Fear. Action. Obstacle.

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Fear Can Be a Motivation.

Fear. Motivation.

Fear. Motivation.

Sometimes fear motivates us into taking action.  For example, after escaping the South Bronx at eighteen, I knew I never wanted to live there or be poor again. My fear of being stuck in a cycle of poverty compelled me to take action which allowed me to change my life.

Fear Can Be a Deterrent to Success.

On the other hand, fear is sometimes an obstacle that makes it difficult or impossible for us to take action. It stops motivation. For example, suppose you hate your job, but you’re afraid to quit. It’s your fear that keeps you stuck in a job you hate. The fear could be valid, but maybe not.

While it’s okay to feel afraid, it’s not okay to let fear become your master. It’s not okay to allow it to stand between you and your dreams.  In a recent interview with twenty-five men, each acknowledged that it was easier to admit they were angry than to admit they were afraid. “You just never let people think you’re scared,” said Jimmy D. The more that seemingly strong people have the courage to share their fears, the easier it is for others to do the same.

Fear is a powerful foe that will find every opportunity will step in to frustrate your best intentions. It will try to convince you that there’s no need to look inward, no need for self-improvement. Fear will also tell you to stop the process of self-discovery when it feels too real. Resist the temptation to do so and keep going!

To motivate you in this New Year, consider the following affirmations:

  • I am not afraid of knowing who I am.
  • I welcome the opportunity to know myself better.
  • I am open to knowing and loving all of me.
  • I am willing to step out of the darkness and into the light.

Feel free to join my conversation on FacebookFacebook Esteemableacts Fan Page, or my Facebook Law Page, you can also interact with me on my Twitter Esteemable Acts pageTwitter Law Page, or on LinkedIn.

SSA. Name. Court. Plan.

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SSA. Name.

SSA. Social Security Administration.

Thank God for my willingness to plan and not wait until the last minute to do things that need to be done. I have friends who laugh at the fact that I am such a long term planner.  Yes I plan, and it works for me. Why? I discovered the hard way if I wait until my back is up against a deadline, I have very little wiggle room in the event an unforeseen problem arises.  If I plan for the contingency, and it occurs, at least I have Plan B and room to fix the problem, often with time to spare.

Those skills came in handy recently. As some of you know, I have been getting notices about Medicare and steps to take as I approach my 65th Birthday. Last week I went onto the social security administration website to look up my information only to discover I couldn’t get into to the system. I tried to access my account, until it locked me out, which was after about 5 or 6 tries.  I then attempt to call. But, due to wait times in excess of 45-minutes, I found myself calling back several times.  Finally, I got someone who was able to assist me. This was only the beginning of the nightmare.

The third agent I spoke with informed me that my name was not the name in the system.  That in fact, my name was not my name.  As you can imagine, this came as a surprise to me, because for 64 years I have used my name.  She said, “In our system your name is Francine Ward Lipfield.” I told her she was incorrect. She said, “Sorry, but this is what we have.”  I told her when I got married in 1998 for about 30-days, I changed my name, but then reclaimed it. I changed it everywhere e.g., my passport, drivers license, NY bar license (the only one applicable at that time), credit cards, IRS, CA Franchise Tax Board, Deeds of trust, and assumed (albeit incorrectly), that when my federal passport and the taxes were changed, anything I might have unknowingly missed was put on notice.  Boy was I wrong!  Then getting into solution, I asked what was I to do.  She said, “Take your passport and other ID to the nearest SSA office and they will fix it.” Wrong again!

Wanting to take care of this immediately,  I gathered my documents and the next morning went to the SSA office. I was there 45 minutes early to make sure I could get in and out before the crowd. Wrong again! There was a long line of folks, who seemingly had been there since the wee hours of the morning.  One person actually had a little tent. After being there for over two hours, I got to the agent’s counter only to be told I needed a court decree.  I told him the woman on the phone said,…..  he said, in his most haughty angry tone, “I’m here and she’s not; she was wrong and you need to listen to me.” I shut up knowing that in that moment, he had the power and I didn’t. So, I said thank you and left frustrated.  I get that civil servants deal with a lot of different types of folks, but my God, it was only 10am in the morning; he had been there for only 90-minutes. I could not imagine his mood by the end of the day.  What most frustrated me was the contradictory messages from folks who  work at the same place.  What is the average person to do?

Fortunately for me, I was willing to stay the course.

I quickly went back to my office and prepared the five documents I needed to file with the court to get the name I had been using for 64 years.  Kind of funny, for 30 days out of 64 years, 19 years ago, I used my married name. Every other agency got the memo, and yet, after all these years SSA did not.

Not only was it a hassle, but it was costly. I paid $435 for the court filing to use my own name, plus $150 to have my name published in a local newspaper for four weeks. Now I must go to court to get the name I have used for 64 years.

Frustrating as this experience has been, there is much to be grateful for:

  1. I did not wait to the last minute to find out there was a problem;
  2. I had the money to pay for the filings and I had a check and credit card on me;
  3. I knew which documents to file and where to find them;
  4. I knew how to prepare the documents and when in doubt, I was willing to ask for help;
  5. I knew where the courthouse was and how to get there;
  6. I knew how to file the documents, and
  7. That I was able to change my schedule to accommodate this situation.

Further, I write this post as a cautionary tale, particularly for those who wait for the last minute and don’t plan ahead.

Here is what you need to do if you are approaching Medicare age, and even if you are several years away, it’s still a good idea to check.

  1. Go into the SSA website (www.ssa.gov) and sign up for an account.
  2. If you have trouble call SSA for help immediately.
  3. Depending on what the problem is, ask what you need to do to correct it. If your situation is like mine, where your name does not match the name on your existing social security card, you will need to file a petition with the county where you live. You can attempt to do this yourself, hire a lawyer, ask a knowledgeable friend, or go to the self-help center at your local court building. The key is to get knowledge help. I was able to prepare my own documents because I am a lawyer, and for the most part I knew what I was doing. Even so, I made a mistake, but because I was nice to the county clerk on the day I filed, she helped me out.
  4. If you do it yourself, which I really do not advise, go to your county’s website and look up Name Change. The rules will be different in different states and counties, so make sure you read and understand state rules, as well as any local rules that may apply.
  5. If you reside in Marin county, CA, you will need five documents: petition, (with instructions), Info sheet., consent decree, cover sheet,
  6. You will need an original and two copies when filing with the county clerk in room 113 (check to make sure the room number has not changed)
  7. You will then need to schedule a court date at least 6-weeks into the future.
  8. You then need to select a newspaper where the legal notice will appear for four weeks.
  9. Show up for court.

All of this, in my case, to use a name I have used since 1953, with the exception of one month in 1999.

Bottom line is, if you are the type of person who waits until the last minute to do things, I say, do so at your peril. The choice is yours.

Hope this was helpful.

KickassTorrents. Copyright.

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 Torrent Files. Peer-to-peer file sharing.

Copyright

Copyright

KickassTorrents (KAT) was a peer-to-peer file sharing website founded in 2008. The site was a directory for torrent files and magnet links, which are essentially used to download data, including video and music. The founder and owner of the now closed-down site is 30-year-old Ukrainian national, Artem Vaulin.

Last year Untied States government charged Mr. Vaulin with running a website (KAT) that facilitated the illegal downloading movies, television shows, music and video games. Vaulin is charged with two counts of criminal copyright infringement, one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and one count of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. Authorities estimate that he brought in between $12.5 to $22 million annually.

Vaulin was detained in Poland and is being held in jail. His attorneys are fighting his extradition to the United States and challenged the validity of his indictment, arguing in part, that their client never stepped foot on American soil.

On August 4th, a federal judge in Illinois ruled that the U.S. government properly indicted Vaulin. Judge John Z. Lee agreed that “as a general matter, the Copyright Act does not apply extraterritorially to reach acts of infringement that occur entirely abroad.” However, he went on to state thatbut the core theory underlying the indictment is that Vaulin aided, abetted, and conspired with users of his network to commit criminal copyright infringement in the United States.”

The judge also went out to say that the indictment alleges that Vaulin made available and caused others to make available copyrighted content without any authorization, and that at least one of the numerous servers the website used was in Chicago, Illinois. The indictment alleges that Vaulin had servers in multiple countries and frequently moved his domain to avoid seizures and civil lawsuits.

Copyright Holders.

Big copyright holders in the United States lauded the judge’s decision, hoping that at the very least this case may make foreign-based copyright infringers think twice about feeling safe from criminal charges. The illegal downloading and sharing of copyrighted material has been a long-standing problem for copyright holders since the advent of the internet.

Feel free to join my conversation on FacebookFacebook Esteemableacts Fan Page, or my Facebook Law Page, you can also interact with me on my Twitter Esteemable Acts page, Twitter Law Page, or on LinkedIn.

Mind. Good Health. Happiness.

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Self-esteem.

Health

Health. Emotion.

Emotional fitness is an important part of good health. What goes into your mind is an important as what goes into your body. Even if your physical body is healthy, if you’re imbalanced emotionally, your self-esteem can be affected. Therefore, investing in the care and feeding of your mind is a critical step to good health.

One consequence of not taking care of your mind is depression, a buildup of unaddressed, unacknowledged, and unheard, unappreciated, alone, as if you lack control over your life, ill-equipped to handle life on its own terms – these are conditions that often drive us to depression. And some of the symptoms are not eating, overrating, isolating, or resuming an old destructive habit, such as smoking, drinking, or gambling. At some time or another we all face problems – financial, personal, family, health, spiritual – and must deal with the realities of depression. How we handle depression and how long we remain in it are determined by our willingness to take certain actions.

While it would be easy to say all depression can be remedied with one solution, that’s not true. However, the following suggestions have worked for me and countless others, and may work for you too. However, if you are severely depressed and have had suicidal thoughts, please contact a health care professional.

  • Take Action: For many people, action is the key to alleviating or eliminating depression.
  • Be Patient: It’s normal to want instantaneously results after you’ve taken an action. But in truth, results rarely happen immediately.
  • Enlist A Friend: Having someone to talk to about your feelings is important.
  • Read Daily Mediations: Consider beginning each day with selected readings from positive, uplifting books.
  • Spend Quiet Time Alone: By allowing daily quiet time you create a balance between the doing and the being aspect of your life.

What can you do right now, this moment, to move your closer to better health? Perhaps getting a physical exam or just making an appointment with a doctor, or quitting smoking or drinking?  Eating a green salad, buying a quart bottle of water and drinking it all, making a spa appointment, going for a brisk walk outside or on the treadmill?

Feel free to join my conversation on FacebookFacebook Esteemableacts Fan Page, or my Facebook Law Page, you can also interact with me on my Twitter Esteemable Acts page, Twitter Law Page, or on LinkedIn.

Friendship. Real Connectedness.

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Isolation. Loneliness.

Friendship

Friendship. Connect.

If you think back at some of the worst times in your life, you may realize that along with whatever problems you were having at the time, the worst part was the feeling of being isolated, of being alone with no support group to turn to. The feeling of isolation may very well be one of the worst things a person can experience.

We are learning today that isolation not only affects people emotionally, but physical symptoms are also part of the experience. In fact, numerous studies link long-term isolation and loneliness to disease.

BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal), one of the oldest medical journals in the world, recently released the findings of a study linking social isolation and loneliness to stroke and heart disease. The findings showed that social isolation increased the risk of stroke and heart disease by 30 percent.

They summed up their study saying:

“Our work suggests that addressing loneliness and social isolation may have an important role in the prevention of two of the leading causes of morbidity in high income countries.”

Social isolation and loneliness have also been linked to Alzheimer’s, cancer, and susceptibility to viral infections due to a weakened immune system. Studies have shown that the immune systems of people who are lonely and isolated seem to be in “fight or flight” mode, meaning an increase of white blood cells, which typically respond to physical wounds. Living in this fight or flight mode, as people who suffer from chronic loneliness do, increases the secretion of potentially harmful hormones such as cortisol, as well as increasing inflammation throughout the body.

Human Nature.

In an article posted on Fortune.com titled “Chronic Loneliness Is a Modern-Day Epidemic,” John Cacioppo, director of the University of Chicago’s Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience and author of Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection (W. W. Norton & Co., 2009) describes human beings as tribal animals who need connection to others to fully thrive.

Asked why he believes loneliness is on the rise, he answered:

“We aren’t as closely bound. We no longer live in the same village for generations, which means we don’t have the same generational connections. That releases social constraints — relationships are formed and replaced more easily today. We have Tinder, Match, eHarmony and all these kinds of places you can dial up and find friendships, connections and opportunities that didn’t exist. In the last 15 years or so, many of those face-to-face connections have been replaced with social networking. We’ve found that if you use social networking as a way to promote face-to-face conversation, it lowers loneliness. But if you use a destination, as a replacement for the face-to-face, it increases loneliness.”

So what can be done about this unfortunate and rapidly growing phenomenon?

As is most often the case, we as individuals can’t save the world – but we can make a difference to those in our inner circle, our community. We can make it a point to keep strong, and even strengthen, our personal relationships. This means face-to-face time, not Facebook time. This means doing our best to stay in touch with our friends and family and having a sincere interest in what is happening in their lives. This is especially true concerning the older people in our lives, particularly if they are widowed.

Life can be difficult enough for many of us, but feeling isolated only makes it that much more harder. The science now confirms what many of us always knew in our gut – that isolation has profound affects on our minds and bodies. So why not give the gift of your company and attention to those in your life. Ask that new coworker who seems shy and disconnected to join you for lunch. Set up a play date with your kid and his classmate who seems to have no friends. And don’t allow technology to become a substitute for real connectedness.