There is a well known adage that perhaps was coined by Confucoius or is alluded to in the Bible. Either way it goes like this:
‘Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.’
It would appear to hold true. This is very much the Rich Dad/Poor Dad juxtaposition.
Perhaps, in hindsight, there is a line missing:
Forget to demand respect for the planet from the man and he will destroy fish stocks and end up giving his children farmed fish full of chemicals.
Let’s look at the adage through the lens of: Advice, Guidance and Wisdom.
At the level of advice is ‘give a man a fish’
At the level of guidance is ‘teach him to fish’
At the level of wisdom is ‘demand respect, from yourself and others, on behalf of the planet’
Is for guys
Application is to work life, guy life, ego buoyancy, for not looking stupid, to the now
Forms of Advice – tips, sayings, phrases, guyisms, answers, encouragement
Advice provides timely ideas for someone to make decisions to get results.
Advice for any person, at any age in any stage in life. It is useful to daily life and can stand the test of time.
Provenance – brain
Relevance – bridging the moment with what you want
Guidance is for men.
Application – Guidance is a resource for learning to deal with fear, for growing awareness, for understanding others, for facing the future.
Forms of Guidance – story, map, the legend on a map, questions, challenges
Guidance hints at the man you become if you listen to it and let it impact your life
Provenance – heart
Relevance – love, the need to love and be loved
Is for The New You,
Application is for participation in service to something bigger than you, curiosity and reflection
Forms of Wisdom – crystalized, dense yet light in its transmission, mysterious and confusing and settling
Wisdom is the language of the instinct talking about finding meaning and integrating it into life
Provenance – soul
Relevance – magnetizing to the truth and electrifying to action
Practice all 3 (Advice – Guidance – Wisdom): Know the difference so advice doesn’t get passed off as guidance; and wisdom doesn’t get reduced to guidance.
Demand advice from your peers, guidance from your parents and wisdom from your elders.
Turning left out of the restaurant, MJ and I walk south along John Street. I know I hear some running footsteps but, so what. You never know who is asking for something so I put my arm around MJ’s shoulder and keep walking.
I look over my shoulder between me and MJ and see this guy waving his hand and running towards us. The guy was wearing black pants, a white shirt and a knee length white apron. It’s our waiter from the restaurant. Maximum 25 years old as he ran with ease towards us.
“Crazy” the waiter says, landing a few slow down steps as he reaches us.
“Look.” He only takes two breaths to speak normally after a 2 block sprint.
“I think the bills stuck together. I don’t think you meant to leave a $40 tip on a $29 tab.” The waiter tentatively offers two twenty dollar bills. The bills were probably just printed and put into circulation. I had just got them out of the bank machine earlier in the day.
“I thought they felt funny.” I say putting my hand out tentatively as the waiter goes about half way.
“Thank you very much.” I extend my appreciation and my hand to receive my overpayment.
“Right on.” Waiter says. There is a brief gap in the moment; and then he spins to jog back to the restaurant. MJ and I look at each other.
“Wow. You don’t see that too often. Someone running 2 blocks to give you money you didn’t know was yours. Actually, in the moment I thought to give him 1 of the twenties.”
MJ says “I could tell you hesitated. You could’ve.”
Standing in the same place, slowly folding the 2 twenties, I look at MJ and declare “That’s honesty”. Feeling proud to have been a part of that street vignette, I almost feel I deserve some of the credit.
MJ holds my gaze for a moment, then she says “That’s tidy.”
Tidy is living life with minimal loose ends.
Tidy is not military. It is clarity of scope of any intention.
Scope refers to what you are going to do when and how.
How refers to the quality of your work and ‘the 2-stage hand off’.
The first stage of the ‘hand off’ is you receiving from the previous person what you said you needed in order to get started. The second stage is you delivering what you said you would. That way the next person knows what to expect when you are finished with your part. Essentially ensuring the next stage 1 for the next person includes what said they needed to get started.
So if the person before or after you is not tidy, life now has drama that we aren’t paid for.
Being tidy is a reflection of self respect; It is an expression of understanding others and having the arts and skills to be understood.
Tidy is a great way to run your life.
Like someone runs their business.
You do what you say you are going to do.
You make commitments, make a plan and invest in the project. Then people quit, get fired or screw up. So being tidy can be a great hypothetical ideal but the daily reality can make your work anything but tidy. Because someone on your team quit means now you can’t deliver your products on time. So you have to advise others that your delivery is going to change. That’s business. That’s life.
Sometimes there is a pandemic and materials or staff are scarce or expensive and your price changes and the customer isn’t happy or wants to cancel all together. These are some of those changes that fit into the ‘you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up’ category.
So many obstacles can get thrown your way making your work, and life, untidy. You can’t control others. You can manage yourself. Your work is subject to outside influences. When everything is going sideways, that is when you need to insist on being tidy in your mind. Meaning understanding who is responsible, or to blame, but with an eye to moving forward.
The New You Profile is:
The man a young man strives to be;
The gentleman a man can feel he is becoming.
The scope of that gentleman’s life is: deep, expansive, growing, challenging, intriguing.
This book is for tough guys. Like me. Like you. Tough nuts to crack. When we aren’t as good as we want to be at our own emotional display we can get frustrated. Frustration is rarely associated with satisfaction.
The spark of this writing is the belief that a man who is creative in achieving his satisfaction, able to share the successes and let downs of pursuing what he wants, will use his stressful challenges to grow. Life has shown us that when one of us is frustrated in the moment, stressed by life, wayward in his manlife, he can easily lash out. He can be hurtful with insults and beatings.
The purpose of the book is to be a spur for men to access their emotional agility as they strive to get what they want.
A man who knows himself at daily and higher levels will appreciate what he is becoming despite his shortcomings. He will have a sense that there is more to the definition of a man than can be found on the internet.
A constant theme of this book is that we are indeed on a development journey during our whole life. That journey for a man differs from the journey of a woman. Whether or not male and female journeys have converging priorities, understandings or emotions we all want to enlist each man to ‘be his own man’ in the moment.
When a woman wants something different from her man, or wants more from her husband or wants better from her boyfriend it is a good news story. It locates the man in what she seeks. It’s not a strike against you that, as a man, you cannot immediately figure out what she wants. Perhaps it provides her a sense of being valued by knowing she can look to you for man services. So, what kind of man services do you offer? Sexual services, fixing flat tire services, humour, tenderness, encouragement services, mortgage payment services, opening jam jars services, packing the car, parking the car, washing the car, barbecuing …
A man is a good thing. Anyone who feels differently does not have the full story. Or as is often the case, has had more bad man experiences than good. Those damaging experiences are often the result of his lack of belief in himself . This poverty of self-belief contorts the love of those that believe in him as a man. When we can rise above the tyranny of our energy sucking ego we ascend into new thoughts, fresh intentions, rejuvenating conversation … This elevation into realms of value, success and connection makes your man feel like the MVP.
The underlying concept that powers this book is that men have the emotional finesse enabling them to instinctually respond to the Daily challenges and Devotional callings of life.
There are many men in the various communities you participate in that don’t subscribe to the dogma of sexism. They go along with insulting jokes and remarks because they don’t have something stronger they believe in. Or they fear for their job and crave respect as a man’s man. They most likely believe in women; in a deep and beautiful way. However most men don’t get the education they want to become a man of self-respect, love and belief.
There is a lack of readily accessible guidance for men to become the reliable husband that is also the spontaneous guy who is also the nurturing man. There is a paucity of seed pods for him to cultivate the male version of instinct.
Each day all men search for the missing pieces in the life puzzle of career, love and meaning. At the risk of alienating himself from the lowest common denominator of macho manhood there are those that insist on being ambitious, clean and versatile. It takes balls to be a man that resists the mafia of moronic male behaviour.
The guy who strives beyond the poor understanding of women and lack of self knowledge as a man needs your support. Most likely he is energized by sincere love yet doubts his version of a man authentic. He is juggling his professional ambition, the questions for his higher self and his residual anger of youth. He wants to bundle them into a brave vision of him as a man, spouse and gentleman.
This book highlights that we are all capable of and responsible for our own Satisfaction in the ongoing stages of life, evolving relationships and variety of experiences.
Did you see the 2007 movie Ocean’s 13? It’s the third movie in the Ocean’s series of a modern band of thieves. The sudden news of one of their own falling ill from shock of a business deal gone bad id bringing them all together again. About ten minutes into the movie George Clooney as ‘Daniel Ocean’ and Brad Pitt as ‘Rusty’ are just getting off their private jet.
‘It’s not their fight’ Linus, played by Matt Damon had just asked Ocean where Tess and Isabelle were. A seemingly harmless question as they walk across the tarmac. Tess (Julia Roberts) is Ocean’s wife; Isabelle (Catherine Zeta Jones) is the love of Rusty’s life.
Since Linus wants a bit more info he turns to Rusty and asks a little louder above the jet engines. ‘Where are Tess and Isabelle?’
Out of nowhere Ocean explodes on his colleague Linus and repeats with an anvil of force closing the issue, ‘It’s not their fight’.
Ocean is right. A man takes responsibility for his struggle. He doesn’t make it hers. Men are experts at the quiet struggle. Like the earth is coursing with ley lines and the body is strung with energy meridians, men are marionettes to the undercurrents of genuine emotion. The task at hand is to make this struggle less solitary, these emotions more accessible.
For that reason it is to be aware when you need help with your response. Ask for help, accept help. Appreciate the help and love the helper. But never make them responsible for your fight. Your fight is to evolve into you. Become the version of a man that is becoming of you.
Some men who are jacked up: cocky, confident, full of their preconceived idea of their importance to the moment. There are those guys who are understanding, laid back and funny. Of course we all know those guys that are lost, lack confidence and have more things they dread than they look forward to as a man. How could they ‘man up’ in a difficult situation. They don’t have the education, training, or reference to find their mojo.
The degree to which many a man is lost and alienated from a development journey as a soul bearing gentleman can feel bigger than huge, and deeper than bottomless.
The lost man can’t seem to get traction on his passion and skills. That’s part of why it can appear to his wife, a man doesn’t want to be a part of the solution to a withering marriage. His relationship is complicated by him not knowing how to shine his light on the path of their marriage.
One of the core messages this book carries is that men are a creative force, wildly willing to be a part of something good. And they are sincere. Sincerely in need of help to understand themselves, women and relationships.
The following is an excerpt from an article on cbc.ca.
Another trailblazer, Toronto engineer Gina Cody, has been appointed as a member of the order. Cody immigrated to Canada in 1979 at the age of 22 when her family fled the Iranian Revolution.
She was the first woman to be awarded a PhD in building engineering at Concordia University in Montreal and went on to found a successful consulting firm, CCI Group, that was named one of Canada’s most profitable woman-owned companies by Profit magazine in 2010.
The faculty of engineering at Concordia now bears her name. The Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science is the first in Canada — and one of the first in the world — to be named after a woman.
Cody said she hopes her appointment inspires more women to enter the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics — especially as economies undergo a “fourth industrial revolution” characterized by automation and smart technology.
“That’s the message I want to send out — that parents encourage their girls and young children to get into the STEM programs,” said Cody.
To see the full article check out the link below.
Move the words out of your heart – say anything man. Be funny, dumb, endearing, stilted, embarrassing, true and simple. If they stay in your heart they will block your arteries and give you a heart attack.
Say how you feel. Because you want to understand and be understood. Understand what causes you to feel inspired or lost, confident or frustrated. And be understood as you go through the process of using these words to grow.
Find your words for love and vulnerability, of vision and belief.
Practice the words for sorry and appreciation, worry and forgiveness.
Repeat the words that elevate you and are a catalyst for other men.
Move the words out of your heart and into the world so we can all hear and learn:
What the man in you knows …
What the man in you wants …
What the man in you upholds …
Earlier today I was looking through my blog posts in search of a previous post about The Female Frixion when I came across this one from a year and half ago entitled 10 Things A Young Man Needs To Hear From A Man. When I wrote this it was a time when I knew even less than I think I know now. Fearful of the edits it still begs I believe there are some valid points in this post. Worth repeating. I have included 2 here starting with Be Agile – Not Fragile. That is what a father wants for his son. What a woman wants for her man.
- Do the work to be emotionally agile not fragile. This one is so important to teach by example. The work can be analogous to juggling. If you focus on one ball then all of them will fall. To take it up a level you use your peripheral vision to manage the task at hand. What is being asked is to be able to have long term vision while still managing the present.
- Define strength: mentally, physically, emotionally – as a man; find out what it is for a woman. What is your formula for strength in each case: Emotional Strength = _________ + ____________ Use your strengths to highlight them in others.
To see the whole list use the link below.
Feel free to share these ideas with a young man to understand what he hungers for.
2 old guys were playing tennis as I walked by the public tennis court. It was a beautiful fall day with the mid afternoon sun balancing out the autumn cool. In the park there were a few mothers and nannies caring for and playing with children. There was one empty court and the one in use by said men.
In their 70’s one fart was in very good shape and the belly of the other one had a nice round shape to it. I watched them for a few minutes from the park bench near the court. They played very well without physically challenging each other too much. I couldn’t hear everything they said but I did catch the guy with the belly say in a chipper voice as he approached the net to collect a ball ‘ Kids these days. They’re not careless’. It seemed he was defending the millenials for getting a bad reputation as being lazy and disrespectful. Perhaps he had some grandchildren that were really proactive at recycling and social responsibility.
‘They are carefree.‘ The belly guy completed his thought and turned to walk back to the baseline.
What is that supposed to mean – ‘carefree’? That young people being smart phone savvy soothes all their problems. That because the retired generation receive their monthly pension then all must be good in the world. Or because the younger generations can’t afford a house that means they don’t have to worry about a mortgage. Or because they use Uber they don’t have to be concerned about car insurance rates. Or because they work from home they don’t have to stress about the price of gas and the pollution it causes.
Stress and depression and the temperature of the planet are all on the rise. Young people are worried. Sick. They are worried about the degradation of the planet and how to grow food on their balcony, their parents failing health and the quality of care in a seniors home, the job market and the cost of daycare, the widening gap between rich and poor and the deepening feeling in their gut of connecting with some higher purpose that surely there is in life.
Like me and you, they need help. Sure they are super agile on social media and pay for everything in the moment on an app. Still they don’t know what they want in life, how to be a good spouse, how to respond to the urge of their soul life. They may sound very confident because they have lots of sound bites in the moment at their finger tips. Yet self knowledge is still elusive.
They need challenges that help them elevate their mind just as much as to learn how to stretch their money. They need guidance of how to cultivate their soul. Who is going to be that guide? To let them know what is a good idea to repeat of the the preceding generations and what mistakes to avoid. To model understand humility, listening and patience.
Below is the link to a previous post entitled Rise Of The Elder Class petitioning adults to get over their feelings about their stage in life and see past the confident face of the young generation to engage them in conversations about meaning: https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/wild-coach.com/834
Nothing wrong with being an old guy. In fact it is a badge of honour. But it comes with the responsibility to turn around and offer wisdom. To take responsibility for their role in the state of the planet and the lack of devotion life that connects young people with themselves and can be applied to daily life.
Women are better at being women than men are at being men.
This is not man bashing.
Imagine your three big terracotta flower pots on the sunny side of the house where the tomato plants soak up the sun. Even though they have that bitter tomato plant fragrance they smell fabulous in the summer afternoon heat. The pots where the chile plants were sown and watered got grouped by the gate in the shadow of the big tomato plant pots.
Due to the conditions the tomatoes ripen and each plant gives lots of fruit. Whereas the chiles are small and few. The chiles have the same desire to grow. Tomatoes grow into tomatoes. Chiles into chiles. Their success depends a lot on the local conditions.
The local conditions in a woman includes her management of the Female Frixion (see below).
The local conditions in a man are impacted by his dealing with life through the Male Stack.
This is not fanning the flames of the battle of the sexes. It’s not saying there is a competition to achieve self-realization as a man or woman. It’s not a race to embody your gender before your spouse embodies theirs. It’s not a comparison because we are talking apples and oranges here.
Women are oscillating while men are projecting.
Women get lonely – and seek out companionship. Men get lost – and need direction.
Men will proclaim when a woman in the same situation will reflect.
The Female Frixion generates an emotional conflict in women about the prevalence of one of the three lives in the moment or stage of life. Those lives are: Professional, Romantic and Maternal. In men they are: Professional, Romantic and Paternal. Men don’t live the same friction of feeding these three lives in the same way. Women internalize the friction and men externalize the stress. Women make themselves responsible for their emotions about the 3-way balance of these inner lives. Men can often not understand how or why they would be responsible for their own emotions.
Each woman struggles for years with this aspect of their life. Often it can make them not feel good about themselves. A woman might start to think she is not ’a good mother’. The truth may be she is a good mother but the friction that follows her around, like a 4 year old girl follows around her older sister, won’t let her in peace.
This friction heightens her awareness to her inner lives and cultivates the connection with her instinct. Her instinct is about life. Her female instinct responds to the moment that her mind is focused on. It is not simply her instinct about how she feels about her emotions. That is included. But it needs to be understood that her instinct, the instinct, is fast and true and collects no emotional baggage. We collect the baggage with our low emotion ego trolling. The more emotional luggage we insist on hauling around life the less we can listen to and recognize the instinct.
Lateral consideration of the three lives all at once that is the mental/emotional process of women is in contrast to the vertical surging that is the one-at-a-time male style process. This is the Male Stack. Instead of a need to bring all three lives forward with the same grace and focus like a woman, the man engages one life at a time. The male life management style may appear to require less subtlety and finesse from the man himself because according to him ‘it is what it is,’ ‘what you see is what you get.’ That is the challenge staring each man in the face: To make his living of the three lives in his own unique way a vertically integrated generator of male instinctual response.
Because the female consideration is not as reactive as the surging male she can appear to be powered by an unsure woman. That is not always true. Perhaps rarely true.
The decision making circuitry to decide about the same thing as a man is different in a woman. That needs to be understood. And appreciated. So it can impact our lives. Reflected upon so it can impact our marriages. Impact our language, sayings, expectations, our workplace (like making workplace based daycare more possible).
An excellent illumination on the reality of women’s decision making is How Women Decide by Therese Huston. The book focuses on the extra and unfair work a woman has to do quickly, mentally in the moment to make her decision appear as valid as possible in the eyes of men. Huston also delves into the innate decision making differences between men and women. She highlights if a woman can grasp how to utilize her natural mental/emotional circuitry in a business setting then she can deactivate the resistance to her style of thinking. For our personal relationships the useful insights that are supported with how-to ideas are relevant to generating good conversation with your spouse to elevate understanding.
When we choose we, men and women, can update our beliefs about women. We can learn a lot if we take the time and observe how this friction is a reality. Communicate the fact of it and tell stories about it. Resist the laziness that permits this difference to damage and not enlighten. Resist blaming a woman for being a woman.
Women are not better than men. Men are not better than women. However because of the Female Frixion women are generally more true to their nature than men are to theirs.
This lack of connection with one’s essence as a man can cause stress in a man. Without a strong emotional core, a man under stress can blame others for wanting to help him, he can delve into some form of drugs (including the internet). A man, even if he is really a good man, if he feels stressed, unappreciated or lost can get angry and become violent.
Most likely women would think men experience this friction between the inner lives but they don’t. So in difficult moments that require a couple to be on the same page, they often aren’t. This can convert an important or difficult conversation into an argument. Faster than we can stop it. The argument is powered not by the issue being discussed but by the lack of understanding. And exacerbated by how we feel about not being understood or understanding.
If women have the Female Frixion to connect them to their instinct, what do men have? What can be the sand in the seashell that is a positive friction to produce a pearl?
What do you stand for? As a man, husband.
What do you uphold? In the stress of providing for your family on a daily basis and also in the search for a sense of purpose.
How agile are you within the Male Stack (of the three lives)?
Do you want to cultivate your response to the instinct?
What do you adhere to? When the conversation turns sexist.
What do you cause in others? By what you resist.
What are you in service to? For immediate and lifetime results.
Man is fast. A short man, a fat man, a bald guy, middle class, employee, entrepreneur, impatient, divorced, shy, bad breathed, fashionable, funny. They are all men. They are all fast.
How fast? Reflex fast. Faster than doubt fast.
What kind of fast? Sleight of hand fast. Love fast. At the speed of love = responding from the blood and bones of your life.
Instant yet not ignorant. Spontaneous but not fickle.
Like a leopard is dangerously fast in the jungle a fast man is emotionally capable. Capable to receive, interpret and respond with sensitivity. Sensitivity powered by the decisions he has made. Sensitivity aligned to an external purpose. The purpose can be a marriage or job or community project or his religious life.
The fast man can take some time to get up to fast speed. He has decisions to make, experiences to process, mistakes to recuperate from, self belief to re-encounter, success to follow up on, a man cave to manicure, love to share, sensitivities to develop, a purpose to adhere to, personal religion to nurture.
A Fast Man is not in a hurry even though there may be a ton of things to do. A Fast mind is not stressed but can definitely feel the pressure. In Fast mode a man has perception because the task becomes the focus.
A Fast mind is in the zone and has a sensitivity to the details and timings of the moment. Those details include respect for people and the planet. Timings can be in the project, in the moment or stage of life. In contrast, highlighting how you feel about how you feel turns a fast mind into a foggy mind. The ego is quick to grab attention and energy but it has no friends. No partnerships. Fast is in association with Slow to generate some flow that supports growth.
The book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi provides very useful context and research that describes this mental space and what can happen when we embrace it.
Everyone, man or woman, anchored in their ego, is fast to judge. Judging someone else’s response to the moment. What do we know of that other person or the moment? Whether judging or being judged, neither has anything to do with the nature of a man. Judgment has to do with the Ego. Not the best part of the Ego. What happens when a man responds according to his nature and is not restrained by his Ego? A man not limited by judgement is a man fast to offer his service. Because it makes him feel valued as a man to be of service to others. Despite his vulnerability. His vulnerability is powered by how he feels as a man. Whether he knows it or not. His vulnerability is accentuated when he cannot be a fast man when that is what is required. That pains a man greatly. To the point of boiling over into violent. At the expense of self respect and dignity for his wife.
Likewise, without a doubt if the sincere nature of a man is not appreciated, especially by those close to him, then his sense of service will come from his own need for self-respect. Meaning he will uphold what is right like the clean vigour of a man or the cleanliness of a job well done.
Problems start; and don’t stop when the fast nature of a man gets interrupted by misunderstandings, unclear relationships, money/work/stress, heavy traffic on the drive home, bad habits, fear, lack of confidence, lack of self belief. That is his challenge. To be clutch in the moment. Or even be the clutch that allows himself to change gears between fast, slow and visionary. To self elevate above his hesitation because he thinks he doesn’t know what to do. To find a way to keep going. Without damage. A stealth Satisfaction.
If he doesn’t have the ability to generate from within himself the sense of being a man when his feeling of accomplishment is delayed by life problems, then he bangs up against his limit. His limit of patience, of conversation, of listening, of acceptance, of transcendence. What happens when he is face to face with his limit: Frustration; Yelling; Quit; Blame; Solutions; Creativity; Reflection; Insults; Violence?
The fast man is he who is connected to his instinct. Perhaps he has maintained this connection since birth. Or by adherence to it at great personal social cost. Or some combination of both.
The instinct is fast. Beyond my fast and your fast. Human fast. Naturally fast. Planetary fast. Forest fast. It is known that trees communicate with each other through their roots using a fungus called mycelium. As soon as the first tree in the forest senses someone entering the territory the last tree knows it. Even if the last tree is 20 km away. That fast. Our communion with the instinct is facilitated by belief. Belief in a man.
Be that man – fast in the moment – or striving to be so.
Meet the man inside the man.
We are living with a mindset of a pandemic planet. Experts are at a loss for a way forward. As we have to adjust our restrictions from spring life to summer living in 2020 absolutely nothing changes about men. The combination of technological advancement and viral ferocity makes these unprecedented times.
You too are unprecedented! Your ‘photosynthesis’ of the moment is as unique as each plant in the forest. You are a ‘once in a human race occurrence’. It also means that you, and only you are responsible for your generation of belief in men. The best of men. The daily and inspiring man. If international experts and politicians can’t make decisions you can. You can forge the way forward in the bigness that is your life.
What is that man?
He is Fast. He is Slow. He is Visionary. He is all three. By nature. By birth. These innate aspects might not be so obvious as a result of upbringing and education. Regardless they are essential to highlight and aspire to.
More to follow.
At The MD Life, follow the journey of Cynthia Kudji-Sylvester and Jasmine Kudji, a mother and daughter who are “tackling medical school and residency…The MD Life
It was in the cold dark of April 14, 1912 in early morning on the north Atlantic ocean the Titanic changed course. Drastically. It went from horizontal to vertical. Pretty quickly. The luxury steamship was dubbed unsinkable. It’s a story so famous that over 100 years later anything that is a colossal event is deemed titanic . As a result of the tragic loss of life on that night two years later in 1914 the international treaty Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS) was adopted by seafaring nations. The following is from the international Maritime Organization website http://www.imo.org/EN/Pages/Default.aspx “The main objective of the SOLAS Convention is to specify minimum standards for the construction, equipment and operation of ships, compatible with their safety.”
Silken Laumann might say she had more than one ‘Titanic’ moment in her life. As a result of cumulative events in her life she wrote her 2014 memoir Unsinkable. The book, in turn, led her to create the storytelling platform Unsinkable. https://weareunsinkable.com is a way for people, not unlike the titanic passengers, to ask for a life line. For people to share about the challenges of keeping it all together.
Why would Ms. Laumann feel the need to do that? Silken Laumann was a remarkable athlete. Rowing for Canada she won Olympic medals in rowing pairs with her sister Daniele in 1984 and singles sculls in 1992 and 1996.
Rowing is gruelling. Every time you get in the boat it asks every muscle to give 100 % focus with unreasonable frequency for an extended time.
For a decade Silken Laumann was the best in the world at being unreasonably extended. She was a graceful champion, a respecting winner and a proud participant whether she was hoisting the World Championship trophy, bringing home two shiny silver medals or the amazing 1992 bronze medal in the Barcelona Olympics.
If it wasn’t daunting enough to be the rower everyone wants to beat going into the ‘92 Olympics, Laumann was severely injured with just 10 weeks to go before the games. In a rowing accident all the tendons in her right leg were severed when another boat crashed into her in warm-ups for a race. In quick succession she had 4 major surgeries to repair the leg. Then there was the rehab to be able to just walk. The thing was, Laumann needed to be able to row again. Quickly. She set her sights on participating in the Olympics. In the healing/training she got to feel some sense of peace in the flow of her glide over the surface of the water. She was going to the Olympics! Medaling? Could she medal? She did. Awesome.
In her book we learn about the inspiring athlete as a mother, daughter, sibling, woman and wife. And it’s not all a pretty picture. She has her family; she loves and gets loved. Through this book about Laumann’s life we can see the three main Life Roles that all women and men enliven.
What follows is a straightforward breakdown of the similarities and difference between female and male roles. They are obviously macro in their application however this in no way diminishes their saliency in your daily life. The three Roles are:
Woman as: Professional, Romantic, Maternal
Man as: Professional, Romantic, Paternal
No doubt these roles will be flavoured by all surrounding persuasions including: the culture you grew up in, the religion you know, social-economic level you live in, your active beliefs and the conformity of the society where you live.
As we develop into these three adult Life Roles they become as obvious in their existence as they are varied in their Satisfactions and Fulfillments.
These Roles are not a cultural invention or a societal typecasting. It is a natural way the human Soul frames your daily experience. It is a framework through which you absorb meaning in life. One is not better than the other. The spouse making more money than their partner is not winning the marriage game.
Your intriguing sibling travelling around the world can have great stories, photos and souvenirs that marvel your children. It is not a competition. Nor are you are not a martyr for putting your family first. Having one Life Role in abundance doesn’t make up for another Role. No matter the the success in one role it just doesn’t translate into fulfillment into another Role.
We proportion our life energy across these three ‘people’ we have become. There are no martyrs. Some women who care for their children despite no help from the father, or even enduring abuse, are definitely putting the lives and emotions of their children before theirs. They need to be recognized for their adherence to the Maternal Role when the Man simply doesn’t have the balls to man up to the Paternal Life. She is living the reality of her Maternal Life. Her Maternal journey is forever intertwined with the Paternal Journey of the father be it a one night stand or high school sweethearts that know no other lover.
Grab a Pen
Describe your Paternal Profile you want your wife to use as a resource as a mother/woman.
Describe the Maternal Journey you want your wife to know.
The Paternal/Maternal roles almost always are focused on raising your own children. However there are other versions of these roles that include adopting, fostering, uncling and aunting. The question is how do you want to get Satisfaction when you nurture others? Regardless if you are a parent. What is your skill of encouraging the nature of others. The nature of a mother that thrives within your wife?
Recipe for Romance =. The Genuine You + in the moment + Loving and being Loved.
Romance is not something you cause in the other person. Romance is not gifts, reservations at the hottest restaurant or your go-to perfume. It is a wave of belief in you and living in the moment and loving who you are with. As with anything there are low versions and high versions. Dollar store ‘romance’ is just some guy using a pick up line in a bar to get a girl in bed. When we refine our romance we are rising out of lust of the loins and into the love of ‘loving and being loved’. Sex may or may not be included. It’s not to say the moment of lust is a bad thing – simply it is not love. It is lust powered romance. So we cannot be surprised at what follows.
Romance is seeing and being seen. Romance is you being made special. Romance is loving a woman for who and what she is. Romance is in your smile; Is in your care and caress. It’s in your eyes and your vision. It’s in making something happen. It’s you creating a mood by how you synthesize the moment, the place and the people. Romance works because you want to be with her and that inspires her to shine.
Remeber Ryan Gosling in the 2011 movie Crazy, Stupid Love when his big move is the final dance scene from Dirty Dancing? If he can use cheesy movies to make himself look all suave, what can you come up with?
Professional is your work life. It is your engagement with the business world. You may be an employee or entrepreneur, constructor or performer. You might be an artist or volunteer. All of these and everything that is wrapped up into this territory is part of your Professional Life. This includes the clothes you wear, the lexicon you use, the team you are a part of. You can work from home by yourself or in a manufacturing plant of 2,000 people.
I saw Marcus Buckingham speak at the Elevate https://elevate.ca. In 2019 in Toronto. He is a fabulous presenter in a few ways including not letting technology usurp his presentation. His talk was basically a commercial for his latest book Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World
The book is a list of beliefs that are using years of clinical research to minimize misleading assumptions about the Professional Role.
Lie #1 People Care Which Company They Work For
While people might care which company they join, they don’t care which company they work for. The truth is, once there, people care which team they’re on.
Looked at through a lens of understanding relationships, since teams thrive or die on those connections, let’s apply the Buckingham/Goodall declaration to marriage.
While guys might care what other people might think about them as a man according to the type of wife they married the guy’s decision making is actually run by love. Once the wedding and honeymoon are a done deal they are more concerned with the quality of married life as opposed to when or whether they were going to marry. As with any team, a marriage can go awry. And for basically the same reason: The ‘Me’ of one spouse is bigger then the ‘We’ of the married couple.
Teams have managers and HR departments. Husband and wife have to look at each other without a mediator. Lacking a third vector to diffuse a situation it is inevitable that marriage gets adversarial. Marriage is supposed to work as the uniting plasma fueled by shared purpose and understanding to generate a new perception. Our poor grasp of the interaction of the three Life Roles in each of us and the person that produces means we are a long way from sharing more than issues of maintenance and stress.
There is always overlap between the impact of on Life Role on the other two.
However one thing for men to take is: Women already knew this. In Lie #1 there is one word that is repeated three times: care. It’s a four letter word. Care of the ‘We’ and care of the ‘Me’ for her is different to yours. It can be very difficult to understand the difference but you can still respond to your wife with care instead of remarking on the difference in your care. Because you care.
Mind sprout This book called Satisfaction is about you responding with sincerity because you want your wife to shine in her Maternal, Professional and Romantic roles. Sow this seed of belief in the real Romantic Life of Women, make sure the love of your life sees you cultivate it and make sure she feels the cornucopia of its harvest.
A thought for women to ponder: … your husband loves you, he does. In the cells of a man he remembers you said yes. To him. Of all the guys out there you agreed to minimizing your loneliness, answering your urge for companionship and engaging in a relationship with him as your groom. But more importantly it is just you and him in your marriage. And that is what he cares about. He will express his care in backassward ways, or cheap and cheesy ways because that is what he can come up with in the moment. So. obviously, your groom needs help. In many ways. One way he needs help is knowing that you grasp that he loves you and the impact that has on him. He feels it very intensely and immensely. Like a teenager. To the point of explosion. When in the cases of men with low self esteem bad things happen. Because he has no idea how to handle himself when he gets to his limits of understanding. understanding of emotion, of marriage, of women and their fluidity through the three Life Roles.
He has no idea how to access His Best Ego. No idea what he wants. Other than to be loved (the company) … by you (the team).
Ambition – Getting Satisfaction in your Professional Life does not mean settling for something lesser than reaching the summit. If you are an ambitious person then your Satisfaction is not only getting the sale but making the biggest sale of the month or in your branch. Satisfaction in other forms is equally valid. Like the relief and pride of someone who just landed a steady job to feed their family.
Like water can heat up into scalding steam, freeze into rock hard ice or flow as water itself. It is all water. The message of nature here is to be you in all moments even when they require you to adapt. Or especially when they require you to adapt because the broader your range of ability the greater your chance and cumulative energy for Satisfaction.
Enliven these three Life Roles so you can be agile in the pursuit of Satisfaction without abandoning your standards. Ambition without standards brings no Satisfaction that is of value to others.
Your Romantic Life includes adventure. You can adventure out a whole day for a mountain bike ride and finish off with a swim in the lake. You can be by yourself. Nothing wrong with that when you are living your Romantic Role.
Lots of people who have a life partner have little, no, or even toxic Romantic activity in their life. They go to work, come home, eat, clean, and check their Facebook. Repeat the next day. No sense of fun, learning and growing, discovery, intimacy, spontaneity or feeling loved and valued.
The Romantic Role is the amorous you and also the adventurous you. You are curious about things, even if it is about your tomato plants that grow so well. It also can be seen in your getting up at 4 am on Saturday morning because you want to beat the traffic out of the city and get on the hiking trail as the sun comes up. Drink your steaming morning cup of tea up on the cliff look-out. Take in the moment.
Paternal/Maternal is the nurturing you. You don’t have to have children or even have nieces and nephews. This Life Role is about providing services to others. For people who have children it is deemed a moral obligation to come through with parenting services for your sons and daughters. If you have no children, won’t have any, or they are grown up, this Life Role still calls you. To a child you are an Elder. Your bones radiate wisdom, your blood carries guidance, the look from your eyes projects understanding.
Give the moment of now your Satisfaction of the Life Role being asked of you in the moment.
With the Life Stage we pass through (male, man, gentleman) have little choice to participate in each subsequent stage. Not so for the Life Role. When we choose to inject our sincerity and love into the Life Role we give it so much power. For example when in the Professional Role, our work life, we give it our focus to get the best result for the company and professional Satisfaction for us. This can translate into us being ready for the role that is on the back burner. Often it is the Maternal/Paternal Life. Below that is the Romantic Life that can often be pushed aside and forgotten. You could say it is in the rumble seat. This seat was an option on some cars in the 1930’s that carried its passengers on the outside of the car. This feeling of just being along for the ride is probably what it feels for a lot of women, and some men, when they are reflecting on their Romance life.
Red says ‘I do red’. Blue says ‘I feel like blue’. Both insist they are right – which they are. However for relationship purposes there is a requirement to agree that no one colour is better than another. Sometimes one colour is more appropriate for the situation than another. Together in a unique moment they make something new – purple. Some days their version of purple will appear as a cooling curtain of mauve because she (being blue) wants to do things based on her feelings. Her feelings are based in the Fulfillment of The Female Frixion. Other times a bold magenta will be the shade of their relationship because he (being red) needs Satisfaction of The Male Stack.
The Female Frixion
This is the woman’s experience with managing the feeling of the three Life Roles of: Professional, Maternal and Romantic.
Let’s Remember: Women and Men are Equally Valid. So are their differences.
Our feelings about these differences may not be a fair expression of Woman or Man. Just because he doesn’t understand the difference between women and men doesn’t mean he is wrong, bad or stupid. It does mean he needs to learn. Perhaps he should have known already – before being married for 5 or 10 or 15 years. Yes, that’s right. Who should have passed on this wisdom to him? His dad and his mom. His coaches, teachers, uncles and aunts, religious mentors?
This is important because the nature of her decision making just doesn’t fit into a decision making based a worldview skewed to the male experience. The Female Frixion is the feeling in a woman that while she is focusing on one of the three Life Roles she is keeping at bay there response to the other two lives. There is a competition of the roles for the woman’s energy. The priorities are nagging at her. Without sincere communication of understanding from him about this fact, she can start to think this internal emotional wiring is a fault. Her fault. That a woman’s worry and wavering, consideration and between the lives is a flaw in her personally. The truth is this is not the case. It is what makes a woman attractive and different, beautiful and frustrating,
It does suggest, however, that a woman probably has more traffic with her instinct because it nudges her, daily, momentarily on the management of the three Life Roles.
We can all improve our parenting skills, our relationship/marriage communication and our professional participation. This needs imptrove impacts the decision making of women on a decision by decision basis. Not so much in a man.
It’s not that men don’t care. They do. They want to be successful. He wants to be a loving husband and a competent father. It just doesn’t cause an internal conflict in him the same way it does in a woman. She is not worse for giving this internal conflict energy. Nor is she better because often her mental process can provide perspective and inclusion that men don’t. But it sure is valuable. And could well be used in leadership, business, personal religion, environmental policy, hospital design, food production, couples therapy, curriculum design, etc.
Again he is not lacking anything because he doesn’t think along the lines of this conflict. The fact that this Female Frixion is not the male reality as well is confusing to all participants. The fact that we don’t even know it exists it puts an unseen, unnecessary stress on our relationship. This can be infuriating. Some infuriated, and unsatisfied men can suddenly become a violent man. Even if he doesn’t want to be violent. Even if he doesn’t want to hit his wife. But some men do. Even insult or threaten her because in the moment he got to the limit of his understanding of women ,of life stages, of life roles of the counsel from his mentors.
Men need to hear from Women about the Female Friction
Imagine this: For him it is a no brainer deciding about which daycare. They can argue or agree about the price or the location or the reputation of the business or the policies around health or holidays. For him that is all part of making up your mind. For her it is an influence on her sense of managing the three Life Roles: it causes internal friction in her but not in him. Men don’t have this friction so they don’t feel it permeating daily life. “What’s wrong?” He asks frustrated because there is something she is not saying. “Is it the price?” “Is it the location?” “What is it?” “Is it me?” “Is it what my mother will say or think, or what you think my mother will think?” Maybe. But her thoughts are getting powered by the invisible Female Frixion. There may be no problem but she still has to manage the Female Frixion because it is real.
The Male Stack
The way to relate the Female Frixion to the male management of the three Life Roles is to picture them as blocks.
Men deal with their roles one at a time, handling the stress that comes with their work or their parenting tasks or relationship. Likewise women have their version of life’s stress in the same three Life roles yet there is an added stress of feeling all three, at the same time, all the time.
Men are thinking vertically and women are feeling horizontally. Men are scouting linearly and women are observing in the same direction in a spiral fashion. Men are useful for being matter of fact about certain decisions while women are to be valued for bringing their varied considerations in their own time.
Related to this, I was having a conversation with a retired man on the driveway to his home. He told me that he used to be a chemist so he was very exact in how he looked at life. While talking I commented I could still smell the fragrant lilac bush beside his house. It was mid June so it was past its flowering prime but still offered a strong and beautiful perfume. Yes, he said the garden was good but lots of work. His wife, he told me, would tell him to move a flower pot to the other side of the yard. And then look at it and ask him to move it right back. He was frustrated by this non logical approach to gardening. And his back hurt from gardening and also caring for his grandson.
The chemist’s wife’s Fulfillment is valid regardless if it is not linear or logical. From the way I heard him talking he needs to learn that. And add to that a knowing that following her requests is actually feeding the romantic life between them. Just shut up and move the flower pot. Stop whining and before bed take a bath with epsom salts.
What is your SOLAS? Recall at the beginning of this chapter a positive outcome of the Titanic sinking was the development and global adoption of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) treaty. The treaty declared there were “minimum requirements for construction, equipment and operation of ships …” So what are yours? At work: what are your professional ethics when selling: When managing a team or leading a company? In your family: how do you teach children, create boundaries and guide them into their future? In your Romantic Life is there attraction or repulsion, warmth or cordiality, growing love or a plateaued marriage?
Is there some personal character trait you can apply and adjust to all three Life Roles?
Perhaps The minimum requirement would be respect for the other person taking into account about them whatever you want others to take into account about you. This would include Life Roles, Life Stages, Devotional Life urges, momentary and accumulated Satisfaction/Fulfillment. That’s a lot to take into account. But that is what is happening and more all the time. All the more reason to be in touch with one’s instinct and in the flow of your life trajectory.
To construct you need a foundation or foundational materials. Personal foundations based on upbringing and life experience. Woman or man foundations to uphold what is true and illuminating about your version of woman or your version of a man. Human foundations of the qualities you want to make relevant now and cause to be immortal at least to you.
Equipment in the human case includes: High and Low emotions, brains and mind, soul and spirit all packaged nicely into a self healing human body.
Operations get tricky. We are talking about Psychology, Ego, ambition, communication, worldly meaning and Higher Purpose all having seen and unseen impacts on our mood, decision making and ability to listen, see and understand things for the way they actually are.
The construction of a Life Role requires a lot of input from other people like your mom, colleague, uncle, sister, wife, neighbour, husband. Is there a mix of humility to accept other people’s ideas and the confidence to know you are a good mother or father?
What will your life partner say you are steadfast about in your Romantic Life?
What can your colleagues rely on you for because your Professional Life has proven you repeatedly uphold (specific human qualities) _________________
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