Bookmark and Share
Past issues

Mindconnection eNL, 2008-08-24


In this issue:
Product Highlight | Brainpower | Finances | Security | Health/Fitness | Miscellany | Thought for the Day


1. Product Highlight

Eliminate a common relationship poison / career stopper
Also makes a thoughtful gift for someone close to you who is struggling with this problem.

When you can't accurately judge when to pass along information appropriately and when to keep your mouth shut, you engage in gossip. The reason you can't accurately judge when to be discreet and when it's OK to repeat something probably has nothing to do with your intellectual abilities. It has to do with your emotional issues. Which is why it's a compulsion you haven't been able to stop so far. This course will help you stop that compulsion.

Behavior: Kicking the Gossip Habit


Estimated completion time: 15 one-hour sessions.

People suffering from this condition are convinced that they are successfully managing things when the opposite is actually true. A gossipy person may appear to be in charge, but actually is not. This behavior may give you a temporary feeling of security, but it undermines all of your relationships.

You see, gossiping is an attempt to correct some underlying issue so you gain acceptance with others. But it's a maladaptive, self-defeating, self-degrading behavior. The paradox here is more you engage in compulsive gossiping, the further you drive others from you. Your attempts to gain acceptance ensure you won't.

One of the hidden costs of gossiping is the person you gossip to can't help but wonder what you are saying about him or her. Gossip gives you a feeling of complicity and superiority, because it provides a "We are better than she is" message. However, it provides another, stronger message. That message is, "I compare people, judge them, and say bad things about them behind their backs. You could be next."

Consequently, relationships suffer when a person engages in gossip. When gossip becomes a compulsion, the costs increase dramatically. Your compulsion exerts itself in subtle (and not so subtle) ways in your relationships. This undermines marriages, friendships, and careers in a multitude of ways. None of which you would suffer, if you overcame this compulsion.

Yet, you keep doing it. Why? This course will show you how to discover the answer. Your compulsion is a response, and if you understand how to uncover what's driving that response you can cure the compulsion.

The consequences of this compulsive gossip response include:

  • People don't like you. If you feel isolated or disrespected, your compulsive behavior is why.
  • People often avoid being around you, because they are afraid of what you will say about them.
  • People don't confide in you, unless they have compulsive tendencies of their own that cause them to seek out and confide in gossips. So, you may be self-selecting highly dysfunctional people as your only friends.
  • Others may seem to agree with your point of view (for example, that Bob is a total jerk), but that's often an avoidance response. Rather than risk being judged by you, they just agree. This does not mean they share your views. It means they refuse to share their views with you.
  • People who interact with you feel almost obligated to work against you. This is because your behavior sends out signals that tap a primal self-defense mechanism.

Your compulsive behavior undermines your career. It weakens or destroys your relationships with others. It robs you of the richness of life that could be yours. Because your compulsive behavior prevents you from getting what you really want, you feel frustrated. Your natural response is to apply more compulsive behavior. This leaves you in a vicious cycle.

This course helps people who are mired in compulsive behavior to overcome the underlying driver of that behavior. Not only does this break the vicious cycle, but it eliminates your primary barrier to getting what you want out of life. And getting what you want in your relationship, finances, career, and other endeavors. 

2. Brainpower tip

When it comes to not looking stupid, looking at word choices can really help. Follow these two simple rules:

Rule #1. Watch your word choices. Words have specific meanings. When people aren't clear in what they say, they aren't clearly understood. One problem here is we can easily use the wrong word while speaking. If you do that, stop. Say, "No, that didn't come out right." Then, rephrase what you said and ask the other person  a question about what you just said to see if your meaning was clear.

Rule #2. Be wary of word choices. Most people "shoot from the hip" when speaking and some are even more cavalier in an e-mail. All of us filter information based on what we expect to see--that's just how the brain works. So, it's very easy to misunderstand a person who isn't especially particular about word choices. To avoid looking stupid, clarify the message. You can do this with a question or statement.


Jim says to Mary, "I'd like you to come by at seven tomorrow and help me with my books." Mary agrees to this.

Mary, who is an early riser, just finished setting up two new bookcases in her home. She shows up at Jim's at 0700. Jim, who is a night owl, is still asleep. After some confusion, he gets to the door and Mary is surprised to see he looks like he just got up. Half an hour later, Mary finally understands that Jim needs help with his accounting software.

The use of the 12 hour clock was the first mistake, here. Jim should have said "1900." Then, it would have been clear what time Mary was expected. Remember, Mary is an early riser. So, starting an activity at this hour isn't something she would expect and thus her natural interpretation of "seven" is a morning time. But Mary should also have taken into acct that people have different schedules. She could have said, "So you mean 0700, correct?" Or she could have asked, "Do you mean 0700, which is good for me, or 1900, which is not good for me?"

Some people suggest using "AM" or "PM" to clarify. But these look remarkably similar when hurriedly scrawled on a sheet of paper with a ballpoint that doesn't always put out the ink. I personally don't use paper for these kinds of things; I use my Outlook calendar. But I still refrain from AM and PM designations because they carry their own set of problems (including the fact that the other party might use paper). You cannot confuse 0700 with 1900, which is why the 24 hour clock is the official clock in many industries and venues.

The other point of confusion was the use of the word "books." Jim should have specified exactly what kind of help he was looking for. "I just can't get the accounting software set up so it makes sense to me."

And Mary should have asked a probing question or two. "What kind of issues are you thinking you need help with?" Or she could have related her mindset. "I just set up two new book cases. Is that the kind of help you are asking for?

3. Finance tip

Americans are expatriating in record numbers. This is causing a brain drain that has been documented in such works as Flight Capital. Even our dimwitted CONgress acknowledges it's a problem. Their solution, as you might expect, does nothing to solve the problem (as with other problems they "solve," they have made it even worse).

What is the number one reason Americans are fleeing this country in record numbers? Dealing with the IRS. Not taxes per se, but the "parallel universe" mentality that pervades that organization. Not all of its employees are inflicted, but enough are that the whole system is unacceptable to any nation that wants to be considered civilized.

Even if you've done nothing wrong, some petty bureaucrat in the employ of the IRS can wipe you out financially and go to bed feeling good about it.

Before I explain how to prevent your complete financial ruin even if you've done nothing wrong, let's look at an example of someone who did something wrong. That would be Wesley Snipes. He should have paid his federal income taxes.  But he isn't the only idiot, here. Look at how the IRS mishandled this. Just "do the math" and you'll agree that sanity didn't enter into this particular picture.

I don't know Mr. Snipes' earnings, but I do know that Tobey Maguire made $17 million for Spiderman 2 (and even more for 3) and Kirsten Dunst made something like $13 million on that one film. It's probably safe to say Snipes is capable of hauling down $10 million per year. What's the federal income tax on that? Using 20% as a figure, we can say he would pay $2 million a year in federal income tax.

But instead of making Mr. Snipes earn that money and pay his taxes, the federal government has said, "No, Mr. Snipes. We don't really need your money. We'll forego the $2 million a year and instead pay $65,000 a year to keep you in prison." The message of this behavior is that the income tax isn't needed to fund the government. If the collection agency turns down $2 million a year, it must not be very important to capture that revenue.

Someone sane would have said, "Let's offer Mr. Snipes a deal. He can keep making movies and paying those huge taxes for the next few years with some personal freedoms restricted due to violating the law. This way, the govt gets paid, Mr. Snipes makes money, and millions of fans get to enjoy great action hero movies."

What happened, instead? They chose abject stupidity as their guiding principle.

Making matters worse, his peak earning years will probably be behind him once he's out of prison. The IRS claims Snipes was a flight risk. But he voluntarily turned himself in, and his source of income is here in the USA. He's pretty much the poster child for "not a flight risk."

The point of telling you this is so you understand that if you run into any kind of problems with your federal income tax, you will not be dealing with rational people to settle those problems. If you doubt that, do the math again.

Most IRS victims are not tax cheats. They are just caught up in the machinery, like cotton in a gin. It could happen to you. What if it does? Then you must know how to deal with the IRS, so that your finances aren't completely wiped out. Here are some tips:

Dealing with the IRS:

  • Don't panic. Whatever the IRS sent you is probably wrong. A GAO report some years ago revealed that 94% of IRS notices are erroneous (thank God the IRS doesn't run our airlines). If you receive a notice, forward it to a qualified tax attorney immediately, for a proper response. That response will be along the lines of asking the IRS to substantiate whatever claim it's making. It is possible that the IRS notice is actually correct (miracles do happen). But make them prove it. Note: If you know you erred, don't play "prove it" games.
  • Never ignore the IRS. Always respond, even if just to let them know you received their notice and are reviewing it. Never reply immediately (prepare a proper reply), but don't dally either.
  • Review your records to ensure they are organized and current. You may have to provide 6 months of detailed financial records, with only a few days to do so. Have those ready.
  • Don't go it alone. The IRS counts on people to sling nooses around their own necks. No IRS problem, however trivial, should be handled by the victim (or, in IRS parlance, the "customer"--what a dark sense of humor they have). It may seem an attorney is an unnecessary expense, but millions of devastated people can, in hindsight, tell you otherwise.
  • Don't supply information to the IRS just because some IRS bureaucrat says you must. Most IRS employees are totally unfamiliar with the Tax Code. They use the IRS Manual, instead, and are sloppy even with that. Through your attorney, ask the IRS caseworker to show you where the authority for asking for such information comes from. The IRS is statutorily barred from asking you for information it already has (such as your tax return). There are some good reasons for this law--don't give up this right. Send everything through your attorney, and don't talk with the IRS directly.
  • Always be business-like when interacting with your attorney. Ditto with the IRS--they have 99% of the power; don't tempt them to bludgeon you with it.
  • If an IRS person calls you, explain that you will deal with them only through your attorney. Don't explain why. If they persist, repeat this. If that doesn't stop the insistence on talking to you directly, say, "I have Power of Attorney. The laws forbids you to talk directly with me. Let me speak to your supervisor."
  • If you need to rant about the IRS, do so to your houseplant or dog. Your tax attorney doesn't need to hear it, and you certainly don't want to get flagged at the IRS as a malcontent. Keep communication limited to the business at hand, so you can solve your problem and move on. Sure, you may find some sympathetic person at the IRS who will listen and understand. But for every one of those decent folks, there are 5 who are just looking for an excuse to bring the hammer down on you.
  • Don't seek help from legislators. Many people think they have the right to petition CONgress. Wrong. Only lobbyists have this right. If you complain to your misrepresentarive or your senator, expect IRS to turn up the heat on you while nothing gets done to actually help you. The First Amendment does not apply in tax matters.

Why you need a tax attorney ahead of time and what to do about that

  • Unfortunately, IRS people see themselves as "the good guys." The very fact you came on their radar means they already consider you a lawbreaker. However, the reality is the opposite (unless you did like Mr. Snipes). We can all agree that people who steal 4300 computers from their own offices are criminals. The GAO reported the IRS did this in one year alone, so recognize the kind of people you are dealing with (in the aggregate).
  • Every criminal looks for easy marks. If you deal with IRS without an attorney, that says something about you. And what it says makes you an easy mark. If you have a tax attorney, you automatically become a "hardened target." The deterrent value alone of a reputable tax attorney justifies the money paid to that attorney.
  • The single best investment you will ever make in your life is the investment you make in a tax attorney. It's best to do that before you have problems, and consult your tax attorney on transactions ahead of time to reduce the chances that you will. If you have never met with a tax attorney, make a note to do that some time within the next 3 weeks. Interview attorneys as if you were interviewing a prospective employee (that's essentially what you are doing).
  • Select your tax attorney carefully. Don't be wooed by credentials such as "I used to work for the IRS." Interview the attorney and listen carefully for messages between the lines. If you did nothing wrong and the attorney seems to blame you for "tax cheating," that attorney will not represent you fairly. You want an attorney who is truly on your side, not just one who will take your money for filing papers.
  • Beware attorneys who claim they have an inside track, can "settle for pennies on the dollar," or do anything else that hints of getting you special treatment. You want an honest attorney who will keep the IRS from playing their usual dirty tricks. You do not want a shyster, and you do not want someone who thinks you are trying to get away with something.
  • If the attorney suggests an Offer In Compromise, consider that a huge red flag. It is very unlikely an OIC will work for you. The rules have changed many times since the OIC was first devised and as of about 2006 it became pretty much worse than useless.
  • The game of dealing with the IRS is tricky and very hard to win. If you find yourself considering the idea these people might actually be reasonable, go back to the Snipes case and do the math. Would you turn down $2 million a year and pay $65,000 a year to punish someone?
  • If you need a tax attorney, contact us for a recommendation. We aren't listing any tax attorneys here because we have made derogatory statements about the behavior of IRS employees (in general, though some are actually not bad people) and we don't want to give the appearance that specific law firms have in any way supported those comments. Please note that those comments merely reflect the findings of the federal government's own General Accountability Office, which gives the IRS a big red F on its report card.

In writing this, I'm not trying to make the IRS look bad. They have done such a remarkable job of that themselves, they certainly don't need my help. I'll sum up by saying don't cheat on your taxes, and if you do have a tax problem don't assume you can use facts and logic to sort it out.

4. Security tip

This video features a guy who talks passionately about how to keep everything we've worked for from going down the toilet:

It's my opinion he's emphasizing the wrong problems, but he does make some good points that directly bear on your overall security. His solution, featured at the end, applies to other issues.

5. Health tip/Fitness tips

Supplecity has a new article, written by fitness guru Gary Matthews:

6. Miscellany

  1. The average American drinks 400 glasses of milk in a year. The average member of CONgress becomes a millionaire by milking the average taxpayer for a few years.
  2. We don't run ads in our newsletter. We do get inquiries from advertisers, all the time. To keep this eNL coming, go to and do your shopping from there (as appropriate).

  3. Please forward this eNL to others.

7. Thought for the Day

Your opinion isn't the only one that counts. In the larger scheme of things, it doesn't count at all. In daily life, the respect you show for other people's opinions counts far more than whether they think your opinion is right.


Wishing you the best,

Mark Lamendola


The views expressed in this e-newsletter are generally not shared by criminals, zombies, or brainwashed individuals.

Except where noted, this e-newsletter is entirely the work of Mark Lamendola. Anything presented as fact can be independently verified. Often, sources are given; but where not given, they are readily available to anyone who makes the effort.

Mark provides information from either research or his own areas of established expertise. Sometimes, what appears to be a personal opinion is the only possibility when applying sound logic--reason it out before judging! (That said, some personal opinions do appear on occasion).

The purpose of this publication is to inform and empower its readers (and save you money!).

Personal note from Mark: I value each and every one of you, and I hope that shows in the diligent effort I put into writing this e-newsletter. Thank you for being a faithful reader.

To subscribe, change your e-mail address, offer your own tidbit, tell us how much you love this eNL, ask how to put us in your will <grin> or to (gasp) unsubscribe, write to comments @ (paste that into your e-mail client, and remove the spaces).

Let other potential readers know what you think of this e-zine, by rating it at the Cumuli Ezine Finder:

Articles | Book Reviews | Free eNL | Products

Contact Us | Home

This material, copyright Mindconnection. Don't make all of your communication electronic. Hug somebody!