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9th Key Observation: “Howard Beale Isn’t the Crazy One and Mr. Spock is Dangerous…”

Wellness in the Workplace 2.0

What Got Us Where We Are Today…Won’t Get us Where We Need to be Tomorrow

10 Key Observations from Thirty-Five Years in the Field


9th Key Observation…

Howard Beale Isn’t the Crazy One and Mr. Spock is Dangerous

presented for your intellectually driven consideration, emotionally driven engagement and—most important—your viscerally driven action


Where’s Howard?

You know Howard.  He’s the “I’m not going to take it anymore!” guy, the oh-so-angry, fictitious news commentator from Paddy Chayefsky’s award winning movie, Network (1976).

“I don’t need to tell you things are bad…everybody knows that things are bad.  It’s a depression.  Everybody’s outa work, or scared of losing their jobs…the dollar buys a nickel’s worth…banks are going bust…shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter… punks are running wild in the street, there’s nobody anywhere who knows what to do and there seems to be no end to it!

…we know the air is unfit to breathe, and our food is unfit to eat…we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had 15 homicides and 63 violent crimes as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be!

We know things are bad!  Worse that bad!  They’re crazy, it’s like everything everywhere is going crazy so we don’t go out anymore!  We sit in the house and slowly the world we live in is getting smaller and all we say is “Please!  At least leave us alone in our living rooms, let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything.  Just leave me alone!”

Well I’m not going to leave you alone.

I want you to get mad!

I don’t want you to protest and I don’t want you to riot.  I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write.  I don’t know about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street.

All I know is that FIRST – you’ve got to get mad!  You’ve gotta say ‘I’m a human being, God damn it!  My life has value!’

So, I want you to get up now…

I want all of you to get up out of your chairs…

I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell: ‘ I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’

I want you to get up right now.  Sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’  Things have got to change!  Friends; you’ve got to get mad!  Then, we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and inflation and the oil crisis…

First, get out of your chairs, sit up out of your chair, go to your window, stick your head out say it:

‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!’


You go, Howard!  Tell ’em like it is!

This year marks the 35th anniversary of Network.  Co-incidentally this is also my 35th year as a health and wellness professional.  It’s amazing (somewhat disheartening) that—other than objects of distraction—Paddy could have tapped out those words this morning.

Those of you who know my work know that I view the process of change as a linear, sequential process: intellectual (information), emotional (engagement), visceral (call to action) and cellular (habit formation).  The KEY stage is the visceral stage.  Or, as Howard would say, the “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” stage.

Sustainable change does not occur

until your soul awakens and your bones start shakin’.

During all of my years in the field, I’ve seen tons of data and periodic bursts of emotion but VERY little soul-awakening, bone-shaking action.  And, as for sustained change — please — don’t make go get Howard…he’s still really ticked.

The question is WHY?  Why do we not see, feel, and believe that the health platform is truly burning?  Why can’t we hear the crackle…why can’t we smell the acrid smoke?

Is Howard right?  Do you really think this (the health of our nation…our children) is the way it’s supposed to be?  Or, perhaps he is right and you simply want to be left alone with your TV, toaster and steel belted radials.

Mr. Spock is Dangerous

I just participated in my umpteenth health promotion conference; many of the same faces, many of the same PowerPoint slides … more studies coming soon.  Yes, Yes, YES! Research is important but it’s time to shift more of the science of life research to art of living research.  Facts without context are meaningless.

Until we can answer the corporate and personal “So What?” question…the “Why Should I Care?” question…we will remain trapped in this endless cycle of information and transient emotion.  Until we objectively tee-up the AH-Ha moment that subjectively awakens souls and shakes bones we are in danger of doing more harm than good.

We don’t need any more tinder wood…We need sparks!

Excuse me; I have to stop now.  It’s time for some fresh air.

much, much, more to come on this subject…


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