The Diversity Tapestry

I really liked this sign with the saying by civil rights leader, Maya Angelou:

“We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value, no matter what their color [or race, or origin, or religion, or age, or gender, or sexual orientation, or disability].”


Ok, I added the “or” statements at the end. 


But the point is the same and important.


Discrimination, bigotry, prejudice, and bias are stupid. 


They are a function of ignorance. 


– We learn from diversity. 


– Life is richer with diversity. 


If everything was in monocolor…if life was homogeneous…if there was only one type of everything, then what type of humdrum, monotonous, and boring place would this be?


Value the variety.  Value the diversity.  Value the differences. 


They make us better and stronger than we could ever otherwise be. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When It Comes To Education, We’re Just Playing Around

Education Playtime.jpeg

So I overhead a conversation of 2 young women in Starbucks talking about their college education. 

One of them while acknowledging that she enjoys her classes, says, “But I still don’t feel that I am learning anything practical!”

He friends responds saying, “Yeah, all we learn is X+Y, but what does that do for us in real life?”

The first young women says, “They need to emphasize the practical things and teach us personal finances, fitness, healthy cooking, and so on.”

The second young women starts repeating, “X+Y, X+Y, that’s all they teach us!”

I couldn’t help but chuckle at this point, even though it was sort of sad. 

The education system is known to be so bad in this country, especially until you get to college. 


We’ve gone from No Child Left Behind to Every Student Succeeds, but no matter what you call it–it’s still a big C-R-I-S-I-S. 

According to Ranking America, the US ranks 14 out of 40 countries in education–behind Netherlands and Poland.

Moreover, we rank 2nd in ignorance about social statistics like teen pregnancy, unemployment rates, and voting patterns. 

Moreover, we are falling behind in our competitiveness ranking in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and are now 27th in math and 20th in science out of 34 countries.

We can’t innovate, improve productivity, and effectively compete if we are just playing around with our education system. 

If we don’t change, X+Y may soon equal the bottom of the education barrel. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Responding To Foolish Holocaust Denial

Holocaust Remembrance Candle

So I just watched a video where the radical Muslim speaker tries to explain how it is not the Earth that rotates around the Sun, but rather how really the Earth is fixed in space, and it is the Sun which rotates around it. 


His logic and proofs include things like the following:


– If the Earth was really moving, and you tried to fly to China, the plane shouldn’t have to move, since China would just come to the plane. 


– Also, if the Earth was moving in the same direction as the plane, and you were flying to China, then you would never get there, because you’d just be chasing a moving China. 


This is how people’s inner darkness, ignorance, and evil can attempt to extinguish the light. 


Similarly, this past week, the “leader” of Iran took the opportunity on International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jan. 27)–of all days –to once again express his vile denial of the Holocaust.


Khamenei declaring: “It’s not clear if the Holocaust is a reality or not.


And calling for the “dear people of Iran” to “stand up to the ignorance” of the West.


Wow, who is calling whom ignorant and trying to brainwash the good people of Iran. 


It’s funny, but there are so many nice people from Iran that I’ve had the opportunity to meet and befriend, and one of them is an elderly man who is a swimming buddy of mine– and he is such a nice person–I really enjoy talking with him (despite some of our differences of opinion). 


The point is that when the leadership is corrupt, evil, and insecure, then they try to extinguish the good in the masses of the people, so that the people stay in the dark, blinded by scare tactics, scapegoats, and hatred–this is how they stay in power


When it comes to Holocaust denial though, I think this is definitely going way too far, and I imagine the souls of the Six Million righteous who perished in the Holocaust–under the worst genocide the world has ever known–that they are watching and they are listening. 


And Khamenei and his cohorts of evil doers will most certainly have to contend with all these very real martyred righteous souls. 


So in their warped ignorance, foolishness, and hatred–where the sun rotates around the earth and with utter darkness they attempt to extinguish the light of the good people–I imagine with the strongest and most vivid of images and sounds that certainly Heaven does not await them…but a very fiery Hell of their own making indeed. 

(Source Photo: here with attribution to slgckgc)

Poor Decision-Making Inc.

Poor Decision-Making Inc

(Click the image for larger size)

___________________________


There is a funny Organization Chart of Indecision by Corter Consulting circulating on the Social Media. 


This graphic (above) by me can be thought of as the corollary for Poor Decision-Making.


It is headed by the Chief, Bad Decisions.


Supporting the Chief is the EVP of Strong-Arming.


Reporting to the Chief are 6 VPs of:


– Haste


– Intuition


– Incompetence


– Misinformation


– Narcissism


– Corruption


Followed by 16 Directors of:


– Get It Over With

– It’s Too Hard


– Feelings

– Myths

– I Just Don’t Know


– Ignorance

– Ineptitude


– Lack of Data

– Bad Data

– Misinterpretation


– What’s In It For Me (WIIFM)

– Legacy

– Arrogance


– Fraud

– Waste

– Abuse


Hope you enjoy this Org Chart of Poor Decision-Making and I look forward to your comments on it. 


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Crooked x 2

Crooked x 2

First, some beautiful flowers from Washington, D.C.

Thought these were awesome, even though the gardner did a little bit of a crooked job here.

And when it comes to crooked, I overheard a funny story in the locker room the other day.

These school students were talking about getting caught stealing something in a local store.

One says that he got spotted on the surveillance cameras and that they even have facial recognition now, but he’s okay on that because he was wearing a cap.

Another kid in the group says “why didn’t you just tell them you didn’t know you couldn’t take it!”

Some very sophisticated crooks we got here. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Poisons Anonymous

Tikun_olam

One of the Buddhist teachings is that there are 3 poisons in this world: greed, anger, and ignorance.

But that by turning these poisons around into generosity, compassion, and wisdom,we can create life-healing.

While this is sort of simplistic, it does point to a number of important things:

1) We can have an impact on our destiny. We can choose our direction and work towards something that is good or we can fall harmfully into some bad and destructive ways.

2) Everything has an antidote. While we may not know the antidote at the time, generally everything has its corollary or opposite and we can find healing by moving towards that.

3) The answers in life are not so far away. How much of a stretch is it to turned a clenched fist into an open hand or to quench ignorance with learning–these things are doable.

If we look at people and events at face value, it is easy as times to get angry and feel hatred at the corruption and injustices out there–but I believe, the key is to channel those feeling into something positive–into change and Tikkun Olam–“fixing the world”.

By channeling our feelings into constructive actions, then we are changing not just ourselves, but can have a broader influence–one deed at a time.

(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

>Focus Future

>

I was on vacation in Miami last week and had the opportunity to spend some time (when not on the beach and in the pool) in one of my favorite off the beaten path bookstores, where I spend some time perusing “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.

Some fascinating points that stuck with me:

Focus on the now—to achieve peace and happiness—and not on the past or the future, because the past carries with it all sorts of baggage and the future weighs on us with anxieties.

The focus on now can be viewed as more important than the past or the future, even though the past provides us our identity and the future with the hope of salvation.

The emphasis on now is an intriguing viewpoint for me, because by nature and profession, I am a strategist, architect and planner—I look always to the future to make things better than they are today. I routinely ask how can we use technology or reengineer our business processes to surpass the now.

I also do this based on my religious upbringing that taught me that our actions—good and bad—affect our merit for the future—in this world and “the next.”

In both cases, “the now” is but a steppingstone to the future. So while, I think living in the now can certainly help us wall off the mistakes of the past and worries about the future, I do not really see it as fulfilling our mission of learning from the past and growing into our futures.

While it may be simpler, more enjoyable or just more comfortable to focus on the present, it seems a little naïve to me to ignore where you come from and where you are going.

Maybe Eckhart Tolle doesn’t care what is in the future and he is blissfully happy in his ignorance, but I for one am more comfortable focusing on the future (except when I’m on vacation in Miami Beach).

I guess what I’m saying is, I love the now in that it refreshes and rejuvenates me. But I also think of it as ultimately leading toward a desired future state, and I think it’s more productive to focus on what can and must be done to make the world a better place tomorrow.