No Matter How Much You Prepare

So we just finished watching Season Six of Alone (and have now started Season Seven).


Highly trained professionals (military and otherwise) with ALL the skills, experience, and confidence setting out to survive in the arctic, alone.


Each one thinks they can make it and outlast the others.


And watching these folks, you think to yourself, wow, these people can fish, hunt, build shelters, survive off of the land, and know how to survive.


Yet, usually well before 100 days, (virtually) all the contestants are out:

No matter how well prepared they are, life happens!


– They get hugely sick, often from the gross food they are eating.


-They fall down and hurt or break something.


– They cut or stab themselves.


– They lose one or more of their essential survival tools.


– They inadvertently burn down their own shelters.


– Animals steal their food or attack them.


– They starve and their bodies start to break down critical fat stores in their heart or other vital organs.


– They start to lose their minds from the lack of nutrition and mind-numbing loneliness.


It seems like no matter how well trained and prepared they are, they can’t outrun, outwit, out-survive what life eventually throws at them.


Even the last person “standing” is still usually more dead than alive.


Anything other than self-control is ultimately an illusion.


Remember, life happens, and eventually everyone needs help from someone.


No man is an island even if you are living on one. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Never Too Young To Train

This was cute!

The little boy holding his mom’s hand and running around the track.

While many kids would cry and resist the exercise, this kid actually ran after his mom to go with her.

It was nice to see!

Never too young to train!

This is how excellence is born. 😉

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Anti-Semitism: Preparedness Can’t Be Blind

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “Anti-Semitism: Preparedness Can’t Be Blind.”

As I’m standing there, I feel someone coming up behind me and then running into me. Of course, with anti-Semitic attacks prominent and growing, I may have been at a slightly higher state of alert, and I turn around ready for whatever or to give someone a few choice words…And then I see the cane from a blind person.


So even in these times, when there are gangs, drugs, violence, and anti-Semitism, and “we can’t be careful enough” (especially given our long, deep history of religious persecution), at the same time, we need to judge our fellow man favorably first and foremost, and still we must be prepared for, G-d forbid, the worst at any time.

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Training With Paper Airplanes

So I was in an Agile and Scrum Management class yesterday. 


Always looking for new best practices and efficiencies for what we are doing in software development. 


We did one exercise to compare the old Waterfall methodology with Agile. 


And the instructor had us as a team build paper airplanes one way and then the other so see the difference in output and outcome. 


Lo and behold, we had almost 40 planes in agile and only 6 in waterfall. 


What you see in the photo is the testing phase: we actually had to see if they could fly at least 10 feet without taking a nosedive.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When Do We Get The Replicators

Good advertisement piece for a 3D Printing Class. 


Not sure that we’re nearly there yet in terms of the Star Trek vision for the Replicators that could make food and other items on demand. 


But things are slowly taking shape. 


Someone wake me up when I can order up a pizza from this thing.  😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Win Rocky Win

I found this Rocky gem on eBay.


And it arrived, all wrapped up nicely, in the mail yesterday.  


Rocky working out and training. 


His shirt says:

Win Rocky Win


I posed him with his arms up in the air like after a fight in the ring. 


Love his fighting spirit, determination, and integrity.


Overcoming against all odds. 


Great inspiration. 


Some say we actually look alike. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Theater And A Bagel

We stopped in at the Flying V Awesome-A-Thon yesterday. 


How can anything “awesome” not be good? 


Flying V mixes it up with the arts and culture. 


They combine theater with wrestling!


Essentially, this group tries to add adventure and combat to the more staid dramatic performances. 


Anything that brings theater more alive is definitely a good thing. 


We got to sit in on the event organizers doing a live podcast and could definitely see their enthusiasm for “Shakespeare and training” and becoming a success story.  


Anyway, they did have some snacks at the event, and this colorful bagel was definitely the standout. 😉


(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)

Sing Louder

So I heard this interesting saying the other day:

If you can’t sing better, sing louder!


It’s funny that people actually do that type of thing all the time. 


My colleagues boss told someone I know: 

You’re a fake it till you make it type of person


This can apply to all sort of activities and not just singing.


— Public speaking, your job, sports, cooking, etc. 


Often, people have to do things that they really just don’t do very well.


– Maybe it’s not their forte. 


– Maybe they’re just not into it. 


But rather than call it for what it is.


Instead, they pretend and make a show out of it. 


They exaggerate what they think they are supposed to do. 


Or they try to compensate with something tangential. 


Hey, maybe no will notice.


But people eventually catch-on and do know when you’re lip-singing and faking your way through or just screaming out the lyrics to mask how horrible you singing is. 


Better to be honest and admit what you can and can’t do.


Take some classes or get some training.


Practice, practice, practice. 


Or even consider doing something else that you do enjoy and are good it. 


Either way, you don’t want to be the one singing loudly their whole life.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal. Note: this blog is not connected to this or any particular musician)

Think Back, Think Forward

So yesterday I attended a colleagues’s leadership program graduation. 


There were about 20 people in the graduating class. 


One thing that I liked was that when they called up each person to shake hands and get their diplomas, each graduate was given the opportunity to say a few words. 


It was amazing to me how 20 people could give a thank you, what I learned, and what I will do with it speech in 20 completely different ways. 


20 people, 20 personalities, 20 ways of thinking and saying something. 


We really are all the similar to and different from one anther at the same time!


I remember one graduate in particular.


He talked about how the leadership program challenged him, and he said:

It made me think back, and it made me think forward. 


I loved that!


This is really what learning is all about. 


Reflecting back and using that to think forward–how to apply it, how to shape it, and how to innovate from it.


Thinking forward starts with thinking back to where we came from and all the lessons learned in our lives. 


It all starts at the beginning and it goes forward from there. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)