Saturday, August 21, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
It's because I'm also comfortable with myself.
And as a 50 year old guy who started living on his own since he was 18, been married divorced, remarried, Dad to 3, step-Dad to 2 more, etc.... I have reasons to be comfortable and confident.
Oh, sure there are times when I have doubts, and I've made plenty of mistakes, but I'm different than the person I was 25 years ago.
Some guys that are in their teens, 20's, even 30's these days are still trying to find themselves, to feel comfortable and confident.
There's a blog that I get updates from every week called the Art of Manliness which I recommend.
Here's an excerpt:
Posted: 21 Apr 2010 12:53 PM PDT
Learning lessons from those who came before us drives human progress in medicine, science, art and politics. Why should this be any different for class and charm?
Today there is a resurgence of discussion about classiness; women are looking for more than baggy pants, backward caps and too much hair gel. Why be a mess, when you can channel your inner legend by looking to the stars of yesterday for inspiration? These men left an impression in the hearts and minds of people across the globe, and their classic traits still ring true half a century(or more) later.
Let's take a glance back at six of the great characters from a golden era of charisma.
- Swagger - Elvis Presley
Elvis's signature leg shake came to represent a fundamental attitude of self-confidence and showmanship that few others can claim. Ironically enough, it's said that this habit first started largely from his nervousness of playing in front of large crowds. After seeing the crowd's reaction, Elvis parlayed this nervous tick into a trademark of swagger that drove the ladies wild.
Elvis brought a kind of raw energy to his performances that was undeniably captivating. Every man can learn a lot from Elvis's energy, attitude and showmanship that brought him his amazing fame.
- Teaming-up - Dean Martin
As a leader of the Rat Pack, Dean Martin was about as cool and classy as they came. He was an enormously successful actor, comedian and singer. However, it wasn't always that way. Martin seemed destined to remain just another nightclub singer/comedian until he teamed up with comic Jerry Lewis. Together, the two comic duo, "Martin and Lewis" gained a radio series on NBC that let Martin move from New York to LA, where he would shortly break into the world of film. Later in his career, Martin would team up with Frank Sinatra and others to form The Rat Pack.
By himself, Dean Martin may only have been a blip on the radar of American pop culture, instead of the classy icon he is known as today. Identifying and teaming up with other classy individuals is the way to go.
- Taking a Stand - Jackie Robinson
As the first African American man to play openly in the MLB, Jackie Robinson knew what it was like to face opposition. He was instrumental in bringing an end to racial segregation in professional baseball. Jackie Robinson actively pursued segregation issues off the field as well, and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal for his efforts.
Standing up for what's right not only shows strength of character, but also sets an example for others.
- Mystique - Jacques d'Azur
The life of the French Film Producer/Director, actor, tennis champ, water skiing pioneer and all-around playboy has always been shrouded in a certain 'je ne sais quoi.' D'Azur's lavish annual parties at the Festival de Cannes contrasted sharply with occasional bouts of reclusiveness. His alleged three year stay with the Yamamena tribe of Venezuela is one such example.
While it is important to show a good face in public, one should also know when to step out of the spotlight. Maintaining a degree of mystique is an essential component of charm.
- The Right Gear - James Bond
Regardless of whether he's battling with international crime lords or preparing a cocktail, 007 is never afraid to shake things up. This MI6 agent manages to never loose his cool, partly thanks to some fancy gadgetry. Outfitted with a tricked-out Aston Martin, rocket-powered belt, and laser beam Rolex, any average Joe can look like a super hero.
While you may not have Agent Q to stock you up with the latest spy gear, having the classiest accessories and gadgets around can help you look and feel like a certain international man of mystery.
- Heroism - John F. Kennedy
A young man from a wealthy and powerful family like the Kennedys could have easily avoided risking his life in the military during the second World War. In Fact, JFK volunteered for the U.S. Army, but was refused admission due to a back condition. Kennedy was eventually admitted to the Navy, where he would go on to earned the Navy and Marine Corps Medal while saving an injured sailor from drowning.
Going above and beyond the call of duty is truly a mark of class and charm, and is very rarely overlooked.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
In less than 8 weeks my son marries, less than 40 weeks my oldest daughter marries, and this week of August 2011, my step-daughter will be on her honeymoon.
This piece from the AOM Blog is for the guys, so pass it on:
Posted: 14 Jul 2009 09:38 PM PDT
Meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time is a big step in a relationship. You’re taking it up a notch from casual dating; you’re saying that you’re ready to start to solidifying your couplehood by placing yourself inside of her social and familial circle and allowing them to put a face to the name. You won’t be able to slink away later as an anonymous dude. You’re ready to announce your interest in a lady to the most important people in her life.
Thus, the experience can be a tad nerve racking. Parents are pretty protective of their daughters. They want to feel comfortable with the idea of you as a boyfriend, as possibly the future man in her life. A boyfriend can make a woman completely happy or totally wreck her life, and they want to know that it’s the former. And on the flip side, your girlfriend really wants her family to like you. She wants you to shine so she can get their approval. And if she’s hoping for a long-term relationship with you, she’s got her fingers crossed that you’ll get along with them.
So that’s a lot of pressure. But you’re a man and you’re cool under pressure. But to have that kind of confidence you have to prepare. Follow the tips below, and your girlfriend’s mom will be raving about you to all her friends.
Make a Great First Impression
It’s cliché, but it’s the truth; you never have a second chance to make a first impression. Your girlfriend’s parents are going to be sizing you up and making assumptions about you the minute you walk through the door.
Dress sharp. Nothing telegraphs more about your personality than your clothes. Besides your face, it’s the first thing your girlfriend’s parents are going to be taking in when they open the door. Even if you’re just having a casual dinner at their house, look presentable and put together. It’s hard to go wrong with khakis and a nice polo shirt. Don’t wear anything too outlandish. If your clothes need ironing, iron them.
Bring flowers for mom. We instantly like people who come bearing gifts. So present mom with a classy bouquet. If you purchased the flowers from the grocery store, take a moment to remove the price tag before you get out of the car.
Give a friendly greeting. As soon as you meet the parents, look them in the eye, smile and offer a firm handshake to both parents. Give a manly handshake, not a dead fish. Address them as Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Do not call them by their first names until they ask you to. Even after you have met your girlfriend’s parents several times, address them as Mr. and Mrs. Smith until they ask you to call them by their first names.
Be engaged in conversations. One of the best ways to be charming is to act genuinely interested in people. People like others who seem interested in their lives, and they love to talk about themselves. So ask your girlfriend’s parents questions and listen attentively when they talk to you. When they tell you things, ask follow-up questions to get more details. And follow the basic rules of polite conversation: avoid controversial topics, don’t interrupt, don’t swear ect.
Give compliments. It’s almost always a good idea to say how nice their house is. If the place is clearly a dump, then skip it, of course. Giving praise will backfire if it’s not sincere. If they cook for you, always compliment the grub. And ask for seconds, even if you’re not hungry. Say something nice about your girlfriend too. Her parents raised her, so you’re really complimenting them at the same time. Naturally, you should never overdo it with the praise. There’s a big difference between being a kiss-up and being polite.
Don’t act nervous. Even if you are. Much of how we judge a man is related to his confidence and bearing. Even if her dad intimidates you, and is clearly sizing you up, don’t act intimidated. Look him right back in the eye. Speak clearly and articulately. You’ll never gain his manly respect by staring at your shoes and breaking out in a sweat. And if you appear shifty, the parents may assume you have something to hide.
Be a Good Houseguest
If you’re spending the night with your girlfriend’s parents, be sure to follow the rules of being a polite houseguest. In addition, remember to follow some additional guidelines:
Be prepared to sleep in separate rooms. Even if you and your girlfriend currently live together, if her parents want you to sleep in separate rooms, then do so without complaint or comment. You’re in their house and should follow their rules. If you are given a sleeping bag and asked to sleep on the sofa, do so happily.
Don’t walk around in your skivvies. Don’t come to breakfast in your BVD’s. Always bring a t-shirt and pajamas pants with you so that if you’re woken in the night or they walk in on you in the morning, mom’s not going to get an eyeful of your man junk.
Leave a Good Impression
How you leave your girlfriend’s parent’s house is just as important as how you enter. Leave them thinking happy thoughts about you.
Give them a nice goodbye. When you’re leaving, thank your girlfriend’s parents for your visit. Tell them what a pleasure it was to meet them. Shake hands again. If mom goes in for the hug, give her a good one.
Write a thank you note. If it was a brief meeting, this is not necessary. But if they made you dinner or you stayed at their house, write them a thank you note. If you were an overnight guest, you can do this while still in their home; leave the note on your bed or the kitchen counter. So you might want to bring some stationery with you.
Many thanks to AoM reader and mother of two daughters, Leslie Tincher for the idea for this post and much of the material for it.DownloadThe Art of Manliness Free Man Cookbook
DownloadThe Art of Manliness Guide to Being a Gentleman
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
This week the subject I'm going to tackle is E-mail.
Recently Verizon sold off portions of its business to Frontier.
In my hometown, Fort Wayne, Indiana, the transition is occurring this summer.
Instead of Verizon providing landline phone service and FIOS Internet and Television services, Frontier is taking over.
Unlike the other recent name change with Comcast rebranding some of their services as XFinity which was an internal change, the Verizon/Frontier change is an actual change in companies.
Verizon Wireless is unaffected.
What is affected is people's email accounts if you use Verizon as your email provider. You are going to have to change to a Frontier account which means a new email address for all of your contacts to switch in their address books.
There is another option.
One I consider to be better too.
Odds are you'll never, ever have to change your email address if...
you switch to an independent email provider.
What's that you ask and how much does it cost?
Gmail is from Google. Before Gmail was available I used Hotmail and Yahoo mail. But Gmail has supprior spam filtering.
Gmail is my favorite. Absolutely free. You can set up as many account with Gmail as you want.
You can have your other emails forwarded automatically. And there are many, many other advantages too.
Gmail is from Google. Before Gmail was available I used Hotmail and Yahoo mail. But Gmail has superior spam filtering.
Go here to check it out yourself.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Gonna get a little Deep with this from Seth Godin:
Over the weekend I visited one of my favorite places. It didn't matter that I hadn't been there in a while, or didn't know most of the people I encountered. The second I walked in, heard the noise, saw the walls... even the way it smelled... I was transported.
It’s incredible to think about--a room could magically change the way I felt. A physical room with the right memories can do this in just a heartbeat. So can a metaphorical one, even a brand.
The states of your emotions (your moods and passions) are like rooms in a house.
Anxiety, flow, joy, fear, exhaustion, connection, contemplation, emotional labor... each one can be visited at will if we choose. Sometimes by entering a real room, but more often in metaphor...
Do you have a friend you can have an intimate, tearful conversation with anytime you pick up the phone? Is there a topic that if you bring it up with your boss, it will quickly lead to contention? Is there a place or a memory that never fails to bring melancholy along with it?
Occasionally we encounter emotions at random. More often, we have no choice, because there’s something that needs to be done, or an event that impinges itself on us. But most often, we seek emotions out, find refuge in them, just as we walk into the living room or the den.
Stop for a second and reread that sentence, because it’s certainly controversial. I’m arguing that more often than not, we encounter fear or aggravation or delight because we seek it out, not because it’s thrust on us.
Why check your email every twenty minutes? It’s not because it needs checking. It’s because the checking puts us into a state we seek out. Why yell at the parking attendant with such gusto? Teaching him a lesson isn’t the point--no, in that moment, it’s what we want to do, it’s a room we choose to hang out in. It could be something as prosaic as getting involved in a flame war online every day, or checking your feeds at midnight or taking a shot or two before dinner. It’s not something you have to do, it’s something you choose to do, because going there takes your emotions to a place you’ve gotten used to, a place where you feel comfortable, even if it makes you unhappy.
There’s a metaphorical room I can go to where I’m likely to experience flow--a sense of being in the moment and getting an enormous amount done. Down the hall is the room where there’s a lot of anxiety about something I can’t change. I can visit that room if I choose, but I don’t. And yes, it’s a choice.
Great brands figure out how to supply a ‘room’ to anyone who chooses to visit. Soap opera fans, for example, can count on being put into a certain state anytime they tune in. The Apple store is carefully calibrated as an architectural and retail room that will change how you feel when you enter it. Chiat Day built offices in New York and LA that triggered huge waves of creativity. And there's nothing like the face of a kid eating a Hershey's bar...
YouTube isn't just video. It's a room. Not everyone uses it the same way, but most people use it the same way every time they use it. If it's the site people go to see stupid pet tricks and write stupider comments, then they know why they're going and it's going to be hard for it to become something else...Is your brand providing the right room to the right people at the right time? Most products, most services--they provide a thing, a list of features, but not a room for my emotions.
This insight about our moods and your brand is all well and good, but it becomes essential once you realize that there are some rooms you’re spending way too much time in, that these choices are taking away from your productivity or your happiness.
Why are you going there again?
Every time you go to that room, you get unhappy, and so do we. Every time you go that room, you spend more time than you expected, and it stresses out the rest of your day. Every time you go to that room you short-circuit the gifts you give to the rest of the team.
Once your habit becomes an addiction, it’s time to question why you get up from a room that was productive and happy, a place you were engaged, and walk down the hall to a room that does no one any good (least of all, you). Tracking your day and your emotions is a first step, but it takes more than that. It takes the guts to break some ingrained habits, ones that the people around you might even be depending on.