Friday, November 20, 2015
Hello All,

If you need to be perfect and the thought of alphabetizing your cans of soup gets you all tingly and excited, then go ahead and obsess about order.
On the other hand, you might want to attach some Common Sense to your perfection obsession.
Happy Turkey Day!
Dr. Mitchell Perry


Many people have standards, values, and guiding principles by which they live. For these individuals, standards and values are helpful guidelines for living; however, sometimes these standards become too rigid and strict. In some cases, the standard expectations of excellence are so high that the individual becomes obsessed with having to be perfect. This is called the "Perfection Obsession." I have encountered countless people, both personally and professionally, who are obsessed with being perfect. In moderation, striving for excellence is a terrific basic governing value. Yet, many of us take "having to be perfect" to the extreme, and later develop psychological, physiological, and interpersonal disorders.

I often find multi-dimensional origins to the perfection obsession. When suffering from perfection obsession, people frequently cultivate an unshakable irrational belief system in addition to rigid behavior patterns. Dr. Albert Ellis presents the perfection obsession as one of his eleven irrational ideas that contributes strongly to mental illness and emotional disorders. He describes this irrational obsession as "the idea that one must be thorough, competent and achieving in all possible respects, and if perchance this is not achieved, there is something terribly wrong." As you can see, when we become firmly entrenched in this kind of thinking, we become anxious, irritated, depressed, or hostile if we're exposed as being less than perfect.

Sometimes people who are afflicted with perfection obsession have grown up in a double-bind family environment. A double-bind family environment is a "damned if you do/damned if you don't," or "Catch 22" situation. For example, suppose a child is continually told the following two conflicting messages by his parents or other authority figures:
  1. "You'll never amount to anything unless you achieve."
  2. "Whatever you achieve will always be insufficient."
As you can see, the child has only two options:
  1. To keep achieving in hopes of reaching perfection someday, or
  2. To become so miserable, inadequate, and defeated that it leads to severe depression.

Most people with the perfection obsession choose the first option. The perfection obsession can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Some of the behavior patterns are familiar - those of a workaholic, a narcissist, a compulsive cleaner, a neat-nik, a compulsive organizer, and/or an ultimate authority on every subject.

Workaholics often constantly work to the point of masochism. Most are working to compensate for intense feelings of inadequacy; in this case, a fear of being less than perfect. By committing their time and energy to work and by excluding other people, they feel safer - that is to say, it is less likely that other people will discover that they are in fact, imperfect.

Other people can become "perfect" narcissists - obsessed with their appearance, making sure they look perfectly neat, coifed, clean, groomed, pressed, smoothed, sprayed, made-up, tanned, physically shaped, and coordinated. The risk here is that "perfect" people might avoid potentially fun or educational activities that would expose them as being imperfect. As a result, the "perfect" person may seldom relax for fear of having an imperfect physical image. This narcissistic condition has become greatly amplified in the past two decades. An example is the movie "Perfect" which portrays a woman's obsession with exercise to create the flawless body. Sometimes they become obsessed with and addicted to plastic surgery to further their perfection needs.

Many people are concerned about cleanliness and orderliness at home and work. The neat-nik, however, is obsessed with cleanliness and orderliness. This person will spend hours cleaning every nook and cranny in the kitchen, will work for days making the office files letter perfect, or will devote the entire weekend to scrubbing the back porch and driveway. The compulsive neat-nik's behavior ensures the maintenance of control. The neat nik fears losing control because that would mean revealing personal imperfections.

Still, other people can become obsessed with perfection in their thinking, dialogue and knowledge. Have you ever dealt with someone who has an opinion and an answer for everything? These people like to be the ultimate authority. They will often times read voraciously and store vast amounts of knowledge, and will likely get quite anxious if the answer fails to immediately come to mind or if memory fails for even a moment. Professional people, in particular, can become obsessed with perfection in their chosen field. The idea of saying, "I don't know" is unthinkable. Instead, there is a recorded message playing internally that says, "Unless I am a perfect, flawless professional, other people will lose respect for me." An additional problem that arises from this erroneous thinking is that other people begin to expect perfection from professionals who promote infallibility. This leads to a tough bind. I wonder if there would be less medical malpractice litigation if some physicians were less obsessed with projecting perfection, and if the public could then allow them to be fallible and human? Further, physicians can learn to better manage patient's expectations so the patients realize the outcome of an operation might be less than perfect. Finally, malpractice lawsuits are likely to be less when the physician apologizes for making mistakes.

The difficult part of being obsessed with perfection is the continual anxiety about making mistakes and exposing humanness, fallibility and imperfection.   The obsessive person thinks: "If I make a mistake, I will lose respect," and "if I'm imperfect, I'm vulnerable and out of control." Notice how often we tell ourselves those lines. This belief system states that anything less than perfect would be received with disapproval in other people's eyes - an extension of the childhood double-bind scenario.
In reality, the contrary is true. We actually like people less for their perfections because perfection tends to scare and intimidate us. If we encounter someone who appears perfect, we are immediately reminded of our own imperfections, which can make us feel uncomfortable and inadequate. In addition, we find it difficult to identify with someone who is perfect. We are able to relax only when we encounter someone who, while having high standards, also lets his or her imperfections and "human qualities" show through. The more human a person is, the more we are able to feel comfortable and identify with this person.

The perfection obsession is oriented toward reactive thinking and is motivated by the potential consequences of failing to do something. "Perfect" people are unable to relax because they are always making an effort to be perfect - reacting to the fear of the potential consequence of appearing imperfect, flawed, and out of control. This constant reactive obsession results in anxiety, dogmatism, and lowered creative potential and performance. If we are unable to relax, we are denying ourselves the opportunity to grow; therefore, learning and progress are halted.

What can you do about this?
  1. Ask yourself this question: "What is the worst that can happen if I am less than perfect?" Really consider this question because... chances are, the answer is hardly fatal.
  2. Practice saying, "I don't know" when you in fact find yourself without an answer. People will be quite accepting of your limitations.
  3. Consider leaving the house (or a small portion of it) messy for one day. It is interesting to see that your house, friends, and you too will survive, and as a result, the obsession decreases.
  4. List all of your standards on paper and consider the standards that are unreasonable. The anxiety automatically diminishes.
Now ask yourself:
  1. What am I noticing about myself and my perfection obsession?
  2. What are my options to alter these behaviors?
  3. What am I learning about these options?
  4. What will I now do differently?

 Today's Tickle

Church Ladies With Typewriters

They're Back! Those wonderful Church Bulletins! Thank God for the church ladies with typewriters. These sentences actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced at church services:

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'
Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.
Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
Next Thursday there will be try-outs for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
Pot-luck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
And this one just about sums them all up

The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday:
'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours.'

At your service,
Dr. Mitchell Perry
JM Perry Learning

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

What would you rather do:

operate from weakness and remain afraid of disapproval, or
operate from strength and trust your judgment?
Dr. Mitchell Perry



Most grown-ups suffer from ongoing feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy.
Often, most of us suffer from any or all of the following thoughts and habits:
-       Low self-esteem
-       We obsess; we worry
-       Take things personally
-       Awfulize and catastrophize ad nauseam
-       Doubt our judgment and trust more the judgment of others
-       Worry continually about what others think
-       Crave approval from others
-       Want to avoid disapproval
-       Consistently operate from weakness and fear

If this sounds familiar, you might find yourself lamenting about the above and wishing that you would STOP thinking and behaving that way.
Notice what happens in your mind at the thought of changing these habits.
You might ALSO notice that you now remain very concerned that if you trusted your judgment and operated from strength, then you might be acting arrogant.

Notice you now might start worrying that you are in threat of being considered:
-       Conceited
-       Arrogant
-       Egocentric
-       Pompous
-       Full of yourself

So now you seem stuck...
-       On the one hand, you want to trust your judgment and operate from strength.
-       On the other hand, you are concerned that others will think you are arrogant.

Sound familiar?

Where did all this craziness come from? What can you do about it?

Origins of the Craziness
Most of us remember being told in elementary school - from society, from religion, from parents, from peers, etc. - that we ought to feel bad about ourselves:

-       "Who do you think you are?"
-       "You should be ashamed of yourself."
-       "You should always think of the other person first."
-       "You are making me angry."
-       "You are disappointing me."
-       "Why can't you be more like your sister; your brother; them?"
-       "You did well here BUT you should work harder there."
-       "You must confess your sins and ask for forgiveness."
-       "How can you treat them that way?"
-       "You are making them feel bad."
-       "You should be humble, modest, and self-effacing."
-       "You don't want to make them feel bad, do you?"
-       "You want to fit in, don't you?"

Note: even if you grew up routinely hearing how wonderful and special you were, notice that you also heard a LOT of the above remarks from many sources, which often made you feel confused. You may have thought to yourself, 'Let's see; I must like myself [feel good] as long as I prevent anyone from finding out [feel bad].'

You may have noticed that over the years, you actually played down your great report card, or you discounted your achievements, or you invalidated any compliments from others. OR, you continually thought you were never good enough. Some of you actually gave up before you started. "What's the point? I'm never going to measure up." And then some of you actually became over-achievers where you never felt good enough and often felt like an imposter. Either way, you may have noticed that you went into adulthood still hanging onto the feelings of inadequacy in the CATCH 22.

You felt inadequate / insufficient / sub-standard / defective, OR
You played down your adequacies for fear of being considered arrogant.

That is insane and also very common!

So what do you do about it?

Consider that you have for years believed that you only have 2 options with regard to how you look at yourself:
Remain inadequate and feel weak and afraid, or
Trust your adequacy and now be afraid that you are arrogant and conceited.

To illustrate, take a look at this diagram that describes your life-long belief -


You have thought there are only 2 options when it comes to a group in which to belong - you can either join the UIP or belong to the COC

     (UNION OF INADEQUATE PEOPLE)             

These people are always feeling inadequate, defective, unworthy, weak, afraid, broken, uneducated, sub-standard, etc.
This group of people also includes a number of sub-unions:
The Union of Martyrs, Masochists, and Members with Hurt Feelings
The Union of Professional Victims
The Union of Malcontents and Narcissists
The Union of Whiners, Complainers, and Catastrophizers
The Union of Chronic Weaklings and the Routinely Mistreated
The Union of Hypochondriacs, Worriers, and Awfulizers
The Union of Liars, Cheats, and Manipulative Low-Life's
The Union of the Uneducated and Underdeveloped
The Union of the Dependent, Immature, and Entitled
The Union of the Rejected, Bruised, and Submissive
The Union of the Chronically Irresponsible and Lazy
The Union of the Obese, Unhealthy, and Medicating with Food
The Union of the Living Beyond Their Means and Financially Broke
The Union of the Unwilling to Face the Obvious and become Adult

These people often feel better when they affiliate with each other so they can commiserate about feeling bad. They can also criticize anyone who decides to operate from higher standards and who takes responsibility for their destiny.
If you decide you want to better yourself, notice how often members of this union will criticize you for thinking too much of yourself. They will often accuse you of betraying them if you improve your conduct and standard of living.
Jealousy and envy are very expensive and powerful.
Imagine the union boss comes over and tells you:
"Hey! Calm down and slow down your pace.                                
            You are making the rest of us look bad!"

            (The real message here is that you must remain inadequate in order to fit in.)
The COC is the CANYON OF CONCEIT.   (The other option)
Let's suppose you decide that you are sick of feeling inadequate and you are done with the ongoing pressure to maintain membership in the UIP. So, you decide that you are going to operate more from strength and self-confidence.
WAIT, HANG ON! Now you might be dangerously close to falling into the
CANYON OF CONCEIT! This is where you will have others accuse you of being
  • Conceited
  • Arrogant
  • Egocentric
  • Pompous
  • Full of yourself
Or, you might start getting convinced that you actually are that way and you have always been told that you must remain meek, milk, modest, and self-effacing.
So now you are in threat of joining another group that you hate and subject to ongoing criticism from others.

So you're stuck... either you stay in the UIP (Union of Inadequate People) and remain defective and unhappy, OR you fall into the COC (Canyon of Conceit) and be subject to ongoing criticism.

Note: You might be interested in knowing that in society, it is very difficult to be truly conceited and stay that way... unless you can afford it. If you have LOTS of money you can construct and buy an environment around you so everyone will keep telling you how wonderful and powerful you are. However, I suspect you seriously lack that kind of cash. Therefore you will remain in the Catch 22.
See below.



There is certainly something you can do about this.
Here is the solution and the antidote to the DOUBLE BIND.

You can learn to dismiss a lot of the garbage that was handed to you when you were little. Moreover, you can choose to join the third option -- JOIN THE GAP!

Now imagine instead of 2 groups in which you can choose to belong.... THERE ARE 3 GROUPS!
  1. Certainly you can continue in the UIP and enjoy the payoffs to membership:Weakness, envy, meaninglessness, whining, powerlessness, passing life with time instead of passing time with life.
  2. If you have enough money, you can choose to belong to the COC and convince yourself that you will have enough people around you to help you enjoy delusions of grandeur. "You are the bestest conceited person ever!"
The GAP is both literal and an acronym.
It is literally the GAP between the UIP and the COC.
And it is also an acronym: bigger than a committee and smaller than a union.
Therefore, the GAP is the GUILD OF ADEQUATE PEOPLE.
These are people who freely admit they have some defects and issues. At the same time, they are much more interested in concentrating on what is good, strong, admirable, and valuable about them. They want to continually improve their character, their conduct, their habits, their standards, their self-respect, and their affiliation with other GAP members.
Think of it this way. Imagine Swiss cheese... there is cheese and there are holes. Therefore members of the GAP are much more interested in recognizing and capitalizing on their CHEESE! Everyone in the UIP are much more interested in obsessing about their holes.

I_________UIP_________I__________GAP__________I _________COC_________I
                                                       GUILD OF ADEQUATE PEOPLE

When you join the GAP, you release yourself from all the group pressure to maintain membership in the UIP. You give yourself permission to feel good, trust your judgment, capitalize on your strengths, and recover quickly from your setbacks.
Your fellow GAP members will welcome you, support you, respect you, and cheer you on.

Certainly, you will get some criticism from the UIP people. Remember, your newfound happiness reminds them of their unhappiness... they want you to remain unhappy so they can have company.
And now consider, which seems more important:
Avoiding disapproval from the malcontents in the UIP
Gaining approval and respect from the GAP folks

Perhaps it is now time for you to think more about reality and common sense.
Life is MORE than 2 options.
Instead, life is much more about MULTIPLE OPTIONS.

Recently, the Pope visited the United States and spoke before Congress.
Here is part of what he said to Congress:

"There is another temptation which we must especially guard against, the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. The contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps."

In other words... Multiple Options!

So instead of maintaining this insane belief that you are stuck in the 2-option
Catch 22 of the UIP or the COC; decide to give yourself permission to choose membership in the third option:

You can certainly be free of the emotional prison of inadequacy.
You can also abandon this ridiculous notion that the moment you join the GAP, you are now likely to be considered arrogant, pompous, conceited, and full of yourself.

Now you can be in the GAP, trust your judgment, operate from strength, develop more self-respect, focus on your adequacy, and capitalize on your CHEESE!

When you join the GAP, lives becomes bright, promising, optimistic, and full of common sense... and remember, COMMON SENSE IS VERY UNCOMMON!

So choose membership in the GUILD OF ADEQUATE PEOPLE, and notice how life begins to bloom!
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
When we get reinforcement from others, most of us routinely discount and invalidate the compliments. The paradox is that we prevent the very thing we want.
Dr. Mitchell Perry


Most of us continually have trouble accepting compliments. We often discount, side-step, minimize, or invalidate a reinforcing remark whenever we receive one.
 For example, someone says to you, "Gee, you handled that really well." And you will respond with something like, "I could have done better and, with my luck, I don't think it will turn out well." Notice how routinely this sounds like you:
  •  "It really wasn't that good." 
  • "It still had so many mistakes in it." 
  • "I didn't prepare enough." 
  • "I need to practice more." 
  • "But I am still so fat." 
  • "It's not at all what I wanted." 
  • "Don't get excited; I am sure I will mess it up next time." 
  • "It still needs so much more work." 
  • "But there is so much more that needs to be done." 
  • "There is so much still wrong with it." 
  • "I could have done so much better." 
  • "I was lucky... it was a fluke." 

There is a big difference between what you think you are doing and what is actually happening every time you discount or invalidate a compliment.

Remember: People will treat you the way you teach them to treat you!

Notice that every time you discount any compliment given to you, you are actually telling the other person they are wrong and disallowed to be impressed with you. Each of your self-discounts tells the sender that they have bad judgment.

They will then feel put-down and unhappy being told that they are wrong to have an inaccurate opinion of you. Consequently, they will quit giving you compliments or any reinforcing remarks.
Then you will say to yourself, "Does anybody like me or think I am any good?"

Now think to yourself...
"Ah ha! I may have to conclude that I AM ROUTINELY PREVENTING THE VERY THING I WANT! I am teaching people around me to feel bad and wrong about their being impressed with me, therefore, they will stop saying anything nice to me. I have proven my worst fear!"

You are insuring that you will be denied any compliments and reinforcement. You will remain emotionally malnourished. And, you did it to yourself! You unknowingly confirmed your worst fear that you are inadequate. You brilliantly and unconsciously achieved that famous self-fulfilling prophecy!

You have been so afraid of being insufficient and inadequate, you prevented anybody from thinking you are adequate. HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT? INSANE!

So what to do?

Consider the following three options on how you can receive compliments:
  1. DISCOUNT - You already know how to do this. You may have been doing this most of your life because you believed that garbage you were taught in elementary school, you know, the ridiculous nonsense that said you were always supposed to be meek, mild, self-effacing, and modest all the time... that if you for a moment were to feel good about yourself, then you certainly were going to be considered: 
    • Conceited 
    • Arrogant 
    • Egocentric 
    • Full of yourself 
    • Boastful 
    • Pompous 
    • And worst of all -- PROUD OF YOURSELF! 
You became so concerned about all the above that you erroneously concluded that if you accepted a compliment that you were now falling into the canyon of conceit! How insane is that? On top of that, over the years you likely started operating more from weakness and fear... which made you always hostage to how others thought of you. Their opinion / care / regard / approval of you often became so important that you lived in ongoing fear that they would disapprove and you would be forever inadequate... so you proved your fear. You disallowed them to feel good about you. You habitually discounted and invalidated their compliments and reinforcement. And, they quit telling you anything nice about you!

So, if you like, you can keep discounting compliments and stay right where you are -- staying in weakness, remaining emotionally malnourished, and proving your fear.  

     2.  ACCEPT - So here is a little spoonful of common sense... simply ACCEPT THE COMPLIMENT! LET PEOPLE BE IMPRESSED WITH YOU. Decide to give them permission to think the way they think about you. 
Note: If you want, you can still be unimpressed with yourself. You can still delude yourself to think that if you have impossible expectations of yourself and continue to fail to measure up, then you are giving yourself more fuel to achieve more. You can still be disappointed that you failed to do better. You can certainly maintain the belief that at the end of the day you will remain profoundly sub-standard and defective. 
On the other hand, simply let them be enamored with you with whatever you did or said. Decide to be gracious and mannerly. Simply say, "Thank you." You might get out of control at this point and add, "I appreciate that." When you do this, you are simply intimating the following to the sender, "Thank you for thinking the way you think." 
At first you will likely feel awkward by simply accepting the compliment and saying, "Thank you." Decide to do it anyway and keep saying it. Over time you will notice it gets easier, and then people will be encouraged to give you more compliments and offer more reinforcement. You have now given them permission to feel good about complimenting you, and you will learn how to accept the reinforcement. 
I highly recommend that you begin to practice ACCEPT first, for quite a while. It is important to get comfortable with this habit since you have likely been discounting the compliments for many years. 

     3.   HARVEST - This is a form of saying, "Thank you; tell me more." You might find this is initially going to appear prohibitive or unthinkable. You may get quite uncomfortable with the idea that you could ask for more. On the other hand, you also may be quite surprised that the reality of this method is quite different from what you imagine. 
When people give you a compliment, they are often pleased to do so. They are likely to feel very good to tell you more. In addition, it is always nice to hear more reinforcement. 
So upon receiving a compliment, consider responding with something like this: 
  • "Thanks so much; I appreciate that. Help me understand more specifically what you mean."
  • "Thanks very much; tell me more about what specifically you liked." 
  • "Thank you very much. I enjoyed doing it. What stood out the most about the presentation?" (They will tell you more and you can say, "Thanks very much" again.) 
 The surprising thing is that when you HARVEST, people will be very likely to give you more, they will be happy to do so and you get fed. Everyone wins!
People need to be fed... including you. Remember, everyone's biggest need that has to be met is to feel important. So if you like reinforcement, and nearly everyone does, LET PEOPLE BE PLEASED WITH YOU!

So: Decide to replace your DISCOUNT habit with a new habit -- ACCEPT.

Start by practicing saying, "Thank you" when you get a compliment. You will be telling them they are allowed to be impressed with you.

They will reinforce you more because you are teaching them that it is okay for them to do so. They will feel good about the process and so will you. They will feel important, and so will you.

Over time, you will get more comfortable with receiving compliments and perhaps even begin to believe you might deserve them!

And you will get fed.

It's common sense... and common sense is very uncommon!

Today's Tickle

Children Writing About the Ocean


  • This is a picture of an octopus. It has eight testicles.  (Kelly, age 6)
  • Oysters' balls are called pearls.  (Jerry, age 6)
  • If you are surrounded by ocean, you are an island.  If you don't have ocean all round you, you are incontinent. (Mike, age 7)
  • Sharks are ugly and mean and have big teeth, just like Emily Richardson.  She's not my friend any more.  (Kylie, age 6)
  • A dolphin breathes through a butthole on the top of its head.  (Billy, age 9)
  • My uncle goes out in his boat with 2 other men and a woman and pots and comes back with crabs.  (Millie, age 6)
  • When ships had sails, they used to use the trade winds to cross the ocean.  Sometimes when the wind didn't blow the sailors would whistle to make the wind come.  My brother said they would have been better off eating beans. (William, age 7)
  • Mermaids live in the ocean.  I like mermaids.  They are beautiful and I like their shiny tails but how on earth do mermaids get pregnant?  (Helen, age 6)
  • I'm not going to write about the ocean.  My baby brother is always crying, my Dad keeps yelling at my Mom, and my big sister has just got pregnant, so I can't think what to write.  (Amy, age 6)
  • Some fish are dangerous.  Jellyfish can sting.  Electric eels can give you a shock.  They have to live in caves under the sea where I think they have to plug themselves in to chargers.  (Christopher, age 7)
  • When you go swimming in the ocean, it is very cold, and it makes my willy small.  (Kevin, age 6)
  • Divers have to be safe when they go under the water.  Divers can't go down alone, so they have to go down on each other.  (Becky, age 8)
  • On vacation my Mom went water skiing.  She fell off when she was going very fast.  She says she won't do it again because water fired right up her big fat ass.  (Julie, age 7)
  • The ocean is made up of water and fish.  Why the fish don't drown I don't know.  (Bobby, age 6)
  • My dad was a sailor on the ocean.  He knows all about the ocean.  What he doesn't know is why he quit being a sailor and married my mom.  (James, age 7)
Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It is easier to turn the boat to make course corrections and improvements after the boat is moving.

Dr. J. Mitchell Perry


Most people think it is important to regularly exercise. Clearly maintaining a habit of ongoing exercise reflects common sense.  And yet, most people exercise very little, they hate it, make excuses, rationalize they have too little time, and procrastinate.

While exercise appears to be important, it remains a low priority for most of us.

This is another brilliant example of the huge difference between what we KNOW and what we DO.

We KNOW it is important to regularly exercise... it's common sense --
We will live longer, be healthier, reach greater cardiovascular health, lose weight, increase flexibility, strengthen our immune system, have more muscle mass, sleep better, improve metabolism, increase bone density, reduce depression, look better, have an improved libido and sexual function, be more fit, reduce chronic pain, recover faster from disease, and have an improved outlook on life.

However, we generally refuse to DO it.
At the thought of exercising, most of us snatch a rationalization from the jaws of logic at a moment's notice: "I don't time.  I'm busy.  I'm tired. It takes too long. I will do it later. I lack the right equipment. I have to get someone to do it with me. I'm too old. I'm too fat.  I'm too stiff. I hate going to the gym.  I will do it after I lose some weight. My father never exercised and he lived to 92 years old. I hurt and I will start when I feel better, blah, blah, blah."

The obvious result is that we refuse to practice common sense and DO something that would clearly improve our health, longevity, outlook, and quality of life. 

INSANITY:  We refuse to DO what we KNOW!

So what is the deal?

If we KNOW exercise is an important habit to have, then how do we actually begin to DO IT? How do we make exercise a lasting habit?


Here is a wonderful and common senses way in which we can start exercising and make it a habit.

Think about how you start your day. Every morning you wake up, get yourself out of bed and perform your routine to pull yourself together for the day. Typically you likely engage in some form of the same morning regimen: Shower, shampoo, soap, shave, teeth, hair, make-up, clothing, grooming, details, and double checking the result in the mirror.  Oh my!

Now, think about brushing your teeth. 

Notice that teeth brushing is clearly a habit. You brush your teeth every day as you have been since you were a kid. 

How did that get to be such a non-negotiable habit? 

Well, when you were little, your parents likely made you do it, and enough time went by that it became a standard operating procedure. It became unthinkable to avoid brushing your teeth.

Actually since childhood, you have created a non-negotiable ongoing rule for yourself that says:  I EXIST, THEREFORE I BRUSH MY TEETH!

Now, ask yourself a few questions regarding teeth brushing:

  1. Every morning when you wake up, do you ever think: Today I refuse to brush my teeth? NO!
  2. Just before you start brushing your teeth, do you ever start obsessing and catastrophizing with the thought: I wonder if I am brushing my teeth long enough? NO!
  3. In the middle of teeth brushing, do you ever start worrying about how well you are brushing them? NO!
  4. As a matter of fact, is it much more likely that you rarely think about brushing your teeth... instead you simply brush them while you think about something else? YES!
  5. Therefore your daily mission is simply to keep up with the habit of brushing your teeth every day!
So, let's imagine that daily habitual exercise had the SAME STATUS AS BRUSHING YOUR TEETH... that it is decidedly less important about how well or long you exercise... instead it is MORE important to simply make regular exercise a non-negotiable habit!


That makes common sense and remember that common sense is very uncommon!

Now make a decision that exercise is less about doing it right or doing it long enough. It is instead MORE about doing it at all! 

Furthermore, exercise is now less about exercise and now it is MORE about MOVING.

So make a commitment to do something every day that is MOVING. 

The daily time window is now to be a minimum of one-minute and a maximum of a couple of hours.

Here are options of what you can DO when it comes to MOVING:

  1. Push-ups, abdominals, pull-ups, calisthenics
  2. Stretches, yoga, weights, rowing, exercise machines while watching TV
  3. Walking, jogging, running, jumping-rope, bicycling, spinning
  4. Baseball, basketball, volleyball, racquetball, tennis, sports
  5. Dancing (put on your favorite song and dance to it naked in the bathroom... oh my!)
  6. Organize the closet, wax the car, walk the dog, clean the garage, mop the floor, mow the lawn
  7. MOVE! Do something that either improves muscle function and/or gets your heart rate up
  8. Now YOU come up with something... JUST MOVE!
Remember, the mission is to make it a habit, regardless of whether you have one minute or 60.

Do something! MOVE every day... for a minimum of 3 to 6 weeks. When you want to talk yourself out of it... do it anyway... just like you do when you brush your teeth.

Once some kind of MOVING becomes a habit you will notice that stopping the habit starts to become unthinkable.



You will get good at it after it becomes a regular habit.  

Just get going and your emotions will catch up.  

(Remember it is easier to turn the boat to make course corrections and improvements after the boat is moving.)




An Oxymoron is defined as a phrase in which two words of opposite meanings are brought together.

Here are some clever oxymorons for your entertainment:

1. Clearly misunderstood
2. Exact estimate
3. Small crowd
4. Act naturally
5. Found missing
6. Fully empty
7. Pretty ugly
8. Seriously funny
9. Only choice
10. Original copies
11. Military intelligence
12. Tight slacks
13. Instant classic
14. Political science
15. Alone together
16. Awfully good
17. Cautiously optimistic
18. Cheerfully pessimistic
19. Civil war
20. Comfortable misery
21. Cool passion
22. Crash landing
23. Deceptively honest
24. Eloquent silence
25. Ill health
26. Freezer burn
27. Genuine imitation
28. Idiot savant
29. Intense apathy
30. Old news
31. Plastic glasses
32. Random order
33. Resident alien
34. True fiction
35. Unconscious awareness
36. Unbiased opinion
37. Wise fool
38. Terribly appreciative
39. "Thanks most awfully!"   

At your service,
Dr. J. Mitchell Perry
JM Perry Learning

P.S.  Let me know how you are doing!

Thursday, May 28, 2015
What would you rather do... take responsibility for yourself, complete with your spine and self-respect intact or become a certified weak and whining professional victim?


Many people unconsciously choose to play a victim role, and in so doing they enable many others to mistreat, criticize, take advantage, and be disrespectful. 

Remember, the only way that others can mistreat you is with consent... and victims consent all the time.  Most victims are volunteers. 

Typical behaviors of professional victims:
  • Self-pity, feeling sorry for yourself, Poor me, Why me? It isn't fair
  • Being sick often with hypochondria
  • Being perpetually financially strapped or broke
  • Continually the recipient of abuse
  • Being a martyr and/or a masochist
  • Being an over-accommodator and people pleaser
  • Being lazy, a chronic failure and therefore unwilling to even try
  • Staying addicted to drugs, alcohol, abusive people, bad situations, etc.
  • Being a chronic crisis junkie, catastrophizer, and awfulizer
  • Being an enabler of others to take advantage financially, emotionally, in relationships, etc.
  • Medicating with food and therefore hiding behind obesity
  • Being unwilling to take responsibility for your future
  • Deciding to give up before you start, choosing defeat up front
  • Hiding behind a that's just the way I am mantra
  • Routinely saying, I'm unlucky, which suggests that luck has much to do with life's successes
  • Hiding behind religion, particularly the kind that glorifies martyr behavior and giving up responsibility for yourself
  • Staying in a bad marriage or relationship because you think predictable unhappiness is preferable to unpredictable happiness
  • Hanging on to a job you hate, with the fear that you would prefer the illusion of security to happiness and success
  • Continually limiting your options because you are consumed with fear
  • Refusing to take responsibility for your life situation, thinking that someone else is responsible and owes you something
  • Feeling entitled to be a victim and then complaining about it
To get better and get unstuck with the victim routine:
  • Identify the victim behaviors in yourself
  • Admit that you are behaving this way and you have been a volunteer for too long
  • Decide that you are now done with choosing "the delicious agony of life" so you can have others feel sorry for you
  • Get bothered enough that you are now convinced it is time to do something different
  • Take responsibility for your life, your behaviors, your decisions, and your contributions to your situations
  • Decide to clean up your mess
  • Think about several options (three or more) that you could choose... multiple options reduces the threat of losing, resignation, failure, and surrender
  • Get started in small steps on one or some of the options
  • Learn to say NO, and let others disapprove or be unhappy
  • Get on with your life
  • Keep going anyway, even when you have setbacks
  • Remember, life is about learning lessons, and lessons will be repeated until they are learned


26 Truths for Older Adults

1. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still be clueless what time it is.

2. What sucks the most is that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I refused to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the heck are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5.  I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I forgot the last time I wasn't at least kind-of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. It is unclear when it will strike, but there comes a moment when you know that being productive is out of the question for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blu-ray? I refuse to restart my collection... again.

13. It seems clearly reasonable that when I am lonely, I can solve that problem by ordering 2 large pizzas, 4 beers, and an ice cream chaser.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know to ignore them when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers.  I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday more kisses begin with cocktails than Kay.

17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still failed to hear, understand, or care about a word they said?

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front.  Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

22. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.

23. As soon as you find something at the grocery store that you really like, they will either move it or the company will discontinue it. Indeed!

24.  The driving of all the other people on the road has become markedly worse in the past few years.

25. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

26. Surveys say that 75% of citizens think that rudeness is a real problem in this country. It is also clear that 99% percent of us think everyone else is rude. If only THEY would change, everything would be fine.

Life just gets better as you get older...YES?

At your service,
Dr. J. Mitchell Perry
JM Perry Learning

Thursday, April 30, 2015
The cooperation conundrum:
Among the most insane habits we humans
practice is to prevent the very thing we want
and disallow the very thing that works.  

Dr. J. Mitchell Perry


As a species, we are a very curious bunch of characters. So often, rather than practice common sense, we prefer to routinely practice insanity... and, what is insanity? Insanity is: continuing the same counter-productive habit, with the same bad outcome, with the illusion that if we keep doing that habit, we will receive a different outcome.

Among the two most insane habits people practice in the United States are:

     1.  We spend more than we have.
     2.  We eat more than we need.
          (More than 2/3 of us are financially and
          physically obese.) 
          Then we wonder why we are so broke and so

Here is another insane habit we so often practice around the world... failing to ASK FOR HELP.

This is one of the most powerful and effective habits that humans generally avoid.

The paradox is that we often prevent the very thing that works - ASKING FOR HELP. 

To get started, here are some remarkably universal truths:
Universal Truth #1:  When offered help, most people will likely answer "No."

Imagine yourself offering someone help:
You offer help to your teenager in doing homework
You offer help to your spouse to solve a computer issue
You offer help to a co-worker who appears to need it
You offer help to a family member to solve a personal problem
What happens?  Almost always their response is a resounding "NO."

At this point, you are often quite perplexed.  You think:
My intentions are good
I can really help here
I can solve it right away
My advice is quite good
This seems insane!  What's going on?
Universal Truth #2:  When asked for help, people will generally answer "Yes."

Think about it.  
If I ask you for help, are you likely to say yes?  Answer - YES.  Why?  Because if I ask you for help it helps you feel important and the single biggest need that people have to be met (beyond survival) is to feel important.
If I ask you for help, you say yes; and you give me the help, then do I have more resources at this point or fewer resources?  Answer - MORE.
If I ask you for help, you say yes; you give me the help; I now have more resources; then am I less powerful or more powerful?  Answer - MORE POWERFUL.
Therefore, if I ask you for help:
You will very likely say yes;
You give me the help;
I now have more resources;
I now become more powerful;
Then that is a GOOD thing, yes?
That is common sense, yes?
What is it that would make so many people refuse to ask for help and reject the above logical common sense?  What is the deal with so many people having so much difficulty asking for help? 

Answer:  Because of the ASSOCIATION that most of us have in our minds with the idea of asking for help.  Remember that whenever you associate with something you will likely be bound by the association regardless of how true or ridiculous that association is.  

And, what is the most common ASSOCIATION that people connect with asking for help?

That ASKING FOR HELP means that you will be considered WEAK!  And, because it is unthinkable to be weak, you must avoid asking for help.


So, is that association actually true?  Think about it.  

Here are some very important questions I recommend you ask yourself:
Have you ever done a research survey to determine that if you ask others for help, they will actually think you are weak?
Are you aware of research in the literature that has conclusively determined that when you have an impulse to ask others for help, you must override and stop the impulse because there is statistically significant data that proves people will think you are weak?
In my professional history, the answers to both questions are a resounding NO!  

So on what do you want to rely?

     1.  The insane life-long association of asking for 
          help means you are weak?
      2.  Asking for help is very effective, and reeks of
           Common Sense! 

I imagine that when you think about it, the Common Sense solution #2 is the way to go.  

So, how do you get started with making a habit of ASKING FOR HELP?

    When you ask for help, deliberately switch the
    association in your mind from WEAKNESS to

Decide that now it is common sense to ask for help because you now believe the fact that asking for help is a good thing.  Remember, if you ask others for help:
They will very likely say yes;
They will give you the help;
You now have more resources;
You now become more powerful.
     INTO THE HABIT.  What you rehearse, you will

Use any of the following for practice:  
"Help me understand."
"I wonder if you can help me?"
"I need your advice."
"What are your thoughts?"
With enough practice you will find out it gets easier.  Moreover, you will notice that you can ask anyone for help... including your children, clients, co-workers, family, neighbors, and service providers.  Try on any of the above openers, and you will find people quite flexible and helpful.  

Asking for help works wonders.
People will say "yes";
People will help;
Your relationships become more flexible;
You solve issues together;
Everyone contributes;
You replace pushback and rigidity (You or Me)    with teaming and responsiveness (You and Me).  
So, I need your help here... WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? 


Real sports comments for your entertainment:

1. Former Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson on being a role model: "I wan' all dem kids to do what I do, to look up to me. I wan' all the kids to copulate me."

2. New Orleans Saint RB George Rogers when asked about the upcoming season: "I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first."

3. And, upon hearing Joe Jacobiof the 'Skin's say: "I'd run over my own mother to win the Super Bowl,"... Matt Millen of the Raiders said: "To win, I'd run over Joe's Mom, too."

4. Torrin Polk, University of Houston receiver, on his coach, John Jenkins: "He treat us like mens. He let us wear earrings."

5. Football commentator and former player Joe Theismann: "Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."

6.  Senior basketball player at the University of Pittsburgh: "I'm going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes.." (Now that is beautiful.)

7. Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach: "You guys line up alphabetically by height." And, "You guys pair up in groups of three, and then line up in a circle."

8.  Boxing promoter Dan Duva on Mike Tyson going to prison: "Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton."

9. Stu Grimson, Chicago Blackhawks left wing, explaining why he keeps a color photo of himself above his locker: "That's so when I forget how to spell my name, I can still find my clothes."

10. Lou Duva, veteran boxing trainer, on the Spartan training regimen of heavyweight Andrew  Golota: "He's a guy who gets up at six o'clock in the morning, regardless of what time it is."

11. Chuck Nevitt, North Carolina State basketball player, explaining to Coach Jim Valvano why he appeared nervous at practice: "My sister's expecting a baby, and I don't know if I'm going to be an uncle or an aunt. (I  wonder if his IQ ever hit room temperature in January.)

12. Frank Layden, Utah Jazz president, on a former  player: "I asked him, 'Son, what is it with you? Is it ignorance or apathy?' He said, 'Coach, I don't know and I don't care.''

13. Shelby Metcalf, basketball coach at Texas  A&M, recounting what he told a player who received four F's and one D: "Son, looks to me like you're spending too much time on one subject."

14. In the words of NC State great Charles Shackelford: "I can go to my left or right, I am amphibious." 

At your service,
Dr. J. Mitchell Perry
JM Perry Learning

P.S.  Let me know how you are doing!
Friday, March 13, 2015
I often think about life in general and mine in particular when it seems that I am experiencing increasing opportunities presented to me that say "Would you like a senior discount?"

It is certainly true that life seems to be going by faster, and I can only say... "Who authorized that?"

So here are some musings for your consideration and for you to pause and re-evaluate the business of living:

COMMON SENSE: it is very important to periodically remind yourself of the obvious that might be right in front of your face.  Life is messy and there is always a gap between how life should be and how life is, therefore, concentrate on the cheese and quit whining about the holes.  
And, remember that common sense is very uncommon.

LIFE: Life is really all about two things and two things only:
1.    Touching the lives of others
2.    Getting your life touched.
All the rest is noise.  And, it is more than coincidental that the more you reach out and touch the lives of others, your life gets touched in return.

 HAPPINESS: The closest distance between two people is the warmth of closeness, affection, forgiveness, respect, and humor... and that is where happiness resides.

FAMILY: Remember to love what you can love in another and then let the rest go. What you focus on expands.  Life is too short to keep describing the problem. It is often by far more productive to solve the problem. Then spend some more time touching the lives of others.That is where and when you feel full, and with love in your heart.

COMPLIMENTS: Remember that every time you discount or invalidate any compliment given to you, you are telling the other person they are wrong and they are disallowed to be impressed with you. Eventually, they will finally quit giving you any compliments or reinforcing remarks.Then, you will say to yourself... "does anybody like me or think I am any good?"
Now think... Ah ha!... you might start concluding you are routinely preventing the very thing you want!
So, let people be impressed with you and simply say "THANK YOU"... which will encourage them to compliment you more. People need to be fed, including you. Allow people to reinforce you, and spend more time reinforcing them.
Catch someone doing something right then tell them about it! You are at a very low risk of reinforcing others too much.

Dr. Mitchell Perry

PS: Below are some more very enlightened perspectives about  life's lessons. In fact, many of the perspectives below are statements gathered from dozens of different people (aged 5 to 95),many of which were collected in the 1995 book, Live and Learn and Pass It On, Volume II.


For your consideration:

I've learned... that the best classroom in the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I've learned... that when you're in love, and you find your smile, it shows.

I've learned... that regardless of how much you ignore the facts, the facts still remain the facts.

I've learned... that for you to be a fully functioning grown-up, you must take responsibility for your thoughts, decisions, and conduct. 

I've learned... that it often a good idea to say, "I was wrong, I hurt you, I'm sorry, and please forgive me." Then, go clean up your mess without further delay.

I've learned... that life is often about learning lessons... and lessons will be repeated until they are learned. Only when we hold ourselves accountable are we likely to learn those necessary lessons. 

I've learned... that just one person saying to me, "You've made my day," makes my day.

I've learned... that having a child fall asleep in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings in the world.

I have learned... that the words Mom and Dad are the sweetest words in the English language. Remember they did the best they knew how at the time.

I've learned... that being kind is more important than being right.

I've learned... that to give is so much more rewarding than to receive.

I've learned... that it is routinely a good idea to say yes to a gift from a child.

I've learned... that I can always pray for someone when I lack the strength to help him or her in some other way.

I've learned... that regardless of how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend with whom to have fun and act goofy.

I've learned... that sometimes all a sick person needs is to have the hand held by a loved one sitting by the sickbed.

I've learned... that sending a thank you note, a congratulations note, a condolence note, or a love note, is perhaps the best thing you can do.

I've learned... that simple walks with my father around the block on summer nights when I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I've learned... that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
I've learned... that having loved and lost is better than missed having loved at all.

I've learned... that loves lost can turn into powerful life's lessons and life-long true friendships.

I've learned... that money is often unable to buy class.
I've learned... that class is unrelated to gender, race, religion, or wealth.

I've learned... that under everyone's hard shell is someone who is often scared and hurt and wants to be appreciated and loved.

I've learned... that when you plan to get even with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I've learned... that love, instead of time, heals all wounds.

I've learned... that the easiest way for me to grow as a person is to surround myself with people smarter than I am.

I've learned... that everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile. A bit of warmth goes a long way to touch their lives.

I've learned... that life is tough, and I'm tougher.

I have learned... that after having suffered a great injustice, my best revenge is to strive for success again.

I've learned... that opportunities are rarely lost; someone will likely take the ones you miss.

I've learned... that when you harbor bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I've learned... that I wish I could have told my Dad that I love him one more time before he passed away.

I've learned... that it is a good idea to keep your words both soft and tender, because tomorrow you may have to eat them.

I've learned... that a smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

I've learned... that when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in their little fist, that you're hooked for life.

I've learned... that everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, yet all the happiness and growth occurs while you're climbing it.

I've learned... that the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

I've learned... that when life is yucky, the world always seems to look better after a shower and clean underpants.   

I've learned... that life is like a camera. Focus on what's important. Capture the good times.  Develop from the negatives and if things turn out poorly... take another shot. 

Today's Tickle
 Disorder in the Courts

These are from a book called Disorder in the Courts and are things people actually said court, word for word, taken down and Published by court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while the exchanges were taking place.

ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning? 
WITNESS: He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?' 
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you? 
WITNESS: My name is Susan! 
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact? 
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks. 
ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active? 
WITNESS: No, I just lie there. 
ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth? 
WITNESS: July 18th. 
ATTORNEY: What year? 
WITNESS: Every year. 
ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you? 
WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which. 
ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you? 
WITNESS: Forty-five years. 
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all? 
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: He's 20, much like your IQ.
ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time?
WITNESS: Getting laid.
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Take a guess.
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I'm going with male.
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight.
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished.
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question?
And last:
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law. 

At your service,
Dr. Mitchell Perry
JM Perry Learning

P.S.  Let me know how you are doing!
Monday, January 26, 2015
EMBRACE COMMON SENSE... and Common Sense is very uncommon!

Dr. Mitchell Perry


Notice how often you hear people say...

"That's just common sense... everyone knows that!"

And, that's true, most everyone does know that!


However, much of the time, the difficult challenge is to recognize the common sense right in front of you.

When you think of any dilemma you have, you might notice that more than half the time, the MAGIC IS IN THE OBVIOUS. The solutions, the answers, the next steps, the options to proceed, are right in front of your face... IT'S OBVIOUS!

However, sometimes you are simply just too close to it and your emotions create filters and amplifiers that cloud out the obvious and reality. It is as if you ask yourself, "Where are my glasses?" and then you realize they are right on your nose.

-       YOUR MONEY - If you are concerned about your financial situation, you may want to realize the OBVIOUS, that perhaps you are spending more than you make. It's time to spend less.

-       YOUR HEALTH - If you have high blood pressure, Type-2 diabetes, hypertension, ache a lot, feel unattractive, are gasping for breath at the top of stairs, and are medicating with food... you may want to realize the OBVIOUS, that your being overweight is compromising your health, longevity, and well-being. Perhaps it is time to finally lose weight and keep it off.

-       YOUR SELF-PITY - If you notice that you spend most of your time complaining, whining, feeling self-pity, and playing victim... then you may want to realize the OBVIOUS, that you are spending too much time describing your problem rather than solving it. Perhaps it is time to start taking responsibility for yourself, your life, your choices, and your behavior and start SOLVING it.

-       YOUR CHILDISHNESS - If you notice that you are always blaming everyone else for your situation, then you may want to realize the OBVIOUS and start owning the cards that are dealt and look in the mirror. Perhaps it is time to take your future in your hands.

-       YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE - If your business is doing poorly, and customers are failing to come back, then you may want to realize the OBVIOUS and take a look at your relationship with your customers. Your customers will come back if their expectations are met and/or exceeded. Perhaps it is time to find out what your customers want, and then give it to them. Ask them regularly how you are doing and when you get advice, listen to it and change your behavior.

-       YOUR MARRIAGE - If your marriage is filled with indifference, criticism and/or contempt, you may want to realize the OBVIOUS and start spending more time and initiative on mutually nourishing and supporting each other. Perhaps it is time to spend more time reinforcing each other and demonstrating the courtship behavior you did in the beginning. You married the courtship behavior; therefore it is insane to stop the very behavior you married.




So take ANOTHER look at the obvious, and you might be surprised at what has been there the whole time right in front of you.

The paradox is: the OBVIOUS is OBVIOUS to everyone else but us! Somehow, we too often ignore Common Sense because it is so hard to see when our emotions and behavior get in the way. It is so hard to see what is right in front of our face. Here are some examples of the obvious:

- If it is common sense to be fit by eating healthy and regularly exercising, why are 2/3 of all Americans so overweight?

- If it is common sense to know that regularly reinforcing and supporting others will result in improved performance in business, then why do so many supervisors only deliver criticism or silence when it comes to giving feedback?

- If it is common sense to treat others with respect, why are so many people rude, critical, contemptuous, and indifferent?

- If it is common sense to take responsibility for our conduct and decisions, why are so many people playing victim, feeling entitled, and blaming everyone else for their failures?

- If it is common sense for people to collaborate, compromise, share, and reach agreement in order to get along, why do so many people simply ignore the obvious, and instead fight and remain adversarial with each other?

- If it is common sense that great customer service will motivate customers to come back and remain loyal, why is it that customer service resembles anything but "service" most of the time?

- If it is common sense to provide empathy, caring, support, and warmth in helping people to recover from sickness, why is it that so many people in health care have flunked the "care" part of health care?                                              

- If it is common sense that we know to be successful in life, perhaps the two most important habits that we must practice to be effective are:   
Getting along well with people (relationship skills)
Managing money, (financial literacy)      
Then why is it that most people have so many failed relationships (at home and work) and are financially dysfunctional?

- If it is common sense to say "thank you" upon receiving a compliment, then why do most people discount and invalidate every compliments they receive?

- If it is common sense to treat your spouse with support, respect, regard, affection and love (the courtship behavior), they why is it that so many marital partners replace those habits with so much indifference, defensiveness, and contempt for each other?


It is sensible, prudent, practical, logical, empirical, and reflects sound judgment.

What we know is INSIDE us: it is internally grounded, it reflects self-respect, trusting our judgment, and calm resolve. Common Sense is strategic, long-term, broad-based, functional, responsible, and often very moral.


SO NOW... IMAGINE THAT YOU PUT YOUR COMMON SENSE IN YOUR DOMINANT HAND. Now imagine your common sense (what you know) is always available to you in your dominant hand... it is what you know and it is right there in front of you.

Clearly, some of our ongoing behavior reflects Common Sense... when we do behave that way, life is generally good, and we feel more strength, resolve, calm, and self-respect.

However, some of our behavior is void of common sense, and when we abandon the obvious, we are practicing INSANITY!


Doing the same thing over and over;                    
resulting in the same poor outcome;                      
with the illusion that if we keep doing it that way; 
we will achieve a different outcome.

Too often what we DO is a function of familiarity and habit. What we DO is subject to peer pressure; it is too often influenced by others outside us... it is shortsighted, short-term oriented, subject to the approval of others, dependent on fear and doubt, and reflects a reaction to our irrational emotions at the time.

INSANITY occurs when we need to snatch a rationalization from the jaws of logic at a moment's notice in order to justify our ill-conceived actions!

Take a look at these familiar remarks that reflect INSANITY:

"We've always done it that way... if only they would change, then everything would be fine... they are the problem. I give them the answers and tell them what to do, and all they do is pushback."

"Of course I nag my husband... he really dislikes it, but that is the only way I can get his attention! Besides I am not nagging, I am helping!"

"I would pay more attention to you if you would quit nagging at me!"

"I would quit nagging at you if you would pay more attention to me!"

"It seems clearly reasonable that when I am lonely, I can solve that problem by ordering 2 large pizzas, 4 beers, and an ice cream chaser."

"Yes, I have carried this grudge for a long time, but they started it and they have to apologize first."

"I hate my job, and I am sick of being so dependent on it, but I will never get another job like this, so I just put in the time and wait for it to be over."

"I haven't figured out what I want to do so I guess I will just do this in the meantime."

"I worry all the time and feel afraid a lot, and I have to do that so I can be prepared for any bad thing that might happen along the way."

"I am not bossy, it's just that I know more about what everyone else should be doing!"

"I have always been shy and a worrier, I can't help it... I don't like it either... but that's just the way I am!"

"Our business would be much more successful if it just wasn't for those damn customers!"

"Of course I am suspicious of others, because when you have had my experience, you will learn that all people are out to screw you!"

"There aren't any good men out there... and any good ones are already taken!"

"I can't find a job... there are none out there... I am too overqualified / old / fat / undereducated / and they discriminate against me, so what's the point of trying?"

"I always avoid dancing because I don't dance well and everyone will be looking at me and think I am a loser."

"If you can't do it right, don't do it at all."

"I am a perfectionist, and have high standards, and when it isn't right, I go nuts and it really bugs me!"

"This isn't a good time to deal with this. I know I have been avoiding this, but I will start to deal with this when I feel better and I'm ready."

"We are working in the best interests of the American people, and it's just those misguided people on the other side of the aisle who won't budge. They are the problem"

Remember that your Common Sense is in your dominant hand. And, put your Insanity in the other hand. You now have a very important choice to make. Will you practice Insanity or will you choose COMMON SENSE?

DECIDE TO CHOOSE COMMON SENSE AND DO WHAT YOU KNOW! Bring your insanity (the dark side) over to Common Sense. Do what you know!

When you think of doing what you already know... you will likely make better choices routinely. You will be more proactive, happy, self-respecting, and operating from strength. You already know common sense... it is simply now a conscious decision to choose to embrace the obvious and practice it.


THE OBVIOUS... think about it. And think about how you live your life. The magic, the answers, the solutions, the prescriptions, and the deliverables are all in the OBVIOUS; it's all right in front of your face.
And the paradox is... the obvious is obvious to everyone but you.

WHY IS THAT? Because you are too close to it, your emotions are involved, and your emotions create filters and amplifiers which often prevent you from seeing what's right in front of your face.


Recognize and embrace what's right in front of your face.
It's COMMON SENSE... And, Common Sense is very uncommon!

COMMON SENSE is WHAT YOU KNOW: sensible, prudent, obvious, logical, practical, empirical, and reflecting sound judgment. "Anyone would know that!"

It's common sense to put into practice what you know, and remember common sense is very uncommon.


Doing the same bad habit with the same poor results with the illusion that if you keep doing it that way, you will receive a different outcome.

The key is to connect WHAT YOU DO (your behavior) with WHAT YOU KNOW (Common Sense).

And Common Sense is very uncommon!

Today's Tickle

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit.  Wisdom is not using it in a fruit salad. 
Sometimes, when I look at my children, I say to myself, 'Lillian, you should have remained a virgin.'
- Lillian Carter (mother of Jimmy Carter)

I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: - 'No good in a bed, but fine against a wall.'
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Last week, I stated this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen. I have since been visited by her sister, and now wish to withdraw that statement.
- Mark Twain

The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible.
- George Burns

Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.
- Victor Borge

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
- Mark Twain

By all means, marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher.
- Socrates

I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury.
- Groucho Marx

My wife has a slight impediment in her speech. Every now and then she stops to breathe.
- Jimmy Durante

I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back.
- Zsa Zsa Gabor

Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat.
- Alex Levine

My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying.
- Rodney Dangerfield
Money can't buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.
- Spike Milligan

Until I was thirteen, I thought my name was SHUT UP.
- Joe Namath

I don't feel old. I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap.
- Bob Hope

I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.
- W. C. Fields

We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress.
- Will Rogers

Don't worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.
- Winston Churchill

Maybe it's true that life begins at fifty. But everything else starts to wear out, fall out, or spread out.
- Phyllis Diller

By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he's too old to go anywhere.
- Billy Crystal

And the cardiologist's diet: - If it tastes good spit it out.
May your troubles be less, may your blessings be more, and may nothing but happiness come through your door.