Dr. Perry’s “Prescriptions For Life”

In this podcast from my radio show I begin a series of programs where I offer expanded descriptions of my Prescriptions For Life. From “Shoulding On Yourself” to using “The Three Option Plan” when negotiating with a family member, boss or employee. This is the start of a fun and empowering program with listener participation. Enjoy!

August 2012

Do you ever notice how some people seem to be on a mission to drive you crazy?  They clearly appear to want you to enjoy their unhappiness — they suck energy and your joy.  

What do you do?  

Dr. Mitchell Perry

Dealing with Difficult People in Business

People can be difficult… and dealing effectively with people in business is crucial to your success. When you learn how to identify people’s behavior in business you are way ahead of the game, and your career (and sanity) will benefit enormously. These benefits can be of great value in the following circumstances:

1.   When applying for a job

2.   Asking for a promotion

3.   Maintaining balance and equilibrium on the job

4.   Gaining a new account

5.   Succeeding in the merger or acquisition of your company

6.   Navigating through the political waters at work

Let’s begin by identifying some popular difficult personality types.

     1.  The Hostile – This type includes:

  • The Bully – the boss or coworker or business contact who takes pleasure in running over you
  • The Sniper – the person who says something nasty and pretends to be innocent
  • The Exploder – Their favorite line is “Don’t make me mad,” so you are always on guard for an explosion.

     2. The Negative/Critical Complainer – Everything is always wrong, bad, awful and miserable. They are    professional whiners.

     3. The Unresponsive – They are silent, non-communicative, unemotional, and distant. It is impossible to tell what their position is on anything.

     4. The Indecisive – Perpetually ambivalent, uncommitted; they are afraid of making mistakes, being wrong, and being exposed.

     5. The Judge/Calculator – “Let me analyze this,” remaining critical, pejorative, everything is slightly flawed and imperfect.

     6. The Passive/Aggressive – Appearing compliant while sabotaging, undermining, and criticizing all the time.

 Sound familiar? What do you do about these types when you have to work with them, answer to them, persuade them?

Here are some effective strategies that you can use: (Remember that different types require different tools, and it is helpful if you can use many people tools in your tool box).

1.  Keep a smile going, remain strong, impervious to the manipulations (works well on the Negative Complainers).

2.   Remove yourself (when possible) from the difficult person (it’s a frustration when they are without an audience) (works on the Bully).

3. Validate their opinion before you counter with yours. They will be less difficult when they feel valued.

4. Listen first. Listening is the best way to get your point across. As Dr. Stephen Covey says in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, seek first to understand, then be understood (works on everyone, especially the Judge/Calculator).

5. Replace “Yeah But” in your dialog with “On the other hand.” This small change will calm down escalation of contests and conflicts.

6. Ask them to help you understand. People are less likely to be difficult   when asked for help (works on the Indecisive and Unresponsive).

7.  Reinforce their value following a criticism. People respond to what they heard last, therefore they will be less defensive.

8.  Engage in three or more options. People will be less contestual when there are multiple options available.

9.  Replace “you should” with “you might,” or “I encourage you to.” People get very difficult when they hear the word “should”.

10.  Expose the routine. Announce your confusion with mixed messages from them (sometimes effective on Passive/Aggressive).

Above all, maintain your power and your sense of humor. People can only wreck your day with your consent. Though certainly difficult people often appear to want you to enjoy their misery with them, keep in mind you can always allow them to enjoy their private party by themselves. Remember the movie, “War Games?” At the end of the movie, the computer concluded “The only way to win, is not to play.”   How true sometimes.

The Demise Of Guys

In this podcast of my radio show we discuss the troubling issue of today’s young men being more interested in surfing porn, playing online games and texting as opposed to taking on challenges like higher education, relationships and being the breadwinner in their family.

Operating From Strength

From Catastrophizing to Capitalizing: it’s all about operating from strength! In this podcast from my radio show I discuss the secret sauce for success with two highly motivated entrepreneurs.

Are We Special, or Do We Make Ourselves Special?

Fascinating conversation about today’s generation being raised as if they are special from the start. In this podcast from my radio show I discuss personal responsibility and entitlement. Along with my analysis and listener comments we air David McCullough Jr.’s outstanding High School Commencement Speech known as the “you’re not special” address. Enjoy!

The Perry Plan

Are you an emotional eater medicating with food?  That’s insane – would you take a laxative for a skin disorder?  No… so why would you eat a gallon of ice cream because you are lonely?  
It’s time to pull yourself together!

Dr. Mitchell Perry  

“Winning the Losing Game”

Something is clearly missing!  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) says that a third of the country is currently obese.  Obesity is overtaking smoking as the biggest threat to our health and the numbers continue to rise every year!

Obesity raises the risk of heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis.  The CDC has concluded that obesity causes about 25,814 deaths annually in the United States.  Moreover, the financial costs to healthcare are staggering!

The price you pay for being overweight is huge!

Your self esteem
Your relationships
Your wallet
Your health
Your productivity
Your quality of life

The “Perry Plan” places the onus for losing weight back where it belongs — with the participant — rather than on quick fix diets du jour.  Instead of concentrating on what goes in your mouth, concentrate on what is between your ears!

So, how do you sabotage your own commitments to lose weight?  

Loss of control
Emotional or situational upset
You discount any improvements
Your defeatist attitude prevails
Lack of accountability either internal or external
Small setbacks trigger feelings of total failure
Learned helplessness and chronic powerlessness
Unable to stick with your commitments
Therefore, you give up and feel pessimistic!

The Solution:  THE PERRY PLAN.  It will give you the tools to insure your power to stick with your commitments to change your life for good:   

LOCOMOTION:  The power to move and keep moving.

OBSERVATION:  The skill to eat only when you are hungry.

The awareness of why you are eating.

MOTIVATION:  Inclusion – The OPTIMISM skill for POWER  to stick with your commitments.

RECOVERY FROM SETBACKS:  The power to get back in the saddle when you sabotage yourself.

At last, a proven program that will teach you to reprogram your state of mind to one of OPTIMISM and POWER.  When you are powerful you will stick with your commitments, lose weight, keep it off, and change your life for good.  



People are shoulding on themselves and each other all the time!  The ongoing result is pushback and misery.

Dr. Mitchell Perry

“Shoulding on Yourself and Others”

Have you ever noticed how often people will talk to us about a problem, and we begin to tell them what they “should” do about it? Even after hearing our sage advice, irrespective of how practical, logical, and sensible it might be, they dig in their heels and resist what you claim they “should” do.

We also do this to ourselves. Have you noticed yourself saying, “I should do this” or “I really should avoid doing that,” and then you steadfastly resist whatever it is you’re telling yourself to do? Have you ever noticed how miserable people feel whenever they compulsively keep doing whatever it is they think they should do, rather than what they want to do?  It seems there are so many things they should do, say, think, feel, quit, start, etc., that they seldom get around to enjoying anything.

If all of this sounds familiar, you are an unknowing participant in the “should bind.”  What you may have failed to consider is that whenever you deal with a “should,” you have immediately created an obstacle to any progress or success.  A “should” is a put-down, designed to point out how stupid the person is who receives it.

Suppose you have a friend who is overweight and out of shape.  For a long time, you have been watching your friend overeat without exercising.  You are now concerned about his physical condition because these eating habits are jeopardizing his good health and longevity.  So, you say, with admirable intentions:  “John, you should lose weight.  You should diet and exercise because you know your current weight is unhealthy for you.”  Notice how your friend handles these remarks!  He appears affronted and upset and simply refuses to heed them regardless of their validity.  Why?  What you have really told him is that he is stupid – if he was smart, he would have already lost the weight!  The “should” was, in reality, a put-down that resulted in a typical resistant stance.

You “Should” on yourself too!  You may notice too that whenever you tell yourself you should diet and exercise, you are reluctant to do what you “should” do.  List all of your own “shoulds.”  They may be overwhelmingly abundant and sound something like this:
I should lose weight.  I should stop smoking.  I should exercise. I should spend more time with my kids.  I should finish my degree.  I should call my mother.  I should be more patient.  I should listen.  I shouldn’t feel guilty.  I shouldn’t worry. I shouldn’t take things so personally.

Perhaps your list appears endless.  Notice whenever you should on yourself out loud, you begin to feel badly, defensive, resentful and resistant?  There is a complete absence of motivation.

Sometimes, as parents, we tell our children what they “should” and “shouldn’t” do, feel and behave.  Though our intentions are honorable and we have the utmost concern for their welfare, we become confused when often our children meet our advice with resistance.  Why is that?  In actuality, we have put them down rather than helped them out.  For instance, suppose your daughter is too frightened to swim and you say:  You shouldn’t feel afraid.  You have really told your child that her feelings are stupid and invalid.  She will still feel afraid but now she also feels inferior and stupid because her fear has been undermined.

More closely examined, the “shoulds” are purely guilt producers.  The feeling generated by any “should” remark is initially guilt but this is quickly turned to resentment then resistance.  I have seldom known anyone who really liked being dealt “shoulds” on a regular basis.

An even more self-defeating “should” is placed in the past tense, namely, “I should have done this, or You should have remembered…”  To constantly berate yourself over what you should or shouldn’t have done is unbelievably destructive.  Why?  Because it is impossible to alter the past!  It has already happened and is past the point of change.  To continually beat yourself about it is reactive and destructive.  Progress and improvement are impossible leaving room only for guilt and self-hate.

What is a solution to “Shoulding” on yourself and others?  

I heartily encourage you delete all “shoulds” from your vocabulary and substitute them with “mights” and “wants.”  Remember that the first thing people will do when they feel forced is resist.  The “shoulds” are a form of force.  People resist vehemently.  Removing the “shoulds” from your dialogue will provide less force, thereby resulting in less unnecessary resistance.  There are three ways to rephrase the overused “should” in your daily conversations.  Each has a different level of intensity.  They are:

      “You might… “
      “I urge / encourage / suggest / recommend you consider… “
      “I want you to… ”  

Notice if you say to your overweight friend, “John, you might want to lose weight,” “I would encourage you to consider losing weight,” or “I want you to lose weight.”  He will feel much less resistant to your suggestion and more motivated to start losing weight because essentially he still has the option to refuse your advice without losing face or feeling stupid.  You, of course, select one of the three options depending on your style, the closeness of the relationship, and the desired level of impact.

Removing ourselves from the tyranny of the “shoulding” on ourselves by substituting the “wants” and “mights” is a beneficial change.  If you say to yourself, “I should lose weight,” it is likely you will feel badly that you have yet to do it.  On the other hand, if you say, “I want to lose weight,” it is more likely you will diet because your resistance is down, and your levels of guilt and bad feelings are diminished.

Remember, ultimately you are only going to do what you want to do.  You will be impressed with how much more you can get done with less resistance when you concentrate on changing those “shoulds” to “wants.”  I encourage you to take your list of “shoulds” and change them to “wants.”  Then read them aloud and notice how you feel different immediately!

In summary, the “shoulds” create resistance, when either self-imposed, or levied on others.  Wipe out all the “shoulds” and consider the “mights” when speaking with others, and use the “wants” when speaking to yourself.  You will be quite surprised with the positive results.