Archive for the ‘Life’ Category
A friend of mine recently wrote and said:
I’m tired of people loving me for what I do, not for who I am.
I wrote back the following:
i would argue that that distinction is not sustainable. or that only a few rare people in the history of the world have been able to love the way you would like to be loved. it is far too high an expectation for the average human being.
i’ve thought about this a whole lot. it’s a mistake that eventually causes relationship breakdowns…. coasting mode. people not owning up to their social responsibilities. because social responsibilities are energy consuming responsibilities. most people desire low-energy states where they can go into “coast” mode and be loved without engaging in the game of social value. but this is an illusion. and it is not possible. in all social relationships, you have to stay interesting or attractive… as non-ideal as that may sound to you.
here’s a fact:
other people have nothing to go on except their perceptions. And their perception of us is built on a foundation of “what does that person have to offer me” … we all use each other… for better or worse. coming to peace with that fact was very important to me in my life’s journey. as was confronting the fact that part of my responsibility as a human being is to embrace human social dynamics and not feel resentful towards them.
It’s important to remember… if someone else fucks up, it’s not your duty to compromise yourself for them…. even if they expect you to.
Now, with your kids, it’s a little more complicated. You are in a sense responsible for their mistakes… but there’s only so much you can do here. You’ve got to teach them to be smart… make smart risks… thrive in life… and hope for the best. You can’t suffocate them with control. You give a little direction. A lot of time. A lot of love. And you show them how the world works.
But with adults…
If an employee fucks up, you don’t need to feel guilty about firing them.
If a friend fucks up, you don’t have to get dragged into the mess.
Forgiveness and grace are choices you can make if they make you a better man. But what I’ve found in life, is that grace and forgiveness just remove the learning opportunity. And people keep fucking up. And even the best forgivers and grace givers have limitations. Better to let natural consequences play out. That force will have a much longer lasting effect.
I’m a big believer in embracing natural consequences. It’s the best way we learn.
My dad told me a story once. About a boy who found a cocoon. The boy saw the thing inside struggling to get out. With a big smile, he unpeeled the cocoon for it, thinking he was helping it. Shortly after unpeeling it, the thing died.
Here’s the thing… the world holds us accountable. Modern society removes us from a great deal of natural accountability.
With parenting, one of my major rules is to expose my kids to as much natural consequence as possible… in other words, I let nature discipline them. Within parameters of course. I don’t allow them the chance to get severely injured. But after warning them about things, I let them make mistakes. My youngest son, who most likely has ADHD though I refuse to medicate, will acknowledge hearing a rule one second, and completely forget it the next. I tell him not to touch the electric fence (to keep the animals in) and every other time he does it mindlessly. I know he can’t get severely injured from it… so I let him experience it… and lately he’s been less inclined to touch.
As a man, I think it’s fine to show mercy and compassion… but you’ve got to be careful of creating dependencies. People need to feel the consequences of their mistakes… otherwise they don’t learn from them…. and so much of life is about trying and learning from mistakes.
So here’s the deal: sometimes you’re going to have to make choices that cause people to experience pain. Those are the choices that will ultimately test your soul as a man. But in making the right choice, and not capitulating to a false utopia… you’re making yourself a better man.
When you see clearly what you need to do, you just need to do it.
In my life, what I’ve found is this:
- if you try to explain everything before you do it, you’re less likely to get it done
- there aren’t always good explanations for what needs to be done… that doesn’t mean there aren’t good reasons
- sometimes explanations are complete bullshit and completely hide the actual reasons for action
So here’s the deal…
Explanation is demonstration. It’s a form of communication. A tool. One that has limitations. One that is prone to create confusion.
When there is no demonstration needed… no communication needed… break out of the habit of explaining your activity … both to yourself and others.
Just do what needs to be done. The explanations be damned.
A good, long-time friend taught me this mantra: actions over words.
There’s a whole lot packed in there. Here are some examples…
1) With parenting, remember, it’s what you do, not what you say, that matters.
2) When you learn to read a person’s actions as your primary form of communication, you drastically limit a person’s ability to deceive you
3) When you focus on actions over words in your own life, you drastically limit your own ability to deceive yourself
4) You’re much less likely to get led along by a girl if you focus on her actions and let her words roll off your shoulder
5) When you’re in bed with a woman, words that don’t match actions can be erection killers (i.e. a sign that she’s just going through the motions)
6) If you want to show love to anyone… your parents, your kids, your lover… action makes a much bigger impact than words. Just spending time with them in an “i’m glad to be with you” kind of way is a sign of investment that makes a big impact on people. I’ve made it a big deal to just spend time with my grandfather as he is failing in older age… even though he and I can hardly communicate through words any longer.
I was once with a girl who told me on multiple occasions that she was done with her boyfriend for good (she was sleeping with me behind her boyfriend’s back). I didn’t personally care because I was not able to be in a committed relationship with her. What pissed me off, got under my skin, etc. at the time was that she inevitably would get back together with her boyfriend despite her words (actions over words!). Like a law of nature. First it would be “just catching up” … then it would be a “let’s get together” text. Then bang. They’d be banging. Then a month later she’d be “so over him, again”
The point being: this woman had no qualms about saying one thing and doing another. Most people are like this. And the key to cutting through all the crap is to learn their patterns of action… including their words. Do their words match their actions?
Pattern of action: this is why before getting into any sort of committed relationship you need time to go through the 5 cycles of love. If you’re going to end up with a wife the only way it’s going to work out is if you’ve done your homework and learned how she acts in as many possible life situations as possible.
I highly recommend not getting married until you’ve been with someone for several years, lived with them, gone through it all. That way, if you lock up, you can be sure it’s because her pattern of action adds quality to your life, and is ultimately attractive to to you over the long haul.
Let me know some of your favorite movies both recent and old (hopefully a mix of both). I’m always looking for good movies. Use the comment form on this article. I’ll compile a list of PhaseFrame reader favorites and post it in the near future.
Here are some of mine off the top of my head:
The Usual Suspects
Silver Linings Playbook
This post was inspired by a Google search that came into PhaseFrame. The person searched: “magic words to get sex from women”
In life, there are no magic buttons. No certainties. No guarantees.
There are two general rules I try to keep in the back of my head:
1) Everything you do has a certain risk level. You might fail. Successful people make smart risks, persist, fail sometimes, but over the long haul rig things in their favor.
2) Nothing is permanent. All that practice. All that achievement. All that safety. All that comfort. It can be taken away from you in an instant. Doesn’t mean we don’t make the best of the now.
The point here is: part of becoming a man is figuring out how to calibrate between risk tolerance and goals. Men who have more risk tolerance are going to fall at two ends of the spectrum: the men who take stupid risk are typically going to be the major failures. The men who take smart risks, are typically going to be living the lives they want to live.
And the men who just don’t take risks at all… they are going to typically be living lives of quiet desperation. Undirected. Disimpassioned. Toiling away for someone else’s benefit. They are going to settle. Get stuck in a job they dread. Marry a sub-par wife. A wife who controls them. Uses them. Manipulates them.
Here’s the thing:
Some guys who take smart risks, become failures.
Some guys who take stupid risks, sneak through the odds and become successful.
And some guys who take no risks at all, live lives of quiet contentment.
Who you become ultimately needs to be dictated by what you want in life. And if you want the rarer, finer things in life, your best bet is the long, steady road of smart risks. You’re going to have to put in the time… this is no lottery. You’re going to have to put in the effort… this is not the Karate Kid where you get good at shit in 10 minutes with inspiring background music. You’re going to have to cultivate your life gradually over time. Persistence. Effort. Goals. Desires.
Own yourself. Know yourself. Go get it. One step at a time.
Given the ridiculous rise in suicide rates in the United States… I figured I’d post about the importance of having goals and being a person who looks forward to his life (daily and longer term).
I was corresponding with a friend this past week. She’s an old college friend and I’ve been giving her advice… especially on how much Paleo style eating has affected my life in a positive way. In the process of interacting with her, I sent her the following message about the things I look forward to in my life. Here’s the message I sent her. I highly recommend carving out a life that you love, with no apologies. Starting now….
each week on Tuesday I play basketball with a group of faculty and staff at the local college. it’s probably my favorite thing every week. i love competitive sports, and i’m thankful to have found a group of people to have fun with. we’ve all become close. and we hang out together off the court.
every day I check on the animals and collect the chicken eggs. i love routines like this. and i love the connection to nature. even when an animal dies… it feels real. it keeps me grounded.
each Friday my partner and I play a board game together and it’s the one day each week when I drink to a nice a buzz. it’s also the one time each week when the kids watch a movie so we get some time to just unwind.
i have a rhythm of having sex pretty much every other day. it’s very satisfying and fits my biology very well. tried upping it to every day, but it didn’t fit my rhythms very well (i.e. i didn’t feel as intense or passionate or aggressive).
i go on an “adventure” with my oldest son every Sunday. it’s always something a little different. during the drive in my F-250 he and i have some man to man talks. feels priceless. i can’t believe he’s so grown up.
the whole family takes walks around the local lake 2-3 times each week. at least when the weather cooperates.
speaking of weather, now that I have animals and raise my own food, I have a much deeper connection to the weather and it feels very human. very healthy.
I take vacations every 3 months, by myself, for about 3-4 days. i usually go to the beaches along the Gulf Coast. I like the alone time and the chance to unwind and eat like a king.
my business trips – changes things up. get some alone time. i often get to see my siblings and my parents.
every Monday night I go to a rotating potluck dinner (changes homes each week). about 7 local families participate. it’s pure salt of the earth. the kids have a dozen kids they play with. we get to socialize with like minded folks.
this is all stuff i’ve gradually carved into my life. 4-5 years ago, i had none of it. as i write this to you, it makes me feel quite joyful for what i have. of course the human brain is never satisfied… but i am one lucky man.
Most guys are familiar with the modern man-cave… something that I think is healthy, but really, for most guys, is also a compromise and quite limited. It’s normally a small, confined, oasis within the home where the guy can unwind and chill out and do his thing.
It’s sort of like Wikileaks guru Julian Assange… free in confinement, yet surrounded by police. According to Wikipedia:
Assange lives in a small office room converted into a living quarters. Visitors stated that the room is equipped with a bed, telephone, sun lamp, computer with internet connection, shower, treadmill, and small kitchenette. Assange reportedly lives on a diet of pizza and other take-away food. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service have remained stationed outside the Ecuadorian embassy since Assange entered the building on 19 June 2012. They have been tasked to arrest Assange in the event he attempts to leave the building.
For the last 3 years my man-cave has been a separate 2 bedroom apartment. One of the bedrooms is my primary office (I also have a home office). One of the bedrooms is an actual bedroom… and I use it to take naps, and every once in a while if I need a vacation from the family… I sleep there too.
It has a fully decked out kitchen. I get to prepare myself healthy, delicious foods most days for lunch. Perfect for someone like me who experiences happiness by eating well, and taking responsibility for my own well-being.
It has a large living room with big screen TV and couch and sound system with turntable. I workout to P90X in this room. I play video games to chill out. I read books. I take naps on the couch (usually after about 20 minutes of reading). And I blast music while I work.
My apartment is my sacred space. It’s my kingdom. It’s a place where I feel a particularly deep and satisfying peace. And it’s a place that I have full control of… it’s mine. I don’t share it. There are no toddlers throwing tantrums upstairs. It’s a place where the Jehovah’s witnesses and Mormons on a mission have learned not to tread. And only a select handful of individuals have been given limited access to this place.
I fuck differently at my apartment. It has a unique aura. An energy. A mystery. A place where the world’s worries melt away and all inhibition gets thrown to the wind. I tie women up. And I pull their hair a little harder here. The night’s are a little longer. I thrust a little faster. Slam against the walls a little harder. And the bruises always seem a little deeper.
I know that not every guy is going to have the resources to have his own apartment separate from his home. And I know that most guys aren’t going to be in relationships that allow for this sort of absolute independence and freedom. But if you can…. it’s liberating. It’s wonderful. It’s 100% recommended.
- Shit breaks down. The more you own, the more you have to fix and manage. Whether you have lots of stuff or not should depend on your personality. I need to simplify… I’ve been fixing shit too often lately. And it’s not how I want to be living life.
- It’s really easy to get thrown off course. I like living clean. Clean food. Clean sleep. Lots of sun. Lots of high-intensity sex. But a simple fucking SuperSonic breakfast burrito is enough to throw me off course. Or a late night out. Or a business trip. And then I start making bad decisions because I’m in a compromised, lazy state, and don’t have access to my best options. And it can snowball quickly. The key is to re-align, get back on track as quickly as possible. For me, this starts with simple things: drink lots of water, take a nap, get back into a reliable routine, workout, take a walk, do some work, read a book.
- Guys who ramp up to 1000% and then pull back to zero drive girls crazy and haunt them to the core. I’ve been talking with a female friend who’s got a long distance love-affair with this man. The man, she says, is totally into her when he’s with her… but then he totally stops communicating when he’s not with her. She doesn’t understand. It has her baffled (which she says… she sort of likes… “she’s met her match”) I told her the dude has other women and a full, achievement-oriented life. He knows how to divide his time into discrete moments. It’s not that he’s not into her… it’s that he’s into a lot more than her.