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Monday, October 3, 2016

How NOT To Be Bulletproof

Hey All - It's About that time!

Yes, it's not exactly news right now, but it still bugs me the way last week's debate went down.  I've posted many, many times about what it means to be Bulletproof:  to never be ruffled by other peoples' insults and conduct; to prevent offenses from getting under your skin; to repel any attempt to ruin your mood.

Aaaaaand then there's Trump.

I remember telling everyone I knew, I bet I know what his advisors are telling him.  It was funny when you busted balls with Jeb Bush, and it was entertaining when you, Cruz, and Rubio made like the Three Stooges.  But you CAN'T do that with Hillary!  She'll make you look like an idiot if you handle that debate the same way!

So for about five minutes, he was cool, calm, and collected.  After that, he went right back to being thin-skinned and combative when he could have been smooth and smart.  It was very difficult to watch.  Yes, he made a few nice recoveries - I'll release my tax returns when you release your deleted emails - but in all the time he spent reacting and responding to her nonsense, he could have challenged her about Benghazi.  And the presence of Bill and Chelsea in the room should not have been an excuse not to bring up Lewinsky and Company once the opportunity presented itself.

To her credit, this is what attorneys in the area I practice do.  They try to distract the Judge and the other side in hopes that arguments against them will not be stated on the record, and therefore waived.  But experienced attorneys know not to leave the hearing room without raising those issues no matter what the other side does.  Donald, by comparison, is very lucky that there will be two more debates.

But my issue with Donald's debate performance is that he presented a textbook example of what it looks like when you're NOT bulletproof.  He got so rattled  . . . so defensive . . . so unhinged . . . did he want Saturday Night Live to have a field day with him on their premiere?!  No, Mr. Trump.  Please!

Don't misunderstand me, I'm human too.  I know how it feels not be bulletproof when pressed or pushed.  But normally that happens with me when I'm confronted with people with whom I don't expect to keep my guard up against.  NOT when it's someone who can't have a free pass!  Had he kept his guard up and steamrolled right over her snarkiness, he might have won.

As Betas, since we are often more empathetic than our more high-conflict counterparts, we sometimes take things to heart when it does not help us to do so.  We often react to distractions that are designed to let our adversaries off the hook.  Only with a strong amount of emotional maturity can we prevent them from antagonizing us.  The amount that Trump so sorely needed.

How?  Here:

(1) Armor yourself:  Your internal feelings are stable, if not at ease.  Your skin is so thick that even the best aimed barb bounces off into the audience.
(2) Prepare yourself:  EXPECT them to try to get you off your game.  When you know which way they'll go, you'll be better equipped to deflect them.
(3) Believe in yourself:  They want to break your confidence.  Make it unbreakable.

Night All!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

The One Who Stands Out

Hey All.  The summer is almost, but not quite, over.  Not with almost 70% humidity it's not, anyway.

Recently, we've been focusing a lot on an NFL quarterback who decided this year that he would not stand for the national anthem before football games.  And is often the case, the country is divided over this issue.  Those who do not agree with this gesture, like myself, think that it is a disrespectful slap in the face to our honored war dead and law enforcement officers.  Those who do agree return to the continuing refrain that racism and discrimination still abound, and that they cannot respect a country that has not yet eradicated these elements.

Let's start with the basics:

(1)  This is still America.  What this quarterback is doing is protected speech.  He is not breaking any law by refusing to stand for the anthem, and he can't be imprisoned for it.  After all, this is not North Korea.  Patriotism cannot be forced.
(2)  Some people like to stand out.  To be the rebel.  To be the guy who says, "No . . . I'm not wrong for disobeying rules.  The system is wrong for making them."  In all honesty, that's what we do here on the blog.
(3) However, as the alpholes sometimes forget, the fact that you are able to do something doesn't make it right, smart, or necessary.  Being a rebel just for the sake of being a rebel is a waste of everyone's time.  If there is a cause you stand for, and unfairness to fight, it needs to be done in a constructive way, and not a destructive one.

On this blog, we love America.  We are proud of this country and its ideals of freedom and liberty.  We love how the sky is the limit as to how much you can achieve, and I'm not ashamed of this, earn.  Does that make it Utopia?  No it doesn't.  But quite frankly, we believe that America's strengths far outweigh its weaknesses.

Most importantly, here in the blog, we support respect and emotional maturity.  Mr. Kaepernick is not showing either one.

If he was so concerned with racial injustice, or other issues, he could have used his status as a well-known athlete to make a far more positive impact.  Showing up at protests on his own time, or taping PSA's that support his values might have been a smarter idea.  But using his job to advocate his own personal opinion, which would get many other people fired, is wrong.  It has caused deep divisions not only in the media, but within his sport.

As Bold Betas, we automatically stand out.  Merely by being who we are, we go against the grain.  This sometimes is used for an excuse for bullies to behave the way they do, because that very act of being different is simply intolerable to them.  And the very notion of just letting us be us is far too stifling and boring to even consider.

However, quite a few bullies like to stand out too.  Like the class clown who gets a kick out of interrupting the teacher.  Who bears detention and suspension as badges of honor.  Who loves to put people down to make themselves look better.

Hate to break it to you, as it makes other athletes look bad, but Mr. Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem is in the latter category.  He's just stirring up trouble.  There is nothing constructive or responsible resulting from his conduct.

Aesop's Moral:  

Stand out to blaze a new trail, not merely to block other trails.

Stand out to build something new, not merely to destroy older structures.

Stand out to present a new idea, not merely to mock an older one.

Stand out to praise others' strengths, not merely to judge others' weaknesses.

Stand out to lift the right people up, not merely to put the wrong people down.



Saturday, July 23, 2016

From Above

Hey all - looks like July is almost in the can.  Summers fly, winters walk!

We are often faced with things beyond our control:  other people's unacceptable behavior, out-of-control children, and the weather.  Now I'm not saying you have to be religious to do this, but faith in a higher power is a sure fire way to be less irritable and critical over these dark smudges on an otherwise decent existence.

There is a G-D.  There is something, or someone, up there that knows you inside and out.  He knows when you're hurt and you're angry.  He knows when you've been done wrong.  And He knows who's responsible.

Our high-conflict neighbors think that a smack in the mouth is the only solution for these problems.  They're wrong.  Our L-D and Master, while still quick to forgive, has much stronger weapons in His arsenal.  We can't make someone lose their job, get dumped by their significant other, or contract a fatal disease - and let's be honest, we wouldn't really want to make any of that happen.  But G-D can, and sometimes will, do all that and then some.

Don't get it twisted - I'm not saying anyone should pray for someone else's demise.  G-D's not anyone's hitman.

What I am saying is that G-D sees everything they get away with.  He doesn't put you to a burden of proof because He's already seen all the evidence.  And more often than not, they don't "get away" with any of their misdeeds or malfeasance because their case files remain open for the pendency of their natural born lives.

And whether He executes His judgment sooner or later is not our concern.  Point being, neither is our desire for vengeance.

One way to live an empty, unfulfilled, unsatisfying, unpleasant, and unpeaceful life is to hold grudges.  To remain furious and hateful long after the offense has been committed.  To forever resent someone for "getting away with it" instead of simply fixing whatever damage was caused. 

I'm not letting them off the hook, don't worry - we all know that alpholes exist.  But the responsibility for seeking a pound of flesh from each person who hurts us is not the responsibility we're meant to carry.  We are not avenging angels out for justice like some movie hero.  We are not knights commissioned to slay a dragon like some RPG character.  And (yup, you knew I was going there) we don't live in a comic book.

We have goals to reach, levels to advance, and a duty to be true to ourselves.  Burning with revenge and obsessing over others' misdeeds gets in the way of the important work we need to do.  That's why it's kicked upstairs to He who always dispenses justice so we won't have to do so.  Leave that business to Him.

Let's be real - for some of us, like our high-conflict neighbors, a peaceful life is way too boring.  Good.  As they sometimes tell parents of over-scheduled children, we all need to be a little bored now and then.  That's how we get creative enough to build lives of substance and not of routine.



DISCLAIMER:  The above does not endorse or reject any particular religion or set of beliefs.  It just states that there is a G-D.  Those of you who are atheist or agnostic are entitled to disagree, with and only with respect.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Getting Too Comfortable

Hey All - enjoying the Saturday afternoon of July 4th weekend!

I don't normally share a lot of personal information through this blog, but this time I've something I'm proud to share - I'm engaged!  I'm engaged to a beautiful, sweet, hilariously funny, and very loving woman.  She makes me smile and laugh every morning I wake up with her, and every night I go to bed with her.  We have our very own love, and we're happy with it every day.

Now don't get it twisted, it's not such a surprise - in fact, I showed her this post before I published it, so she's completely fine with me talking about us.

But unlike the overly-aggressive types we sometimes deal with, I'm not saying this to boast or brag.  I have no need to flaunt my relationship with a beautiful woman as if it were some type of possession I purchased or prize that I won.  However, since some of my audience might be single for extended portions of their lives, or may have given up on women for many reasons, I think it's appropriate to say that as long as you look for love in the right places, and continue to look even after it "doesn't work out," chances are better than average that you'll find it.

But assuming that does happen, what then?  Is the war really over?  Are the closing credits rolling?  Are our issues really finished and done with?

Not a chance.  Not a chance in hell.

When we betas do finally "get the girl," the movie does not end.  Rather, a new chapter begins.  That means contributing enough to the relationship.  That means paying a little more attention to what she wants and needs.  That means surprising her when she least expects it.  To put it short, that means acting like you give a damn.

Now don't get it twisted.  I didn't say sacrifice your individual just to make her happy.  I also didn't say become a henpecked, yes-dear, spineless, soul-less, shell of your former self.  That's crap.  And definitely don't become that guy who talks endlessly about how out of control his wife is, waits for a reaction, and then says "It doesn't bother me."  Guys who do that are looking for attention that they don't deserve.

What I did say was to act like the relationship matters.  Don't just be a spectator, be a participant!  Yes, you won't both do all the same things together, and yes, you will need some alone time and some guys'/girls' nights out.  But make your together moments count!  Surprise her by covering a few household chores that she would otherwise do.  Buy her a few little presents.  Plan a date night with a few surprises!

And in those hopefully rare occasions when you get annoyed with each other and do something stupid, have the good grace to (a) calm the flip down; and (b) apologize for your part in the disagreement.  No, that does not mean "the woman is always right," this isn't The Good Men Project, but it does mean that if there's a disagreement happening, you're both doing something that's not perfect.  And the saying, "you can be right, or you can be happy," is particularly applicable.

Be happy?  You got it.  Be proud?  Keep at it.  But be comfortable?  That's where it all gets flat, stale, and used-up.  Don't get so comfortable with your newfound love that you forget to keep it up.



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Worst That Men Can Be

Hey All.  Hope you're enjoying June.

Recently, we have witnessed two men exhibit the worst possible examples of the alphaganda.  Let's review them.

(1)  Brock Turner.

What this young man is convicted of doing is absolutely disgusting.  Sexually violating an unconscious woman, hoping to use her lack of knowledge to argue that she consented, and having his father minimize the act itself?  Unacceptable.

Once again, society is discussing rape in depth.  Is it encouraged?  Enabled?  Are all men potential rapists?  Are there rapists lurking around every corner in every bar and college campus?

There is a paragraph of the alphaganda that seems to suggest that what Brock Turner did is American as apple pie.  That he was "the man."  That in order to register as an all-American red-blooded male, you must, repeat must, hook up.  You must have lost your virginity by the time you're 15.  No, 12.  No, younger.

That paragraph also suggests that once you get started on that route, you gotta keep going.  Put up numbers like Wilt Chamberlain.  Gene Simmons.  Any pick-up artist.  If you're not doing like them, you're nothing.

This is not necessarily rape culture, in and of itself.  But it unmistakably causes it.  The same way that bullying naturally leads to rape and other forms of brutality.

The answer to this is discipline.  This comes naturally with maturity, but in order to prevent more of this from occurring, that discipline should begin much earlier in life.  There needs to be an understanding that self-respect, respect for others, and basic ethics and morals matter more than having sex.  And this would be best served if young people waited until their 20's to even consider it.

(2)  Omar Mateen.

Some men think that might makes right.  That would probably be the first chapter in the alphaganda.

It's one thing to belong to a religion that denounces homosexuality.  Those of us who are Jewish or Christian already do, but most likely keep that opinion within the bounds of decency.  Or sometimes we even decide that respect for those we love is more important than denouncing the act.

It's quite another thing to commit a mass murder of those that you perceive to be wrong.  Something completely different to take a whole arsenal of weapons into a nightclub full of unarmed people and just  . . . kill 'em all and let G-D sort them out.

As Bold Betas, we are able to discipline ourselves against making such errors in judgment.  Unlike Brock Turner, we understand that (a) having sex at a young age is not the end-all and be-all that others think it is; (b) if a woman tells us no, she may or may not be doing us a favor; (c) other people's life choices cannot propel us to violence; and (d) no deity or demigod compels us to kill, and ourselves have no authority to save or damn any soul in this realm.

A small number of readers of this blog have objected to my use of the term "alphole" because they think that it unfairly paints all "manly men" with a broad brush, and that it lumps assertive males unfairly with pathological males.  Ladies and gentlemen, you now have textbook illustrations of what that term was meant to describe.

Condolences to the victims of the Orlando shooting.  Sympathy to the victim of Brock Turner's sexual assault.  And respect towards those victimized by the Tel Aviv shooting.



Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bounce 'Em If You Can't Boot 'Em

Hey All - Sunday Fun-Day!

In keeping with our evolution towards emotional maturity, I offer a few days to deal with possibly awkward social situations.  Yes, the best way of dealing with rude, arrogant, overly-aggressive, blowhard, bullying types is to not be near them in the first place.  But sometimes, family politics and alternate reasons don't make that possible.

(1)  Prepare Yourself.

   (A)  Decide that no matter what that individual tries to do, it will not affect your thoughts or your mood.  You are there for a good reason, and that fool isn't it.
   (B)  See yourself blocking, bobbing, weaving, and bouncing.  This does NOT mean prepping smart-ass comments that you think will shut them down.  Even if you're right, and even if everyone gives you a hand for that, it won't change that fool.
   (C)  Choose to leave that situation with the same calm and undisturbed state of mind that you had when you arrived.

(2)  Handle Yourself.

   (A)  They want to get you off your game.  Don't be.
   (B)  They will try to make a personal comment designed to get under your skin.  Let your skin be so thick it'll bounce right off.
   (C)  Don't let their followers egg you on, either.  Use that opportunity to evaluate who needs to be dispatched for flagrant disloyalty.

(3)   Reward Yourself.

   (A)   The law of attraction states that you attract what you think about.  If you are NOT a high-conflict personality, conflict will not find you as often as it does our alpholish counterparts.
   (B)  Behaving as if the mere presence of someone undesirable is nothing to be concerned with will provide better results than you think.
   (C)  Being less concerned with pettiness, drama, and others' lack of morality and ethics will allow you to be more concerned with issues in your own life that require more attention.

To borrow a concept from Isaiah Hankel, you don't need to beat a confession out of these people.  You don't need smart-ass comebacks, expert disses, or the ability to talk over people.  Even if you were able to expose them as being wrong, the most you'd get is a half-assed apology, and continued undesirable behavior.  These people are simply not capable of seeing issues with their actions or their words, and making them look bad will only (a) be forgotten and glossed over because they know everything or (b) make them want to do it even worse.

The best way to be Bold and Bulletproof is to Boot'em!  When the aforementioned Booting can't be done, the ultimate backup plan is simple Emotional Maturity.  It only looks difficult because people who love conflict simply can't succeed at it.

We can and we will.  You'll see for yourself.



Sunday, May 1, 2016

Change The Programming

Hey All - Happy 1st Day of May!

The reason why we face the struggles we do is that we don't alter our responses to certain stimuli.  Sometimes bullying and abuse continues because they notice your response, expect it, and we unfortunately deliver as expected. 

If that response isn't delivering the result you want, why continue it?  If it isn't working, why not fix it?  If it just reinforces things you don't want in life, why accept them?

(1).  Something Pissing You Off?
   (A).  Think how you'd act if you weren't pissed off.  You'd be controlled.  You'd be smart.  You'd be a winner.
   (B).  Look how you're about to act.  Out of control.  Raw emotion.  Like a loose cannon.
   (C).  Which would you rather use, even if you are that pissed off?

(2).  Something From The Past Bugging You?
   (A).  How?  It's over.  It's not happening now.  Feeling bad about doesn't change anything about what happened.
   (B).  Why?  Because you feel guilty?  Because you were mistaken?  Because the usual wiseasses say shit about it?  That's not a death sentence, despite what it must feel like.
   (C).  What if you could just scan that crap, shred the original document, file it away, and not even look at it?  And if it takes up too much space, set a timer to delete it?

(3).  Something Coming Soon You're Worried About?
   (A).  Is it happening right this minute?  Is it guaranteed to be a bad thing?  Is there a possibility, large or small, that what can happen is a good thing?
   (B).  If there is a possibility that it could be "mayyyyyybe something good, mayyyyyybe something bad," as they used to say on Ren & Stimpy, wouldn't it be better to think about the favorable outcome?
   (C).  Isn't Before Better?  Isn't this a chance to better prepare for what's coming?  And wouldn't that be a little more constructive that just plain worrying?

I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating:  Our brains are programmed much the way computers and smartphones are.  If we want to change the way these devices are programmed, we have to reboot them, upgrade them, or sometimes get completely new devices.  If we want to change the way our brains are programmed, the steps we take are actually much easier.

The only reason why it seems harder is because it requires constant repetition.  The same way schoolchildren have to learn things by rote, by constant reminders of what they need to know, we have to learn how to change our thoughts and habits be reminding ourselves to do it every day.  Even if we don't feel like it.  Even if it's annoying.  Even if it's a pain in the ass.  We Must Make Ourselves Do It Anyway.

Our adversaries expect us to fold and worry because they derive pleasure from it.  No, they shouldn't do that, but they still do.  So prove their expectations to be wrong.  Fake them out.  School 'em.  Boot 'em.  Show them that nothing they do . . . not One Damn Thing . . . can make us feel bad about ourselves, make us run away, or make us feel like we're less than them.  I don't care how LOUD they talk, how MUCH they show off, or how many fraaaaaaands they claim to have.  They don't make the rules, and they don't tell you that you're less than they are.  No matter what.