August 1, 2010: Lindsay Lohan and Guuurl, What NOT to Do!

My take on the whole recent Lindsay Lohan story reminds me of a thing that I work with my clients on sometimes. As much as I believe in positive role-modeling of behavior, there is such a thing as the opposite — negative behavioral role-modeling, or what NOT to do. This can actually be very useful; it can give us perspective and motivation.

I’m not privy to all the facts of the legal case, and I can’t comment on that perspective, and nor would I want to. Frankly, I have better ways to spend my time than to follow our dear Miss Lohan’s case in detail (see my related article on spending your resources of Time, Energy, and Money according to your Values, Priorities, and Goals, here: But from what I gather, we can surmise that Miss Lohan is making a series of mistakes in behavioral terms that we can outline here:

– A failure to learn from our mistakes (critical for personal self-growth)

– A failure to use our resources of people, time, energy, money, talent, and social position to our best advantage (and impulsive squandering of such resources)

– A failure to bring humility to the process; to humble ourselves in preparation for inevitable life changes; to know when we must submit to the will of others for the greater good (bosses, the law, culture, society, etc.)

– A failure to recognize the value of working toward our personal goals, yet doing so within established systems of law, industry, and culture

– A failure to resist poverty-oriented thinking and a depressed, hopeless outlook; indulging in learned helplessness

– A failure to understand restraint, empathy, and consideration of others

– A failure to differentiate between a healthy, “selective Hedonism” and indulgent self-destruction

– A failure to resist a dysfunctional Narcissism and entitlement (which is expecting reward without working for it)

We can all point to Miss Lohan, somewhat condescendingly, and say, “Guuuurl, what a mess” and get a good laugh about it. She is a person of money and privilege in her dubious celebrity, and yet squanders it with her foibles. No real harm comes from it, except maybe a sacrifice of the poor girl’s dignity and her transparent naivete’. But as extreme as her example is, we could all turn that criticism on ourselves.

To what degree, in any given week, are any of us guilty of the behavioral pitfalls above? How do we abandon ourselves, and abandon our goals, by our various failures to keep focus, negative digressions, and impulsive deviations from doing our own best good?

Perhaps we all get a lesson from the above list, and a reminder to renew our commitment to doing just the opposite. And instead of looking at what NOT to do, we look at other people in the news who might inspire us. It can be fun to be a consumer of, or People magazine, or any of the gossip blogs. It’s titillating, and quite a fantasy to see “how the other half lives” when money is no object and life is uninterrupted by such petty disruptions as work and chores. But in our consumption of the modern media, and the endless display of celebrity foibles from the perennial Clown Car that is the Internet, let’s also look for figures who actually inspire us. Pretty much anything that Dolly Parton does inspires me, so I try to keep an eye on her. Usually Michelle Obama is up to something positive, whether it’s helping Americans to address obesity or just looking classy by wearing fabulous clothes (both noble pursuits). And I’m pretty sure Bill Clinton is up to something good with his very positive Foundation work. Those are the “celebrities” I might spend my precious time reading about.

Miss Lohan, not so much. Bitch better werk.

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