Wrong Direction–Who Stands For The Truth?

So I thought this was pretty funny in the Wall Street Journal over the weekend. 

A wife is listening to the radio and she hears that a car is dangerously going in the wrong direction on the highway. 

Immediately, she calls her husband to tell him about the car going in the wrong direction, and to be careful. 

He husband replies: One car going in the wrong direction…there are hundreds of cars going in the wrong direction!

How true this little story is about life and what direction we choose for ourselves–in the face of the groupthink and the tidal wave of public opinion that will sweep you away if you aren’t strong of mind and especially of character. 


Whenever we choose the road less traveled, others see us as dangerous and going the wrong way. 


Yet to us, others may just be following blindly, and we may truly see something that everyone else is missing…could it possibly be that they are really the ones going the wrong way!


But there is always some doubt in our minds…we are fallible, we can wrong, we can be crazy.  


Whose truth is it anyway–Mine?  Yours?  Or could it really be “The (objective) Truth”?


Alternatively, maybe we just lack confidence or courage?


It is very hard to be the nail that stands up (and doesn’t get hammered down) and say that something is wrong and everyone should pay attention and change direction or their ways. 


Perhaps, they are all heading off a moral cliff or just heading towards disaster.


In some cases…


We know the agendas of the people who want to steer you wrong. 


We hear the propaganda and lies they are feeding you. 


We can see down the road or just around the bend where the danger lies in wait. 


– Can we stand up to the crowd?  


– Can we demonstrate the moral truth?  


– Can we get others to see what we see?  


It is certainly not easy to be the contrarian in the crowd. 


Not only may you not be recognized for what you are doing, but you may even be persecuted for it. 


It doesn’t matter…


Because you need to do it anyway just because you know deep inside that it’s the right thing to do. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It’s Fight or Surrender!

This is why President Reagan was able to “tear down that wall” and win the Cold War. 


He was a true role model for leadership and what a President is. 


– Faith in G-d.


– A strength of convictions.


– The Integrity that touches hearts. 


– Courage to carry forward. 


– Pride in our nation.


– Judicious use of our might.


Go USA! 😉

How Angry Do You Get?

Anger is one of those emotions (like jealousy) that can clearly get the best of people. 


Hence, the term anger management!


The Talmud teaches that there are 3 ways to know a person’s real character: 


– Koso, Kiso, and Ka’aso.


From Aramaic to English it translates as:


– Cup, Purse, and Anger. 


In other words…


Cup–When a person “drinks,” this is how they handle their alcohol and how they act when physically (or perhaps emotionally) inebriated or as we say, “When the wine goes in, the secrets come out!” Are they jumping on the bar, ripping it all off and saying and doing the inappropriate and profane or are they able to recognize their point of weakness and ask someone for a ride safely home. 


Purse–This is how a person handles money (and power). Materialism of people speaks volumes. Are they cheap, misery, and narcissistic or compassionate, caring, and giving to others.  


Anger–When a person is angry, this is often when their “true colors” show.  Do they get mean, bullying, abusive, and violent–do they go for the throat and the kill or are they situationally aware, measured, and do they listen, understand, and are they able to cope well when “under the gun.”  


Focusing on the anger piece…


It’s easy to get angry, and it’s also easy to look for a scapegoat and let it out on people that really have nothing to do with why you’re really angry. 


Maybe people can’t always address their anger with the true source, maybe they don’t even recognize their feelings fully, or have no idea how to safely release and reset.


In any case, anger is a dangerous emotion if not dealt with. 


Many mistakes are made that cannot be undone when people lose their cool (or sh*t, as now seems more commonly said). 


Thoughts on this…


Take a breath, slow down. 


Evaluate what’s really going on


Think about whether it’s truly the end of the world or not. 


Assess the options for coping with it. 


Look for ways to deescalate and resolve. 


If necessary, seek help from others.


Finally, where possible be compassionate and forgiving. 


And where not, cope, cope, cope–and survive another day!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

That Look On Their Face

So I love that look on people’s face when I say something that just startles them or takes them back a little. 


The other day when I got a haircut, the barber lady was talking to me (BTW, she’s a very nice person).


At one point, she says something about my hair being a little different on each side. 


So I blurt out something like:


“Well, that’s because my brains are pushing it out!”


I got the funniest look from her…yes, it was priceless.


First, she’s like right, of course, your brains are pushing out your hair!


Then, she looks at me, and I start smirking, and she gives me the big eyes and raised eyebrows, like a combination of that’s funny and now don’t be such a wise guy. 


Then, we both started laughing. 


I love that. 


I love doing that with people. 


Being alive. 


Getting a reaction. 


Making them wonder for a second. 


Getting them to smile and laugh. 


Maybe my brains are pushing my hair out!  😉


(Source Art: Sean M., 8th Grade Montgomery County and Photo by Andy Blumenthal)

Braving Trust and Credibility

So I thought this was really good from a colleague this week. 


How to build trust and credibility in the workplace:


Credibility is about being “convincing and believable” and results from “expertise and experience.”


Trust is believing strongly in the honesty, reliability, character, and effectiveness of a person.”


BRAVING


Boundaries – Have good boundaries–respecting yours and having my own; show others respect in words and deeds. 


Reliability – Be someone who is both reliable (can be counted on)  and is authentic.


Accountability – Hold others and yourself accountable; we all own our mistakes, apologize and make amends. 


Vault – Keep information in confidence.


Integrity – Hold courage over comfort; choose what’s right over what’s fun, easy or fast; practice and not just profess values. 


Non-judgmental – Believe the best in people even when they occasionally disappoint you. 


Generosity – Offer and ask for help from others, and give generously of yourself in time and effort. 


No offense to anyone…the last thing they said was a little spicy for the workplace (but I know it was meant well):  “Good conversation with others should be like a miniskirt–short enough to retain interest and long enough to cover the topic.” 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Don’t / Can’t – Turn Back Now

My father used to say a very wise thing:

You can only go forward.
You can’t go back.


Often in life, I reflect on how wise this is and he was. 


Sometimes, we are hesitant or afraid of what lies ahead, and we turn our heads back and reinvent history and creatively fantasize how wonderful things were before and maybe we should go back.


Like the Israelites thousands of years ago, who G-d redeemed from the servitude of Egypt, but with hundreds of years of a slave mentality, they were in a sense paralyzed with fear of going into the foreboding expanse of the desert. 

“If only we had died by the L-rd’s hand in Egypt. There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted. But You have brought us out to this dessert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (Exodus 16:3)


But we know that going forward is the only way to learn, grow, and progress. 


Just like the Israelites that went forward through the depths of the Red Sea on dry land and to receive the Torah on Sinai and for forty years in the desert to ultimately get to the amazing promised land of Israel. 


Thank G-d, they didn’t turn back–there really was no turning back.


Back is death.  


Forward is life. 


We have a journey that we need to complete. 


The destination is wherever G-d takes us. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)