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Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

I ask God to help me be the man my son hopes to be when he is older.
I’m far from perfect but I get up and try every single day … to be the man I want him to be.
And I have no doubt he will … because I have God on my side/in my corner.

Men.

We’re interesting creatures.

Simple, yet complex.

I like to refer to us all, as the simple-complex man, individually.

Women, do you agree?

Mens’ needs are simple. I grew up in an large extended family and I heard a lot of things said by many different people I lived with during my first 12 years of my life. One thing I heard one of the older women was –

“the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.’

When I reflect on that now, there is a partial truth, actually more than just a partial truth in that statement. You see, men need a few basic needs (like being fed with warm, proper nutrition) and we’re satisfied. Well, I think most Real Men would be. I also think that men, Real Men, are torn between two extremes, like a Dr Jekyll and Hyde or Harvey Two Face from the DC Universe.

Let’s run through a few needs or what I refer to as ‘matters of the heart’, as I see it. If we run through the basic psychological needs like – to know and be known, to love and be loved by others, there is one that stands out. I can honestly say and I honestly believe that men, Real Men need deep, caring relationships with other men.

Enjoying a little ‘biceps workout’ with my very good Aussie friend of almost 20 years now.
A best man in my wedding.
Every man needs at least one good male friend in his life.
Just one.

A have a handful of very good male friends. One, I spent a day and half with as he passed through Sydney, on his way to South America for a week long conference, attended by represented by 60 countries, including the USA and Australia. He is a United Nations Legal Advisor. We’ve been best friends since we were in kindergarten, over 40 years ago. We share dreams and sorrows. We ‘open up’ to each other and hug in public. We lean on each other during tough times but also celebrate during wins.

I have another friend, the very first friend I made on my first day of University almost 30 years ago at the start of my first degree (majoring in Mathematics and Physics). He lives only a suburb away from me and we meet up regularly for coffee and ‘debrief’ almost every week. We make time for each other.

I also have another friend I meet up every quarter that I have known for the last 20 years. We share our fears, our successes, our failures and our dreams. We share feelings. Just the way men should feel comfortable doing with other men. He got a divorce 5 years ago, it was difficult period for him. He’s in another chapter in his life.

I also have a few other friends scattered throughout my existence that have travelled with me in different phases of our lives. All there for a specific reason, upon hind-sight.

The point is, men need other men for deep, caring relationships. Like I need these men.

My very first friend at University on my very first day almost 30 years ago.
Lives just a suburb away for the last 20 years.
Catching up for a coffee and chat and digging deep in our relationship.
Man-stuff!

Yep, you read that correct. And you don’t have to be gay to want that (not that I have anything against being gay or anything like that). No, just talking purely on a ‘needs basis’.

You see, in my experience with males I call my friends and my love of observation and being around mostly men in the last 30 years of visiting the gym, I can deduce that Men need strong, caring relationships with other men. Relationships that allow a man to speak freely about things going on in his life. It is vital to their existence and sense of being and purpose. It is vital to their sanity and management of energy.

It’s to this level that James instructed Christians, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16). I believe that a man who doesn’t have at least one other man to who he can be accountable regarding failures, hurts and temptations is a prime target for masculine anger.

Yep, you heard me – masculine anger!

And how does this arise?

Well, from my observations and dealings with mostly men in the different phases of their lives, I have seen that the angry man in our society seems to be caught between mythical masculinity on one side and true masculinity on the other.

You see, the man feels the pressure to achieve, to earn, to conquer, to win and so forth. Yes, but he also feels the silent pressure to do all these things on his own. Now, that is a lot of pressure, and just like many things in life, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Men all handle pressure differently and have different stress tolerance levels.

Apart from the pressure just mentioned, a man, a Real Man also feels the NEED to love and to nurture those he loves. He also has the need to be loved and nurtured by those who love him.

This is where so many of us go a bit askew and out of line.

Askew, when he tries to reconcile or balance the two needs of love.

The man, the Real Man is constantly torn between two extremes of character, like Harvey Two Face or Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde. He is torn between being invincible and being vulnerable. He is torn between being aloof and being involved and present. He is torn between being self-serving and selfish and being of assistance.

This confusion and imbalance caused by the constant juggling act between character extremes drives a lot of men crazy, which I believe contributes to the high levels of male suicides every year. The roots of this conflict sends up numerous shoots of anger-producing tendencies in his life.

This has got to be stopped or at least managed better.

What we need is a gym like the one I ran for 7 years, in every suburb. A place where men can go and just connect with other men. A place where men can love and be loved, unconditionally. A place where every man came there with the honest purpose to help the ‘man in the mirror’ and to connect with other like-minded men who are there for the single purpose of bettering relationships.

With themselves and with other men.

This gym will be predominantly for men. For Men Only. Men need this (and this has nothing to do with sexism). This is about survival of the male species, of what it means to be a man. Today and tomorrow. Consider this: more men die now from suicide in Australia then women die from breast cancer.

Shocking truth: Men suicide rate in Australia!

A last real Man’s Domain: a gym like mine, where everyone knew your name and were happy you came.

Sit back and watch the men that we produce … within families, within communities .. within states … within countries and the … future world.

These will be men with much more balanced characters that will one day make decisions when they will be leaders of tomorrow. Decisions that we hope will be rooted on the foundation of what they have learned while – loving other men and being loved by other men.

Give it two decades.

We will create not only make Champions out of these men, but more importantly we will help form the foundations of Champion Leaders.

I will be smoking my cigar-filled pipe by then, sitting back and thinking “wow!!”

That is life. What a wonderful life and world this is.

Amen.

 

Until next time …. cheers to all YOU Real Men out there … never stop believing in YOU … keep on keeping on … Stay alive, it’s worth it!!

Ahoy & cheers!!

 

The old Captain Viking Pirate … & his thoughts on the battle within most men

Me & some of the Men of the Gym I ran for 7 years … getting together for a simple eat & meat men-bonding session
Simply because men need this.

I had a family gym that was predominantly male (70%) for about 7 years. I encouraged the men to speak freely and communicate all their feelings and we shared stories and helped one another through tough emotionally difficult phases of life. What a wonderful group of ‘post-feminite new age males’.

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anger, anger management, care empathy, hulk

When to unleash your “HULK”.

The "Most Muscular" (HULK) pose in the sport of Body-building. Roaarrr!!!

The “Most Muscular” (HULK) pose in the sport of Body-building.
Roaarrr!!!

We all get angry now and then.

That’s something everyone reading this blog and every citizen of the world have in common. I have always been fascinated with the Marvel Universe characters, one of which is the “Hulk”. To a little extent, I like to imagine that every person has a super-hero in them. That we all have some superhero power.

In this blog, I would argue that there is a Hulk in every one of us.

What’s important is not that we all have that Hulk that could awaken at a moment’s notice but that we get better at managing that Hulk – that anger. Knowing when to unleash your Hulk.

You see, in dealing with thousands of people of all ages in all walks of life in more than two decades in the gym environment, one of the observations I have made is that different people use anger to hide different feelings. The interesting thing is that a lot of times a lot of people don’t know the real reason they are angry.

Think about you when you get angry. Do you use anger to cover different emotions at different times?

Having children brings out the best in every parent and I think many, if not all parents reading this would agree. This includes the best of ‘anger’ too. Having children teaches you many things, one of which is patience and your tolerance for it. “Zachary, can you stop kicking the car seat please!” and then a few minutes later … “For the hundredth time, Zachary, stop kicking the car seat please!”.

Your patience is constantly tested by your children as you do your best to control that lever that releases the Hulk or anger. It is a daily constant battle at times.

Two principles of building muscle: 1) Simplicity and 2} Continuity. Become aware; Apply action: Adapt accordingly.

Two principles of building muscle: 1) Simplicity and 2} Continuity.
Become aware; Apply action: Adapt accordingly.

In this phase of his life, my son’s curiosity encourages him to push limits – push beyond his own physical, mental and emotional limits and also push us – my wife and I, beyond our limits too. An interesting phase in our lives to say the least.

I have learned that, as parents, we MUST be permissive to our children’s feelings while setting limits to their action, when appropriate. One of the problems most, if not, all parents face is: when to use discipline and when to GIVE IN; when to be firm and when to be easy; when to give TOUGH LOVE and when to show CARE AND EMPATHY.

At one point or another, we all find ourselves asking ourselves the question: “Is this the moment to be accepting and empathise so that my child will not be afraid of his feelings?” or “should I put my foot down so he understands that he cannot get away with this?”

What I have found is that there are NO SET RULES TO FOLLOW.

Each situation must be handled separately but this is not as difficult as it sounds.

As an owner of a gym for 7 years, I found myself constantly resolving conflicts – conflicts between members, conflicts between members and their family members, internal conflicts of members and conflicts in general. What I found was that the first response I chose to a situation SET THE TONE for how traumatically an event will be taken. I have also found that this is a very good approach to keep in mind when dealing with children too.

It seems to work with my ability to manage conflicts with my two kids.

When one of my children is hurting, I have found that compounding it by reacting with angry words or action (and letting the HULK out) does not add to the solution. Instead, responding with initial softness and empathy, helps more. I think it allows the child to see that if me or my wife (Dad or mum) aren’t panicking, maybe, just maybe, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

The philosophy you follow heavily influences whether you achieve your goals in life or not.

The philosophy you follow heavily influences whether you achieve your goals in life or not.

Where does this ability to be permissive and initiate softness and keep from panicking come from? It comes from WITHIN. The same place the HULK lies dormant. It is a choice. It is a choice that is made by you, the parent, in the good times – the quiet times. That is the best time. The best time to decide on how you respond to a child’s mis-behaviour.

Because if you didn’t decide on such an approach/response or similar, then chaos would prevail and anger or the Hulk will be default system you will react on. There isn’t time to think about ways to prevent a fire, in the MIDDLE OF A FIRE!

If you’re religious, you will believe that GOD works all things unto good.

So, when difficulty first happens, don’t lecture your children, panic or commence scolding. Allowing them to feel the hurt, the anger and initially responding to their behaviour with calm comforting lays an important foundation. A foundation that will allow them to find value in their experience.

Yes, it is much easier to just release the HULK, but it takes a lot of strength to keep it at bay. Calmness comes from within. For you Christians or members of other religious denominations reading this, calmness comes from God’s word. For those of you not so religiously inclined, think of this calmness as being already a part of you. Part of your “inner-self”.

THERE IS A TIME AND PLACE FOR GENUINE, APPROPRIATE ANGER. There is a time and place to let the HULK out. For instance, most of us would respond to injustice and cruelty with anger. Healthy anger can be channelled towards constructively making our world a better place to live in. Healthy anger can be transmuted when one trains with weights. This is one of the un-sung benefits of weight-training with moderate to heavy weights. When executed properly, negative energy (anger) is transmuted through the iron and replaced with a charge of positive energy and vitality.

Anger or the HULK, when released with the appropriate intensity and direction is very positive and a good thing. This is partly because painful trials or conflicts that challenge the threat of the release of our anger/the HULK, produces something encouraging. It produces maturity and growth. 

This maturity and growth ultimately leads to LOVE.

Your challenge: become better at controlling the Hulk within. Don’t be afraid to let it out and work on becoming increasingly aware of when to unleash your Hulk. But, only release your Hulk – when appropriate, and with a proportional response.

Roaarrrrr!!!

Until next time,

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~~Life COACH~~

~~Life COACH~~

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