Stop Moaning, Start Owning
How Entitlement Is Ruining America and How Personal Responsibility Can Fix It
Brian Russell, Ph.D., J.D., M.B.A.
Co-Host of the series Fatal Vows on Investigation Discovery
A shock to the system, Brian Russell's new book Stop Moaning, Start Owning: How Entitlement is Ruining America and How Personal Responsibility Can Fix It (HCI -- $14.95) delves into America's mindset into how this society has gotten so far off-track in this "Age of Entitlement.” He addresses the ways in which Americans lack personal responsibility and what needs to be done in order to be happy, emotionally and psychologically healthy.
Broken down into three sections, Brian Russell starts off showing what Americans "moan” about or blame, for their unhappiness and failures. He examines the three forms of moaning that are of main concern in American culture today, i.e., moaning about unhappiness, moaning about unfulfilled material wants, and moaning about accountability for behavior. These moans stem from the idea that pursuit of happiness allows someone to search for happiness in spite of others' feelings. This mindset leads to addictions, suicides, divorce, and even extreme violence. By addressing the common excuses "But I'm not happy!”, "But I want ___!”, "But it's not my fault!” Russell is able to portray the darker side of American society. This is crucial to understanding how society in America is crumbling.
Part two delves into what Russell calls the "Age of Entitlement.” He goes into the reasons why Americans are moaning so much. In the "pursuit of happiness” Americans have grown to believe they are entitled to anything and everything they want, as well as feeling that such desires are owed to them. Ultimately, Russell traces the origins of moaning in all its forms to Americans being self-centered and self-entitled. Before embarking upon this literary adventure, the very title of the book, Stop Moaning, Start Owning foreshadows the conclusion that moaning is a terrible trait and that Americans ought to be "owning” instead.
In part three Russell explains what it means to "own.” For the purposes of this book, to "own” means to assume personal responsibility. That means Americans need to own their happiness, the fulfillment of their material needs and wants, and their behavior in this life rather than projecting that responsibility outward. To "own” is to realize that changing our lives for the better generally begins with changing ourselves. This change is broken down into two steps. First there needs to be personal responsibility for the things happening in one's life. Following that it is important to feel gratitude. The power of gratitude can have astonishing effects. These two steps will allow Americans to get back on track and discover happiness without causing damaging effects to society.
About the Author:
Dr. Brian Russell is a clinical psychologist and an attorney who also holds an MBA. Among the major media psychologists, he has an incomparably well-rounded perspective on what inhibits productive behavior and facilitates destructive behavior at the individual, family, and societal levels in America. As a therapist, Dr. Brian has spent countless hours treating adult and child clinical and relational problems, as well as representing both high- and low-profile clients as a lawyer, explaining the root causes of destructive behavior as an expert in courtrooms, classrooms, boardrooms, and to the general public via speeches, radio.
Available wherever books are sold or to order directly from the publisher, contact: www.hcibooks.com or (800) 441-5569
Stop Moaning, Start Owning: How Entitlement Is Ruining America and How Personal Responsibility Can Fix It
By Brian Russell
$14.95 October 2015
1. Q: What's the common cause of America's social ills in 2015?
A: Entitlement, fueled by narcissism – it's destructive at every level of society: of individuals, relationships, families, organizations, communities, and ultimately the country.
2. Q: What's the common cure for America's social ills in 2015?
A: Personal responsibility, fueled by gratitude – this combination empowers and motivates us to improve upon the one thing in the world that we have the greatest ability to change, us.
3. Q: What are the 3 biggest "moans” of Americans in 2015?
A: They're unhappy, they want lots of nonessential things, and nothing's their fault.
4. Q: What do Americans misunderstand about the pursuit of happiness in 2015?
A: Too many of us pursue happiness outside-in, as something to be supplied to us extrinsically, by things or by substances or by others. We need to pursue it inside out, as an intrinsic byproduct of figuring out what each of us can do uniquely well and then developing and sharing that with the world.
5. Q: What are some of the major tactics which Americans use to escape blame for their behavior in 2015?
A: They externalize blame to things supposedly beyond their control, like so-called "diseases” which are really just poor choices; they deflect the focus of attention to other people's behavior, and when all else fails, they minimize how bad their behavior really was. Part of the reason why these tactics work is that many Americans in 2015 are reluctant to make any judgments about other people's behavior, and as a psychologist, I'm particularly ashamed of some of my colleagues who actually validate such moral relativism.
6. Q: Why is there so much moaning in America in 2015?
A: It starts at home. Some parents overindulge their kids, try to spare their kids any disappointments, treat their kids like friends instead of kids, and foster a grandiose narcissism in the kids, while other parents get wrapped up in their own narcissism, have affairs, divorce, start new families, and foster an angry narcissism in the kids. Then our schools reinforce the narcissism by relaxing academic and behavioral expectations, promoting self-esteem over self-efficacy, giving every kid a trophy or canceling recognition ceremonies and banning holiday parties so no kid has to experience not being included in something. Meanwhile, churches, which tend to focus us on things larger than ourselves, are increasingly absent from kids' lives these days. Then our popular culture, from advertising to social media to the idolization of miscreants in sports and entertainment, reinforces the notion that life is all about me, that I deserve to have what I want, to be happy, to be excused if I behave badly and that I'm owed these things by others. And lastly, our public policy, from tax policy to no-fault divorce laws to lax criminal penalties, too often rewards entitlement instead and irresponsibility.
7. Q: What does it mean to "own” instead of moan?
A: Owning is taking personal responsibility for one's happiness, for fulfilling one's needs and wants in life, and for one's behavior, which has two components: first, accountability, for behavior that's been unproductive in the past, and second, obligation, to behave productively in the future.
8. Q: What enables people to stop moaning and start owning?
A: Ultimately, when we really think about what's best for us, individually and collectively, it's owning, not moaning, and there are multiple influences that can help people arrive at that conclusion sooner rather than later in life. Again, it starts at home, with parents who work to foster personal responsibility. Then schools and churches play roles in reinforcing what those parents are doing at home and teaching kids to buck the cultural trend toward entitlement. And finally, the right public policy rewards personal responsibility instead of entitlement.
9. Q: What's your prescription for personal prosperity?
A: Eight simple steps that any able-bodied, able-minded adult – poor, rich, white, black, female, or male – can implement: 1) Don't commit any crimes, 2) Don't get addicted to anything, 3) Don't quit school, 4) Don't make a baby out of wedlock (these four "don'ts” alone will keep virtually anyone out of poverty in America, but those who want to not just stay out of poverty but actually prosper in America can add these next four "do's”), 5) Do delay gratification, 6) Do take personal responsibility for fulfilling your needs and wants, 7) Do be accountable, and 8) Do make a uniquely positive contribution to something larger than yourself.
10. Q: What's your prescription for living a more grateful life?
A: Adopting a grateful perspective on life acts as an inoculation against entitlement and a booster of personal responsibility, and all that's required are four simple steps which, here again, anyone can implement: 1) Get your priorities straight, 2) Count your blessings, 3) Give thanks, sincerely and often, and 4) Be generous.