the one above to help us. 

That's the intersection of medicine and faith--where truly big things can happen. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 28, 2014

Service From Yourself

I was so proud this week to see some true customer service excellence from a colleague. 

Someone had run out of toner and they had put in a help desk ticket to get it replaced.  

In the meantime, there was a large order of toner on order, but it was still a day or two out from delivery.

So my colleague responsible for this area took his own toner out of his printer and gave it to the person who was out. 

I got a wonderful email thanking us for the unbelievable customer service. 

Honestly, there are other printers that the person could have used in the meantime, but this person went above and beyond to keep the customer working and happy. 

Great lesson in customer service and exemplary behavior here. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 1, 2014

Outrunning The Needle

This nice gentlemen who works in the medical profession was telling me a funny story today.

He grew up amidst a collection of small villages in El Salvador.

The person who gave the vaccinations to the children used to go to the school to administer the medicine to them.

When the kids saw him coming, they would run out of the school, through the school yard, over the fence, and all the way home to try to avoid the shot.

He also said that the school personnel would chase them to their home to bring them back…one way or another, they were getting the dreaded needle. 

It reminded me of when I was a little kid in the pediatrician's office, and the doctor was pulling out a long needle to give me a shot, and I hopped off the table, and ran for my life. 

I ran out of her office, past the nurse's station, and into the welcoming arms of the patient reception area.

But the doctor and nurse caught up to me as well and brought me back for my shot too.

It sort of reminds me of the saying, "You can run, but you can't hide."

In life, it really doesn't matter whether we want to do something or not.

When the time comes to face the challenges that await us all, even if you try to ignore it, avoid it, or run away from it…it will eventually catch up to you.

Maybe it's worth a run sometimes, if you can avoid an unnecessary fight, but if it is something you have to face, like your medicine, you might as well just stay and take the needle like a man/woman and get some cookies and ice cream afterwards. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Dan4th Nicholas)
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January 1, 2014

Ushering In 2014

As we usher in 2014, I thought this amazing Fendi Jewel Watch for women was a great timekeeping way to capture the moment.

I took this photo in the Bellagio Hotel in Vegas. 

There was a huge advertisement hanging by the lobby, and it immediately caught my eye. 

I like the different colored stones for each hour around the dial, as well as the overall white diamond ring around the face. 

I found it at their website for $3,000 and it is an absolutely gorgeous timepiece when you first see it.

But it's interesting to me that while it catches my eye, the more I look it, I find that I start to tire of it, and it is not one of those truly timeless jewelry pieces.

Maybe an important lesson for the New Year is that we need to look closely and carefully to avoid expensive buyers remorse, because not everything that glitters is gold--in fact, this watch is stainless. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 28, 2013

Lessons Learned From My Family By Rebecca Blumenthal


This is a moving interview with Rebecca Blumenthal.

She came to me this afternoon, spontaneously, to tell me some meaningful lessons she had gathered from some of the special members of her family.

Immediately after I heard a few of the things she had to say, I asked her if she would mind me capturing these beautiful sentiments on this short video.

I was very moved by her sincerity and thoughtfulness, and it gave me pause in my own life to appreciate these things anew from the people who have been so important in my life as well.

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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December 11, 2013

Getting It In Writing

So this is funny, this company, Knock Knock makes witty office supply products.

This one is a picture of file folders that say, "Useless documents to provide appearance of importance in meetings."

They have another set of folders with, "Papers to shuffle endlessly thereby accomplishing nothing."

These reminded of the importance of getting things properly documented, in writing. 

Otherwise you get the unfortunate scenario that goes something like this when coming to agreements with others:

- Person #1: "If it's okay, can I get that in writing?"

- Person #2: "You have my word. Don't you trust me?"

The end result is an undocumented verbal agreement, and this is invariably followed, at some future time, by a disagreement, as follows:

- Person #1: "Well we agreed [fill in the blank]."

- Person #2: "I don't recall that. Do you have it in writing?"

When someone refuses to give it to you in writing that is a clear warning sign, and bells and sirens should be going off in your head--loudly--that there is a problem.

The lesson is:

- Get it documented in writing, period. 

- Documents are not useless even if some people use them to look important or they get caught in paperwork paralysis. 

- Verbal agreements are a he says, she says losing game. 

- Avoid getting caught without the documentation that spells it all out--and you can put it in one of these cool folders too.  ;-)

Note: This is not a vendor or product endorsement. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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August 25, 2013

Even The Buildings Smile

Soon we will end the weekend and move into the next workweek.

As a kid, I remember people calling it "Blue Monday"--presumably because of the feelings people had going back to work.

I know some people that don't even like to go out on Sunday evening at all, because of the anxiety they feel about the upcoming week.

But I thought this was a great photo that my daughter took to express the weekend joy and good feelings and the importance of carrying these forward throughout the whole week. 

Someone actually drew this smiley face on the side of the building!

When my other daughter, Minna, asked my mom in the nursing home today for some words of wisdom, she reminded us all that "the years go by all too quickly!"

In her words, I understood that the main thing is to find meaning and purpose, give more than you take, and remember to count your blessings every day. ;-)

(Source Photo: Rebecca Blumenthal)
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