I'm Deborah, survivor of everything from multiple cancer battles to major business setbacks. Join my search for ways to move the mountains, big & small, that block your path to success.

Secret to achieving fitness goals

Young Man Exercising on an Exercise Machine


Own any exercise equipment? If it could talk, what do you imagine it might say?

Three months? What if someone left you in the box for three months? It’s dark in here. The packing peanuts itch.

Dude, I found a great clothing rack on e-bay. Bookmarked it for ya. Check it out.

Really? You’re gonna watch the entire Godfather trilogy while I just sit here? Don’t you think that’s a little … selfish?

You may have had the best intentions when purchasing your Bowflex, treadmill, exercise bike, or elliptical trainer, but somehow you failed to form the lasting bond needed to get your money’s worth? What went wrong?

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Quotes: Do unto others …

Pres. Lyndon Johnson During Visit to Vietnam, November 4, 1966

When you’re coping with difficult problems, it’s easy to slip into self-absorption. We become so caught up in our troubles that they become the center of our universe. And if we’re not careful, we can start behaving like we should be the center of everyone else’s universe, too.

Few people juggle more problems at one time than the leader of the free world. After taking over the presidency in the worst possible circumstances—the murder of his predecessor in 1963—Lyndon Baines Johnson was managing an escalating war in Vietnam, anti-war protests at home, civil rights battles in the South, the introduction of Medicare, urban riots, the space race, and crises in the Middle East.

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Make sure your voice is heard

Jury Selection #1

Whether or not you agree with the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial, it’s not easy making life-and-death decisions that will forever be scrutinized and second-guessed by the public. The more infamous the case, the greater the responsibility—and the potential criticism.

As another defense attorney admonished the jury during summation in a long ago show trial, “you are the only bulwark that can resist oppression in a time of public excitement. Judges cannot do it. The fathers of this country put this power in the hands of the people.” If that burden weren’t enough, the attorney went on to assure jurors the accused was “the kind of man who never fails a friend. He was loved by his followers. Open-handed, generous, a man a bookmaker would trust with a ten-thousand-dollar bet.”

No mention of whether he wore a halo.

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How to talk with your hands

French Bartender Using Gestures and Expressions While Talking Behind the Bar

It was a July day in 1975, and Judge Rudolph T. Randa’s municipal courtroom in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was packed. As the defendant stood before sentencing, the judge asked if he had anything he wanted to say on his own behalf.

Needing to use his hands to speak his piece, the defendant automatically pulled them from his pockets … where he’d been holding up pants that were four sizes too big. His trousers fell to the floor. No underwear. Thus the defendant’s unplanned statement was to moon the crowded courtroom.

The poor man quickly pulled up his pants as the spectators tried to smother their snickers. But with the guard’s admonishment to “keep your hands in your pockets,” he probably found it even more difficult to come up with appropriate words for his circumstances.

A recent study conducted at the University of Birmingham in England found that talking with your hands triggers mental images that helps people solve complex problems involving spatial visualization. In other words, people who use their hands when talking find it easier to put things in mental order. Other studies have found that people tend to view those who talk with their hands as more warm, agreeable, and energetic … and those who don’t as more cold and calculating.

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Sick of your surroundings?

Downtown San Francisco, CA

As a child, did you ever read Aesop’s fable of the city mouse and the country mouse? After a visit to his cousin showed him the sparseness of country living, the city mouse reciprocated the invitation, and the country mouse ventured to the city. The country mouse was impressed by the splendid feasts available in the city’s huge garbage dumps … but he didn’t appreciate having to dodge so many cats and other dangers trying to get at them. The moral of the story: “A modest life with peace and quiet is better than a rich one with danger and strife.”

Apparently the Greek writer, who’s believed to have lived sometime in the 3rd to 5th century B.C., was wise beyond his time. By using functional brain imaging, researchers from the University of Heidelberg have been able to demonstrate that the brains of city and country dwellers respond differently to social stress. And that probably explains why people reared in cities are more prone to developing mental disorders.

Yes, it’s long been established as a scientific reality: Living in the city can drive you nuts.

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Free yourself from clinging guilt

Chacma Baboon Baby Clinging to it's Mother

The best thing that can happen to lesser candidates during an election is for the head of the ticket to have long coattails. When presidents take office by decisive numbers, senators and congressional representatives, state governors and legislators, even local officeholders from the same party can ride those coattails straight into office.

But for those of us just going about our daily routines, hangers-on can be a drag. We think we’ve tossed off the negatives in our lives, but they didn’t fall as far as we’d hoped. They’re right behind us, clinging desperately, and weighing us down as we try to achieve our goals of success, peace, and happiness.

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Do what makes you happy

Seek Happiness

The Cherry Sisters—19th-century Iowa farm girls—yearned to visit the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. So in what would later become the tradition of many a B-musical, they chimed: “Let’s put on a show!”

Effie, Addie, Ella, and Jessie came up with the idea of staging a vaudeville act to pay their way to the fair. Their inexperience, corny material, and all-around lack of talent didn’t bother the hometown friends and neighbors who gave them enthusiastic applause when they tried out their act. But road audiences expected entertainment for their two bits. So the Cherry Sisters grew accustomed to dodging rotting vegetables and raw eggs. Addie was even known to patrol the stage with a shotgun to keep audiences from running the girls out of town.

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Quotes: What would you risk?

Don't Babble! Keep Your Tongue Behind Your Teeth

In much of the world today, people take for granted the privilege to say what they please … which is why the Internet teems with nearly 160 million public blogs. But in the Soviet Union of the 1970s, citizens paid a price for speaking up.

Mstislav Rostropovich was a master cellist, one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. As such, he and his wife, soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, lived a prosperous life in Moscow, where great artists were treated like royalty. But Rostropovich’s existence was the exception under the Soviets. Increasingly, dissidents were telling the world about the rule. The best known of these dissidents, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, won the Nobel Prize for literature in October 1970, prompting even harsher attacks on his controversial work.

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How to stay centered

Chiemseemorgen I

In the classic 1944 mystery film Laura, the detective was constantly fidgeting with one of those games where you try to get a bead into a hole. He seemed to do it as much to annoy the suspects as to center himself. I love those games. The only problem is that once you get the bead in place, even the slightest movement sends it rolling off in all directions again.

Hate to admit it, but for the last few months I’ve been a lot like those beads … unable to hold center. I’ll roll aimlessly around the board trying to regroup, find my way back for a day or two, then suddenly get jarred loose and start rolling again.

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Quotes: On the bright side

Pollyanna, with Jane Wyman, Richard Egan, Karl Malden, Nancy Olson, and Hayley Mills, 1960

Recently I was debating someone about how to improve a decades-old process that simply doesn’t work. He believes flawed, inadequate procedures are the best we can do, and considers me naive for thinking otherwise.

Pollyanna,” he groused.

If he’d used the term appropriately, I’d have been flattered. The expression comes from the classic 1913 children’s novel by Eleanor H. Porter about a girl who manages to find something positive in the most negative circumstances. Thinking you should try to fix a flat tire instead of driving on doesn’t make you a Pollyanna—it means you have common sense. Thinking when your tire goes flat that you’re blessed to have a car makes you a Pollyanna.   Continue reading...

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