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What a week! The future king of England marries a poised and beautiful commoner, President Obama slaps the “birther” movement upside the head with his long form birth certificate, and U.S. forces fight their way into Osama Bin Laden’s fortified Pakistani hideout and assassinate the terrorist leader.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c38lPvrPuT4[/youtube]

For our purposes this week, the love story that played out in Westminster Abbey is most instructive. For the most part, we 21st century earthlings are a jaded bunch. Despite our love of mythical adventures such as Harry Potter, we don’t believe much in Truth or chivalry. And we oppose inherited privilege. And yet, the marriage of His Royal Highness William Arthur Philip Louis to Kate Middleton made us hope, if not believe for a moment, that those of noble character not only exist, but sit on the highest seats in the land.

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Hollywood has produced a crop of hit movies about mind control.  Bob Mondello’s excellent April 15th piece on NPR’s All Things Considered, Movies That Mess with Your Mind, is a great review of four recent hits about struggling to control one’s mind and life:  Inception, The Adjustment Bureau, Limitless and Source Code.

The gist of each plot is that contemporary men and women are losing control of their very selves; and further, that there are insidious and pervasive others who control us. In our highly connected, media-soaked lives, it’s easy to think that this is a new phenomenon. It’s not.

The late great psychologist, Abraham Maslow, wrote that the vast majority of people “do not make up their own minds… They are pawns to be moved by others rather than self-moving, self-determining individuals. Therefore, they are apt to feel helpless, weak, and totally determined. They are prey for predators, flabby whiners rather than self-determining, responsible persons.”

Ouch! It’s bad enough that we’re “pawns to be moved by others,” but Maslow has to throw in that we’re “flabby whiners” too. (No wonder the hottest consumer product these days is the new girdle, Spanx.) Setting aside America’s weight problem, how is it that most of us are pawns, to be moved about by others?
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“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
E.E. Cummings

The first chapter in my new book The Good Among the Great discusses how to become autonomous. Autonomy means looking within, accepting and acting on your deepest, truest desires, and forging a life that reflects you—and then relaxing about it.

The first step is to believe deep down in your guts that it’s not selfish to follow your wants. Becoming “who you really are” is about freedom for yourself and usefulness to others. These are lofty goals, not self-serving ones. You owe it to yourself and to the world to be yourself. The trick, of course, is how.
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In an industry that is full of drama queens and one shot wonders, people have responded to Shelly Lazarus. She’s got the accolades and longevity to prove it. Now, the Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, she has been a leader at the storied advertising agency for decades; starting as an account executive when most women were still relegated to the secretarial pool, and advancing through the ranks in a series of promotions that landed her the top spot: Chief Executive Officer.

Keep reading to view a video of Shelly talking about her passion for her work.
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