Faith Has To Win Over Worry

Anxiety is worry and fear on steroids.


Some people have separation anxiety.


Others have social anxiety.


And then there is good ‘ol generalized anxiety.


It was fascinating-scary to learn that nearly 1 in 3 will have an anxiety disorder before the age of 18.


Despite all the abundance, affluence, advancement and technological progress, people are nevertheless more fearful about their present and futures. 


Perhaps like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, when people weren’t able to satisfy their most basics physiological and safety needs, they didn’t know better to worry about everything else like whether they were truly loved, integrated, on the right track in life and fulfilled.  


These days, we have more money, time, and information to know that there is plenty to be anxious about. 


We know the most horrible stories of trauma, illness, death, corruption, disaster, terror, and war–it’s plastered on the news and Internet 24/7/365.


Moreover, our “friends” and connections are blabbing about it on the social networks day-in and -out.


We are aware of our mistakes and foibles in real time as feedback is given and received with both likes as well as open criticism, marginalization, and alienation at every turn we take.


You have to ask yourself–is it meant to help anyone or to degrade and destroy the others, the opposition, the ones we don’t like anymore. 


It’s not just trolls that can make your life miserable, but everyone from your bosses to your peers and social circle who give you pause with continuous reaction and footnote–much of it driven by alternative facts and fake other world self-serving reality.


Perhaps yesterday you were a genius and on top of the world, but then all of a sudden you’re low-life garbage.


Your self-worth and future are measured by likes and dislikes, connections and reactions by people who are driven by their own agendas, power, and biases. 


It’s not just local either. 


North Korea and Iran are tweeting about destroying the world and their latest rocket launches and WMD development. 


Tomorrow maybe the end of one or of many. 


There is truly plenty to worry about in society driven by selfishness, materialism, faithlessness and a moral vacuum where truly anything goes. 


Selflessness, meaning, morality, and faith have to win over all the reasons to be anxious. 


We know too much about the bad every day, and this can only be overcome by anchoring ourselves in the good. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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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)

Mechanisms for Coping With Stress

Just reflecting on the day off today on helpful ways for being resilient and coping with day-to-day stress. 


1. Teamwork – Remember you’re not alone and you can rely on your colleagues/teammates at work and your family/friends at home to work with you, help you, and also be a support. Together, when you distribute the weight, the load is lighter and more manageable for everyone doing the lifting! 


2. Work-Life Balance – Listen, all work and no play is good for no one. When you create a healthy balance in your own life–professional, emotional, intellectual, social, physical, and spiritual–then you will be more balanced, holistic, and better able to manage the ups and downs in any one or more areas of your life. The whole of you is larger than the sum of the parts!


3. Perspective – You’ve got to maintain a healthy perspective and attitude in life. All is not doom and gloom. Not every setback is catastrophic. There is good and bad in everything. And we need to use the challenges in life as learning and growth opportunities. Also, remember that there are many others in even worse shoes than us and their fortitude and seeing it through can be an inspiration to us. At the end of the day, look at the bright side–we all have so much to be grateful for, and every moment of life is a blessing!


4. Sense of Humor – When all else fails, a sense of humor can sometimes be the savings grace of the moment. When you’re looking out over the abyss and you are seeing things dark and maybe quite ugly…perhaps, you can find in yourself, in others, or from a moment in time, something ridiculous or absurdly funny to think back on and laugh to yourself a good, strong, and healthy laugh!


5. Faith – No matter what…G-d is always there for you. Always watching. Always guiding. Always caring and loving you. You can have faith that whatever He does for you is ultimately for your best. The G-d of your forefathers/mothers, the G-d who created you, the G-d who sustains you every moment of every day will not abandon you in your time of need. If you have faith, He will protect and save you and after your amazing life’s journey eventually comes to an end, He will bring you home to reunite with Him!


On my Bar-Mitzvah, now many years ago, my father gave a speech and he said to me from the prayers, be strong and remember:


“The L-rd is with me, I will not fear!” (or in Hebrew “Adonai li v’lo ira”)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Manage The Crisis and Don’t Exploit It

Crisis.jpeg

So I heard an interesting thought on crisis management:

“Never let a good crisis go to waste!”


Isn’t that frequently how politicians and lobbyists use the crisis, rather than deal with it. 


In certain cases, some have even been known to actually create the crisis for their ends!


Whether it’s some politicians calling for strict gun control when there is a mass shooting (perhaps infringing on other reasonable 2nd amendment rights) or it’s right to life advocates demanding an end to funding for planned parenthood when some bad people are caught selling fetal body parts and so on and so on.


Maybe these things are the right thing to do–in which case, a very bad event can end up being an impetus for much needed change and thus, can facilitate in transforming society and from that perspective, be a good thing!


But is the change really and necessarily the right thing to do…or is the crisis de jure just an excuse to get what some people wanted all  along.


– Use (exploit) the crisis.


– Maximize the momentum from the crisis.


– Leverage the emotions from the crisis.


– Promptly turn the tables on the issue.


– Leave all compromise and negotiation aside, and seize the moment.


The lesson here is not to just react, because a sudden and impulsive decision may end up being an overreaction and cause negative unintended consequences down the road.


The pendulum tends to shift and swing widely in both directions–neither extreme is good.


Instead well thought policy, use of common sense, maintaining reasonableness, looking at all sides, and a general middle of the road approach usually yields the best results for the most people.


Crisis management should be just that–managing the crisis; the policy should be fully reasoned both before and after. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Cyclops Looking Eye

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What’s the fascination with the mythical cyclops and the single eye in the center of the forehead?


If the eye represents seeing and knowing then aren’t we better off with two or even a dozen eyes to see with?


See more, know more, do more.


How about eyes in the back of the head?


Or all around the head in a cool circle–like a majestic crown of sight all around you.


Seeing is miraculous.


The beauty of the world–people, nature, and the stars above. 


Seeing is function.


Being able to navigate, get around, and do things with relative ease. 


Seeing is safety.


Sensing path from obstacle and friend from foe. 


It’s frightening to think of not having vision–what a challenge!


One old lady is possibly legally blind, but still serves as a notary public–how does she do that?


Eyes themselves are beautiful–brown and blue and hazel, and soft and deep and mesmerizing. 


Looking into someone’s eyes, have you ever seen their soul. 


Show me thy ways oh L-rd and let me learn and grow in the world you’ve created for us–seeing the material and spiritual world we’re enveloped in. 


I see the beauty, necessity, and lessons you have for me. 


However many eyes, seeing is believing in it all. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Screwing The American Worker

Minimum Wage.jpeg

So someone came to me today complaining that their company was messing with them. 


The employee was earning above minimum wage after several years in their line of work


And now their company wants to cut their salary claiming tight budgets. 


But get this:


– Instead of speaking with the employee, they send the employee a text message telling them they are going to cut their salary, and when the employee tries to call them, they don’t even pick up the phone or call back. 


– The company decides unilaterally that they will cut the employee salary by $1.50 an hour or a whopping 12.5% to this person!


– And this company is going to actually pay the employee below minimum wage!


Apparently, this company hires a lot of immigrants who don’t know the law and are only here for a short time, so this company disgustingly “gets away with it!”


But this employee is an American citizen and he is rightfully furious–as we all should be.


So Montgomery County, Maryland–a very liberal county–just raised the minimum wage to $11.50 effective July 1. 


Do you know what that comes out to at 40 hours per week–less than $24,000 annually.


That’s less than the poverty level for a typical family of four. 


Imagine what this person has left after taxes and carfare to get to work–not much!


I have gotten to know this person and they are a good, decent, hardworking human being, and they have suffered in their lifetime–why do they need to be treated like this and forced to earn even LESS THAN minimum wage. 


They are worried that if they say anything then they will be even worse off–they don’t want to be seen as trouble. 


How many times does this or a similar situation happen to innocent workers where they are mistreated, taken advantage of, abused, harassed, or even worse–but because they need the job and the money they are afraid to say or do anything to protect themselves.


We are the United States of America–one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations on Earth–is this how we treat our citizens?


People deserve to work and earn a decent days pay for a honest days work–a genuine living wage!


They also deserve core worker benefits like health care and a decent retirement. 


And they should be able to do their work free from workplace harassment and abuse. 


There must be not only fundamental laws that protect people, but also the enforcement mechanisms to make it really work. 


This gets to the heart of America–do we still have one? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Dirty Laundry Usually Doesn’t Get Aired

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The way to fix problems is to first identify and acknowledge them.


Only then can you focus on them, commit to them, really address them, and make things better.


The BIG problem though is fear. 


Usually dirty laundry doesn’t get so easily aired. 


Generally, people don’t want trouble. 

“The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.”

And who wants to be the one to get hammered flat and for of all things, doing the right thing?


We don’t encourage transparency.


And we certainly don’t reward transparency. 


As I once overheard:

“Uh, you better keep it in the family!”

So things get kept in the family, and the big burly husband is a drunkard bum and the wife is abused and the kids are abused, and the sh*t goes on. 


Shhh…


Open door policies, hotlines, and other mechanisms are helpful, but don’t go far enough. 


Bosses need to ask point blank and with full and honest assurance of confidentiality and non-attribution or retribution:

“Tell me what’s really going on here.”

When there is smoke, there is fire, and where there is skunk stink, there is skunk.


The only way to know the truth and make a difference is to get to the truth.


In life, is anyone willing to “do the dirty” and finally get to clean? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)