Listen, Empathize, Give A Little

A colleague was talking to me about negotiating and working with others:


He said something I liked: 


Listen, empathize, and give a little. 


Yes, we each have our beliefs and positions on things.


But we don’t live in a vacuum.


Other people have their own views, sensitivities, and wants. 


We have to get along so we can work together, and get things done. 


It starts by listening–not just hearing, but really listening to what the other person is saying. 


But that’s not really enough. 


To really understand the other person, we have to try to empathize with what they are feeling–we need to try to walk in their shoes even if just for a moment. 


But that also isn’t enough. 


We can’t have it all our way–we need to give a little to get a little. 


No one can have everything and have a good relationship like that. 


We need to compromise–as long as it’s not on things of integrity, conviction, or G-d. 


Everything else we have to listen, empathize, and give a little.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Never Say Anything

So I overhear this conversation…


Woman:  “Never say never and never say always.”


Man: “Well then what should I say?”


Woman: “Just keep your mouth shut!”


Yeah, that’s one for the books.


Anyway, thinking about this a little more–there is an exception to every rule. 


Never say never is itself violating this rule of thumb. 


Hence one conclusion perhaps is that many rules are so stupid to begin with! 🙂


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Succeed OR Fail

So I liked this saying from a colleague of mine at work:

We succeed or fail as a team.


It’s not me. 


It’s not you. 


It’s not him.


It’s not her. 

It’s us!


No one can do it alone. 


– If we fail, we fail as a team. 


– If we succeed, we succeed as a team. 


So let’s come together and be a team and give it our best shot! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Cracking Heads–In War and Work

Thought this was an amazing painting of the medieval battlefield.


The warrior in the center is using his war hammer to literally split heads open.


Not only for physical fighting (i.e. life and death), I’ve heard this term in the past used in the office setting:

“Cracking heads” to get things done. 

While war is war, I don’t think that getting to progress in the office ever merits cracking anyone’s head–let along with a battle hammer. 


Yes, people can be stubborn and occasionally pose obstacles to moving forward, but that is what communication skills and persuasion are for.


You have to seriously question the leadership and sanity of anyone who thinks and talks about hurting people at work. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

If You Give A Moose A Muffin

So one of my colleagues told me an interesting saying:

If you give a moose a muffin, they will never go away. 


What a funny image and thing to say. 


But I get the idea that if you keep giving freebies and treats to people, they will just keep coming back for more. 


Everyone needs to be taught self-sufficiency to the extent possible. 


These days where everyone is some sort of specialists and “subject matter expert,” there are very few people who are really self-sufficient and can survive on their own. 


Instead, we have a society of people that are mutually dependent (codependent)–and most would starve or freeze to death if they didn’t have someone else supplying the “muffins.”


This all reminds me of a funny story when I was a kid, where a crazy lady friend of my parents came over to their house when my parents were sitting shiva (in mourning after the loss of one of my grandparents).  


This crazy lady actually laid down on their living room couch so the other people coming to pay their respects couldn’t, and then she wouldn’t leave–hint after hint, she just laid there sprawled on their couch. 


Finally, my dad got up from his mourning, fed her some food, and actually gave her some money–literally to leave–which she finally did and not to be mean, but really as a relief to everyone. 


In this case, my dad gave the moose a muffin to go away and it worked, thank G-d. 


But as is with moose’s, I am pretty sure she came back another day for more muffins. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to OpenClipart-Vectors)

Why Can’t People Be Genuine

Why all the phonies, users, shysters, and scammers out there?


It starts perhaps with that big, warm smile.


Maybe a handshake and hug. 


Perhaps, you even get a kiss or two (it’s cultural, I think, LOL).


Colleagues, friends, you’re just like family.


Sometimes it’s real and you truly found something valuable in your life.


There are good people of soul and conscience out there. 


But other times it’s an act, a sham, deception, you’re the fool. 


The other person wants something–cash, control, connections.

Oh by the way, can I ask you for just a “little” favor?

You wouldn’t mind if…?

Just do XYZ for me, I got your back. 

I see you know so and so, would you introduce me?

I have a great investment opportunity for you, let me tell you all about it.

Sure it’s okay and actually wonderful in a real relationship for people to be there for each other and help each others…“that’s what [real] friends are for!”


The problem is where the friendship is only about the ask for the benefit of the other and no care for you as a person. 


Then the smile isn’t a genuine collegial or friendship one of happiness and outreach. but rather it’s upside down to get you to do something legit or illegit for the person pressing their lips up and out into that smile you already know is all about the ask. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

That’s The Power Of Love

Please see my new article in Times of Israel called, “Shabbat Nachamu: That’s The Power of Love.”

We don’t have to fight, but even when we fight, we can overcome through compassion, love, and constructive reconciliation.  


Love and friendship can win over anger and fighting, and help to usher in the ultimate redemption. 


Hope you enjoy the article. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)