BRADY SNAKOVSKY: THE PAIN-2-POWER PERSON OF THE WEEK

Brady Snakovsky, 11, is the Pain-2-Power Person of the Week.  He’s the CEO and Founder of bradysk9fund.com, which has donated 360 life-saving ballistic, bulletproof vests (so far) to protect K-9 officers across the country.

Brady’s quest to protect as many K-9s as possible began with his mission to outfit a single police dog.  He saw the dog on television without a vest and wanted to make sure that dog stayed as safe as possible.

The Street Fighter vests are specially designed to be light enough for K-9s to wear their entire shifts and are manufactured through a special partnership with LOF Defence.  They incorporate Outlast Thermal Management Systems to help prevent heat exhaustion.

Each Street Fighter vest costs $1,200.  That means Brady has donated vests valued at $432,000.

Brady gets other kids involved in his missionA Girl Scout named Delany M. in New York is currently partnering with Brady to raise money to donate a ballistic vest to a K-9 officer named Ott.

I’m going to make a donation to Delany’s effort and to Bradysk9fund today.  I hope, if you can, you will, too.  The dogs deserve the support.  So do Delaney and Brady.

Brady Snakovsy clearly loves dogs.  Brady Snakovsky clearly understands the value of protecting them.  But Brady Snakovsky also clearly understands the value of protecting our communities. And that’s why he’s the Pain-2-Power Person of the Week.

Dr. Keith Ablow

Start Your Engines on StartEngine.com

I am a little bit late to some things, but when I find something that makes sense, I like to share it—especially if it can make people more powerful.  And I found something:  StartEngine.com.  StartEngine.com is a portal that offers anyone over 18 the opportunity to invest as little as $500 in private companies.  It, and other platforms like it, were made possible by changes in securities laws that used to forbid advertising startups to the public.

Investing in private companies is far riskier, in many cases, than investing in companies that have already gone public and trade on, e.g. the NASDAQ.  But doing so can mean very high returns, in some cases—sometimes 10 or 20 or 50X one’s investment.   And since the investment can be made online, using a bank account or credit card, after perusing dozens of companies and choosing the one (or the ones) that seem most promising, I would argue that doing so makes sense.

In the past, being included as an investor in promising private ventures was reserved for those insiders who knew the founders of the companies or wealthy people who were approached by them.  Some wealth managers acted (and still do) as the conduit to these deals for their clients.  Hedge funds also invest in them. Now, anyone with a bank account or a credit card and about $500 can.

Should anyone invest in startups in a way that risks his or her financial security?  No.  But should many, many people avail themselves of the kinds of opportunities aggregated on StartEngine.com and the like—yes.

There’s another reason to spend some time on StartEngine.com:  It can kindle your own creative energy and intention.  Seeing the number and breadth of extraordinary companies raising funds is inspiring.

One more reason:  You have to learn about the companies and think about their prospects and decide whether to invest.  You.  Not some algorithm.  Not the team that runs the mutual fund you own shares in.

By the way, I have no current financial relationship with StartEngine.com.  But they’re raising money for their company, on their own platform.  So, I’m in for, say, $1,000.  Maybe a little more.  Because this is one example of technology empowering people, instead of disempowering them.  And I like putting my money where my mind is.

Dr. Keith Ablow

 

A Country without Borders is like a Body with Cancer

No nation can survive without borders.  Obliterate them and a nation is stricken with a kind of cancer.  Remember, the main problem with cancer cells is that they have no respect for boundaries.  Pancreatic cancer invades adjacent structures, its cells using the blood stream and creeping along nerves to seed distant organs.  Errant cells appear in the lungs and choke off breathing.  They travel to the brain and interfere with thought and speech and action.

The immune system that responds when the life of the nation is in peril must be vigorous.  It must include all the antibodies at its disposal.  First among these is truth.  Facts matter:  An MRI that shows cancer has spread must not be denied.  Evidence that our borders have been overrun must not be denied, either.  A health crisis is a health crisis.  A crisis at the border is a crisis at the border.

Our laws are part of our national immune system, too, just as antibodies are part of the body’s immune system.  They must function.

Our spirit as a nation—based in our love of liberty—is also crucial.  Because in an immeasurable way that science will never explain away, loving oneself and loving life and having the will to live is a powerful and indispensable component of surviving and healing from an illness.  And it is no different for a nation.  A nation without its core spirit continuing to fuel a deep will to live is in dire peril.

Here’s part of the prescription to restore America:  Reinforce the borders, re-fund the police anywhere they have been defunded, remind other nations that invading us in any way (physically or technologically or economically) would be a misadventure of the gravest kind.  Oh—also restore public confidence in elections, lest the public lose hope.  Losing hope is fatal to the future of a country or a culture.

 

Check out this week’s podcast episode Every Nation Needs Real Borders 

Dr. Keith Ablow

    

Dr. Keith’s Pain-2-Power Podcast

The Pain-2-Power podcast is a gym for your mind and soul—a way to become yourSELF by learning to never run away from painful realities. It’s the antidote to Facebook, Fake News, False Friends and any fiction you cling to about your life. Dr. Keith Ablow gives you the tools to become an autonomous, self-driven individual by facing the truth about your life and the world around you. You have a choice: You can be anesthetized by fakery or transformed by reality. This is Reality Central. Welcome to the True U University.

Check out today’s episode Every Nation Needs Real Borders 

Dr. Keith Ablow

    

DICK HOYT: THE PAIN-2-POWER PERSON OF THE WEEK

Dick Hoyt passed away at age 80 on March 18, but I suspect his story will endure, perhaps forever.  Because Dick Hoyt is the man who turned pain into power by competing in more than 40 marathons with his son Rick, a quadriplegic whom he pushed in a wheelchair in every one of those marathons.

Did he do it for fame?  No.  Did he do it to deny the reality that his son had been born quadriplegic, with cerebral palsy?  No.  He did it because running made his son feel free of the confines of his body.  He did it because he was inextricably and forever connected to his son—yes, to his son’s suffering, but also to the miraculous feats they achieved together.  Miraculous.  Inexplicable.  Beautiful.  Inspiring.

The Hoyts first competed in a five-mile race four decades ago.  By 1992, they completed a marathon in Washington in 2 hours 40 minutes, taking first place in Dick Hoyt’s age bracket—even though none of the other runners were pushing anyone else in a wheelchair.

Maybe Dick Hoyt could have outdistanced the competition by a lot more if he weren’t pushing his son in front of him, but he didn’t see it that way—at all.  Because Dick Hoyt was all about turning his pain into power.  He believed that his son made him faster.  “I think it’s actually just something that comes from his body to my body and it makes us go faster,” he said.  “He’s actually the athlete.”

He’s actually the athlete.  Think about Dick Hoyt uttering those words—as a man, as an athlete, but mostly as a father.  If you do nothing else today, please think about those words.  They just brought me to tears.  Let yourself be stunned by them, humbled by them, emboldened by them.

I don’t doubt what Dick Hoyt said for one second.  Why should any of us believe that strength and courage cannot be passed from one of us to another, especially when an immeasurable thing like love is the catalyst? Why should we doubt for one second that the will to win is so deeply-seated in Rick Hoyt that it kindled the will to win in his father?  Why should we doubt that the two men, together, had the power of many more than two men, because 1 plus 1 can equal 11 when the human soul is set free?

Mind you, Dick and Rick Hoyt ran a 2:40 Boston Marathon, arguably the greatest feat in the history of running.

Who has made you go faster or further in life?  Who have you given that gift to?  Who could you, starting today?

The Hoyts didn’t just run together, either.  They competed in six Ironman triathlons, too.  Dick learned to swim so he could pull his son on a dinghy through the leg of the races that required swimming.

Rick met other challenges.  He graduated from college and moved out to live on his own.  He’s his father’s son.

I don’t know the neurophysiologic or anatomic realities of how any of what Dick and Rick Hoyt achieved together was possible.  I don’t.   I have no idea and, frankly, I have no interest.  None.  I believe the strength of spirit they represent is immeasurable.  That’s what makes their story stunningly beautiful, an inspiration and evidence of the existence of a Higher Power which could give us all a way to rise above our pain.

Dr. Keith Ablow

    

*Thank you to Keith Duggan for his remarkable writing about the Hoyts, upon which I relied, in part, to write this blog.

Image credit: Dick and Rick Hoyt (Elsa/Getty Images)

How to Love Someone

How to Love Someone is a pretty heady title for a 600 word blog, but there are some elements of love too often forgotten.  Here are the three steps:

  • Know the person’s life story.
  • Listen to the person as unerringly as possible, as often as possible.
  • Stand beside the person in the face of adversity.

One, two, three—love.  Does it seem too good to be true?  It isn’t.

Know the Person’s Life Story

It’s impossible to love a person without knowing her life story.  That’s because each of us is a narrative, with chapters reaching back to childhood.  The people and events that shape us become part of that narrative and, without knowing about that history, no one can truly “love” the other person.  We can certainly become interested in the other person, “taken with” the other person, even infatuated with the other person.  But to love the other person, we must internalize that individual’s journey and, therefore, be a trustworthy custodian of his or her deepest feelings.  And while knowing about the high points of someone’s story is nice, the glue of long-term attachment (and true love) is knowing about the low points.  Knowing—really knowing about a person’s pain–binds us most intimately to that person.  It’s easy to read someone’s resume; it’s tougher and far more loving to metaphorically “read” the stories about when she came up short, felt powerless or acted in ways she wishes she hadn’t.  Why?  Because those stories require us to embrace the whole of the other person.  And being embraced wholly is the only way to feel truly loved.

Listen to the Person

Really listen.  That means getting quiet and focusing, in order to reassure the other person that you’re invested in what she is thinking and feeling and saying.  Human beings want and need to be heard, but it’s a rare event to truly be heard.  And it feels—as it should—like love.  When you’re really listening you’ll also be ready to ask the next meaningful question and the next one, rather than just settling for the initial, surface-level story you’re hearing.  That’s because truly understanding generally requires some gentle or persistent digging for deeper levels of the person’s truth.  So, when you say, “I’m trying to understand the reasons you’ve not spoken to your sister for years, and something still feels like it’s missing.  Do I have the whole story?  If there’s more to it, I’m all ears.”  People want and need to be coaxed to reveal the deeper levels of what they have lived through and are living through.  The coaxing, when heartfelt, feels like love, because it is.

Stand Beside the Person in the Face of Adversity

The good times are gravy.  Sharing them is part of the joy of life.  And, let’s be honest, it’s easy, too.  Sharing the really tough times is the way you love someone.  When you stand with her against a crowd of detractors, you’re loving her.  When you show up when she’s sick, you’re loving her.  When you note mistakes she’s made in relationships or in business or in any other way, but also don’t take a single step away from her side, you’re loving her.  Painful times—are the times that offer your relationship the most potential power.

So . . . there you have it.  Six hundred words (594, actually) on how to love someone.  If it sounds easy, it isn’t.  It’s not supposed to be.  That’s part of the magic, too.

Dr. Keith Ablow

    

Check out Dr. Keith Ablow’s latest ebooks on relationships: 30 Days Back to Love, Pain-2-Power for Marriage: Eight Steps, and Pain-2-Power Parenting 

THE PAIN-2-POWER PERSON OF THE WEEK: SELINA SOULE

Selina Soule deserves to be recognized as a Pain-2-Power Person of the Week because she is willing to stand up for her beliefs and fight for the truth against those who would destroy others for doing so.

Ms. Soule was a senior at Glastonbury High School in Connecticut when she became the lead plaintiff in a 2020 federal lawsuit against the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC).  The suit challenges the CIAC policy on transgender athletes which allows biologically male athletes to compete against biological females in girls’ sports.  That policy  meant she had to compete in track for four years against biological males who identified as female.  Because those biological males were her competition and won, again and again, she lost out on the opportunity to compete in the New England Regional Championships.

By the way, what sort of people—knowing their bodies are stronger because of male characteristics—would compete against biological females, anyhow?  And who convinced them that they were the real winners in those competitions?  Because they weren’t.  But, I digress.

Imagine if any characteristic other than gender were the issue here.  For instance, are we prepared to let 18-year-old hockey players compete against 12-year-olds if those players feel, deep down, that they are far more like 12-year-olds psychologically than like 18-year-olds?

Let’s hope not.  But anything could happen.

Ms. Soule is heroic because she is willing, despite Cancel Culture threatening to obliterate the lives of all who oppose far left-wing ideologies, to say what she thinks and act on it.  That’s a terrific example for women and men, of any age.

Clearly, Ms. Soule does justice to her family name.  She has more heart and soul than many men and women three times her age.

I also happen to agree with her (although that isn’t an absolute criteria for selection as a Pain-2-Power Person of the Week).  The idea that biological males should be allowed to compete against biological females in sports denies the basic fact that men and women have different anatomies and different physiologies because they have different DNA.  Think of the Heavyweight Champion of the World in boxing identifying as female, all of a sudden, and taking on a string of female boxers.  Wouldn’t be a very pretty picture, would it.  No, it would be a grotesque, bloody, possibly deadly show of biological truth meeting with cultural fiction.

The fact that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) sees it differently is proof positive that they cannot be trusted to play a role in the lives of the youth of Connecticut.  If public programs bend as far in the direction of fiction as the CIAC and do damage to the lives of young women and men like Ms. Soule, they are the enemies of psychological well-being.

Ms. Soule was joined by two other high school track athletes in filing her lawsuit challenging the CIAC.  They are represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, whose general counsel is Kristin Waggoner.  The Alliance is a nonprofit organization which advocates for religious freedom, the sanctity of life, marriage and family.

Here, the Alliance is doing God’s work.  Good for them.

And good for Selina Soule.  She’s a hero.  And she’s the Pain-2-Power Person of the Week.

Dr. Keith Ablow

    

CANCEL THE CANCEL CULTURE

Canceling people taps into the most primitive and destructive of human impulses—dark, destructive, murderous psychological forces that, unleashed, have been manifested before in historical horrors like burning witches in Salem and burning Jews in the Holocaust (not to equate the scope of the two, at all). And while “canceling” human beings may not stop their hearts from pumping blood, it is certainly intended to stop their hearts, metaphorically. It is the modern-day equivalent of a stoning in the public square and—no exaggeration—if the people who celebrate this cancel culture could get away with pushing a button anonymously to vote to kill their targets for real, they would.

Cancelers are cancer.

Dr. Keith Ablow

    

Check out PJ Media for the full The Dark, Destructive, Murderous Psychological Forces of Cancel Culture article posted 24-Feb 2021

SELF-LOVE HAS AN UNDESERVED BAD REPUTATION

Too often, self-love is confused with an unwieldy ego or a pathological degree of narcissism.  In fact, genuine self-love is the opposite of those.  That’s because loving your true self means burrowing to the core of who you actually are—which values you hold dear, which goals you cherish, which talents you most need to express, which experiences in your life set the stage for your greatest strengths and which set in motion negative patterns that need to be examined and stopped.

Achieving true self-love takes work.  It requires knowing as much about each chapter of your life story—the real, non-fiction version—as you possibly can.  Without that foundation, you’ll be like someone opening to page 117 of a book, reading to page 217 and then trying to write powerful, genuine chapters that bring the main character to the zenith of her possibilities.  That would be daunting, if not impossible.  You’d have a feeling of being a bit lost—writing in the dark, if you will.  And there would be a tendency to have that main character say and do things that wouldn’t resonate as authentic—for her or anyone else in the story.

A character lost in a story not truly her own could not be true to herSELF, opening the door to exaggerated views of herself—including pathological narcissism.

In order to love yourself, a high degree of self-knowledge is a must.  And lots of that self-knowledge will be about painful things you’ve lived through, not just happy things you’ve been fortunate enough to experience.  Self-love comes from embracing and working to optimize all of you—including the parts that aren’t so attractive.  Narcissism comes from running away from all the unattractive parts into a fantasy of perfection.

We’re surrounded now by forces that increase the potential that ego and narcissism will take hold of us and that true self-love will be elusive.  These forces include Facebook, which coaxes users to create fictional, reality TV-like versions of themselves to impress others.  They include Twitter, which reduces the complexities of dialogue into self-aggrandizing Tweets.  They include all the cultural invitations to take offense at perceived slights, to insist that one’s life would have been spectacularly successful but for having been victimized, to medicate away any troubling feelings, to pose as a person of great possibilities when none of the possibilities have been actualized through hard work.

Genuine self-love is none of that.  It is a willingness to look at yourself squarely in the mirror and see straight through to your soul.  It is the courage to reveal your complexities and complications to others—even when those complexities and complications aren’t flattering.  It is the commitment to become the person you were meant to be, from all time, with no apologies, because you deserve to be that person and others deserve to benefit from you being that person.

Genuine self-love sets the stage for empathy because it requires embracing your scars, not just your successes, your imperfections, not just your abilities.  And once you can do that for yourSELF, you can do it for others.

Narcissists cannot resonate with the suffering of others because they won’t allow themselves to feel their own suffering.  Those who love themselves can love others, despite their faults and foibles and the times they have fallen down.

In a very real way, this journey through life is, first and foremost, a journey to self-love.  Because that opens the door to love of others and love of God.  And ending at that page of your life story will make every word and every page worthwhile.

Dr. Keith Ablow

    

THE PAIN-2-POWER PERSON OF THE WEEK

My choice for the Pain-2-Power Person of the Week might surprise some of those who know that my politics are conservative and that I wrote the book, TRUMP YOUR LIFE.  But Hunter Biden deserves the honor of being the Pain-2-Power Person of the Week for one very good reason: Despite facing multiple federal investigations and being pilloried by the press, Biden’s publisher announced that he has written a book about his struggles with drug addiction.   And that takes guts.  It takes a willingness to not hide pain and turn it into the power to heal others.

Think what you will about Hunter Biden, opening up about your troubled past, when lots of people run from theirs, is heroic.

Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, will publish Biden’s Beautiful Things this April.  No doubt the title was partly inspired by the loss of Hunter’s brother, Beau Biden, former Attorney General of Delaware, who died of brain cancer in 2015 at age 46.  Hunter and Beau reportedly agreed after that diagnosis that beautiful things were what made life meaningful, but Beau’s name in the word beautiful also seems “meant to be.”

Losing Beau was just the most recent tragedy for Hunter Biden, whose traumatic experiences include the unfathomable loss of his mother and 13-month old sister in a car crash back in 1972 that he and his brother survived with broken bones.

I haven’t read Beautiful Things, but Stephen King has.  He commented, “In his harrowing and compulsively readable memoir, Hunter Biden proves again that anybody — even the son of a United States President — can take a ride on the pink horse down nightmare alley.  Biden remembers it all and tells it all with a bravery that is both heartbreaking and quite gorgeous. He starts with a question: Where’s Hunter?  The answer is he’s in this book, the good, the bad, and the beautiful.”

Sometimes, we can afford—all of us—not to be cynical, not to be partisan and to be simply human.  Hunter Biden has proved it by turning his pain into his power, offering up a narrative that could well help and heal others, even as he faces gargantuan forces aligned to destroy him.  We can prove it by not pretending that his having done so is a small thing.  It isn’t.

Dr. Keith Ablow