Take Responsibility

I thought it was an interesting sign in the office.

Responsibility: At the end of the day, you are solely responsible for your success and your failure. And the sooner you realize that, you accept that, and integrate that into your work ethic, you will start to be successful.  As long as you blame others for the reason you aren’t where you want to be, you will always be a failure.  – Erin Cummins


While I agree that we have to take responsibility for our lives and do the work hard to achieve success, at the same time, we obviously aren’t in control of everything. 


We have to play the hand we’re dealt in life and make the very best of it.  Whatever challenges that we have, they are there for us to learn from, grow from, and become better human beings from. 


Also, success means different things to different people–for some it’s money, power and honer; for others it’s physical fitness and dashing good looks; still some care more about travel, experiences, partying, and having a good time; and yet for others it’s about G-d, family, country, and good deeds.


Whatever we want to achieve requires dedication and hard work from our end, but also a generous dose of prayer and good fortune for “the stars to align.”  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

An 80-Year-Old’s Life Philosophy

So today an 80-year-old Algerian man sat our table for the Kiddush lunch after synagogue services. 


And he talked quite a bit about his life philosophy and told me I was a good listener. 🙂


1) TRUE LOVE IS LIKE AN ORANGE:

A man and women that are meant to be together are like two sides of an orange.  With his hands, he showed us putting the two sides together, twisting, and he goes, “You see it just clicks!”


2) WHEN LOVE IS NOT TRUE ITS LIKE TWO BIRDS IN A CAGE:

When a man and woman are not soulmates, maybe they just are meant to be together for a time to have children or make a home temporarily. But then, the birds need to leave the cage, and be free!


3) BURIED TOGETHER:

“When people are soulmates, they are buried together, next to each other. Otherwise, one is buried in Greece and the other in Hawaii, and it makes no difference because they are going their own ways in Heaven.”


4) 80 HERE AND 20 HERE

He pointed to his belly and said, “I’m 80 here.” And then pointed to his groin area, and said, “But I’m 20 here!”


5) WOMEN ONLY UNDER 40:

While he is 80, he claims to be robust in the bedroom, and “will never be with a woman over 40…not a day over!”  He said, “It’s like an old Cadillac!” Moreover, he said, if a woman is “not perfect” and has a scar like from having her appendix out, “forget it!”


6) WRITING, PLAYING GUITAR, AND DANCING:

He said, “I like to write, play guitar and dance.” And with his arms, he makes some swoops like he is on the dance floor having a good time. 


7) PEOPLE ARE LIKE CANDLES:

People are like candles.  The body is like the wax that burns down, but the soul is the flame that always rises up.  In the end, the soul ascends to heaven just like the flame. 


8) INFINITELY STUPID:

He pointed to the yarmulke on top of his head and said:  “You know what that means?  This means that there is no limit to how stupid some people can be!”  


8) YOU MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK:

I asked what he did for a living, and he said “Real estate, Jewelry, and even fashion salons.”  I said, “Wow, you’re very fortunate!”  He said, “No, in life, you make your own luck!”


10) RESPECT ME IF YOU WANT:

“You respect me, and I respect you. But frankly, I don’t care if you respect me or not. You can do what you want, and so will I!” I said, “Ok, see you next week and we’ll talk again.”  He said, “Maybe I will or maybe I won’t talk to you ever again.”


Like his philosophy or not, I never saw an 80-year-old with so much energy, life, and personality. Honestly, there are a lot of people half his age, who act more dead than alive. It was incredible to see this ageless person and hear what that’s like. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal 

Expect Less / Appreciate More

I thought this was a great saying in the Wall Street Journal book review today.


“Expect Less, Appreciate More.”


Many people in their late 30s and early 40s become disillusioned with life. 


They have been on the treadmill chasing love, fame, and fortune for so long. 


But reality sets in and they don’t get everything they think they have coming to them.


Hence some level of mid-life crisis sets in. 


However by the time people reach their 50s, things seem to shift again, and a happiness or peacefulness sets in. 


People start to expect less and instead appreciate more from the blessings they do have. 


The treadmill becomes a long walk along the beautiful beach or park trail. 


We don’t need to chase success, but rather just see the great lives in so many ways that G-d has already bestowed on us. 


The U-shaped curve of life–where we start all bright-eyes and bushy tailed in our younger years and which descends into disappointment and disillusionment in mid-life, comes up once again to happiness and a fulfillment in our later years. 


Over the course of our lives, we learn that life does not ask, but rather it tells us. 


And if we just listen, we can find meaning and contentment amidst it all. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Work For It

Hard Work

This was an astute fortune cookie this weekend:


“The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.”


It reminded me of what my dad used to tell me that:


“Nothing, in life, is easy.


Or as my mother-in-law says:


“The world owes you nothing!”


Basically, the messages are similar that we have to work hard for what we want in life.


You have to believe in your goals and your mission. 


And follow through with rock solid determination and perserverance.


It seems in life that almost as soon as one challenge is over the next is ready to begin.


Got to have faith, pray for G-d’s guidance, and be strong. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Random Luck My A*s

EA

Here’s an interesting enterprise architecture themed fortune cookie. 


“Good luck is the result of good planning.”


Everybody wants good fortune, but a big differentiator is whether you are willing to think through life’s scenarios, pull together a solid plan (A, B, and C to be on the safe side) and put in the effort and hard work to achieve your dreams and goals.


Fortunes rise and fall likes the tides, but a solid plan (with G-d’s blessings) can take you further than any ocean spans.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Need For Speed

Speed

In the gym this morning, I watched Joel Osteen giving his Sunday sermon on the monitor. 


The guy is a genius–always on message, always inspiring hope, always uplifting the masses. 


Today, he spoke about acceleration. 


The idea was that no matter how deeply bad our situation in life (e.g. illness, debt, demoted) and no matter how many months or years it would normally take us to recover or get out of it, G-d can accelerate things so that we are healed, solvent, or promoted tomorrow. 


He didn’t say this, but as I understand it, G-d is above time and space, and so he can move you faster out of your funk then anyone would normally think.


Osteen gave the analogy of a bow an arrow, and the further back you are pulled–the more pressure and tension you are under in life–then the further and faster, G-d can propel you forward. 


To me it’s interesting that when we are enjoying a wonderful moment in life, that we wish time would slow or completely stop, so we could savor the good times that much longer or just “stay in the moment forever.”


And at other times, when we are down and suffering, the days of despair and defeat can drag on and on, and it seems like the hours and days just don’t pass fast enough…it’s almost like torture in that it seem to go on forever. And that is when, we hope and pray for a speedy resolution to whatever ails us–we just want to be free from the problems, the illness, the suffering–and so if only, we could leap forward in time and this “would all be over.” 


If you are happy, life is too short.  But if you are in pain and suffering, every moment can be torture.


So if we are worthy, time can magnify and be an accelerant for prolonging the good times and getting out of the bad times (or G-d forbid, it can work in reverse as well–shortening the good times in life and extending out the bad ones). 


Similarly, long life can be a blessing if we are healthy and able to enjoy a real quality of life or it can be grueling for those in pain and suffering. 


My wife told me about this news item from a couple of days ago, where a guy won the lottery, but shortly after was murdered–his life cut short–in a home invasion (this “lucky” guy never got to enjoy his winnings).


G-d who controls time (and space) has quite a lot of leeway to test us or meet out justice–just speed things up or slow things down and the experience and feelings are magnified accordingly. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to spitfirelas)

Happy Hamsa

Hamsa

I took this photo in the local Judaica store.


It is a Hamsa–a palm-shaped amulet symbolizing the hand of G-d–and it is supposed to bring good luck, blessing, and protection. 


This particular hamsa was decorated in a more homey flower theme, which made it different and interesting from the others that I have seen which are traditionally either deep blue with a single watchful eye or others that are multi-colored and jeweled. 


This hamsa should bring us all good fortune and much happiness. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)