Reaping What You Sow

I liked this saying from the Kibbutz:

If you don’t say good morning to the tree, it won’t say happy new year to you.


Wow, that is pretty wise.


The love and care you put into something every day is what eventually you will get out of it. 

According to you work is your reward.


Yes, (generally-speaking) you reap what you sow…that’s the fruit of your labor. 

Consequences are real and they can be painful if you don’t see the connection between your actions and the reactions. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

OOOC…Order Out Of Chaos

Life is not meant to be chaos (or partially that is). 


That’s why G-d created a natural order and rules of nature. 


From the laws of physics to repeatable mathematical formulations, the universe may be infinitely large and complex, but it is not without standards of function. 


According to the Law of Causality, the world is a pattern of action and reaction (or effect), where everything is a consequence of something prior. 


Even in Chaos Theory, we find that in apparent randomness, there are underlying patterns. 


Absent a miracle, the sun rises every morning and sets every evening. 


Yet, nature and man can also bring catastrophe whereby the world seems like one big chaotic mess. 


Whether from illness, natural disaster, or conflict, our world, can in a moment be turned on it’s head. 


Moreover, it’s all predictably unpredictable. 


And it’s up to us to make Order Out Of Chaos (OOOC). 


This is where many of us either sink or swim. 


When the chips are down, and all the world seems to be imploding with dysfunction, this is where we need to find and make sense and order.


Bad things happen even to good people. 


Good people need to find the faith and the strength, and with G-d’s help, rise to the challenge. 


Easier said than done, for sure. 


In the chaos of things, time may stop and everything becomes a blur.  


We may become like a deer in the headlights–frozen with panic and truly not knowing what to do. 


But if we can just find which way is up. 


Then we can redirect ourselves–rising from the depths of despair to the surface, where the sun is shining and we can gasp a breath again. 


Even around our dysfunction is function to be had. 


Solve a problem, do something constructive, and help others…it’s all part of making order out of chaos.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Hopefully, All’s Well That Ends Well

I liked this Hebrew sign that says (translated):

When the end is good, all is good. 


Or as we commonly say:

All’s well that end’s well. 


Lot of truth to this. 


And there are so many languages that talk to this.

I remember my father used to say it in German as well.


When things end well, it’s as if everything went well. And when things end badly, it’s as if everything was bad. 


The human mind seems to focus on the last thing (and forgets virtually everything leading up to it). 


Perhaps, we justify the means with the end (i.e. all the time and effort leading up to it). 


Or maybe we recap our lives as either a success or failure by how things ended up. 


In 20/20 hindsight, we can see the consequences of our actions.


– Was all the hard work worth it?


– Did we even focus on the right priorities and goals in life?


– Were the choices and decisions we made well-founded? 


– What was the impact on ourselves, our loved ones, and more broadly?


We look for meaning and purpose in our lives, and hopefully in the end when we look back, we are blessed to see that it was all for the good. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

You Ended Up In Hell City

So a friend told me something funny.


It was about being given what appears to be a wonderful opportunity, but in reality it’s not all roses. 


In short, it went something like this:

There was an exciting competition and a prize at the end. 
Everyone prepared and worked hard to win it. 
But when the competition was over, what was the prize?
The 2nd place was two weeks in Philadelphia. 
The 1st place was one week in Philadelphia. 


I had to think about that for a second, but that is really pretty funny and true. 


No not about Philadelphia, but about life–that what we often mistakenly want so badly and strive for with all our energies, and then only to find out that it really wasn’t as good or amazing for us and our families as we imagined. 


Yes, very often you set your sights on certain goals to win the competition, but then you find out that the BIG prize (“first place”) is really not something to get excited about, because it’s in Philadelphia!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Struggling With Some Decisions

So I’ve been helping some family members with some really big decisions lately. 


As we all know, there are pros and cons to every alternative. 


I remember how you can diagram decisions out like the branches of a tree with probabilities for each branch to try and get to the highest value decision. 


The problem is we don’t know everything that may happen down the road or even know the probabilities for each possibility–or as they say:

We don’t know what we don’t know.  


So it’s hard to make a great decision and not second guess yourself.

Well, what if…


You can “what if” yourself to sleepless nights and death and never decide or do anything meaningful. 


We have to make the best decisions we can usually with limited information. 


Using gut or intuition is not a solution either–those can end up being very wrong especially when we let our raw emotions dictate. 


So I do not take decision-making for myself or helping others lightly, especially my family. 


I want to protect them and help them make good decisions that will bear fruit and joy down the road. 


I definitely don’t want to waste everyones time and efforts and lead them or myself down a dead end or worse off of a cliff.


In the end, we have to turn to G-d and whisper:

Oh G-d, please help us to make the right decisions, because only you know what the results will be from it. 


And so, I am definitely whispering!


At the same time, we need to move forward and not let fear and doubt get in our way of living. 


Yes, we have to be prudent and take calculated risks (everything worthwhile is a risk), but also, we have to look at the potential rewards and the costs for these (every decision is an investment of time and resources) and then just try our best. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Them Tables Always Turn

Just wanted to share a saying that I liked.


It is an ancient Mongolian proverb and was in the movie, “Mogul” about the rise of Genghis Khan:

Do not scorn a weak cub; he may become a brutal tiger. 

I think this is the Asian equivalent of:


1) Don’t burn your bridges.

2  Don’t start a war you can’t win. 

3) Pick on someone your own size.

4) What goes around comes around.

The Asian version is better! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Social System that Inspires Pride and Shame

This story continues to fascinate me. 


China’s social credit system started in 2015. 


China scores individuals based on public data (social media, financial, insurance, health, shopping, dating, and more), and they have people that act as “information collectors” (i.e. neighborhood watchers) who record what their neighbors are doing–good and bad. 


Each individual starts with a 1,000 points. 


If you do good things in Chinese society–helping people, cleaning up, being honest–you get points added. 


If you do bad things in China–fight with people, make a mess, be dishonest–you get points deducted. 


Fail below 1,000 points and you are in trouble–and can get blacklisted!


A good score is something to be proud of and a bad score is something that shames people to hopefully change for the better. 


But more than that, your social score has tangible social impacts–it can determine your ability to get into certain schools, obtain better jobs, homes, loans/mortgages, high-speed internet, and even high-speed train tickets/airplane flights. 


While maybe well intentioned, certainly, this has the very real potential to become a surveillance state and the embodiment of “Big Brother”!


On one hand, it seems like a great thing to drive people and society to be better. Isn’t that what we do with recognizing and rewarding good behavior and with our laws and justice system in punishing bad behavior?


Yet, to me this type of all-encompassing social credit system risks too much from a freedom and privacy perspective. Should the government and all your neighbors be privy to your most intimate doings and dealings?  And should people be controlled to such an extent that literally everything you do is monitored and measured and counted for/against you?


It seems to me that the price of sacrificing your very personal liberty is too high to make in order to push people towards positive social goals.


Guiding people is one thing, and rewarding outstanding acts and punishing horrific ones is understandable, but getting into people’s knickers is another. 


This type of social credit system really borders on social control and moves us towards a very disturbing, dystopian future. 😉