Chicken Fingers and French Fries

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This weekend we planned to go to the St. Patty’s Day parade in town but with sleepy kids and a long and very quiet and peaceful nap, it just didn’t happen. No problem. Sometimes it’s better to just hang out and do nothing. But my daughter was upset and I felt bad so I blurted out “Go in your room and get ready. You’re going on a date.”

My daughter was stoked. She smiled and ran and picked out a cute outfit. I was taking her to dinner. Just Her and Daddy. Since it was a last minute deal I decided to just bring her down to the local pizza joint. If you know me, a former fatty and still a fatty at heart, I love chicken parm sandwiches. So we get to the pizza place and I ask the girl “What do you want to eat?” “I want chicken fingers and I want french fries and I want milk please.”

Have to love it! We ordered, me getting a sub, and waited for the food. My daughter played with her purse and said she had lots of money. Probably about five dollars and sixty cents. She gets her milk and says to me “Daddy, I really love you.” Pretty good way to melt a man’s heart.

She walked into the pizza place with a fancy jacket on and her purse around her shoulder like she was twenty one and shopping in 90210. The questions were endless. “Daddy, what are they doing?” “They’re having a pizza party.” “Why?” “Because the season must be over.”

We get our food and mine is done in thirty seconds. I look over at my peanut and she’s dipping her fingers in marinara sauce. “Dip. Dip. Dip.”

“Hey, you need to eat.”

“No, I’m just going to dip and dip and dip.”

“and drink my milk.”

Whatever. She’s cool. No problem. But I tell her if she eats some of the food that we’ll go to a store.

She grabs a chicken finger and takes a bite.

“Target! I want to go to Target.”

“No, we’re going to another store where you can buy anything you want with your money.”

We finish up eating and I have to say, the waiter.. he was weird. I asked him a few questions about the food and he had no idea about any of it. He gave me a diet coke with like a drop of the last of the syrup and said “Yeah, I should have known it was done. Looked it.”

Cool story bro.

I still tipped him well because men tip well. No two dollar tips for lunch and always twenty percent or more. Bad tippers are assholes. And people remember people who tip well. Even at a bar. I watch derpheads order light beers and fruity drinks and they never tip. I just want to smack them and I know the bartender does too.

Here’s an important life lesson on bar etiquette: Tip for every drink and don’t be a clown who doesn’t. One buck a drink. Don’t be a cheapskate chump.

So we’re done eating and we leave to go to the store. She asks where we’re going and we walk down to the dollar store.

Kids.. big deal with the dollar store right?

Wrong. It was like she was in Disney.

I told her, go get whatever you want. And in no time, she was done. Walked right up to the register and told the lady “I’m going to buy these with my money.”

She got a flower for Mommy.

This lady was great. And patient.

I tried this one time with her at Target and the people behind me in line and the cashier gave off this unpleasant impatient vibe that kind of ruined it for me. The sigh of the cashier when my daughter fumbled through six one dollar bills made me want to bitch slap her. The young lady and her boyfriend or fiance or husband or just boy-friend behind us crossed their arms and leaned on their hips like they were tired from standing for thirty seconds. Again.. Stockton slap.

Anyway, the whole point of this story is this..

Dads… take your daughters on dates. Even if it’s to the pizza joint or the dollar store. They’re going to love every second of it and you’ll never forget those moments. You’ll never get another chance for your daughter at that age to experience that meal with you. Take the time to be a good man and show your daughter how her future man should act.

And when you hear “Daddy, I really love you.”, it makes your day.

 

What I’ve Learned About Being A Man

I don’t want to use that term lightly. Being a man is something beyond having a penis and some facial hair. It’s beyond construction boots and lifted trucks. It’s bigger than fishing and hunting or football or martial arts. All of these things, besides the penis, women can do as well. Being a man is more about what goes on within ourselves, then in appearances or hobbies.

Recently I’ve been reading some books recommended to me about men, manhood, masculinity, and other men topics. I’ve also listened to several podcasts and audiobooks, and as I cut through the facade, because there is a huge facade, of bullshit talk and the actual walk, I’ve come to learn quite a few things that ring bells. As I go into the list below, I want to make it known that in my life, I have probably gone against almost everything you’re going to read. It wasn’t until recently that I found my grip on things, on the real world, on why things happen the way they happen and more. For a long time in my life I’ve been the little boy, afraid of the big bad wolf, and the consequences of those actions have smacked me dead in the face and given me many wake up calls. The journey is individualistic in nature and everyone is different. What you experienced as a child has a lasting impact on who you are today and for many decades now, Moms and Dads have been getting it wrong. We’re in a situation now where our little boys are being turned into pussies, scaredy cats, and Momma Boys. It’s a hard truth that men and women both need to realize, so that this generation of boys can grow into Wild Men, real men, and their true self.

Here’s what I’ve learned about being a man:

- Men make decisions

You want to go out to dinner with your wife? Don’t ask her where, or IF, she wants to go. Just make the decision and do it. Men are decisive. When there is doubt, it’s unattractive and creates tension. As leaders men need to make fast decisions based on their values, their feelings, and their wants. What a man wants is important and when he’s decisive on his wants, his confidence shines and he stands with authority.

- Men need to be initiated into manhood

In aboriginal cultures, South American cultures, and many other countries around the world, especially in tribal communities, boys are initiated into manhood. This is something the American culture has forgotten and it creates many problems as the boy grows into an adult. An uninitiated man is indecisive, not confident, worrisome, and operates from a little boy perspective.

- Men help out around the house and are active with their children

A man in the house who doesn’t change diapers, feed a child, cook for the family, do the dishes and laundry, and clean the house is a man who doesn’t have his priorities straight. Men help out around the house to let their wives relax when needed and they play with their children. They read books to their children. They run around the house like a nut with their children. They punish when needed and coddle when needed. A man puts his family first in everything he does, and within that family, he puts his wife first.

- Men need to be a part of a Men’s Group

There are a lot of men who don’t have quality male mentors in their lives. Some men feel they don’t have anyone to talk to you about important topics or men who will hold them accountable and push them to develop their skills to become the best man they can be. Men’s Groups are critical for the livelihood of men and their positive mental attitudes. There are thousands of men’s groups across the country that are helping men grow, give, perform, and continue to be happy. Men need a sacred circle of guys they trust who will not bullshit them, who will help them, guide them, and listen to them. Men also need men’s groups for outings such as camping, fishing, beer drinking, poker games, fitness events, and more. Here is an online Men’s Group you can join Free: Your Life Alpha

- Men need to channel their Warrior Spirit

There is warrior energy in every man. In today’s society we think of those in the Armed Forces as Warriors, or movie stars and Mixed Martial Art Champions, or National Football League All-Pros. But the truth is, we all have a warrior spirit and many men are uncomfortable with it. Ever since the industrial revolution the warrior energy has been suppressed in men all over the world. The warrior energy inside of every man is the energy that pushes them to fight for their lives, their successes, their families, their finances, and their health. Many people fear the warrior because they feel men will use it to be abusive and angry. Men have been afraid of channeling the warrior within because they want to be Mr. Nice Guy. But the warrior energy channeled properly will help men become confident, purposeful, aggressive in a sense of action not violence, and able to survive the obstacles that life throws our way. Channel this energy through physical action such as martial arts, exercise, hiking, boxing, and also self-improvement.

- Men have boundaries and Defend Them

Sometimes men need to be the bad guy and stand up to their beliefs and values. An example of boundaries might be at work when you are already working overtime and your boss pushes more onto your desk. You have an event to go to that your kid is in and if you stay you’ll miss it again, but this time you say no and tell the boss that your family comes first and that you must go. Worrying about getting fired is weakness. Standing up to your values is strength. Men do not let others take advantage of them. They control their lives and act accordingly to what they believe in and value. Men don’t accept boundary pushers and do not allow them in their lives or space.

- Men are leaders

A man must be a leader. Whether it’s leading at home with his family, at work in his department, or in a group of friends, a man needs to be a good leader. What makes a good leader? They’re honest, dependable, smart, decisive, ambitious, and able to control situations. Many men are afraid of being the leader in their home or career. They don’t want the awesome responsibility of making decisions and being honest with their feelings. Men that are good leaders are not lazy. They handle their business effectively and create a positive atmosphere. Being a good leader, men are not manipulated by their wives, co-workers, friends, and other family members. Men that are leaders initiate and act on their feelings without asking for permission and they do so out of love. Men can’t be good leaders if they are not leading by example either. Men must lead by backing up the talk with walking the walk.

- Men have discipline, confidence, and are dependable

Men are not babies and don’t make excuses. They have discipline. With their fitness men are disciplined to make it to the gym and get the work done. They have discipline to eat healthy foods more than they eat like shit. In their work they are disciplined to do the tasks needed to get the job done. They are disciplined in how they treat their vehicles and their home. As they use discipline to help them succeed in life, they do so with confidence. A man has confidence in his appearance, his thoughts, his work, his ability to be a leader in his home, career, and community, and they are dependable. A man doesn’t say they will be there, wherever that is, and not show up. They get there early.

- Men have a purpose driven life

Men don’t go to work and come home to sit their asses on the couch and sink into the pollution of television. Men have a purpose and they follow it with confidence. Men work hard and have a plan for that work. They know where they want to go and they work hard to get there. Thomas Carlyle once said “A man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder.” If you don’t have a purpose, or know it, all you need to do is ask yourself “What do I want from life?” And then go fucking get it.

- Men are life learners

Men spend more time learning new things then they do wasting their time in Facebook and through television. I heard Tony Robbins once say “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” Men who have no growth game in their life are dying and wasting away. If you want to make more money, you need to learn how to do it. If you want to lose twenty pounds, you need to learn how to do it. Men who know what they want in life are learning about how to get it right now while the little boys are playing xBox, watching mindless television crap, or down at the bar drinking for the third night in a row.

- Men avoid Domestication

Domestication is a hard word for people to hear, especially little boys. They don’t believe they’re being domesticated by being told what to do and what to think and what to buy, but it happens everywhere. Not only does corporate America try to domesticate men, but women do as well. When a man gets married it’s not uncommon to hear his wife’s lady friends or mothers, aunts, and other female relatives say something like “So you’ve got him domesticated now!” Like it is something special and noteworthy. Women can begin to “domesticate” their men after marriage by playing with their emotions, their decisiveness, their ability to lead, and their hobbies. A woman can begin to “not accept” that her husband stays out on Friday playing poker with the boys, and when he does, she gets “angry and upset” and shows those emotions through tears and refusal of sex. Men don’t allow them to do this. They call out their childish behavior and stand up to them. Little boys try to “make it up” to them or beg for forgiveness. Men also don’t allow anyone to tell them what to think, buy, say, and feel.

Today I continue my learning on becoming a better man, a better husband, better at everything. I have learned much through my failures as both a business owner and a husband, as well as a father. The thing is, I see much of what I did wrong happening in the lives of other men and I see a great need to help them and others become their best self. That is why I created the free Facebook group found here: Your Life Alpha. Check it out and let me know what you’ve learned about being a man.

5 Things Men Should Do Daily

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Last year I started getting on track with daily rituals. Meditation, exercise, writing, and more. Then I decided to stay at home with the kids and leave my job to focus on raising my children and avoid spending my paychecks on daycare while trying to grow my business. Well things changed pretty fast. My daily rituals were thrown out the door fast as I was left scrambling trying to stay on my feet. It’s hard to say this because I used to be homeless and things were pretty tough, but last year was one of the hardest years of my life. Between running the business and maintaining order in the household and keeping my kids safe until mom got home, I nearly lost my mind. Rituals? I had to laugh. Every day I would read a Facebook post or watch a video about establishing daily morning rituals and thought “What the fuck goes on their life that they could do that?” and realized the only way I could set morning rituals and do them was if I woke up at three in the morning everyday. Yeah, right on it.

I understand life is crazy and our schedules flop around so much that setting and sticking to rituals is very hard, if not unrealistic. Especially when there are kids in the picture. But that doesn’t mean we can’t create daily goals and unalterable terms we live by. Below is a list of five things I think all men should do daily. In daily, I don’t mean seven days a week. I mean daily like in “The kids are behaving and allowing me the opportunity to sit down and eat”.

1. Exercise

It’s well known that exercise releases a cocktail of feel good hormones that help people live happier, healthier lives. It’s also well known that the need for exercise (movement) is something that is part of our DNA. More importantly, men should exercise daily to help their production of testosterone. Test is linked to many qualities of men’s lives. Testosterone plays critical roles in men’s sex drive, bone mass, body fat, muscle tissue, and physical energy. A man lacking in testosterone is risking problems such as erectile dysfunction, low sex drive, low energy, weakness in muscle and bone, growth of breast tissue, and depression. Along with a proper diet, exercise can help combat these potential issues for years to come.

If you don’t exercise now, you should start and be smart about it. That could be a ten minute walk or a half hour in a swimming pool. The point is to start slow so that you can enjoy the process and make it a part of your daily life.

2. Self-Discovery

If you’re like most men you grew up with other men and family members teaching you how to do life. Every step of the way through being a young child until after you bought your first home (or still to this day) we have other men and even women, and now social media, telling us what to think, how to act, how to dress, how to treat women, where to go to school and work, why you should buy a home, what you should do with your money, and more. Nearly everything we do has been either a mirror reflection of the people surrounding our lives or the exact opposite.

Self-discovery is something we should work on each day through the means of learning about who we really are. Whether that is meditation, exercise, reading, listening to podcasts, attending seminars, or simply being, self-discovery is important to your happiness and livelihood. How many men do you know, and it could be you, that are angry at their current life situation? Maybe they followed the advice of their fathers, mothers, or best friends and when it boils down to self, they realize it’s not who they are. With all the input surrounding our lives on a constant basis, the most important information we can use for the best of our life comes from within.

3. Learn Something New

This could be considered part of number two and self-discovery but for this it’s beyond learning about who you are. In a world of abundance there is so much for us to get our hands on and things we can get into that learning should be a part of our daily life. This could be learning how to repair drywall, change the oil in a car, or who Teddy Roosevelt was. Maybe it’s learning how to keep a house plant alive, how to raise chickens on your property for eggs, or how to do a rear naked choke on a Jiu Jitsu mat or in self-defense. Learning something new everyday takes things into a new world and improves our lives in many ways. One of the best results of the continued practice of learning is the increase in self-confidence. In a world where many men are lacking confidence, there is great power in being someone who exudes confidence. By learning and practicing new things we add to power within.

4. Play

You have kids? Cool, get on the floor and play cowboys and robbers or hide and go seek. Have a wife or girlfriend? Get playful with her by flirting, dancing, doing silly shit that makes her laugh. Have a hobby? Make sure you do it daily or as much as you can each week.

For many men nowadays, especially those with kids and those who grew up in the Nintendo era, play means Xbox or Playstation. Call of Duty or whatever other game is popular right now. That’s cool. Don’t ever listen to someone who says you play too much unless you play more than an hour a day. Playing is important because it crushes the fucker called stress.

Stress will kill you, it’s probably killing you right now- unless you have a way to unload and release the day’s burdens. Hanging out with the family playing games, shooting gamers around the world in your Call of Duty world, or painting your model cars are all forms of stress relief disguised as hobbies. Do it more often.

5. Be Alone

Man, if there is one thing I miss in my life before I started staying home with the kids it’s alone time. When I was at my job I had a half hour commute each way. That was perfect for my alone time. Luckily there was never traffic unless a farmer was driving his tractor down the road, so it was smooth sailing the whole way and the perfect atmosphere for learning something new everyday by listening to podcasts and audiobooks. Besides the commute, I worked from home some days while the kids were in daycare. I was alone and it was quiet and it was joyous.

Extroverts might not understand but I think all men enjoy a bit of quiet and privacy. Nowadays we’re so plugged in with society that nearly every waking hour we’re getting input from millions of directions and sources. We have burdens with finances, job responsibilities, family responsibilities, and society expectations. The phone rings, the emails dings, the kids scream, the wife asks for help, your mother calls, your buddy texts, and the game is on. All of this information overload can drive you bananas if you don’t control it and the best way to handle it…

Alone time in stillness and solitude.

10 Minutes. 20 Minutes. 1 Hour. Whatever it is, find it and learn how to enjoy sitting alone in solitude. Here’s a quote about the importance and power of solitude: “In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself.” -Laurence Sterne

It’s easy to say that all men should do these things daily, what’s hard is actually doing them yourself. I truly believe in walking the walk and practicing what I preach and I genuinely try to make all of these a part of my daily life. I have found the harder I work on learning who I am, about the world, the more I try to play and enjoy hobbies, the harder I try to consistently exercise, and the making an effort for a glimpse of momentary solitude, the more I enjoy life and the people I surround myself with. There are absolutely days where all of these things are thrown out the door, but more so than not, they’re a part of who you see when I smile and what you read when I write. Find your daily things to do and help allow them to activate your life.

5 Books All Men Should Read

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One of my favorite things in life is reading. I enjoy reading almost anything and find great pleasure in continuing to learn something new. In fact, I believe we all strive to continue to learn something new every single day. There is so much out there in the world that we’ve never noticed, heard about, or considered. We are also all fucked up. Me included. One of the best things we can do about that issue is to educate ourselves about life, women, beer, fitness, culture, depression, psychology, and more, including how to be a better man.

Over the past few years I have read a great number of books about being a better man. I really believe that there is much for each of us to discover about who we are, why we act the way we do, and why we experience certain issues. Self-discovery is one of the drives that pushes me forward every day and I think that might be the same for you and other people you know.

I’ve read books about being a father, a husband, a business owner, a lover, a man, a writer, an athlete, a martial artist and much more. With every book that gets read and put down another is quickly picked up and started. Below are a list of five of the best books I think all men should read. I am going to gift them to men I know. I am going to have my son read them when he’s old enough. I want my friends and brothers and other men in my life to read them.

There is much to find out about how we operate as men and these five books are where we should all start. I also highly suggest that women read these books as well. Especially number three. You will learn a lot about your sons, your husbands, your brothers, fathers, or boyfriends.

1. Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters

This book was written by Meg Meeker, a woman, and she opened my eyes to just how important the men in a woman’s life are. Whether it’s her father or the man she loves, men are important to women, but none more important than her Father. In fact, Meeker suggests that a girl’s father is the most important person in her life. More so than Mom. Although the book does have some religious factors, the principle is what matters. So if you’re offended by God talk, suck it up chump.

Through the course of the book Meeker goes through ten “secrets” all fathers should know. If you’re not a father or are a father but don’t have a daughter, I still suggest you read this book. It will help you understand more about the women in your life. One of the ideas in the book that stuck with me the most is probably one of the greatest tools we can have to living our lives activated and being the best man we can be, the idea that Fathers should be the man they would want their daughter to marry. This is a great self-development tool and when taken seriously, can make the world of change in our lives.

(By the way, Meg Meeker also wrote a book called Strong Mothers, Strong Sons. I’ve yet to read it but it’s on the list. Ladies, get to work.)

2. The Way Of The Superior Man

There is only one book I have ever read twice. This is it. If you read one book from this list, make it this book written by David Deida. The way of the superior man is one of the best books I have ever picked up. It’s full of short chapters that are useful for just about anything in life. The book discusses thoughts about our purpose in life, being a man of purpose, sexual energy and techniques, how to be a great lover, and the difference between masculine energy and feminine energy. One thing he wrote about is how when a man lacks in masculine energy, the woman will increase her masculine energy and this creates problems. A woman with masculine energy trying to bridge the gap between the yin and yang of the relationship is a woman who can’t relax. A not relaxed woman is a not sexual woman. It is the man’s responsibility to polarize the energy and keep it that way. Ladies, I’d definitely read this book as well, buy it today for your husband or boyfriend.

This book will push you out of your comfort zone and give you several aha moments.

3. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus

Probably the best-selling relationship book of all-time. Dr. John Gray writes about the difference between Men and Women and why we need to know and accept and embrace these differences. If you ever thought to yourself “I have no idea what goes through her head or why she acts the way she acts when I do this or that”, read this book.

As men, we have “caves” as Gray calls them that we retreat to. After a long day of work and being super stressed out, we retreat to our caves. We want to sit down and unwind with a beer, a book, or a game on the television. Women on the other hand want to talk about their day. When men have problems, they retreat to their cave. When women have problems, they want to talk about them. Most people don’t understand this and when they do, tensions and useless arguments can be avoided.

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus helps us understand the differences between the “rubber band” energy that men have the “wave” energy that women have. It also discusses meeting emotional needs, avoiding arguments, communicating difficult feelings, scoring points with the opposite sex, and keeping the magic in the relationship alive.

Men need this book because, honestly, when was the last time you were taught how to be in a good relationship? Women as well.

4. No More Mr. Nice Guy

Nice guys finish last. We’ve heard it before, we’ve shaken it off as nonsense, we’ve been friend zoned, we’ve experienced it, the truth is Nice Guys finish last. Dr. Robert Glover, author of No More Mr. Nice Guy, started support groups for men and was a nice guy. He was going through all the problems Nice Guys experience in relationships and as we was recovering from being a Nice Guy, he wrote this book. Are you a nice guy who always appears to be nice and do you avoid conflicts at all costs? This book is for you.

If not, this book is for you too.

Glover writes about men being conditioned by our childhoods and society to believe that in order to have a great relationship, good things in life, and a happy life, we need to be nice, make everyone else happy, and avoid any problems at all costs. Men don’t need approval. Nice Guys try to find it. This creates self-loathing and frustration.

One main thing repeated in the book is how men have needs and wants and often they brush them off to please other people first and create a conflict free environment. This is what Glover calls “Nice Guy Syndrome”. The book goes into great detail about how men must embrace, develop, understand, and grow their masculine traits instead of being afraid of them and suppressing them.

This is the book I just read. I wish I read this when I was a teenager and I will definitely have my son read this book. This will become only the second book I have ever read over. There are issues all Nice Guys have that relate back to our childhood that are important to work through. Glover states that Nice Guys are givers, fixers, caretakers, approval seekers, repressors of feelings, and conflict avoiders. Operating out of these states can bring disaster to relationships, work, and happiness. This book has the steps to take to work through them and become the best man we’re meant to be.

Next to The Way of The Superior Man, this is the most brilliant book for all men to read in their life. Better now than later.

5. The War of Art

Steven Pressfield wrote a gem, a best-selling, no-nonsense book about crushing resistance and doing the work we should all be doing. There are many fears we have about action. Whether that is starting a workout routine, creating a new business, improving a relationship, starting a new hobby, or sitting down to read these five books. We have a resistance that makes us lazy and afraid. Afraid of what to do next, the unexpected, the unknown, and being too lazy to get up a little earlier to workout, too lazy to cook good healthy food and too lazy to romance the woman in your life.

While the book is a lot about the creative process and starting something new that we’re scared to start, there are many principles in the book that we can use and put into work in our lives that will help us become better men and people. We have the talent, the ability, and the desire to do what we choose to do and want to do, but we allow things to stand in our way of ACTION.

Pressfield writes about overcoming that resistance from a writer and writing perspective, but you’re smart enough to understand the principle.

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.” ― Albert Einstein

Now you have a list of five books I believe all men should read in their life. It’s close to being a should read, but that choice is yours. Only you can decide what to do with your life but in my opinion, these books will make you a better man, a better lover, a better husband or boyfriend, a better worker, and a happier person who lives their life activated.