Think Back, Think Forward

So yesterday I attended a colleagues’s leadership program graduation. 


There were about 20 people in the graduating class. 


One thing that I liked was that when they called up each person to shake hands and get their diplomas, each graduate was given the opportunity to say a few words. 


It was amazing to me how 20 people could give a thank you, what I learned, and what I will do with it speech in 20 completely different ways. 


20 people, 20 personalities, 20 ways of thinking and saying something. 


We really are all the similar to and different from one anther at the same time!


I remember one graduate in particular.


He talked about how the leadership program challenged him, and he said:

It made me think back, and it made me think forward. 


I loved that!


This is really what learning is all about. 


Reflecting back and using that to think forward–how to apply it, how to shape it, and how to innovate from it.


Thinking forward starts with thinking back to where we came from and all the lessons learned in our lives. 


It all starts at the beginning and it goes forward from there. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Feeling Blue, Feel Better

Life is filled with so many wonderful marvels and joys–thank you G-d!


Yet interspersed is what feels like a series of non-ending life challenges. 


Yes, of course we wouldn’t recognize or appreciate the good, if we didn’t have the bad to compare it to. 


But just when you think you’ve gotten through one obstacle and are cruising nicely down Life Lane, then it seems like it’s time for the next speed bump.


I know that having faith through thick and thin is a huge part of it. 


Also, challenging oneself to be strong and work through the next life dilemma. 


Sure, not everything is life and death, thank G-d.  


But even daily upsets can be frustrating.


I know inside though that in a weird sense, this is really what life is all about. 


It’s not paradise we are living in–that comes later when we get our angel wings!


This is a world that challenges, teaches, and grows us. 


We are not here just to have a merry ‘ol good time day in and day out. 


While that may be nice for a while, it would get pretty tiresome and pointless. 


Life is like a puzzle–a very big puzzle–and we are here to help solve it and in the process, we have the opportunity to become better souls for it.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Happy Just The Way We Are

Great speaker today at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).


Mike Reiss, producer and writer for the hugely successful Simpson show–the longest-running series on primetime TV with 30 seasons and over 600 episodes!


The topic was “The Science Behind The Simpsons.”


Whether the guest was Stephen Hawkings or Leonard Nimoy–there was no shortage of scientists and science in this animated, comedy show that taught us much about life.  


The video clip above was a short capture of the Simpsons singing “We are happy just the way we are.”


Incremental change and continuous improvement is so important to our growth and maturation in life.


Yet, there is also a lot to be said for being happy with what you have and who you are. 


There is so much to be grateful for and plenty to enjoy at the moment. 


Many people are on the proverbial roller coaster to nowhere.  


It’s nice to get off the roller coaster and finally be somewhere that makes you happy and fulfilled. 


Mary Poppins get hit by the airplane at the end of the skit, and you know what, she’s not even missed. 😉


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

Beautiful Summer Fruit

Summer Fruit.jpeg

Wow, how beautiful an array of colorful summer fruit. 


Saw this at Balducci’s (classy store). 


Watermelon, cantalope, pineapple, and mango.


Sliced and all nicely packaged up together ready to eat.


Looks yum!


Amazing what G-d creates. 


And he bestows on man the ability to put the finishing touches. 


Thank you Oh L-rd, who gives us the delicious and beautiful fruit of the tree.

Yes, it’s an unusual blog for Tisha B’Av–maybe I’m craving the food. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Freedom Pays

Freedom
Another great article by Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal today.



The usual saying is that freedom is not free (i.e. that we must fight for it). 



But Stephens shows us that Freedom actually pays. 



It is our freedom that helps us to be creative and innovative like no others on this Earth.



Stephens comments on his growing up as an American abroad:



“I find it amazing that, in the U.S., I can drink water straight from a tap, that a policeman has never asked me for a ‘contribution,’ that my luggage has never been stolen, that notbody gets kidnapped for ransom, that Mao-esque political purges are conducted only inthe editorial of the New York Times.”



Instead of having to focus on fear in everyday life–we can use our energies to plow creatively into the next great thing for mankind. 



In sync with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, when we are not scavaging for food and huttling in some abandoned building or cave to protect ourselves from marauding bandits or corrupt dictators, we can self-actualize ourselves by leaps and bound contributions through science, technology, engineering, mathematics, humanities and arts. 



Our society looks for opportunities, rather than having to look over our shoulder at daily threats.



We run to invest in great ideas, rather than have to use our money to escape the corruption and tyranny that surround us.



With the holidays are upon us, it’s a perfect time to reflect on our good fortune at being part of a democracy where freedom and human rights power our success.



Thank G-d for where we live and what we are able to achieve. 😉



(Source photo: here with attribution to Eric Magnuson)