If You Were a Stock, I’d be Buying

Have you ever looked at the chart of the way a really great stock fluctuates in price?  Almost invariably, when real power is behind the company, the stock rises in a sawtooth pattern—rising, then falling back, then rising higher than the last high, then falling back, then rising still higher than the second high – and so on and so on and so on.  In other words, it doesn’t rise steadily.  It “suffers,” if you will, setbacks, then regains momentum and climbs.

Well, if you were a stock, I’d be buying.  Why?  It’s as simple as this:  You not only got yourSELF to www.pain-2-power.com, you dug a bit deeper whether by choosing the INSIGHTS tab or by reading to this—the second paragraph.  And I think events like that, though they may seem small, or may seem random, are actually neither.  You are poised to rise.  Inevitably.

I have said before that the comeback story is the iconic, elemental story of the planet, human beings and every individual.  It is encoded in our genes and ensconced in the Bible and in every novel or film that ends up being embraced by wide audiences.  That’s because we know that the journey to success and happiness always takes the shape of a sawtooth pattern.  Your journey is no different.  If you fall down in life, you are never in free fall.  Your comeback is assured if you believe it and behave as though you believe it.

Guess who can decide when your stock has lost so much value that it can never rise to higher highs than ever.  Only you.  Resist that temptation (which is an understandable one, when the chips are down), and you’ve done 65 percent of the work launching your comeback.  The other 35 percent is taking the needed steps back up the mountain, with every intention of climbing to the top—whatever that means to you.

Whatever that means to you.  Those words are critical.  Because the top of the mountain for you might be greater financial success than ever before, painting better than ever before, finding love, again, or attaining deeper self-knowledge.  You need to know where you want your comeback story to “end.”  Of course, it is never really the end, it is always a beginning.

Here you are.  You found this writing.  You found your way all the way through the message.  It’s yours now.  Believe in it.  Be confident the next chapters you imagine in your life story reflect it.  Then, go live it.

Dr. Keith Ablow

Click HERE to schedule a complimentary discovery call with Dr. Keith Ablow.

POWERFUL PUBLISHERS DON’T BURN BOOKS

Simon and Schuster Publishing is now ground zero in the Cancel Contagion pandemic that threatens free speech in the United States and around the world.

Believe it or not, 214 employees of Simon and Schuster signed a petition demanding that the company drop two books by former Vice President Mike Pence  it contracted to publish because of his supposedly racist and sexist views.  Moreover, the petition demands that the company not publish books with anyone affiliated with the Trump Administration, which the signers contend was not a “normal” chapter in the history of the country.

Stunningly, 3500 outside influencers also signed on to support the petition, including two-time National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward.

Simon and Schuster’s CEO Jonathan Karp has rejected his employees’ demands, but the company has, in the past, canceled titles by authors who were deemed too controversial, including Senator Josh Hawley.  On this occasion, Mr. Karp rightly pointed out that Simon and Schuster is committed to publishing books refleting a diversity of opinions and perspectives.

The 214 employees lobbying Simon and Schuster to muzzle conservative writers associated with the Trump Administration represent 14 percent of the publisher’s workforce.  Think about that.  Fourteen percent of the workforce not only supported the idea of canceling a book by the former Vice President of the United States (and lots of other writers), but had enough conviction about it to sign a petition to that effect.  That’s a stunning and frightening reality because these are folks in the, well, publishing industry who might be presumed to value free speech and a range of opinions and open debate more than some other folks.  Well, they clearly don’t.

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised—at all.  Newspapers like the New York Times became mouthpieces for far left politics long ago—happy enough to crucify anyone who didn’t roll with their ideas and their agenda. Yes, crucify.  Many, many lives of good and decent people have been destroyed by the New York Times, intentionally.

And, by the way, where is the American Civil Liberties Union as the rights to free speech of conservatives in America are being shut down.  Nowhere.

An MRI of the minds of the liberal media has been completed and inside we see rage and a desire to burn the Constitution and Bill of Rights at the stake.  There is no way to credibly assert otherwise, any longer.  It is what it is.

Jonathan Karp emerges as a hero in all this.  There will be others.  And they will win, in the end.  Because the truth, My Friends, always, always wins.

 

Dr. Keith Ablow

Click HERE to schedule a complimentary discovery call with Dr. Keith Ablow.

PAIN-2-POWER PERSON OF THE WEEK: ALEX WISCH

Alex Wisch is our Pain-2-Power Person of the Week because he has turned adversity into strength.  Wisch, who has battled severe major depression, is now a top trainer whose list of clients includes professional athletes and CEOs.  Wisch not only speaks openly about his journey through darkness and his continued work to stay healthy, but has turned his pain into his power by launching a fitness challenge to raise money to help optimize mental health services.

“I tried every treatment out there for the profound depression I struggled with, including psychotherapy, dozens of medications, ketamine infusions and even ECT,” Wisch said. “Nothing freed me from its grip until I devoted unwavering focus to revitalizing and strengthening my body, in order to strengthen my mind.  It was essential to optimize my biology and my body’s innate, healing wisdom.”

On May 30th, 2021, during Mental Health Awareness Month and the day before Memorial Day, Wisch will take on an almost incredible fitness feat to bring awareness to the fact that the mental health crisis affects people of all backgrounds.

Wisch will perform 1,000 pull-ups, 2,000 push-ups and 3,000 squats, all within 10 hours, while wearing a 20-pound weighted vest to symbolize the weight of mental illness on the many millions who must confront it.  He is inviting people to donate to support his Herculean effort. All the money donated will go directly to Team Red, White & Blue, a charity that utilizes fitness and community to support America’s veterans as they overcome their own mental health challenges while transitioning back to their families and neighborhoods.

“Daily fitness and mindfulness have been essential for me to overcome the challenges of depression and train for this enormous feat,” Wisch said. “I want to share this knowledge and help people in all areas of life begin their own journey towards mental wellness.” For this reason he created the 30-Day Fitness for Mental Health Challenge. Participants can choose from Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, Elite and Ultra-Elite fitness routines that anyone can complete in the comfort of their own home.

“The 30-Day Challenge includes performing pull-ups, push-ups, and squats every other day, throughout the month of May, along with a daily 5-minute practice of mindfulness,” Wisch said. “It is now very well understood that pairing daily physical activity with mindfulness practices significantly improves anxiety and depression symptoms, along with reducing the risk for clinical depression.”

Wisch knows that people too often stay silent about their struggles with mental illness out of fear of being stigmatized. He has made it his mission to speak out by sharing his story. “No one is spared when it comes to mental illness, regardless of accomplishments and bravery.”

Wisch has advice for anyone confronting depression, anxiety or any other psychiatric symptoms or disorder. “You must never give up. You must never stand down. Please know that there is hope and healing is possible. Your potential is far greater than you may imagine, especially during your tough times. I have seen extraordinary recoveries unfold again and again, including in my own life.”

Wisch is asking for you to please show your support to make a positive change in the mental health crisis by making a donation on www.fitnessformentalhealth.org and by participating in the 30 Days for Mental Health Challenge.

Dr. Keith Ablow

Click HERE to schedule a complimentary discovery call with Dr. Keith Ablow.

PAIN-2-POWER IN EVERYTHING: EVEN COVID

Pain-2-Power is a philosophy for your life and for life, in general.  Its basic tenet is that all suffering and adversity in life can be turned to the good because the human story, both individually and as a species, is inherently coded for comebacks.  Wandering the desert and arriving at the Promised Land is a metaphor for every human trial.  Resurrection is the story of mankind.

Your story, when marked by setbacks, is actually a story-in-waiting of overcoming those setbacks—of turning pain to power, of using the suffering that is inevitably part of every human life to find the way out of suffering.  Visiting the depths of despair is the preface, always, to ascending to the mountaintop.  We just need to believe those next chapters are ahead, to expect the pages to be written, to be vigilant as the words and sentences comprising our resurrection appear.  We can never forget that each and every one of us is an alchemist turning lead to gold.

Once you learn to expect pain as the prelude to power and to be vigilant for signposts along the way, every challenge—even the biggest ones—come encoded with new and positive possibilities.

Let’s take a tough example.  The Covid pandemic has killed millions.  It has brought suffering to hundreds of millions more.  What possible silver lining could there be to that?  What good could be encoded in the viral genome of a global killer?  The answer is:  Something, and probably something big.  Here are just a few possibilities:

  • Will accelerated research, development and distribution of mRNA based vaccines lead to a vaccine for cancer?
  • Will we learn that people who contracted Covid and survived it actually find themselves immune to future illnesses?
  • Can we ultimately identify a leader for the nation whose response to the Covid epidemic distinguished him or her to such an extent that his or her ascent to the Presidency became inevitable?

These are just a few of the possible ways victory could be forged from apparent defeats at the “hand” of Covid.  I am not saying that any one of them would take away the suffering endured by those who lost loved ones or who lost businesses or who lost their good health.  I am simply urging—in confronting Covid and confronting everything we must—that we keep one eye open for hope and leaps forward.  In the desert, expect the Promised Land.  In every metaphorical death, expect resurrection.  Look for it.  Work for it.  Manifest it.

Here’s a really simple metaphor.  I just thought of it.  When I was a kid, I had a few of those cars that you had to pull back against the surface of a table or on the floor, in order to wind a spring inside that then, when the car was released, rocketed forward.  That’s how the world works.  It’s how human beings work.  And it’s how you work.

Dr. Keith Ablow

Click HERE to schedule a complimentary discovery call with Dr. Keith Ablow.

A Tiny—or Not so Tiny–Problem with Zoom

Zoom (as well as Skype and FaceTime and Google Meets) has helped America through the pandemic by connecting people, both personally and professionally, who might otherwise have lost contact or lost the ability to collaborate on work.  It’s an enormous contribution from technology at a time that contribution has been and is still sorely needed.  Other companies, like www.Cinamaker.com, a private venture founded by technology pioneer Benjamin Nowak, promise to deliver dramatically enhanced features to video chat.

The tiny—or not so tiny—problem with Zoom is that it doesn’t keep people in touch, literally, and makes it somewhat less likely that they will be, again.  As Marshall McLuhan wrote in his transformational book Understanding Media, “The medium is the message.”  It is very difficult to overcome the fact that people “meeting” via video chat are “delivered” to one another via the same screen that delivers fiction and non-fiction, news and fake news, cartoon characters and real characters.  Psychologically speaking, there is a risk that we become, one to another, as if actors and actresses, literally in two dimensions and possibly without a needed element of emotional depth.  I would hazard to say that the empathetic response of a viewer to someone sharing deep feelings of grief via Zoom is less substantial than the response of that viewer if present physically in the room with the suffering person.  A “presenter” on Zoom cannot escape the four corners of the screen.  A presenter may, inherently, not only be constrained by the screen, but defined by it.

The use of “backgrounds” on Zoom only complicates matters.  Now, we have to guess at whether the office space in the distance behind a friend or colleague is real or fake.  And the subtle signs that reach us when those backdrops are fake include the video scatter at the edges of people as they move.  That can lead to viewers psychologically associating presenters as made up of pixels, not flesh and blood, and no more worthy of loyalty or deep listening or genuine love.

We have paved the way for this problem with the fakery of “perfect” lives on Facebook and Instagram, where too many of us present mini made-for-TV-like versions of ourselves that aren’t really our SELVES at all.  We have watched enough reality TV to lose track of reality.  And to the extent that we human beings conclude that other human beings are synthetic, sterilized presentations, not real people, we will have less true regard for one another.  Add in the psychological problem of masking the population, thereby further short-circuiting unspoken communication via facial expressions, and we have a potential prescription for disaster.

More than one of my mentors in television taught me to be more animated on television because the medium inherently reduces the emotional force of what flows through it.  Talk at a normal volume on screen, without hand gestures, and you’ll fall flat with viewers.

We could ask ourselves:  Are violent protests (i.e., riots) in the streets fueled, in part, by the spilling over of pent up, covered up, masked, emotions?   And how much of the violence and chaos is actually “scripted” to play worldwide on screen?

If, as Shakespeare said, all the world is a stage, we had better figure out how to get back off of it, into the arms of those we love and the company of those we miss and the good graces of those we have lost to overwrought, ultimately dehumanizing dramas.

 

Dr. Keith Ablow

Click HERE to schedule a complimentary discovery call with Dr. Keith Ablow.

PAIN-2-POWER PERSON OF THE WEEK: COMMANDER KIRK LIPPOLD, USN, Ret

Today being Patriot’s Day, I am honoring Commander Kirk Lippold, USN, Ret as the Pain-2-Power Person of the Week.  Full disclosure:  The Commander is my co-founder of HELP22 and has become my friend. But that isn’t why I’m choosing him.  I’m choosing him because he exemplifies the principles of Pain-2-Power.

For those who don’t know, Kirk was the Commanding Officer of the USS Cole when it came under attack by al Qaeda suicide bombers while refueling in the port of Aden, Yemen on October 12, 2000.  The blast ripped a 40-foot hole in the ship, killed 17 crew members and injured 39.  This event is widely recognized as one of the most brazen acts of terrorism by al Qaeda prior to September 11, 2001.

Kirk and his crew safeguarded the warship after the attack and saved it from sinking.  But Kirk did more.  In the immediate aftermath of the kamikaze terrorist attack, having seen nearly unspeakable scenes of horribly wounded men, he organized the plan to save them.  Then he oversaw the plan to recover the remains of the dead, identify them and honor them.  Among other things, he instructed the FBI to tape an American flag carefully in place on each body bag and to remove the remains of those heroes under the watchful, loving eyes of an honor guard comprised of each lost individual’s closest, fellow crew members on the ship or that person’s closest friends on the ship.

Commander Kirk Lippold’s personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (three awards), Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Commendation Medal (two awards), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal (two awards), in addition to various campaign and service ribbons.

Enough said?  Maybe, not.

Commander Lippold never stopped serving his country.  He served in the Navy until June, 2007.  And following his retirement, he founded Lippold Strategies, a consulting firm specializing in executive leadership development, crisis management, and national security policy.  He has appeared on every major news network speaking about critical national security issues.  And he still found the time to start HELP22 with me and our friends Christian Josi and William Fidler.

The events of October 12, 2000 are chronicled in Commander Lippold’s book, Front Burner, which was published in 2012.

I don’t know all of the ingredients that go into making men like Commander Kirk Lippold.  I don’t know what experiences galvanized his courage or his resolve or his resourcefulness or his unwillingness to quit, ever.  But I know he was the consummate patriot when we needed one on October 12, 2000.  And I know he remains the consummate patriot today, when we sorely need the kind of example he continues to provide.

 

Dr. Keith Ablow

Click HERE to schedule a complimentary discovery call with Dr. Keith Ablow.

NO ONE CAN STOP YOU IF YOU CLAIM THE NEXT PAGE OF YOUR LIFE STORY

Life includes hurdles.  That’s inevitable.  You may be able to see them up ahead or they may appear without notice. Sometimes, they’re financial.  Sometimes, they’re about relationships.  Sometimes, they’re about your own health.  They can trip you up.  They can make you fall down.  But they can’t stop you—ever, if you claim the next page of your life story.

What do I mean by claiming the next page of your life story?  This:  Your story is inherently designed to be one of triumph.  It couldn’t be that were there not difficulties, setbacks and pain because there is no triumph in coasting to victory.  There isn’t a person alive or who has ever lived who isn’t an example of that.  There isn’t a movie ever made that doesn’t involve that theme, in one way or another.  There isn’t a religion that fails to pay homage to it.  Your triumph is written into your story, written into the stars.  But you have to claim it.

How do you do that?  How do you go about getting the triumph over adversity that is your birthright when you suffer a setback or defeat?  How do you tell yourself the truth—that you can’t be stopped?  First, you stay vigilant for the next opportunity.  You open your eyes to the rays of light you know will shine through whatever difficulty, battle or war you find yourself in.  That opportunity—that light—may be a person you meet “by chance,” or a creative idea that suddenly occurs to you.  It may be in the next email or text.  It may visit you in your dream on the darkest night of your life.  But it will visit you.  Watch for it.  Listen for it.  Expect it.

Your story is inherently designed to be one of triumph.

Second, you actively wonder how the challenge you are living through will end up being for the best.  You’ve lost your business.  It may feel like a crushing reality.  But you can’t be crushed if you resolve to wonder how that loss will end up as part of your ultimate victory.  You wonder and you wait and you watch for that next page.  It’s coming.  I promise you.  It may be the next business or the free time to create art that moves people (and most importantly moves you).  It may be in the impulse to find strength through God.  It may be in realizing that you have friends who’ll stand by you, no matter what.  It may be that you find true love with someone who doesn’t abandon you in your darkness—who finds youin the darkness.

Your story is inherently designed to be one of triumph.

Third, you develop a sense of wonder about the world and your place in it.  Look at your life and try to think of adversity as “interesting,” not overwhelming.   Ask yourself, “What will I learn from being put in this position?  How will it ultimately contribute to something good happening?” Relax into the fact that life will carry you forward, not stop you dead in your tracks, just as a stream carries you forward if you relax on a life raft.  Hit a rock in the stream, and the stream will work to move you around it.  Up ahead, the current will carry you more quickly, the sun will shine more brightly. The world is built this way.  You are built this way.  You can believe it.

No one can stop you if you claim the next page of your life story.  Because your story is inherently designed to be one of triumph.

 

Dr. Keith Ablow

Click HERE to schedule a complimentary discovery call with Dr. Keith Ablow.

GUN RIGHTS ARE PERSONAL POWER RIGHTS

Federal attempts to limit gun rights are a direct assault on personal autonomy at a time when Americans are being encouraged to have less and less autonomy.  The psychological significance of arming oneself includes the intention to defend one’s property and family.  It requires SELF-possession to possess a firearm for SELF-protection.  And that’s the real reason that radical Democrats want to take firearms away from Americans or prevent them from acquiring them.

What are some of the ways the federal government and state governments have already shown its hostility toward personal power?   Here are just a few:

  • Mandatory shutdowns of private businesses during the pandemic, despite unclear evidence of a public health imperative to do so
  • Mandatory use of masks, despite unclear evidence of their effectiveness
  • Initiatives to increase taxes
  • Resistance to ensuring that only American citizens vote and that all votes are counted
  • Failure to protect private property in the face of riots
  • Failure to reinforce the border, thus depriving every American of the rights and privileges of citizenship that are purchased, in part, via paying taxes
  • Continued application of draconian drug laws to imprison Americans
  • Refusal to address the core reasons for the surge in violence in America, including a failed mental health care system (which, if rebuilt, would actually rebuild the autonomy of individuals by restoring their health)
  • Arbitrary limits on parental rights and the substituting of the “state as parent”

The truth is contrary to what those who wish to destroy individual liberty assert.  Here are some relevant facts that fly in the face of proposed gun control measures:

  • The cities most plagued with violent crimes, including murder, are in states with the strictest gun control measures, like Chicago.
  • The worst episode of school violence was not committed with a gun. It occurred in 1927 in Michigan and was committed using explosives.  Thirty-eight children, along with teachers and the school superintendent and others were killed.
  • While suicides in the United States most often involve guns, the rate of suicide in the U.S. is less than 1/5 that of, for example, South Korea, where suicides almost never occur using a gun. Hence, it stands to reason that taking guns away from U.S. citizens won’t stop suicide; it will just stop people from using guns as much.  The suicide rate, I would predict, would stay exactly the same (or get worse, since people feeling disempowered is never good for their mental health).

Here’s another lie of those who want to step on the free will and rights of others:  Those who have suffered a mental illness should never have guns.  That’s preposterous, given that estimates place the percentage of Americans with a diagnosable mental illness at about 25 percent.  Only an infinitesimal number of those Americans will commit violent acts of any kind.  There are countless police officers and hunters and military personnel who never hurt another human being, despite having been treated for depression or anxiety or attention deficit disorder or another of the over 300 psychiatric disorders catalogued in the (far-too-trusted) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders (DSM).  Suggesting they generally can’t be trusted to own guns is preposterous.

It’s time for Americans to realize that actively resisting the encroachment by government upon their human rights is a way to turn the pain of government overreach into personal power.

Dr. Keith Ablow

Click HERE to schedule a complimentary discovery call with Dr. Keith Ablow.

THE PAIN-2-POWER PERSON OF THE WEEK: REPRESENTATIVE DAN CRENSHAW

Representative Dan Crenshaw, the Congressman representing Texas’ 2nd Congressional district, announced on Saturday that he would be undergoing eye surgery on his left eye to reattach his retina that would leave him essentially blind and “off the grid” for about a month.  Crenshaw lost his right eye to an IED (improvised explosive device) in Afghanistan, during his third deployment as a Navy Seal with Seal Team 3.  His left eye was injured, too.  Despite those injuries, however, and the surgery that followed them, Crenshaw continued to serve in the Navy for four more years, completing a fourth tour in Bahrain and a fifth tour in South Korea.

A little more about Dan Crenshaw:  He graduated Tufts University in 2006 with a degree in international relations, then obtained his master’s degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  His first deployment as a Seal was to Fallujah, Iraq.  During his tenure as a Seal he was awarded two Bronze Star Medals, the Purple Heart and the Navy and Marine Corps Medal of Commendation with valor.  He attained the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy Seals.

Here’s more:  Dan Crenshaw lost his mother when he was 10-years-old.  His father, a petroleum engineer, raised him abroad, including time in Ecuador and Columbia, where Crenshaw graduated from Colegio Nueva Granada in 2002.

After surviving all that, Crenshaw also survived Me, Too accusations that never went anywhere.  Yeah, him, too.  Did they really think they could stop Dan Crenshaw with rumors when he had survived being blown up by an IED?

Dan Crenshaw has always turned pain into power.  I wish I could tell him this:  You, Sir, will always see further than your detractors and further than the vast majority of men.  I can imagine that fear of the dark visits you.  No one is immune to fear.  But be reminded that many of us know you see the Light and always will and can help guide the rest of us there.

Dr. Keith Ablow

Click HERE to schedule a complimentary discovery call with Dr. Keith Ablow.

Photo credit: Politico 

REAL POWER COMES FROM REALITY

Twenty-five years ago, in the foreword to my book To Wrestle With Demons, I wrote, “We are more alike than different in our needs and fear and much more alone than we need to be.”

Back then, I was a newly-minted psychiatrist. But I had enough early experience and enough raw sense about people to intuit that human beings could suffer far less and could find all manner of synergies with one another were they able to stop hiding the rough stuff they had lived through or might be living through in the present moment.

Posturing was keeping us apart. Pretending was keeping us from being the really wonderful things we could be.

Now, two-and-a-half decades later, having counseled thousands of patients around the world and been a patient myself, I am more convinced than ever that the key to self-love, self-actualization, respect for others and interpersonal power is a miraculous force called human empathy.

It is when we reveal the core truths about ourselves—many of them etched into our life stories during painful times—that we become dedicated custodians of the core truths of others, join the network of soulfulness on this planet and attract a wealth of gifts into our lives.

We become magnetic.

How can a person find fulfillment and express his or her power, after all, if that person is pretending to be someone else? How can a person who shields himself or herself from the real struggles of other human beings really connect with them?

We humans need to embrace the truth about ourselves and others now more than ever. We are encouraged to turn our life stories into Facebook profiles, a process that all too often turns us into chronic fibbers. The distressed jeans we wear are faked for us in factories that emblazon them with fancy labels we hide behind.  We are encouraged to Tweet, rather than to speak. We are encouraged to take medicines to camouflage our pain, instead of confronting and overcoming our pain. The Reality TV we watch isn’t real at all.

All our social networking hasn’t really connected us. Our myriad drugs have too often elevated us above our troubles, rather than empowering us to examine them and triumph over them.

Real power comes from reality. Reality is about the human condition. And the human condition is defined by adversity and coming to terms with it.  Those gritty chapters of our life stories are the ones that we need to share with each another.

 

Dr. Keith Ablow

Click HERE to schedule a complimentary discovery call with Dr. Keith Ablow.