Lessons Learned
Lessons Learned
How to Negotiate the Life You Want to Live
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“Imagine that you are in an airport walking through an endless maze of hallways before finally reaching your gate, where you will sit for hours waiting for your plane. As you are walking, a bookshop catches your eye, and you drop in. There are hundreds of different books from which to choose. What is it that draws you to a particular book?”

—Dr. Harris R. Cohen

Introduction to “Lessons Learned”



Whatever has drawn you to this book is a strong indication that its content could be very important to you. This may be a rare opportunity to learn how you can achieve your goals: whether they are physical, mental, or spiritual. Once you understand the process of how and why you make everyday decisions, you are able to better understand and negotiate with yourself. This allows you to pursue an enlightened, more natural path toward all that you desire. Reading this book can change the course of your life—so take a chance and start right now!


“After reading this book, it was obvious to me that Dr. Harris Cohen is a true teacher and a devout student of life. This book is filled with heartfelt stories and common sense strategies that will change how you view life forever.”

Steve Rizzo, Author of Becoming a Humor Being


“Dr. Cohen offers a fresh and practical approach to decision making. With wit and wisdom his readers are guided on a journey to a selfnegotiated life of health and happiness.”

Professor Barbara Dean, Suffolk College




Imagine that you are in an airport walking through an endless maze of hallways before finally reaching your gate, where you will sit for hours waiting for your plane. As you are walking, a bookshop catches your eye, and you drop in. There are hundreds of different books from which to choose. What is it that draws you to a particular book? Is it the cover, the author, the title, the pictures, the size of the book, the size of the print, the synopsis, or something else?
Human beings are vibrational in nature. In other words, we are attracted or repelled to something or someone based on a feeling. A classic example is when you meet two different people: the first person makes you feel comfortable and the second does not. You get a good feeling with one person and a not-so-good feeling with the other. The same is true with books. Do you feel comfortable with what you’ve read so far? If so, please read on. By the way, you have just dealt with your first negotiation! But let’s come back to that later.
Let me explain what I mean by vibrations. The expression, “If it feels good, do it,” is basically the way the body is neurologically hardwired. All thought and reactions end in a feeling. It may be so fast that you cannot recognize it, but you still experience it. At birth, you are basically a clean slate of pure energy (pure vibration). As you start to learn, patterns of thought are stored in your brain. As you repeat certain patterns for periods of time, your brain puts them in compartments. Think of it as a circle. After you see, hear, taste, touch, or smell something for the first time, your brain records or stores it “vibrationally.” The more you experience a particular event, the easier it is for you to experience it again.
       Think of picking up a spoon for the first time. You learn how to hold it, how to use it to scoop up food, and then how to use it to bring food to your mouth. The first time you attempt this, the act is usually pretty awkward. After doing it many times, the task becomes easier and your movements more flowing. If you perform the same task repeatedly over the course of a period of time, it becomes second nature. You don’t even think consciously of it.
This is how you formulate a pattern or habit. It is nothing more than repetition of the same cyclic pattern. We think in circles. Most of these patterns require little energy (vibrational energy) to be stored. However, there are some patterns that are so emotional that they are driven deep into the unconscious. These are called significant emotional events. These events require more energy to be stored than everyday events. Over the years, you may have acquired many significant emotional events; some of which you may be aware and some of which you are not aware.
As you grow and compile millions upon millions of events, your brain puts them into different categories. On a very superficial level, they formulate your personality. Remember the song from South Pacific: “You've Got to Be Taught... to hate and fear.” It is true; you need to be taught these things.
From the myriad of information you have acquired from birth, you also develop a pattern of thought called decision-making. This process collects all of the available information on a given subject, and then a decision or action results. Have you ever been really upset over something and after making a decision about it you felt lighter and more centered? If so, you have just felt the release of a significant emotional event, because the energy that was required to hold all the information in place has been released.
I experienced this phenomenon personally when I attended a seminar by Dr. Victor Frank. Dr. Frank was a chiropractor who was internationally known as a genius on vibrational healing. He spoke about a condition called “emotional dump.” This is an unconscious buildup of events that can hold so much energy that they can bring a whole person down. He asked for volunteers, so I raised my hand. He said that he had never experienced a patient with more than six levels of emotional dump. However, he determined that I had eight layers of emotional dump. This was certainly not a contest that I had wanted to win! After performing a procedure on me, Dr. Frank asked me if I was feeling any different, and I frankly told him, “No.” After all of his efforts, I felt nothing new.
So I went out to dinner, and then returned to my room to turn in early. However, upon retiring, I found that I was unable to sleep because I was so wide-awake and full of energy. Since the hotel had a twenty-four-hour gym, I worked out for about an hour and a half before I felt tired enough to go to sleep. When I awoke the next day, I felt that there had been an incredible weight lifted from my shoulders. Talk about the release of energy!  
How does all of this deal with negotiating a decision? Let’s put what we have learned so far into action. There are few things that are more universally liked than chocolate cake. It’s creamy, smooth and delicious, but filled with fat and high cholesterol. Most of us disregard the fattening and high-cholesterol part and concentrate on the creamy and delicious aspect. One day, you go to the doctor, and he tells you that you should cut down on foods that are fattening and have high cholesterol. Your first reaction is panic, because chocolate cake is no longer on the menu! Nonetheless, you thank the doctor for his advice, and you go about changing your diet.
One evening, you and your friends go to dinner, and they order a chocolate cake that everyone can share for dessert. Based on your experience, you think the following: Should I eat some of the cake? Will one piece hurt me? How much fat and cholesterol is in a piece? You get the picture. You have to make a decision. Finally, you decide to eat the cake. However, you feel guilty after having eaten it! This is an example of negotiation because you had taken in all of the parameters, considered them, and reached a decision. Unfortunately, the decision was not in total concert with your body and, as a result, you felt guilt. If the decision had been totally acceptable by your brain, you would not have felt any guilt.
I wrote this book because I feel that the process of negotiating with oneself can be fun. I have chosen stories—some true and some not— that illustrate the negotiating process. At the end of each story, I have included “Things to Think About.” My hope is to inspire you, challenge you, and maybe even make you laugh and cry. But, most of all, I want to show you how you can achieve your dreams, whether they be physical, mental, or spiritual.
Remember: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Read on, and I will, as the famous author and inspirational speaker Zig Ziglar titled his book, “See You at the Top!”

Dr. Harris R. Cohen has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Canada on several inspirational and motivational topics. He holds BA, master’s, and doctoral degrees; he was a professor at New York Chiropractic College and the University of Bridgeport. He has been a practicing chiropractor for more than thirty years.

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