ROB KINGSBURY: Green Tea, Swedish Green Tea. How about that? I got it today at the office, right here.
CO-HOST: Very cool.
ROB KINGSBURY: And the office opens everything up, you know, when you’re on the air people they go through our mail to see, ensure that we’re not going to get killed or something?
CO-HOST: Get anthrax?
ROB KINGSBURY: Yeah, and so they’re open it up, went through it, and I wanna be sure that they didn’t stealing any of my Green Tea. That’s all I know. How many of you live in reality? I mean, truly, how many live in reality? A User’s Guide To The Meaning of Life: Reality – Seth David Chernoff. I tell you what, this is something okay, here is your reality bible. You need to get it and I haven’t even talked to the guy, looked at it over the weekend – you need to look at it.
CO-HOST: So, they say life doesn’t have a user’s manual. It does now?
ROB KINGSBURY: It does now.
ROB KINGSBURY: It’s been printed, it’s right here, let’s talk to it.
CO-HOST: Very good
ROB KINGSBURY: Welcome to Total Health, David Chernoff.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Thanks ROB KINGSBURY. How are you today?
ROB KINGSBURY: Good. Do I call you Seth David, David Seth, Chernoff Baby. What do I call you?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: You can call me whatever you want, most people call me Seth.
ROB KINGSBURY: Okay, Seth welcome to Total Health. We finally have a book dealing with Life, The Manual For Living: Reality. Right out the gate, why did you write it? I mean, were you exercising the demons out to you? But, why did you write this?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Boy, that’s a great question. I have to say that as a child I was just tremendously curious. And I always wondered why we’re taught so many things in life – Math, Science, English – but we’re never taught how to truly live, how to find happiness, how to find fulfillment. And I felt like that was a hole in this world, and I’ve spent my life just trying to figure out, you know, why we’re here and the things that are required to make an incredible life.
ROB KINGSBURY: You’re an award-winning author, a two-time cancer survivor, marketing professional and founder of multiple companies. You’ve been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle – my favorite paper, Popular Mechanics, Business Week, USA Today. And you’re on radio stations; you’ve been on ABC and PBS. You’ve been around the block. You sound like a young guy though on the air.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Well, I don’t know, I try to maintain my youthful appeal. But I’ve been thru a lot, I’ve had some hard times. But they’ve taught me a lot. You know, I always say cancer was one of the best gifts that I received. Kind of was a big wake up call for me, taught me a lot. And when I survived it and I didn’t die, I realized that I have some big choices to make in my life.
ROB KINGSBURY: Do you live in Boulder?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: I do.
ROB KINGSBURY: Okay, my daughter graduated in the University of Colorado and I can’t pry her out of that State to get back here to Kansas City.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Some of that Green Tea might get her out.
ROB KINGSBURY: Oh well, I doubt that. My favorite chapter of your book: the power of laughter. If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago committed suicide – Gandhi. Why are we all so serious?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Boy, you know life can be a tough place, and we all know that.
ROB KINGSBURY: No kidding?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Well I think sometimes we have this misconception.
ROB KINGSBURY: Be a heterosexual and get involved with a woman, that will do it.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Sometimes we believe for some reason that life is supposed to be easy. And we look around and we think that nobody else is in pain. But the truth is that part of this physical existence is death, its illness, its trauma, its obstacles, its growth. That’s just an inevitable part of this life and I think that if we have this perspective of understanding that, I think perhaps the issues we face wouldn’t be quite so challenging. But boy laughter, I mean that’s what got me through my first cancer. I mean my wife went out, she bought every funny book, Bill Cosby…I don’t know, she bought like every book, every movie and that’s all we did, it got us through some really hard times.
ROB KINGSBURY: In this, I don’t know, I guess I would call it a chapter – you don’t have them numbered. But, you say that: “Laughter is one of the most powerful healing mechanisms available to us. We look for healing in all areas of our life and underestimate the simplicity of a smile, a chuckle or a good-hearted belly laugh. Finding the humor in and around or existence allows us to soften or demean or loosen up and appreciate the subtle coincidences of our existence. We can find solace in a magic of the moment, the intricacies and the oddities of our physical reality.” That one paragraph in your whole book, to me, which softens the blow of the person that only cares about the bicep, only cares about how they look in this certain pair of jeans, or the kind of car they drive, or if their kid is on the cheerleading squad or on the basketball team. Am I right or wrong?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: I think you’re right. And it’s very indicative of our society, we get caught up in certain things that are outside of ourselves. And maybe, it’s because I went through catastrophic illness many people have, many people that have seen people they care about die. It changes your perspective on life, it changes your understanding of death. And you have this profound sense of gratitude many times where from the moment that you wake up to the moment you go to bed, you see life through a different set of eyes. You find gratitude in the simplest moments, in things that you may not have seen before. But now that you have this renewed sense of life, you see things that maybe beforehand you didn’t observe or you’re just too busy to pay attention to.
ROB KINGSBURY: Oh, I got to tell you Seth, you know, I have something in common. I’m a survivor only one time. And I will tell you that it did alter my sense of humor, after I got over some anger, fear, and bitterness. But it also altered my sense of view of things that I tell it like it is, and I think, my God, we’re only here a short time. Why do you do this? Why do you act this way? And it makes me aggressive; it makes me want to take the sword and just chop down the evil and make things right for everybody because a lot of people don’t appreciate what they have. That’s what it is done for me as a survivor.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Well, that’s amazing.
ROB KINGSBURY: I don’t know if that’s amazing. Maybe it made me crazy. I want to get to something though, it seems like everybody is in unbelievable hurry and we are overrunning some simple pleasures in life. And how do we get people to slow down just a little bit, and I’m guilty of it, but slow down a little bit and treat yourself once in a while, just sit down and read the paper? Treat yourself, honestly to go to a pond and throw a rock across it. And I’m saying this cause I’ve had to learn to do it. How about you, taking your time and maybe walking over to the CU campus and go for a walk amongst the energy of the kids? I mean just stuff like that.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Well, you’re right. It’s very much something that I think most of us face. We all have far too many things to do than we have time to do it in and we’ve taken on so many responsibilities, so many commitments. And through that, we just are in such a hurry to get them all done. And I think the bigger problem is that at the end of the day, we spent very little time in the things that matter the most to us. You know, we’ve spent so much time working and so much time running around that we’ve neglected our kids, or our parents, or our spouse, or spirituality. But you’re right, we have to stop for just a minute. Make sure that we’re on the right thread-mill, make sure we’re going in the right direction or spending our time the right way. You know, my second cancer for me was so traumatic because it debilitated me. The first time really was not a big deal. I said hey, I’m going to change my life, then I went through it. And then after that, I felt fine. So I said, gosh, why would I change anything? So, I’m kind of stubborn, I often have to learn my lessons twice. So, the second time I got cancer I just never got my energy back. And I realized that I really had to change where I was focusing my time and my energy. I didn’t have a choice, but it really helped me make better decisions in my life.
ROB KINGSBURY: Okay. Here’s the age-old question. And we’ll take a couple of minutes with your answers then we go to break. How do we find lasting happiness? I know, it sounds like a strange, fluff-fluff question. How do we find it?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Yeah, I don’t think it’s fluff-fluff at all. I think that’s one of the things that we seek out in life. And it’s not that momentary happiness that comes from, you know, laughing at a movie. It’s the happiness that comes from deep within our soul, within our heart that keeps us warm inside. And it really comes from looking honestly at every area in our life. You know, you talked about going through cancer once and all of a sudden you’re honest in your life. I think so many of us are very duplicit in our world. You know, we have one personality with our family; we have another level of honesty with ourselves outside of our home. And the truth is, that we need to look at every part of our life and make sure that we’re living our truth, we’re following our path in life, that we’re being honest, and that we’re following our heart.
ROB KINGSBURY: Being honest with ourselves?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Being honest with ourselves. You know, are you really happy in your job? Are you really happy, are you really doing your part in a relationship to make it as great as it could be? Because happiness isn’t one big thing, it’s not just getting the perfect wife or great job. It’s investing in every part of your life as part of a fulfilled existence.
ROB KINGSBURY: I tell you, you know, a friend of mine I had a conversation with before I came on the air. And she said to me, basically, “Coach, don’t let and waste your time with basically the idiots. A lot of people are just dump asses and they’re never going to change, and to be smart enough to avoid them. And basically live your life truthfully, with justice, with candor. And I know that when I was sick, like I said to you, maybe it startled you, that it made me realize: You going to ask me a question, I’m going to tell you exactly what I think. Because I don’t want to waste your time or mine, I think there’s a lot of… and she said… a lot of dump asses out there. I think there are, and I mean damn asses talking about in jobs they hate, relationships that are not fulfilling. And they’re just drifting along in life thinking, what I am doing this for? And this is why you end up with so many people that are depressed because they’re afraid to speak the truth.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: They are. And I think they afraid, right? Are they afraid of death, or are they afraid of what would happen if they actually chose to live? If they actually stepped out of their mediocrity or their pettiness and made decisions that would make a difference in their life. And what are they afraid of? For me, going through a cancer, that removed over my fear because when I reconciled death, and I realized that it’s okay if I had to die that was okay. Then I looked at my life, and I said, what am I afraid of? You know, why am I unwilling, or unable to make big decisions in my life even though I know they would make me happy. But, you reconcile death, and then you say, Gosh, it really wasn’t that big of a decision after all, and you move forward in life instead of getting stuck in the past.
ROB KINGSBURY: And don’t you think that finding what is important, I mean it’s paramount, but I don’t think we should be, as a friend of mine and she said: “Don’t be afraid of what others think.” There’s no need to be. Do your deal, live your life. And I think when you do, you become happy, you become content. I know when I was 19 and had this problem, and I came through it. I thought, you know what? He isn’t done with me yet, and so, I’m going to take whatever time I have and I’m going to make a difference. And I think that is living in reality. Make a difference for God’s sake. Just don’t exist, don’t sit on the sidelines, get involved. Whatever it is, I don’t know what it is, that rings your chimes? Is it volunteering, is it going for a run, is it helping out some under privilege kid or person? Get involved, get off the sidelines. ‘Cause, I think, it takes us away from people who think life is about them. That’s another problem we’ve got in this reality book, not that your book is bad. I’m saying that people think life is all about them, and it ain’t.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Yeah, boy you covered a lot of things and I think you’re absolutely right. It’s about getting in this world. And there’s so many books about gosh you know you can just create these affirmations and have good intention and you’re going to create the perfect life. But if you don’t get off your butt and get in the world and do things and take action, your never going to find it. And it is different for each of us. You know, we each have our own path in life, we each have our own way of being of service to our community. But we have to do it, ‘cause nobody’s going to do it for us. And we’ve got to just take those steps, take those positive actions to get our life where we need it to be. And it’s not going to happen overnight, it’s going to happen day by day through making conscious, intentional effort in the direction of our dreams.
ROB KINGSBURY: Alright, and we’re talking to SETH CHERNOFF on his book, Manual For Living: Reality. One more statement before we go to break. I keep my cell phone in here, and a good friend of mine, she texted me and she said: “That’s what most people are worried about, the worthless opinions of others.” Worthless opinions, ‘cause some of the people who shoot their mouths off, I think Seth, with most of the opinions are the ones that never really commit to something. They never are involved in the real grind of life.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Yeah, I agree with you. You know, isn’t it funny how we always have the answers for everybody else’s life but rarely for our own.
ROB KINGSBURY: No kidding.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: You know, we go to people for advice that have no expertise in the area that we need help in. And we have to find this place, not only of trusting ourselves but also being honest with the people we’re going to surround ourselves with. You know, for a recovering alcoholic, we’re not going to hang out in a bar.
ROB KINGSBURY: I’m not hanging out with a drunk.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: You’re not! So I think the same thing goes for your environment. If you’re trying to choose a positive life, you’re trying to make choices in a different direction than where you’ve been in the past. Sometimes you have to change your environment, and that often means changing the people you’re associating with.
ROB KINGSBURY: I tell you, one of my closest friends, his name is Sam. And this is a person that I could go to and give an opinion and they will render their opinion to me maybe not with a hammer and not with a feather, maybe a velvet hammer. And it’s the kind of person I’m attracted to, male or female doesn’t matter, but attracted to the personality that will state what they really think not what they think I want to hear. We need more people like that. That’s why the Manual For Living in a Reality situation, I think your book hits a homerun.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Thanks, Coach K.
ROB KINGSBURY: Oh, I do. Alright, can we take a break. I need to get a breathing machine on I’m all pumped up today. Can we do that, Seth?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Oh you bet, of course!
ROB KINGSBURY: I was being nice. I was just being nice, typically, I just do what I want. Okay, we’re going to take a break and we’ll be back with Mr. Seth David Chernoff on his book Manual for Living: A User’s Guide to the Meaning of Life in Reality, we’ll be back right after this.
*** BREAK ***
ROB KINGSBURY: Ah, welcome back. The show is Total Health, Hot Talk 1510 KCTE, Studio phone line is 913-491-TALK (for you morons that’s 8255), instant message me at 1510.com. On the phone today with me, from Boulder, Colorado, is Seth David Chernoff on his book, Manual for Living: Reality. You still with me?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Oh, yes I am.
ROB KINGSBURY: You never go down to Pearl Street and have dinner?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Oh, all the time.
ROB KINGSBURY: Is that not a cool street?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: You know, I just love it here. I really do. I don’t know what it is about Boulder that keeps me here. But it’s just, it’s magnificent. I love it here.
ROB KINGSBURY: It’s absolutely wonderful when Jenny, my daughter, was living out there. She’s in Denver now, I used to go out to visit her when I could run before my knees fell apart. It’s a great place to go jogging, great place to go jogging. Let’s talk a little bit more in-depth about your book. Let me throw one out to you, Seth. What exactly do you mean by spiritual life?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Well, definitely that can be a charged topic. And I would start by saying that it really, it depends on each of us individually. But for me, I think that most of us in this world have a belief in a high power whether you call it God, or Allah, or whatever else or just a higher universe…
ROB KINGSBURY: Or me, or me…
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: …or Coach K. There’s a higher power in this world, and I think our spirituality, our faith is our belief in whatever it is for us, whatever it means to us. But there’s got to be some level of faith that gives you strength to move through hard times that gives you direction, I think, we each have that direction, we each have that guidance that comes from within us. But I think there’s a spiritual or something bigger that we can rely on and that can give us guidance in our life.
ROB KINGSBURY: You know, sometimes I think as parents, we have failed. I don’t know if you were listening online or offline I should say, to the Kansas City Star Article. I was discussing heroine is now snaring more of suburbia’s youth and there’d been a number of kids in the Kansas City Metroplex, I’m sure the Denver area too, that have OD’ed on heroine. And I’m thinking, just out loud with you for a second, that I’m wondering if parents are not real with their kids. Meaning, do they really, say, hey look, when I tried drugs this is what happened, or when I got drunk in high school or junior high, this is what happened. When I took Mom & Dad’s car, I’m kind of opening up here, and took the car at midnight and they were asleep and I wrecked it. I mean, these kinds of stories of living, do we sugar-coat it to our kids, I’m just thinking if we really told them how it was, we wouldn’t end up with people that are shocked, skinned their knees, and can’t get up, stay in a fetal position. Or these silver spoon kids, trust fund babies that woke up on third and thought they hit a triple, that when times gets a little tough for them, and they cringe, they melt, they go away, they end up in rehab. My question to you is, don’t you think as a parent we can do a better job by really telling like it is to the kid.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Yeah, you’re bringing up a big point. And I look back, you know, I remember when I was going through as an adult with my wife, these tremendous financial issues and my parents tried so hard to cover that up. When I finally approached my father just, you know, in passing in kind of a conversation, you know, “Hey, we’re just going through a tough time.” And he said, “Oh yeah, we went through some of those.” And it was like, “Really? You never ever shared that stuff with me. And I felt so much better knowing that I wasn’t alone. But look, I’ve got two boys, I’ve got one who just graduated High School, I’ve got another one who’s in Second Grade, and I look at them, and I realize places where I think we did a good job and places where I think we just blew it. And the thing that I’ve realized and this is kind of you go back to how you’re honest with your friends, what I’ve realized is, you know, we can’t really teach our kids by talking to them, I mean, most of us know that, you can talk until you’re blue in the face, but I think by making choices in our life and showing them that we’re willing to take risks, toward in a direction of our dreams to something that’s going to be of service to our community, we’re setting an example for them. And that’s what they learn from, they don’t learn from the things that we say, they learn from the things that we do. And so, I think we have a responsibility to make better choices and to also show them that it’s okay to fall on your face and get back up and then move forward as long as you’re moving in the direction as something as important to you.
ROB KINGSBURY: But I hope we’re communicating the two of us right here. I’m saying that…I don’t want to talk to Jenny until I’m blue in the face or any of my friends’ kids. But I want to be real in regards that this is what I did. This was the consequence of what I did. This is some thing’s I did, I didn’t get caught and blah, blah, blah…so that they know that, oh man, you lived that way, you’re real? I mean, I’ve said on the air when my biggest experiences with drinking, I was in St. Louis’ at a wedding and I hit a guy from behind, I’d had too much to drink. And I had a job at the University of Missouri, and I was in…going to go to Graduate School, I did part of Graduate School at Missouri and some at Iowa. And when I hit the guy from behind Seth, I got out the car, we got it rectified, went and had waffles. But that was my wake-up call that I can’t drink and drive. That was back in the early 70’s where it was more like Otis Taylor and Andy Griffith getting the key and laying down to sleep one off – times have changed. And I used that story here on the air because it’s real, and I’ve used it with my own kid to make a point, “I got lucky, you might not get lucky”. And so I’m saying, let’s get real with this, with everybody. I’m tired of the…well, I can’t swear on the air…I’m tired of the bull crap. Let’s get real, and I think that will ensure happiness. I think that gives you a spiritual life, I think it gives you meaning of life to be real.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Well, I think I agree with you in part. And I’ll say that I great that the being realness is an important factor, but we all have to remember that our kids are going to make mistakes. And they’re going to make the mistakes that are appropriate for their life, you know, for us maybe it was alcohol, for them it might be heroine or meth. And I hate to say, but you can’t prevent it. You know, maybe you prevent one thing and they get into another thing because that’s part of growing up. And so, I think our opportunity is to teach them that even through making big mistakes, or going through hard times, and maybe this is what you’re saying, that you know, we got through hard times as a child, I’m surprised I survived, and didn’t end up in jail but I didn’t, and I made it and I’m here. And you know, to share with them that gosh, you’re going to go through some hard times and you’re going to go through some dark days but you’re going to get through it. And you’re going to be stronger and move forward in life and yes, sharing with them, the experiences that we had to move forward is fine, but I don’t think we’re going to eliminate or even prevent them from making some pretty catastrophic issues in their life ‘cause that’s just a part of this human experience.
ROB KINGSBURY: Okay, and I’ll end it with this and you can comment back. I’m going to agree with you partly but disagree again. I think you’ve given that information to arm them so they know that you’re real and you love them and that you’ve lived. And that they can make a better decision before they screw up.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Great!
ROB KINGSBURY: Because their going to screw up. Where can people get Manual for Living?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Well, Manual for Living is available at your favorite local bookstore, online at www.manualforliving.com, the Apple Gadgets, the Kindle, the Nook, wherever you go and get your book stuff, you can get a copy of it.
ROB KINGSBURY: Okay, will you come back sometime? Will you come back in the Spring?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Coach K, anytime. I’d love to chat with you and talk to your listeners, it’s been a pleasure.
ROB KINGSBURY: Okay, what’s your favorite restaurant down on Pearl St., in Boulder?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Boy, Foolish Craig’s. Foolish Craig’s is my hang-up, my wife doesn’t like it as much. I can’t get her there…but I go…
ROB KINSBURY: Dump Her…I’ve been there.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: You’ve been there? That place is just the cat’s meow.
ROB KINGSBURY: Yup. It’s good. Come back again and the Manual for Leaving: Reality, like Barnes & Noble, Borders Books, and its well worth…How much is the dang thing?
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: 15.00 bucks ($15.)
ROB KINGSBURY: $15.95!!! It’s under 16 dollars.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: $15.95, that’s right. It’s a small price to pay for changing your life.
ROB KINGSBURY: And I appreciate the job you did on the book and being on the show and hopefully we got some people to go out and get this book and they’ll live a little bit more in reality.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: Thank you Coach K!
ROB KINGSBURY: You’re more than welcome and have a great rest of the week in a great town.
SETH DAVID CHERNOFF: You too, thanks!
ROB KINGSBURY: Thanks!