State Of Our Politicians

Last night was the State of the Union…


But this morning, I still can’t help thinking about the State of our Politicians. 


The picture from Virginia governor, Ralph Northam medical school yearbook is outrageous, and yet he refuses to step down.


This didn’t happen when he was kid, but as a responsible adult. 


And even for those of us who believe in personnel change and forgiveness, there has to be accountability for something this callous, hurtful, bigoted and offensive. 


What happened to our politicians being true patriots, looking out for our good and the best interests of our nation?


One lady said to a group of us last evening:

I know who I am going to vote for in the next elections, and it’s NO ONE currently in political office!


To which another gentleman replied:

It doesn’t matter who you vote for, a politician always wins.


Somehow, I still have faith that there are people who can rise to the occasion and be the leaders that they must be. 😉

Loneliness Is Death

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


Frightening loneliness statistics:


– One in 11 Americans over age 50 “lacks a spouse, partner, or living child.”


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


– 1 out of every 6 people lives alone. 


Research indicates that loneliness leads to early death. 


The impact of loneliness is equivalent to:


– Smoking 15 cigarettes a day


– Drinking 6 alcoholic beverages a day


Loneliness is worse for mortality than:


– Obesity 


– Physical activity


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


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


Truly, no man is an island!


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


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


Alone we die–together we live. 


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


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Wherever You Go

So my father used to say this idea about dealing with life’s challenges:

“Wherever you go, that’s where you are!”

If you think about it for a moment, it really is very profound. 


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


Move here, there, everywhere. 


Change schools, jobs, spouses, whatever. 


But you can’t run away from yourself. 


Wherever you run, you’re still you!


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


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


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


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


Change your place is not a substitute for changing and growing yourself–that is the only constant with change. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

G-d Created Evolution

Evolution.jpeg

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


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


In fact, G-d created evolution!


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Going Down B4 You Go Up

Wheel Of Life.jpeg

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


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

“Sometimes you go down before you go up!”


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


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


Yes, know that nothing is easy in life!


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


It’s the nature of progress.


Don’t be afraid to go down a little right before you’re about to go way on up. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

From Cradle To Grave

Human Capital Lifecycle.jpeg

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

From a full lifecycle perspective, it’s “cradle to grave!”

In terms of lifecycle on the job, it’s “hire to retire (or to fire).”

Really the lifecycles are intertwined. 

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

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

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

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

Thus, the human capital lifecycle. 😉

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Enter With A HANDSHAKE & Leave With A HUG

Hug.jpeg

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


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


But one thing today is sticking out in my mind and it’s this image.

“Enter with a handshake and leave with a hug.”

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)