- Thoughts for inspired living

September 30, 2008

Headline Evolution

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:12 am

It used to be that headlines encapsulated the whole story in a few succinct words. It seems that practice has fallen asleep and let hyperbole take over.

With the passing of actor Paul Newman last Friday, I could have easily used the new headline practice and issued the two following headlines:

I had lunch with Paul Newman.”

“My wife acted in the movie “Slapshot” with Paul Newman.”

Both of those headlines contain a modicum of truth. Perhaps a story would be helpful.

In the mid 70’s I worked at a radio station in Syracuse. The filming of the movie “Slapshot” was coming to town for 2 days of filming. Our station program director had been college friends with the casting director and got four of our staff members an audition for a bit part of a sportscaster in the movie, including me. We were all invited to the set to witness the filming and we were invited for a meal in the lunch room where cast and crew ate. While standing in the buffet line, Paul Newman came out of his trailer in his hockey gear and came up right next to me in the lunch line to get some food. We exchanged smiles and nods and he returned to his trailer with his platter. That was it.

The newspaper had put out an ad for a casting call for people to be in the crowd scenes. My wife and some neighbors stood in line at the casting call and were selected to be in those scenes. She actually received a check for two days work but we could never find her in the crowd scenes, even when viewing the movie in slow motion.

The new types of headlines are designed to lead you away from the essence of the story and corral you into a dimly lit corner where the truth is hard to see.

We are stimulus-response creatures devoid of actual free will, and the way we are marketed to illustrates that the headline creators are completely aware of our robotic reactions.

We are in the political season and nowhere is this headline practice more evident than in campaign rhetoric. Candidates talk in sound bites because they know they will be the words lifted for the evening news and talk shows. Depending on the political bias of the show you are viewing or listening to, it will determine the headline they select for you to hear. A majority of the populace votes on the headlines that they saw or heard.

This blog isn’t about politics. It’s about RCV recovery. “RCV” is a term the late Dr. Dave Dobson coined. It’s an acronym for “Rectal Canal Vision.”

We own a clutch that we rarely use. It’s called presence of mind. Have the presence of mind to not get hooked by the headline. When presented with a headline stimulus, have the presence of mind to stay awake and throw in the clutch so that you can avoid the automatic response you’ve been baited to return.

This practice of staying awake and choosing a response rather than having the response choose us is in short supply. This means that you will be a slave to the headlines as long as you remain asleep. Personal choice begins when you recognize that there is room for a wedge between stimulus and response. It’s from this wedged space that actual free will is born.

If you are asleep, choices are made for you. Waking up is having the presence of mind to go past the headline.

Maybe the old joke was right. “Headlines are what you get when you fall asleep on a corduroy pillow.”

All the best,


P.S. How does your Self Image contribute to your success or lack of it? Find out this Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 3PM Eastern Time as I appear as a guest on Jonathan Manske‘s “Inevitable Success” Internet Radio Show. The topic will be how your Self Image contributes to your success, and we will offer specific strategies to improve and update your Self Image.

All you have to do to participate is go to the website,, and you will be able to see, hear and participate in the discussion either by calling in or text chatting with us.  I know you will find this discussion inspiring as we share the secret to success – SELF IMAGE.

Again, the show is this Thursday, October 2nd at 3 PM Eastern Time. Logon to and join us for this stirring experience.

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September 29, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:00 am

If you have calluses on your hands, chances are you have been working hard at something. The same is true if you’ve become a callous person. The only question here is, “Is it a project worth continuing?”

What has your heart become hardened to? What calluses has your persona developed to prevent you from feeling?

Calluses are protections that at one time may have been necessary to keep you from being harmed. That harmful environment may have long passed, but we work at keeping our calluses in place to keep our feelings at arm’s length.

The callus is a border between us and our feelings. What are you afraid to feel? It’s the cause of your callus.

A self improvement guru may encourage you to face your fears but doesn’t provide a strategy. They won’t talk you out of your fears no matter how motivational the speech. What you rarely hear is, you can feel your way out of fear and allow your callousness to dissipate.

Feeling your fear is a reality strategy. Avoiding the feeling is an illusionary, cerebral event that has you deny what’s present, and continue working hard adding to the size of your callus.

Your mind can jump in a nanosecond to the past or the future and easily deny what’s going on now. Your body is always in the present. Your body is anchored in reality.

When you allow yourself to sense the fear you are feeling, then and only then are you presented with a workable strategy to open a door to peace.

Take the fear out of your head by noticing it in your body. Give attention to the knock in the engine instead of to the idea of how cool you will look behind the wheel, and you will begin the process of feeling your way to peace. Don’t talk about how bad the knock is – feel it!

It may shake the whole car but to pretend it isn’t there by steeling yourself against the reality, hardens you.

Look at people who are stiff. There’s a reason people refer to them as callous. They are insulated from their own feelings.

If you want to soften your calluses, reconnect with your body, and you’ll make life less hard for yourself.

All the best,


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September 26, 2008

Old Fashioned

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:53 am

Call me old fashioned but there are certain things that hit my ears and translate to disrespectful. One of them is referring to a sitting President of the United States by his last name.

Regardless of your politics or personal dislike for the president and/or his policies, it would seem prudent that the current holder of that office would be given the courtesy of the term, “President Bush.”

Both candidates running for president and their surrogates use this last name practice, as does the media. I realize this is a preference I am stating but it feels more civil and respectful to me to use the title.

Criticize the President all you want and use your right of free speech, but offer respect. Reminds me of a story . . .

Back in the mid 80’s a top, local mobster had died and, as the story goes, he died while having sex with a woman other than his wife. I was doing a radio talk show at the time and it was the day of his funeral. People began calling and berating this man for all the known and alleged misdeeds he had done. After a couple of calls, I put a stop to it and said that we would take no more calls regarding the deceased that day. I said that tomorrow we can talk about him all you want, but today we spare his wife, children, grandchildren and grief filled relatives any additional pain. It just seemed respectful.

It doesn’t cost you anything to be civil.

The terms, “the President,” “the Bush Administration,” “the Bush White House” offer respect. “Bush did this and Bush did that” demeans the office of the presidency.

It’s a new practice in recent years, and I think the candidates and the media could set a better example by becoming more old fashioned.

All the best,


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September 25, 2008

Green Grass

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:36 am

The Grasshopper had this to say last night “The grass is the same on the other side of the fence.” It just looks greener from our vantage point.

Therefore, the real question is. How do we fence ourselves in, in order to cause this illusion in the first place? Lack of honesty comes to mind. Sometimes we are hesitant to express our dreams because they don’t fit within the dreamscape of another we happen to have a relationship with. The faulty thinking is that you cannot pursue different dreams than the one who is close to you and still have a bond.

This leads to harboring resentment towards another and looking at them as the reason you cannot move forward. That’s fence building which colors the whole relationship and makes all things on the other side seem that more attractive.

Yes, there may be high volume discussions of how opposed another is to your dream because it doesn’t coincide with theirs. The fence building begins when the fence builder assesses that their partner has more than an equal voice in the discussion. They view it as a power struggle instead of a partnership. Oftentimes, one partner puts down their foot and says “that’s that!” No, in a partnership, “that’s that!” is only when both agree. The fence builder feels like they have less say in the relationship and often acquiesces on the surface to the edicts of the partner while they form the blueprint of the other side of the fence in their mind.

The oppositional goals may be enough of an issue that you have to move on, but that is often a premature strategy that lacks choice. You deny yourself the option of staying because you lack the courage to express yourself honestly and claim your equality. The conundrum is that you have to muster up more courage to move on than you are willing to expend on saving a relationship.

Unequal relationships fall apart. Cultural conditioning may be the culprit but honesty is the answer. If you haven’t afforded your partner honesty, chances are you will remain in an unbalanced relationship or be tempted to mow someone else’s lawn.

Some people need professional guidance to discover the necessity of equality and honesty in a partnership. They are encouraged to seek it. Yet, many can find out what side of the fence they belong on by simply finding the courage to be honest.

All the best,


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September 24, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:36 am

I received a quote from The Grasshopper this morning, and I am passing it along to you with no comment. I offer it to you and me for personal reflection.

May you never be able to measure the height of your depth.”

All the best,


P.S. There is a FREE personality test you can take at either one of my websites – or

It is based on the personality typing system known as the Enneagram. It’s a basic introduction to this useful tool. If you would like to go deeper into the subject matter, read Sandra Maitri‘s books on the Enneagram. Did I mention the test was FREE?

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September 23, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:19 am

I don’t know where I heard the expression first, but the wisdom of it has remained with me – “If your religion is not working for you, find a new religion.”

Religion in this context is a pretty broad based term. It can mean any belief system. For example, if you live anywhere in the southern United States, NASCAR is a religion. High School football in Texas is a religion. Eating cheesesteaks in Philadelphia is a religion. Giving directions on the back of your hand in Michigan is a religion.

Ways of thinking and behaving have become religions. What we often fail to notice is the lackluster performance of this way of thinking or doing. It’s much like hiring a friend to work for your company. You will bend over backwards to ignore their shortcomings in spite of overwhelming evidence.

What does it take to get you to notice a belief that you own isn’t working? Sadly, for some, it takes a lifetime.

The difficulty as I see it is we have associated who we are with what we believe. That’s like saying a football stadium is made up of fans. The stadium is a structure. It doesn’t care who or what occupies the seats. A belief is a structure and any facts can fill it. The attendees can be there for anything from a soccer game to an “Up with People” concert. The structure doesn’t care.

We have somehow associated our self worth with the content of our structured belief. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that the reason something didn’t happen was because the person believed they didn’t pray hard enough. I wonder if they ever considered that the answer to the prayer was “No”? Logical human beings routinely suspend logic when their beliefs are not working.

It’s not so amusing to watch politicians of all stripes defend their ideology in spite of an avalanche of evidence to the contrary. It seems to be more important to defend the belief than to fix the problem.

Are you hanging on to something that isn’t working? The clues will be in your defense. What are you defending that isn’t working? Are you arguing for your limitations?

Take a look at what you are saying and imagine that a person whom you have little respect for is saying the same things. How believable is it now?

Taking a little liberty with a teaching from Socrates, “An unexamined belief is not worth living.”

Maybe it’s time to get a little religion and start believing that your beliefs aren’t working.

Do you have the intestinal fortitude to divorce your beliefs from your self worth and judge them on their own merits? Your answer to that question will either have you praying harder or auditioning a new clergyman.

All the best,


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September 22, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:50 am

It seems that a Potluck Dinner is one where everyone brings something to a gathering for consumption. If everyone raves about your contribution, it’s easy to come forward and take credit for it. It’s a bit harder if you brought the broccoli encased in Jell-O.

But for many, stepping forward is considered stepping back and they deny bringing anything to the gathering. There is ample evidence that they walked through the door with a covered dish but to hear them tell it, everyone else was mistaken.

We all contribute to the recipe of the human drama we find ourselves in. And until we own up to our piece of the pie, all remain famished at the smorgasbord.

There are recipes for success and failure and we have all contributed to both. The gale force wind of denial keeps the dust swirling with no settlement in sight.

If you’re involved in a long-standing dust storm, examine your role in keeping it alive or in a hump beneath the rug. When you acknowledge what you brought to the party, it’s easier to contribute to the clean-up.

All the best,


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September 19, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:29 am

“I just can’t make a decision.” How often have you heard that, said that or thought that?

The difficulty is in the grammar. We have a noun called “decision” whose definition is “the result of deciding.”

“Decide” is the verb and it’s the answer to decision making.

How come we don’t decide? Fear.

There are so many things we fear about deciding that they are too numerous to list.

The secret that’s been hidden from the perpetually undecided is this: If you don’t decide, the decision will be made for you.

You completely take yourself out of the decision making process when you choose not to decide. You leave your future in the hands of chance when you choose not to decide.

It’s like going in to Baskin-Robbins and allowing the ice cream server to pick for you. “Here’s your Chunky Peanut Butter Bubblegum Oreo Watermelon Surprise.”

As we approach election time, we hear about the “Undecideds.” A number of undecideds wind up not voting. The decision is made for them.

Admittedly, some decisions carry more consequences than others and can benefit by allowing time for reflection. Too much time in front of the mirror can make your future resemble “Alice in Wonderland’s.”

Start small and work your way up. Decide on something small today and put your energy behind that decision. Just notice how confusion dissipates when you decide. As you get more adept at deciding, step up to the next risk level and decide again.

The only question you have to ask yourself is this: Do I want my life decided by somebody else?

All the best,


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September 18, 2008

Old School

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:50 am

There is a new expression that’s crept into the language over the past few years – “Old School.”

I guess it depends on how you interpret it, but to me it means fundamentals.

There are entirely new ways of doing things that show up every day but when you investigate them, they are mostly based on principles that have been around for awhile.

Whether you’re typing on an old Remington or an ergonomic, computer keyboard, you still have to know how to type. Even if you’re thumbing your way around a Blackberry, you have to know how the letters are laid out in order to fashion an intelligible email or text message.

Fundamentals seem to get lost when we exclusively buy into mantras like, “Think outside the box.” That’s great advice after you have explored what’s readily available. As Jerry Stocking says, “No need to call on the universe when you can do it yourself.”

“Old Hat” is an old and entirely different expression and, to me, it represents outdated and stale.

There is a tiredness about an “Old Hat” strategy and the results always produce diminishing returns. There is an energetic weakness surrounding something or someone that cannot deliver the goods. Trust your human Geiger counter to pick up on that reading and trust it.

Hint: The Geiger counter is not in your head. You will feel a sensation in your body long before the thought about it shows up and gets debated. Sensations need no debate – they’re either OK or not OK.

There is work involved in anything that’s worthwhile. Anyone who tells you differently is selling you something without “Old School” fundamentals.

I guess the message is when you are looking for a method to move forward, make sure there is a foundation beneath it, otherwise you’ll wind up with an archaic hat on a sand sculpture.

All the best,


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September 17, 2008

Open Letter

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:16 am

Here’s an open letter to you.

Believe in something besides yourself.

There is no pain that forgiveness cannot wash away. Allow yourself forgiveness.

Be grateful for the gifts that you already have and watch them multiply.

Learn to apologize with heartfelt sincerity. It mends wounds.

Getting the most out of life is an inside, not an outside adventure.

Go deeper than superficial and you’ll be more than liked; you’ll be respected.

Divorce yourself from denial and watch yourself blossom.

Your secrets are transparent. Everyone knows them at some level. Stop hiding.

People who help keep your excuses alive are not true friends.

Confession is more than good for the soul, it’s necessary for growth.

Accept natural endings and you’ll never endure the pain of staying at the party too long.

Clean up your life and let everyone see your light.

Give yourself to something or someone and watch your ability to risk rapidly mature.

The weight of the world exists only in your mind.

Gently dismantle your conditioned image and you’ll love what you see in the mirror.

All the best,


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