Them Tables Always Turn

Just wanted to share a saying that I liked.


It is an ancient Mongolian proverb and was in the movie, “Mogul” about the rise of Genghis Khan:

Do not scorn a weak cub; he may become a brutal tiger. 

I think this is the Asian equivalent of:


1) Don’t burn your bridges.

2  Don’t start a war you can’t win. 

3) Pick on someone your own size.

4) What goes around comes around.

The Asian version is better! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Alternatives Are More Valuable Than Criticism

So one lesson of life that I have learned is about criticism. 


It’s easy to criticize, but tough to come up with real solutions. 


Criticizing someone else, does not usually provoke a good response. 


UNLESS, you can provide a bona fide better alternative in a loving way. 


It’s important to solve problems and not just create new ones. 


Criticizing without an alternative just causes anxiety and frustration in the other person. 


But when you says something isn’t right and why, and provide a better alternative, now the other person can see concretely what you are talking about, and they know they have options and that you are trying to help. 


No one wants to be told they are no good or their choices are no good. 


But people don’t mind and perhaps may even embrace being told that there is even something better for them out there.


Don’t criticize, instead give alternatives that are good for the other person. 


That’s real love without being a jerk. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

My First Interfaith Event

So I attended my first interfaith event today at Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, Maryland.


The first lady that I spoke to said that she wasn’t any one religion.  


When I asked more about this, she said:

The core to all religions is Rachamim (mercy, compassion) and Ahavah (love).


Pictured above are the table seating cards that directed people to sit next to people of other religions:  Jewish, Muslim, Other. 


The event was led by the One America Movement, and the Director, Andrew Hanauer spoke very well about bridging what divides us. 


Here are some of the take-a-ways:


– We need to address the divisiveness, polarization, and conflict. 

– Remember that we are talking with other human beings and not with labels.


– Polarization is not just issues, but devolves into identity–“I hate your stupid face!”


– But we are all human beings (and children of G-d). 

– Republicans and Democrats each say that the other is 20% less human than they are. 


– We all have our own “facts”:  My facts vs. Your Facts. 


– We attribute good that happens to us as being because of “us,” but bad that happens to us because of “them.”


– Similarly, we believe that we act out of love, but they act out of hate–and:

– We interpret threats to our viewpoints (political and otherwise), as threats to our groups and to ourselves. 

– Try to remove binary thinking (right and wrong, left and right, etc.), critique your own point of view, and share doubts

– Reconciliation:  If we can cross the divide, have open dialogue, and positive interactions with each others, and develop cross-cutting identities then we will make it easier to counter divisive narratives, solve problems, and reduce violence. 

(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)

Loneliness Is Death

There is a very important article in the Wall Street Journal today on the link of loneliness to death. 


Frightening loneliness statistics:


– One in 11 Americans over age 50 “lacks a spouse, partner, or living child.”


– More than 1 in 4 baby boomers is divorced or never married.  


– 1 out of every 6 people lives alone. 


Research indicates that loneliness leads to early death. 


The impact of loneliness is equivalent to:


– Smoking 15 cigarettes a day


– Drinking 6 alcoholic beverages a day


Loneliness is worse for mortality than:


– Obesity 


– Physical activity


“The effect of isolation is extraordinarily powerful…we have to address loneliness,” says the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 


Whether you are extroverted or introverted, we all need human interaction, sharing, caring, touch, and love.  


Truly, no man is an island!


Those that are stranded on loneliness island need to escape it and make their way back to human civilization.


Alone our lives are dull and stunted; but together, we have the inherent social dynamics to be able to experientially learn, grow, change and mature. 


Alone we die–together we live. 


It’s not just power in numbers, it’s life itself. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Listen, Empathize, Give A Little

A colleague was talking to me about negotiating and working with others:


He said something I liked: 


Listen, empathize, and give a little. 


Yes, we each have our beliefs and positions on things.


But we don’t live in a vacuum.


Other people have their own views, sensitivities, and wants. 


We have to get along so we can work together, and get things done. 


It starts by listening–not just hearing, but really listening to what the other person is saying. 


But that’s not really enough. 


To really understand the other person, we have to try to empathize with what they are feeling–we need to try to walk in their shoes even if just for a moment. 


But that also isn’t enough. 


We can’t have it all our way–we need to give a little to get a little. 


No one can have everything and have a good relationship like that. 


We need to compromise–as long as it’s not on things of integrity, conviction, or G-d. 


Everything else we have to listen, empathize, and give a little.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Taking The Bullet

So I learned many valuable lessons when I worked at the U.S. Secret Service–I loved it there!


But one of the lessons that sticks out it that sometimes you have to take a bullet for the President!


This lesson stayed with me and I believe it applies to a lot of other situations in life as well.


Sometimes you take one for the 


– Team


– Cause


– Relationship  


It’s easy to say you are going to preserve you self by “dodging a bullet,” but often it’s really just the opposite that is needed. 


If you take the bullet, you are putting yourself subordinate to a larger cause and what is really important. 


Taking one to safeguard the President of the United States is definitely a larger cause. 


But also your team, the success of an important cause or project, precious relationships that have been built over time–these can all mean more than taking even a significant hit. 


This doesn’t mean to be stupid, become anyone’s punching bag or just take people’s sh*t for nothing. 


Rather what it does mean is that you can suck it up sometimes–when the ends justify the means–and jump in front of that bullet to preserve something bigger and more important than just yourself. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Shooting At You

As I heard recently in a movie:


“When someone is shooting at you, you know their intentions.”


Sounds simple right?


But often the person throwing shots your way may be couching their real intentions and telling you:


“Ah, it’s nothing.”


Some may try and rip you off, and tell you: 


“It’s just business!”


Others punching you like a punching bag tell you:


“You need to get a thicker skin!”


People f*cking with your head ask you:


“Aren’t you being a little paranoid?”


Yet others blame the victim calling you out for any sign of weakness”


“Why are you so pathetic? Crybaby!”


The truth of the matter is when people shoot you, take potshots at you, or otherwise physically, verbally, and emotionally abuse you, there is usually some evil sleight of hand and tongue at play.


People that are good people–don’t abuse you!


There is no guise or beguiling when people are being truthful and when they truly care about other people. 


When they shoot at you, yes you know their intentions.


Stop pretending they didn’t mean it. Stop accepting empty promises that they won’t do it again. Stop listening to hollow refrains of sorry. 


People can be selfish and evil beasts that rip others apart because they will benefit from it or simply because they can or want to.


– Pain and suffering of other human beings is what they relish and feed on like blood is to a vampire. 


Good people–do good to others. 


– They want to give to others and see others flourish–they know G-d and understand the real purpose of life. 


When they shoot you, you know their intentions. 


Sure you can shoot back and sometimes you have no choice, but the best way to win is to be that good person.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)