Adversity Is Not What You Think

This TEDx video is truly WOW!

Definitely worth watching in full.  

So many takeaways from this that I want to remember.

– Three things can happen in life:

1. What you hope will happen

2. What you fear will happen

3. What actually happens

– There is not always a tomorrow!

Think if you were paralyzed from the neck down, what would you wish you had done differently, and go do it.

– See adversity as a gift:

1. It is harsh and ruthless.

2. It shows up unannounced.

3. It doesn’t care what you want.

4. It doesn’t give a darn how you feel.

5. It doesn’t take no for an answer.

6. It hates your weakness.

7. It is your best teacher.

8. It is the most honest person you will ever encounter.

9. It forces you to up your game.

10. It knows your true potential even if you don’t.

11. It offers you no other choice, so the choice is simple.

12. At the end of the day, we are only as strong as the adversity we overcome!

13. It will recede, but the lessons will always remain.

14. It will strengthen you to endure your next battle, stronger and wiser than before.

15. How we overcome adversity is by facing it head on. (If you try to avoid it, it can crush you; and if you try to go around it, you will never avoid it’s grasp.)

My absolute congratulations and gratitude to Marcus Aurelius Anderson on this magnificent and brilliant talk and lessons for all of us!

And thank you Minna Blumenthal for sharing this wisdom with me!


Cross The Street

I like this saying by life coach Iyanla Vanzant”

“When you see crazy coming, cross the street!”

I remember learning similarly from experts that the first lesson in self defense is always:

“If you can run, run!”

That doesn’t mean your not strong or courageous.

It’s just common sense to try to avoid trouble if you can. 

When people seriously fight, both usually can end up with a black eye or worse. 

And there are truly a lot of crazies out there.

Peace is always desired.

But strength (and preparedness) is always required. 

This makes sense as well in the larger context of the USA upgrading it’s nuke arsenal and other weapons systems and platforms to deter enemy aggression.

Thus, peace through strength and of course, prayer! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Good People And Bad

So what is one of the hardest lessons in life to learn?

There are really good and holy people out there, but there are also truly bad and evil ones. 

It’s not such a difficult concept, except if you just don’t think that way. 

I think some of us just want to believe that at the heart of it all, people are fundamentally good–or at the very least they struggle in order to fight off the evil impulse.

They are created by G-d.

They have parents and families.

They have challenges and disappointments. 

They have a good soul. 

Or do they?

Perhaps like everything in life–G-d created everything and it’s opposite.

– There is life and death.

– There is light and dark. 

– There is cold and hot.

– There is land and water. 

– There is male and female. 

– There is pleasure and pain.

– There is work and rest. 

– There is holy and profane.

Everything has it’s counterpart.

– In this respect then, there are good people and there are bad.

Not that there aren’t people who are both–they do some good things and some bad.

Just like with everything, you can have greys or mixtures–some of this AND some of that. 

But still, G-d created everything and its opposite.

– Again, there is heaven and hell. 

And yes, there are some people that are perhaps truly good and others that are very bad.

The really good ones–they are holy, they give, they love, they inspire. 

The really bad ones–they are vicious devil wolves. 

That doesn’t mean anyone is completely perfect or imperfect, but as with everything, there are people as there are inanimate objects that function at the extremes. 

Most of us don’t live in the extreme, yet we do see those that we know are examples of each:

We recognize the best and these are people with a heart of gold and a soul that shines light, love, and gives to others.

Similarly, the worst ones are with a heart that is selfish and greedy and a soul that is dark, hateful. and violent.

We don’t like to think of the extremes.

They either are too perfect or too frighteningly evil, but yet they do exist and we know it just as we know life and death, light and dark, cold and hot, land and water, male and female, pleasure and pain, work and rest, holy and profane, and even the destinations of heaven and hell. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Slow Build – Rapid Demise

It takes time to build in life. 

Or as they say:

“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

But it’s not always easy to have patience. 

We all have to start somewhere and usually it’s at the bottom.

And then we have to claw our way up (like Rocky).

Unless of course, you’re one of those people born with a “silver spoon” in your mouth. 

The funny thing about building and climbing is that it can all be destroyed in a split second. 

One silly mistake, one stupid word, one indiscretion, one lackadaisical moment, a turn of bad luck…or a series thereof. 

It takes so much time and effort to build as we lay one brick of success upon another. 

And it takes just a split second to destroy it all. 

So watch-watch-watch your steps, because they can so easily turn into a rapid, spiraling, and even most deadly a fall.  😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

White Lie, Black Truth

No this is not another civil or human rights post, although I like writing those as well. 

Rather, this is about how we use our words to help and not hurt others. 

“White Lie, 

Black Truth”

Yes, we all know that it’s wrong to lie (it’s even in the 10 Commandments). 

Except, of course, when we need to tell a “white lie” in order to keep someone’s feelings from getting hurt.

For example, I may not like your new haircut, but when you ask me glowingly what I think, instead of telling you how it’s too short or whatever, I tell you, “Yeah, it looks great!”

Then, there is the “black truth.”

That’s when we swallow hard and tell the  truth to someone, even though it may hurt their feelings, it’s ultimately for their good. 

For example, your child may be going of course with their lives, and while you don’t want to hurt their feelings, you know you need to tell them the truth in order to help them course-correct.

Telling lies or truth can be hurtful to people, but a white lie isn’t really bad, because it’s used to protect someone’s feeling, the black truth, is also not so dark and foreboding, because there are times when you need to get past the superficial, be real with someone, and tell them the hard truth in order to help them in a very practical sense. 

That’s one of life’s most difficult lessons, that not everything is black or white. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Wrapped In Bubble Wrap

So I thought this was an interesting risk management strategy…

One colleague joked with me that:

“Everyone should just wrap themselves in bubble wrap!”

Reminded me of that game where people put on big wearable inflatable bumpers and then smash into each other for fun.

The problem though is that sometimes we put on the bubble wrap, bulletproof vest, or seat belt, but then we get stupidly overconfident. 

We think we are protected, but nothing human in impenetrable. 

So the person with the seat belt and air bag drives too fast and off a cliff and still gets him/herself killed. 

Or the person with the bulletproof vest gets shot with a high caliber armor piercing shell or in the back of the head.

Like on many cars, where the mirror says, “objects in mirror are closer than they appear,” we need not over rely on safety, protective, and risk measures and still do stupid things.

One guy told me, he backed up into the wall in the garage, because he thought there was more room and that’s not how things looked in the mirror. 

Let’s face it, there is no bubble wrap that can fully protect us from life. 

Everyday we face risks out there, and we need to manage them with common sense or else… 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

There Is Always A Bigger Fish


So as we are about to enter Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year…

I want to share a very important lesson that I came across again this year. 

The lesson is:

No matter how big a fish you think you are, there is ALWAYS a bigger fish out there.

You may have position, title, money, status, and all the trimmings, but someone with more of this and that and the other thing (and overall power) can come along at any time–at G-d’s decree–and swallow you right up.  

I connect this to the 2nd day of Rosh Hashanah when it is customary to go and cast bread (symbolic for our sins) into a natural body of water, so the fish can eat them up–and in a spiritual sense we throw away our sins and cleanse ourselves of our wrongdoings over the last year–let the fish have them. 

And like the fish eating our sins, I think another more powerful person can come and swallow us up and even spit us out (like Jonah and the Whale)–we are all fallible and mortal. 

We are made from dust and we go to dust, and my dad would joke to clean up the mounds of dust under my bed!

As we enter the New Year, may Hashem have mercy on us and bless us, and may we have peace, health, and prosperity, and may we be written in the Book of Life.

Oh yeah, and may no fish big or small come against us to cause us distress or harm–G-d is the Almighty Protector–Amen! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)