The Beauty of Words

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “The Beauty of Words.”

Before Amos Oz could read the words themselves (by sounding our the letters), he learned to read by shapes!  Amazingly, he saw the words in a whole new way. The “S” in “Snake” looks like a snake. Similarly the “F” in “Flag” looks like a flag on a pole. Again, an “eye” looks like a pair of eyes with the bridge of a nose between them. 

“Language arts” really is an art that is poetic in sound, meaningful in thought, and even beautiful to look at–no different than a work of art by Picasso or Mozart. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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From Tulips to Cryptocurrency

There always seem to be another mania. 


From the Tulips Mania in 1637, when a tulip went for more than 10x what a skilled workman earned in an entire year!


To Cryptocurrency in 2018, which is down about 80% from its $20,000 peak losing $700,000,000,000. 


In between, we had the gold rush, the great depression, the tech/dot-com bubble, and the housing/mortgage crisis, and many more I am sure. 


There seems to always be something for people to get excited about in an “irrational exuberance” type of way, as former Federal Reserve Chair, Alan Greenspan put it.


Is it boredom, big dreams, unadulterated greed, the desire to “get rich quick” and easy, the belief that you’ve discovered the Holy Grail or is it just people being stupid. 


Either way, we have a way of getting ourselves in trouble, some “losing their shirts.”


Not sure who said it, but there isn’t an easy fix to your life. 


There are small and big problems, and then there is you trying to fix them (with G-d’s help). 


As to bitcoins and tulips, they ain’t worth what you think they are. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal with photos from Pixabay). 

Problems Are Earthly

This was a saying that I really liked. 

“G-d is greater than you problem”

– Problems may seem like the end.


But G-d is the root of all BEGINNINGS!


– Problems may be overwhelming. 


But G-d is your HEAVENLY FATHER AND MOTHER!


– Problems may be big.


But G-d is INFINITE!


– Problems may be tough.


But G-d is ALL POWERFUL!


– Problems may be challenging.


But G-d has all the ANSWERS!


– Don’t let your problems get you down. 


See the bigger picture. 


Know you are not alone in the universe. 


Have faith that everything is in G-d’s hands and will be alright. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Paul Allen And Steve Jobs – Both Left Us Early!


Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft died yesterday, Oct. 15, 2018.


His untimely death reminded me of Steve Jobs, co-founder of Microsoft who died Oct. 5, 2011.


Allen co-founder Microsoft in 1975 and Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976


Allen was 65 and Jobs was just 56 at time of death.


Both were pioneers in the IT Revolution.


Both died of cancer.


Both dropped out of college.


Both accumulated $20B of wealth in today’s money.


Both own(ed) 2 sports teams (Jobs posthumously)


Both were huge philanthropists in terms of what they left the world: money in Allen’s case and many innovations in Job’s.


Both have been in Time’s 100 Most Influential People.


Both died an early death–sadly too young!


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Kanban Visual Task Boards

Just wanted to share this best practice for Kanban or Visual Task Boards


This is a way to layout work/workflow and track and communicate progress. 


Previously, many professionals use colored sticky notes on a wall or whiteboard.


Today, tools like ServiceNow have the capability built right in. 


This was an example that I created in just a few minutes. 


Visualize your team’s work and focus on what needs to get done, who the tasks are assigned to, the status, and keep driving continuous improvement in the workflow and project. 


Color coding can be used for different tasks and you can see the legend at the top.  

Tasks can be easily dragged and dropped from one column (status) to another. 


Create transparency and collaboration on your projects–try Kanban Visual Task Boards. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

The Essence of Time Management

So here are some quickies on the essence of time management.


1. Urgency vs Importance:


Don’t sacrifice the important items for the urgent ones!


– Focus on the items that are important on the right side of the matrix–if they are urgent (upper-right), you need to do now; if they aren’t urgent, but they are important (lower-right), you need to make time for them. 


– Deemphasize the items that aren’t important on the left side of the matrix–if they are urgent and not important (upper-left), limit them or delegate them; if they aren’t urgent or important (lower-left), delete them. 


There are two potential areas of dissonance that can cause you tension, stress, and anxiety.


– When the urgent top row items and the lower-left life necessities get in the way of your focusing on the quality life items that are of long-term importance to you (the lower-left).  For example, work and errands can crowd out your personal, family, community, and spiritual time. 


– When you have too many items in the lower-right quality time area and these are in competition with each other for your time and attention, and you don’t know how to prioritize them and get it all done.  It’s like there is never enough time. For example, we ignore our spouse, the kids, or closeness with G-d, because we just can’t get to it all.


This is where our personal values and conscience come into play to drive what we do and how we spend our precious time in this world. 


We all only have 24 hours in a day, so our actions need to be purposeful and driven by our values!


2. Tasks vs Relationships


Imagine another matrix with focus on tasks on the vertical access and focus on relationships on the horizontal access. 


Again here, we want to ensure a healthy balance of focus on both task and relationships (upper-right corner). 


If we focus on tasks at the expense of relationships or relationships at the expense of tasks, we are going to have a problem.  Moreover, it makes no sense to focus on items that are neither task- nor relationship-focused (lower-left).  


We need to collaborate with others to accomplish great, complex tasks (we can only accomplish so much alone). 


Again, dissonance (tension, stress, anxiety) is caused when we are pulled off-balance to focus on work or people to the exclusion of the other.  


As they say,


“Mission first, people always!”


We’ve got to build meaningful relationships and work together to get the mission done and the mission can be helping people and building a better society in a variety of ways. 


In a sense, it’s people helping people. Love thy neighbor to help thy neighbor.  


Time is of the essence–we have so little of it–it is precious–we can’t get it back–it goes so fast–we need to manage it like gold. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)