Why The Happiness of Purim?

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Why The Happiness of Purim?

In a world that is constructed of the story of Purim, everything looks like it’s based on mere happenstance and there seems to be no G-d involved—this is a world of randomness and meaninglessness. Whatever happens, just happens by nature or luck, and what can be more meaningless and depressing than that! Thus, the Rabbis had to decree all the laws for the happiness of Purim, because happiness is not innate to a story that is seemingly happenstance and devoid of G-d. That is the big difference between Purim, where Hashem is hidden, and Passover or Hanukah, where Hashem revealed Himself and made incredible miracles—the 10 plagues and the splitting of the Red Sea or the one day of oil that lasted for eight days.


On Purim, we celebrate our deliverance from the evil Haman and the king’s decree to kill all the Jews, but also we are overflowing with Joy remembering that G-d is always with us—in good times and G-d forbid in the bad times–we are not afraid of anything (another indecisive election, the stock market downturn, our enemies, Coronavirus, etc.) knowing that He loves us and cares for us, and will deliver us in the old days and in the new. May the final deliverance soon be completed with the arrival of the Mashiach—and the hidden will become revealed like on Purim and the joy will be forever increased. Amen.

 
(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Anus Protectus

So I learned this new phrase today:

“Anus Protectus”


It’s what it sounds like.


It when you communicate (or do) something in order to “cover your a*s.”


Sometimes we communicate as an FYI.


Other times as a FYSA.


And then there is the CYA. 


All of these are what we call “Purposeful communications.”


The only real difference is their purposes. 


When you open your mouth or your email make sure you know your:


– Why (intent)

– Who (audience)

– How (persuasion techniques)


These are the secret sauce of good communication. 


More blogs to come on this important topic. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Waiting For You To Succeed

Waiting For You To Succeed
I love this on the sidewalk this week. 



“The World is Waiting for you to SUCCEED!”



Encouraging, inspiring, motivational, hopeful, purposeful, future-oriented, and more. 



Too often we can focus on the negatives–how hard things are and can be; how many obstacles and challenges there are to getting somewhere; the many failures along the way; the bullies, naysayers, competition, and power-mongers who don’t want us to succeed.



But think about it…



When we overcome all these (with G-d ‘s help), the world is waiting for our success–our contributions, our building blocks, our ideas, inputs, innovations, and creations.



When we succeed in advancing things (and not just doing for self), the world benefits!



We can have a purpose and meaning to our lives–we are part of something bigger and greater than ourselves and our mortality. 



Everyone has to do their part for the world to succeed. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The G-d Watch – Live With The End In Mind

I used to have this manager who was within a couple of years of retirement.

She kept a jar of beans on her desk.

Each bean represented one day of work.

And every day, she would take one bean out of the jar.

This was her way of counting down to the end of her career (and the beginning of her retirement).

Anyway, trust me when I say, that we were counting down too–even without the beans. 🙂

At work, some people may even say of someone just hanging on or just hanging-out waiting to retire that they are Retired In Place (RIP)–a pun, on rest in peace.

Uh, not funny, but when people know the end is coming (either for career or their life), they often change their behavior–they focus on what what’s coming next.

With the end of career, perhaps they are imaging sunny skies, palm trees, and margaritas in retirement.

And with end of life, people are often thinking about judgement day–and how they spent their lives: in love or hate, purposeful or without direction, doing good or taking advantage.

So it’s very interesting to me how this company, Tikker (funny name, as a watch often makes the sound tick-tock, but also a person’s heart is referred to as a ticker), developed a watch (the Death Watch) that not only provides the time, but actually counts down–years, months, days, and even hours, minutes, and seconds–not that they can be so precise–to your expected death.

The watch is supposed to give people new perspective and encourage them to live a better life.

Someone who is going to purchase the watch fills out a questionnaire with information on family health history, age gender, and race, and then they get their estimated date of death, for the countdown!

With the DOD (date of death), we now know what we are dealing with–for better or worse–and of course, subject to change, by the One Above.

But like the boss looking to retirement who took out a bean a day from the jar, we too can look towards our own mortality–not in a sad way, but in a fundamental human way–one that guides us, with the end in mind, to make better decisions for the time we have in life.

Despite, what almost every young person seems to believe, we are not immortal–and the stupid things we do when we are young or throughout of lives comes back to haunt us (whether smoking, drinking, overeating, or other bad stuff).

And so we must choose to live every moment, not as if we have forever, but rather with purpose, passion, and poetry–until the clock runs out on all of us, as it inevitably will.

Wheelchair Kids

Wheelchair Kids

So I was swimming in the pool and noticed a dad playing with his kids in the shallow section.

One kid–the littler and younger one–was swimming this way and that and playing in the water.

The other kid–bigger and older–was in a flotation tube, and she was clearly struggling.

First, I misinterpreted the girl wiggling around in the tube as her just jumping around and having a good time with it.

Then, I saw she was uncomfortable and having some real difficulty, and I noticed the mini-wheelchair for a child parked at the side of the pool.

I saw the dad go over to her in the water tube and help settle her, stabilize her, and he pushed her hair out of her eyes, and poured some cold pool water on her forehead and over her hair.

I held back tears watching the love of this father for his disabled daughter and for the challenges that the disabled regularly have to endure.

The girls little sister started to jump around her sister’s tube and wanted to play with her.

The whole scene was sort of surreal.

As it happened, a day later another man in the hotel elevator started talking about how he arrived at the hotel but had so many problems: he lost his wallet, his room had a flood and his family needed to be moved, and he was dealing with a six year old child with cancer.

When I see these children suffering, I really feel emotional–they are too young and innocent to be so sick. They haven’t had a chance to fully live and they can’t look forward to the same things that other healthy kids can.

That doesn’t mean that they can’t live purposeful lives, just that they have great challenges for little people.

I think how terrible it is to be confined to a wheelchair or bedridden–instead of being free to run and play.

I hate seeing anyone sick and suffering, but with children it’s worse, and I remember my dad telling me as a kid when times were tough: “If you want to see real problems [in life], we should go over to visit the children’s hospital!”

He was right–I will never forget those words or the plight of sick and disabled children–may G-d have mercy.

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Joanna C. Dobson)

Playing For The Meal

Playing For The Meal

I love this guitarist on the corner with the sign that says, “To eat for today one must play for the meal. You Pay. Thank you.”

Five communication lessons I had reinforced from this:

– Be direct–he is right to the point…he plays, you pay–that’s the deal.

– Be clear–the writing is large, the letters are distinct, and easy to read…you get it!

– Be concise–the message fits on a small cardboard…no rambling placards, just the message next to the guitar case for collecting the money.

– Be purposeful–he states the reason for his being there right up front…he’s hungry and is willing to work for it!

– Be courteous–he ends with a nice thank you that is set off to the side in script.

If his playing is half as good as his message…he’s earned his meal. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Leading Along The Continuum

Body_lines

There’s a cliff.

At the bottom is a body.

What do you think may have happened?

It’s a matter of how you interpret what you find.

If you think the person:

1) Fell…
–then it is viewed as an accident.

2) Was pushed…
–then it was murder.

3) Jumped…
–then it was a suicide.

Three scenarios…three different interpretations.

With our personality attributes, it’s the same way–they can viewed either positively or negatively.

Is the person?
– Trusting or gullible
– Optimistic or impractical
– Caring or smothering
– Self-confidant or arrogant
– Ambitious or ruthless
– Organized or controlling
– Persuasive or pressuring
– Decisive or rash
– Imaginative or a dreamer
– Entrepreneurial or reckless
– Cautious or suspicious
– Economical or stingy
– Reserved or cold
– Methodical or rigid
– Analytical or nit-picky
– Thorough or obsessive
– Principled or unbending
– Flexible or inconsistent
– Sociable or dependent
– An experimenter or aimless
– Curious or nosy

Every good trait, can be viewed and interpreted as bad and vice versa.

When it comes to the workplace, you need to apply good situational leadership.

Apply your strengths with the right amount of measure along the continuum and you’re golden.

Lean too far toward either extreme, and you risk becoming a poor manager.

The better leader can apply their traits in a purposeful way rather than being controlled by them.

While the weaker one is a victim of their personality flaws.

So was it an accident, murder, or suicide?

The facts are there somewhere, but when it comes to personality much depends on how you apply it.

(Source photo: here with attribution to NYC Arthur)