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Put Both Feet Forward

November 20, 2014

First impressions do matter.  This may not be the way it should be, but at least for now this is the way it is.  So keep this in mind for every first meet.  This could be for a date, informal introduction, job interview, sales call, etc.

Even if you get a second date or the job, you might still suffer from what is called “diagnosis bias”.  The other person’s perception of you will always be somewhat influenced by their initial reaction.  Do not fall into the trap of being a little sloppy and thinking it was okay because no one pointed it out to you.  Just because the person you meet doesn’t mention that your shoelaces are untied, doesn’t mean that they aren’t aware of it and won’t remember it.  Imagine if an actor came on stage and flubbed their first few lines, the audience will have a hard time forgetting that.  The actor can recover but it is harder than starting out well.

The difference between you and the actor, is that the actor is playing the role of another, you are playing the role of you.  Always present your very best.  After all, at every moment, with everyone you meet, in all that you do, you are always representing you.

The above is not to be confused with presenting yourself in ways meant to please the other.  Present yourself and represent yourself means to always maintain your dignity.  You present yourself, not necessarily to please another but necessarily to please yourself, by being your truest you.

While it may not be right for others to judge so quickly,  being aware of it can be used as a reminder for you to present your very best.  Through practice and practicing of consciously presenting your very best each time, you will eventually do this automatically.

Until then, after every interaction, ask yourself if you presented and represented you in a way that you are pleased with.  If not, what could you have done differently and how will you remember to do that the next time.

Presentation Tips and Reminders

 “Character is a person’s only real possession.” – Rabbi Israel Salanter

 “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; The tree is the real thing.” – Abraham Lincoln

“True human dignity does not shout; it is a strong, steady voice that speaks from within.” – Simon Jacobson

Heart and Soul

How To Get Bigger

November 11, 2014

Great stories with valuable lessons are worth and need repeating.  The story below is certainly one of them, so here it is again.

There were two young brothers ages eight and ten. The younger brother was the taller one. We all know, and men certainly remember that for boys height is really important. So naturally the older, shorter brother was very jealous of his younger, taller brother.  One day, while playing in the backyard, the older, shorter brother pushed the younger, taller brother into a little ditch. This wasn’t done in order to hurt or knock him down, but rather to make him appear shorter. At which point the older, now looking taller brother gave a “Nah, nah, nehnahna, I’m taller than you!” Their father, a Rabbi, witnessed this and called over the older brother.  The Father told him to bring over a chair and stand on it.  The boy complied and then asked why he was standing on a chair and his father said,

“Whenever you want to be bigger, you raise yourself up, instead of pushing someone else down.”

This is from a true story that we can all store as a reminder for and to ourselves.*  In addition if we see someone pushing someone else down, in any form, we might share this story with them as a subtle hint.

We climb our mountain by always elevating ourselves.  We do it by elevating ourselves in all that we do. We do not do it at the expense of anyone else, but for our and everyone else’s benefit.  On that climb we may also inspire others to have the strength to make their climb.

*When I originally posted this I said “I have no recollection of where I read it .  I wish to apologize for not giving proper credit to the true author.”  My Rabbi (a real Rabbi) has now reminded me – see below

The story is attributed to the 5th Rebbe of Chabad-Lubavitch. Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber Schneerson. He recounted the story of his youth that happened with him and his older brother, Zalman Aron. He subsequently became the Rebbe instead of his older brother as well.

One At A Time

November 5, 2014

We have all heard about being present, or being in the moment, yet for most of us and for most of the time, we are more and more not present or in the moment.

With the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and social media, it becomes easier to not be in the moment.

Instead of being focused on one thing, we multi-task.  Now comes a study* that shows that multi-tasking is actually bad for you.  It lowers overall performance of each of the things you are doing vs. just doing one thing at a time.  It can also lower your I.Q.  It affects memory and attention span.  Multi-tasking in social settings also indicates low social awareness.

How many times when you are reading, or talking to someone, or watching a movie, or ….. do you have no recollection of what you read, heard, or saw?  Just like physically multi-tasking, when your mind is multi-tasking, or is preoccupied with thoughts other than the task at hand, the results of this study would also apply.

How would an athlete perform if they came into the competition thinking about personal issues.  Imagine if a boxer was not completely focused during a bout, what would his chances of victory be?  Not only would he most likely lose, he would probably get knocked out.

Would you like to perform at your optimum and succeed, or would you like to get knocked out?

Rebbe Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1745-1812) said to a man who was tormented with negative thoughts, “Your mind is like your house.  You only let into to your house what you want and into your mind only let in those thoughts you want”.

Always bring your mind to where your body is because you are where your mind is

We all have free will and choice.  With that we can make the choices that will insure success.  Physically not multi-tasking is an easy choice to make.  Mentally not multi-tasking is harder, and for some very hard.  When through strength and determination you overcome that which is most difficult, everything else becomes easier.

Whatever you do, or whatever you’re thinking about, do it one at a time and do it on purpose with purpose.

*For more on this study click here

Written On Purpose

October 30, 2014

Most of us talk about having dreams and goals.  Having them gives us purpose.  It also helps us search for our specific higher purpose.

If life has purpose and meaning, and it does, then each one of us has a purpose.  So we must live our lives with purpose for a higher purpose.  A life of fulfillment is a life full and filled with purpose.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” – Robert Byrne

“It is meaningless to talk about one’s purpose in life if there is no purpose for the existence of the world.” –  Rabbi Abraham Twerski

The world is made up of three kinds of people:

1. Those who don’t have a dream/goal/purpose and hence no sense of purpose.

“When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” -  Lucius Annaeus Seneca- Philosopher

2. Those who have a dream/goal/purpose but take no actions towards it, or struggle to stay on target, or are not specific.

“I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.” -  Lily Tomlin

3. Those who have a dream/goal/purpose and infuse everything they do with purpose for a purpose.

 “There is hope in dreams, imagination, and in the courage of those who wish to make those dreams a reality.” – Dr. Jonas Salk

Which one do you think is the happiest?

For now something to ponder with more specifics to follow.

Heart and Soul

Always Be Considerate?

October 21, 2014

A question arises from the last post Let Go and Be Considerate:  “Should one always be considerate, even if the other person is not”?

The short answer is….YES.

Always be considerate to all who come your way.  Always act kindly and not necessarily in-kind.  Read more on this in the “Kind Or In-Kind” series

First and foremost though, you must be considerate to yourself.  As Hillel said

“Love your fellow as yourself” (Leviticus 19;18).

The focus of that quote is generally on the “love your fellow/neighbor” part.  The focus should begin with the “… yourself” part.  To be of any value to another, for your love of another to be of value, you must love yourself first.  To love yourself, you must take care of yourself.

“We must be our own before we can be another’s.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Always be considerate of another but always remember to use the “Lifeguard” approach.  If a lifeguard swims out to save someone and that person in his panic fights you, you must let them go in order to save yourself.

In other words, if the other person is not considerate of you, it is not inconsiderate of you to save yourself.

It is okay to consider the other’s perspective or motivations only up to the point that you are at risk.  The bottom line is the bottom line, and that is, if they are affecting you negatively, it doesn’t matter what their perspective is.

If the other wants to play hide and seek, than seek as long as they really want to be found.  If they don’t want to be found, then they need to find themselves first.  If they don’t want to be found, you won’t find them and more importantly, you will get lost and  lose yourself.

 Heart and Soul



Let Go and Be Considerate

October 15, 2014

 “We don’t always see things as they are, we see things as we are” Anais Nin

That quote has meaning and resonance on many levels.  In a previous post we looked at one of the ways – read here

For now, let’s look at that thought as it relates to relationships, whether romantic, friendships, or other.

It is true, that for most of us and most of the time, we see and hear things from our perspective only.  The key to a successful relationship is to take ourselves outside of ourselves and consider the other.   To consider the other’s perspective, so as to truly understand them and their needs.  In other words, to be considerate.  To be considerate is to be thoughtful of the other, not just when it suits you.

To accomplish seeing and hearing the other, requires among other choices letting go of your past, letting go of your hurts, and letting go of your fears.  It also requires, like Solomon, having a “listening heart”.

Here is a tip for training yourself to see and hear the other:

Constantly remind yourself

Everyone wants to know that they matter.

 “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.” – Hillel

By training (it’s hard) yourself to see and hear the other:

1. You will learn more about yourself

2. You will find it easier to let go of the chains that hold you back, such as your past, your hurts, and your fears

3. You will create better relationships

4. And of course, be happier.

It’s a win-win

Heart and Soul


October 2, 2014

Whenever we begin something new, whether it be a relationship (all kinds), a job/career, school, exercise regimen……., we begin with the energy of excitement and hopes.  Then, too often, for various reasons that energy fades.  When it does, so does your odds of success.

One of the many powerful lessons of Rosh Hashanah, the just celebrated Jewish New Year, or more accurately, the Head of the Year, is that of renewal.  Kabbalah teaches that Rosh Hashanah commemorates the sixth day of creation, which was the creation of the human.  It is taught that the very same energy and light that G-d sent down to this world on that day is renewed, or sent down again on every Rosh Hashanah.  In addition, some new and never given before energy and light is sent down to us.  It is sent globally and to each and every one of us.  The renewed and new energy is sent down to enhance our ability to do good.  The more good you do, the “more good” the world will be.

Remember the energy and excitement of your beginnings.  If you take the energy, excitement, and hopes from all of your beginnings and renew it each and every time you engage in them again;

1. your chances of success are greater

2. your chances of succeeding sooner are greater

3. all along the way you will find more happiness and create a more constant state of happiness

Even more so, if you add a little new and more each and every time!!

Heart and Soul


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