Sunday, January 31, 2010

Martin Rochlin, Ph.D. - The Heterosexual Questionnaire

Via Queers United, from a couple of years ago. A little food for thought this morning.

The Heterosexual Questionnaire

The Heterosexual Questionnaire was created back in 1972 to put heterosexual people in the shoes of a gay person for just a moment. Questions and assumptions made of Gays and Lesbians that are unfair, are reversed and this time asked to the straight people.

This is a fun survey, but also an activist survey. Please repost this to your email list, myspace bulletin, use it in a group setting, have fun with it but also let the point be made.

1. What do you think caused your heterosexuality?

2. When and where did you decide you were a heterosexual?

3. Is it possible this is just a phase and you will out grow it?

4. Is it possible that your sexual orientation has stemmed from a neurotic fear of others of the same sex?

5. Do your parents know you are straight? Do your friends know- how did they react?

6. If you have never slept with a person of the same sex, is it just possible that all you need is a good gay lover?

7. Why do you insist on flaunting your heterosexuality... can’t you just be who you are and keep it quiet?

8. Why do heterosexuals place so much emphasis on sex?

9. Why do heterosexuals try to recruit others into this lifestyle?

10. A disproportionate majority of child molesters are heterosexual... Do you consider it safe to expose children to heterosexual teachers?

11. Just what do men and women do in bed together? How can they truly know how to please each other, being so anatomically different?

12. With all the societal support marriage receives, the divorce rate is spiraling. Why are there so few stable relationships among heterosexuals?

13. How can you become a whole person if you limit yourself to compulsive, exclusive heterosexuality?

14. Considering the menace of overpopulation how could the human race survive if everyone were heterosexual?

15. Could you trust a heterosexual therapist to be objective? Don't you feel that he or she might be inclined to influence you in the direction of his orher leanings?

16. There seem to very few happy heterosexuals. Techniques have been developed that might enable you to change if you really want to.

17. Have you considered trying aversion therapy?

- Martin Rochlin, Ph.D., 1972

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thich Nhat Hanh - The Heart of the Matter

In this great article from the Tricycle archives, one of the premier Buddhist teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh, answers three questions on working with emotions, an area in which men can always use a little guidance.

The Heart of the Matter

Thich Nhat Hanh answers three questions about our emotions.

By Thich Nhat Hanh

Michael S. Wertz for TricycleQ: My desire for achievement has led to much suffering. No matter what I do, it never feels like it's enough. How can I make peace with myself?

A: The quality of your action depends on the quality of your being. Suppose you’re eager to offer happiness, to make someone happy. That’s a good thing to do. But if you’re not happy, then you can’t do that. In order to make another person happy, you have to be happy yourself. So there’s a link between doing and being. If you don’t succeed in being, you can’t succeed in doing. If you don’t feel that you’re on the right path, happiness isn’t possible. This is true for everyone; if you don’t know where you’re going, you suffer. It’s very important to realize your path and see your true way.

Happiness means feeling you are on the right path every moment. You don’t need to arrive at the end of the path in order to be happy. The right path refers to the very concrete ways you live your life in every moment. In Buddhism, we speak of the Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. It’s possible for us to live the Noble Eightfold Path every moment of our daily lives. That not only makes us happy, it makes people around us happy. If you practice the path, you become very pleasant, very fresh, and very compassionate.

Look at the tree in the front yard. The tree doesn’t seem to be doing anything. It stands there, vigorous, fresh, and beautiful, and everyone profits from it. That’s the miracle of being. If a tree were less than a tree, all of us would be in trouble. But if a tree is just a real tree, then there’s hope and joy. That’s why if you can be yourself, that is already action. Action is based on nonaction; action is being.

Q: I am busy from early in the morning until late at night. I am rarely alone. Where can I find a time and place to contemplate in silence?

A: Silence is something that comes from your heart, not from outside. Silence doesn’t mean not talking and not doing things; it means that you are not disturbed inside. If you’re truly silent, then no matter what situation you find yourself in you can enjoy the silence. There are moments when you think you’re silent and all around is silent, but talking is going on all the time inside your head. That’s not silence. The practice is how to find silence in all the activities you do.

Let us change our way of thinking and our way of looking. We have to realize that silence comes from our heart and not from the absence of talk. Sitting down to eat your lunch may be an opportunity for you to enjoy silence; though others may be speaking, it’s possible for you to be very silent inside. The Buddha was surrounded by thousands of monks. Although he walked, sat, and ate among the monks and the nuns, he always dwelled in his silence. The Buddha made it very clear that to be alone, to be quiet, does not mean you have to go into the forest. You can live in the sangha, you can be in the marketplace, yet you still enjoy the silence and the solitude. Being alone does not mean there is no one around you.

Being alone means you are established firmly in the here and the now and you become aware of what is happening in the present moment. You use your mindfulness to become aware of every feeling, every perception you have. You’re aware of what’s happening around you in the sangha, but you’re always with yourself, you don’t lose yourself. That’s the Buddha’s definition of the ideal practice of solitude: not to be caught in the past or carried away by the future, but always to be here, body and mind united, aware of what is happening in the present moment. That is real solitude.

Q: I’m still afraid of losing my mother or another loved one. How can I transform this fear?

A: We can look deeply to see that our mother is not only out there, but in here. Our mothers and fathers are fully present in every cell of our bodies. We carry them into the future. We can learn to talk to the father and the mother inside. I often talk to my mother, my father, and all of the ancestors inside me. I know that I am only a continuation of them. With that kind of insight, you know that even with the disintegration of the body of your mother, your mother still continues inside you, especially in the energies she has created in terms of thought, speech, and action. In Buddhism we call that energy karma. Karma means action, the triple action of thinking, speaking, and doing.

If you look deeply, you’ll see already the continuation of your mother inside you and outside of you. Every thought, every speech, every action of hers now continues with or without the presence of her body. We have to see her more deeply. She’s not confined to her body, and you aren’t confined to your body. It’s very important to see that. This is the wonder of Buddhist meditation—with the practice of looking deeply you can touch your own nature of no birth and no death. You touch the no-birth and no-death nature of your father, your mother, your child, of everything in you and around you. Only that insight can reduce and remove the fear.

From “Answers from the Heart” ©2009 by Thich Nhat Hanh. Reprinted with permission of Parallax Press.

Image: © Michael S. Wertz

Friday, January 29, 2010

Simple Marriage - United You Stand, Divided You Fall

Parenting is tough. And kids are REALLY smart, so they quickly learn is they can pit mom and dad against each other, or use one to get what they want from the other. My sister was a master of these things. On the other hand, being a first son, I sucked at it.

It's important for parents to be consistent and united in setting boundaries. Kids need boundaries, and they need for them to be consistent and clear (and compassionate in their expression). This is a good article on why and how to be united in raising your children. From Simple Marriage, a great site.
Post image for United You Stand – Divided You Fall

It’s a phrase you often hear, but do you think it relates to parenting? It sure does, and if you and your partner are not united in your actions with regard to parenting decisions, you could be seriously jeopardizing the effectiveness of those parenting decisions.

Why is a United Front so important?

To understand this basic concept of a “unified front”, you have to think of it from your child’s perspective. If they know they can get different answers from each parent, how long will it take them to start “picking” the parent that will give them the answer they would most like to hear? Not very long – they are smart little people put here to continually test us! Has your child ever asked you something, you say no, and then they ask your partner and they get the answer they are looking for? Or have you had a disagreement on a discipline issue in front of your children? What kind of message do you think that sends to the child when they see both of you are not standing together in a decision?

Being united can be very difficult, especially when each parent has different views on the limitless issues you’ll find yourself “in” during your parenting journey. In all those decisions parents need to make wise choices and be consistent. If two parents are giving different answers, you have lost consistency and your child has lost the feeling of security knowing exactly what will happen –no matter which parent they get an answer from.

Here are some ideas that have worked very well in our home to develop a “unified front”. We are a blended family, so standing united is even MORE important and we saw how this could negatively damage our family situation. All children will try to put parents against each other, but step-children will be even more determined to divide parents. If you aren’t making a conscious effort to stand firm together you will discover the repercussions.

  1. Talk with your partner, set up expectations and basic guidelines.
    I see a lot of parents skip this first important step. They forget or don’t even consider taking the time to go through rules of the house or expectations that the other parent may have – especially when you have been raised in completely different household growing up. It is amazing how different those expectations can be and if you wait until you’re in the heat of battle to come up with a plan, you will fail. The topics you cover will depend on the ages of your children. Some areas we have covered are: homework, chores, snacking, screen time, hygiene expectations, disrespectful behavior and table manners. The main focus is to get an idea of how each of you would like to handle these situations – because they will come up! You won’t be able to cover everything, but it will give you a great starting point.
  2. Do not undermine the others authority.
    We have established this understanding with each other and unless there is physical danger, we try our hardest to not undermine the decision of the other parent. This is extremely hard to do at first, but the more you practice it the easier it gets! Can you see how much easier this part is if you have already had a conversation with your partner and have a basic understanding of your parenting ideas. What about those times that your partner makes a “command decision” on something and you do not agree? Those will happen – guaranteed! If you can hold onto your thoughts and wait until you can discuss it in private you will still create the perception to your children that you are completely united, but you will have the chance to share your ideas with your partner. Sometimes it is best to think, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Someone gets extra candy or watches a little more TV than you would like. In the big picture it isn’t that significant.
  3. Talk in private when you do not agree with a decision.
    Just because we have talked about different situations and how we would like to handle them, there will always be situations that come up where one parent makes a decision and the other parent does not agree. When this happens, one of us makes some comment about needing to show the other one something in the bathroom or bedroom and then we can go discuss the topic in private. This gives the time and space to share with the other parent our issue with the decision. Sometimes they see the other’s side and we change a decision, or we know that the next time the situation comes up we have a different direction to go. If you can’t get away immediately, write it down so that you can come back to it at another time. This is very effective when you are wanting to change your parenting style and use new techniques. If every time something came up you didn’t agree about you could constantly be calling the other parent out of the room – which would get rather ridiculous!
  4. Divide family responsibilities into departments.
    This idea was actually my husbands and he came up with it right before we were married. We noticed we each had different ideas on what snacks the kids should have and how frequently they should have them. It was starting to create a problem because one child would ask him for a soda, he would say yes, and I would give him the “are you kidding me” eyes bulged out look! Early on he realized this area needed to be in one person’s control. So I was designated the “Food and Beverage Coordinator” for our family. It started out as a funny little joke and we would laugh about it when someone would ask him a food question and he would just respond, “I am not the Food and Beverage Coordinator, not my department.” The kids caught on quickly and it solved countless food disagreements that we could have had. He also became the “Chore Guy.” Anything related to chores is directed to him. We have done this with homework too. It works great, but the key to making it work is what makes it successful. When something is not your department you cannot undermine the other person’s decision. You have to give up control of that area. Period. This is the only way it works.

I hope these ideas give you new direction so you can get on the road to becoming a “unified front” in your home. I can tell you from my own experience that concentrating on this area and being purposeful in your actions by standing united will positively affect your family and will reduce conflicts.

Try it and see what happens in your home. But remember, you will mess up; it will take some time to change behavior that has become a habit, so if you find yourself undermining your partner, or beginning a discussion in front of your kids about a decision you just have to apologize and move on. If you can learn from these experiences you will find that they start happening less and less and you will be “standing united” before you know it!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Test Your Grit - 3 Challenges by Dan John and Chris Shugart

You know I love these fitness challenges, so as soon my cold goes away I am going to do the deadlift challenge. Try them yourself and let me know what you think.

One of my clients (she's 81-years-old) asked me yesterday why I want to lift such heavy weights. My answer was simple, "To see if I can." It's in challenging ourselves that we find our edge, the fine line between success and failure - and seriously, failure is how we learn and grow.

If we do not challenge ourselves, we can never fail. And if we never fail, we never learn and grow, whether it's getting stronger, or more compassionate, or (for me) less anxious in social situations.

We are here to grow, not to coast.

Test Your Grit: 3 Challenges

There's something very appealing about tests of strength and athleticism.

The motivated gym fanatic is just naturally drawn to them. If we see a guy rip a bar off the floor and lock it out, or crank out dozens of chin-ups with a 45-pound plate strapped to his butt, we can't help but wonder, "Hmm, wonder how I'd do with that?"

Recently, I was asked to participate in the Warrior Dash. It's a crazy-ass 5K where you run through rivers, climb cargo nets, crawl under barbed wire through the mud, and leap fire. At the end, you get a Viking helmet and free beer. I shit you not.

Now, I loathe endurance sports, mainly because I suck at them. But part of me wondered, "Hmm, what if I dug out my old Timberland trail runners, gobbled down a FINiBAR™, and just entered the damn thing? How would I do? And how awesome would I look in a Viking helmet?"

Uber-coach Dan John has experienced the same thing. In fact, he's the first to admit that most "challenges" are just plain dumb. He's also the first crazy mother-trucker to get in the pit and accept them!

As iron-heads and athletes, we just love to evaluate where we stand against our peers. We love to test our mettle, our grit. In that spirit, here are three favorite challenges from Coach Dan and I to test your resolve and give you one hell of a workout!

Dan John

I've enjoyed many idiot challenges in my career, including:

My ill-fated attempt to squat 300 pounds 61 times.

The 100 Rep Challenge: Doing 100 singles with a weight in a serious movement. I've done a hundred power cleans with 205 and a hundred front squats with 255. Not in one day, no, but thank you very much.

Then there was that time when the phone rang at 4AM and a friend asked me to be the tenth man on his 10K centipede team. (For the record, a strength athlete should be told that a 10K run is farther than a 40 meter sprint.)

Like I said after my famous "Whiskeys Around the World Challenge," it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Earl Nightingale used to say that a rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out. Many of us get into a perfect training program that pays great dividends for weeks, months and — for a lucky few — years. Then, one day, we enter the gym, look at the program, and see that we have to do this again, followed by that again, with a rich finishing touch of more of the same. Sigh.

Challenges don't bounce you out of a rut, but they often make you appreciate the fine insights of the beautiful program you were doing before this idiocy. I have glorious memories of laying in a pool of my own sweat with bloody hands and realizing that doing three sets of eight with a minute rest certainly seems like a good thing to do for the next few weeks.

So, let's toss out a few challenges which are easy on equipment and hard on you. First, a couple of quick points.

An underappreciated area of training and real life is posture. When doing a challenge, be sure to find exercises or moves that support fine posture. Thrower Andy Bloom notes that posture breaks down:

When doing a challenge, find moves that protect your posture. I choose movements like the Olympic lifts and squats because I've ingrained myself to hold the positions. For you, focus on the keys:

1. Strive to have the top of your head pulled up. A nice technique is to "stroke the back of your head upwards."

2. Pull your shoulders back. I've advocated "big chest" for decades, but be sure the shoulders are pulled down as much as simply back.

3. If the movement involves bending, learn to "hip hinge" and not just bend the knees.

So, I suggest movements that support proper posture. This brings us to the next key in a challenge: choosing the right movements. I sum up movements with just these basics:

When doing a challenge, focus in on these movements and stay as basic as you can. When I do a challenge, I try to narrow the focus and let the numbers be the goal.

Now, let me offer you two such tests.

Test Your Grit: 3 Challenges

Farmer's Walks around the gym. Fun...for the first 20 minutes.
After that not so much.

Dan's Farmer's Walk Challenge

This is something I came up with before the dawn of the Internet, but I'm sure others do something like this, too.

When I was coaching at another school, we had some dumbbells donated and, as often is the case with donations, we didn't have any matching pairs except for the 85's. So the Farmer's Walk Challenge with 85-pound dumbbells was invented.

( I returned to the school about six years after I moved on and talked to some of the kids. Even though they had a full stock of 'bells now, their coach insisted that Farmer's Walks were done with the 85's.)

Adults shouldn't go much heavier than 85's either. The challenge is simple: Go as far as you can for five minutes. It does work best to go for a walk away from the starting point so the rest of the workout will make more sense.

The rest of the workout is simply this: Return the weights to the starting point.

In a gym setting, just do loops around some equipment or go back and forth. (Don't use a treadmill, but if you do, film it so we can laugh at you when you fall.) An unpopular variation of this challenge is to go out for a 15-minute walk, then return, but that might be for lunatics only.

Obviously, the difficult part of the challenge is returning the dumbbells. What took five minutes "out" can take a long time back to the start. Hold your posture and discover your traps for the first time!

Test Your Grit: 3 Challenges

Pull a double every minute. Repeat for 30 minutes
or until ambulance arrives.

Gary's Half-Hour Deadlift Challenge

The second challenge comes by way of my brother, Gary: Load the bar to 315 pounds. In the next half-hour, deadlift it as many times as you can.

Gary, a 61 year-old thrower, did 60 reps during his last attempt. He does doubles on the minute. I suggested that to insure less soreness (as if this were possible) do one rep every thirty seconds and drop the bar at the "top" lockout position on every deadlift.

That's right, drop every deadlift. You'll experience far less soreness this way.

I think it goes without saying to keep good posture here. The upside of challenges like this is that your technique actually improves over the workout and your capacity to work increases.

Now, if you can't deadlift 315, well, maybe that's the problem you're having right there!

Chris Shugart

My training partner and I once decided we would walk a mile carrying two 100-pound farmer's walk implements we'd welded out of pieces of railroad track. I'd carry first to exhaustion, then he'd carry as I walked along and rested. When he couldn't go any further, it was my turn again, and so on.

Ah, gotta love those training days when enthusiasm overpowers good sense!

Here's a more practical challenge that you can try anywhere, no train rails or crazy Texans required. I call it...

The Texas Push-Up Challenge

Picture if you will a furniture store in Texas. The crew is on break, standing around comparing pick-up trucks and loose women. The conversation wanes, until suddenly one of the crew — Big Bubba from the loading dock — makes a wager.

The Testosterone surges and Billy Joe bows up. Sure, he worked the showroom floor selling recliners and had to wear slacks instead of Wranglers, but dammit, he was a man, just as much of a man as Bubba standing there in his steel-toe boots. There was nothin' — nothin'! — Bubba could do that he couldn't!

Bubba goes on to challenge Billy Joe to a little physical test... and I'll tell you who won the free beers in a minute.

When I first heard this story, I laughed at the idea of a bunch of good ol' boys wagering beers and challenging each other to feats of fitness. But after I heard the challenge, I was struck quickly by this thought: "Hmm, I wonder how I'd do on that bet?"

So I tried it. Then my buddy tried it. Soon, half my gym wanted to see how they stacked up. So I decided to write up the little test and see how TMuscle readers do on it. You ready for a challenge? You got enough pocket money for five beers?

Here's how it works:

So, you'll end up doing a total of 55 push-ups, standing up between sets, and trying not to rest. Or barf.

The Challenge

Just try to finish all the sets, ya wimp. If you do, then congratulations, you're adequate. Whoopie.

Finish all the sets in under two minutes. Do that and you can brag. A little.

Now it gets personal. From this point on, try to beat your previous time. Or, get a few buddies together and see who finishes first.

Tips and Guidelines

1. Use a full range of motion on the push-ups. None of that halfway horseshit.

2. Push-up bars are fine if you want to use them.

3. Most people "hit a wall" around the 7th or 8th set. So don't get too cocky when set #6 feels easy. Pride comes before the fall, hoss.

4. If you have to rest more than a few seconds between sets, you fail. Try again another time.

5. Take the Texas Push-Up Challenge on an off day, or do it first thing on the day you train chest or upper body. You may want to truncate your chest workout a bit though since you'll be doing 55 intense reps of push-ups at the beginning of your normal workout.

You Up For It, Bubba?

It turns out that Billy Joe completed the challenge. Barely. But it made him realize how out of shape he was getting from standing around selling sofas all day. The next day he joined a gym.

As for Big Bubba, well, he lost the bet because he couldn't even finish the challenge. Bubba had made a fatal error: He thought that just because he played football in high school that he was still an athlete.... 15 years later.

"Damn Golden Coral chicken-fried steaks," he was heard muttering.


Are you up for the Texas Push-Up Challenge? How about Dan's farmer's walk or deadlift tests?

Give 'em a shot, then post your results by hitting the "discuss" button below!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Buttheaditis - The Demoralization of the American Male

I'm generally not a defender of the mainstream male, but Stanton Peele, Ph.D., J.D., has some valid complaints in this post at Psychology Today.

Perhaps the best example of this problem is on sitcoms, where the male/father/husband is nearly always a dufus, a moron, and the target of all the jokes. For example, Everyone Loves Ray, or Home Improvement, or Married with Children, for a just a few obvious examples. Granted, I mostly hate sitcoms so I seldom watch them, but the last intelligent father/husband I remember seeing on TV in Bill Cosby in The Cosby Show.
Portraying white men as stupid is a full-time industry

Let me describe four television ads you might see on any evening - perhaps one following the other - for example during the football playoffs.

A man feverishly scratches a lottery ticket in the hopes of winning an unwinnable prize, while a baby with an adult consciousness sitting next to him mocks the man's expectation that he will win - and his stupidity for this expectation. The man loses and expresses his stupid disappointment as the baby makes a stupid face. (E-trade)

A business executive has hired Kyle to provide geographical information - the boy corrects the executive's reference to Czechoslovakia - informing the man it's the Czech Republic. Then the exec tells another guy that without the kid he would never have learned of the new country -"Buttheadistan." (FedEx)

A white-haired, clueless executive interacts with a lizard who continuously mocks the stupid preferences and decisions of the executive. How does this sell the product (GEICO)? Presumably people imagine the reptile is running GEICO - who knows who really manages the company - which is actually a good PR move.

A woman tells her friend during a kids' party how she got all the party supplies at Walmart - including the clown costume daddy is wearing as he approaches the happy children. The father jumps on a sharp toy and lets out a horrifying wail, scaring the children off. The mother is calm - she knows her husband is an idiot.

What do these ads all have in common? They show white, adult males as imbeciles. They couldn't depict other races this way; they couldn't show stupid, befuddled, self-deluded women. Only stupid white men. Why not? They are so stupid - everyone knows that.

What effect do these ads have? Don't say they have no effect. Ads are made by smart communicators (okay, many of them white men) to get you to think and behave in a certain way. Their impact is to give license to people - including their children - to regard and treat adult males as imbeciles.

What our society needs is to think about the men in its midst - and in most cases, running it - as idiots? Wall Street, sports management, and the government (the Senate is 79 percent white males) are mismanaged? Families are well-served by considering fathers irrelevant - and worse?

Why would a society set out systematically to undercut its leadership and family structure? If your answer is - "because the stupid men deserve it" - well, then, you're happy. And it IS beneficial to broaden our leadership to include women and other races.

But it IS NOT helpful for us to become a rudderless land without role models. It is demoralizing. And it reflects no more creativity or social consciousness for American advertising and media to do this than it would be for them to depict women or black men as stupid, obtuse, and disposable.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Guys Lit Wire - The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

Sounds like a great book, based on a great true story. Via Guys Lit Wire.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer


Just go and read this book now. It's amazing, awesome, inspiring, and I can go on with the adjectives if you want me to, but I'll stop for now.

Then give it to socially conscious teens. Give it to teens who like to build things or take them apart. Give it to any teen you can. And give it to adults too, because we can be cynical and pessimistic and weary.

For those of you who need to know more about the book first, it’s about a young man in Africa who

  1. survives a famine;
  2. is forced to drop out of school because his family can't afford the fees;
  3. finds some science textbooks in a library;
  4. decides to build a windmill to provide electricity for his family, with a dream of a putting together a water pump for their well, to irrigate their garden and maize crop;
  5. succeeds, using, among other things, bicycle parts and a drill made from a nail and a maize cob; and
  6. receives worldwide attention as word about his windmills spreads.
This is the kind of story that, in a novel, would seem implausible. Too good to be true. Except William Kamkwamba actually did all of this.

Part of what makes The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity & Hope so good (other than the basics outlined above, which would be incredible enough on its own) is that, other than the two page long prologue, more than half the book goes by before we get to the windmills. So don't expect to be thrust into the windmill quest right away. Instead, William, with co-writer Bryan Mealer, utilizes a conversational, personable style to tell us about his life, with the windmills treated as just one part of it. William says that his father is "a born storyteller, largely because his own life had been like one fantastic tale" (p. 23). He must have inherited his father's talent (well, this and Mealer did a really good job), because the book hums with the rhythms of oral storytelling and reads as if William were sitting with you, telling you about himself.

And so we learn about his family, his childhood, and the horrific famine that struck Malawi in 2000. How, despite having to drop out of school, William began borrowing books from the library to try to keep up with with what his former classmates were learning and then found the book that would change his life. But as in any quest worth reading about, there were challenges to overcome, and knowing that William ultimately succeeded does not make reading about them any less satisfying.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Richard Whitmire - The Right Man Is Getting Harder to Find

Interesting article from Whitmire at the Wall Street Journal. Whitmire is the author of Why Boys Fail, an important book for anyone with a son or who educates boys.

The Right Man Is Getting Harder to Find

Fairy-tale dreams collide with the dreaded 'operational sex ratio.'

Rachel Downtain is a telecommunications project manager who says her friends would describe her as tall, slender, fit and active. Not someone you'd think would fail to find a mate. Yet, of late, Ms. Downtain has been sifting through sperm-donor Web sites. This is not her first choice for how to start a family, but at 35 she says she's quickly running out of options.

Ms. Downtain's story should sound familiar. In recent months the spike in college-educated women deciding to have a husbandless family has become a magazine staple. The New York Times Sunday Magazine devoted a cover story to the issue. There's been a 145% rise in unmarried births among college-educated women since 1980, more than twice the increase in such births among women without college educations. That's just births; adoptions are another outlet for women seeking families on their own. But there's a largely unexplored part to this story: Why is this happening?


Part of the answer is found in a Pew Research Center report released this week: A sea change in relationships is taking place as everyone adjusts to the new reality of women being better educated and in some cases more preferred than men in the workforce. Especially unsettling to some men is their role as second-best earner in the family. As the Pew report documents, 22% of men with "some college" are now outearned by their wives, up from 4% in 1970.

Understanding this change requires dipping into the personal. "I've found a lot of Mr. Almosts, but I can't find Mr. Right," Ms. Downtain says. "I've been dating forever. Where is he?" When she brings men back to her very nice, four-bedroom home, they often comment about her success. A few flat-out say they're uncomfortable with her salary advantage, education advantage (master's degree), or both. The final blow comes when she tells them about all her prominent volunteer work in the Kansas City area. "I'm being honest and telling them about my life, but I feel like I'm coming across as too good for them. That is never my intention."

There's no single answer to the "why" question, but social scientists agree that the education mismatch Ms. Downtain experiences with men is a significant player behind the increase in college-educated women choosing single motherhood.

This mismatch signals the emergence of a phenomenon studied more commonly in the animal kingdom than in the human one—the "operational sex ratio," the scientific term describing what happens when one sex outnumbers the other. In human populations, gender balances can tilt following world wars or times of migration (think California Gold Rush), resulting in a shortage of men or women of marriageable age. Currently, the most blatant outbreak of the operational sex ratio is playing out in China, where sex screening or, worse, infanticide has led to an estimated 32 million more males under the age of 20 than females.

"In situations where there are fewer women than men, you see long-term monogamy," said David Geary, curators' professor of psychological sciences at the University of Missouri and author of "Male, Female: The Evolution of Human Sex Difference." "If a woman doesn't like what a man is doing, she can dump him and get someone else." In China, the unhappiness among young men over the dramatic gender imbalance triggers speculation about possible social unrest.

The situation in the U.S. is far more benign, though here, too, it is the sex in short supply—in the pool of the college-educated—that makes the rules. Women are feeling the pinch from years of gender imbalances on college campuses, where today nearly 58% of all bachelor's degrees and 62% of associate's degrees are earned by women. Given that women prefer to find a well-educated, reliable earner as a husband, this creates a simple math problem. Well-educated women can't find enough equally or better-educated men to marry.

Couple the education gap with the current economic "man-cession"—as many as 80% of the jobs lost in the recession were held by men—and the dilemma for single women becomes even worse. Today, more and more well-educated women have to ask themselves: Am I willing to "marry down"?

In the U.S., the best place to witness a man shortage in action is at a markedly gender-unbalanced college. While researching a book on why boys are falling behind in school, I visited several such campuses. In some instances, the complaints arising from the imbalance are trivial. Consider the bathroom issue, a problem I discovered everywhere I went. If you take a co-ed dorm, load it with 60% to 65% females, and keep the bathrooms separate with an equal number allocated to men and women, you end up with a lot of unhappy women having to share overcrowded bathrooms.

A more worrisome issue arises when men take advantage of their relative scarcity by making life miserable for would-be girlfriends. Why settle down when you are a guy and the supply of eligible women appears to be unlimited? The female students hate such a situation, which is one reason admissions offices end up accepting male applicants who are less academically qualified than their female counterparts. Their goal is to avoid the dreaded 60/40 gender imbalance on campus that everyone agrees is a threshold not to be crossed. Those gender preferences, which colleges rarely discuss, have become common among private, four-year colleges (and recently caught the attention of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which has launched a probe into admissions discrimination against women).

All this leaves single women such as Rachel Downtain facing unwelcome choices. "Going the sperm-bank method is definitely not my first choice, but I am not willing to give up my dream of having a child just because I can't find Mr. Right. I am having to realize that my fairy tale dream may just be inverted a bit . . . I may have the child before finding Mr. Right."

Mr. Whitmire is the author of "Why Boys Fail."

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Anam Thubten - Ego Is the Problem

by Anam Thubten,
edited by Sharon Roe

Dharma Quote of the Week

Ego is the problem. Sometimes ego is very spoiled, like a child who is constantly throwing tantrums. Sometimes ego doesn't accept where we are. Sometimes ego doesn't accept who we are. Sometimes ego doesn't accept the way things are without any real complaint. So what do we do? There is nothing that we can do. Sometimes ego doesn't accept the fact that the sky is blue but there is nothing that we can do. You see. Sometimes ego doesn't accept that we are living on a planet that is permeated with natural disasters, earthquakes, floods, and other catastrophes. All we can do is accept that and learn how to surrender to the flow of all events.

When we accept the way things are we are able to love everything and everybody. When we are not able to accept even one thing in this world right now, then how could we ever develop boundless love? Lack of acceptance is conflict. Conflict is pain. It is psychological pain. It is a spiritual illness. As long as our hearts are tormented by that pain, we do not have the strength to give our heart to anything and because of that it is impossible to bring about inner awakening. Enlightenment, you see, is just another name for boundless love.

It is almost impossible to practice loving-kindness towards all living beings without addressing, in a meaningful way, the innumerable problems arising in our own lives. It is a contradiction, you see. It does not work. If our heart is tormented because we are not able to accept things the way they are, then it is impossible to open our heart. It is impossible to let go of all of our defenses and embrace others. Therefore we have to constantly practice and deepen our awareness. We have to remind ourselves to accept things as they are. This is pretty much what the teachings called Mind Training are all about. Mind Training in Buddhism is about carrying those perspectives and even reciting slogans, phrases like "I shall accept the way things are."

--from No Self, No Problem by Anam Thubten, edited by Sharon Roe, published by Snow Lion Publications

A great justification of why we ALL should be doing shadow work in some way or another.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Spencer Pratt not in favor of Heidi Montag’s transformation

In general, Spencer Pratt is a tool - famous for no reason I can think of (a TV series on Mtv, I think, but who the hell watches Mtv?). I think I remember that he was on some reality show and left after a couple of days . . . then asking to go back. Maybe his wife Heidi was part of that, too.

Anyway, his wife has gone off the deep end with multiple cosmetic surgeries on the same day. She was a very attractive young woman before the surgeries, now she looks like a Hollywood bimbo - nondescript, bland. Here is the comparison.
Before and After

When I heard about her surgeries, I thought he was probably behind it, especially the quest for mammoth boobs (I heard she wants DDD size implants or some crazy thing, and she has already implants that are freaking huge).

Happily I was wrong - he was actually trying to talk her out of much of the work - and good for him. Too many guys are way too cool with their partners risking their health and future on silly - and in this case, insane - cosmetic surgeries.

Here is the story from People:
He may not have the best track record, but Spencer Pratt has stood by wife Heidi Montag in her decision to undergo 10 plastic surgery procedures in one day. But for the record: He wasn't in favor of her total transformation.

For the past three years, while Montag has obsessed about her imperfections and eagerly planned her November surgery, Pratt was there to voice his very different opinion on things.

"Anytime I hinted that it might be a little much or if I just asked if she was sure, I even felt like I was crossing lines," he told PEOPLE. "I'm not in charge of what she does with any part of her body. I'm her husband — not her owner."

To Pratt, his wife of a year was perfect to begin with. "But everyone sees themselves differently when they look in the mirror," he says. "Nobody truly understands how she feels except her. I may not be okay with things, but it's not my call." Throughout the lengthy procedure and seven-week-plus recovery, Pratt, 26, played nurse – monitoring Montag, 23, and her health day and night. But the hardest part of all was seeing his wife post-surgery.

"Right after … it was the worst experience of my life," Pratt said. "Nobody that loves a loved one should see that."

And despite his difference of opinion on her having the surgery, Montag appreciates his honesty. "At the end of the day we do share a same opinion: It's my body and I need to feel comfortable as a woman, as a person, and my inner beauty is always there and that's what's most important," she says.

"His support has really been a lot and made such a difference. I couldn't ask for more."
Pratt appears to lover her very much, enough to support her decision when he does not agree with it, but not enough to stop her.

Maybe that is an unfair judgment, but in my mind he should have sought every means possible to stop her. But that's just me - I do not favor cosmetic surgery in most situations, and especially when there seems to be some serious body dysmorphic disorder involved.

The Normal Male by Dr. Rod - The Saturday Two-Step

A lot of very wise couples counselors have said that those couple who know how to fight are the ones who have the best chance at long-term happiness. Sound like a contradiction? The reality is that if we cannot express our disappointments and frustrations in a fair and honest manner, then they seep out in passive-aggressive behaviors that undermine trust and intimacy. And likewise, if we cannot be open to when our partner is frustrated or angry with us, and really hear what needs to be said, then we damage openness and sharing in the relationship.

In this cool post, Dr. Rod calls on men to be mature in our relationships - to open ourselves to the perspectives of those we love, and those with whom we sometimes quarrel.

The Saturday Two-Step


The exploration of manhood often takes us over vast topography and under deep, dark skeletons and secrets and can leave one feeling like a dog trying to navigate the waters. Communicating with your loved one during an argument provides Normal Males the perfect stage to display our revolutionary approach to ending “grunt” stereotypes.

Easier said then done. Right? I know for me it is a constant struggle to remember how so many women have experienced men and how those experiences impact current circumstances. Many women have experienced men who were bad listeners, verbally abusive, insensitive, childish, and sometimes down-right mean. These are the stereotypes that fill our airwaves, television sets, and movie screens…not to mention those in our homes and surrounding communities.

Arguments or disagreements
, if you will, between a man and woman can look like a great standoff like the Bay of Pigs…sound like a classic country song…and even resemble an episode of Cops (though that doesn’t help anyone).

And the “beauty” is that each combination of man and woman argue and disagree in their own unique way. Substitute another for your spouse and a different sequence ensues. Add money, kids, cat litter, bills, and bloating and you can have a grand ole’ tango that leaves both parties without any “hand”, as Costanza would say, or power.

We are each presented with opportunities to squelch the argument…apologize…and make-up the way they do in movies…even though the implication is that sex will cure a relationship more than communicating-a post for another day ;)

But too often we drop our personal opportunity like an advertiser drops Tiger Woods and we take the bait of the other like a silly mouse who thinks they can outsmart the cheese trap. I try…you try…we need to keep trying. Communication in the form of an interested and thoughtful adult trumps posturing any day.

“Normal Males of the universe”….hear the trumpeting in the background :) ….”I call on you to think twice during an argument…exercise caution…employ poise…and think of the issue at hand from ALL sides. Your spouse will appreciate you…your kids will understand that you are more complex than a set of socket wrenches…and we all win.”

Alright, now where did I put that remote control?

Have a great weekend everyone and take advantage of the precious time we all have with those you support and love us the most.

Dr. Rod

Rod Berger, PsyD The Normal Male

Friday, January 22, 2010

Four Ways to Jack Up Insulin Sensitivity by Mike Roussell

Four Ways to Jack Up Insulin Sensitivity
Reap the glucose-controlling benefits of cinnamon.

This is a great article filled with simple advice to make our bodies more sensitive to insulin, from T-Muscle. For those who are not familiar with why this is good, here is the brief version:

Insulin is tasked with shuttling nutrients into cells. When we eat too much sugar/carbs (often combined with fat) for too long, our bodies secrete so much insulin that the cells become habituated to the hormone and stop responding. So our body makes more insulin, and becomes more habituated, and makes more insulin, until we can no longer get the glucose/triglycerides out of our blood and into the muscles, liver, and adipose tissue (fat cells) where it needs to go. The result, over time, is metabolic syndrome (intra-abdominal fat, high insulin levels, high resting glucose, high cholesterol, etc) and eventually diabetes. Along the way, we get fat, damage our cardiovascular system, damage our eyes (blindness is a result of diabetes for many people), damage the liver, and develop neuropathy (nerve death) in the limbs (often the legs).

Bottom line, if our bodies maintain a high insulin sensitivity, then we do not develop any of these metabolic disorders, and it is easier to burn fat and build muscle. So, if you are having a hard time losing fat or building muscle, getting your insulin levels under control is crucial.

Four Ways to Jack Up Insulin Sensitivity

It's perhaps the biggest challenge facing the non-drugged-up bodybuilder: gaining muscle without gaining a lot of fat in the process.

No, wait, I take that back. The biggest challenge is probably losing body fat while retaining all that iron-earned muscle.

Hmm, actually, both of those tasks can be frustrating. The cool thing is that both goals can also be achieved if you learn to do one thing: increase your insulin sensitivity.

In other words, make your body more sensitive to the insulin it naturally releases when you eat. That way you can take advantage of the muscle-building effects of insulin and avoid the fat-gaining effects of producing too much insulin (being insulin resistant).

Many bodybuilding nutrition experts believe that if you're more insulin-sensitive during a mass program you'll gain more muscle than fat. And if you're dieting, the insulin-sensitive guy will lose more fat without losing muscle.

Both challenges solved.

We asked nutritionist and iron addict Mike Roussell to give us the scoop on boosting insulin sensitivity. — CS

Put Those Carbs to Work!

A cornerstone principle for any dedicated TMuscle reader's diet is nutrient timing. We eat different foods at different times of the day in order to maximize the effect of circadian and behavioral hormonal changes for maximum fat loss and muscle development.

Much of the rationale behind nutrient timing has to do with doing everything we can to enhance glucose control and insulin sensitivity so that the carbohydrates we eat are used to make us look more like a muscle-man and less like the average American.

You've heard the usual advice given to laymen: Exercise to increase insulin sensitivity. Great, but let's assume you're already doing that.

The next piece of advice is to eat more often. You know this one too: Eat six smaller meals per day instead of two or three big ones and you'll improve insulin sensitivity.(3)

So let's go beyond that vanilla advice and look at some other methods to enhance glucose control and insulin sensitivity, including a new concept called antioxidant timing. In fact, let's start there.

1. Properly Time Your Antioxidant Intake

When I first got interested in weight lifting and bodybuilding I read stories about professional bodybuilders and their tackle boxes full of supplements and vitamins. Most notably, Skip La Cour would keep one in the trunk of his car. When he left the gym he'd open his trunk and go through a post-workout ritual of pill popping, including vitamins E and C.

With a physique like Skip's, it would be hard to question his methods, but what if his post-workout E and C supplementation was actually hindering potential results and decreasing his insulin sensitivity?

Ludicrous right? Well, keep reading.

It's common knowledge that one of the benefits of training is that it increases insulin sensitivity. Recently a group of German exercise physiologists set out to examine how supplementing with vitamin C (1000mg) and vitamin E (400 IU) affected the post-workout boost in insulin sensitivity.

In this study, 40 young men exercised five days a week (50 minute sessions including cycling and circuit training) for four weeks. The addition of vitamin C and E supplementation in that group completely eliminated the beneficial insulin-sensitizing effects of exercise!

With further investigation it seems that the post-workout increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) — which is blunted by C and E supplementation — is a necessary phenomenon for increasing insulin sensitivity. The argument for the temporal benefit of ROS post-workout is strengthened by the fact that long term antioxidant supplementation has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity.(1, 2)

Okay, so what do you do with this info? While it's what some would consider "fringe" nutritional science and the standard, "more studies need to be done in this area to further explore our findings" was added by the authors, I say run with it.

If you're looking for an extra potential edge, then I'd avoid antioxidant supplements and high antioxidant foods around and directly after your workouts. This will allow for the natural post-exercise rise in ROS and improvement in insulin sensitivity.

2. Add Cinnamon to Your Meals

Beyond spicing up your pumpkin pie, you probably never give cinnamon a second thought. However, the simple addition of cinnamon to your diet has been shown in several studies to delay gastric emptying (4, 5), lower blood glucose levels following a meal (4, 5), reduce fasting insulin (6), and maybe even make up for temporary insulin resistance due to lack of sleep.(7)

To reap the glucose-controlling benefits of cinnamon you'll need to use 3-6 grams (approx 2-3 teaspoons). Adding a couple teaspoons of cinnamon to your morning muscle gruel is a no-brainer, so you have no excuse not to add this to your dietary arsenal.

3. Supplement with Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

ALA is an antioxidant found in spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes.(8) However, the clinical trials done using ALA use 500-1000 times more than you get in your diet, so if you want to use ALA to boost your insulin sensitivity then you're going to need to supplement.

In several studies with Type II diabetics, the addition of ALA increases insulin sensitivity by 18-57%.(9-11) While the ALA dosages in these studies vary, 600mg per day may be the maximum effective dosage for diabetics. I'd prefer that you start with a lower dosage 50-100mg per day (the amount recommended for antioxidant purposes) and move up from there.

Biotest's Receptormax™ contains both Cinnamomum burmannii water extract (standardized for type-A polymers, tetramers and trimers), and Sodium (Na) R-alpha-lipoic acid, which is absorbed by the body 30 times faster than conventional alpha-lipoic-acid.

4. Don't Skip Your Workout Drink

Getting quality protein and carbohydrates into your system around the training period is important, as you probably know. It's so important that it's even been called the 3rd Law of Muscle and it's the basis of the Anaconda Protocol.

In fact, the ability to replenish glycogen stores decreases by 50% if you wait two hours after training to load up with the right stuff. The difference between taking a protein supplement immediately vs. waiting three hours is the difference between experiencing a 300% increase in protein synthesis and being stuck with only a 12% increase.

These drastic differences in the workout window when someone follows the 3rd Law of Muscle vs. when they do not suggest that withholding nutrients after training prevents you from maximizing your insulin sensitized state. So don't skip the workout drinks!


When it comes down to it, maximizing insulin sensitivity is all about getting the upper hand and giving yourself the edge over those poor drones in your gym with no clue. Put these tips into action, improve your nutrient partitioning, and reap the benefits!


1. Ristow M, Zarse K, Oberbach A, et al. Antioxidants prevent health-promoting effects of physical exercise in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2009;106:8665-8670.

2. Head K. Study suggests antioxidants inhibit exercise-induced insulin sensitivity. Alternative medicine review 2009;14:99-102.

3. Farshchi HR, Taylor MA, Macdonald IA. Beneficial metabolic effects of regular meal frequency on dietary thermogenesis, insulin sensitivity, and fasting lipid profiles in healthy obese women. Am J Clin Nutr 2005;81:16-24.

4. Hlebowicz J, Darwiche G, Bjorgell O, Almer L-O. Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:1552-1556.

5. Solomon T, Blannin A. Changes in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity following 2 weeks of daily cinnamon ingestion in healthy humans. European Journal of Applied Physiology 2009;105:969-976.

6. Hlebowicz J, Hlebowicz A, Lindstedt S, et al. Effects of 1 and 3 g cinnamon on gastric emptying, satiety, and postprandial blood glucose, insulin, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, glucagon-like peptide 1, and ghrelin concentrations in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:815-821.

7. Jitomir J, Willoughby DS. Cassia Cinnamon for the Attenuation of Glucose Intolerance and Insulin Resistance Resulting from Sleep Loss. Journal of Medicinal Food 2009;12:467-472.

8. Uma S, Ishwarlal J. Alpha-lipoic acid supplementation and diabetes. Nutrition Reviews 2008;66:646-657.

9. Jacob S, Henriksen EJ, Schiemann AL, et al. Enhancement of glucose disposal in patients with type 2 diabetes by alpha-lipoic acid. Arzneimittel Forschung 1995;45:872-874.

10. Jacob S, Rett K, Henriksen EJ, Hring HU. Thioctic acid—effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose-metabolism. BioFactors 1999;10:169-174.

11. Konrad T, Vicini P, Kusterer K, et al. alpha-Lipoic acid treatment decreases serum lactate and pyruvate concentrations and improves glucose effectiveness in lean and obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 1999;22:280-287.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

TNM 088: Brooks & Summers – How to Make Good Habits Stick

A lot of us make vows or promises, or New Year's resolutions, that we are never able to keep. Change is challenging. This episode of The New Man podcast looks at how to create positive habits - for the most part this seems to be a cognitive behavioral model, which has a lot of support in the literature. The mindfulness component is crucial, in my opinion, something often missing in change models.

If you would like a deeper model of why change often fails, check out Robert Kegan's Immunity to Change, in which he and Lisa Lahey offer a deceptively simple program for creating lasting change by finding the hidden assumptions/beliefs that create an immunity to change.

That said, here is the podcast.

TNM 088: Brooks & Summers – How to Make Good Habits Stick

19 January 2010


Are you one of those guys who tries to make a change but find yourself right back where you started a few weeks later?

Is it possible to arrange your life so that making a positive change is more automatic than struggle?

And why are there little bees or flies painted inside the urinal?

This week we’ll explore how you can create positive habits that stick and why hope alone is the raw material of losers. We’re talking with Michael Brooks and Josh Summers — authors of “The Buddha’s Playbook.”

In this episode:

  • Why New Year’s resolutions are like Vegas marriages
  • Hope is for losers (according to Fernando Flores)
  • What those little bees in the urinal have to do with your success
  • How to set up your practice to ensure your success
  • Choice Architecture
  • Why losing is more painful than gaining is joyful
  • Why perfectionism doesn’t work
  • “Muscle Confusion” and your life

Download The Buddha’s Playbook at

About Josh Summers

Josh’s interest in individual growth and collective transformation stems from his professional background in meditation, yoga and Asian Medicine. He holds a Masters in Oriental Medicine from the New England School of Acupuncture and a BA from Columbia University. Josh co-founded Sati Solutions and co-wrote The Buddha’s Playbook: Strategies for Enlightened Living. He lectures at universities on mindfulness meditation and its applied benefits.

About Michael Brooks

With a background in non-profit leadership, PR strategy and political activism, Michael co-founded Sati Solutions and is the co-author of The Buddha’s Playbook. His interest in meditation has merged with his professional pursuits to develop meditative skill-set applications for durable social, economic and institutional change. Michael also majored in International Relations at Bates College and has toured as a standup comedian.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Revolutionary Man: Personal Growth 101 – Know What You Want

Another good post from Jayson. We'll never get anywhere if we are not clear on where we really want to be. Unfortunately, too many of us have conflicting narratives of what we want from life, and that conflict keeps us stuck in place, spinning our wheels.

Personal Growth 101–Know What You Want

Fri, Jan 15, 2010

Photo by Josh Levin

Photo by Josh Levin

This is going to seem like a no brainer, but it’s amazing to me how many guys out there have no idea what they want. What about you?

If someone asks you “What do you really want?” What is your response?

In the first session I always ask the men I coach “What do you want?” Typically they think they know. After they describe it to me, I reflect back this fuzzy, vague picture back to them. They are often unclear whether it’s their short term vision or long term vision.

I ask, “Is that really your ideal?” Wow, is that all you want, seriously?

I have mentioned this in a few prior posts about finding your purpose and a recent post about lasting change.

So here is a simple technique to help you get very, very clear (I go into more detail in coaching someone).

The basic flow is this…

Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 1.42.24 PM

Step 1. Identify where you are. Hard to know what is next when you don’t even know who you are or where you are. Get your “self-knowledge” on.

Step 2. Get clear. The key here is to get very, very clear. The universe likes clarity. The more crystal clear you are, the more you are in touch with what you want and the more likely it is to happen.

I like to suggest a short term want list and a long term want list. In one year, I want…

In 15 years, I want…

I also suggest to do this process from a place that would have you very fulfilled and at peace internally. Don’t list “stuff” that makes your ego happy.
Read the whole post.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Andrew Parkes - Why Are You Okay With Being Out of Shape?

Good article - and something men need to think about. Being a well-rounded mature man starts with our health. If our bodies are not healthy, we have no foundation for anything else.

Why Are You Okay With Being Out of Shape?

Nasty beer gut? No thanks.

No man ever sought out as a child to be overweight and blubbery. Our heroes as boys were sports stars: men in tip top physical shape at the top of their game. (Unless your idol was a 300 lb lineman, which is another blog post entirely.)

So, at 30 years old, when some men wake up one morning to stare at a 40 inch waist line that accumulated after years of neglect, it’s a shock.

‘How do I dig myself out of this massive hole?’ is their most common refrain.

Sure, a guy in this situation might joke around about that beer gut. Or maybe deny it. Or some slough it off by saying ‘it’s no big deal.’

It is. Deep down in the recesses of his mind there’s this nagging, whiny voice that whispers: (or sometimes yells)

“You need to do something about this.”

This voice has good intentions. It is trying to cause enough discontent and uncomfort for this man to say, ‘Enough. I will not live in a bloated skin suit anymore. It is time to get this body into shape once and for all.’

This is great. But these are just words. Unfortunately, for most men, they rarely translate into the action required to see them fulfilled. When’s it’s time to put on the workout gear, lace up the running shoes and get to work, the push forward morphs into a pull: to stay where you are and finish the urgent _________ (fill in the blank with something meaningless like an e-mail or presentation for the boss, etc.) because it’s ‘more important.’

So, how does a man regain the sense of urgency he once had for changing his physical condition? I’m glad you asked:

Learn more about my new E-Book called ‘Why You’re Not in Shape – and What to Do About It’

Check out my new E-Book: Why You’re Not in Shape – and What to Do About It.’