No, You Don’t Have Forever

Okay, I hate to break this to you:  You don’t have forever.

Right, you’ve heard that before.  But, you haven’t heard it from me, and probably not in just this way.

Here:  If you have a gift, you had better get busy honoring it.  I don’t want to stress you out, but none of us should assume we have many years to express the God-given talents we were blessed with.  I have seen too many lives interrupted by outside intrusions (like the economy going south) or illness to advise you that you can put the creative projects you want to undertake on a timeline stretching ten years into the future.

No one knows a thing about ten years in the future.  You or I may or may not be on the planet ten years in the future.  Either of us might be hit by a car and be spending most of our mental energy trying to manage chronic pain.  Either of us might have had a stroke and be trying to speak, let alone start a business or write a book or run for a political office.

I know.  I know.  This sounds very stark.  Well, so be it.  I don’t want to feel responsible for not having told you.  I don’t want to pretend I didn’t see people in their 20s, 30s and 40s, never mind their 50s and 60s get dire diagnoses when I trained at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.  I don’t want you to miss out by planning too far out.

Got a dream?  Get started actualizing it.  Now.  Stop denying the ravages of time.  Stop denying death.  Stop denying your destiny.  Embrace it.  Manifest it.

If you’re not sure what your greatest gift is or how you can make the most of it, then email me or call me, and we’ll team up to find out and roll it out.  Simple.

I’ve been accused of quoting Salinger too much, but I don’t think one can quote Salinger too much.  So, here are his words:

You’d better get busy, though, buddy. The goddamn sands run out on you every time you turn around. I know what I’m talking about. You’re lucky if you get time to sneeze in this goddamn phenomenal world. {…} I used to worry about that. I don’t worry about it very much any more. {…} I want an honorable goddamn skull when I’m dead, buddy. I hanker after an honorable goddamn skull . . .

I know what I’m talking about, too.  Get busy.

Dr. Keith Ablow


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A friend of mine and I used to quietly celebrate when an idea for a project or a decision about how to move a relationship forward just seemed to “click.”  We’d look at one another and say, “Yup.”

Yup was our way of verbalizing the feeling you get in your gut when the myriad of variables that factor into a gripping understanding of a problem suddenly added up.  It was our far lower key way of yelling Eureka!

Yup moments require analytic thought, but occur at a level beyond all thought.  They are products of an immeasurable combination of analysis, conscious and unconscious memory, intuition and imagination, often working simultaneously to solve a riddle.

There are a number of ways to increase the likelihood of experiencing Yup moments.  Here are three:

  • First, you have to listen for Yup. You don’t listen with your ears, of course.  You listen with your mind and your heart.  Yup moments feel like the cylinders of a combination lock spinning into alignment with that final stop of the dial.  That’s it:  All is aligned.


  • Second, in order to feel Yup moments, you would do well to get rid of the emotional “noise” in your life created by pages and chapters of your life story that you have yet to examine, understand, make peace with and derive power from.


  • Third, sometimes you should try to “insist on” Yup moments before making significant personal or professional decisions. Resisting decision made with intellect alone or made half-heartedly is like going to a gym to work out your “gut”—just a different gut, in this case.

You may be having more Yup moments than you might imagine, by the way.  Noticing minor ones also increases the likelihood of experiencing more substantial ones.  I have them while writing, for instance.  When the words of a sentence flow, I could (but don’t 🙂 ) footnote that sentence with a *Yup.  But I think readers get the Yup, anyhow.  You may have them when you say exactly what you mean about an issue, when you tell a friend or a family member exactly how you feel about them, when you pick the perfect marketing plan, when you tweak an entrepreneurial idea in just the right way, when you connect at a deep level of understanding with any human being, or just when you are standing in the right place to catch the perfect view of a sunset.  Yup.  That, too.

Dr. Keith Ablow


The article “YUP” first appeared on Pain-2-Power

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Respecting the Fine Line Between Creativity and Fiction

Fiction is the domain of novels and screenplays, but it has a way of slipping into other creative pursuits, like planning entrepreneurial endeavors and evaluating our businesses, as well as planning and evaluating our lives.

The reason for this potential slippage—which can cause us to put less than solidly-factual and rational foundations under what we build—is probably partly neurological.  We human beings are moved by the energy that fiction can kindle.  Creative, but reality-based imagination probably requires the activation of nerve centers in the brain that flirt with those that generate pure make-believe.

In the realm of creating fiction we are free to take big leaps toward our dreams and to imagine meeting our goals without the intrusion of realities that would slow us down or weigh us down.  There is a dashed line that connects the notion of raising large sums of capital for a limited idea and morphing into a superhero and winning the day, against all the odds.  Our minds are capable of suspending disbelief and being recruited into illusions that make us feel magical.

In the realm of imagination that serves the creation of non-fiction—like a real business or real preparation for a career—there are realities that must be respected.  There are hurdles that—properly—weigh down those huge leaps we can take toward imagining the fulfilment of our dreams.  There are troubling details that make us check our compelling ideas to make sure they are worthy ideas.

This is why working on oneSELF is so important to the creation of an inspiring non-fiction project, of any kind.  Because the creator must be as expansive in his or her thinking as possible, yet as invulnerable as possible to slipping into fantasy. True and strong foundations must be built, even for very moving projects.  And if the creator has developed a habit of avoiding the painful paragraphs or pages or chapters in his or her own life story then he or she will be more prone to avoiding the painful, often solvable problems with whatever they plan.

To solve problems, they must be seen.  That’s why the imaginative, non-fiction thinker and doer in business (or in any endeavor) is a transformational thinker, not a Transformer, of the fictional superhero variety.

Dr. Keith Ablow


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So You Had Better Become the Person You Were Always Meant to Be

In order to become the most powerful creative force you can be in the world, you will need to know who you truly are.  What does this mean?  It means you will need to look into yourself, at the deepest levels, to SEE what events, forces, relationships and beliefs in every chapter of your life either contributed to your authenticity as a person or detracted from it.



Being the person you were meant to be from all time—your authentic self—is the strongest foundation from which to build any creative work.  That is the case because only this authentic self can precisely choose which creative work to focus energy on.  Only this authentic self can summon the creative power to communicate heartfelt ideas and feelings and have them be received at the deepest levels by other people.  Only a real, authentic self can create transformational work that endures over time because it reflects the ultimate creation—the human soul.

To become the person you were meant to be from all time requires some creative work, too.  You need to dispense with denial and explore the early chapters of your life story, shedding the patterns of emotion, thought and behavior that are false fronts—transplants from other powerful (often less than positive) people in your life.  You need to put down the shields you have been deploying to defend against less-than-comforting, or even truly traumatic, events you survived and claim the real person who lived through them.  How else could your creative work be infused with humanity, when humanity is all about feeling and foibles and suffering and surviving?

That’s why Pain-2-Power is a pathway of healing and empowerment I created, in part, for artists, inventors and entrepreneurs to become the most creative forces they can be in our world.  As Carl Jung put it:

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.

When you are ready to take this journey, I am ready (and will feel privileged) to take it with you.

Dr. Keith Ablow


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What You Create is Forever

There are many reasons to create what your soul calls upon you to create—whether that be a painting, a poem, a blog, or a business.  All of these are works of art.  Whichever one you create is a form of SELF-expression.  And true self-expression is a gift not only to the creator, but to all those who encounter your work.

Another reason to create from your core is that what you create lasts, literally, forever.  Sure, your painting may not be seen by the masses (although it might).  Your poem—even if published—likely won’t be published and republished for centuries.  Your blog may not go viral.  And your business may run only for a time, even if that means it lasts decades.  But here’s the reason what you create lasts forever:  Whether three people or one million people interact with it, those people are changed by it—irrevocably, in some small or larger way.  And, then, every other person they interact with is also changed by it.  The thread of your creative work, once woven into the universe, can never be completely extracted.

This isn’t just true for works of art or a business you start or an idea you generate and share.  This is also true for the family you may have started, for the relationships you played a part in creating, for the opinions you developed and shared, for the kind and encouraging words you speak to others, for the advice you offer.  These are creative acts, too.  And they also last forever.  Because people are works of art and when you alter them, even infinitesimally, the ripples extend to every human being with whom they interact.  On and on and on—forever.  Even when you can’t see or hear or feel the changes your creativity has wrought in the world, please have faith that the changes exist and are immortal.  I promise you this is true.

There’s another aspect to the permanence of creativity to consider.  Do your best.  What you manifest will resonate forever in this universe of ours.  Don’t let that scare you, let it embolden you.  You’re that powerful.

In his stunningly beautiful novel Franny and Zooey, J.D. Salinger wrote about the way Zooey Glass was taught about this fact by his late brother Seymour.  All the kids in the family went on a television quiz show called “Wise Child” together, regularly.  And when Seymour advised Zooey to shine his shoes before the broadcast, Zooey protested.  The audience couldn’t even see his shoes from where the Glass children sat.  But Seymour corrected him.  He told him to shine his shoes for the Fat Lady, an imaginary woman in the audience who could see everything.  Here’s what Salinger writes (as Zooey):

I’ll tell you a terrible secret.  Are you listening to me?  There isn’t anyone out there  who isn’t Seymour’s Fat Lady … Don’t you know that?  Don’t you know that secret yet?”

Create. Do your best. What you effort is forever.

Dr. Keith Ablow


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The Ultimate Self-Help Book, TRUMP YOUR LIFE, Launches June 2, 2020

Morgan James’s new release, Trump Your Life: 25 Life Lessons from the Ups and Downs of The 45th President of the United States by Dr. Keith Ablow and Christian Josi, provides the tools to help people transform their relationships, revolutionize their approach to work, achieve the success they have dreamt of, or revitalize their family, community, or country. Trump Your Life is being released early due to demand and its topic aligning with the political events currently taking place in the U.S.

Nearly 63 million Americans voted Trump into office, making it undeniable that there is much to learn from President Donald Trump and his approach to life. With a foreword from Roger Stone, one of the most famous political operatives in history, Trump Your Life reveals 25 key lessons from President Trump’s life that anyone can master to make his or her life more fulfilling, successful, and powerful. These 25 key lessons enable people to become just as resolute, resourceful, and resilient as the president himself.

Within Trump Your Life, Dr. Keith Ablow and Christian Josi present an in-depth approach that covers a combination of their personal experience with the current president, decades of creative, political, and media work, and their piercing psychological analysis. This approach has allowed Dr. Ablow and Josi to identify 25 key lessons from President Trump’s life that anyone can master to make their own life more fulfilling, successful, and powerful.

Howie Carr, the national radio talk show host, said, “These guys know POTUS and have studied his m.o. up close and personal. Trump Your Life is a great roadmap for personal empowerment!”

Paul Carlucci, former Publisher of the New York Post, said, “Trump Your Life is incredibly entertaining and educational!”

Commander Kirk Lippold USN (Ret) said, “Insightful.  Inspiring.  Unique.  You will not find another book like Trump Your Life.”

And The Mancow (Mancow Muller), of WLS-AM radio, said, “A combination of in-depth personal experience with the President, decades of creative, political and media work and piercing psychological analysis made this book possible.”



A new website, Trump Your Life Now, features videos from the authors and Mr. Stone.



Watch Dr. Ablow’s appearance on The Joe Pags Show to discuss the impact of the corona virus shutdown.

About the Author:

Dr. Keith Ablow served for a decade as a Fox News Network Contributor.  He is the author of 16 books, including the New York Times bestseller The 7 Wonders (with Glenn Beck) and the international bestseller Living the Truth. He has appeared as a guest on over 1,000 national television broadcasts, and has written over 500 articles for publications including USA Today, the Boston Herald, the New York Post, Newsweek and Discover.  Dr. Ablow now works with clients one-to-one through his revolutionary new life coaching, counseling and mentoring program Pain-2-Power. He currently resides in Newburyport, MA.

Christian Josi is a leading communications advisor and a veteran of center-right/libertarian politics and non-profit management. He is an author, columnist, internationally known songwriter, and recording artist. Christian has five albums and a host of guest appearances on other artists’ recordings. He is also a documentary film producer, and frequent columnist for a variety of publications. Christian is the Founder and Managing Director of C. Josi & Company, a global communications resource firm based in Virginia Beach and Washington. He currently resides in Virginia Beach, VA.


Dr. Keith Ablow


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Coronavirus and Creative Work

The pandemic we face is bringing catastrophic pain to millions of people in our nation and around the world. America has lost more lives than we lost in the Vietnam War. We face profound economic consequences. Thinking of creativity in this context may seem counterintuitive, but painters and poets and philosophers and writers and film makers and entrepreneurs have always been one of our front lines in interpreting and transmuting painful times into powerful ones. And this period of time, despite the grave difficulties we face, is no different. In fact, we will sorely need artists of every kind to help us think through our challenges and access feelings about them.

Consider just one facet of the pandemic: Sheltering at home. This brings individuals and couples and families into closer contact with their own thoughts and those of others than they may have ever been. And the conflict, loneliness, compassion, concern, angst, passion, anger and everything else that results can provide not only the raw material for plays, movies and many other forms of creative expression (which then help people make sense of those emotions).

Consider the pathos of people needing to say goodbye to loved ones who they cannot visit in the hospital. Or consider the psychological impact of being infected with the virus and facing isolation and stigma. These sort of gut-wrenching realities calls for artists to help us contend with them. We really need an army of such artists.

There is already a call for people to record Haiku about Coronavirus.

There are many calls for people to document their thoughts and feelings and experiences confronting Coronavirus.

Street art is appearing.

Artists of every kind will be needed. And they will answer the call because they have always done so when most needed. May they be the artists Wassily Kandinsky envisioned when he wrote:

The artist must train not only his eye but also his soul.

Dr. Keith Ablow


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Robert Pirsig, Being Zen and Never Quitting

Robert Pirsig, who wrote the book Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, wrote an Afterword to the book that is as powerful as the rest of it.  One of the reasons is that he makes it clear why it never makes sense to quit when pursuing one’s creative passion.  Consider this:  Pirsig writes that it was something like the 122nd publisher who offered him a $3,000 advance for his manuscript.  And that means that Pirsig never quit, despite receiving 121 rejection letters.

Just imagine that.  Lots of authors would have quit after 10 rejection letters.  Lots would have quit after 20.  Lots more would have quit after 50.  Maybe I would have, at one time.  But not anymore.  Because I believe that the world creates resistance to creative work and that sometimes the resistance is greater, not less, when the idea has greater power to change minds or hearts.  The same-old stuff can flow through the coarse filter of our culture.  New ideas, bold thoughts, unique perspectives—not so much.

That 122nd publisher knew $3,000 wasn’t much to earn up front for a book, but he reminded Pirsig that money wasn’t the point with a book like his.  And that was true.  But the book ended up selling millions of copies and becoming a classic.

Once Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance made Pirsig famous, he was asked why he had written the book, to begin with.  “Writing it,” he said, “seemed to have higher quality than not writing it.  That was all.”

Exactly.  Never quit on your creation.

Here’s an example.  I wrote a children’s book not long ago.  I sent it out to a handful of publishers.  Nothing doing.  I sent it out to some more.  No takers.  I stepped back from it for a while.  Then, out of the blue, I met an illustrator online, by chance. I felt his style spoke to the character I had created.  I felt he could bring the main character in the book to life.  So, I sent him the manuscript.  And now we’re working together to try to breathe life into the project.

What is it for you?  What in your life is calling out to you to be created? A new business?  A screenplay? A relationship? Better health?  A novel?  A painting?  A poem?  About what can you say, truly, that creating it would have higher quality than not creating it?  Because whatever that is, you can’t shy away from it.  Once you have brought it to life, you have to stand behind it, 100 percent and never quit on it.  That’s because quitting on it would be a lot like quitting on yourself. And you’re worth standing up for, forever.

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How the Creative Spirit Heals You

When you jump-start your creativity, you jump-start many elements of your life.  That’s why devoting time and effort to your creative pursuits can pay untold dividends beyond what may come from your work product, terms of financial rewards or acclaim or even satisfaction.  It yields gifts in many realms of your existence—from mood to relationships. Read more… 


Dr. Keith Ablow


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Questions You Can Expect to Answer for Your Creativity Coach

Creators being seized by irresistible impulses to generate manuscripts, or new entrepreneurial ventures, or new directions in which to lead existing businesses isn’t actually the way that creative efforts usually unfold.  Very often, the most powerful elements of worthy creative pursuits can be coaxed to the surface by questions.  Those questions then begin a process of further inquiry, effort, trial and error and editing (whether a business or a book) to get to the final product.

What are some of the questions I have put to my creative coaching clients?  Here are four areas of inquiry that may get your own creative energy flowing:

1- Creative people can often direct their creative energies to any number of possible projects.  If you were to choose one that you feel you have to pursue during your time on this planet, which project would it be?  Which one would you be satisfied with people close to you saying you had completed before your death?  I know focusing on death could sound a little morbid, but doing so can really get to the heart of your creative life.

2- Has there been a creative endeavor that excited you, but which you abandoned, at any point in your life—whether as a child, adolescent or adult?  Sometimes, we get negative feedback on our best ideas and truest talents, or at least don’t get the support we need to pursue them.  That’s because our talents can actually seem threatening to those around us who live at a distance from their own or who worry we’ll somehow get lost pursuing ours.  Reclaiming a creative impulse or agenda we buried can restart our creative engines in profound ways.

3- Is there a current project you’ve worked on—whether in art or in business or as an inventor—that is “partly” or “mostly” what you think it could be?  What is your most audacious vision of what it could be?  Why not go about actualizing that vision?  Too many of us are satisfied with getting the equivalent of a creative field goal when we could go for the touchdown and score.  Is there fear keeping you from the end zone?  What is that fear?  How can it be countered?

4- What creative project or passion would you be willing to pursue if it were not going to lead to fame or wealth, and you knew that, for sure?  Those are the projects, by the way, that speak to your soul.  And when you serve your soul, other people recognize it deep inside their own souls.  Those creative, inspiring connections—to self and others—are invaluable.  They’re also, by the way, the ones that often end up yielding worldly success, specifically because they aren’t designed to go after it.

The idea that artists or entrepreneurs need to be solitary folks pulling out their hair to get to the best ideas inside their heads isn’t so.  Very often, honest inspiration is one or two questions away.  And honest inspiration is the first wondrous step in manifesting spectacular creations.

Dr. Keith Ablow


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