Harris Teeter War Zone

Who would’ve thought that going to Harris Teeter would be a war zone. 


But this guy in the respirator mask is showing us how bad things can start to get. 


As an avid fan of the show The Walking Dead, I think we are entering TWD territory with the people walking around with their face’s half covered and some looking sick with fear and worry or perhaps even with symptoms–who knows!


What is amazing is how things can go from boom to bust, and not just for our economy, but for life and civilization itself at the turn of a dime. 


Yesterday, I read how the CFO of Jefferies Group Investment Bank (NYC) died at age 56 from Coronavirus. 


Even as the Navy’s hospital ships Mercy and Comfort enter the ports of Los Angeles and New York City to lend a hand and about 1,000 hospital beds each, it seems like more and more of these deadly cases are hitting the papers and social media every day.


Where does this sickness stop?   


What happens if the virus mutates again and become even more virulent?


How do we ever feel even remotely secure again?


Can we keep taxing our already overwhelmed healthcare system with more and more sick patients?


How long can we keep printing Monopoly bailout money (incredibly, there is talk of yet another multi-trillion Coronavirus stimulus bill even after we just passed this $2.2 trillion one last week)?


Eventually, as we all know circumstances can indeed overwhelm the health and financial systems, and even our governments…thank G-d we aren’t there. 


But what we are all beginning to see in the midst of crisis is that “there” isn’t really all that far away from “here.”


…That life hangs by a truly thin thread. 


And because we can only do so much, this is where we really need to look up to the heavens and ask for G-d’s help and mercy.  😉


(Credit Photo: my wonderful son-in-law, Itzchak)

Arrogance And A Messy Head

While sometimes children behave like “know-it-alls”…


Often an attempt to showcase what they’ve learned or to build their self-confidence. Sometimes, it’s also to bully others.  


More unusual though is to find an adult that thinks and actually says they know it all. 


But sure enough, I ran into someone who told me (about technology):

“I know everything!”


And they said it with a straight face. 


Literally, they told me how they came up through the ranks and knew EVERYTHING with emphasis!


Moreover, they told me that if I didn’t know something, I should go ahead and ask them because they would most definitely know it.


So I respect all people and certainly admire those who are knowledgable and talented in their fields. 


But something felt very wrong about an adult who feels that they have to go around bragging about the depth of their knowledge–and that their knowledge is apparently infinite (at least that’s what they espoused). 


I wondered to myself–is the person arrogant and a big mouth or the opposite–lacking in self confidence and therefore needing to boast and show off to compensate for their inadequacies?


When they were talking, it seemed like their head was getting so big and full of themself that it would just explode!


Most adults with emotional intelligence realize how little they know, and the older they get the more they realize that they don’t know in life. 


Especially, people of faith recognize that G-d is all-knowing and all-powerful, and we are but mere “flesh and blood” and truly just a speck of dust in the universe.


So truly smart people are humble and they look to learn from others, rather than preach and teach in a monologue of hubris.


Like many people that get too big for the britches, G-d usually brings them back down to Earth and their head to size.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Confidence Speaks

I found this interesting about communications management. 

On one hand, when discussing issues, you want to listen to everyone’s input, and consider all sides. 

On the other hand, it’s critical to be competent, confident, and “know what you’re talking about.”

Amos Oz wrote:

Those who hesitate and doubt are convinced by those who are strong-minded. 

So it’s an important balancing act:

– Not to be so self-confident that you aren’t listening to others, 

– But also not being so unsure and hesitant that you don’t stand behind your values and views. 

Confidence speaks, but overconfidence is deaf. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Got Skills

I thought this was a very telling sign right off the highway in Washington, D.C. 


“Does your child have life skills?”


And then it lists things like:

“Cooking, budgets, sewing, ironing, time managment, communication, and fun”


The classes are offered by ActualLifeSkills.com.


I took a look online at what a typical 6-week class offered on Sundays for 3-hours at a time and at a cost of $345. 


It even covered things like:

“Handshakes, eye contact, and conversation starters
Voice projection and confidence
Party/guest etiquette, gifts and thank you notes”


And of course, aside from the cooking and budgeting already mentioned, there were more of the foundations such as laundry, cleaning, and grocery shopping.


I would suggest adding things like computer basics, child rearing, human relations, home maintenance, car mechanics, hunting, fishing, gardening, first-aid, fitness, and even self-defense. 


Since, we spend so much time teaching book skills, I have often thought why we don’t spend more time teaching these fundamental life skills. 


We are raising a generation of kids that can score 1500+ on the SATs, but they don’t know sh*t about real life and couldn’t survive a week without electricity, Internet, or mom and dad taking care of them. 


Back to basics. 


Back to life skills. 


Back to survival. 


Back to being self-sufficient. 


There is no reason that we can’t add these items to our broken school curriculums. 


You shouldn’t have to go to special classes to learn to live life. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Improv, Let’s Do it

What an incredible experience today. 


We went to the Atlas Theater in Washington, D.C. and did Improv (no script). 


For a Jewish kid from the Bronx, this was not something I was used to, but I loved it. 


– Say your name and an animal with the same first letter and act it out.


– Say something you love or hate and everyone gravitates on the stage towards or from it based on whether they agree.


– Repeat a word and action from someone else and pass it on.


– Act out an action that someone else calls out after yelling “Let’s do it!” 


– As a group, answer a question from the audience, by each person adding a word to the aggregated answer. 


– Give your neighbor a pretend object and after they identify what they think it is and thank you for it, you explain why you gave it to them.


– Stand on an emotion (happy, sad, angry, scared) and act out a scene with someone else rotating through the feelings.


– Pretend you’re a hitchhiker and infest the emotion with everyone else in the car.


I was really amazed at how good so many people were with doing these exercises. 


And I felt it was so freeing to be doing it too. 


I feel like I really learned a lot about being comfortable with yourself and just letting your inhibitions go and even though it was scary and hard, I would like to do this again. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Future Beyond Fear

This is my spin on a Jack Canfield saying, but I like it this way:

“The future is on the other side of fear.”

Sometimes we feel hemmed in or torn down by life.


And there is plenty of fear of failure and not being able to do what we need to do. 


But the only way to get there is to get past the fear!


You need to look straight ahead into the future of what you want. 


And you need to overcome your worst fear…that you’re not good enough, you’re not smart enough, you’re not strong enough, and you’re not beautiful enough.


…and the gnawing feeling inside that you can’t do it.


This is precisely when you need to center yourself, strengthen yourself, and pray for G-d’s help.


Whether to get over it, under it, or through it. 


The future–your future–is on the other side of that fear–that fear that is holding you back.


No, you’re not stupid, ugly, weak, or unworthy.


Yes, you’re a child of the G-d on the most high. 


So you can reach deep and reach high to accomplish your mission in life. 


You can truly leap over mountains and even reach for the stars. 


No, it’s not beyond you.


It’s right in front of you.


Take that deep breath, clench your fist, gird you sword, and ready yourself in every way.


The fear holding you back is yours to conquer. 


And the future is yours to be had. 😉


(Inspired by my wife, Dannielle Blumenthal)


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Inspiring Greatness

I thought this was inspirational. 


Muhammad Ali believing that he’s the greatest boxer.


And the child sitting in front with these huge red boxing gloves on–presumably dreaming about becoming the next Muhammad Ali!


The butterfly sitting on the boxing gloves in front of the child adds an interesting dimension, where the child dreams of developing into the “next great one,” just like a butterfly morphs from a caterpillar into a beautiful flying creatures with colorful and expansive wings. 


This child wants to fly and soar to greatness like Muhammad Ali did. 


We all need an inspiration that has overcome adversity to make it against all odds. 


For me, this inspiration was Rocky who rose from the streets to become a fighter and winner not only in the ring, but in life as a person of integrity and a mensch. 


If we dream it, it can be–with G-d’s blessing and plenty of hard work. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)