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Personal Responsibility
05/13/2010
IconIt's no surprise to my listeners that I see much of today's media as instrumental in dumbing down our collective moral sensibilities.' I'm happy to let you know of an exception.' NBC Universal and Liberty Mutual have announced a marketing and programming partnership that will deliver NBC's two-hour movie/backdoor pilot "Kings" as well as an additional original movie to air on NBC and the USA Network during the 2008-09 season.' The movies are part of a broader Liberty Mutual marketing campaign tied to the theme of personal responsibility.According to NBC Universal's press release, "Through the Responsibility Project, Liberty Mutual uses independently produced short films, online content, and (with the addition of the NBC partnership) television programming, as catalysts for examining the decisions that confront people trying to 'do the right thing.'" Each movie will be promoted and linked to The Responsibility Project website ( responsibilityproject.com ), which features independently-produced film shorts, discussion guides, interviews, articles, and blog postings tied to the central theme of personal responsibility.I can't wait to see how - and if - this works.' It seems to me that sneaking up on people with entertainment to tickle their sensibilities about honor, integrity, honesty, courage and convictions is, in this era of media "OD"ing with messages to the contrary, a very smart idea. More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconEver notice that after you hurt a finger or toe, it becomes the only place you keep hitting against something?' Weird, huh?' Well, the same odd thing is happening to me about my new book, "Stop Whining Start Living." It seems that wherever I turn, something relevant to the main concepts of responsibility, choices, courage, endurance, and character just keeps popping up.I received an email from a twenty-four-year-old woman who is new to my radio program and my books.' She has had a tough time since the age of eleven, due to a father with a severe borderline personality disorder and a mother who simply pretended everything was fine.But everything was not fine.' The young woman did about everything she could to get their attention and/or punish them for the abuse and neglect: anorexia, abusive relationships and go-nowhere jobs.Ironically, her mother finally gave her a copy of my books, "Bad Childhood Good Life" and "The Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives." I remember telling parents that the way they could make up for their mistakes with their children was to give them the former book with enthusiasm, humility, and optimism.Well, it worked.' The more this young woman read, the more she wanted to explore herself, and the more she did that, the more she began to enjoy life.' It was at this point that this very young woman came up with amazing insights: "In what seemed like the blink of an eye, I resolved to begin taking care of myself and (this is a doozy for me) showing love to others." "I am happy to say that once I started taking responsibility for myself, I became happy for the first time in my whole life!" "I can choose whether I want to have a good day or a bad day...just like that!." "I get to renew my promise to myself that if I get the chance to have one more day on the planet, I'm going to damn well use it for something great." ....and last but not least: "I've been through enough crap to not take life for granted." What impresses me about this young woman the most is her enthusiasm.' She gave up the ugly, but comfortable "known" (self-destructive and parentally punitive) behaviors for life-affirming, exciting, but "unknown" - and that takes guts.' I so admire guts!My favorite of her phrases is "I get to renew my promise to myself that if I get the chance to have one more day on the planet, I'm going to damn well use it for something great!" Just today, my yoga instructor (who is my friend) told me her fifty-seven year old cousin, whom she had just seen during Easter, died precipitously of a tear in his aorta.' They tried to save him, but he had so many immediate complications that he didn't survive.' Just like that.' One day you're here...the next day you're not.Let me repeat that:one day you're here...the next day you're not.' One day your parents, children, the love of your life, a good friend is here...the next day they're not.' So - my advice is STOP WHINING about the stuff that ultimately doesn't matter and START LIVING each day as if it is your only opportunity to bring something beautiful into this world. More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilitySocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconI want to share with you a letter I got from a woman who listens to my radio program: Two weeks ago, I was diagnosed with a serious, progressive, degenerative disease, which will eventually end in a torturous death.' That's the bad news.' Now for the great news. I believe this may be the best gift I could have been given.' Thanks to you and just the title of your book, "Stop Whining, Start Living," I realize I have received knowledge most people never get-that is, that this is my best day.' I will never feel better, so I CHOOSE to live it thoroughly, and wring out every last drop of love, laughter and giving that I can.' Tomorrow, I will CHOOSE to do the same. You can't imagine how energizing this is, to know that each day is the best day of your life. There is an old Rabinnic story lesson that Satan's most potent weapon is to let humans believe they have "all the time in the world."' That's because when we feel that time is limitless, we tend to put less value in each moment...in each day.' When we don't value the moment, we don't tend to make the best, most noble decisions, and instead, follow our impulses - thereby making our souls more "available" to Satan, as the story goes.When I received this letter, I was truly and deeply impacted.' I wondered at first, as I suspect most of you would too, if I could dig that deep into myself to pull out that perspective and live it.' I then realized that this woman's thoughts would be in my head for the rest of my life, and would inspire and guide me if I have to face imminent and painful mortality.' My final reaction, with a slap against my own forehead, is that we need to live each day with her mentality.She isn't ignoring or denying her disastrous fate.' She is CHOOSING to live each day in order to make it the best she'll ever have.' In her case, it's literally true.' For you and me, it is figuratively true, and therefore, wholly dependent upon our choice of mood and behaviors.Her letter is at the philosophical center of my book, "Stop Whining, Start Living." It humbles me to be reminded of my own words by people who are struggling more than I.' I am reminded of the values I hold most dear, and which help me survive the nonsense and villainy that tempt every day's despair.' Purpose is the antidote to despair.' And teachers need to be reminded of that, too. More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconI get letters..... I was listening to your radio program today, and heard the call from the man whose daughter was receiving support from the government because she was an unwed mother whose convict boyfriend wouldn't get a job.' You were frustrated that your taxes were helping to support her bad decisions (especially since she was living with her parents!). I, too, share your frustration.' I am a 29-year old married woman who is going to have her first child in 6 months.' My husband and I each struggled to put ourselves through college, have both held jobs since our mid-teens, waited to get married until we could afford to, and have saved my entire income since we got married so we could afford to me to quit my job once we got pregnant. We have worked very hard to make all of these goals possible.' Once we are living solely on his income, it will continue to be a struggle for us to make ends meet.' We will have to stick to a tight budget that doesn't include toys or even cell phones.' This is why I am disgusted at the way our government doles out money to enable less conscientious Americans (or illegal non-Americans) to live irresponsible lives.' I run into people all the time who are benefiting from this injustice.' There is a woman in my church who got pregnant out of wedlock and subsequent to her marriage has had five children (none of which she could afford) with a husband she just kicked out of her home.' She has been going to school for the past several years (paid for entirely by the government), and Is living in government housing paid for mostly by the government. No one I know looks on this as a problem, because she has such a "hard life."' Her life, however, is a result of the poor choices she has made, and I resent having to pay for those choices.' If our government continues along this track, we will have more and more people taking advantage of the "free handouts," and fewer and fewer of us who are paying for those handouts.' We will bankrupt not only our economy, but also our souls, because we are not teaching the next generation to take personal responsibility for their choices. I'm keeping the name of my correspondent private in order to protect her and her family from irresponsible backlashing. More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconMy, my, my.' My comments last week on why many men stray from their marriage vows generated more email to me than any one thing I've said in years.' 85% of the letters I received were wonderfully appreciative and supportive of what I said.' Men and women alike "got" what I was saying and acknowledged the need for husbands and wives to share the responsibility for the health of their marriages.'One wrote "After seeing you on The Today Show, I asked myself, 'Am I the kind of wife my husband wants to come home to?'' I look at each day as an opportunity to honor him.' Thank you for challenging me to have the courage to change.' My husband will never go a day without knowing his wife needs, loves and respects him." Another person emailed me because my comments motivated her to look at her own issues with the overall concept of personal responsibility.' This young woman wrote that she was motivated by my comments to stop her methamphetamine addiction: "I have chosen to quit.' Once you stop feeling like such a victim to some inanimate object (the pipe does not jump into your mouth on its own) you realize your power over it." Other folks, though, seemed absolutely apoplectic over my point of view that people need to take responsibility for their lives and their relationships.'Clearly this is the crux of the problem in this country.' The concept of promoting personal responsibility in a society that encourages victims to stay victims and glamorizes the bad behavior of celebrities and politicians seems to be a hot button that makes some folks' heads explode.' People tend to hold on to their anger, hurt and depression, especially if they don't have the tools they need to break out of the cycle of personal self-destruction.That's why I wrote Stop Whining, Start Living .' I wrote it because I wanted to help people enjoy their lives more and be more content inside themselves.' None of us can do that if we persist in the self-defeating notion that we are victims... that only leads to complaining and not LIVING.This book is not for people who want to embrace their problems - it's for people who want to solve them and move on to a more productive and happy life.' If you want to feel more in control of your situations in families, neighborhoods, jobs, etc., then you first have to look inside yourself and see what YOU are doing that you shouldn't be... or what you are NOT doing that you should be!' This is where the power to change everything comes in.Some people won't ever do this.' They hold on to sadness, victimhood and complaints.' But those who read Stop Whining with an open heart and mind will find the keys - through other people's real experiences and stories - to make their life easier and more pleasurable; to improve their lives as husbands, wives, parents, and friends, and to discover the joy of being an evolved human being.Getting letters and calls from people who have taken my advice to stop whining and turn themselves into productive members of society is all the inspiration I need to keep on keeping on.' That's what puts the smile on my face. Book signing tonight in Costa Mesa, California: And if you want to see me really smile and you live in L.A. or Orange County, come on down tonight to the Barnes and Noble at the Metro Pointe Mall in Costa Mesa at 7pm.' I'll be signing copies of the aforementioned new book, Stop Whining, Start Living for all of you who embrace your own personal responsibility. More >>

Tags: ChildrenMarriageMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconPhilosophers throughout the ages have contemplated and agonized over what causes people to fall in love.' Sociologists and psychologists have done the same over what causes people to stay in love.' Now neuroscientists are trying to solve both their problems by taking brain scans of folks in love looking for the "cause" of love.The report of their work prepared by the Wall Street Journal (2/8/08) seems to miss the main point.' Looking for brain sites of increased activity in people who after many years of marriage still feel fabulously in love, is not likely due to some abnormal hyperactivity in centers associated with affection or pleasure.' It is the opposite way around.' People who behave consistently in a loving manner constantly stoke the fires of affectionate and passionate love - all which will show up in their brain scans.The couple they "analyzed," the Turners, are described up front: "Ann Tucker is pushing a shopping cart through the produce section of a supermarket in Plainview, N.Y., when she turns to kiss her husband.' The supermarket kiss is a regular ritual for the Tuckers.' So are the restaurant kiss and the traffic-light kiss.' 'I guess we do kiss a lot,' says Mrs. Tucker...Mrs. Tucker is living happily ever after, and scientists are curious why." Why?' That's easy: she and her husband constantly behave like people in love.' Feelings follow behavior and both feed into brain pathways that become "well-worn" through constant activation.So, stop looking for supplements, hormone injections, or implanted brain stimulators, miracles or moonspots.' Instead, behave like a man/woman in love and you'll create what you wish for. More >>

Tags: CharityInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMen's Point of ViewPersonal ResponsibilityStay-at-Home MomValuesWomen's Point of View
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05/13/2010
IconEarlier this week, I got a call from a 36 year old woman who has been "shacking up" with her boyfriend for four years.' She wants to have children, but senses his ambivalence.' The answer I gave her applies to all the otherwise intelligent women who do this.You should move out and say "I've decided I've made a horrible mistake and the next time I'm living under the same roof as a man, I'm going to be his wife!"You don't demand anything.' You don't threaten anything. You act like a dignified woman, instead of an unpaid whore.' It's as simple as that.' A man who loves and respects a woman wouldn't treat you like that.When I asked this caller "What would you tell your son?" at first, she didn't understand that I was raising a hypothetical question about how she would explain this behavior to her "future" child.' She started to say, "Well, if you're both happy, and you're both-" and I immediately cut in and said she should not make babies.' If you're going to do that to your kid, don't have any.' If you're going to tell your daughter "...as long as you're happy and you're screwing your brains out every night with a guy who doesn't want to commit his life to you, it's all okay!" - we don't need any more parents like that.'That's why we have such chaos in our whole society - because you think "happy" at any one moment is the highest value.' I think honor, sacrifice, and commitment are a higher honor than taking your daily "happiness" temperature, because a man staying true to his wife, who has terminal colon cancer, instead of dating is not happy .' Is he happy ?' Then that can't be the highest quotient!If you want the world to deal on "happiness," then you have to understand that your man will leave you any day you don't make him happy, and will not honor you or any vow, because he doesn't have to!' You've already taught him that if you're "happy," that's the only thing that matters.I don't think firemen are happy to run into burning buildings.' I don't think they're "happy" doing that.' I don't think police are "happy" to surround a building where somebody says he's going to shoot everybody.' I don't think they lay awake in the morning and go "Gee, that makes me happy!"' They have honor and sacrifice and duty and commitment to something higher than "feeling good" in and of themselves.' Don't have children if you're going to teach them about "happiness."' We have enough chaos in our society because people are doing what they "feel" like when it has no meaning and no projection into the future.'If you teach your sons to screw girls if it makes them happy, and as long as she's smiling and you don't have to make any commitment, don't make babies.' We just don't need any more parents like you.' We just don't. More >>

Tags: CommitmentFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMarriageMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingPersonal ResponsibilityShacking UpShacking-UpSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconAccording to About.com:Pittsburgh, ( http://pittsburgh.about.com/ ) the following are the Top 10 New Year's Resolutions - and I don't think anybody is going to be surprised by the subjects.' And the nasty little truth about resolutions is that people often identify the "trouble" spots, but generally don't come up with a plan to deal with them.' Nonetheless:1. Spend More Time with Family and Friends ...meaning work shouldn't always usurp all your time, attention, and importance.' About 50% of folks make this resolution.2. Lose weight: since two-thirds of American adults are fat or obese, this is a major issue.' Unfortunately, the fat level rises each year, in spite of this ubiquitous resolution.3. Get Fit: getting regular exercise is probably the #1 means to a better life; it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, improves arthritis, and makes you feel sexier.' What more can one say?4. Quit Smoking: it turns out that on the average, smokers try about four times to stop before they quit for good.' It's a nasty habit -- it stains teeth, contributes to high risks for certain cancers, and gums up your lungs.5. Enjoy life more: of course lousy things happen, but spending most of your time being upset about it is a waste of precious time.' In spite of challenges and tragedies, take up a new hobby, learn something new, or take up a new sport.' It all results in increased happiness which results in you being nicer and more appreciative of what you have.6. Quit Drinking: just think of the excess calories!' If you are a problem drinker, trust me, your personality is better when you're sober.' Check out AA.7. Get Out of Debt: living beyond your means gives you "stuff" and robs you of sanity.' The fears and frustrations of debt counteract any fun you have from living beyond your means.' Go to a financial planner and figure out what you can do to get control of your spending and repay your debts.'8. Learn Something New: I'm taking a motorcycle training course.' There isn't a year that goes by in my life without my trying something new.' An adventure of the mind, body or spirit is a great thing.' Learning makes you more interesting and gives you goals which energize your spirit.9. Help Others: donating and volunteering are extremely wonderful activities because they make you feel like you do mean something to others and you're not just spinning in your gerbil cage.' Reach out to others and life becomes more tender and meaningful.10. Get Organized: it is quite difficult to do anything if your home and workspace are chaos.' There are experts, DVD's, courses, websites and consultants who can help you put everything in its place.' Then, learn to slow down and enjoy putting your toys away before you go on to your next activity. My #1 suggestion to America is spend no more time writing nasty things on blogs.' Instead, try to be positive and creative; hate and be angry less. More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilityValues
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