- 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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