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Welcome to my blog. For those of you who do not know, I, Michael Szafranski, was recently released from the Federal Prison Camp in Miami, Florida where I spent 11 months. It took six years from the time that I knew I was under investigation to the day I reported to prison. In many ways those six years were worse than the 11 months I actually sat. This blog is going to deal with many of the issues facing people like myself who are just trying to navigate the legal system when they find out they are in trouble and are thrown into the crazy world that is our criminal justice system. My case was kind of high profile so I dealt with it all. I am sharing what I learned so that others will be a little more prepared as to how to deal with various situations and to hopefully shed a little bit of light on what really goes on in the system. Please email me with any questions and if you would like to utilize my consulting services. Appreciate any comments and critiques! Follow along as I publish my book at https://www.wattpad.com/user/whitecollarguru. Email me at mike@whitecollarguru.com with any questions.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Attitude is Everything (Kvetching Gornish Helfin)

There is an old yiddish saying that goes Kvetching Gornish Helfin. Simply translated it means that you can whine all you want, it isn't going to make a damn difference anyway! This is something that not only every defendant should keep in mind, but any person who is facing any sort of adversity.

For a defendant, and perhaps more so one who feels he is being unfairly targeted the temptation wo complain, to employ a "why me" or "woe is me" attitude is very real. As mentioned a few weeks back, he feels the system is supposed to be fair and yet feels he is not being treated fairly. A defendant will spend his days complaining to just about anyone who is listening about what his life has become as a result of his predicament. He will spend his day awash in self pity at the precarious set of circumstances that he is forced to confront. He will worry all day and all night about what will happen if and when he goes to prison. His fears will be with him all day and night and he will be unable to sleep. His legal troubles will cease to be a distraction and will become the main attraction.

This attitude is damaging for many reasons. Firstly, from a logical standpoint, it accomplishes nothing. The legal system is not a retail establishment where complaining gets the customer what he wants and therefore actually makes a difference, No, complaining, will have absolutely no positive bearing on the outcome of the case. If anything, it will have a negative affect on its outcome. It certainly will have a negative impact on the defendant's quality of life as well as on his family's.

Generally, we see whining as a symptom of a greater underlying problem. In this case, the whining is a manifestation of frustration over a predicament. To be sure, there is plenty of reason to be concerned over the predicament. But is whining and a defeatist attitude the answer? Any psychologist will agree that actions and attitudes affect out state of mind. For example, if someone believes that he is not a good math student, he will probably have a hard time studying for a math exam even if his belief is unfounded. In essence he creates his own reality. The same is true for whining. A defendant who is constantly whining and complaining  about his predicament, will view his situation with the ultimate despair even though that is not the case. He will cause himself to be constantly depressed and will exhibit behaviour consistent with depression. He will look for way to avoid his life and that can often turn into an addiction to drugs and alcohol.

His depression will have other damaging results as well. Most white collar defendant have families. In other words there are people for who he is responsible Often times this will include a spouse and children who a dependant on him. How good of a parent will he be if he is in a constant state of depression? As a parent, his responsibility is to care for his children and not to make them suffer along with him. A defendant who is in a constant state of despair will be unable to be a responsible parent. His children will not want to be around him. They will resent him for being such a negative parent and that will take years to repair. The same can be applied to a spouse. Your spouse is undoubtedly apprehensive enough as it is and it is the responsibility of the defendant to make this time less stressful, not more so.

A positive attitude is also needed because this is a long process. A defendant needs to be thinking straight at all times so that he can make proper decisions. He needs his head in the game. Many important decisions are going to be made in the coming months and years and a defendant must be in the proper state of mind in order to make them. Anything short of razor-sharp focus is inexcusable, Furthermore, since this is a long process, it is important to be able to go on with life while being engaged in a legal battle. If prison is in the future, that will be hard enough. There is no reason to make the time leading up to a potential prison terms difficult as well. There is no reason to serve to sentences when the government is only trying for one.

How someone views himself affects how others view him Someone who exudes confidence will undoubtedly be more successful than someone who lacks it. A defendant who walks around with his head down and in a constant state of depression looks guilty. The attitude of his friends will be "if he thinks he is guilty then he must be guilty". On the other hand, someone who walks around in a state of confidence and is constantly smiling will cause others to similarly view him positively. It goes without saying that defendants need their friends during this time but at the same time, no one wants to be around someone who is constantly depressed. Constantly complaining will only result in going through this time alone and nobody wants that.

Attitude really is everything. There will be ups and downs during this very difficult time. The key is to remember that a negative attitude will in no way ever help a case. It will only cause a defendant to squander what may be valuable time with his family and friends. When despair hits, always remember, Kvetchin Gornish Helfin!

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