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)

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Purpose Is To Help People

I don’t get impressed by others easily. 

But one thing that does immediately get my respect and admiration are people who sincerely believe in and are there to help others. 

Of course, there are some professions like soldiers and first responders who put their lives on the line to safeguard others that come to mind. 

But then there are the people we sometimes meet in everyday real life–people that live for doing good for others. 

Yes, not many people are so unselfish and giving, and that is why it is an incredible person who lives this. 

One person that I have had the honor to meet recently is such a person. 

Months ago, in a stressful situation, I watched them get up and get someone a bottle of water who was choked up and just needed a sip of relief. 

Then again, I saw that whenever they were asked a question or for some assistance, they almost immediately dropped whatever they were doing–and without any resentment–to do whatever they can to help, anytime, anyplace. 

When I heard them talk recently about their philosophy on what life is all about–they confirmed exactly as I had been seeing, they said:

“I want to help people!”

And they went on to explain how that is the greatest job we can do–whatever our role is–simply, to help others.

Someone doesn’t have to be wounded or dying on the battlefield or in urban warfare to merit that help. 

Just being another human being with a heart and soul–that itself is enough to jump to their aid and help, help, help. 

To me, this person really encapsulates the essence of what life is all about. 

It’s not I, I, I.

It’s about what I can do for others.

We were created by the Almighty to learn to live beyond our meager selves and serve the greater good, our Creator and his children.

All I can say is that these people who live and breath this loving, caring, and giving lifestyle are totally awesome to me and my personal role model and heroes. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Heart And Soul Of The Matter

So I had a beautiful conversation with an older gentleman who works in a menial job for minimum wage for most of his life. 


But this person was shinning and smiling ear-to-ear. 


What happened, he got offered a job to work in a lovely school as their cook. 


He’s been doing this as a special treat for the students once a year, and they decided to bring him on to do this full time. 


He pulled out his phone and proudly showed me a picture of himself in the classroom surrounded by all the children.  He was in an orange sweater and stood out in the middle of all of them and with a smile that lit up the entire room. 


He told me how the children thought of him as a celebrity chef and the teacher even organized autographs by him for the children.


His whole life, he questioned his worth, and now he felt recognized, appreciated, and loved. 


I told him that I thought he was indeed quite a special person. 


He said to me, you may have a talent or be special, but you have to recognize it–and he repeated aloud again at least three times emphasizing more and more on RECOGNIZE it. 


Surely, after so many years, only now was he being recognized and more so, recognizing it himself. 


Apparently, someone who worked in the school was also a renown food critic, and she had nothing but praises to sing of him. 


Talking with him, I felt my eyes being opened. 


Everyone can do good with their lives and have worth. 


We have to recognize it in ourselves. 


We need to just be given an opportunity to show it and share it. 


It doesn’t matter what you are or earn.


It matters where your heart is.


For many, they earn gazillions, but their heart is a heart of stone. 


For others, they may earn minimum wage, but their heart is a heart of gold. 


It’s not the money, it’s not the power, it’s not the prestige…it’s the heart and soul of the matter. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Three Legs of Quality of Life

So this is something that I am learning. 


Quality of life means perspective and balance. 


When people go to the extreme and focus all their energies on any one area almost to the exclusivity of the others in their life, it usually means they are going wrong. 


Some people are “party animals”–life is all about their fun, enjoyment, experiences (and even excessive partying, sleeping around, getting drunk and high), and their very immediate gratification. 


Others are all about work–climbing that professional ladder and earning more money, material goods, and more power is the holy grail and also the bane of their existence. 


And yet there are some people that are focused on faith, family, and community–they are mothers and fathers, religious students and clergy, community organizers and organizers of charitable events and giving. 


The problems is that people need multiple facets of their lives–yes, they need playfulness, interests, activities, hobbies, and fun and joyous times; at the same time, they need intellectual curiosity, professional contribution and achievement, and the wherewithal to be responsible and pay the bills; and very importantly, they need  social, spiritual, and emotional fulfillment from family, friends, giving, and faith. 


When a person stands on only one of these legs, like many seem to–they are on wobbly ground and are likely to fall hard and fast.  


Even on two legs, something is missing in their lives–they are standing tall, but not strong and stable. 


On all three legs, a person can be grounded and able to not just stand for themselves, but able to bear weight like on a stool, and they are can play music and sing and smile, knowing that they have a genuine quality of life that few ever really achieve. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Living Your Values

So I had this great conversation today with someone about values.


Thinking about what I really value and whether I am living consistently with these…


For me, I was able to clarify for myself these critical values:


1) Being a good person and influence in the world (having a positive impact on people and ideas)


2) Being a good family man (a loving husband, father, and previously son)


3) Being spiritual and serving G-d (living selflessly for my Maker and not selfishly for myself)


4) Being a hard worker (living productively and not as a laggard or sloth)


5) Being a balanced person (living along the “golden path” or “middle of the road”–not an extremist)


6) Being a generally healthy person (living a lifestyle that includes activity, exercise, good nutrition, and no smoking, drugs, or excessive drinking)


What I realized is that when I need to let my values guide me every moment of every day. 


This ultimately means my success and happiness! 


Being what I think that I am supposed to be or what others would want me to be, just doesn’t work–it’s a strategy for failure. 


My father used to tell me:

“Let your conscience be your guide”  (that and the Torah, of course)


This is the answer to a lot of questions that I have in my life–about what to do with my life and what decisions to make.


Values–driven by conscience and integrity–that’s where I want to go next and next. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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!

Worth The Squeeze

I like this saying that I heard.

“The juice has to be worth the squeeze.”


It’s a little like the corollary to “If something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing right.”


Spending time and effort has to show commensurate results or why the heck are you doing it?


Probably always good to reevaluate where you’re getting the “most bang for the buck,” so you’re not “just spinning your wheels.”


With all the sayings about what we do and whether it’s really worth it, there is probably some good reason to be concerned about whether or not you spending your time productively or just acting insane, because: 

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”


Results matter–so make sure your achieving them or go do something else you enjoy and that’s ultimately worth the squeeze! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)