New Tech, Old Fear

“The young people of  today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress. When I look at the younger generation, I despair of the future of civilization.”  – Ancient Greece, 4th Century BC (personal attribution unclear)

People have always been saying the next generation will be the last. These crazy kids reject our values and engage in unwise activities which will inevitably unravel the very fabric of our society and leave us in ruin. This has literally been going on for over 2,000 years!

What’s missing is the fact that each one of these younger generations actually becomes the older generation criticizing their younger generation. What’s up with that?

The habits, fashions and technology of the younger generation is always a topic for the older generation, inspiring reactions ranging from bewilderment to panic.

Today they say internet use and texting are destroying our ability to function socially. They said the same thing about the telephone over 100 years ago. New technology usually leads to a new equilibrium. When people say society will be destroyed, I wonder if they mean society will change. It could be the end of society as we’ve known it.

Perhaps the fundamental issue is the perception of a younger generation by an older one. Maybe the truth is we simply become more suspicious of change as we age.

New technologies come and go, but the fears they incite are perennial.

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Quote: Failure’s Value

“Failure is not an end, it’s a launching point.”  -HSW

How do I know? I created one of the epic failures of our time. Here’s what I learned:

Failures are stepping stones to success… but only if we learn from them. Fail big! Fail boldly!!! But try to make each failure only once.

As Sherlock Holmes told Watson, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” So it is with success.

As you pursue various goals in life, the probability of succeeding increases with every failure found and passed… so long as you pay attention and keep going.

I believe every action inherently contains both success and failure. One of the biggest questions in life is: Can you find them?

Always true => You’ve succeeded in arriving here now. You’ve failed to be anywhere else.

This is more than optimism vs. pessimism. It’s about gleaning the value from each, learning the lessons they conceal. Therein lies the greatest power in life.

“If you take responsibility and blame yourself, you have the power to change things. But if you put responsibility on someone else, then you are giving them the power to decide your fate.”  ― Deja King, Dirty Little Secrets


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FQP: What is it?

Here is another Fundamental Question of Personality:
It is what it is OR it isn’t what it should be?

Which way do you sway when something you’d prefer wasn’t is?

It-is-what-it-is types lean more toward acceptance, seeking attunement with their environment. They tend to find more peace and derive energy from the environment. Their impact is more subtle and they are less inclined to demand change around them.

It-isn’t-what-it-should-be types lean more toward judgment, seeking conformity to expectations. They tend to find less peace and infuse energy into the environment. Their impact is more overt and they are less inclined to leave things as they are.

Both are necessary, neither is sufficient. We are each capable of either and may shift between them from moment to moment. Together they form a Yin/Yang of personality.

I believe the world is created and destroyed by it-isn’t-what-it-should-be moments,
but it-is-what-it-is moments make it a more satisfying place to be.

The question remains: How to balance the two?

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The Latest Addiction

There is a lot of press lately on Social Media addiction and the evil this engenders.

This is typical of news coverage today. Blame the symptom instead of the cause. They cite the number of addicts but never the number of people using the “addictive substance” who are not addicted (which does not support their claim).

I believe behavioral addiction is primarily an issue in the individual, the specific activity chosen to express the addiction is secondary. It makes a better story to blame new social trends but isn’t it interesting that addiction has always existed while most addictive outlets are relatively new?

It’s process over content once again. IMHO, we need to treat the underlying mechanism in operation and not focus so much on the particular expression if we want to make real progress with recovery issues.

I’m not sure the media is helping us in that regard. But recovery counselors and treatment specialists need to remember that’s not the media’s job… it’s ours!


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Unique Like Me

We are all pretty clear on the fact that everyone is unique. We are all different in some way or another. We like different styles and surroundings. Our taste in movies and books varies a great deal. And of course there’s that whole thing about horse races…

But we also expect others, on a fundamental level, to think like us. To have the same basic reactions and assessments… and we’re frequently flummoxed when they don’t.

Everyone is unique yet we still expect others to see things as we do. It makes for  limitless comedy and limiting presumptions.

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I Couldn’t Have Said It Better

People frequently tell me “That’s exactly what I mean,” and “I couldn’t say it as well as you did.” I’m not sure that’s accurate. The truth is: You are saying it. Loudly and clearly!

That’s why I can hear it and feed it back to you.

It’s not that you can’t say it, it’s that you can’t hear it… which makes it hard to act on it. When I feed it back to you in a way that’s precise, concise and definite… now you hear it! Now you can take it and run with it wherever it goes.

You have the clarity to activate.

That’s what therapy is about. Everyone is qualified to run the human race successfully. I simply help runners hear the starter’s gun.

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FQP: Can People Change?

Do you believe people can change? Can people actually become different in their beliefs and inclinations?

This is a Fundamental Question of Personality.

Some believe that somewhere between the ages of 5 and 10 we lock in a personality and that’s it. You are who you will ever be.

There are others who believe change is not only possible but inevitable. That we are not the same person from moment to moment, let alone decade to decade.

Some say change happens unconsciously, others feel they are always available for reconstruction but only when the need or desire strikes.

There are many variations on the theme, but at the end of the day there is little confusion about it. When it comes to the issue of fundamental change, there two kinds of people: Those who say it’s possible and those who say it’s not.

There may be two kinds of people but there are all kinds of psychotherapists, each with their own approach, theoretical orientation, style, outlook and counter-transference. No two are the same. But they all share one thing in common:  Every psychotherapist takes it as basic truth that people are able to change. Certainly there are people who don’t or won’t change, people who refuse or resist change… but every therapist maintains that anyone is capable of change.

And it cannot possibly be otherwise. Because the moment a therapist stops believing people can change, they are no longer a therapist…

They have become a hypocrite.



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The Storm & The Desert

At times I find it interesting to view anxiety as a storm and depression as a desert. This clarifies goals.

With anxiety I want to calm the storm. With depression I want to find the oasis.

In the storm, the way to calm is to speak a fundamental undeniable truth. When heard, this dissipates the turbulence and allows for a place of quiet contemplation.

In the desert, a shower of accurate appreciation and empathy can create an oasis. This offers a destination amidst the arid dunes.

When the storm and desert come into balance, the result is fertile land.

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Visualization: Sublime or Ridiculous

Some people give Visualization a bad wrap. They say the idea of achieving something by merely picturing it is childish fantasy. Wishful thinking not based in reality. And if that’s all there was to visualization, they’d be right.

But that’s not all there is to visualization.

Visualization is a tool. And like any tool, its power rests entirely in the skill of its user.

But it’s even more than that! Visualization is a mechanism. When used properly, Visualization ignites a fuse… activating me toward achieving my goals.

Visualization isn’t about conjuring a whim. Visualization is about defining my future. Designing my destination. Specifically. Thoroughly. With Crystalline Clarity.

This brings my goal into incredibly sharp focus. What’s at the root of almost every success story ever told? Clear identifiable goals!

Now I know how to direct my energy. As I contemplate options, I can answer the question: “Does this move me closer to my goal or not?” Goodbye analysis paralysis!

Visualization helps me set my intention, which helps me focus my energies, which enables me to bring my full potential to bear on tasks. And that’s when goals are achieved!


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A Few Words on Non-Verbal Communication

We teach others how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves. Talk is cheap! Showing is more powerful than telling.

The old adage “do as I say, not as I do” is absurd. You might as well say “I’m a hypocrite.” Our choices (demonstrated through our actions) reveal our true desires and beliefs.

When people are mistreating me, it’s worthwhile to take a break from blaming them and really examine how I’ve been acting. I may want people to treat me more respectfully, but am I too self-effacing or deprecating? I may want you to take me more seriously, but have I been acting out inappropriately?

As a therapist, what I say goes hand-in-hand with what I’m modeling… or it doesn’t. Self-care, healthy boundaries and being authentic are solid recommendations for clients. But do I model them as well? Clients can see and feel if I am.

What I tell clients is one thing, but how I act is the non-verbal communication which demonstrates my genuine priorities and convictions. This is the more powerful lesson that those around me will take to heart.

In the room, just as in life, my actions speak louder than my words. That’s why it’s so important for me to do as I recommend!

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