Sing Louder

So I heard this interesting saying the other day:

If you can’t sing better, sing louder!


It’s funny that people actually do that type of thing all the time. 


My colleagues boss told someone I know: 

You’re a fake it till you make it type of person


This can apply to all sort of activities and not just singing.


— Public speaking, your job, sports, cooking, etc. 


Often, people have to do things that they really just don’t do very well.


– Maybe it’s not their forte. 


– Maybe they’re just not into it. 


But rather than call it for what it is.


Instead, they pretend and make a show out of it. 


They exaggerate what they think they are supposed to do. 


Or they try to compensate with something tangential. 


Hey, maybe no will notice.


But people eventually catch-on and do know when you’re lip-singing and faking your way through or just screaming out the lyrics to mask how horrible you singing is. 


Better to be honest and admit what you can and can’t do.


Take some classes or get some training.


Practice, practice, practice. 


Or even consider doing something else that you do enjoy and are good it. 


Either way, you don’t want to be the one singing loudly their whole life.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal. Note: this blog is not connected to this or any particular musician)

Celebrating Chanukah At Ulpan

It was so nice tonight at Ulpan. 


Morah Degani had a special night planned for us tonight to celebrate Chanukah. 


She called me up to light the candles for the 3rd night and recite the blessing. 


Then she played Chanukah songs and we sang along to the Hebrew words on the screen. 


We later read and talked about the story of Chanukah and all the meaning and significance of it for having freedom of religion/worship and to maintain our religion and not assimilate. 


It was a beautiful way to learn and practice our Hebrew. 


Happy 3rd night of Chanukah! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Going Back To Ulpan

So yesterday, I started Ulpan classes to improve my Hebrew language skills (currently, I’m not very skillful with it).


It was 2.5 hours and it was such a joy for me and my wife and one of my daughter to have the wonderful opportunity to participate in this. 


It wasn’t like in Yeshiva where we focused on learning the Biblical and prayer book Hebrew, and on Aramaic from the Talmud, but was more focused on modern-day conversational Hebrew. 


I loved learning and speaking the words, for example to describe a large cosmopolitan city like Tel Aviv. 


We also listened to recordings of others speaking, read the text, and learned verbs. 


It reminded me of my mom, who also used to love to take Ulpan, and carried around her notebook with the Hebrew words and their translation and the many descriptive verbs–she was so happy learning and practicing. 


Given my horrible language skills, it was funny for me that I was asked if I wanted to join the advanced class…ah, no!  (or at least not yet…)


While so many languages (and cultures) have died over the ages, Hebrew and the modern State of Israel is a complete revival–it’s truly miraculous!


There were people in the class from Asia, South America, and all over the world!


And from all the people there, I felt a tremendous love not only for the language, but for the land of Israel, and the Jewish people. 


I wish like this beautiful language we all embraced, everyone could love and not hate us anymore!


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Are We Ready For Anything?

Contingency Planning

So contingency planning is a critical part of risk management.


You never know what can happen in life…


So you must have a solid business continuity plan (BCP) and disaster recovery plan (DRP). 


That way in case of natural disaster or terror attack–we are prepared!


So what was really sad-funny this week was when I became aware of an annual contingency planning exercise that was being conducted as a table-top exercise–that’s legit. 


It was well-planned, scripted to really challenge the participants, and I heard it went very well.


But then just that evening as it turned out there was a real contingency.


What happened?


Everyone was working well to address what happened and how to fix it and kudos to some super great people. 


The only problem was no one seemed to really know or was following what to do from a contingency plan perspective.


In the end everything turned out fine, but it was incredible how planning and training can deviate so far from real life. 


It’s like in school, when administrators conduct fire drills for the teachers and students and everyone gets up like good boys and girls and goes out in an orderly fashion, maybe even in a nice buddy system, but then when G-d forbid there is a real fire, everyone starts screaming and running crazed for the exits. 


Perhaps table top exercises should be thrown out the window and testing should be conducted with realistic scenarios and under mandated lifelike circumstances. 


Instead of smoke and mirror planning, we need serious preparation for the day when it isn’t child’s play or cool drawings on the whiteboard only. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Sharyn Morrow)

Slow, Smooth, Fast

Slow, Smooth, Fast

A colleague told me a good saying from the Navy Seals.

“Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.”

The idea is that when we slow down and practice diligently, we give ourselves time and space to heal and to work to perfect our technique, so then when we need to execute, we can do it fast and flawlessly.

Embedded in this concept is that we do things right the first time, and eliminate risk and having to do them needlessly again…slow down and nail it!

In martial arts and other physical disciplines, this concept is honed by practicing in “motion study” and then “exploding” dynamically in executing upon the enemy.

Slow, Smooth, Fast–practice makes (near) perfect. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Instructions For the Modern Age

Instructions For the Modern Age

We went apple picking today and it was a nice time, thank G-d.

The weather was beautiful and the apples were plentiful and delicious.

One funny thing that I noticed was this sign with instructions for how to pick apples.

Like we need instructions for one of the most natural things in the world.

Even in the Bible, in the Garden of Eden, the first man and woman figured this one out.

Perhaps, with all of our technology we now possess, there is a feeling or realization that we have lost touch with our more primitive instincts.

Often, I wonder if a major calamity were to actually strike, how many of us, especially in the big cities would know the basic skills to survive.

Heck, we can’t even leave the house without our smartphones–we’d feel naked–like Adam and Eve after eating from the Tree of Knowledge.

Technology has made us more capable, but it has left us lacking knowledge on how to grow things, build things, fish and hunt, and much more, leaving us in many ways more vulnerable.

How can we live in an information age, and yet be stupider for it?

As I learned in college, you can have wonderful book knowledge, but have little to no practical knowledge.

I would say we need to do a much better job balancing the teaching of theory and practice…so we won’t need signs that have to tell us how to pick an apple anymore. 😉

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)