Why We Fight?

Google Diversity.jpeg

Well first of all, let me say that I really liked this image on Google the other day. 


Beautiful to see the diversity and brotherhood (and including those with disabilities)!


I had a an interesting conversation with my daughter the other day about why people often don’t get along. 


She said something that I thought was really astute:


“If there were unlimited resources, then no one would have a reason to fight!”


Think about that a moment…


Everyone feels they don’t have enough or someone else has more then them or they are afraid they won’t get their share, and so what happens?


Like jealous little children, we fight for the pail and shovel in the sandbox. 


Only as adults, our sandbox is a lot bigger and it involves hate, bigotry, racism and deadly weapons including guns, knives, and even nukes!


So this isn’t the Garden of Eden where everyone prances around free and with plenty and nothing to worry about. 


Instead, everyone has to work “by the sweat of your brow,” and there are limits to what we have, and there is fighting over who has what.


Yes, truly “greed is the root of all evil.”


What we need to learn and internalize is that it’s more important how we act towards each other than what we have and that the real gold in life is the good we do and not the plenty we amass. 


Sure we each need enough to be able to survive and excel as human beings, but it’s fool’s gold that prevents us from seeing each other as the real brothers and sisters we all are. 


If only we had enough–in both perception and reality–then peace could reign among mankind. 😉


(Source Photo: Google)

The Success Iceberg

Success Iceberg.jpeg

Thought this was really so true.


Under the tip of the iceberg of success lay all the factors that most people don’t see.


The vast mass of persistence, failures, sacrifices, disappointments, good habits, hard work, and dedication. 


Success really is an iceberg!


Don’t be jealous of the success at the tip of the iceberg of others unless you put in all the ingredients beneath–plus a prayer to the Almighty Above for his blessings.


Have a Shabbat Shalom!


(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

Born Or Forged To Lead

Born Leader.jpeg

So are we born to lead or are we forged to greatness through adversity and lots of hard work?


Some people definitely seem to have innate leadership characteristics:


– Charisma


– Integrity


– Decisiveness


– Passion


– Determination


– Agility


– Intelligence


– Inspirational


– Confident


– Articulate


Other people maybe weren’t born with it, but they learn to become great leaders through:


– Hard Work


– Willingness to learn


– Continuous improvement 


– Motivation to advance


– Finding a meaningful mission 


– Belief that they can make a difference


– Faith that G-d is guiding them


Like with most things in our life, it’s a combination of nature and nurture. 


Good raw material starts us off on the right track and then forging it with fire and a hammer and polishing it off into a great sword with hardness, strength, flexibility, and balance. 


As Joanna Coles, Chief Content Officer at Hearst Magazine says:

“I’m an overnight sensation 30 years in the making.”


Birth is just the beginning… 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Break-Fix After Breakfast

So I learned something new about being Mr. Fix It.

First of all, depending on how you look at things, you are either the guy who miraculously arrived on the scene and fixed what was so horribly broken and dysfunctional for way too long.

Or

You are the one who broke what was working so well before you came along and messed things up.

Second, just because you want to fix things, doesn’t mean that the system or actors want it fixed.  

Often, they are used to it that way and are comfortable in their managed chaos.  Objectively better is not necessarily better to those who like to fly below the radar and aren’t looking for change or perceived trouble.

Dealing with what’s wrong means not only admitting something is broken, but also committing to putting in the substantial effort to fix it. To some people, why even go there? 

You may be getting up after breakfast energized to take on the dysfunction, but the organization is frozen in it’s own sickness and the fever isn’t going down or away.

Be careful what you try to fix, because rather than kudos for a job well done, you may be walking into the blame game where after all, pretending that there is no problem to begin with is the greatest shenanigan to hide behind of them all. 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Get Out Front Leadership

Leadership.jpeg

Thought this was a good photo of leadership.

I’ve seen other depictions of this such as when the commanding officer leads the charge of his advancing troops versus the other guy yelling orders from way behind the front lines. 

Here the idea of the leader is of being one with his people and helping pull his own weight!

Much more inspiring and effective than “the boss” who is yelling/barking orders at the others from on top the mound of work that the others are trying to move forward, and he is just adding to the weight of the load being pulled.

To really understand the mission or business, the leader has got to get out of his/her ivory tower perch and see things up close and personal on the front lines. 

You can’t really know the enemy you’re fighting or the hill your trying to take if you never even seen it firsthand. 

Leaders aren’t above the job or over the staff, they are effective when they are part of the solution (and not part of the problem) with the people that they are attempting to successfully lead. 😉

(Source Photo of Comic: Andy Blumenthal)

Attitudinal Fix

Good

So attitude goes a long way in shaping how we do in life. 


For some people, the glass is half full, and for others it’s half empty–it’s of course, just how you look at it. 


One colleague told me this week: 

Life is 10% what happens 

and 

90% how you react to it.”

I suppose we see that with so many people who have unbelievable daunting challenges in life, yet somehow they manage to put on a smile or give a thumbs up regardless, and just do what they need to do–they are troopers, survivors, and generally people of incredible character and caliber. 


These are the heroes that we can look up to. 


“When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”–and the going refers to doing what needs to get done, and not running away from your duty scared or not knowing what to do. 

Need to be courageous, resourceful, loyal, and giving to others.  


Stop the whining, the crying, the self pity, the questioning “why me”–what will any of that help?


Fight, fight, fight–that’s what we’re here for. 


Until our last breath, we can still make a difference. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Prove Them Wrong

Your Not

So I was recently teaching a certification class. 


And this was a very high-caliber class of professionals attending. 


One gentlemen was a wonderful African American who I will call John. 


As part of one of the class assignments, John,  a very successful man, told of how as a young man growing up in the DC projects, a neighbor told him something very hurtful and potentially devastating to him.


The neighbor angrily said, “You’ll never be anything in your life!”


And John described how he pursued his education, his career goals, his family, as well as philanthropic pursuits to give back to the community–and he went quite far. 


He told with great emotion and tears in his eyes how ten years ago, he went back to his old neighborhood to thank this neighbor for motivating him (even though in a negative way) to go as far in life as he did. 


You could hear a pin drop in the class–I think a lot of people could relate to this story in their own lives. 


I know that I for one certainly could. 


For me, while I am a simple person and have not gone so far, I have certainly had an interesting life and lots of wonderful opportunities.


Yet, I too remember more than 20 years ago, when I had taken a job in a wild pursuit in my youthful ambitions that one crazy boss that I was briefly working for who was considerably older than me and with his own business abusively said to me one day, “You’re not half of what you think you are!”


BAM! Like a huge sledge hammer hitting me right across my head–I was still relatively young and impressionable.


Also, I came from a pretty blue collar-type working family and although upwardly mobile, and I was certainly trying to become “more,” I never really felt at all entitled. 


Anyway, the story this student told really brought my own experience hurling back to me from my past. 


In the class, John said–you have to go out and “Prove them wrong.” 


And while I don’t exactly feel that proving others who wish us bad to be wrong is the point, I do agree that we shouldn’t let any of these negative nellies in our own lives drag us down. 


We all have our mission in life–and it’s up to us to become the best people that we can–and to hell with everyone who looks down on us, discourages us, maybe are competitive with us or jealous in some way, or simply don’t wish us the best. 


So John is right–go out there and do great things! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Success Is Not A Silver Spoon

On Knees

So there is a disappointing editorial in the Sunday New York Times Review Section today. 


It is by Christopher Chabris and Joshua Hart in “How Not To Explain Success.”


They attempt to dispel the explanation of 2 Yale law professors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld that various ethnic and religious minorities (e.g. Cubans, Jews, Indians, etc.) “had achieved disproportionate success in America” because of three things:


1) “A belief that their group was inherently superior to others”


2) “A sense of personal insecurity”


3) “A high degree of impulse control”


But Chabris and Hart claim this is falsehood and instead attribute the success to the people’s innate higher intelligence and superior socioeconomic background.


In other words, Chabris and Hart would have us believe that the ethnic and religious minorities they speak of were somehow “born with a silver spoon in their mouths”– which is complete NONSENSE.


While Chabris and Hart (of Union College) themselves claim vastly superior empirical evidence from their survey of a whopping 1,258 adults, they dismiss others’ arguments such as Yale University professors, Chua and Rubenfeld, as mere “circumstantial evidence.”


Well I and many of my family and friends that I grew up with must be part of that silly circumstantial evidence, called PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.


You see, we are part of the generation of Holocaust Survivors and Children Of Holocaust Survivors, who came to America, as my grandmother said “without a chair to sit on” or a dime in their pockets. 


My father worked long, hard hours in a factory eventually becoming its manager and he and my mom provided for our family. Both my parents lost most of their education due to the War and the need to “go out and earn a living.”


Similarly, one of my best friends grew up also the child of survivors. His father came from the Holocaust and ended up working blue collar work as an electrician, eventually owning his business.  


Neither family started with much–I ended up managing technology in some awesome agencies for the Federal government and my friend as an executive in the cruise industry.  


Virtually, the entire generation of Jews who fled to America as refugees from the Holocaust came with nothing…yet the people and their children worked hard, very hard, and they were blessed, and become successful. 


So, I have no surveys to back me up, but I do have my life and that of almost an entire generation of real life facts from people’s lives–not made up of speculative survey questions and their interpretation of results.


So from my perspective, it is Chabris and Hart that are 100% WRONG!


You see they don’t know from where we came and under what horrible conditions and how we arrived here as immigrants with nothing but our faith in G-d Almighty and the love of our families and community. 


And for the record, Chua and Rubenfeld are right:


Point #1, we were clearly taught a sense of superiority–but not what people mistakenly think–it is not based on intelligence, looks, or on physical strength, but rather based on that we were Biblically expected to behave differently as Jews and live more stringently. 


And that goes clearly to point #3, which is impulse control…the Jewish religion is based on 613 commandments–we are expected to eat a certain way, dress a certain way, keep Shabbat and holidays a certain way, raise a family a certain way…there is a huge amount of impulse control involved and in fact, not all of us are successful meeting all those stringent requirements–but it is a precondition upon which many of us grow up. 


Finally, in terms of point #2–personal insecurity, I am not sure how much more insecure you can be when your people just got slaughtered in the Holocaust, the world’s worst genocide ever known, and you are one of the survivors who has to rebuild–Yes, that is an incredible motivator!


If Chabris and Hart believe that we made it here based on pure intellect or positive socioeconomic factors–they are either complete idiots or sickly delusional.


While people’s personal success is highly subjective for them, as a whole group though, I most certainly believe that G-d blessed the Jewish people after the horrors and unbelievable suffering of the Holocaust. 


No level of intelligence or falsely perceived socioeconomics can explain what only G-d’s infinite mercy can endow. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Getting Zinged

Bee

So there is the work at work. 


And then there is the behind the scenes people stuff that goes on.


And anyone who has been around the block long enough in organizations know that the people stuff is where all the “craziness” happens. 


A friend told me a story about their colleague.


The colleague sends a trash-talking email about the person at work, but instead of sending it to the presumed audience they instead send to the person himself….oops. 


So the veneer of “how your doing today?” and “hope you have a nice weekend!” is revealed by something else. 


Awkward, no?


Email is generally a positive method of communication, but also can be treacherous and revealing.


No matter at work, the main thing is stay focused on the mission and not to get sidetracked by the zinger of the day. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Cherry Blossom Sky

lorful

Cherry Blossom

What beautiful weather we are having this time of year.


Just loved this gorgeous Cherry Blossom tree with the white leaves against the pale blue sky. 


Almost looks like snow flakes, but thank G-d those are gone now. 


All this nature is sort of the opposite of work, but on my mind is this quote that I heard this week:

_____________

“Plan the work

AND

Work the plan”

_____________


It’s simple, but gets right to the point of the necessity of planning and then executing on the plan.


I like the gorgeous nature and this smart saying.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)