Your Everlasting Timeline

Timeline.jpeg

So I wanted to share this really smart thought about life and death:

“What is the most important part on a person’s tombstone?
The dash!
Why the dash?
Because it represents what a person has done between the date they were born and the date they died!”

We tend to wildly celebrate birthdays.


Also, we perform a remembrance (or memorial) on the date of a person’s death. 


But what is truly the significant part is what the person did during their life–the kind words, the good deeds, the positive influence that they had on people and the world around them. 


A simple dash between the DOB and DOD.


The small things are really the big things. 

No, an elaborate timeline of life events and doings.


Our time on Earth abbreviated, but not trivial at all. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Communicate And Do Good In This World

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This is a really good quote by Jay Danzie:

“Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark.”


I heard someone else say it another way:

“The only way to read your audience is with eye contact and smiles.”


Basically, it comes down to leaving people with a positive feeling through your interactions, and influencing others for the good. 


We have one chance to make a first impression–so yes, wow people with your smile, personality, integrity, and inspire them to do and speak good. 


If we all just say or do just one more good thing everyday, imagine that multiplied by 7.5 billion people. 


Now, multiply that by 365 days a years and you have 2.7 trillion more good things said and done in just a single year.


Imagine our Heavenly Father looking down at us with so much good in our souls’ bank.


We can all be an influence for good–just think about it and go out and do it! 😉


(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

Rebuild, Not Regret

Rebuild, Not Regret

The Wall Street Journal (30 July 2013) says that it takes most people at least two years to recover from a breakup or a job loss.

And longer, if the loss is abrupt, sudden–and you are in shock, disbelief, and unprepared.

When something bad happens, this is an important point in our lives to stop, take some time, and reexamine our lives–Where are we going? How did we mess up? What’s really important? How should we rebuild?

While you can’t rush the healing process, I do think that the best medicine (after some recuperative time) is to “get right back on the horse.”

When we suffer a loss, we feel traumatized, depressed, anxious, and self-absorbed.

But the best way to overcome those feelings is to take positive action.

Your feelings are important, but I don’t think that the bad feelings go away until you replace them with positive feelings.

When my wife used to get some negative people in her life, she used to say, “I need positive energy around me,” and I sort of used to laugh, but it’s funny, in a way, she was really right.

Positive energy replaces negative energy. Good feelings replace bad feelings. A good situation replaces a bad one. Rebuilding replaces regret and loss.

This doesn’t mean that when you suffer a loss that the void can ever be filled, but that the only real pain reliever is giving life meaning again–and that means doing something positive with it.

No, I don’t believe in just jumping in to something before you are ready, doing something foolhardy or not well thought out, but you will feel and become better again by coming up with a reasonable plan and working toward it.

Taking positive steps forward is a better scenario than sitting idly in the dumps–for two years or longer, forget it. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Michael Kappel)

Reprogramming Your Inner Software

The importance of positive life energy (or Ch’i) is something that both the Asian culture teaches and which the self-healing industry has picked up on.I remember when my cousin had a brain tumor, and people used to tell him to envision himself healthy and cancer free; he fought for a decade of survival before the tumor eventually took his life.His mother too died from cancer at a young age, hers was leukemia and she didn’t have a fighting chance.

While surrounding yourself with positive people and energy helps us to stay focused, positive, and strong, it, in and of itself, is not a cure-all.

Many extreme athletes and hyper-achieving professionals are often told or tell themselves to envision actually performing unbelievable feats–they do this until they can literally see it happening in their “mind’s eye”–this then supposedly helps them to ultimately perform accordingly.

On Sunday mornings, Joel Osteen’s popular message is the same idea–you are not what others say you are or criticize you to be, rather “you are what G-d says you are.”

Today, Osteen compared us to computers, where often our external hardware is functioning okay, but our internal software is messed up and needs reprogramming. Osteen said you need to hit the delete key–delete those who say that you cannot or will not succeed, and instead fill yourself with faith that you can become what the almighty has designated you to be. One story, Osteen told, was about the father who always told his kid that he was a good-for-nothing, and even on his deathbed, he said, “your brother is a nothing, and you are and always will be a nothing too.”

These words hurt and can haunt people all their lives; the words echo in people’s heads and souls and prevent them from fulfilling their life missions, unless they “hit the delete key” and refocus themselves on the positive message that they are a child of the G-d most high who has breathed life into them, not for nothing, but to achieve their destiny.

I remember hearing a crummy boss at work yell at a subordinate in front of the rest of the office and tell them “you are not half what you think you are.” Similarly, at school, children are notorious for tearing at other kids for being too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, too dumb, and too smart.

At work, at school, and at home, people can be vicious in bringing others down and the impact of these negative messages on people’s lives is crushing.

So surround yourself with positive people and positive energy–people who tell you that you can do it and are genuinely rooting for you to succeed, not in a fanciful way, but in a sincere and loving way; these are your biggest allies in life.

Groucho Marx joked that “behind every successful man is a woman, and behind her is his wife.”  Seriously though, behind every successful person are all those who love, believe, and support them to be able to achieve what they do or as the poet John Donne wrote, “no man is an Island entire unto itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

In the movie Saints and Soldiers, a group of American and a British soldiers in World War II are on a trek to reach allied forces with vital information to save them from German attack–in one scene the British airman get the others to tell him their personal life secrets, and then when they turn around and ask him what his story is, he says “I’m not going to tell you that, I barely know you.”

While it’s sort of humorous, in life a lot of people are unfortunately that way–they take from you, but then do not give back. For example, at work, the worst bosses may “use you and spit you out” and when you say oh, I’m been loyal to you for X years, the response is cold and muted, like I the British soldier that after taking in their personal stories, responds that he barely knows them.

In families too, this happens when for example, parents sacrifice to give their children “everything”, but later in life, the children don’t even have the inclination to call or visit or “give them the time of day.”

This is like one of favorite songs by Harry Chapin called “Cats In The Cradle,” in this case though the father was always too busy for the son and then later in life the son had no time for his dad–“and as I got off the phone it occurred to me, he’d grown up just like me.”

We can rise above the selfishness, the coldness, and the negative attitudes, and we can be giving to others in our lives–the words we speak and the actions we show have lasting impact.

Rather than being the target of someone’s “delete” button in their life, wouldn’t it be nice to be cherished for their “save” button–and help them to achieve in life what they came here for to begin with.

>Surround Yourself With Positive People

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This blog contains a powerful poem called Whispers.

It’s about the destructive effects that negative people can have in our lives.

Each of us has lots of challenges, but with great inner strength and surrounded by good people and positive energy we can overcome and thrive.


Whispers

By Rebecca

I turn my back I hear the sound of a pin dropping but then something disrupts it

The sounds of whispers spin my head like a marry-go-round

I turn around to see lips pressed against her ear

Suddenly a feeling of paranoia goes upon me

A bunch of thoughts go through my head all at once

“Are they talking about me?”

“If they are talking about me what are they saying?”

“Is about my hair, my face, my outfit?”

“What could they possibly be saying that I’m not allowed to hear?”


Then time freezes and I start to hear laughter

Now I’m not even sad or angry I’m curious

Not only can I hear the whispers I can almost smell them

They smell of perfume and toxic air

It’s so strong I can almost faint


They stop talking and walk away

Even then they are still whispering and laughing

Like they don’t realize talking about someone behind their back is mean

So mean that an aura of evilness surrounds them with their perfect clothes, ornate makeup, and flawless faces.


Then I ask myself “why is it me they always pick on?”

But actually I know the answer or at least I think

It’s because I’m smart, fearless, and beautiful


Even though I don’t think so myself

>Essential Leadership Do’s and Don’ts

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Below is a list of my top 15 recommended leadership attributes and the do’s and don’t for these.


For example, in managing people—do empower them; don’t micromanage. For supporting people—do back them; don’t undermine them. In terms of availability-do be approachable; don’t be disengaged. And so on…

While the list is not comprehensive, I believe it does give a good starting point for leaders to guide themselves with.

Overall, a good rule of thumb is to be the type of leader to your staff that you want your supervisor to be to you.

Common sense yes, but too often we expect (no, we demand) more from others than we do from ourselves.

This is counter-intuitive, because we need to start by working and improving on ourselves, where we can have the most immediate and true impact.

Now is a perfect time to start to lead by example and in a 360-degree fashion—because leadership is not a one-way street, but affects those above, below, and horizontal to us.

If we are great leaders, we can impact people from the trenches to the boardroom and all the customers and stakeholders concerned. That’s what ultimately makes it so important for us to focus on leadership and continually strive to improve in this.

>Five Lessons From The Chilean Rescue

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This week, we as humankind were renewed by the rescue of the 33 miners in Chile.

“Viva Chile! They Left No Man Behind” writes Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal (16-17, Oct. 2010).

The Chileans took what was a human tragedy and instead turned it upside down and inside out into a worldwide victory!

Yet, as the rescue unfolded first with the search for the miners, their discovery, their being sustained while rescue tunnels were dug, and then ultimately as each miner—one by one—was brought to the surface safely—clean-shaven and smiling, I couldn’t help thinking to myself how perfectly everything was going—each time again and again—and then starting to worry that something has got to go wrong here (almost by Murphy’s Law)—this is too perfect!

Yet, nothing went wrong, it was a watertight rescue of all the miners.

As flawed human beings with all our warts and all, I think we were at some level shocked with disbelief by the flawless events that unfolded.

No cost overruns, no schedule delays, no one was hurt, no glitches in equipment or otherwise. It was a run of complete success that almost never happens in real life and yet, we all saw it unfold one, two, three…thirty-three before our very eyes.

This doesn’t happen in real life—only in fairy tales, right? This certainly doesn’t happen in most information technology projects! 😉

But even more stunning to us than the success of the rescue itself was the undercurrent of the prevailing of good over evil manifesting before us—almost like G-d was revealing himself to us again, as he did in Biblical times. As one of the miners poetically said: “I met G-d. I met the devil. G-d won.”

The shocker here was that a people, nation, and in effect the entire world was focused on saving these 33 simple miners. This in our day and age, when we have become more accustomed to those who dehumanize and devalue human life, rather than those who genuinely value and safeguard it as the Chileans did.

As Ms. Noonan puts it: “They used the human brain and spirit to save life. All we get every day is scandal.”

Recent events remind us of the huge contrast between those who value life and those who don’t, such as 9-11, almost daily suicide (read “homicide”) bombings for political aims, the blatant proliferation and threats of WMD (and now cyber warfare), the violation of human rights by dictatorships and thugs around the world, including political imprisonments, rigged elections, restrictions of free information flow, and more violent acts such as mass rapes, female genital mutilation, genocide, slave prison camps, and more.

Moreover, while we witness events going wrong everyday and governments, companies, and peoples seeming unable to set things right, in Chile, we saw a nation and a people that set their minds and might to bringing the miners home safely and they did, period.

There are some important lessons here for us for the future:

  1. Find the moral good. It starts with valuing and safeguarding human life. Our agenda should always be to prioritize helping others and saving lives. The Chileans did just that when they didn’t wring their hands and just walk away from the tragedy saying it was over. Instead, saving the lives was a national priority. Similarly, providing the speedy drill to the Chileans from the U.S. that tunneled in half the time to the miners was a gesture that we too value life and are partners with them in saving the miners.
  2. Contain the problem. The problems we face are “ginormous” (read: gigantic and enormous) and the only way we are gong to be able to overcome them is to break them down into pieces and attack them at their source. The Chileans took a big rescue operation and by decomposing it into plan A, B, and C, etc. and tackling each piece of the problem (locating the miners, sustaining them, rescuing them, etc.), they made the solution doable.
  3. Leverage technology. We are hampered in our abilities by our own human limitations. But we can extend our capabilities and expand those limits through technology. The rescue of the miners used many new technologies in drilling, communications, and materials to make the rescue not only possible, but also probable. We need to constantly innovate and use technology to make the impossible, possible.
  4. Stand united. No question, we are stronger together than apart. The Chilean nation and people united in their efforts to rescue and bring home the miners. It was a mission they believed in and which they stood together in accomplishing. Politics, infighting, and mudslinging can divide us when we need to be unified. We need to understand that when we take pot shots to score points, we undermine the mission and the successes we desperately need.
  5. Stay positive. Even in the face of what seems like assured calamity, we must keep our wits, stay strong, and focus on solutions. If we do this, we can say goodbye to Murphy’s Law, and helpless and hopelessness be gone. A renewed spirit of optimism and a can-do attitude can carry us forward to new heights that we can all be proud of.

As the article states: the Chileans “set to doing something hard, specific, physical, demanding of commitment, precision, and expertise. And they did it.” And we can again do it too.