As you know from a few posts ago, RAGBRAI was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19. Well, the event is currently on for 2021. It is scheduled to occur July 25-31 and we are planning to ride.
If you don’t remember, this is a week long bicycle ride across the great state of Iowa from the Missouri River to the Mississippi and one of the largest bike rides in the world. So, as of this post in late January, I have logged one mile on my bike in months and the average daily ride at RAGBRAI is ~65 miles. Am I worried? Maybe a bit. So, our team has approximately 6 months to train. Most likely our heavy training will begin in March because our team members live in the midwest. Snow and bicycle riding just don’t get along.
The idea here is to start documenting the training and preparation to be ready to ride 60-80 miles a day in the Iowa heat. If you want to join our team and prepare for an epic man week, reach out.
As you think, so you are. As you are, so you act. As you act, so you attract.
adapted from Ralph Waldo Emerson
Last night, as my wife was coming to bed, she took off her work shirt and bra and began putting on a jammy top. In the brief period of time she was topless, and I stared at her very womanly and feminine back turned toward me, I shamelessly and fearlessly said “don’t bother, just come to bed like that” with the full intention of seducing and sexing her later.
To the untrained eye, that scene may have looked like a cocky asshole just being a misogynist pig, but I assure you it was anything but. In order to be a misogynist, I would have to believe that my wife is somehow less of a person then me because she is a woman. I would have to believe that she is incapable of certain things because of her gender. I would have to marginalize and objectify her existence. I would have to believe that she was created with less value or less purpose because she is a woman. I can assure you my wife is an absolutely capable, incredible, valuable, wonderful woman that was created just as equally as any other human on this planet.
And I can assure you that she is also a human which means she has insecurities and limiting beliefs about herself; Some that I don’t even know. I can also assure you that my wife craves to feel sexy, desirable, attractive and valuable. She craves to feel that to a man. A man need look no further than the countless hours his woman spends in front of the mirror putting on makeup. I make myself that man. So, I do what I can to give her what she craves. She wants those feelings created inside her by a confident man that can unabashedly help her feel that.
She wants these feelings and the only way to confidently give her those feelings is to be bold, direct, honest, and sexual. So, my remark is not about being a male chauvinist, it is about having the confidence to make her FEEL sexy and lead her. It is about being the confident and slightly cocky man you are AFRAID to be.
Why do I say that you are afraid to be the man she wants?
I had a conversation today with another man about confidence. I told him what I said to my wife. He told me that if he said that to his girlfriend, she would slap him. Maybe. Maybe not. She might just come to bed without a shirt with a desire to be desired. But if you never ACT boldly, then you will never know AND you will never be the man capable of pulling out her sexuality and desires. You will NEVER be the man she wants to push her against the wall and take her. You will continue to be the boring, good boy vanilla that will never truly satisfy what she craves. His belief that she would slap him if he said what I said is a limiting belief that is literally robbing both of them of their true desire.
She wants the man you are afraid to be so she can be the woman she is afraid to be. This is her bad boy. The leader has to go first to show her it is safe.
I recently read a post on the SoSuave forum about the danger of assumptions. Has the man above made an assumption (limiting belief) about his girlfriend that is untrue? Is his assumption actually creating a roadblock for him to be able to create exactly what he and his girlfriend both want? What other assumptions in life has he made that limits his potential?
I was having a non-work conversation with a co-worker last week. We kicked around some BBQ talk and discussed the intricacies of dry rub, then he said it –
“My wife said I could buy a new grill.”
I smirked and squirmed and winced and coughed and then I said “I’m sorry” as if I didn’t hear him. He repeated it and I said “I heard you I’m just sorry.” He looked at me with a stare of curiosity and bewilderment. He then seriously asked my why I was sorry. So the conversation shifted. If you have read any of my articles here, you understand my response.
I did my best to explain to him that his wife is not the one he needs permission from to buy a new grill. And she doesn’t want to be the one with that much power over him. Now, perhaps I should add that making a large purchase like a grill should be discussed with your wife and, I’ll go as far as to say that rules should already be in place regarding spending. In the same breath, if your wife wanted to get $1000 worth of botox injected in to her face, that should also be discussed. Both of these conversations amount to negotiation of an acceptable deal for both man and wife. And if an acceptable deal for both cannot be reached, it should not be completed. A man does not need permission from his wife to make a purchase. He offers consideration to his partner and works out the details to move forward.
Did YOU get my drift from this conversation? As you can deduct, he did not. Do you see the mindset? You might say that it is really semantics or I am splitting hairs. And I would say – “is it?”. From my view of the world, a man’s words are reflective of how he sees himself. From my view of the world, this is a glimpse into the mindset of a man that has been brainwashed to the ways of the feminist empowerment man-woman relationship dynamic.
You might make the argument that the wife is in charge of the finances and bank accounts for the household and I would say that is a whole different article in itself. Here is a well educated, upper-middle class, good looking, smart, successful guy who has willingly allowed his wife to give him permission to do something. In this case, buy a new grill. He has made his wife his boss. She put herself in that position no more than he relegated himself there. He put his wife over himself voluntarily and made himself a subordinate or employee.
Let’s look at it from a different angle. Which man do you think a woman finds more attractive –
The guy she gave “permission”?
The man that clearly states what he wants, negotiates a win-win with his equal partner in life to procure something new, and then makes it happen per the agreement?
It is a simple and, yet difficult, mindset shift to be your own man whose only boss is God. It is difficult because it is not a mind shift to be a dictator asshole, but rather, to be a mindful, compassionate, considerate leader that creates opportunities and environments for those in his circle to thrive. Everyone else is either a contributor to your life – and you theirs – or they are not in your life.
“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
Markus Aurelius Antoninus
Yesterday, I was talking with a couple of male co-workers. You know, water cooler talk. We weren’t talking about anything earth shattering since I am willing to dump an entire pot of hot coffee on my head to avoid anything political or racial. The subject of family came up and one of my coworkers says “I live by the saying ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life.” My immediate response was, “don’t ever say that to me again.”
Why would I say this and more importantly, why does my co-worker believe this?
If we follow this old piece of advice, then tending to a wife’s every whim in the name of making her happy would mean that these men have a happy life. Likewise, it would also mean that a man that does not say “how high?” when his wife says “jump” would have an unhappy life. It would mean that the men awaiting their wives commands are getting all their needs met and receiving the love, affection, sex and attention they want. It would mean that they are living the good life and can’t wait to do more for her. Look around you. Are the men you know that jump through hoops to meet their wives’ demands for the sake of “making her happy” – happy? My experience is that they are miserable. But how could that be? This is time tested advice, right? Now, there are men that will argue that a man that does nothing for his wife will not get what he wants, and they would be right. But, for Pete’s sake, I am not telling a man to ignore is wife. Read on.
I want to answer this question with a related story. About 2 years ago, the little lady and I went to a local winery for a birthday party. It was a beautiful late fall afternoon. The air was crisp and the sunset was the color of a golden delicious apple. It was one of those days you can smell winter in the air. Several couples were gathered around the glow of small fire and we were all interacting. You know the scene, married men and women kinda teasing each other in a flirty and fun way. One man in particular caught my attention. His wife would snap her fingers and he would fetch whatever she wanted, no matter what he was doing. He would drop a great conversation instantly to cater to her every whim. As the evening progressed, and the wine went to work, the real feelings between this man and woman came out. She expressed her disgust for her husband, he became very angry and the night got, well, awkward. He actually left the group and threatened to leave the winery without her. Of course he didn’t, even though that is what he SHOULD HAVE done.
I don’t think I need to explain that the frustration and resentment in that relationship has been building for a long time. Do you see what has occurred in this man’s relationship? Is he a man that lives by the lie “happy wife, happy life”? Let’s break this down some more.
Does “happy wife, happy life” mean that if the man’s wife isn’t happy, he can’t be happy? Is a man’s happiness in life really based on his wife’s emotional state? I certainly hope not. If this were true how would a bachelor or a widower determine his happiness? Humans are emotional and radical creatures, and our lovely ladies even more so. The women I know can swing from highly affectionate to hateful and back to affectionate faster than a Tesla in Ludacris mode. As more emotional creatures by design, our ladies are much more tuned in to their feelings in reaction to life’s events and expressing those feelings. That is why a woman can have 8 pairs of red shoes and have a different feeling around each pair.
As a man, I am always trying to remain centered and even-keeled and generally alright. That doesn’t mean I don’t get upset and excited. I do. However, I do my best to recognize when my emotions are getting the best of me and realize that my emotions are not about the thing going on but how I am interpreting that thing. I get to CHOOSE how I feel about it. It is a basic tenant of masculinity and a privilege of being male. If my happiness (which is directly tied to me feeling OK and I am always trying to maintain) were a function of my wife’s emotional state, I would constantly be chasing my tail , up and down and up and down and ’round and ’round, trying to make HER happy for my own emotional wellbeing. That is a recipe for disaster. A man that lives like that is focused on his wife INSTEAD of focused on himself. He is no longer the rock for himself or his wife. How can a man that has based his happiness on his wife’s happiness ever maintain any kind of stability or feeling of being OK? Have you ever felt upset because your wife was upset and you went to work trying to fix that thing she was upset about? That is about YOU, not her.
But Tristan, a woman can make a man’s life a living hell. Well, certainly she can TRY. And my advice to that man would be that he gets to decide how he feels about it and he gets to take action based on what she is bringing in to HIS life. Her success or failure in making a man’s life hell is all about how the MAN thinks and responds. And I would also ask him how his leadership, or lack thereof, is contributing to her actions toward him.
“Happy wife, happy life” is in direct contradiction to the many truthful teachings of the world. Namely, that the only person responsible for your own happiness is YOU. He is not responsible for her happiness just as much as she is not responsible for his happiness.
So, what has gone wrong in the man’s life?
Going back to the man in the winery story, what is behind the resentment and anger in their marriage?
At some point in this man’s life, he began to believe that the happiness of his wife defines him. If his wife feels OK, then he can feel OK because she will love him and sex him. IF she is not OK, then he cannot be OK because he cannot get what he craves. Throughout his entire life, this man has been led to believe that he must compromise his own values, goals, purpose, mission, vision and beliefs and replace them with her happiness as the top priority in order to “keep the marriage.” He has been led to believe that fixing her problems and waiting on her hand and foot is going to make her love him. He has allowed her emotions, and therefore, allowed her to lead the relationship. AND he has convinced himself that she WANTS to be the leader. He was NEVER taught that this behavior leads to the exact opposite of what he wants. Can you see how this way of operating makes both the man and the woman resentful toward each other?
Let’s keep going about the ugly lie that has seeped into this man’s belief system. The lie that she WANTS to be the leader, or head, in Christian terms. Perhaps a quotation from Mere Christianity would best illustrate what I am getting at.
“….as far as I can see, even a woman who wants to be the head of her own house does not usually admire the same state of things when she finds it is going on next door. She is much more likely to say ‘Poor Mr X! Why he allows that appalling woman to boss him about the way she does is more than I can imagine.’ I do not think she is even very flattered if anyone mentions that fact of her own ‘headship’. There must be something unnatural about the rule of wives over husbands, because the wives themselves are half ashamed of it and despise there husbands whom they rule.”
Any time a man states “happy wife, happy life” I want to immediately ask that man how sexual she is with him. Invariably, the honest answer is ‘not very’ and the average married man just accepts that women are not very sexual creatures, especially after getting married. Well, the fact is, she is incredibly sexual, she just cannot be sexual with a man that has based his happiness on trying to make her happy. Trust me, the woman from the story above, is VERY sexual. I witnessed it that night as she got more inebriated.
Again, the average married male believes that catering to her every whim will gain him love, affection, and sex. Little does he know that trying to make her happy with every bullshit request is doing just exactly the opposite. Every time she makes a bullshit (shit test) request and the husband mindlessly honors it, her respect for her husband evaporates and her vagina dries up.
What is the CORRECT mode of operation?
A man is responsible for his own happiness and wellbeing. It is no one else’s responsibility. And her happiness is no one else’s responsibility but hers. His focus should be on himself. He should be tending his own garden and let he tend to hers. He sets the direction of his own life and invites his wife to join him in happiness. The correct mode of operation is, I do my best to make sure her [reasonable] needs are met and if she isn’t happy, or that isn’t enough, that is her problem. I have to communicate, and require her to communicate, in such a way that I can figure out her needs and then I do everything within reason to accommodate those needs. If it is unreasonable, it is not honored. MUTUAL reciprocation of her attempting to meet my needs, while I meet hers, is expected.
This is why I absolutely reject “happy wife, happy life” and so should you.
Just like so many other events in 2020, the 2020 RAGBRAI event in Iowa was cancelled. This was a huge blow to the guys planning to ride in the event. But, around here, we do our best to turn lemons in to lemonade. So, we continued with our training and planned and executed our own ride.
After searching the interwebs far and wide for the best places to ride, we settled on the Black Hills in South Dakota. Our plan was simple. Drive to Deadwood, South Dakota. Sleep. Then ride approximately 50 miles of the famous Mickelson Trail on day one from Deadwood to Mt. Rushmore. Then ride about 50 miles from Mt. Rushmore, including the Iron Mountain Road, down to Rapid City on day two, and then ride out through the Badlands on Day 3. Then drive back home.
Before I get in to the photos, vidoes, and details, I have a few after trip thoughts. This trip was designed to be something that a man doesn’t just go do, if you know what I mean.
I can get on an airplane with my golf clubs and play for 3 days in Florida.
I can book a deep sea fishing charter and drive to the Gulf.
These things don’t take months of thought, preparation, training, and investment in hard work.
This trip was designed to be a mans’ trip that most men won’t commit to. It was designed to disconnect from life’s demands and reconnect to the world, on purpose. I’m not being elitist or a dick. I just mean that most men have other priorities and demands in their lives and don’t realize that those priorities and demands are CHOICES. It was a CHOICE on our part to focus on something that was going to take work. AND man did it take work!! It was a CHOICE on our part to make a commitment to other men. It was a CHOICE on our part to make this trip a priority while also giving consideration to our wives and kids. It was a CHOICE to create an adventure. It was a CHOICE to not be a Walter Mitty.
So, what did I come away with?
As we rode through the Black Hills portion of the Rocky Mountains past the tall Aspens and over the clear mountain streams, or while camping on the Sioux Indian reservation looking at more stars than I can ever remember, I was filled with a feeling of freedom. I also remember feeling insignificant. I have read about feeling insignificant when away from the hustle and bustle of the manmade world and connected to the natural world, as Ryan Holiday put it “Remind yourself how pointless it is to rage and fight and one-up those around you. Go and put yourself in touch with the infinite, and end your conscious separation from the world.” This was one of those times in life when you take stock and get straight with what is really important in life. It was a way to reconnect with the masculine man God made me. These are not feelings created by the everyday mundane. They are created by getting out of your comfort zone, making something happen, and experiencing life. I can’t wait to do it again.
Day 1 – Arrived in Deadwood Elevation 4530′
After a good night’s sleep at a local camp ground, it was time to hit the trail.
“It’s all downhill from here. It’s gonna be great.” Those were some famous last words, as they say. Little did we know, the downhill lasted for several miles, before we had to go uphill again for many, many more miles.
We started our ride at the gates of Custer State Park. This was a day of entirely pavement riding. We did not know what we had bitten off when we chose to ride the Iron Mountain Road and we road UP the switchbacks. Here at Feral-man, we like to use the slogan “we might die.” I will say that on day 2, we put our money where our mouth is.
On day 3, we took a bit of a break. We did plan on riding through the Badlands and camping. However, we took a detour and ended up at Wall Drug while we watched a very large storm roll in. We also visited the Ellsworth Air Force Base Musuem. Then out to the Badlands. We wanted to ride, but the weather kept us in the car.
When I was about 15 years old, my mom and I had a conversation about girls while driving home from a school dance. I remember being frustrated about the opposite sex and I said to her “well, nice guys finish last.” She responded to me by saying “No, nice guys finish best.” Man, that sounded good at the time and I SO wanted to believe it. The problem was 1) I didn’t understand what she was saying and 2) my observations of female behavior did not seem to support my mother’s statement.
“Nice guys finish last.”
I am willing to bet that you have probably at least heard that or maybe even uttered it a time or two. The question is, have you conflated being nice with being Mr. Nice Guy? So many men I run in to and talk with have come to believe that the asshole gets the girl and the advantage in life while the nice guy gets cheated on, friend zoned, or left behind. And, the average guy would be right, but not for the reasons you think. You see, it is not the nice guys that get friend zoned or cheated on, it is Mr. Nice Guy that suffers those outcomes. I actually want to modify “nice guys finish last.” It should actually be:
“Mr. Nice Guys finish last”
Let me explain. As discussed in “No More Mr. Nice Guy” by Robert Glover, a Mr. Nice Guy is not nice at all. Mr. Nice Guy is busy being nice in an effort to get what HE wants. The nice guy is chameleon that is agreeable to just about everything as he tries to become what he thinks the other person wants. Instead of just being who he is and being ok with the outcomes in life, he tries to make himself something he is NOT in order to force a certain outcome. He tries to cover up and disguise the very things that make him, him. It may seem nice at first, but it is dishonest and manipulative at it’s core. His act is underhanded and coercive. The guy that buys dinner and a movie for his wife and then expects sex because of his purchases “for her” is a typical nice guy. Then, when he doesn’t get what he wants, he pouts or somehow makes it known that he is not getting what he deserves, often in some passive-aggressive way (make the other person feel guilty). All this does is drive a bigger wedge between himself and the other person.
Why does a man become Mr. Nice Guy? Because, deep down, he does not feel that he is worthy of the other person’s gifts (time, attention). In many cases, the thing he is after is a woman’s attention and sexual interest, but not always (think kiss ass at work). He feels that he is not adequate and must somehow win the woman over and hopefully, if he spends enough time and money and he is super nice, she will roll over and give him a treat out of obligation. His insecurities about his own worth drive him to feel he must manipulate to get what he wants. He does not believe that a woman would want to be with him simply because she digs him just the way he is. The book goes into much more detail about how to fix the nice guy mentality.
There is nothing wrong with being nice. A nice guy is nice simply because that is who he is. A nice man that is nice to others and requires nothing in return is authentic. An honest man that is genuinely honest about what he wants and doesn’t compromise to have a certain person in his life, is authentic. An asshole that is an asshole because that is who he is, is authentic. These men have no hidden agenda. They aren’t trying to trick others. They simply show up the way they are. What Mr. Nice Guy fails to understand is that women are not attracted to jerks, they are attracted to AUTHENTICITY. They are attracted to men that know who they are and don’t apologize for it.
A nice guy has the desire to give and requires nothing in return. Of course it is nice and absolutely within reason to take the women in our lives to dinner and pay for it. When it is done within a mindset of just treating her to a special meal because she is the wonderful woman in our life, that is great. When it is done expecting something in return, it is to your detriment.
A man that does not pretend to be something he is not and owns who God designed him to be is authentic. A man that does not hide who he is or his flaws, but recognizes them, accepts them, and continues to develop and improve his mode of operation is authentic. And that is attractive.
Mr. Nice Guy finishes last because he is constantly pretending who he is to be liked. He is working to get his needs met through lies. He is a scam artist. He is artificial and eventually the people in his life will see it and leave.
“A strong person cannot help a weak person unless they want to be helped; even then, the weak person must work to become stronger. By your own efforts, you must develop in yourself the qualities you admire in others.“ James Allen
Recently, I was helping out a woman friend with a household project. While we were working, I said “you know, this is almost a Princess Fiona thing. Where is your man?” She then went on to tell me that they had broken up. Of course, I inquired about what happened. She told me about how frustrated, angry, upset, and confused she was about the breakup. She told me that he basically really didn’t have a good reason for it.
From my perspective, this is a high quality, smart, confident, attractive, sexual woman that wants nothing more to be loved and desired. Of course she is not perfect, who is? But, she’s definitely up there in terms of good woman-ness. So, I asked questions about why this man would break up with her and, of course, I keep in mind that there are always 2 sides to every story.
As she continued to describe their breakup, I keyed in on one particular thing that he said to her. He said “I don’t know why you are even with me.” as he continued to self-depreciate. These are 9 words that sum up his entire mode of operation.
“I don’t know why you are even with me.”
These are words spoken by an insecure, fearful, low esteem, low value, inferior feeling, ashamed man. He is a “victim”. I don’t mean that to be an attack or to put him down. He is actually a good dude. It is simply a view into his mindset. This isn’t about what the world sees in him, but rather, what he sees in himself. He is a victim of his own thoughts. Nothing else. Your mind is a very powerful tool, and without proper guidance and purposeful development, it is all too common to let the negative, self-depreciating, low value thoughts overtake our lives and our behaviors.
Think about it this way, from an attraction standpoint, does saying “I don’t know why you are even with me” sound like a statement that is going to create attraction in your wife or girlfriend toward you? Does that sound like a confident, strong, courageous, rock of man that believes in himself? Does that sound like a man that considers himself the prize?
Time and time again, when women are asked what they find most attractive, over and over again they say “confidence.” Does making a statement questioning why a woman would want to be with you sound like confidence? Or does that sound like a man that wants his woman to babysit his feelings? No woman wants to be your mommy. No woman wants to be your babysitter. Instead, she wants to be able to open her emotions to YOU, knowing that you can confidently handle her. She wants YOU to be a high-value, superior, unafraid, secure MAN that can lead her to a fun, interesting, romantic, exciting interaction. She wants to be the lucky one. Even if you are an incredibly good looking male model that does can perfectly execute blue steel, with a low value, inferior mindset, eventually she will not be able to stand you. I told her that a breakup was inevitable. At some point, she was going to get overwhelmed with taking care of his emotions, to which she agreed. Unfortunately she became collateral damage to his way of operating.
Do you sometimes feel that you are not good enough for your lady? Do you sometimes feel that you are inferior to the other men around you? Do you worry about what your girlfriend or wife might do with another guy? Are you concerned with how she might be thinking about someone else? Maybe you worry about what she might do, which could cause a series of cataclysmic events to follow like divorce, splitting up the kids, financial difficulty, or being alone. Well, your mind is lying to you. Why did this guy break up with my friend? Because he felt he does not deserve her. He felt that she was higher value than he. What you BELIEVE is true.
I suggest you eliminate such thoughts now and forevermore in your mind and focus on only the thoughts that generate valuable, useful thoughts that life you up.
This morning I received a message that my grandmother passed away last night. She was 85 years old. Apparently she went really fast, which makes me relieved that she didn’t suffer. I was not super close to her, however, she was one of those long lost friends that you see every 10 years and you start relating as though you had seen each other yesterday. And I do have some very fond memories of her in my younger years.
Also today, I was given a small “party” at work for 20 years of service at a corporate Fortune 500 company. It was the cliche’ work party get together in the taupe painted, neon lit conference room and a store bought cake. I could not have scripted it any more awkward and hapless. That is not to say that I am not grateful for the coworkers or our administrative assistant’s effort. I am. The thought just occurs to me, between my grandmother’s death and my extremely ordinary work life, I am caught in the moments of life where we say to ourselves, there is more to life than this. I am reminded of my humanity and what is truly important to spend my life doing.
So that brings me to the story of Walter Mitty, made famous on the silver screen in 1947, then again by a Ben Stiller movie in 2013. Walter Mitty was actually invented by a man named James Thurber and the short story of Walter Mitty was published in The New Yorker in 1939. Boiled down, Walter Mitty represents the ordinary, ineffectual man living the typical, uneventful existence who daydreams about fantastic triumphs. Walter Mitty was invented to represent the ordinary guy who never DOES anything meaningful himself in life. He is the guy that lays on his death bed and regrets his choices.
The Walter Mitty story is about men that TALK (daydream) but never DO. Yes, Walter Mitty works a job. He does the daily grind. He puts in the 40+ hours a week only to go home and do his homeowner chores while he dreams of another life. BUT, he never takes any ACTION to live that dream. He NEVER takes steps to create the events he wants to experience. Unfortunately, far too many men can be put in to the Walter Mitty stereotype. How about you?
Why do men CHOOSE to be Walter Mitty? Why do we create excuses to delay the creation of the experiences we want in life and then daydream about it?
The answer, brother, is FEAR. We are afraid of the consequences of our actions. We are afraid to step out of our comfort zone. We are afraid we will lose something we have if we go after what we want. We are afraid of rejection. We are afraid of disappointing those around us. We are afraid we will fail. We are afraid of danger.
Seriously, are you afraid of pissing off the wife? Are you afraid you will spend money she thought was for her? Are you afraid failure will leave you broke or broken? Are you afraid you can’t rise to the task? Are you afraid of losing?
What is your fear? What is keeping you from creating what you want to experience in life?
I have been accused of magical thinking. So, I had to do some research about the term and it’s meaning. Honestly, I’d never heard it before. Turns out, it’s a thing. So, I have looked up several definitions on psychology websites. They all pretty much say the same thing. Here is one that I like from study.com.
Magical thinking is a term that broadly refers to the belief that an event will occur as a result of another without any cause and effect relationship. More specifically, magical thinking refers to the notion that a person’s thoughts or actions, including spoken word and the use of symbols, can alter the course of events in the physical realm without a causal link.
What this really boils down to is a belief that one can change the world around them with thoughts or rituals or words and create a desired response. Superstition is another way to think about it. So, for example, believing that when you wear your “special” socks your team will win the big game. Or believing that you will win the lottery because you always play your lucky numbers. Or believing that driving a certain car will get you laid (Ok, that one might be true). Why do we do this as adult human males? Yes, we all do this to one extent or another. Magical thinking is a way to feel like we are in control of things that, in reality, we have no control over. In a purely scientific view, even praying is a form of magical thinking.
After reading several articles on “magical thinking” I think I actually am guilty of it, but not because I think my favorite t-shirt keeps my car from breaking down or there is some magically seductive phrase that will make a woman become my sex slave. I personally don’t like the term “magical thinking” and at the same time, I do believe there are certain mindsets, there are certain ways of viewing the world, that absolutely affect not only how we penetrate the world, but also how attractive we are IN the world.
My point is that there are mindsets, beliefs systems and ways of interpreting the world that are much more successful in achieving what a man wants in his life. There are mindsets that lead to certain actions that are generally found as attractive by other people. It is important to remember that the reactions you currently get in life are due, in a significant way, to the way you operate in the world. I can prove it. When a man changes the way he operates, then those in relation to him have no choice but to also change. A prime example of this is the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It is filled with examples of people changing their approach, which, in turn, changes the response. Another great book is ‘As a Man Thinketh’ by James Allen. It is a very short book in which he poetically illustrates that the mind determines the course of your life. What you focus on comes back to you. There are scores of papers about belief systems and cognitive processing and the way in which one thinks determines how they feel about life. If a man feels that he constantly gets shafted in life, then he is getting shafted.
We tend to get what we focus on. That’s the important take-away. If you focus on humility, you will experience humility. If you focus on generosity, you will experience generosity. If you focus on hospitality, you will experience hospitality. If you focus on gratitude, etc. Likewise, if you focus on darkness, you will experience darkness. If you focus on sadness you will experience sadness, and on and on. I will illustrate. You could even do this yourself. Let’s say that you are interested in a new type of car. Maybe you have your mind set on a new Tesla. Now that your mind is focused on a Tesla and you have done a little research, as you drive down the road, you will start to notice all the Teslas around and passing by that you never noticed before. They were always there, you just never saw them because your mind was not focused on them.
Now let’s apply this to an interaction with your wife. Let’s say you are out on your back deck enjoying the sunset and your wife walks out and asks what you are thinking about. If you are in a marriage rut, she might say something like “Are you thinking about how much you don’t like me?” AND here is where ‘magical thinking’ comes in. Your mindset is GOING to determine what happens in that moment. You could say something smart ass like “And how much of a bitch you are.” You could smile and not say anything. You could say “no honey” or any variety of negative, indifferent, or neutral responses that either impact how she FEELS negatively or neutrally, either of which does not improve your life.
You could respond with something like “Actually I was sitting here watching the sun turn the sky every incredible color from vibrant orange to blood red and how it makes clouds like you could slide down them. I was thinking about how fortunate I am to be here in this wonderful life with you. I’d love it if you sat down here beside me and took my hand for a minute and we just enjoyed the most incredible watercolor painting you could ever see, if only for a little bit.”
Which one do you think is going to draw your wife closer?
This is ‘magical thinking’ at its finest. It is having a mindset of appreciation and relationship and invitation instead of having a mind filled with anger and resentment and hate and revenge. It is how you position things in your mind. It is what you CHOOSE to focus on. This would be really hard to do if you think your wife is a bitch. How do you think they invitation would look if you do?
I am not saying to avoid reality. If you are 400 lbs overweight, magical thinking isn’t going to make you all of the sudden a Men’s Health cover model. BUT, choosing a mindset that you are valuable and choosing a mindset to develop self respect WILL help you focus on doing the work, losing the weight, and getting healthy. And to me, that is magical. The mind is the most powerful tool you have.
Ok, so we are doing this 400+ mile bike ride thingy. So, I thought I should probably go ahead and get some gear. Where do I start? I have never identified as a ‘rider’ so getting a bike seemed like a good place to start. I know what you are thinking “You agreed to do a 7 day bike ride and don’t own a bike?”
Let me clarify that a bit. I have a bike. It is the same bike I have had since I was 18. It’s about 25 years old. Yes, I have had the same bike for 25 years. I was pretty certain that my 25-year-old mountain bike was not gonna get me across the state of Iowa in a manner that my body would be happy about, so, I started shopping. It is absolutely amazing how much the technology has changed in the last 25 years; all welded aluminum, hydraulic brake system, disk breaks, 2 in 1 shifter, etc. It is also amazing how much people are willing to spend on a hobby that takes serious work.
At first, I started shopping the used cycle sites. I had no idea what I was looking at other then I knew I needed a road bike. AND I was getting plenty of advice from the “pros” at work. There is no shortage of bike experts that work an office job. You would think they help train Lance Armstrong. I also never ran out of offers to “buy my buddy’s bike.” The one sound piece of advice that I got was to get away from used bikes and go to the bicycle shop. My coworker wisely told me that I would just be buying someone else’s poorly maintained “fixes” and the savings would quickly fade as I fixed the issues that were certain to arise.
Luckily, I found a great bike shop from a recommendation and a knowledgeable owner who has ridden in events like RAGBRAI. As I perused the road bikes and had a small stroke at the prices, the owner turned me toward a Giant Revolt.
This is what they call a gravel grinder. It is a bike that can easily be fitted for pure road riding or fitted to ride gravel roads. I gravitated toward this bike for several reasons but mostly because I was spending A LOT of money (IMO) and didn’t want to be locked in to a pure road bike. I imagined training on several popular gravel trails near my house.
Fast forward about a week. I have now ridden this bike about 40 miles. Half of that on gravel. My experience is that this bike does not fail to deliver. It is easy to ride and tears up the gravel (I should emphasis that it is a well beaten path). I cheaped out and bought the aluminum frame, but I can say that this bike was well worth the money and I speculate it is going to be a great bike to ride 420 miles across Iowa.