• Call Us (734) 692-0544
    LinkedInTwitterYouTubeFacebook Shopping Cart

The Secret to Mastery? You Can Get There from Here

On one of my earliest trips to Italy in the 1990s, I had the wonderful opportunity to view some of the most beautiful and highly regarded works of art in the world. I was particularly touched by the mastery of Michelangelo.

As I stared in awe at the statue of David, I couldn’t help but remember the story about the woman who approached Michelangelo to compliment his work.

After seeing the beauty, the power and the magnificence of the life-like marble statue of David, she said to the artist, “Your mastery is quite impressive.”

Michelangelo replied simply, “Woman, if you knew how hard I worked for my mastery, you wouldn’t be so impressed.”

Read more »

Life is perfect and everything is on schedule

Uncovering Success Strategies – More About Success Strategy #30

Understand that life is perfect, and everything is on schedule.” – Joe Caruso

Life isn’t always what we want it to be. Nonetheless, it is reality. To not see life as perfect is not to accept reality. Someone who doesn’t accept reality is someone who is flirting with insanity. A good gauge of our mental wellness can be how well we’re accepting reality at any point in time.

More often than I’d care to count, I have been delayed by air travel. When I wrote this article, I was sitting on a plane. The plane was sitting at the gate. We were about five minutes away from take-off when the captain informed us that due to crosswinds in Detroit (my destination), our departure would be delayed by two hours. Not a perfect situation. However, it was my reality and I couldn’t change it. Once I accepted the situation, I decided that it would be an excellent opportunity to pull out my laptop and work on my book. Once I started writing I realized that my crazy travel schedule and client commitments had prevented me from having any time to write my book. With upcoming travel and vacations, I wasn’t going to have much time in the coming weeks to write either. What a perfect opportunity to keep my deadline for finishing the next chapter of my book.

Read more »

Cherish the chase as much as the trophy

Uncovering Success Strategies – More about Success Strategy # 29

Cherish the chase as much as you treasure the trophy.  – Joe Caruso

We sometimes work so hard to achieve a particular goal that we forget that success is at least as much about enjoying the process as it is about achievement. Goals are necessary to a successful life. According to the Austrian psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich, all biological organisms build up energy that seeks discharge. This discharge can either be directed or random. Goals create direction for the discharge of energy, thereby providing meaningful structure to our lives. To abandon all goals is to abandon order.

Read more »

The Art of Advising (or Giving Advice)

My job is to advise very smart people, some of whom are at the top of their field in their subject matter expertise. The core of my work is to help them think differently so they can create optimal outcomes for themselves and their organizations. Is there a secret to giving advice?

Through the years I’ve learned that how one advises is at least as important as what one advises. How one advises determines whether or not the recipient hears and considers the advice, and ultimately takes action (changes behavior) based on the advice. Outcomes change only after they have taken action based on the new thinking. This is why merely giving advice (even if you’ve been asked or paid to give it, and even if it is good advice) is not good enough. The advice must be delivered in an effective manner that stimulates new thinking that is so compelling that it creates a change in behavior.

Read more »

Respond Intelligently, Even to the Unintelligent

Rule: Respond intelligently even to the unintelligent.

How do you get to the point where you are almost impervious to petty personal attacks—either real or perceived? You have to practice responding rather than reacting with every opportunity. With each successful application you gain a victory over your ego. Each small victory will build upon the next, until this behavior pattern manifests itself and becomes apparent in your character.

Our wise old friend Lao Tzu offers helpful words on how to stay focused and learn to accept and deal with whatever type of person or situation is in front of you.

Read more »

Be Undeniable!

“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we’ve already done.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my life is the importance of being undeniable. My father introduced this concept to me when I was in the seventh grade. I was playing in an intramural baseball game and, in a very close play, was called out at second base by the umpire. I thought I was safe and let the umpire know it. My dad, who was watching the game, didn’t like seeing his son argue with an umpire, no matter how briefly.

During the drive home, I complained about how the umpire was “blind” and how I should have been called safe. My dad, very calmly and deliberately, interrupted, “You didn’t deserve it.”

I have to admit I was more than a bit upset that my own father seemed to be taking the side of the ump. I said, “What do you mean I didn’t deserve it? I was safe and he called me out. I was right and he was wrong.”

Read more »

A Cure for the #1 Cause of Death

You might try to deny it, but all of us are guilty of denial in our lives and mostly to our detriment.

Denial is often rooted in fear – fear of facing or accepting some reality – often a reality that brings about unwelcome change. But denial does so much harm to our personal and professional growth and development, and even to our health, that I’d like to take another opportunity to discuss it.

I recently spoke with well-respected psychoanalyst and psychiatrist (and my good friend) Dr. Stefan Pasternack on the subject of denial at the recent American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA) conference in New York. Stef and I were catching up on our lives, which brought us to a discussion of our health and the health of our loved ones. This prompted Stef to remark on the ability for people with heart disease or high cholesterol to manage their condition rather effectively with prescription drugs, as well as with healthy diet and exercise options. In other words, much of what we know about heart disease now, whether it is hereditary or not, can be managed pretty effectively with a competent doctor and a willing patient.

Read more »

Marking the Life of A Master: Martin Bergmann

Reaching the age of 100 is a remarkable achievement for any human. No matter how many years I have left, I hope to demonstrate the same love and commitment to my craft that I had the privilege of experiencing in a truly remarkable man, Martin Bergmann. The world lost a great mind when Martin died on January 22, 2014, less than a month shy of his 101st birthday. Martin Bergmann was a psychoanalyst, an author and an educator. If you’ve seen Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors, then you’ve seen him in action (more about that later).

Everyone in life can be our teacher, but not everyone is a master. A master is someone whose life embodies whatever it is you seek.” — Joe Caruso, The Power of Losing Control (Chapter 9)

Martin was a man I highly respected for his work in psychoanalysis. Thanks to my good friends Dr. Curtis Bristol and Dr. Todd Davison, I was blessed to know Martin Bergmann personally. By studying his writing and through our personal meetings and discussions, I made him my master.  A great man.  A great analyst. A unique mind.

Read more »