Lessons Learned From My Family By Rebecca Blumenthal

This is a moving interview with Rebecca Blumenthal.

She came to me this afternoon, spontaneously, to tell me some meaningful lessons she had gathered from some of the special members of her family.

Immediately after I heard a few of the things she had to say, I asked her if she would mind me capturing these beautiful sentiments on this short video.

I was very moved by her sincerity and thoughtfulness, and it gave me pause in my own life to appreciate these things anew from the people who have been so important in my life as well.

(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

Think B4 U Speak

Think B4 U Speak

This was a sign hung in a local high school.

And thought this was pretty good.

Think before you speak…

THINK = True + Helpful + Inspiring + Necessary + Kind

If it doesn’t meet those criteria…shush, or in plain language–keep a lid on it!

Remember, two ears and one mouth–so speak half as much as you listen. 😉

(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

What A Good Answer Costs You

What A Good Answer Costs You

This was a funny sign that I came across with a colleague of mine.

It’s a price list for answers.

An answer (presumably incorrect) is 75 cents.

A thoughtful answer (but again incorrect) is 1.25.

A bona fide correct answer is $2.15.

The only thing that’s free is getting a dumb look.

I gave the guy $5 and told him to keep the change. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Some Questions To Change Your Life

Some Questions To Change Your Life

If you haven’t seen this, Inc. ran an article (19 February 2013) on “11 Life-Changing Questions You Musk Ask Yourself.

I like the introspective and thoughtful questions posed and believe it’s well worth our time to think about these.

Looking back from your deathbed:
The first three questions (1-3) have to do looking at your life in terms of how you lived your life and how it will be viewed at the end. The point is not what title you achieved (CEO, VP, etc.) or how much money you accumulated in your life, but whose lives you touched and how profoundly.

Working to live:
The next two questions (4-5) have to do with how you earn you keep. I remember learning that life is not about living to work, but rather working to live. Do you work hard and contribute something real and meaningful, and is it something that you can be proud of.

Embrace good change:
There are two question (6-7) then about how you deal with change. When everyday is fundamentally the same and you’re afraid to try new things, then you may very well be stuck in some sort of a rut. If you have the leeway to pick your change–look for ways to change that helps you grow into the person you want to be (and not just changing for changes sake).

Spend your time valuably:
Two questions (8-9) are about that the best things in life cannot be bought–real relationships, good deeds, being a mensch. Your time is your most valuable resource. Flower, candy, gifts are a nice gesture but don’t make up for time invested and well-spent together with those you most deeply care about. Words and gifts are cheap, actions speak louder than words–volumes–about who we really are.

Treat others as G-d’s creatures:
Question 10 points that people are G-d’s precious creatures and the biggest test is how we treat them–do we do it with selfish interest or with empathy, kindess, and charity. I have never understood the many charity dinners and events where people get honored for their giving, rather than the honor being in the act of giving, itself.

Challenge yourself to be more:
The 11th question isn’t about doing scary, stupid things, but rather challenging and pushing yourself to overcome what seems like our innate limitations and instead go beyond (break those barriers!).

While it is tempting to tire, to give up, or to just claim victory, as my grandfather used to say, “There is enough time to sleep after 120.” 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Is Bureaucracy Just Another Name For Governance?

Is Bureaucracy Just Another Name For Governance?

Fascinating opinion piece by Fisman and Sullivan in the Wall Street Journal on Friday (15 March 2013) called “The Unsung Beauty of Bureaucracy.”

The authors argue that bureaucratic rules and regulations serve important purposes in that while “less good stuff gets done–but it also puts a check on the kinds of initiatives that can lead to catastrophe.”

And they give numerous examples of industries that perform sensitive functions that you would want to actually take some extra time to make sure they get it right.

A vary basic example given was the company Graco that makes infant car seat and strollers; they have five design phases and hundreds of tests that add up to two years to product development, but who would rationally argue against such quality controls processes to protect our children.

They make another good point, we always here about bureaucracy slowing the innovation and product development down, but what about the “bad ideas that were quashed as a result of the same rules?”

We all rail against having to jump through hoops to get things done and rightfully so. The mission is important, time is of the essence, and resources are limited–last thing anyone wants is to be told you have x process that must be followed, y gates to get through, z signatures to obtain–and that’s just for the routine stuff! 🙂

But as much as we hate to be slowed down to cross the t’s and dot the i’s, often that’s just what we really need–to make sure we don’t do anything half-a*sed, stupid, or jut plain reckless.

One mistake in an operational environment can bring things to a standstill for thousands, in a system it can have a dominos effect taking down others, and in product development it can bring deadly consequences to consumers, and so on.

So putting up some “bureaucratic” hurdles that ensure good governance may be well worth its weight in gold.

Frankly, I don’t like the word bureaucracy because to me it means senseless rules and regulations, but good governance is not that.

We need to stop and think about what we are doing–sometimes even long and hard and this is difficult in a fast-paced market–but like a race car taking the turn too fast that ends up in a fiery heap–stopped not by their steady pacing, but by the retaining wall protecting the crowds from their folly.

One other thing the author state that I liked was their pointing out the government which is involved in so many life and death matters needs to maintain some heightened-level of governance (I’ll use my word), to get the food supplies safe and the terrorists out.

From clear requirements to careful test plans, we need to ensure we know what we are doing and that it will work.

At the same time, showing up after the party is over serves no purpose.

Like all things in an adult world, balance is critical to achieving anything real. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

>Revenge of the Introverts

>

I am an introvert.

Does this mean I am among a minority of the population that is shy, anti-social, “snooty,” or worse?

Many people have misperceptions like these, which is why Psychology Today’s current issue has a feature story on the realities vs. the myths of introverts. Actually half of the people you meet on any given day are introverts.

According to the story, introverts are:

Collectors of thoughts…(and) solitude is the place where the collection is curated…to make sense of the present and the future.”

Most of us don’t realize that there are many introverts, because “perceptual biases lead us all to overestimate the number of extraverts among us.” (Basically you extraverts take up a lot of attention 🙂.)

To me, being an introvert is extremely helpful in my professional role because it enables me to accomplish some very important goals:

I can apply my thinking to large and complex issues. Because I gravitate to working in a quiet (i.e. professional) environment, I am able to focus on studying issues, coming up with solutions, and seeing the impact of incremental improvements. (This will be TMI for some, but when I was a kid I had to study with noise reducing headphones on to get that absolute quiet to concentrate totally.)

I like to develop meaningful relationships through all types of outreach, but especially when interacting one-on-one with people. As opposed to meaningless cocktail party chatter – “Hello, How are you today?” “Fine. And how are you?” “Fine.” Help, get me out of here!

I get my energy from introspection and reflecting; therefore, I tend to be alert to areas where I may be making a mistake and I try to correct those early. In short, “I am my own biggest critic.”

So while it may be more fun to be an extrovert—“the life of the party”—and “the party’s going on all the time”—I like being an introvert and spending enough time thinking to make the doing in my life that much more meaningful and rewarding.

[Note: Lest you think that I hold a grudge against extraverts, not at all—you all are some of my best buds and frequently inspire me with your creativity and drive!]