Big Mouths Alert

Big MOuth.JPeG

So I took this photo in the Museum of Natural History. 


As you can see, this hippopotamus has quite a big mouth. 


He is also not alive and is behind a glass-enclosed case for viewing. 


To me this screams that those with big mouths often don’t end up well. 


I remember a relative of mine used to bluntly call it, “being full of sh*t.”


Whether these people are in politics, your neighborhood, bullies at work and school, or even those in the fake news media…they have become all to somewhat frequent.


Sure there are other animals with small mouths in the same situation, but the hippo truly is a decreasing and vulnerable species.


And like it’s neighbor in the museum, the dinosaur–another one who has a big mouth–that ended up extinct, the prospects for talking big, but accomplishing little is sort of part of the character. 


The hippopotamus is mostly a herbivore–it has a big mouth and some big sharp teeth, but it mainly eats humble plants and doesn’t pursue the hunt of the big game and eat lots of red meat. 


Listen, big mouths can still be highly dangerous–words are powerful and can do a lot of damage. 


But overall “talk is cheap,” especially when people focus on words and not good deeds and who don’t have the right intentions. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Satisfied and Bless G-d

Fancy Car.jpeg

I loved Chabad Rabbi Schneur Kaplan’s speech today in synagogue.


It was about how we can learn to be happy with what we have in life.


The biggest marketing gimmick is to say to the guy, “Look at what your neighbor has next door!”


Jealousy, desire, greed, having more and better than the next guy/girl…


That’s what many people live for and how they think.


Some can have as much as the founders of Apple, Google, and Facebook combined and still it’s not enough.


If just one person has something more…it can drive that person crazy.


Like Haman on Purim, who had wealth, power, large family and everyone bowed down to him…


Except one person named Mordecai who wouldn’t bow.


And despite having everything, but missing that one thing drove Haman so crazy–it was his downfall!


When we eat, we can be satisfied with one slice of pizza and say grace or we can have four slices and still not be satisfied.


How do we look at things?


We can be grateful for whatever we have and say that G-d gave us just what we needed at this time and place.


Or we can look at what we don’t have, and forever be bitter and unsatisfied.


What joy we can experience in life when we realize the graciousness for what G-d has bestowed on us and we are thankful for what we have. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Don’t Push The Button

Easy Button.jpeg

Thought this was a really funny quote about getting your buttons pushed: 


“Don’t push my buttons without reading the manual.”

– Gadgetmobile, Inspector Gadget

In terms of not pushing other people’s buttons:

“Remember, you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudice, and motivated by pride and vanity.”

– Dale Carnegie

 (Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

How Great Are You?

Greatness.jpeg

INDISPENSABLE?

      Sometime, when you’re feeling important,

      

      Sometime, when your ego’s in bloom,

      

      Sometime, when you take it for granted,

      

      You’re the best qualified in the room.

      

      Sometime when you feel that your going,

      

      Would leave an unfillable hole,

      

      Just follow these simple instructions,

      

      And see how it humbles your soul.

      

      Take a bucket and fill it with water.

      

      Put your hand in it, up to the wrist;

      

      Pull it out; and the hole that’s remaining, 

      

      Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.

      

      You may splash all you please when you enter,

      

      You can stir up the water galore,

      

      But stop, and you’ll find in a minute,

      

      That it looks quite the same as before.

      

      The moral in this quaint example,

      

      Is just do the best that you can,

      

      Be proud of yourself, but remember,

      

      There’s no indispensable man.

            

      – Saxon White Kessinger

(Thank you to my daughter, Minna Blumenthal, for sharing this)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Got Mic

Mic.jpeg

My daughter went to a cool work seminar yesterday on emotional intelligence and she told me five important takeaways for creating EI health:


1. Self-awareness


2. Self-regulation


3. Self-motivation


4. Effective relationships


5. Empathy


Certainly, exerting self-control and working effectively with others is sort of obvious.


But it is not necessarily easy for everyone to do. 


Reflecting on this, some people seem to need no microphone or megaphone. 


They can’t get off the elevating soapbox and behave instead is as if they are the whole show onto themselves. 


Enjoying to talk alone or above everyone else, maneuvering with drama and theatrics, and being cemented squarely in that center stage.


Perhaps highly intelligent about the subject matter, but often quite low on emotional intelligence. 


Seeing neither the objective nor the team, unable to recognize and respect others or to listen to alternate points of view, it may go on for quite some time before they come up for air. 


Overly extroverted, oblivious, uncaring, or perhaps needy or narcissistic.


Seeming to say, “I was created and stand in the center of the universe and all revolves around me!”


Chasing honor and dismissive as to their way or the highway–threats lurk, right or wrong. 


This is definitely a job for self-improvement and to personal advancement. 


Can EI be learned? 


Perhaps if the person can stop for a sec and just listen and be humbly part of the human race. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Wanting It Too Much

Data

It’s funny how we all dream about something…


Money, honor, success, large families, health, beauty, popularity, big houses, fancy cars, exciting vacations, and so on. 


Some people even dream of technology and big data, and wanting to either come up with “the next big thing” or simply have all the answers to everything. 


In the election session now, Saturday Night Live (SNL) frequently makes fun of some candidates at how much they desperately want to be president. 


I wonder though between the connection of wanting something so much and actually getting it. 


Does wanting it…led you to actually get it. 


OR


Perhaps, it actually can push it further away. 


One women who I was talking with told me that the more you want something, the less likely you are to get it, period.


You want it too much (you’re greedy, narcissistic, or think you are somehow ultimately deserving and the world just owes it to you)!


The universe just won’t let you have it when you are desperate for it. 


You have to be ready for it…cool with it…and most importantly, at peace with yourself, and then you can get where you want to be. 


There is something that rings so true about that. 


Desperation and success do not make good bedfellows. 


In fact, the more you know somebody wants something, isn’t that just such a huge turn-off (you start questioning their motives and everything) and in a way you want to recoil and not give it to them. 


Sure, knowing what you want helps. 


Hard work helps. 


But being okay with whatever G-d decides for you is critical. 


You can’t go with your head through the door!


G-d will either open or close the path to you…and all the kings horses and all the kings men won’t make the difference in the end. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Who’s Getting The Attention Now?

Pink Shoes and Socks

I took this photo of this couple online in Starbucks this morning. 


It was very hard not to notice this guy’s sneakers and socks (on the left). 


Hot pink sneakers with matching Homer Simpson pink socks. 


I thought to myself that you’ve got to be pretty bold to go out and wear that. 


It’s funny how people love attention, and often it seems like they will say, wear, and act any which way they have to in order to get it. 


Maybe (good) attention is like currency:


– It’s valuable when your noticed (you become instantaneously cool, one to follow, maybe gets into the school or job you always wanted, oh and don’t forget all the likes on Facebook or the paparazzi).


– It feels good to have some (who wants to be ignored or looked down on? Positive attention is like an addictive drug to many people).


– You can trade attention with others (they give you some and you give them some–it’s like rubbing each others backs, but in this case it’s your egos instead). 


– Perhaps, you can even save some up in the (memory) bank (where people remember what a great gal or guy you are). 


Think about what do you do to get attention and is it something you are proud of or are you acting a little mischievous, naughty, and outlandish to get it? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

You Can Always Go, Downtown!

Apple tour
This was fascinating to me at work this week…



I learned how people perceive who sits where and what it means to them.



They even come up with naming conventions for it.



So where (some) of the managers sit, that’s called “The White House.”



If you turn around and go towards the other end of the building, that’s called, “downtown.”



And crossing the hallway, past the elevators, that is called, “across the bridge,”



Clearly, the culture of each of these areas within the very same building can be completely different–some may be upbeat, friendly, and productive, and others not so much so or even the opposite with the folks running and screaming, “Get me outta here!”



The message…where people sit and even who sits next to whom is a big deal. 



Where you sit can indicate power, alliances, what is getting done, and at the other extreme who is on “the outs.”



Like in the movie, Office Space,  when the guy with the red stapler is moved with his desk and all into the caverns of the building–basically to rot because management didn’t quite like him. 



Often people who are in disfavor aren’t fired, they are simply put in cherem–excommunicated–and to die a slow and painful career and emotional death. 



On the other hand, those who are the shining stars of the organization get moved to a higher floor, with a better view, possibly a corner office, and near the boss–aha, you’re needed!



At work, I suggested a little enterprise architecture challenge to look at the three office areas: White House, Downtown, and Across the Bridge and to define the culture of these–what they are and also what do we want them to be for the people and how can we change to get there. 



No one should feel alienated, “less than” (as human beings), or put out to pasture (if they can be and want to be salvaged). 



The messages that are sent to people by assigning fancy titles, fatter paychecks, providing bigger and more luxuriously adorned offices is a form of performance management (reward and punishment)–but remember that those downtown or across the bridge–who may feel underutilized and not valued in the organization, may become the aggrieved marauding mobs that want to take the proverbial “kings head.”



While there are differences in where people are at in their careers and where they sit, generally-speaking advancement and mobility should always be based clearly on fairness, equal opportunity, and respect and dignity for all people regardless of race, color, religion, sex, etc. No one should be sitting in the leaky basement!



Also, sometimes it really is just “the luck of the draw” where people end up–truly–where G-d provides the right opportunity, you have the right skill set, those involved have the right personalities “to click”, and it’s at the right time “to work out.”.



What was also interesting about this to me is that one’s persons White House is another person’s downtown or across the bridge–it’s all relative and we are all part of the carnivorous food chain. 



Just to share something personal for me at work is that one thing that I do when setting up a meeting is that I never put in the meeting notice that the location is my office, but rather, I put it down as “my space,” because some people don’t have offices, but rather cubes, and I don’t want to make anyone feel bad. 



In the end, it’s all G-d’s space!  😉 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Lights Never Really Go Off

Light Switch

It was interesting at work recently, when a colleague was contemplating what to do about some key person being out of the office and unavailable…



And they go: “Next man or women up–last one flips off the light.”



In other words as they say, the show must go on!



So hurry up and let’s get the person’s deputy, “second,” or the next one on the ladder read in and working on this. 



When it comes to work, we can’t stop because someone is “out of pocket”–the job presuposes any particular person or persons.



While many peope think (or wish) they are irreplaceable, the truth is that with the exception of your closest family and friends, we are all just shy of, “Okay, whose up next?”



I remember a friend who told me many years ago that he believed that the whole world revolved around him (yes really), and that everyone else was “just a figment of my imagination.”



Ha, I’m pretty sure that a lot of people have had a similar thought or sentiment about themselves. 



But the truth is that while everyone is unique and invaluable–there are over 7 billion of us out there and growing–so there is always someone else waiting in the wings to jump on an opportunity to fill someone else’s shoes (no matter how big). 



It is a harsh world and reality–but we are here as long as we are here, and then there are others who come after. 



In a sense, this is a good thing, because as mere mortals, we don’t want everything to depend on us–we are frail, we get sick, we die–but by having others who can step in and carry the flag forward, our efforts do not end with us. 🙂



(Source Photo: here with attribution to Niklas Morberg)

Going To War, In The Office

Indian
So occasionally in the office, people perhaps forget where they are…



And instead of working together to solve problems, they go to war with each other and make more problems. 



Yes, there are power politics and plenty of my slice of the pie versus your slice of the pie–whose slice is bigger, whose got more cheese and toppings, and whose slice is pipping hot. 



Most often these office controversies happen behind the scenes or closed doors.



Behind the scenes, you can’t see the knives violently slashing and behind paper-thin closed doors you (usually) can’t hear the screaming!



But every once in a while the “passion” of the work spills over into the public domain–sometimes in a meeting, hallway, cafeteria, or the even the company picnic. 



In all these cases, the professionalism goes out the window way too fast and out comes the drawing of lines in sand, the I’m right and you’re wrong (including wagers for a good lunch or even maybe a nice crisp $100 bill), and threats to escalate (as if this wasn’t ugly enough already).



What comes over people in the moment–perhaps they simply feel like they are in the right or that they are simply defending themselves, or maybe there is spillover from problems at home, ego at play, socialization issues, or even personality disorders.



Whatever the reason, as one of my best friend’s fathers used to say, “When 2 people fight, they are both wrong!”



Or some people say that “they both end up with black eyes”–even if one comes away worse than the other…



And I think if you’ve ever had a car accident with another driver, you would know that the insurance companies agree with this principle, and attribute some portion of blame to each driver–whether 50/50 or 99/1–everybody plays a part whether in an accident, dispute, or an all out brawl.



What’s interesting watching these unfold is how the participants are almost in their own world with everyone else as bystanders, sort of just fading into the distance–so they do everything wrong:



They speak emphatically in absolutes (and maybe even yell a little), cite chapter and verse (but from different books), name drop (ever bigger executives in the organization whether they really know them or their positions on the issues or not), name call and make personal digs, and perhaps–although it should absolutely never come to this–get physical (like slamming their portfolios, coffee mugs, and doors, or I heard one person who even threw something at their colleague).



Aside from these folks typically losing the argument and whatever they were after, what’s worse is they lose everyone’s respect, and maybe even their jobs. 



The arrow of the workplace fight shoots way up, and comes down hard and fast right in their behinds…it’s a stupid, but endlessly painful and deserved ouch.  😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)