Left Handshake Is Right

So I heard about someone misinterpreting something I did for the worse.


Occasionally, when someone tries to shake my hand, instead of shaking with my right hand, I will take their hand in my left. 


I’ll do this for various reasons such as arthritic pain or from dirt (like ink or cleaning ) from some prior work I was doing. 


But always when I extend my hand it is with warmth and friendship. 


However, I learned that one person took this handshake as a serious personal affront. 


They thought that I was “disrespecting” them intentionally.


So I learned that even the most everyday, mundane gestures like a handshake, but done differently, can be taken out of context and misinterpreted. 


Why do we judge others for the bad?


Maybe because we don’t trust, don’t want to ask, don’t want to know, or have had bad experiences in life that jade us. 


But sometimes a handshake is just a handshake whether with the right or left hand. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Me Myself and I

I thought this was really fascinating about how we interact with others.


It’s a theory by Martin Buber called the I-Thou relationship.


In every relationship, there are really 6 people in the room:


– Who I am.


– Who I want to be.


– Who I am perceived as.


———–


– Who they are.


– Who they want to be.


– Who they are perceived as. 


———-


Taking about a break between reality, fantasy, and perception. 


Is it any wonder that there are so many communication breakdowns and relationship disappointments. 


We need to coalesce around a unified persona of I and thou–and if we don’t know, perhaps we need to ask for clarification.


We don’t want to talk past each other. 


We want to talk to and work with each other. 


I am me and you are you. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Fight or Flight

So I learned this interesting thing about the Fight or Flight response.


Fight or flight is not just physically fighting or fleeing, but it has a much more diverse set of responses involved to perceived life-threatening events. 


Fighting (turning towards the threat)

1. Physical fighting (Protect yourself with force)

2. Non-physical aggression

– Criticism (e.g. Attacking personality or character)

– Contempt (e.g. Attacking sense of self-worth with sarcasm, shaming, insults, eye-rolling, and sneering)


Flight (turning away from danger)

1. Physical fleeing (e.g. Run/hide)

2. Non-physical withdrawal

– Defensiveness (e.g. Deflecting the attack with excuses, disagreement, counter-arguments, or blaming)

– Stonewalling (e.g. Conveying disapproval or disconnection, stop participating, change the subject, or giving the cold shoulder or silent treatment)


When you recognize that not all issues are life-threatening, then you can lower the intensity of the “Amygdala Hijack” in terms of fight or flight and instead work towards developing mutual understanding, trust, respect, and shared goals and solutions. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal and attribution of content to Dr. Britt Andreatta)

A Mountain Of Data

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So I heard this interesting perspective on information and data analytics…


Basically, it comes down to this: 

“Most organizations are data rich, but information/insight poor.”


Or put another way:

“Data is collected, but not used.”


Hence we don’t know what we don’t know and we end up making bad decisions based on poor information. 


Just imagine if we could actually make sense of all the data points, connect them, visualize them, and get good information from them.


How much better than a pile of rocks is that? 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Wise Man Watcheth

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I just loved this Asian sculpture that I found in this cool antique store.


It was white and slim with a Asian man face, long beard, and tall hat. 


The face was so expressive.


The eyes so alert and watching. 


The beard and hat made him look old and wise. 


As a real person, this is someone who has seen and learned so many things.


Forever watching.


Forever seeking to understand.


Forever trying to learn the secrets of the life. 


This is a person to consult and get guidance from. 


With age comes wisdom.


And with (occasional) reincarnation comes more opportunity to learn the painful lessons that we haven’t, but must.


How long has this man been sitting there watching and learning–how long must we?


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Knowable and Unknowable

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So as we all do, I often come across challenging and perplexing issues or problems in life. 


And my nature is to try to understand them, solve them, fix them–is it survival or the challenge or both?


But then we come across some things that are just beyond our [mere mortal] understanding or ability to simply fix them. 


I remember as a youngster learning in Yeshiva about when it says in the Bible that G-d hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he continued to refuse to let the Jews go from their enslavement in Egypt.


And the classic mind-bending question is how could G-d harden his heart if Pharaoh retained free will which we all have to choose good or evil.


Did G-d harden his heart or did he have free will–which is it?  And if G-d hardened his heart, then how could Pharaoh and the Egyptians be punished for something they didn’t fully control? 


One explanation is that by facing the punishing plagues, Pharoah was losing his free will to decide what to do with the Israelites, so by hardening his heart, G-d was actually restoring his free will to choose once again…interesting. 


Of course in life, there is also the philosophical dimensions of so many seeming contradictions such as the cliche about what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.


Which wins out if one is unstoppable and the other is unmovable?


No, I don’t think these are just riddles, but the testing of the abilities of our human minds to understand further and further into the mysteries of G-d, creation, and the universe. 


So what do we do in life when confronted by things that are seemingly or really beyond our human capacities? 


– We ponder these weighty matters and sometimes we get frustrated and rip our little-left hair out or laugh at ourselves as to why we can’t just get it.


– We look to understand the deeper spiritual meanings of these challenges in the context of our earthly lives. 


– We try to solve and fix what we can within the confines of our spaghetti brain matter and flesh and bone bodies. 


– At the end of the day, we acknowledge our human limitations, and look to the Heavens for answers or at least for Divine guidance and protection along the way.


While we cannot understand everything or always reach our destination that we set for ourselves that should never prevent us from trying our hardest and going as far as we can on our journeys–and letting the next person, and the next person pick up the torch and carry it forward. 


In the Jewish prayers, we say that the matters of the earth are for our exploration and striving, but the ultimate secrets of the Heaven are for G-d alone. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Nature of Good and Evil

Like in the Bible…


When our forefather Itzchak was about to bless his son Jacob and he said the words (are good) like Jacob, but the hands (deeds) feel like Esau.


Words are cheap, and actions speak volumes louder!


Good deeds mean something, but words are easily manipulated.


We can all spot good deeds, and that is what must guide our judgement of people and situations–that is where the truth rests.


Like my father and grandfather always taught me–some people are good and some are not so good.  😉


(Source Video: Dannielle Blumenthal)