I believe that low self-esteem, which seems chronic today, is largely caused by a feeling of powerlessness.


Balancing Act®: The Newsletter

(No. 286, June 2023)

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Balancing Act® is in four sections this month:

  1. Ten “Alanisms”
  2. The Human Condition: Powerlessness
  3. Musings
  4. ORTIYKMWOYBNT-O Department

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  • Find cause, not blame.
  • Pain is inevitable, suffering is voluntary.
  • I can always make another dollar, but I can’t make another minute.
  • If you don’t blow your own horn, there is no music.
  • Logic makes you think but emotion prompts you to act.
  • We have no right to consume wealth and happiness without also creating wealth and happiness.
  • You don’t cure poverty by creating more poverty.
  • Prospects know what they want but not necessarily what they need.
  • “Tough love” is empathy without the sympathy.
  • Humility isn’t self-degradation, but rather appreciation of the worth of others.
The Human Condition


I believe that low self-esteem, which seems chronic today, is largely caused by a feeling of powerlessness. In other words, people tend to feel that they are most influenced by external power: the government, the weather (natural disasters), pandemic, the misinformation and disinformation of social media, the boss, the owner, parents and siblings. (The extreme extrapolation of this is the Calvinistic pre-determination: The fates have already decided what’s to become of you.)

Remember that TSA’s policy is that everyone is guilty until proved innocent, in contradiction to everything we’re told about the law. (Note that they call them “courts of law” and not “courts of justice.”)

People atone for this through pseudo-power. They refuse to merge on the road, refuse to allow you to turn in front of them, cut you off without warning. They cut the lines at the theater or the airport, sneak into clubs in which they’re not members, bully others on social media at a great distance (which they wouldn’t dare to in person).

We experience “the great resignation” and “the gig economy” and “quietly quitting.” But these are merely media memes that attempt to explain the superficial.

High self-esteem is a requirement for success. That means that you have to realize and assert your personal power. There are things out of your control, but in bad weather you can move an event indoors, and the IRS inquiry can be handled with a good tax accountant. A relative who ruins family events needn’t be invited in the future.

The Serenity Prayer makes sense, if I may paraphrase: Don’t sweat the things you can’t control, focus on what you can control, and learn to tell the difference between the two.

And don’t forget that if you believe that there is no external control and that you, personally, are in complete control, you’ve either been exposed to too many “motivational speakers” or have had too much to drink.


Mother’s Day has gone by this year, and Father’s Day awaits. The former was begun in 1905, the latter in 1910.

Are we headed for one day, given these times? I guess “Parental Day” to try to keep it sanitized and non-gender affiliated? We combined Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays into Presidents’ Day, after all. Perhaps Christmas and Hanukkah and Eid into “Annual Gift Giving Day”?

I recall a wonderful event hosted by Alpha Phi Sorority when my daughter attended Syracuse University: Bop with Your Pop. Fathers danced with their daughters and had drinks (I learned how serious sorority sisters can drink when one offered me “Sex on the Beach” until I realized it was a cocktail) for an hour, and then the mothers joined the party. Alas and alack, it is gone.

In Providence they are introducing free school lunches for everyone, even those who can afford them, so that those who can’t aren’t “stigmatized.”

I’m all for understanding and accepting varied lifestyles and identities, though I am perplexed at the policy of drag queens reading to kids in the third grade. (I am not making that up.) I’ve read that the Jewish people of two millennia ago had identified seven or more genders. This isn’t a new circumstance, but as in all things over the past few years, people who consider themselves out of the majority or mainstream demand constant recognition, not just equal rights.

A theater here precedes its plays with one of the actors on stage announcing that we need to all be aware that this is not our land and our wealth derives from, in effect, theft.

Religion is on the outs these days, of course, not consistent with the new “in crowd,” but I find one of the tenets, in any religion, especially appealing and relevant in these times: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

And I’ll close with Billy Joel, the troubadour of our times, much more so than Taylor Swift. “I am an innocent man.” I am not guilty, no matter what your agenda is.

I'm an Old Cowhand...

We were sailing on the Queen Mary II and attended Catholic services on Sunday morning in the theater. Hundreds of people showed up, and the priest was quite good.

By accident, when we entered the elevator to get to our deck, the priest boarded a floor below. My wife and I told him the service was very nice, and I asked, “Father, how do you get an assignment like this?”

“Oh, I do it frequently,” he said, “and you probably wouldn’t understand the business, but I’m placed by a professional speaker’s bureau!”

Development Opportunities
Speaking with Alan

Speaking with Alan

One of my most popular experiential events, run twice a year. Learn how to create, refine, deliver, price, and market a speech of any length. A small group practices and video tapes the components over 2.5 days. Are you charging less than a minimum of $10,000 per speech? Are you agonizing over content, or not drawing a sufficient audience? You need this session NOW!

The Master Master Class

Master Master Class II

This sold-out event in March was so popular that I’m running another in October in Newport. I accept 16 people in person (you may also attend remotely on our large screen) and we have 6 seats remaining! I’m creating new material, exercises, and challenges. Past “grads” get a discount. One person said, “I’ve known you for nearly 20 years, and this is the best thing you’ve ever done!” (Maybe I just wasn’t that good before!)

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Million Dollar Consulting® Global Online Program ADVANCED

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The new program contains over 60 videos and has 15 modules focusing on what to do in the buyer’s office, overcoming crises, financial planning, and much, much more.

Sentient Strategy Certification

Sentient Strategy Certification

My new book on the topic released in March so this is an ideal time to market Sentient Strategy. Write me to apply, join over 70 people certified in six countries. One-time fee of $12,000, includes 90 days of my support, free admission to all future certifications, and admission to a private web board with other Sentient facilitators. In a recent program a particpant sold a $100,000 strategy program within 48 hours.

The next certification is May 30-31 via Zoom, two three-hour sessions.

Vancouver Day

Vancouver Day

I’ll be providing a full day in Vancouver for as little as $300 (US) including lunch on September 9: How to Dramatically Increase Revenues while Radically Reducing Labor. I’ll be returning from an Alaskan cruise and need the money to pay for it! This is a rare appearance in Western Canada.


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