Motivation, Hard Work, and Blessings

So I am incredibly impressed at how talented so many people are. 

And I’ll tell you, people are motivated to get ahead and they are working hard to do it. 

I took Lyft to a couple of destinations down here in Florida. 

Two drivers that I had just yesterday were both from relatively poor backgrounds in Jamaica. 

And both were incredible in what they’ve been able to accomplish for themselves.  

One was a senior communications technologist with a large cable company.

Another was a pretty impressive and successful Reggae music star. 

Both had come to this country and made amazing lives for themselves. 

In meeting these incredible people, I learned that everyone is driving Uber and Lyft now-a-days. 🙂

Both were driving as they told me just to keep busy on their days off–because they “hate being bored!”

More importantly, I learned that despite whatever background, hardships, or adversity you come from or have experienced, you can make it in your own way! 

Motivation and hard work coupled with mercy and blessings from, and faith in the Almighty Above are an incredible combination that can propel people towards incredible levels of success in life that maybe many would’ve never even really dreamed of. 

There is no easy road–just one filled with trying your best, plenty of obstacles, stumbles, and falls, and then picking yourself up and trying again and again until hopefully and with G-d’s help you break the bonds and chains keeping you from your amazing levels of potential and contribution to this world. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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I Got The Call

ATM.jpeg

I got the call!


But not the one that I always wanted, which is to serve at the very highest echelons of government or/and industry for those values and things which I so hold dear. 


No, instead I got the call that my professor in college warned me about. 


He said:

“You will get a call one day from someone asking for a lot of cash–no questions asked! At that time, you will know who you’re real friends are.”


So I actually got this call (for real) and in the middle of my work day.


This person who contacts me is considered quite affluent and with an extensive network, and I know him/her for only a relatively short time


Person:

“You know you’re like family to me Andy…I need $2,000–in cash–by 7 pm. I’ll pay you back $500 on Friday and the rest by Monday.”


Me (Stunned):

“What–is this a joke or something?”


Person:

{Repeats again the request}


Me:

“OMG. What’s wrong–is everyone okay? Are you in any trouble?”


Person:

Uh, everyone’s fine…don’t ask me any questions–there’s no time for this now.”


Me {Reaching for some humor in this bizarre situation}:

“Oh, only $2,000–I thought maybe you needed $2 million–that’s no problem, of course.”


Person:

“Please don’t make jokes now Andy–this isn’t funny!”


Me {Trying once again to get some more–any–information}:

“Can you just explain to me what’s going on–I really want to understand, so I can help you.”


Person:

“Do you have the cash or not?”


Me: 

“To be frank no. I don’t keep any cash around. {Inquiring to learn more…} Could you take a check or something else?”


Person:

“No. Listen, can you go to the ATM now?”


Me {frustrated by the abruptness, lack of sensical communication, and pushiness, as well as more than a little suspicious at how this is all going down}:

“Well the ATMs have a cash limit. Also, I would really need to check with my {lovely} wife first,”


Person {seeing they weren’t getting what they wanted when they wanted it}:

“Okay, well if you can’t help, I’ll just call someone else–thanks {hanging up on me}!” 


WOW!


Despite having trusted this person and feeling very hurt by all this, I still called the person back later that evening to follow up and because I truly cared, and they were still not any more forthcoming with me, and in fact, were quite attacking that they were sorry to have called me.


But I wasn’t sorry…my college professor was right on, thank G-d–I do know who my friends are!


Whether its a lunch date, LinkedIn/Facebook contact, or social invitation, be discerning about the motives of people–outside of any sane and normal context–that are seeking to “friend” you. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Overcoming Resistance To Change

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So have you heard of the 20-50-30 Rule when it comes to change management?


20% of the people are open and friendly to change–they are your early adopters.


50% are fence sitters–and they hold a wait and see attitude. 


30% are resisters–these are the people that will be the roadblocks to change. 


_____


Total 100%


Some will resist openly and loudly. Others will disguise their resistance in a politically correct way.  And finally some may work subversively to block change. 


The keys to overcoming the resistance is by working through the head, heart, and hands model, helping people to understand the following:


Head (Intellectual) – What is changing. 


Heart (Emotional) – Why it’s changing (and what’s in it for me–WIIFM).


Hands (Behavioral) – How is it changing.


This means changing the mindset, motivating people, and shaping behavior to effect change. 


Change and resistance to change are facts of life, but how we approach it can either mean failure or amazing transformation. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

(Not) Too Hard!

Hard.jpeg

So there is someone that I think the world of. 


They are what we call “good people.”


But like all of us, have challenges and difficulties in life. 


Maybe their load is heavier and more taxing. 


But it is what G-d has given them to bear and to work with. 


In talking with this person, at one point, they said, “It’s too hard!”


And I think we all feel that way sometimes.


Bret Stephens quoted Bernard Lewis in the Wall Street Journal today, that in trying times, some ask, “Who did this to us?” While others ask, “What did we do wrong?”

Maybe the question should be, “What can we do now?”


While some throw in the towel and can’t go on or go on in a bad way, others may get angry and bitter at their lot in life.


But yet like my inspiration, Rocky, some get up and fight for what they want. 


The down is only a temporary down, but not a knockout. 


The pain stings and hurts and leaves us blurry-eyed and dizzy, but our desire to succeed pushes the adrenaline through our coursing veins, and we get up again with even a greater determination. 


“The eye of the tiger, the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenges of our rivals…”


I take responsibility. I take accountability. I want to overcome. 


I shall prevail in life and even ultimately in death, my life will mean something to somebody. 


The end is the beginning again. 😉


(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)

Work For It

Hard Work

This was an astute fortune cookie this weekend:


“The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.”


It reminded me of what my dad used to tell me that:


“Nothing, in life, is easy.


Or as my mother-in-law says:


“The world owes you nothing!”


Basically, the messages are similar that we have to work hard for what we want in life.


You have to believe in your goals and your mission. 


And follow through with rock solid determination and perserverance.


It seems in life that almost as soon as one challenge is over the next is ready to begin.


Got to have faith, pray for G-d’s guidance, and be strong. 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Heads Down December

Heads Down.jpeg

This was a funny photo I took on the Washington, D.C. Metro.


The guy in the center seems to be listening to some music, but everyone else is nodding off and has their heads down. 


End of the year, right before the holidays maybe people are a little burnt out and need to refresh their motivational juices. 


Anyway, this is not good for the “see something, say something” culture in the age of terrorism that we are living in–these folks are not seeing anything in this groggy state. 


To a heads up and brighter new year. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)