Resource Strategies: Life’s Aesthetic Value

When I first announced this new series here at TheBingeThinker.com I knew from the start that there would be things I would be challenging myself to consider along with my readers.

Some of these topics will be far from my areas of expertise, additionally, some will take me outside my comfort zone. For both personal and professional reasons there are just some things I’ve never written about.

Today’s topic is one of them.

Growing up in a rigorously sheriffed household overseen by family full of fundamentalist baptists we were always taught that a person’s appearance was rather unimportant–even unspiritual. It was almost a sin in fact to put much emphasis on “looking good.” As a result the desire was to get us to focus on our character and our decision making, and for the most part it worked. Prior to college graduation I had never smoked, had never consumed an ounce of alcohol, was a horrible dancer, and didn’t really understand any connection between aesthetics and their proper place in life. Which was odd because I took art classes and loved the fact that my mother was a gifted painter, sketch artist, and seamstress. Also, everyone in the house was a musician. We loved beautiful sounds and sights, but for some inexplicable reason applying it to our own looks was always discouraged.

As time went by I was able to begin to decipher what was actually moral and what was just plain legalistic control.

Fast forward years down the road.

I now work in New York City. I am seen weekly on Fox News Channel. I host a broadcast that reaches 66 million television households every Saturday night. And I am doing more public speaking than ever in my life.

Last year I decided to lose 30lbs, I am now utilizing the abilities of a personal trainer, and I take more time when getting the few hairs on my head cut, picking out the frames for my glasses, or pocket square for my jacket. I even purposefully focus on attempting to smile more when taking photos, be they with listeners, or for my own public relations materials.

So what happened? Did the content of my character suddenly take a back seat?

I pray not.

But I did begin to realize that whether we wish it to be so or not, people perceive us almost the instant they meet us, and one of the keys to life is not only to make good impressions, but to back them up.

In other words, they can’t see your character coming, but they’ll never get to know your character if they never meet you!

I wanted more expert thoughts on how this can be made practical for you as you read though. The purpose of the Resource Strategies features is to give you concise tools to put into your life so that you are able to “live life to the fullest.”

To help us I turned to my friend Dr. Morris Westfried. He is a widely respected dermatologist with thirty years of board certification, and his medical degree from Yale Medical School. He has experience in some of the widest ranging fields of medicine, everything from the emergency room to pediatrics, but he settled on dermatology. When I asked him why, he simply said, “I can do so much good!”

I asked him his thoughts on why physical appearance in fact does matter.

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“Our first perception of other people is based purely on appearance.”

We may not like that this is true, but it is universally. We draw conclusions based on what we see. A black hooded figure with an ISIS flag in one hand evokes something much different in us than your baby daughter riding on her first pony ride.

Dr. Westfried says this is normal, and it starts at birth, “We don’t (can’t) learn the content of someone’s character immediately, this takes time. But we can do much to shape first impressions.”

“About 2 percent of all people will be born with a congenital abnormality, most of them minor. The obvious cosmetic abnormalities are birthmarks such as port wine stains facial red marks, hemangioma, large collections of blood and congenital moles. These are in addition to rarer congenital abnormalities involving eye muscles and bony structures. For congenital birthmarks lasers offer a treatment option. In adolescence to a varying degree teenagers suffer from acne sometimes severe which untreated can persist for years. Severe cystic acne can leave permanent scarring which is easily correctable with micro-needling the insertion of tiny needles to cause a lifting of depressed scars.”

For the young, none of these issues has anything to do with vanity, but their presence can serve up cruel outcomes.

“As we age these issues can still affect us in profound ways.”

Dr. Westfried added, “Later in life some are unfortunate to be damaged by an accident. Think of our brave military who risk their life for our freedom. Burn scars are now more amenable to treatment with lasers to flatten and soften the appearance of these scars.”

“As we age natural changes both from environment and aging occur change in skin color and the effect of gravity and the slowing down of metabolism. The cheeks hollow, the neck sags the lower lids become puffy and we lose hair.”

Dr. Westfried believes we shouldn’t lose heart though.

“Many of these conditions are able to be improved without surgery delivering low level energy to reverse these changes whether through laser, radio frequency, ultrasound, or microwaves. We can tighten skin , shrink fat, remove discoloration, grow hair, remove unwanted tattoo ink, remove unwanted hair and correct scars without downtime.”

The outcomes prove favorable in both the arena of self estimation, but also as it relates to social confidence, interaction with others on the job, at church or synagogue, and in the community.

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“As methodologies improve, so does the hope that comes with them.”

When we think about the aesthetic beauty that God gives each of us, its important that we on some level still heed the advice of my fundamentalist upbringing. It is the person inside that is the most important to cultivate. A person’s character can never be fully determined by any external attribute.

But this is not to say that aesthetics are not important. Studies point to the idea that the better we feel about ourselves the better we perform at our tasks. And in a day when the tendency continues to be to casual it out to the max, adding a jacket to the jeans can actually put you in a different mindset going into a meeting with a client.

Treatments like those that Dr. Westfried’s office specializes in are only a part of the answer, and he says that as new solutions continue to evolve in both efficiency and price point, more and more people will be able to have that greater sense of honorable confidence.

“These treatments have great changed as they have evolved over the last fifteen years,” said Dr. Westfried. “And as they continue to improve, we will continue to be able to offer better outcomes for any and all that we attempt to help.”

And I believe people will be truly grateful for their ability to do so!


Dr. Morris Westfried is a top-rated board-certified dermatologist serving patients in Bellmore, Brooklyn and throughout New York City and Long Island. With more than three decades of experience, Dr. Westfried is experienced in treating a wide array of dermatologic issues, including acne, eczema (atopic dermatitis), psoriasis, skin cancer and skin lesions, as well as cosmetic procedures like Botox, dermal fillers and state-of-the-art wrinkle removal using lasers and other techniques.
Dr. Westfried earned his medical degree at Yale University School of Medicine and was selected as the top dermatologist by Healthtap.com. He’s also an¬†adjunct clinical associate professor of dermatology at Touro College of Osteopathy. Offices in the Tri-State area include The Bronx, Manhattan, and Bellmore, Long Island.
CONTACT DR. MORRIS WESTFRIED: 917.254.4776 & www.DrWestfried.com

Resource Strategies: Ideas To Help You Live Life To The Fullest

I was recently challenged by a long ago listener and friend on something I fully agreed with.

“So is all you cover Hillary and Trump,” came the question. “I would imagine with the ability to reach people that you have, there would be so much more that you could do.”

The words didn’t sting, because even I have grown–at times–predictably bored or exasperated with this election cycle. The options are what they are, I report on the news of the day, and that’s that. Not much more to go on.

But the words of my friend did penetrate deep inside my brain, because the point is a true one. And sometimes you just need to see it from one more perspective to help you get it.

I’ve also realized my life is such a bigger collection of interests, experiences, and I hope goodness in a variety of arenas that I think there might be much more to discover, learn, and spread. This is so especially true for those of us with large media platforms.

I say it on the air all the time but if I really mean it, I have to live it too.

“If we want a different world, we have to grow different people!”

So that’s what my new stream of posts and articles housed here at the Binge Thinker will take space to focus on.

DO NOT WORRY! The political and news analysis that I get paid to give will still be a key portion of my commentary here, but a new category of material will also begin to appear: RESOURCE STRATEGIES: Ideas To Help You Live Life To The Fullest.

Each installment will have singular focus on one area of life. They may be health, financial, relational, spiritual, and various other areas that we just do not discuss in the *breaking news* environment of my on-air commentary. But they will be a resource to you that you can find via #hashtags, topic search, or just casual browsing.

One of the resources I feel truly humbled to be able to bring to the fore in this area are the vast numbers of experts I get to converse with and engage in an on-going, never-ending, always-more-to-be-learned dialogue in these areas of life. So every feature will include some short pithy examinations of the topic, and practical, easy, and helpful take-aways to get you thinking. That is what we do around these parts is it not?

So begin to look for them. You’ll spot them by the light-bulb graphic (the universal symbol for an idea,) filled with gears (because they must be able to function properly,) carved of wood (to represent the work that goes into improving the life you wish to lead.)

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And I promise I will do my best to give you great expertise, in compact, simple to use reminders that the most satisfying life we can imagine DOES exist, and it’s within reach, and with basic focus can yet be accomplished.

I look forward to the journey with you!

Communication University: Ideas vs Labels

I’m not sure why I started pondering it. I was on the stage at a recent Talk Radio conference. And while it held a significant portion of the industry within one room, it wasn’t open to the public.

Just the Salem Media Group family doing what we hadn’t done in over a dozen years–get our local and national hosts in one room–and discuss how to sharpen our skills as talkers in a blitzkreig news year that is happening fast and furiously.

My role within the setting is kind of odd. I’m not a newbie, even though I’ve only been back on the Salem airwaves a bit more than three years.

My boss–the man some would say–and I’m one of them–who is the most successful programming mind for talk radio in the nation–Phil Boyce had asked me to sit on a panel. The panel would demonstrate the far reaching diversity of the voices we have on air within the Salem ranks.

Two Democrats, Two Republicans, Three Independents, A former member of Saturday Night Live, A former host of local television in Cleveland, Three former producers (for other shows) who have since all gone on to make their living doing their own shows now, A former Buddhist, An agnostic, A pistol packing mama–who was homeschooled in Oklahoma, A former New Age guru, A former hippie, A New York daddy–who was homeschooled in Texas, A man who does Sinatra impressions, and another man who I believe to be the world’s greatest living impressionist.

Phil Boyce was to moderate the panel. Certainly enough diversity on the panel to envision a conversation about seeking to do great radio to reach the biggest faith, family, and values audiences in the nation.

Phil’s questions were spot on… Given that Salem Media tries to reach certain demos, how can we do that, be people of such varying diversity and differences and be successful with the mission. I was pleasantly surprised with the number of comments our fellow industry colleagues gave us complimenting us on how we made them think.

You see I don’t live in one of the Bible Belt markets. I’m in the belly of the beast every day, and one of the things I was able to say to the crowd gathered was: always know who you’re audience is–not who you WANT them to be. The second point I was allowed to make on the second round of questioning was: always be genuine. Listeners spot phonies–be who you are.

Much of the panels throughout the day also focused on how to get a message of faith, families, God, nation, and recovery across to people that disagree.

I have ideas about that.

I have them for two reasons.

1. I do an abundance of broadcasting daily speaking to many different audiences. In fact it hit me as I sat there, I was the only host in the building that does a show on all three levels of what was represented there. With a daily national reach, a daily local Christian content–faith driven show, and a drive time hard core newstalk afternoon broadcast. On the weekend I talk to the nation again in what attempts to be a funny-let-your-hair-down Saturday night poke at the news.

2. I also have achieved some level of success on all levels. Even at the conference colleagues asked my advice or opinion on a feature or bit or idea for their shows. I guess considering I’ve just celebrated my 31st anniversary since my first job in radio, some people think I might have learned something along the way.

One of the things I HAVE learned is one that I believe in the election cycle before us cannot be understated.

IDEAS ARE ALWAYS BETTER THAN LABELS.

One of the mistakes that talk radio tends to make over and over and over again is the lazy option of positioning discussions, issues, and personalities by labels.

Ive done it, and find myself sometimes still doing it.

But I want to change that, and have been diligently working to do so for a few years now.

Using labels allows us to be relegated to insignificance, and our enemies to marginalize us without having to have an honest discussion. And if you don’t care about convincing anyone of anything, you’ll be happy as a clam.

It seems many in talk radio like that position.

I don’t.

I refuse to give 4.5 hours a day of on-air time, hours more of prep, hours to commute to and from studios, slogging bad weather to get to a microphone, if all I get to do is spin wheels, and refer to people as “dopes.”

Because anger is easier than humor, and few people are funny to begin with, and even fewer are funny and still a decent human being, the on-air resorts to what comes easiest for him/her.

Given that I’m also not against anger, if what I’m dealing with is merits genuine moral outrage (remembering that being genuine is lesson one.) But I also know that the human ear has only so much tolerance for anger before auto-tune-out occurs.

Which is why talk radio would do itself a huge favor if the talent would invest their time in learning how to tell better stories.

Note that my paragraph describing our diverse panel required labels to give you an immediate picture of who was there.

But had you been in attendance you would have walked away with an amazing reality that we–all the very different voices on that stage–could care about and work with another in the business of communicating IDEAS.

When you discuss the implications of state entitlements vs personal choice you open a different door to the participants in that conversation than when you label democrats evil and republicans selfish.

The truth is there are flaws in many ideas and the very best ideas should continually be pursued. Some who are left of center in their viewpoint dislike the free market of ideas because when their idea loses merit, instead of admitting truth and going back to work on attempting to perfect their thinking abilities, they label the person who exposed the weakness in the idea, and when that doesn’t work they shut down the discussion completely.

In the 2016 race one third of Americans will identify as Democrat, a little less than a third will identify as Republican. Leaving a little more than a full third to be courted and convinced.

And if our discussions centered on ideas vs labels it might well be more than that third that might be swayable.

But it depends very much on the soundness of the ideas being presented and how well those ideas rise on the basis of the inherent truth found within them.

Friends you don’t have to be in talk media to use this lesson effectively — and even make a difference in this year’s election.

Talk about ideas as much as possible.

Use labels as seldom as needed.

Watch the depth of your discussions deepen. And watch minds be opened to, and perhaps even change… Right before your very eyes.