Diamonds Under Pressure

So someone reminded me about stress and pressure in life. 


They said:

Pressure makes diamonds.


Diamonds are of the most beautiful and precious items in the world that we give to our loved ones as a symbol of our tremendous love for them. 


Diamonds are crystals made of pure carbon that formed under high temperature and extreme pressure. 


People too are often under extreme pressure in life from all sorts of demands and challenges whether it be work, family, threats, or illness.  


But just like from pressure comes diamonds, so too can pressure make us from rough and imperfect human beings into smooth, polished, and spectacular people. 


Rather than crack under pressure, we need to cope with it and let it strengthen us and shape us to be the gems we can be. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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How Some People Cope With Stress

Thought this was incredible. 


Someone opened up a “Rage Room” in Maryland. 


I know the atmosphere in D.C. is polarized and sort of toxic lately, and there is lot’s of identity politics, obstruction, and even people hating on each other, but this really shows how things have degenerated.


And let’s face it, it’s not just the politics that people are stressed out about–how about stress from family, work, and bills.  We’re on 24/7 these days and a lot of stress can build up in people that way. 


But now, people can actually pay money to go to into a room, wrap themselves in safety clothing, and spend their time smashing things. 


Almost like when they put crazy people in a padded room in a straight jacket and let them hit their heads against the wall for a while. 


In the Rage Room:


You can break 10 glass items for just $25!


Or throw in a medium printer in the starter pack and it’s $35. 


You can even BYOB (Bring Your Own Breakables) and have at it for $15.


Group packages and even gift cards are available. 


Fun maybe, a little crazy for sure. 😉

Bills, Health, and Purpose

So I wanted to share some wisdom from one of my best friends. 


He was telling me about some of life’s stresses at work, home, etc., and he said even though every looks forward to retirement “one day,” the problems don’t go away. 


He mentioned some examples of people he knows that retired relatively young and with a pension.


Nevertheless, he said:

They still worry about bills, about health, and mostly about purpose!


And even though they don’t have the day-to-day grind in the office, he said:

Their own stress is as real to them as mine is to me.


I couldn’t help reflecting on his words and thinking how smart this was. 


No one has it all!


Everyone is this world has fears, worries, and problems. 


And you know what?  It’s okay.  


Life is about us confronting what seems unconfrontable and becoming better human beings because we did. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

We All Have Our Moods

Thought this was a funny comic strip in the office. 

Today I’m feeling {choose your poison}…


While I’m sure that we’d like to be happy all the time, it’s not realistic to think that will actually be probable or even possible.


Sure, everyone puts on the big smile.


But behind the smile is often many other feelings 


As one colleague said to me:


“People are complex!”


Isn’t that true?


Anyway, don’t beat yourself for feeling what you feel–it’s okay to be relaxing, excited, angry, sad, stressed or whatever.


Of course, that doesn’t excuse letting it get the best of you and bad behavior.


We’re adults, not children with temper tantrums.


Certainly, though, we are all human, and all feelings are fine. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Essence of Time Management

So here are some quickies on the essence of time management.


1. Urgency vs Importance:


Don’t sacrifice the important items for the urgent ones!


– Focus on the items that are important on the right side of the matrix–if they are urgent (upper-right), you need to do now; if they aren’t urgent, but they are important (lower-right), you need to make time for them. 


– Deemphasize the items that aren’t important on the left side of the matrix–if they are urgent and not important (upper-left), limit them or delegate them; if they aren’t urgent or important (lower-left), delete them. 


There are two potential areas of dissonance that can cause you tension, stress, and anxiety.


– When the urgent top row items and the lower-left life necessities get in the way of your focusing on the quality life items that are of long-term importance to you (the lower-left).  For example, work and errands can crowd out your personal, family, community, and spiritual time. 


– When you have too many items in the lower-right quality time area and these are in competition with each other for your time and attention, and you don’t know how to prioritize them and get it all done.  It’s like there is never enough time. For example, we ignore our spouse, the kids, or closeness with G-d, because we just can’t get to it all.


This is where our personal values and conscience come into play to drive what we do and how we spend our precious time in this world. 


We all only have 24 hours in a day, so our actions need to be purposeful and driven by our values!


2. Tasks vs Relationships


Imagine another matrix with focus on tasks on the vertical access and focus on relationships on the horizontal access. 


Again here, we want to ensure a healthy balance of focus on both task and relationships (upper-right corner). 


If we focus on tasks at the expense of relationships or relationships at the expense of tasks, we are going to have a problem.  Moreover, it makes no sense to focus on items that are neither task- nor relationship-focused (lower-left).  


We need to collaborate with others to accomplish great, complex tasks (we can only accomplish so much alone). 


Again, dissonance (tension, stress, anxiety) is caused when we are pulled off-balance to focus on work or people to the exclusion of the other.  


As they say,


“Mission first, people always!”


We’ve got to build meaningful relationships and work together to get the mission done and the mission can be helping people and building a better society in a variety of ways. 


In a sense, it’s people helping people. Love thy neighbor to help thy neighbor.  


Time is of the essence–we have so little of it–it is precious–we can’t get it back–it goes so fast–we need to manage it like gold. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Party With Cookies Like It’s The End Of The Fiscal Year

 

Cookies.jpeg

It’s funny, today the last business day of the fiscal year…


That means that this time of year is a lot of stress on a lot of people.


So what do they do?


Well, while a lot of people are reaching for the do-re-mi ($$$) to earn and to spend before the books close, others are reaching for the plain old (cookie) dough. 


This week for example, there was a big cookie party!


So much stress, so little time.


That seems to translate into cookie days, and carbohydrate weeks. 


This isn’t just the end of the fiscal year, but a potentially fatty, dangerous time too. 


The timing is also weird because of the juxtaposition to Yom Kippur tomorrow which is a fasting day with NO food or water for 25 hours.


Better eat some more cookies now (or not). 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It’s Not (Always) Easy

Not Easy.jpeg

Sometimes, we see people–especially on social media these days–and they look “all that!”–so happy, so loved, so rich, so with everything–so it seems (superficially). 


But there is definitely another reality out there, and that is that everyone has problems:


– Family

– Health

– Finances

– Work

– School

– Conflict

– Spiritual


Like Helen Keller said: 

“I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”


I remember as a child, if I felt sad about something, my dad at times would remind me about the children in the hospital, and to think about how we can help others less fortunate–and he was right!


What I see in life is a lot of people trying, but also so many challenges, failures, and suffering along the way…unfortunately, it’s part of the learning and growth equation, and in why we’re here. 


In college, I always remember one (English) professor who taught me from Henry David Thoreau:

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.”


Sometimes, in our solitude or when we speak quietly from our heart with our closest loved ones, we feel and express some of those deep feelings of hurt, pain, and suffering from our lives.  


Those experiences, memories, and feelings are not all that there is of us, but it is certainly a part of all of us–although maybe only the brave will admit theirs.


It’s not shameful to feel, to cry, and to be human. 


It’s certainly not what Facebook and Twitter are all about. 


But it’s a genuine and critical part of us which recognizes as my dad also taught me that–life is not easy–and that we have to fight every day to do our best and to help others to do theirs. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)