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3 Stress Lessons from Charlie Sheen: The Ugly, the Bad and the Good

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Love him or hate him, Charlie Sheen has been everywhere lately and we can all benefit. How? By learning the lessons that his journey has given us. Granted, there are those who suggest that he is suffering from a mental illness; I’m not going to touch that one. Whatever the reasons for his behavior, we can still learn from it.

First, the ugly. “Lessons” per se don’t always have to be about what we SHOULD do, they can also be about what we SHOULDN’T do, and Sheen has certainly taught us a thing or two about that! He partied hard with sex and drugs, which started a chain reaction of events that eventually lead to losing his TV acting job that was paying him, literally, millions of dollars. He reacted by trying to justify his outrageous behavior, and now there is legal action and everything is getting pretty contentious and ugly. Lesson: If you screw up admit it, apologize, fix what you can and move on. The sooner you get it out of your life the less stress your life will generate.

Now the bad. After he was fired and lambasted in the press, he decided to exploit his bad behavior by creating a stage show and taking it on the road. To me, all he is doing is celebrating his mistakes rather than trying to fix them. His battle cry is “Winning!” at, presumably, any cost. Lesson: The best way to win and get what you want is to help others get what they want. In this case, that would have meant sitting down with the network that fired him and trying to make it right. And if you actually were able to make it right, that would certainly be a relief wouldn’t it?

Finally, the good. Sheen's first “show” was in Detroit and he bombed. Big time. The audience booed him off the stage. People were chanting “Refund! Refund!” I wasn’t there, but people who were there said it was quite a scene. A few days later he did another “show” in Chicago, completely redesigned, restaged and redone in every way. This one was a big hit with the crowd. Lesson: Never give up. Frankly, if I bombed that badly during one of my presentations I don’t know if I could get back up there again so soon. He just waded into the fray and tried again.

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