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Women & Self Worth: Defining One's Self Could Be the Key to Complete Success

Aired May 23, 2009 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, women and self worth, could it be the most important issue that tens of millions of American females must confront every day? How women and girls value themselves is the key to success at work, home and life.

Deepak Chopra.


DEEPAK CHOPRA, EDUCATOR, HOLISTIC HEALTH PIONEER: If our children mirror these women, we would have a much better world.


KING: Lisa Ling.


LISA LING, CORRESPONDENT, OPRAH SHOW & AUTHOR: For a woman to just be able to say, I can take care of myself completely.


KING: And Della Reese.


DELLA REESE, SINGER & AUTHOR: It wasn't difficult for me to learn. It was necessary for me to learn.


KING: Are here to guide, encourage and get you on track. It's a positively powerful hour of inspiration and determination. Watch it. You're worth it. Right now, on "LARRY KING LIVE."

Good evening. We have a terrific show tonight. We begin with an outstanding panel. Here in Los Angeles, Cheryl Saban. Cheryl is a PhD psychologist, philanthropist and author of a terrific new book, "What is Your Self Worth: A Woman's Guide to Validation."

And San Francisco's Lisa Nichols, motivational speaker, humanitarian. Her new book, "No Matter What." Here in Los Angeles, Lisa Ling, of the International Geographic Explorer and a show correspondent for Oprah. And the famed Della Reese, jazz great, legendary entertainer, ordained minister. By the way, she has a concert at the Wilshire Theater in Los Angeles June 20th.

OK, Cheryl, there are a lot of self-help books out. What separates this?

CHERYL SABAN, PHD PSYCHOLOGIST, PHILANTHROPIST & AUTHOR: This book is talking to women right now about the danger of not knowing what your self worth is, of not feeling confident, of not being able to be part of the dialogue with the women's issues right now, with the way the world is going. Our input is so small, compared to what it could be. And if we don't have a sense of self worth, we can't have the confidence to do it.

KING: The big question then is why?

SABAN: I think that we're still bouncing off the stereotypes, cultural embedded rules. Society sends us mixed messages. We kind of don't know how to -- excuse me -- we don't know how to rise above these things. They've been difficult for women.

KING: Women more than men?

SABAN: Much more than men.

KING: Because?

SABAN: It's -- we're living in a male-dominated society for the most part. And it's not a -- we're not blaming anyone. But in order for us to use our voices, we have to push much harder. And things that happen to women can silence our voices. I have a personal experience with that.

KING: What?

SABAN: Situations in our life. The perceptions that are out there with the world can make us feel reluctant to speak out. I was raped when I was 18. This was a marginalizing experience, to say the least.

KING: No kidding.

SABAN: I was in two failed marriages before I was 34. I felt very intimidated by these experiences. And I actually allowed them to silence my voice. So I wasn't part of -- I wasn't able to stand up for myself in many ways.

KING: You ever dealt or thought about self worth, Lisa?

LING: Well, absolutely. I think that it's really important to hear stories and to try and promote women's self worth, particularly amongst girls these days, because right now, there is so much media that's available to us. We are inundated with more and more media in our own bedrooms because most of us have computers or access to television in our homes or in our bedrooms. And all of the images that women see are ones that reinforce the need to be skinnier or to be -- to have more. All of these things are really destructive.

And unless we start targeting young girls, I think, about trying to become more educated and empowerment and allowing themselves to be surrounded with positive images and not just the images that reinforce the various stereotypes and negative imagery, that's the only way we're going to be able to change that.

KING: Before we get to Della, Lisa, you agree?

LISA NICHOLS, MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER, HUMANITARIAN & AUTHOR: I absolutely agree. I believe that we are the first examples of how the world is supposed to treat us. That the way that I treat myself, the way that I view myself, the way that I love on myself or the way that I choose not to love on myself, I'm an example to how others can and will treat me. And most of the time, we walk around as women looking for others to validate us and to validate who we are. And it's not until we fall in love with ourselves and then we become the example to others of how they're supposed to love us that the world will really begin to honor and celebrate us. We are the first examples. That's what self worth is about.

KING: Della, would you have had, I'm guessing, less of a problem with this for being famous for so long?

REESE: Well, I don't have problem with the word "conceit." That's how they control women. If you are proud of yourself, if you are confident, then you are conceited. And that sends you back in the hole, you see. I don't have that problem. I refuse to let you dictate to me that because I am.

KING: Do you think that's because you had hit records?

REESE: No, I think that's because the way my momma raised me. My mother happened to be a personal friend of God's and see -- you see.

KING: I called him yesterday.

REESE: You did? Did you talk to him?

KING: He was in Vegas.


Powerful women are here. Don't go away.



KING: You have a quote in "Fortune" magazine. Is this true? "I have learned I cannot be destroyed."

Is that out of context?

MARTHA STEWART: It's a little out of context. What I meant, when she asked me, what came out of going away to prison, that I couldn't be destroyed. I couldn't -- I couldn't be destroyed.

KING: Nothing could destroy you. Not that you're indestructible.

STEWART: Of course, you can come and run me over tomorrow and I'd be destroyed. That's totally wrong. Just that I personally -- I couldn't let something like that destroy me. And I felt good about that.


KING: OK, Cheryl Saban, the book is "What is Your Self Worth," subtitled as "A Woman's Guide to Validation." How does a woman get validated?

SABAN: Starting with yourself, obviously, feeling confident. Having self worth allows you to be confident so that you can make an impression on the world around you. I suggest that you get financially independent, because that gives you freedom. It gives you empowerment to stop engaging in dysfunctional behaviors and bad habits. We all know what they are. That's including helplessness. And then to love yourself first, to really do that.

KING: Are you saying lack of self worth is your fault?

SABAN: I think it's a slippery slope and if you don't put the brakes on and stop it yourself, there's nobody that's going to come and save you.

KING: Hasn't it improved, though, with women's rights and all of that? Hasn't it gotten much better?

LING: I guess one could say that it has in that regard. But by the same token, I don't think that the word "independence" is emphasized enough amongst young women. I think that from the day we're born, we're told, well, we need to, at some point, find a man to take care of us. And even if our parents are independent people and they're trying to discourage that, that's what society is kind of telling us all the time.

I mean, I was engaged -- before I married my husband -- I was engaged to someone who gave me a very big diamond ring, for example. And I felt sort of possessed, you know. People were -- when they found out I was married, they wouldn't say, oh, well, what's he like? They'd reach for my hand. All of these little things, the things that we are raised to believe, that we need as women, are sometimes very destructive. And I think that the primary thing is that we need to be defined by a man. And I think that that's something that we need to start to fight and become more independent in all aspects.

KING: The thought was, Lisa, isn't -- Lisa Nichols, isn't it getting better?

NICHOLS: Well, you know, I believe that we're in an age where women are looking and searching for their voice on every level. I get thousands of e-mails a week with women looking and wanting to define their own self worth, independent of being a wife, independent of being a mother, independent of being attached to anyone. It's important to define yourself, to realize that being someone's woman doesn't make you complete. Being someone's mother doesn't make you complete.

That is our job as women to complete ourselves. And once you're complete, then you look for others in your life to compliment your completeness. But that it's our job to complete ourselves.

I say that, until you recognize and look in the mirror and can truly celebrate intimacy -- and not with two people, sexual, but intimacy truly is in to me I see. And when you can see into yourself and be with you and then turn around and love and serve the world from not a half-empty tank or not a bone-dry tank, which most women do -- we're servers, we're givers with that martyr energy. But you're not serving from a half-empty tank, you begin to fill your own tank up and serve from your overflow.

KING: You'd agree, then, that Cheryl's book is important?

NICHOLS: Absolutely it's important.

KING: Della, what about obstacles? You face them every day, don't you?

REESE: Yes, we do. And blessings to these young women. But we had obstacles when I was coming up. I had a racial obstacle. I had the fact that I wasn't a size 2. I had the fact that I wanted to sing music that wasn't the music prescribed for me to sing.

But Lisa is right. If you have it inside of you that this is who I am and this is what I'm going to do, and the devil take the hind parts, then you -- it gives you a strength. It gives you a courage. You see, it gives you confidence.

KING: You get into that?

LING: The question is how do you learn that, though? As I was saying earlier, when we're constantly bombarded with images in our media, that we're not...

REESE: It wasn't difficult for me to learn. It was necessary for me to learn.

LING: Right.

REESE: There was no other out for me.

KING: You had no choice.

Our phenomenal group of women, we're discussing -- have overcome great obstacles themselves. We'll hear some personal struggles when we come back.



KING: You think it's tougher -- it's tough enough on women. Is it tougher on the black woman?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you know, that's a tough question. I think that if you think about it, 40 years ago or 30 years ago, we were -- Martin Luther King was around and Malcolm X and all these leaders and the women's right movement was there. So it is very young that people have started to have equal opportunities. So I think do you have to work harder as a minority? I think that you just always -- you never forget who you are and just cherish who you are.


KING: Speaking of obstacles with this outstanding panel. You spoke of rape.

You spoke of that ring presented to you.

LISA: That certainly wasn't the obstacle. I went through a lot of obstacles as a young woman that actually cultivated my sort of fierce feminism.


But it's true. I mean, Della just said that need is a really important force. And when you come from a place of need, that you have to find that place and that strength inside you to overcome those obstacles.

KING: Lisa, doubly hard -- Lisa Nichols, doubly hard being black?

NICHOLS: You know, when you sit inside a body that the world isn't necessarily grabbing hold to and giving the first opportunity, you have to say, no matter what -- I just finished a book called "No Matter What," not because it was a sexy saying, but because it was the statement that I had to keep saying to myself. I think being African- American has an opportunity that may show up as an obstacle. For me, being an African-American has been my highlight. In many of my environments, I may be one of the few African-Americans there, but it's what I choose to do with that. I choose to look at that as my highlight.

But, yes, have I had to do some things differently? Work harder, stay up later, get up earlier, absolutely. But I choose to recognize is that's made me a stronger woman. I'm going to use that as my fuel, not my fortress.

So in the conversations that all of us are having, and the women who are on the panel -- you guys are amazing. I'm grateful to be here with you. I believe what's said by all of us is that we were handed an opportunity as women, as African-American woman, as a woman of color, as a woman from the '60s, the '50s, whatever it was, we were handed an opportunity. And what we chose to do with that opportunity, even though it may have been a blessing that came wrapped in sand paper, what we chose to do with that opportunity was what matters.

KING: Della, other than color, give me an obstacle you had to fight.

REESE: I married a psychopath.


KING: Oh. That can affect you.

REESE: Oh, it can definitely affect you. And I was in love with him. And I kept thinking that he was going to -- when he found out how much I loved him -- because I had been taught that I need -- in order to be whole, I needed a man. And I just knew that the nicer I was to him, the better he was going to be, which was not true at all. And so courage came in. He beat me. And one day, I just said, well, he's going to kill me anyway. But I'm getting out of here. You see. And I got up and I left. And that gave me the courage. If I could handle him, now I'm feeling like I can handle anything. I've handled this nut here.

KING: That man situation, thrown into women is find a man, the man is...

SABAN: It's hard...

LING: Absolutely.

REESE: Yes, absolutely.

SABAN: This is a hard cultural lesson to beat. It's a mindset that -- and we haven't managed to get around it yet.

KING: You, meaning women have not gotten around it.

SABAN: You have to come up with the strength -- women have not. This is not -- it's not a battle between the genders. It is -- there needs to be some equity at some point, though. We're 50 percent of the population. We do 66 percent of the world's labor. We only earn 11 percent of the world's income. And where there's so many discrepancies, if without our voice, without using this voice, we will not be able to...

NICHOLS: But you know what I believe? I believe is also, before we even get to what it means with men, it's our own self chatter. It's the -- our conversation that goes on in our head about ourselves. I realized that before anyone else can pour anything -- can believe in me, can love on me, I had to be the first example of what loving me looked like. And for a long time, my own negative self talk was my biggest obstacle.

So when I talk about bouncing back, the first person I have to bounce back from and with was myself, and learn what it looks like to be good to Lisa, so others can follow that lead.

KING: Well said. NICHOLS: So I believe self talk is the first thing. It's how are we with ourselves.

KING: Are women finally being treated equally? The answer may surprise you. Stay with us.


KING: We're back with the group.

If the statistics you gave, Cheryl, are true, women are nowhere near equal.

SABAN: No. No, we're not, not yet. We're striving of course. Here in the United States, we make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes doing the same jobs. So -- and this is since the rules -- we've tried to change the rules. So, clearly, yes, we need to talk to ourselves. That's where it starts obviously. I think -- I agree with Lisa. We need to start with here. But self worth really emanates from within. That will give us the courage to speak out and be more proactive.

KING: Isn't it hard if you're 35 and you haven't got it?

SABAN: Yes. Nobody said it was going to be easy.

KING: Than if you were 12?

SABAN: Nobody said that.

KING: You did a great program on teen prostitution.

LING: I did, yeah.

KING: That's a classic example of non-self worth right there.

LING: It's really interesting. That's why I keep emphasizing that independence has to be taught to girls at a very young age. I did a piece about child prostitution. And I started thinking about what drives these girls into prostitution. And most of these girls have run away from very broken homes. They've never had people tell them, I love you. They've never had a positive male figure in their lives. They end up on the street. And then these men who look and prey on these vulnerabilities come up and say, "I'll take care of you. I'll buy you fancy clothes, I love you."

Immediately -- I mean, I consider myself to, one of the most independent women I know. But even I have, at one time or another, thought what might it be like for a man to take care of me? I admit it, I've thought about it. Think about these vulnerable little girls. And that's sort of -- that's an extreme end of the -- or an extreme example. But just think about that kind of vulnerability and that need for someone to say, I'll take care of you. And that's why I think that, as a young person, as a child, we need to have more images or be taught how to be independent, that I don't need to be financially dependent on someone else or dependent, period, on anyone else but myself.

KING: Lisa, have there ever been moments where you said, Lisa Nichols, you'd rather be a guy?

NICHOLS: Well, you know, there are moments where I said, if I were a man, that wouldn't have happened to me.


Or if I were a man, I would have gotten treated differently. I realize that, as a speaker, I speak with some of the best speakers on the planet, head lining speakers. Most of the time it's all the guys and me. And is it different when they walk up in a navy blue, gray or black suit and then I walk up in my orange tie-dye or my -- yes.

But what I learned is I need to celebrate that difference. I need to make sure that I'm not apologizing for being a woman in a man's space. I'm not -- nor am I skewing my femininity on them either. I just get to be. I get to be and allow the relay of they and I, allow the relay of you and I to work. But I can only do that if I'm standing in what I know and not in my fear of your perception of me because I'm a woman.

LING: It's little things. I mean, I can't tell you how many incredibly intelligent, accomplished brilliant women I know engaged to someone and waiting, why hasn't he asked me to marry me?


KING: What's the date?

LING: Why don't you ask him? Or maybe he doesn't want to. Like all of a sudden women lose their self worth.

REESE: It's because we keep -- it's because we keep wanting equality, when what we really need is equity, which is altogether different. You see, I can't be equal with him. We have different parts, different thoughts, different feelings. I want equity. I want to be able to be who I am. Now, if I can coexist with him, that might be fun.


I don't want to be like him.

KING: Cheryl, how does a woman use this book?

SABAN: You take this book. You ask yourself the questions. You respond honestly from your heart.

KING: The book forces you to ask questions?

SABAN: It does. It gives you opportunities to do an assessment, to check in with yourself, to see what do you really believe? What is your opinion? What are you afraid of? How were you treated in your home? What is going on with the man and you in your life? Do you feel your worth? If not, what's stopping you? What could you do to make yourself feel better?

KING: What's the hardest...

LING: I like the idea of trying to get to a place where you don't need anything from anyone. The one thing...


LING: The one that my husband and I fight about still is paying for meals. Like sometimes he says, "Lisa, just let me pay for a meal." And I just -- it's so hard for me to let him. But I'm actually proud of the fact.

KING: Do you make more than him?

LING: At times, I mean, I think we're about equal, which is -- which isn't really relevant.

KING: No, but different.

LING: It's important for a woman to be able to say, I can take care of myself completely. That way, everything else is a gift.

NICHOLS: But you know what, Lisa? I so agree with you. I think there's this balance that we get to that when you know you can do it for yourself, then you can also allow others to bless you as well.

KING: Coming up, tips on how you can empower yourself. My tip is don't away.



KING: With your insecurities, is there a degree where you don't feel you deserve the success?

VALERIE BERTONELLI, ACTRESS: All the time. All the time. I never felt like I deserved it ever. Now I'm starting to feel like, you know what, this is nice. I deserve this. And if I can have a voice out there for someone to relate to, then I'm going to talk.


KING: Four great ladies with us, mainly around the book of Cheryl Saban's, just published, "What is Your Self Worth." All of them have books on the shelves, by the way.

OK. Some tips, Cheryl. Let's start with you. Give me a tip or two.

SABAN: OK. You learn to appreciate yourself for the gifts that you're able to give back. You learn to appreciate. And then you're able to speak that out. You're able to speak your truth, your -- I don't know, your opinion with your head held high. KING: You mean start doing it? SABAN: Well, it starts -- yes, you do have to start doing it. You have to come up with the courage at least to take that first step. When you recover from anything, when you rediscover anything, it always has to start with you. So being able to stand up for yourself is -- it's like -- it's almost like what came first, the chicken or the egg. But, truly, you do have to come up with at least that energy.

KING: Well said.

You got a tip?

LING: The thing I keep saying, just be able to take care of yourself. You never know what could happen tomorrow. And it's really important to just be as self sufficient as possible.

KING: Boy, you might be tough to be with.


LING: I'm not. I'm easy to be with.

KING: What's new today?

LING: But it's just -- I've just seen so many women become victims of that.

KING: Della, you got a...

REESE: Be yourself. Whoever you are, be that. Don't try to be something to make somebody else aware of you. Don't try to be something to make somebody else appreciate you. Just be you, because you're unique. There's not another like me and never will be. And if you like what I got, you got to come to me to get it, cause ain't nobody else got none of it.

LING: See ya.

KING: You see, a lot of life, Lisa Nichols, is like pleasing others for women, right?

NICHOLS: Yes, absolutely, absolutely. You know, one of the things I say is that a lot of times we are steady putting out to others and taking care of other people that we haven't given ourselves permission to allow our light to shine.

You know, I wrote the book "No Matter What" because I kept saying, "I gotta let my light shine no matter what. I got to let my gift out, no matter what."

And I found that when I finally stopped apologizing for my gift, my greatness, I stopped trying to shrink down, dumb down, you know, bow down because others around me were not feeling comfortable, I say to the ladies who are looking to the daughters who are looking at this show, I say, "Allow your light to shine as brightly as you can, and if those around you can't handle your light, then invite them to put on some shades.

KING: Next we are going to add a man to the panel - not me. I'm already here. I'm just asking questions. The famed Deepak Chopra joins us next.



JANET JACKSON, SINGER: It was hard for me to really like myself. I had to really learn to love myself, and I'm at that point now - to really accept me for who I am. It was - it was very difficult for me in my 20s and my 30s. It takes a great deal of discipline. If you really put your mind to it, nothing is impossible.


KING: In a little while, we will meet Julie Chrystyn, who has written a terrific book called "The Secret to Life Transformation: How to Claim Your Destiny Now." She will join us. Deepak will be with her, as he is with these lovely ladies now.

All right, Deepak Chopra, famed educator, holistic health spiritual leader, author of "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success," what do you make out of what you have heard?

CHOPRA: I think, you know, there is a lot to learn. I think Cheryl said something very beautiful. I am paraphrasing her right now, but there is a difference between self-esteem and self-image. Self-image is what other people think of us, and self-esteem is what you think of yourself, and it makes all the difference in the world.

And right now we are in a state where the world is really falling apart. We have an economic meltdown, we have war and terrorism, we have social injustice, we have global warming. Only the feminine can really save us right now.


We need a wise, nurturing, intuitive, affectionate, tender, creative, mothering energy in this universe...

KING: All those have...

CHOPRA: ... because all those men that they were talking about, in those blue suits, they brought us to this stage.

KING: All those attributes, though, require self-worth, do they not?

CHOPRA: Yes, and that self-worth comes by going within and actually reflecting on your limiting beliefs because these are beliefs that were programmed into you by others, by the culture, by a male- dominated society, which was part of our evolution in the past.

It was survival of the fittest. Now we need survival of the wisest. So we really need to go inside us and discover those energies; whether we are men or women, we need the feminine now.

KING: How do you learn to believe in yourself, Cheryl? How do you get that if you don't have it?

SABAN: If you don't have it - for me, I had an incident in my life.

I was having a very low point where I couldn't afford health care. I was a single mom so -- I was a working mom, but I didn't have health care, and I got very ill, chronically ill, that was going to affect my job.

So I took myself to a free clinic to get treated, and I was humiliated to do that because I felt like I should be able to pay for my own health care, and I thought for sure that people were going to think I was worthless when I walked through the doors. But, you know what, I wasn't - when I walked through the doors, the doctors and the nurses, both male and female, treated me with compassion, and it was like a wake-up call. So this act of kindness is what did it for me.

KING: So it was incidence? You had incidence?

SABAN: I had - I had - yes, I had an epiphany perhaps that I needed to step up. It told me that I needed to be - I need to think of myself differently. I needed to change the way I thought about things.

KING: Deepak, did you always feel this way about women's kind of quality?

CHOPRA: I was brought up with a very nurturing mother, and I owe all my success to my mother. I think we could change this world if we honored mothers in our society as much as we honor successful people in business because they are the caretakers of the leaders of tomorrow. So I never had those problems, you know?

But I think we should always be asking ourselves, "Why do I have this limiting belief? Is it true - am I really sure if it is true? What is it doing to me? Who would I be without it?"

There are a lot of people who have written about this, and the ways of reflecting and going to a quiet place and discovering that there is a core consciousness inside you that is independent of the good and bad opinions of the world, that is immune to criticism, that has a lot of creativity and insight and intuition and inspiration and consciousness choice-making, and that we all have it.

KING: Back with more of this great group after this.



SHERYL CROW, SINGER, BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR: The first thing that happens when they tell you you have cancer -- you know so little about it, especially if you are someone like me who - I have always been healthy. In fact, I brag all the time about I never have a sore throat, I never have cancelled a gig, and suddenly I have this diagnosis that is completely foreign to me, and I just - I did what everybody else does and dug into the Internet and tried to educate myself as to what I was looking at.

Initially I was a bit reticent to even come out and talk about it, but I think my story is -- at least for women in - who are of my age bracket and younger - I think my story is celebratory in the fact that prevention is really the best cure.


KING: Deepak Chopra will remain with us when Julie Chrystyn joins us, but our panel remains in this segment.

Are you optimistic, Lisa Ling?


KING: Really - you know, that things are going to happen for women?

LING: I am. I am always optimistic, but I do think that trying to target young people - and I do think it is incumbent upon us as women who have learned sometimes very difficult life lessons to try and impart that -- positive lessons -- on young people because statistically we are struggling in so many areas, as Deepak just said, economically, educationally. And I do think that, as Cheryl learned, that once you have been able to find that power within yourself, I think it is important that we try to share that as much as possible.

KING: Well said.

You optimistic, Della?

REESE: Absolutely. That's the only way you can make it is to be optimistic. If you start believing everything is all wrong, see, whatever you believe is true for you, you see, and if you think everything is all wrong, you draw to you all wrong things.

KING: Lisa Nichols, do you see better things happening around you with women?

NICHOLS: Absolutely. Every day, every day we get to make a new choice, we get to wake up, we get to choose a higher road. Every day we get to look at the smaller part of ourselves and bring them along the journey and say, "You know what, if you are afraid, let's go anyway."

Absolutely. I see that it is going to get greater, and we get to design that. We get to slide from the passenger seat of our lives to the driver seat of our lives in one moment, in a choice.

KING: Are you optimistic, Cheryl?

SABAN: Yes, because it is a choice. It is a very personal choice that we can make to have a better, more fulfilling, happier life. We can choose to feel that, and that is what we expose and express.

KING: You make that choice.

SABAN: I make that choice.

KING: Deepak, you have believed that a long time, haven't you?

CHOPRA: Yes, but look at this panel. You have a Chinese- American, you have two African-Americans, you have a white woman. These are role models for our society. You know, if our children mirrored these women, we would have a much better world. We need to actually -

KING: Well said.

CHOPRA: We need to emulate our leaders here.

KING: Boy, that must make you feel good.


KING: You'll go out of here feeling terrific, that things - that things are on the road. And again, I just want to get - you are giving the proceeds to whom?

SABAN: To women's funds and women's projects. The first - on top of that, I'm giving a lot of my own money, which, by the way, I can say that I'm giving $10 million of my own money to women's funds.

KING: Much-deserved, much success - "What is Your Self-Worth?"

Lisa Nichols, thanks, terrific - her book, "No Matter What." Lisa Ling, of course, with Oprah and National Geographic, Della Reese - the great Della Reese.

Deepak remains, and Julie Chrystyn, humanitarian, philanthropist and author of "The Secret to Life Transformation" joins us next.

Here's a woman who's got secrets of success from Clarence Thomas, David Foster, Patch Adams and more. Julie Chrystyn, Deepak Chopra after the break.



KING: After all that has happened to you, why not just go to Hollywood and make movies?

OPRAH WINFREY: People have possibilities in their lives and that no one can dictate to you what is best for you to do but you.

Yes, we have been abused; yes, we are dysfunctional. What in the hell are we going to do about it? We have to take responsibility for our own lives, and that is really where I am with myself and also with the show.

How can you in your own life make a difference in somebody else's?


KING: Welcome back.

The famed Deepak Chopra remains with us in New York, and we are joined by Julie Chrystyn, the lady of the hour, humanitarian, philanthropist and author of the "Secret to Life Transformation: How to Claim Your Destiny Now," with chapters, get this, from Clarence Thomas, Patch Adams, David Foster, Paula White and many others.

We are going to ask some questions of Julie, want Deepak's thoughts, of course on this.

This book comes obviously at a very good time, when people can probably use the information. What do we mean by "transforming"?

JULIE CHRYSTYN, AUTHOR OF "SECRET TO LIFE TRANSFORMATION: HOW TO CLAIM YOUR DESTINY NOW": Well, you know, you have to transform or you are not going to survive. And this is an era of change, whether we like it or not, and, you know, so many people talk great spiritual truth and amazing philosophical theories, but right now we need to talk about the elephant in the room because the rent is due at the first of the month.

KING: Why don't we?

CHRYSTYN: You know, I don't know why we don't. Maybe we are afraid to face reality.

Look how much effort we put behind people who want to effect change in our life, how much we put behind them, and yet how much of that same effort are we putting to transform our own lives and make a difference? So, like charity, change begins at home, and you've got to look within first.

KING: You interviewed over 300 people, some of the most successful men and women in the country. You focus on 12 stories. How did you pick the 12?

CHRYSTYN: It was brutal, you know, with space, not choice. We chose 12 people due to space, but over 300 people over three years all over the world and most of the United States, and something Jacqueline Jakes said, the extraordinary sister of the Bishop T.D. Jakes, which we all love -- she said, "I do not take too seriously the advice of those who have not been severely tested."

I'm all for theory - I love theory, and we all learn from knowledge - but there is something so authentic and powerful about people who have "been there, done that." It's survival techniques from the trenches.

KING: And I must say, I read this book - from a personal standpoint, this is a terrific book. Some of the people who write these chapters - David Foster, of course, the brilliant orchestra arranger; Patch Adams tells the story of events in his life, the subject of a great movie. Paul Anka - what can you say? Robert Evans, the movie producer, former New York Chief Justice Sol Wachler, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and the late Bernie Brillstein.

What do you make, Deepak, of this idea?

CHOPRA: Well, actually I stayed up last night reading Julie's book because those were very interesting stories, and it reminded me of something that Charles Darwin said. He said, "The wisest will not survive. The strongest will not survive. But those who adapt will survive."

And that is what Julie's book is about. It's about transformation, it's about adaptability, it's about change, and what inspires people is exactly those stories. You know, if you look in the lives of great leaders, it's all about the fact that they were great storytellers, and in the midst of adversity they found transformation.

KING: Julie, isn't the hardest thing for a human being to do is change?

CHRYSTYN: Is change. Absolutely, but, you know, I was listening to your audio book "My Remarkable Journey" in Minnesota last week, and I wish I remembered who told you this many years ago when you began your career - that the 99 percent of the people will not take a risk.

KING: Yes.

CHRYSTYN: They will not take a risk. Maybe that is why 99 percent don't have, and 1 percent does have. Maybe that is the big difference.

KING: But you believe - if you write a book like this, you believe they can change.

CHRYSTYN: Are you kidding? Where I came from?


I should have been left for dead.

KING: Were you poor?

CHRYSTYN: You know, I was born in former Communist Yugoslavia. We came to the United States of political asylum at the age of 8, and the age of 12 I was diagnosed with severe scoliosis.

There was (inaudible) paralyzed and crippled. I underwent a radical procedure and spent a year in bed in a body cast. Through that my parents, through amputations, heart attacks, stroke, ovarian cancer, you name it - but you know what, every single situation makes us stronger, makes us more powerful. There is opportunity in every single situation that you face. Some people see opportunity. Other people see adversity. I never want to know how something can't be done. I want to know how it can be done.

KING: Deepak, having read the book as well, would you agree that all or most successful people have in their lives changed or transformed?

CHOPRA: Yes, and, you know, you are in the book, so you talk about your own life in the introduction. And every person in that book has come from a place of not privilege. Not one person came from a place of great privilege, and they said, you know, they did what Julie is talking about - finding opportunity in the midst of adversity, in fact, looking at the adversity as an opportunity.

You know, recently there has been a lot of research on what creates happiness in people, and people have even come up with a happiness formula. They say the first thing is your brain set point. The happy people, when they look at a situation, they see an opportunity. The unhappy people look at the same situation and see a problem.

Your conditions of living, which means how much money you make, has very little to do with happiness. In fact, the U.S. comes fairly low in happiness in the world. The happiest people are those who focus on relationships, and when they focus on relationships they are happy.

KING: How do you get that, Julie?

CHRYSTYN: You know, Dr. Chopra said so wisely here a few minutes ago that this is the age of wisdom, the survival of the wise.

You know, I think Solomon said "without a vision the people perish." He's the wealthiest man that ever lived, even by today's standards. The Bible talks about wisdom more than it talks about faith, more than it talks about love, more than it talks about any other issue.

And what is wisdom? Wisdom is the ability to discern - do we, or don't we? Yes or no? Who do we hang out with, what decisions do we make? What directions do we take next? It mentions the word "if" 331 times - if there (inaudible), action-reaction. And we forget - we forget that wisdom needs to be the first and foremost part of our lives.

KING: Deepak Chopra is with us, and so is Julie Chrystyn, author of "The Secret to Life Transformation: How to Claim Your Destiny Now."

Back after this.


KING: We're back with Julie Chrystyn and Deepak Chopra. We have all heard about the expression "You are what you eat" or "You are what you think." What do people mean by "Your own state of mind is the most important thing? You are what you are."

CHRYSTYN: Sure, your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your reality.

You know, think and thinking isn't going to take you very far. You have a choice in every single situation that you face -- what decision you are going to make within it -- and there are so many options that -- we don't give ourselves options.

Independent thinking does not come easily or naturally. We are programmed and pre-programmed, as Dr. Chopra said earlier. Who are we being influenced by? Who are we listening to? What is our value system? What decision do we make, what wisdom do we use? And that begins with the thought process.

KING: You seem to have such knowledge, Deepak, about so many things over all the years we have talked to you. When you pick up a book like this, can you learn from it?

CHOPRA: Of course I can learn from it because it gives you very concrete examples, and that is what Julie has done. She has reinforced what I have always taught about by giving very concrete examples in this book.

You see, there is a difference, Larry, between information, knowledge and wisdom. Information is raw data. Knowledge is what do you do with that raw data?

You can create a nuclear bomb, or you can create an Internet site, or you can create this program. You can do anything with knowledge.

What is wisdom? Wisdom is that knowledge which nurtures life, which nurtures relationships, and, you know, in Eastern wisdom traditions we talk about divine attitudes, which are love, compassion, loving kindness, equanimity and joy at the success of others.

And when you look at the examples in Julie's book, you see that inadvertently or consciously, people made those choices that nurtured wisdom. It is very interesting she talks about King Solomon right in the beginning, who was known to be one of the wisest people in the Bible and therefore also one of the richest and wealthiest people. His wealth came from mining the core of wisdom in his own consciousness and his spirit.

KING: How did you pick the people you would use in the book?

CHRYSTYN: Diversity. I wanted complete authenticity. We have everybody from a plastic surgeon to a pediatrician, from an entrepreneur to a judge, from a hairdresser to Supreme Court justice.

I didn't want people to say their circumstances or their profession permitted some extra special favor that my own life does not possess. I want to show people that regardless of your environment and your circumstances, your vision can become your reality. If I could say very quickly -- when John Paul DeJoria, one of our subjects...

KING: Great guy.

CHRYSTYN: ... amazing - began the John Paul Mitchell hair care system, he was homeless, divorced, two small children with $600 to his name, and he knew that if he continued selling shampoos or hair products for somebody else, he wasn't going to get out of his car, let alone feed his kids.

He made a decision then and there what he was going to do and who he was going to become. The wise always stay the course.

KING: Did they all readily cooperate?

CHRYSTYN: Everybody cooperated. I am just thrilled and honored to have them all. They have been extraordinary, and I regret all the others that I couldn't talk about -- but on the next round.

KING: Deepak, change, transformation - do you see it happening more? Do you see more people get - latching on to things Julie is talking about?

CHOPRA: Yes, we have a word (inaudible) for transformation. We call it enlightenment.

How do you go from your ego-based identity into your core consciousness, which is your soul? How do you get in touch with your soul, and from there how do you progress to what is called cosmic consciousness, divine consciousness, unity consciousness, where you see that you and the world are inextricably woven, that there is no such thing as a completely isolated, separate self, that we are all connected with each other?

We are part of the ecosystem -- we are one breath, one energy field, one information field, one emotional field, and ultimately we are all contained in one consciousness and call it the mystery of God.

Ultimately transformation is a sacred journey that we must all take. Buddha took it, Jesus it, and Julie is showing us how to take it, too.

KING: What is the biggest difference, Julie, between successful and non-successful people?

CHRYSTYN: That which we choose to pay attention to...

KING: Bottle half-full, half-empty?

CHRYSTYN: Half-full, half - what do we choose to focus on? What do we think about? What do we give our attention to? What matters in our life?

What gets you? Do you, you know, the circumstances define you, are you defined by your circumstances? It's the option every minute, every hour of every day, the decision we make all along the way that becomes the collective sum of who we ultimately become. KING: And that ain't easy. There are more unsuccessful than successful -

CHRYSTYN: Obviously, if it was easy, everybody would be doing - but it's possible. It's entirely possible.

And in these very difficult economic times, as I said earlier, it's survival techniques from the trenches. We take real people and real situations and we give you a process. We show you how, how absolutely regardless your hard circumstances, you can change your life around.

Your goal may not be at the height of your profession or of a nation. There is not much difference between the story of Clarence Thomas on the right and Barack Obama on the left. There is not much difference in their journey. They have different philosophies, but they have the same spirit of the heart.

KING: Did you have fun writing it?

CHRYSTYN: I had a blast.

KING: Deepak, thank you so much for joining us. We always appreciate seeing you.

CHOPRA: Thank you. Thank you, Larry.

KING: Glad you got to read it last night, too.

CHRYSTYN: Thank you, sir.

KING: And thank you.

CHRYSTYN: Thank you, Larry.

KING: The book is "The Secret to Life Transformation: How to Claim Your Destiny Now," Julie Chrystyn the author.

Thanks for watching. See you next time. Stay tuned for the latest from CNN.