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Monday, December 26, 2016

So What's In A Name?

Hey All - It's Christmukkah!  A rare and welcome event when the first night of Chanukah is also Christmas Eve, and the rest of Chanukah runs right into New Year's.  A great opportunity for caring and sharing.

In keeping with that opportunity, I've come to realize that I need to give more emphasis to the true theme of this blog.  Those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter have noticed that I have used the hashtags "emotional maturity" and "respect" more often than "Bold Betas" and "alpholes."  This has happened due to what I consider a natural evolution in my writing, and how things are developing in my life and the world around me.

When I started using the original hashtags, I was at a slightly different place in life than I am now.  Since a lot of blessings have been heading my way, the need to have a "bad guy" to throw things at has somewhat lessened, and the need to focus on how to handle life's challenges with intelligence and not with reactions has increased.

There really are people who are high-conflict, unnecessarily aggressive, threatening, narcissistic, and sociopathic.  They do exist.  And there really are people who've been hurt, put down, done to, held back, and underdeveloped.  They do exist too.  However, as I face the end of this year, I've started to realize that the way to address these problems is by not necessarily demonizing or deifying anyone, but not demonstrating how Emotional Maturity and Respect would change both extremes.

That being said, I'm just not sure about retitling this blog, or doing away with the original hashtags.  I think they still matter.

However, in the coming year, I would like to increase traffic, gain more exposure, expand into speaking engagements, and make a contribution to the world around me other than working and paying taxes.  In order to do that effectively, I have to ask the advice of other people who can see these messages from an outsider's perspective.

So, my readers, I address the following queries to you:

(1) Should I, or should I not, retire the terms "Bold Betas" and "alpholes?"

(2) If so, should I, or should I not, retitle this blog?

(3) If so, do I, or do I not, risk losing the audience I seek?

Only serious responses requested, of course.  And if you're on Facebook, and your comment is likely to exceed one paragraph, please direct-message me instead.

DISCLAIMER:  While I'm not yet sure whether to make Emotional Maturity a title of this blog, I am very sure to let it govern how we address each other.  If your statements to me reveal a lack of emotional maturity, they're getting deleted.  Your subsequent accusations of cowardice will not negate my boundaries.

Happy Holidays, everybody!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Emotional Maturity - From The Beginning

Hey All - a real chill in the air, and it's not just the weather.

One reason why we react the way we do to everyday issues and troubles is because we got used to doing it a certain way at an early age.  Childhood and adolescence, those "Wonder Years."  We get stuck in a pattern, our responses get rehearsed so many times they become automatic.  So it's very easy to stop changing and growing at some point.

But believe it or not, this can be altered and upgraded.  Any.  Time.  We.  Feel.  Like.  It.

It's not an on/off switch like our more critical neighbors like to believe.  But it is within our power nonetheless.

(1).  Preparation.
This right here is the most important part.  Our self-talk can keep us stuck in the holding pattern of getting annoyed, argumentative, defensive, or enraged at the same provocation.  We keep thinking, I can't stand this guy, this woman is so stupid, this kid should shut up, so our brains become wired to always think of that person in a negative light.  It's like you see their face and name on a jumbo-tron and your internal capacity crowd starts booing and cursing!  So when you actually see them, Guess What Happens?
To avoid this, flip the script.  Find a way to stop this internal Two-Minute Hate.  Such as:
    (A).  Decide that you will not react that way.  Because they don't make you angry, you get angry.  And you can also not get angry.
    (B).  Prepare responses that will diffuse your reactions, and not manipulate them further.  Those that will repel anything that would otherwise trip a trigger.  Those that will make you, and anyone else, smile, and not fume.
(2).  Execution.
Commit yourself.  Do not show fear, pain, or anger.  As stated above, do not absorb.  Repel.  Block the shots.  Use your stick to deflect it, use your glove to smother it.  Be Bulletproof!

You knew I was going there, ha ha!

(3).  Follow Through.
Don't be that guy.  Don't wait until they leave the room and say, What a nasty woman, what a loud mouth ass, I thought they'd never shut up.  That just undoes everything we already did!  It makes it seem like an act, and that you're not really that mature at all!
After the encounter, exhale.  Breathe a sigh of relief.  Pat yourself on the back for keeping it together, and dismiss them from your thoughts.

Chances are, they won't expect the change.  Shock 'em.  It's very powerful to stay calm when you're expected to fly off the handle.




Sunday, December 4, 2016

Yes, They Got Away With It. So?

Hey All - It's a Chilly Sunday in December.  Hope everyone's doing well.

One stumbling block to emotional maturity is Resentment, and it's slacker big brother, Grudges.  If there's one thought that can keep people angry and stuck, it's that feeling where someone else gets away with doing something wrong, knowing full well that punishment and consequences would be inevitable had we done the same thing.

Goodness knows I've felt angry seeing that happen.  Sometimes the teacher's pet/boss' favorite/coach's son gets protected when they make mistakes, or even worse, one of us takes the hit for it because it's always our fault, and never theirs, no matter what happens.  Unfortunately, this practice has been around since the dawn of time, and short of transforming the hearts and minds of the perpetrators, it will continue indefinitely.

Let's be honest.  It is frustrating to the extreme to have been raised with values, discipline, and lines we don't cross, and then seeing so many other people do the opposite of that and not suffer consequences for it.  It is disheartening to know that some authority figures consider someone else to be better than you, sometimes for no objective reason, and that nothing you do or say can change that.   And it's also that way when we remember how bullies of yesteryear, how nasty, abrasive, rude, and abusive they were, and yet they were mobbed with fraaaands and followers, instead of being isolated and despised.

It's that frustration with life "not being fair" that most triggers our dissatisfaction with this arrangement.  In a perfect world, there would be automatic consequences for these transgressions, hence no transgressions.  But for now, we do not live in a world where that happens.  Instead, for hopefully a limited time, we must adapt to this misfortune.

(1) Accept the decisions that action cannot be taken against.  If the only thing you can do in response to that which aggrieves you is to just be angry and criticize it, then you're wasting your time.  Yes, you can be angry and dissatisfied with it, but if that anger and dissatisfaction can never change the results, then it must be contained.  If it is not, then you risk harming yourself far more than you can ever impact them.  Our high-conflict neighbors still have no intention of owning their actions or improving their behavior.  Until they are compelled to do so, courtesy of Lady Kharma, we must accept that which we have no control over.

(2) If you are able to do something or say something about it, take the chance while you have it.  In my line of work, you have a 30 day deadline to appeal decisions that aggrieve your client.  In real life, the window of opportunity is sometimes smaller.  But if you have the chance, that's your time to make your arguments.  You may need to have supporting evidence to demonstrate why they're wrong and you're right, so have it ready to produce whenever someone else wants to ask questions designed to make you look stupid.  You may need to erect definitive boundaries against behavior you find objectionable while it is happening.  You may need to politely, but firmly, explain that you do not appreciate certain behaviors.

(3) Handle yourself with emotional intelligence, and not with emotional chaos.  When we're angered, triggered, or just plain annoyed, our heads are not on straight.  In that state, it's very easy to fudge the earlier two steps.  We can still remain calm even when telling someone else that their actions are unacceptable, or explaining why someone else's decision should be changed.  We can still respond to attacks designed to trigger us by not becoming triggered.  We can repel their attempts to get under our skin while still responding appropriately to their actions.

No, it's still not OK that people get away with actions that we, and they, know are wrong.  But simply bemoaning this fact and cursing their improperly-gotten gains does nothing to stop them.  Accepting what cannot be reversed, and reversing that what can be, however, are the best weapons we have.  And handling these weapons at the highest level of emotional maturity will ensure the best results possible.

That's The Jam, Folks.




Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Trump Haters? Aim It That Way.

Hey All.  Well, we know what happened.

Were you mad at him for his tone?  His vulgarity?  His crudeness?  What he said about these people, those people, and damn near everyone?

Good.  I'm honestly glad you were.  It's actually very reassuring that this world does not want to live by the alphaganda after all.  This helps my cause more than you might realize.  Now if people could only prove it by keeping their cool and not rioting.

So what to do now, that he actually won?  Divide that anger to be aimed in these five directions:

(1)  Take 20% of that anger at Trump, and aim it at children who bully.  Remember how horrible you thought Trump sounded at his debates and in his interviews, and aim it at every kid who pushes, shoves, wedgies, and threatens those weaker or less adjusted than him or her.  Pretend that kid is Trump himself, and let that kid have it!  Don't hold back!  Just 20% of Trump Hatred should shake that kid's very foundations enough to check the behavior.

(2) Take another 20%.  Aim it at abusive bosses.  Also aim it at boss-appointed bullies who flaunt authority they don't deserve.  Tell them that you think the way you're treated is unacceptable, and if it doesn't change, you're out the door.  (Caveat - unless you're prepared to be self-employed, get yourself a new job before doing this)

(3) Take another 20%.  Aim it at family members who don't treat you with respect.  I mean parents, children, spouses, partners, uncles, cousins, in-laws - no more free passes.  Just 20% of that Trump rage should put them on notice that their behavior will not be tolerated.  (Further Caveat - there is a risk of schism within the family if this happens, because there will always be enablers who think they've done nothing wrong.  Prepare for this eventuality)

(4) Take another 20%.  Aim it at any laws, rules, ordinances, or regulations are unjust, unethical, unfairly prejudicial, harmful, or contrary to reasonable expectations of fairness.  In other words, get rid of stupid rules.  I'm not saying be a foolish revolutionary, since you only get 20% for this assignment.  But make your voice heard.  Write your Congressperson/Senator/State legislator/local legislator and tell them what's not right.  Go to a school board meeting and tell them why things should change.  Act like there's something that might be bigger than your own immediate space, and that it matters big time!  And I'm not interested in whether it's a conservative or a liberal issue - I'm interested in explaining why a rule should be repealed, and not just violated.  And that means persuasion, and not senseless violence.

(5) Take another 20%.  Aim it at the mirror!  We're far from perfect, you and I, and we can admit to ourselves that there are times we've done and said things that even Trump wouldn't!  If you're grown enough to own that, then you can take it upon yourself the responsibility of ceasing it.  If you're still hating Trump, but excusing your own conduct, you can feel free to refer to this process as DeTrumping Yourself!  Think he's so horrible, he's an ogre, he's no good?  Then make yourselves as much of an opposite of that as you can.  Bashing him every minute of every day is an unprofitable venture - demonstrating that you don't emulate those traits will yield huge dividends.

Nobody said he was a role model.  He was elected to be a leader in spite of his foibles, and not because of them.

Ummm, Daaaaaaave?  Can I ask a question?

You just did, so obviously you can.

How could you support him, of all people?!?  You spent how many years lamenting the evil that these men do, and now you choose him to be our President?!?

I'm glad you asked me that most popular and bandwagon-esque of all questions.  For the answer, however, we'll just have to wait until the Inauguration this January.

Until then, I'm looking towards Thanksgiving - where we can all show gratitude, and not regret.  Towards the phenomenon of Chanukah commencing on Christmas Eve - you can't get much more Judeo-Christian than that!  And of course, the year 2017 - foretold by Billy Joel in one of his best songs.

Night All!



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.




Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pause If You Must, But Never Wallow

Hey All - Happy Passover to those that celebrate.

It is impossible to advance in life without meeting obstacles and setbacks.  However, it's way too easy that this means "game over" instead of "handle it."

We Betas, being as sensitive as we are, often need time to reflect when confronted with such difficulty. Maybe we have to deal with anger, sadness, worry, anxiety, or a big stack of fear.  And sometimes a time out is needed to process that.

However, it's a very limited time out.  You can't do it forever.  You'll risk paralyzing yourself with doubt, guilt, or other stumbling blocks.  You'll be immobilized with hatred and contempt, and they'll chain you in a self-made prison.  You'll be stuck living in the past.

How to avoid this?

(1).  Schedule a Time.  Maybe when you first wake up, maybe when you first lie down.  Maybe a minute, maybe an hour, but keep it far away from anything else you need to do.  We don't need this getting in the way.
(2).  Use It Wisely.  Don't just ruminate, obsess, or wallow.  Ask WHY it's bad.  WHY it bothers you.  WHY it's wrong.  And follow them up with some good BECAUSES.
(3).  Contain It.  Resolve not to let these thoughts dominate you.  You still have a life to lead, and you don't owe it to anyone that wants you to feel bad.

But look what yoooooooou did!   But look what yooooooou didn't do!  But you were wrooooong!  But you screwed uuuuuuup!  I'm just sayinnnnnnn'!

Hear that?  If that voice is coming from a real live person, you can be Bulletproof and block it without letting them get under your skin.  That's not always easy to do.  But if it's coming from inside your head, then it's very easy to shut it down, by comparison.  You can mute, censor, reject, and silence that drivel anytime you choose.  You just haven't yet because it's become a habit.  But if you choose to inoculate yourself from these parasitic thoughts, you absolutely can.  Contain them, shred them, reject them, and dispose of them.

You don't own other people's behavior, actions, choices, or thoughts.  But you have exclusive domain over all of the above for yourself.  Handle them like it matters!  Don't let these things beat you.  Wrap them up in a bow and Fedex them outta here!



Sunday, April 17, 2016

There Are Friends, And There Are Fraaaaaaands

Hey All - Spring has finally sprung!

One obstacle we Bold Betas have is that we often just have a core group of friends instead of hundreds of thousands of friends.  And despite how rude, aggressive, and abrasive our adversaries are, they seem to have throngs approving of everything they do.  An unexplained phenomenon to be sure.

However, we must not be caught in the trap where we resent those with all those fraaaaaaaands, and I'll tell you why:
(1).  Those guys are expert BS artists.  They know how to pander and say things people want to hear, and they know how to target people who don't question it.
(2).  Those fraaaaaaands aren't who you really want to associate with.  Look at them - you know I don't need to elaborate.
(3).  Anyone who truly loves and respects himself knows how to be alone and use it productively.  These posers and panderers don't.  If they didn't have that throng of admirers, they'd be destitute.

Yes, friendship is an operation far more dependent on quality than on quantity.  Being fraaaaaands with, or liked by, a million acquaintances, hangers-on, fanboys, and followers, is meaningless compared to having deep, close, personal relationships with just a few good peeps who've seen you at your best and your worst, don't pass judgment on you, and accept you for exactly who you are.  There's no need to sell out stadiums when you already have the VIP's in the front row.

Yeah, those other suckers will still flaunt what they perceive to be their reputation.  And others might flock to them as if they're oblivious.  When you see that, remember the above.  

NEVER think that you are less than them because of what they have.  Instead, accentuate what you have.
Still, NEVER resent them for what they have.  Odds are more likely than not that what they have is nowhere near as great as it looks.

Do Not Deify.  Do Not Demonize.  Do Not Waste Thoughts On Them.



Sunday, February 21, 2016


Other Perspectives

Hey All - February's going from a deep freeze to an early spring.  Not sure if this is Punxsatawney Phil's doing, or someone else's.

Big news in law and politics -  the death of Senior Associate Justice Antonin Scalia.  As expected, for reasons to numerous to mention, this touched off a political firestorm.  However, what caught this blogger's attention was the statement made by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  In terms of how they evaluated cases before the Court, they were polar opposites.  In real life, they were, to use Justice Ginsberg's words, "best buddies."

The way our nation is so divided, this seems almost impossible.  The way arguments on social media so quickly devolve into personal attacks, the way those attacks and their responses become so acidic and vitriolic, it's an honest to goodness miracle that a civil war hasn't already started.  Say this word, you're a racist.  Say that word, you're a terrorist.  Say something I don't agree with, that somehow gives me the right to humiliate, embarrass, and insult you in public because I know everything and you need to be "taught." 

But "best buddies?"  Those whose opinions actually counted, whose findings could potentially become the law of the land, whose decisions actually had more substantial consequences than just hurt feelings . . . How on earth could they be "best buddies" under these circumstances?!?

Here are my educated guesses:

(1). Respect.  Whatever they decided did not extend beyond the four corners of the written decision that the Court issued.  They didn't taunt each other about how stupid they thought the opposing argument was over lunch.  No posturing or posing, because someone just had to be a loudmouth.  No finger pointing or name-calling at the seventh grade level.  Never making it personal.
(2).  Understanding.  Ginsberg noted that after she read Scalia's dissents, in which he ripped apart the weaknesses of Ginsberg's decisions, she was able to make the final draft that much better by becoming aware of those weaknesses and covering them.  No, it didn't mean she was bowing down to his superior intellect, it meant that she learned to write a better opinion after seeing the opposing argument.
(3). Boundaries.  To expand on what's been stated in (1), there are times you, believe it or not, keep it in check.  Maybe give it a rest sometimes.  Maybe save it for another time.  Maybe just because you feel that way is not carte blanche to start the great American debate all.  The.  Time.  Cause.  You.  Feel.  Like.  It.

As Betas, we are often intimidated into remaining silent not to offend anyone.  And then when we do work up the fortitude to say what we think, right or wrong, we are not always prepared for what could be an onslaught of opposition and criticism, because that takes even more fortitude.  

Can you hold differing opinions with friends?  If you're willing to abide by the above three suggestions, you most likely can.
But what if a friend or relative is not willing to abide by them when you are?  Welcome to Beta Male Life 101! 

They don't have to be as nice, as respectful, or as mature as a pair of Supreme Court Justices.  And you don't have to associate with them if they won't.

Don't get it twisted, if they don't hold back from personal attacks on you, especially with an audience, you shouldn't feel guilty about knocking them down a few pegs.  Nevertheless, no amount of proof will make these people change their tune, so don't expect to be a hero.  Do only what is necessary to protect yourself, leave them behind, and find better people to associate with - you shouldn't limit yourself to only those who think like you do, but you should only permit people who can respect your views the way Scalia and Ginsberg respected each other.



Saturday, February 13, 2016

Make Love Stronger Than Hate

Hey All - Happy Valentine's Day!

This day is meant to celebrate love.  Yes, it's also day when people are very likely to buy each other jewelry and chocolates.  But it's primarily about love.

When you look at the world around us, through social media and otherwise, there are way too many reasons to hate.  There are terrorists who hate America, and there are terrorist apologists that tell us that it's our fault for getting them angry enough to kill.  There are ideological differences that divide our country, and there are "independents" who sometimes make excuses for the dividers.  There are people who will never respect us no matter what we do or say, and there are other people who eternally enable them and excuse their behavior.

And I wasn't even talking about the alpholes - don't get me started, lol!

Yes, there is so much negativity, misfortune, and backlash in this world, it's a miracle that World War III hasn't broken out yet.  There's so much drama in this world because, quite frankly, peace and respect just don't seem exciting enough.  Some people develop high-conflict personalities because being at peace is just way too boring for them.  Don't let them sell you on the "I'm only being honest" nonsense, because if they were ever confronted with that same exact honesty when aimed at their own failings, they'd throw a tantrum.

Ummm, Daaaaave?   Not to criticize, but isn't this post supposed to be about -

One step ahead of ya - yes, it is about love.

Even with so much unpleasantness in this world, there are still people who don't look to cause drama and agita.  There are people who really do care about us, are happy to see us succeed, and have an investment in our continued happiness.  There are people who are proud to have you in their circles, and are honored to be in yours.  They inspire you to be even better than you already are, and to make them feel just as happy as they make you.

This doesn't necessarily mean a romantic partner, though this certainly helps.  That same kind of compassion can also be found with family or with a tight-knit group of friends.  Respect.  Empathy.  Understanding.

As Bold Betas, it's tragically easy to forget those who are more worthy of our thoughts.  If we're confronted with so many haters, yet lack the ability to successfully repel their attacks, they tend to give themselves top billing.  However, when we become Bold and Bulletproof, we are able to drown out what those miscreants say and do, and then remove them from our lives.  Then we are in a much better position to love ourselves, and by extension, to love others.  To give and receive love in equal amounts.  To create more thoughts of happiness to share, and reduce thoughts of the alternative.

So send those others on their way, and appreciate those who deserve to be in your life.  Show love to those who love you.  Show compassion to those who bestow it on you.  Show appreciation to those who appreciate you.  And let ALL OF THIS take precedence over anyone who doesn't care, or who thinks less of you.

Goodness knows, that's not easy to do.  Negative thoughts have a way of making it tough, because negative people are so convinced that they're the only ones who are aware of reality.  They just don't like admitting that they're the ones who make their reality that way.  So let's beat them to the punch and put more love, and more happiness, in our reality.

I never celebrate Valentine's Day.  I don't need a day to show that I love somebody, I already do that every day.

Oooooh.   Ahhhhh.   Ohhhhhh.   That's amazing.  Nevertheless, the holiday is here.  So let's use it.



Sunday, January 31, 2016

Don't Be A Groundhog

Hey All - looks like January is all but over.  So coming up next in February, in addition to this being a Leap Year, we've got love in bloom on Valentine's Day and patriotism to spare on President's Day. But even sooner than that is Groundhog Day.

Remember that movie from 1993?  Bill Murray's character is inexplicably caught in a day that repeats itself over and over.  He uses it to his advantage to avoid things that he knows will happen, and eventually, given enough opportunities to correct the mistakes he made the first "day," eventually "gets it right."

Believe it or not, even if the same day is not repeated, we still have the same opportunities to "get it right" that Bill Murray's character did with the repeating day in the movie.  We already know, most likely, what to expect from our usual affairs.  Accordingly, we know what we can do to improve them when that is warranted.

As Betas, we are often end fooled into believing that every day we live is identical and meaningless, and that each one will remain the same until we disappear.  Or as the more cynical among us say, work, work, work, and then you die, and there's nothing else to it.


Every single day we live is an opportunity to change the game.  A chance to avoid the pitfall we might have stepped in yesterday.  A chance to talk to whomever it was we passed by without noticing last week.  A chance to do our job even better than we were already doing it to begin with.  Yes, the date on the calendar is changing, instead of trapping us in a time loop, but we can choose to learn and improve tenfold before each individual day ends.

Don't wait for Punxsatawney Phil to tell you whether or not winter is getting sliced in half.  Decide to let your seasons of learning continue through spring and beyond!



Sunday, January 24, 2016

When To Let It Go.

Hey All - Hope you're enjoying the AFC/NFC Championship games -- sometimes they're more exciting than the Super Bowl itself!

One weakness that we as Betas have that makes us less Bold is our propensity to dwell on things.  We make mistakes and beat ourselves up for it.  We get so nervous and upset when being confronted that we don't come up with the good idea, or the crushing comeback, or the winning argument, until after the window to do so has closed.  We relieve negative experiences so many times that we don't actually realize they're over.

We assail and curse the misdeeds of the alpholes because they have no moral compass whatsoever.  Unfortunately, this deplorable trait enables them to get over their mistakes and transgressions lightning-fast. So fast, in fact, that they already have an excuse, alibi, or beyss story to cover themselves without a thought.  As much as it pains me to say it, this is something it pays to do because no amount of guilt, second-guessing, or self-flagellation ever solves a problem.

So how do we do it?  

(1).  If you know that someone has been hurt or wronged by something you did, apologize, once and only once, as soon as possible.  If you can, make it right.  Then, it's over.  If they don't accept your apology, or they start haranguing you, guilt tripping you, or go on an all-out critic-fest, walk away.  Some people are too self-righteous for their own good and have a sorry need to bash others to make themselves feel good, and are quick to justify it as "only being honest."  Their need to run their mouths is not a directive to self-immolate.  Shut it out and leave them with their grudges.
(2).  If you made a mistake, even a painful one, learn from it.  It's ok to stop feeling bad about it, provided you find ways to prevent it from happening again.  And guess what - the more exposure you have to whatever caused that mistake, the more opportunities you have to get better.  And better.  And even better than that!  But if you beat yourself up, you're condemned to screw it up again every time because your confidence is shot.
(3).  If someone else did you wrong, think about the example of the unforgiving type in Example (1).  Is that how a Bold Beta acts?  Nasty and critical?  Stuck up and self-righteous?  Mouthy and moronic?  That's not our way.  I'm not saying you should shake their hand and say all is forgiven - they might think you're "cool with it" and keep doing it all the time.  But I am saying that we need to be the opposite of those high-conflict types who need to give you a dressing down.  Control the anger.  Armor your heart.  Detach yourself.  And consider either removing the individual who wronged you from your life, or taking actions to minimize your exposure to their future wrongdoing.  Chances are, they may be just as inhuman and imperfect as you are, and are unlikely to make that mistake again.  If not, boot 'em.
(4). If you really are that unhappy with someone else, find a way to tell them when it's actually happening.  If they're decent at all, they'll apologize and it'll end.  If they're not, they'll give you a million excuses, and you'll dismiss them.  And instead of giving them unlimited free passes, start telling them that it's not ok.  That way you won't have to "tolerate" them, or feel bad about missing your chance to set a boundary.

Yes, it's ok to stop feeling bad, angry, resentful, guilty, or stupid.  If it's your bad, try to make it good.  If others think they're better than you and keep pointing fingers, forget them.  If it's their bad, make them see why.  If they can't own it, then own your dignity and dismiss them.  Bottom line, take actions to prevent negative feelings from remaining.  And most importantly, if they do remain, dispose of them.  Feeling bad solves nothing.