(Maybe) Stop Complaining

So this past Shabbat, there was a wonderful guest speaker at Aish, Rav Gav(riel) Friedman. 


He was a very lively speaker and with a lot of worthy teachings for his lucky audience. 


One thing he said that really stuck with me is about people that complain. 


People have hard lives!


As he said, “I don’t know what each of you has been through.”


But one thing that can help us cope with our challenges is our perspective.  


And then he said the following:

We need to be glad that we have something to complain about!


Huh, what does that mean?


Well, think about it…


– If you complain about your spouse, thank G-d that you are married (and have a life partner) to complain about. 


– If you complain about your job, thank G-d that you have a job (and income) that you can complain about. 


– If you complain about your food, thank G-d that you have food to eat (and sustenance for your body) to complain about.


And so on and so forth. 


Whatever we complain about, think about what you actually have (the big picture) and what you are complaining about (usually the little picture). 


Really, we have so much to be grateful for that we can easily just forget or take for granted. 


So next time your complaining, THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE that you are complaining about–you might stop yourself from complaining.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bar Mitzvah Speech Page 3

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Bar Mitzvah Speech Page 3.”

I wondered to myself how come this bar mitzvah boy didn’t end his speech with the traditional thank you to: my loving mother and father, my dear grandparents, my annoying brothers and sisters, and all my terrific uncle and aunts who came from Israel, Europe, and Canada to be with me here on this special day? There was none of that, and I was puzzled — how can he not thank everyone who made this day possible?

This was a true lesson about always being prepared and resilient, because that is what true empowerment is all about. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Victory Or Defeat

I was reading Vladimir Jabotinsky’s “Story of My Life.”


And there is this quote that I really like attributed to Kipling in it:

Victory or defeat: learn to accept both with equanimity since both are deceptions.

I just thought this is profound.  


We never really fully win or lose. 


Everything is on a spectrum. 


And where we think we are on that spectrum is often not even nearly correct. 


You think you won that one, but guess what someone else has outsmarted you and you don’t even know it yet. 


Also, wins can be easily followed by loses and vice versa.


Things can turn on a dime and who’s up becomes who’s down–as the wheel of life turns and turns again. 


Recognize that you don’t control everything–actually, the only thing you do control is how you react and behave.


Everything else is a test to teach you and help you grow. 


And as I heard from a speaker yesterday, “you can’t make up in space, what you have lost in time.”


Victory or defeat, both are deceptions. 


Only how you choose to act is the real win or lose. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

An Early Death

So I received an email last night from the teacher of my Ulpan class. 


She was passing along a message from a wonderful man in class letting her and us know some terrible news.


His son suddenly and unexpectedly died at just 28-years old this past week. 


He wrote about how tragedy like this impacts a person and family, and that obviously he didn’t know when he would be coming back to class. 


The message from this man who had just prematurely lost his son in the prime of his life really hit me. 


Life is so tenuous–where everything truly hangs in the balance by a thin thread. 


You can think you are building a fortress of success where no one and nothing can touch you, hurt you.


But life has its own catapults, battering rams, siege towers, and explosive moments in store.


You can’t really plan for these things, and you are never ready when they happen. 


Having to bury a child is not the normal way of the wold, and the pain of this is unimaginable. 


A child is the culmination of all our efforts and represents the future, even while we are the past. 


I am so sorry for what happened to my friend from class and I wish him my sincerest condolences and that no one should have to go through such tragedy any more. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

From Chaos To Order

The world challenges us all the time. 


Yes, the world functions based on the “laws of nature,” scientific facts, and mathematical formulas, and so you’d think everything in our lives would be orderly and work like clockwork.


But, as human beings, our lives are too a great extend a function of what gets thrown at us and how we react to them, and not the constancy of the world context that these things are happening in. 


It’s easy to be surprised, become overwhelmed, or even be stumped by the daily barrage of things that we are new to us or we simply don’t know how to handle.


A world governed by Mother Nature thus, often seems more like a world ruled by Murphy’s Law. 


In a world that we can often experience as chaotic and disorderly, the answer is not to break down and cry or run and hide, but rather to create our own sense of order. 


Thus, the antagonist of chaos and disorder is consequence and order. 


The way to get to order in your life is through planning and preparation. 


The more you plan and prepare, the better you are able to deal with the challenges you are dealt. 


I believe this is the cornerstone of what a good education and training is–preparing you for real life!


Generally, if you plan and prepare for a broad spectrum of scenarios (especially the worst cast scenarios), you won’t be left sitting out there scratching your head when the proverbial “sh*t hits the fan.”


Thinking out of the box and ahead of the curve, and using scenario-based planning and preparation can give you the tools and confidence to leave the anxiety behind and move more swiftly to confront challenges head-on. 


Of course, we’ll never be able to imagine or be prepared for everything that can happen–but the more you can free your mind to think about the “what if’s” and how to mitigate the risks, the better shape you are in to act with determination and decisively when you really need to.  😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Elisa Riva)

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)

In The Blink Of An Eye

Please see my new article in The Times Of Israel called, “In The Blink Of An Eye.” 

It all seems to happen in the blink of an eye. Those moments when your life or those of a loved one hang in the balance. It can go either way–you can end up on the road to success or potentially in the morgue. 

In those pivotal split seconds–your life can go this way or that. Do you recognize who is pushing on the scales of justice and are you ready on where to go from there? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)