A newsletter to help you achieve greater success by combining the power of excellence and humor.

Do You See The Danger or the Benefit?

I was unpacking my suitcase in a hotel recently while watching The Ellen Show. I like Ellen DeGeneres. She finds funny in everything. During one of the commercial breaks, there was an ad for a particular medication that I won't name - to protect them and me! Let's simply call it "Our Medicine." I don't usually pay attention to pharmaceutical ads but this one jumped out at me.

The first 20 seconds of the ad were about the pain and difficulty of, well, pain. Then, the narrator took seven seconds to say, "Our Medicine can help. Our Medicine treats pain." After that, and I've edited this down quite a bit, the narrator spent the remainder of the one-minute ad rapidly listing the following warnings:

Call your doctor if symptoms worsens, or if you experience unusual behaviors or thoughts of suicide.
Our Medicine can increase these behaviors in children, teens, and young adults.
Our Medicine is not approved for those under 18.
Taking Our Medicine with pain relievers, aspirin, or blood thinners may increase bleeding risk.
Severe liver problems, some fatal, have been reported.
Talk to your doctor if you have high fever, stiff muscles, or confusion which might indicate a possible life-threatening condition.
Dizziness or fainting may occur upon standing.
Side effects include nausea, dry mouth, and constipation.

Pain hurts. Our Medicine can help pain.

Now I know why I never paid attention to pharmaceutical advertisements.  This was downright scary. And what's worse, the narrator spent all but seven seconds talking about pain, the effects of pain, and the side effects of a medication that might actually kill you. The focus was all wrong. Why couldn't this ad focus on the positive benefits of the medication and then add a simple disclaimer at the end that said, "You must see a doctor before taking Our Medicine?"

These kinds of disclaimers are common and while I'm sure there are some very good reasons for explaining the potential dangers (see government regulations and lawsuits), it's no way to promote a beneficial medication.

But here's the irony. We do this in life all the time. We focus on the "dangers" of a situation and decide to avoid it rather than face the risks. And if we do this regularly, we'll miss a lot of the potential that life has to offer. Someone once said that nothing good comes without risk. For instance,

If I only saw the danger of flying, I'd never get to enjoy the the streets of Paris like I did two weeks ago.

If I only saw the danger of motorcycling, I'd never get to feel the warmth of the sunshine or the smell of a cow pasture as I ride my Harley down a beautiful country road.

If I only saw the danger of relationships, I'd never get to date someone who would become my wife and best friend.

if I only saw the danger of starting a business, I'd never get to be my own boss, become an author, or speak to audiences all over the world.

See how this works?

In the day-to-day experience of a rich life, we all face a certain amount of risk or danger. It's just part of seeking something worthwhile and many times the benefits far outweigh the risks.

So, the next time you find yourself facing a new situation and you're presented with all the dangers, look beyond them for the potential benefits. If you go into every situation with your eyes open, assume a few risks, and take responsibility for the outcome, you'll be amazed at how few side effects there really are!

Quotable Quote

"No one has a finer command of language than the person who keeps his mouth shut." - Sam Rayburn

Shameless Self Promotion

Now is the time to start booking presentations for next year. Please let us know if you're interested in having Ron speak at your conference, meeting, or special event.

You can purchase Ron's most recent book on Amazon here: Do it Well. Make it Fun. The Key to Success in Life, Death, and Almost Everything in Between

Recent Sightings

Las Vegas, NV - Opening keynote address for BioScrip

Pittsburgh, PA - Opening keynote address for the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON)

London, England - Breakout session for the Professional Speakers Association of the UK

Indianapolis, IN - Keynote address for Leading Age Indiana

Nashville, TN - Closing keynote for the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA)

Utica, NY - Opening keynote address for Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare


Here are two good books that Ron recommends:

Risky is the New Safe by Randy Gage. How the rules have changed for business.

Blue Zones by Dan Buettner. 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest.

Just Plane Common Sense

Here is a reprint of a blog Ron posted in October:

As a frequent traveler who will achieve the coveted 1K status this year (coveted for its benefits, not for the time away from home), I know a little bit about travel etiquette. But recently, I have encountered a number of violators. So, in the spirit of making the experience better and more fun for all of us, I offer these Do it Well, Make it Fun Airplane Etiquette Tips.
One of the largest numbers on a boarding pass is the boarding number. This is when you can get on the plane. The higher the number the later you get to board. Typically, the number is related to either the cost of the ticket or the frequent flier status of you, the passenger. Please don’t take this personally even if you’re still trying to resolve that your mother also gave you a lower status in your family of origin. It’s just a system for boarding. So, board when your number is called. And by the way, “six” does not mean “one” or “two.” Wait your turn.
Luggage Stowage
Heavy luggage is even heavier when it falls on my head. Please don’t try to be a hero by lifting your 600-pound carry-on bag by yourself. Just ask for help from those of us around you. Believe me, admitting you are too weak is much better than knocking me out so that I miss my flight.  Also, once you put your bag in the overhead compartment, please don’t spend ten minutes getting ear buds, magazines, blankets, weird neck pillows, and snacks out of the bag. There are a lot of people with 6 or 7 on their boarding passes behind you. Since you knew ahead of time that you’d be boarding the plane, be prepared with all of your accessories.
Just like the imaginary line between my siblings and me in the back seat of my car growing up, the armrest on a plane is the boundary line between your space and mine. Please don’t cross this line. Your elbow belongs to you, not to me. I don’t need you to lean against me – even if it’s cold. And when you fall asleep, please position your leg so it doesn’t lean against mine. Well, unless you’re a very attractive woman. Just saying.
When it’s time to deplane, almost everyone on the plane needs to get somewhere else. None of us live on the plane. So, please don’t think your need to be somewhere else overrides my need to get somewhere else. When you shove me out of the way to get your bag out of the overhead compartment and to position yourself closer to the exit door, I feel the need to trip you. I don’t like to feel the need to trip you so please don’t force me to.
Delays and Cancellations
No matter what you think, the airline does not purposely create bad weather and mechanical problems to ruin your day. If they did, they would do it to your car and not on a plane that contains many other passengers. So, please don’t take out your frustrations on the ticket agent or else you cause her to be grumpy with the rest of us. Simply consider your flight options and make a decision on what’s best for you. Also note that the f-word is unnecessary unless your asking about a First Class upgrade.
Since air travel requires that we all get along in a metal tube that defies the laws of physics to be that high in the air, let’s make it as pleasant as possible. Please fly well and make it fun!

Doing It Well in Real Life

Judy Carter is a hilarious woman. She is also a volunteer.  And as a result of her volunteer work, she got to perform recently in front of Adam Sandler and Sacha Baron Cohen among other celebrities. To find out how her volunteering helped others and led to a great opportunity for her, read her blog here: The Power of Giving Is No Joke

Ron Culberson
Ron is a speaker, author, and humorist whose mission is to help staff and managers achieve more success through the principle of Do it Well, Make it Fun.  He offers:
  • Hilarious presentations
  • Presentation skills coaching
  • Humor writing at Funnier Speeches
Copyright © 2012 Ron Culberson, All rights reserved.
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