A Focus On Living by Calvin

What Roles Do You Play?

 

by photographer Damien Blottière

by photographer Damien Blottière

Single. Married. Husband. Father. Son. Friend. Student. Colleague (or boss). Have you ever thought about what it takes to succeed in the roles you play in life. 

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With pen and pad, you may want to list and count them. I did, and here are some of mine: Man. Brother. Business Entrepreneur. Client. Conscious Observer. Friend. Instructor. Neighbor. Teacher. Speaker. Writer.

I invite you to think about it for a few second—jot a few notes if you can regarding the many roles you play?

Now ask yourself,  with so many roles, have you been successful in your roles? Especially if you find yourself banging your head against the wall while  continually facing failures in some of those roles. 

Each of our roles require certain qualities to be successful, or effective. To be an effective student for instance takes certain things that we have to do; A self-discipline in attending class, doing assigned task, as well as learning through our own best methods. Conflict resolution with a particular teacher/ other student  through enacting diplomacy to bring about succees.

That definition of success or effectiveness will be entirely up to you;

If you define success as being happy in a certain role, then consider what are the attributes needed  for you to maintain  the place where you yourself  are happy? . We all come  wired with certain sets of qualities and abilities, other roles, we can develop by being trained or taught. Regardless of our unique strengths and weaknesses, our job then is to play out our roles, how well we do that is up to us based on the goals we have in mind. 

The Roles We’re Born Into vs Chosen Roles.

Self-Portraits by Alex Stoddard

Self-Portraits by Alex Stoddard

We have roles we’re born into  such as: homosapien, man, woman, son, daughter, brother, sister, etc. Then there are the roles we choose or resonate with such as: being a friend, a lover, a partner, a spouse, a parent, a student, an employee, a manager, a boss, an entrepreneur, etc.  These roles can also include defining ourself as having a particular occupation or mission such as: an actor, artist, blogger, a chef, a craftsman, an advocate, an activist or practicing a form of spirituality or religion.

Then there are Roles labels that we might take on, things we identify with such as Fighter, Nudist, Survivor. Conservationist, Green activist, Political party supporter, Sports fan, Ecologist.

In life, our personalities reflect abilities to be effective and successful in various Roles - through, integration, combing  and or overlapping of the various roles we can be -  

  • As a good Partner, qualities to cultivate: Caring, communication, empathy, boundaries, kindness,  being supportive, open,  patient, self-aware.

  • A good Manager or Boss -  skills to have or acquire: Being a good listener. Having visionary goals. Having a Strategy that is aware of  the bottom line as well as for care and support of  your employees.

  • As a Survivor, from disease or situation(abuse, etc.), attribute such as: Resilience, determination, faith and grit are needed.

  • Activist: Commitment to and for raising awareness, speaking about, writing about and participation in activities and fundraisers that actively promotes or eradicates something.

by Eduardo Mata Icaza

by Eduardo Mata Icaza

But what happens when the qualities that help us become successful in one area aren’t the same qualities needed to be effective in another?

If you aren’t sure, check yourself, ask:  “In all my situations am I playing, that is applying only the qualities of one role to everything I am doing? such as a Survivor to all my other roles?” Certainly grit is needed to make it through any ordeal, but a survivalist role suggest some type of constant struggle against something to survive,  and would you need or want struggle in every area of life? That would be an exhausting way to live.

 

Understanding the right role for the right situation and using qualities that are appropriate is a challenge. We have all seen examples of someone incredibly successful in business but can’t seem to get their personal life under control. Then again that person who is highly spiritual and wants to change the world but can’t get their business off the ground.  We have examples all the time where someone is successful in one role and essentially not in another. Perhaps it has happened to you?

I suggest questioning: what roles do you want to take on, and what attributes, qualities, or values, are needed for you to be successful and effective in each of those roles?  Check out your mental tool box, and if you don’t have those attributes, can you find a way to develop them?

 

Many of the people I’ve coached struggled in roles and relationships because they were unclear on what their healthy relationships would operate on, or what they needed from themselves to make it work.

Go over your list and check to see if the values and  qualities you are working with are in sync and required for each role you play in your life. Now if you find there are places that you are lacking, and that you’re willing to admit to lacking? Then comes the Big question, would you willing to seek out and get coaching, training or support you need in how to be more successful at the roles you’ve chosen to play? Then you are laying a path to success.

 

Infuse your life with action. Don't wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen... yourself, right now, right down here on Earth. - Bradley Whitford

Tools for A Self-Directed Life

Focus To Move Forward When You Feel Paralyzed by Uncertainty By Calvin

Jimmy Flint-Smith's photo shoot by Juan Coronado

Jimmy Flint-Smith's photo shoot by Juan Coronado

 

“When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life.” ~Eckhart Tolle

A young man in a job, in a career that he is not enjoying finds that it is breaking his spirit, but he remains there for fear of what leaving will bring.

He doesn’t know if he will find another position that is better for him, yet he does know having his menial job will provide an income even if it is just a cut above having none at all.

 

Another young man’s dilemma is not moving at all towards options to acquire a job. So many kinds of job available and yet he worries that he has no experience in any of them.

 

Uncertainty is created in both these scenarios, they ponder whether or not their weighting the chances of if their decisions are right, and this keeps them rooted  in questions and their doing nothing, keeps them suspended in limbo, with a side into  moderate depression.  They are  caught in a claw of paralysis.

 

I think we have all known the harsh clutches of uncertainty at one time or another. That feeling , to waver about every decision we faced, feeling afraid to make a move one way or another for fear that some mistakes cannot be undone.

 

Thus, we resisted making a move to change. We resisted  going to a new job or starting our own business. because  one could fail.

 

Often times than not you will find people in this situation  unhappy and silently praying for something to happen to help them out. But they will continually stay their in a thought loop unable to move.

 

The philosopher, Emily Maroutian,  who is also an award-winning writer, and poet is quoted as saying  “You’re not stuck. You’re just committed to certain patterns of behavior because they helped you in the past. Now those behaviors have become more harmful than helpful.  The reason why you can’t move forward is because you keep applying an old formula to a new level in your life. Change the formula to get a different result.”

 

For some it has to get so bad that they wake up gasping for air, feeling that if they don’t move, they will die.

So, before it gets to all of that, how do you move forward in uncertainty?

1. Accept that the root cause  of uncertainty is fear of failure.

It is recognizing the fear, rather than what uncertainty  may bring in the future.  Fear, that a decision today will bring a more stressful or painful tomorrow. Not knowing that they are enduring  now, a worst-case scenario in their minds than the likelihood of that scenario becoming reality that is what really keeps them bound, and not the ‘uncertainty  itself.

 

An examination of what is their habitual thinking about their situation that loops through their mind. That stirs the emotions anytime they think about doing something that would create change.

 

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1. Understand that many times the initial efforts one would use for change can fail. Yet conscious attention on how something  failed holds the best opportunities for growth and moving forward. Thus,  go with it, and embracing uncertainty knowing it is the key to overcoming failure.

2. Feel okay about not being in control. Embrace the idea that nothing is completely within your control. Nothing in life is guaranteed. It is just as likely that you’d find a job leading to a successful career  or have a business succeed, as it is that it would fail. Life is a risk, and without uncertainty, surprises would not exist.

3. Be willing to be open ended to the universe. Releasing expectations of what should happen and instead be willing to make the best use of what is in your power to do and make do with the rest as it happens.”

 

To sum up, understand that the power of your habits in thinking, and your patterns of thought, are strong, strong enough to overpower  common sense and practical wisdom. Understand the need to observe your habits, to check out what you say about yourself in your daily routines is what creates the constructs that dictate your life.

Small Business Owner

Small Business Owner

 

So, if you are facing paralyzing fear of the unknown, your best solution is to move a step forward. Experience the negative effects, of uncertainty in your thoughts, as many have done before you, own up to the fear in your thoughts and take small steps to move pass them, make moves to change, and when you do, you too will survive and have a good chance to even thrived.

Urge For Adventure February 2019

Site of Contact’s anniversary

Site of Contact’s anniversary

Hey Guys,

Our February’s celebration message is to move you along to greater fun and accomplishment in your Life. Goals are all about Consciously Doing, a conscious focus on - frequency, consistency and intensity, are the triangle elements of successful goal.

But first, flesh out your goal set of 2019. I know for many of you that would mean simply to become a better person — be it healthier, stronger, maybe more creative, or developing and obtaining more skills, then again it could be as simple as being a better friend or family member.

Make sure that the goal and habits you are trying to build are actually important to you. Then give yourself credit for the incremental success that you have made. The 2,717 ft tall building Burj Khalifa in Dubai, considered the tallest building in the world in 2008 was not built in a day. It was done incrementally, and you, and your success in reaching your goal will be incremental also. Journal writing is a way to show you your incremental successes as you write daily.

It's your life, so if you feel you don’t have anything to write, I ask you, how are you spending your time? Is it on things that will stretch you? That is, is the activity capable of extending you to a fuller length of your capacities or widening you in order to reach your goal?

The common mistake you want to avoid can be summed up by the statement from author and former dot com business executive, Seth Godin when he said

“Your audacious life goals are fabulous. We’re proud of you for having them. But it’s possible that those goals are designed to distract you from the thing that’s really frightening you—the shift in daily habits that would mean a re-invention of how you see yourself.”

So, who do you tell people you are? Is that in line with what is really important to you? Journaling can help you see the daily pattern. Once you have gotten In-Touch with what is your core. Then you can get out there and discover activities, habits, and techniques for transforming your life, the shift in daily habits that would mean a re–invention of how you see yourself in line with your goals.

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” Thomas Huxley suggest. Huxley also admonishes “The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man's foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.”

Site of Contact’s -February’s Calendar of events, could be a place to begin. designed with suggestions to ease some fun into your workday or add a needed break to your regiment, so when you return to it, it is with more vigor and enthusiasm. February is a month with so much to offer, like the 1st, a day Feb was a stripe down day, celebrate nakedness, for it was the Work Naked Day! There is still the full week of Dance, Flirting, and or celebrating Carnival and Mardi Gras, then there’s the Special days to celebrate like “Single’s day, or Valentine Day, being with you honey or not.

February activates days for friends and family, like Super Bowl Sunday, or Oscar Night! And who does not like all the food choices that happens when friends and family get together. February’s is a month that highlight new taste to try, smells of aromatherapy, sights and sounds, so let your little grey cells help you rethink your social evolution on Darwin Day, with the Blue and Red Moon, Groundhogs and solar with the Eagles. February a month to make time to celebrated your life. Look below for other


FEBRUARY 2019 MONTH LONG EVENTS

Heart Graphic by Brento Bitenocourt

Heart Graphic by Brento Bitenocourt

American Heart Month

An Affair to Remember Month

Black History Month

Canned Food Month

Creative Romance Month

Great American Pie Month

National Bird Feeding Month

National Cherry Month

National Children’s Dental Health Month

National Grapefruit Month

National Weddings Month

 

FEBRUARY  2019 MULTI-DAY & WEEKLY EVENTS

Man of Color

Man of Color

Carnival Season: Jan 06-March 05

African Heritage and Health Week, February 1-7

Burn Awareness Week, February 3-9

Children’s Authors and Illustrators Week, February 3-9

Dump Your Significant Jerk Week, February 3-9

Celebration of Love Week, February 10-16

Children of Alcoholics Week, February 10-16

Jell-O Week, February 10-16

Freelance Writers Appreciation Week, February 10-16

National Secondhand Wardrobe Week, February 10-16

Random Acts of Kindness Week, February 10-16

International Flirting Week, February 10-16

Brotherhood / Sisterhood Week, February 17-23

Build A Better Trade Show Image Week, February 17-23

National Engineers Week, February 17-23

National FFA Week, February 16-23

Telecommuter Appreciation Week, February 24-March 2


FeBRUARY  2019 DAILY FUN, AND SPECIAL DAYS:

Feb 1        Fri   Bubble Gum Day

Feb 1        Fri   National Freedom Day

Feb 1        Fri   No Politics Day

Feb 1        Fri   Work Naked Day

Feb 2        Sat   Candlemas Feast of Purification

Feb 2        Sat   Day of the Crêpe

Feb 2        Sat   Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day

Feb 2        Sat   Ground Hog Day

Feb 2        Sat   Play Your Ukulele Day

Feb 2        Sat   World Wetlands Day

Feb 3        Sun  Carrot Cake Day

Feb 3        Sun  Feed the Birds Day

Michael Stokes Photography.jpg

Feb 3        Sun  Superbowl 53 Sunday




Feb 4        Mon Create a Vacuum Day

Feb 4        Mon Stuffed Mushroom Day

Feb 4        Mon Thank Your Mailman Day

Feb 4        Mon World Cancer Day

the Pig.png

Feb 5        Tue  Chinese New Year’s -Year Of The Pig

Feb 5        Tue  Chocolate Fondue Day

Feb 5        Tue  National Weatherperson's Day

Feb 5        Tue  Safer Internet Day

Feb 6        Wed Lame Duck Day

Feb 6        Wed National Chopsticks Day


Feb 7        Thu  E-Day

Feb 7        Thu  Send a Card to a Friend Day


Feb 8        Fri   Boy Scout Day

Feb 8        Fri   Kite Flying Day

Feb 8        Fri   Laugh and Get Rich Day


Feb 9        Sat   Toothache Day

Feb 9        Sat   Bagel and Lox Day

Feb 9        Sat   National Pizza Day

 
Grammy Award

Grammy Award

 

Feb 10      Sun  61st  Annual Grammy Awards

Feb 10      Sun  Umbrella Day


Feb 11      Mon Clean Out Your Computer Day

Feb 11      Mon Make a Friend Day

Feb 11      Mon Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk Day

Feb 11      Mon Make a Friend Day

Feb 11      Mon National Inventors Day

Feb 11      Mon White T-Shirt Day



Feb 12      Tue  Abraham Lincoln's Birthday

Feb 12      Tue  Darwin Day

Feb 12      Tue  National Lost Penny Day

Feb 12      Tue  Plum Pudding Day


Feb 13 Wed Get a Different Name Day

Feb 13 Wed World Radio Day


Feb 14 Thu Ferris Wheel Day

Feb 14 Thu Library Lovers Day

Scientific Mating.jpg

Feb 14 Thu 14 National Organ Donor Day

Feb 14 Thu 14 Valentine's Day



Feb 15 Fri Gumdrop Day

Singles Day

Singles Day


Feb 15 Fri Singles Awareness Day

Feb 15 Fri Susan B. Anthony's Birthday




Feb 16 Sat Elizabeth Peratrovich Day

Feb 16 Sat Do a Grouch a Favor Day

Feb 17 Sun Random Act of Kindness Day

anniversary.jpg

Feb 18 Mon Battery Day

Feb 18 Mon National Drink Wine Day

Feb 18 Mon Presidents' Day


Feb 19 Tue Chocolate Mint Day

Cheryy Pie.jpg

Feb 20 Wed Cherry Pie Day

Feb 20 Wed Hoodie Hoo Day

Feb 20 Wed Love Your Pet Day

Feb 20 Wed World Day of Social Justice

Feb 21      Thu  Card Reading Day

Feb 21      Thu  International Mother Language Day



Feb 22      Fri   Be Humble Day

Feb 22      Fri   George Washington's Birthday

Feb 22      Fri   International World Thinking Day

Feb 22      Fri   National Margarita Day

Feb 22      Fri   Single Tasking Day

Feb 22      Fri   Walking the Dog Day



Feb 23      Sat   International Dog Biscuit Day

Feb 23      Sat   Open That Bottle Night

Feb 23      Sat   Tennis Day

Feb 23      Sat   World Sword Swallower’s Day


The Oscars.jpg

Feb 24      Sun  91ST Oscar Night     

Feb 24      Sun  Tortilla Chip Day

Feb 25      Mon Pistol Patent Day

Feb 26      Tue  Carnival Day

Feb 26      Tue  National Pistachio Day

Feb 26      Tue  Tell a Fairy Tale Day

Feb 26      Tue  Tell a Fairy Tale Day



Feb 27      Wed No Brainer Day

Feb 27      Wed Polar Bear Day

Artist unknown

Artist unknown

Feb 28      Thu  Floral Design Day

Feb 28      Thu  National Tooth Fairy Day


Tools For The Self Directed Life

An Effective Strategy To Keeping Your Focus

 By Calvin Harris H. W., M.

Self Adjustment.png

 

We are daily bombarded with more information and communications, sometimes its call new and improved, and the pitch we receive is that to get it will allow us to  Have it all, be it all, and do it all. Particularly if it applies to our careers. Sometimes we think that utilizing all the new information that comes our way, is the only path to success.

The result is, you find yourself spending more hours, downloading cool new apps, and trying to keep up on social media. Now I ask you, how is that working out for you?

Inherent in that behavior is the risk factor of burnout. You can find your time and energy being drained away and add to that  Instant connectivity through our phones and computers and your time and energy is really gone, and yet, the time for your path to success becomes less and less and is really under pressure to happen at all.

Have it all, be it all, and do it all. .  is a lot easier said than done.  To say “yes,” too often means ending up overwhelmed. But how do you prioritize competing priorities to stay ahead without driving yourself crazy?

You need to stop, step back, review and analyze where your attention has gone, then recalibrate new habits to invest your attention wisely to get ahead.

 

I Suggest An Attention Charter

Book Deep Work by Cal Newport

Book Deep Work by Cal Newport

A quick overview about an Attention Charter and Why  You would want to  create one. Starts with a Georgetown University computer science professor, Blogger, and author named Cal[vin] Newport. Newport popularized the Attention Charter in his writings about the “intersection of technology and society.“ In his blog - Study Hacks Decoding Patterns Of Success, He points out the impact of new technologies on our ability to perform productive work and to lead satisfying lives.

TheAttention Charter is a document that lists the general reasons that you’ll allow for someone or something to lay claim to your time and attention. For each reason, it then describes under what conditions and for what quantities [of time] you’ll permit this commitment.” – says Mr. Newport.

It takes a bit of effort to create these guidelines and then set them as habits, but once you do, your attention is no longer distracted whenever something comes along demanding your immediate attention. Instead of reacting in the moment—and thus losing sight of what’s truly important—you would follow your outline charter.

This helps you own your time, and to be more intentional with it. You’re the one setting the limits and yes, that can be scary, but it can lead to better results. You could even spend fewer hours in a week working on projects and yet find that a greater portion of your time is spent being proactive on what actually matters.

That extra time, could be used to take better care of yourself, maintain healthier relationships, and maybe even to sleep better!

 

 

How to Create an Attention Charter

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Your Attention Charter is a list of guidelines to help you weigh competing priorities.

It is not a blanket ban on all of your activities. Emails, phone calls, and meetings are going to happen it is inevitable. The trick is coming up with the right proportion  of time vs activity to be vital in keeping to your visions of success, while not having these activities distract from reaching that success. In fact some of these activities can be an integral part of your equation for achieving success by focusing on the big picture.

For example, you might limit yourself to:

  • Only attending meetings with a 60-minute time limit and a clearly defined agenda

  • Not to respond to text messages between certain hours (9 and 5 ) unless it’s during a break, lunch, or an emergency

  • Not to access a certain website (social media, porno, etc.) during certain times frames of your day.

  • Not to schedule social or professional contacts for 3-hour lunches more than twice a month

  • To travel to a educational/ industry/professional  conference each quarter

You decide the guidelines. They can be as general or specific as you like. Notice how the examples above aren’t too strict. They allow for certain exceptions or situations where you would want to engage in the activities. It’s not about banning things; it’s about being more intentional with our choices.

Your focus is to think through the different ways you could limit distraction. Once developed, you want to have this list available, written down on paper or on your computer, or laptop or phone for reference when you need it.

Radhika Nagpal, a computer science professor, used some of these principles to earn tenure at Harvard. She calculated the maximum number of hours she could devote to her career each week without neglecting her family. Working from that limit, she created rules for herself (like traveling only five times a year) that allowed her to advance her career without getting burned out by unimportant distractions.

 

Enforcing Your Attention Charter

Okay, you’ve created your Attention Charter, and you are ready to make them habits. You might find  when getting started it tougher to stick to it, or you slip up, at first that’s okay. Do the best you can. The point is to practice and exercise the new habits when you can. Just a few better choices each day really add up.

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You might, like me, have to confront some bad habits you’ve been struggling with for a while now. In moving pass bad habits Willpower will only get you so far, yet conscious focus and practicing the tools will keep you on track.  

Computer or Apps Junkies might find Website blocking apps empowering in blocking distracting websites, apps, or even the entire internet during hours when you need to be productive.

Small steps or goals at first, there’s no shame in starting small. After you become comfortable with the habits you’ve set with those guidelines, you can gradually add more. Your Attention Charter will evolve with time too, as the new habits become a natural part of your daily process.


 Make Better Choices—Without the Burnout

A workday can feel a lot like an obstacle course or tug-of-war for your attention.

Fortunately, by developing a focused attention on new  habits, like in the use of an Attention Charter, it will help you choose which direction to move without responding to compulsions  in the moment.

wise old man by  Artist Otunga.jpg

Like Mr. Newport, I have to admit  I’m still monkeying around with my own attention charter. In other words, you’re hearing about this as a fledgling project, before I’ve made it into full functioning habits. Yet I’ve already found value in it, as one of us whose battle against distraction both unavoidably important and unavoidably nuances.

 

I’d like you to try it and then email me a comment and let me know what you think!

Living Your Priorities

The Power of Consistency

How small habits repeated consistently turn into big things by Calvin Harris

Heracles battling the Lernaean Hydra, Rudolph Tegner.jpg



 The truth is, the process of success and achieving your wildest dreams is not a matter of Will-Power or positive thought, as much as the Simple habit of showing up day after day.

When you show up with focused attention day in, day out for a set period of time, no matter how small, it’s inevitable you will reach where you truly want to be. Opportunities will begin to present themselves.

Author, Ayodeji Awosika, says:

 “When you show up and keep putting your work out there, good things start to happen. You make new connections, people reach out to you, opportunities start to present themselves.”  

Steal Like an Artist.jpg

 But before we get there, Austin Kleon a writer and artist living in Austin, Texas who wrote the book “Steal Like An Artist”,  makes the observation - “Lots of people want to be the noun without doing the verb. They want the job title without the work.”

The world seems to be facing an epidemic, and are in shock right now and that is because everyone wants to be successful, yet no one is willing to put in the work to be successful. You Can’t Be the Noun Without Doing the Verb.

We as a culture have become instant gratification seeking drones, that have been dumbed down and turned into dopamine seeking instant messaging, Facebook likes, and Netflix zombies at the expense of our dreams and desires.

For many, it is easier to simply talk about the work, rather than to actually do the work. What I mean by doing the work is to put into action the power of thinking, and comprehending, an orderly and rational way to carry out activities. While in the motion of carrying out those activities one arrives at a state of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Blogger Anthony Moore suggest:

“Most people will continue getting high on the dopamine of solely “dreaming” and journaling about their ideal life, without ever doing any meaningful work to make those goals happen.”

I go along with the idea that  ‘Its time’ that people start realizing you can’t be the noun without doing the verb.

You can’t be an athlete, if you never train.

You can’t be a writer, if you don’t write.

You can’t be a mathematician without using the principles of mathematics.

In what areas of your life, are you calling yourself the noun without doing the verb? It’s time to get consistent.

 

 

‘Consistency’, Anthony Moore puts it this way

 “Consistency is a bit like a million dollars. Everyone wants it, everyone knows it will make their life better, but it seems impossible to ever achieve it.”

Becoming consistent at anything you want is not elusive, it can be as simple as rethinking badly formed habits or finding how things are being put in the wrong order. To start forming new habits.

This does not mean, that this correction, or becoming the best version of yourself is likely to happen overnight, old behaviors don’t shake loose that easily.

Start with small steps. Focus on constancy and frequency, rather than intensity and allow the habit to slowly become a natural part of your Being. Become the Conscious builder of your life. Srinivas Rao wrote,

“Build the identity of the person you want to become.”

Blogger Reece Robertson tells us:

your renovation.jpg

 “This is preciously how I developed my morning journaling habit. I didn’t force myself to write an entry straight away. Rather, I would get up every morning, write the date in my journal, and then close it again.

Once that was a natural part of my morning routine, I began to journal for 15 minutes before getting into my reading and writing and haven’t stopped since.

Start small, learn the routine, and develop a process you can stick to.”

 

 

To recap, own the fact that you want to build the identity of the person you want to become. That you will cultivate the power of consistency. That you will make a pact with yourself to show up today, tomorrow, the day after that, and so on.

It will be a certainty that your life would be very different in a year.

Own that You are done holding yourself back, and you will be making more progress. having more joy and satisfaction from life. To develop more confidence, through self-discovery of being the Noun by your action as the Verb.

It starts now.

The majority of goals people pursue don’t require innate talent, or working a 12-hour a day — in most cases, they lack old-fashion consistency.” -Zdravko Cvijetic (content creator, entrepreneur and the founder of Zero to Skill).

Why Are We Having So Little Sex?

Why Are We All Having So Little Sex?

By BELINDA LUSCOMBE -TIME Magazine writer - Health - October 26, 2018

 

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Ms. Luscombe article is coming to you by submission of one of my readers who also is a good friend, William Fennie, H. W., M., a mentor and counselor in his own right. His foresight into the relevance of this article and the nature of my Blogs made it a natural fit for the SOC website, Thank you William.


Matt, a 34-year-old data analyst from Texas, and his wife dated for seven years before getting married in 2013. When they didn’t live together, they had sex every time they saw each other. After they moved in, however, he says things changed. Their sex life became inconsistent. They’d have a really active week and then a month with nothing, or just one at-bat. It began to hurt their relationship…..he didn’t know how to talk about sex with his wife.. “I really didn’t want to be pushy on that issue,” he says. “She has the right to say no, always and forever.”

 

If Matt’s story sounds familiar to you, you are not alone. Americans are …not having sex in droves, according to the General Social Survey, a profile of American behavior that has been gathered by the National Opinion Research Council at the University of Chicago since 1972, the fraction of people getting it on, at least once a week fell from 45% in 2000 to 36% in 2016. One study of the GSS data showed that more than twice as many millennial’s were sexually ‘inactive’ in their early 20’s than the prior generation was. And the sharpest drop was the most recent, in the years 2014 to 2016.

 

How can this be? …This is the era when …social stigma around premarital sex is gone, hookups are not considered shameful, and the belief in limiting partners to one side of the gender line is no longer universal…. Contraception has reduced the risk of serious physical consequences… technological … helps willing partners find each other, endless free online porn to rev the engines… and [Viagra type drugs] to overcome the most common physical limitations for men.

What hasn’t changed, is that sex remains as exhilarating as it was for our ancestors. In fact, a safe, consensual romp with a loving and appropriate partner is one of life’s…delight with no downside…and pure, free fun.

 

Yet there is a slump. Nearly 20% of 18- to 29-year-old’s reported having no sex at all in 2016, an almost 50% rise over those who were celibate in 2000. “The downward trend is very real,” says Philip Cohen, a sociology professor at University of Maryland, College Park.

 

Jean Twenge, professor of psychology, San Diego State University wrote a much-cited paper for the Archives of Sexual Behavior about this downturn, says one big reason is marriage—…. Married people… have more sex than single people of the same age… because they’re already going to bed with someone who …is  having sex with them. The supply side of the equation is solved, only the demand side is a riddle.

 

What has remained constant, while the number of 20-something spouses has dropped. And increasingly, young people are eschewing having a relationship with one partner, and instead hanging out with a loosely assorted group of friends…[results] less convenience sex is going on.” says Twenge. “So there’s a larger proportion of people in their early 20s who are not having sex at all.”

 

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Married folks, are falling down on the job too. “The number one issue being, says couples therapist Ian Kerner, author of the book She Comes First. -is “discrepant libido and low libido and no libido.”

Twenge’s study shows that the highest drop in sexual frequency has been among married people with higher levels of education... This may be …child-centric family anxiety. “We know there’s more parenting anxiety,” says Cohen. “That could be turning into generalized family stress.”

Seems, only the 60-somethings are bucking the trend…Unlike the retirees who came before them, they’re putting the sex back in sexagenarian, with an average coital frequency that is slightly higher than in two decades earlier.

 Many couples have perfectly good reasons for not having sex: they’re exhausted, they’re unwell, they have too much else to do, or the kids are in the bed with them.

 

The trend for using beds for other activities beside sleeping and making whoopee is so robust …“We’re one of the few species that mate face to face,” says Sue Johnson, a Canadian psychotherapist and couples technique counselor: “And face to face interactions seem to be going down everywhere. We turn to technology instead of to people….”  The sex toy industry has been growing briskly and is worth about $15 billion annually. Astonishing numbers of hours of pornography are being consumed online. And VR porn is taking off… Some neuroscientists have argued that for some people, heavy porn consumption can recondition the brain’s arousal circuitry to respond more to the screen than a human.

 

Therapists have noticed the shifting dynamics in both male and female patients…” Another complicating factor is the changing conversation around consent and sexual advances, shaped by the ‘MeToo’ movement. Matt, along with other struggling sexual partners interviewed as background for this story, expresses uncertainty about where the boundaries lie. “There was always the question in my mind, am I being unreasonable?” Matt says… This adds a layer of complexity to a subject that couple are already notoriously bad at, talking about [Sex]. “I do think that conversations around consent, and what consent is, are becoming much more real,” says Lori Brotto, a Canadian  Professor at UBC in research of Women's Sexual Health. Brotto. ... “This can mean that [male]partners are initiating less [sex], that they’re sitting back and waiting for the female to initiate. And then feeling rejected when they don’t.”

 

One of the more alarming discoveries to emerge so far is the large number of women for whom sex is actually painful. “One in five young women 18 to 29 experience chronic pain during sex,” says Natalie Rosen, a psychologist and associate professor at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia… Rosen found that a third of women never mentioned it to their partners because they were ashamed, felt inadequate or feared being dumped. “Or they end the relationship preemptively without telling their partner why,”

 

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Gender dynamics are having an impact too. One of the oldest and sturdiest reasons for abstinence: mates are not finding each other attractive. Review that looked at sexual frequency and chore distribution found... We are interested in that which we are lacking, thus household chores should be gender specific. …Other studies found that in homes where guys pitch in more women are less stressed, less resentful and therefore... their relationship is better. A study released in April from the University of Utah found: Men who share the grocery shopping report more sexual satisfaction than men who don’t, but if they do more cleaning and laundry than their spouses, sexual frequency goes down. For women, washing up was the libido killer.

Sharing the House work.jpg

The lead researcher, Dan Carlson, at the University, an assistant professor of family and consumer studies, found: “Homes with more traditional gender roles have sex more often because the men get to make the call as to whether there will be any knocking of boots. And homes which are really egalitarian also have more sex because the couples are communicating better...People wanting a egalitarian marriage…are happier when they can achieve one,” Carlson says. It’s the murky middle, those couples that desire gender equality but haven’t quite perfected it, who are sleeping facing the wall.

 

 

More prosaic reasons for desire discrepancy, ….the unhappy situation in which one partner wants a lot more sex than the other- .,, from genetics to upbringing to hormonal changes to sexual history to general healthiness. Higher rates of obesity, for obese men are more likely to be impotent. “There are health implications,” says Maryland’s Cohen, “and there is the social self-image, feeling attractive...”

The Galatian Suicide photo shared by William Floyd

The Galatian Suicide photo shared by William Floyd

 

Then there’s the public health epidemic: depression. “Seen in every national probability study is that depression rises to the top as a leading causes of low desire, specifically,” says Brotto. Treating depression can further hurt desire; many common medications for depression, such as SSRIs, are known to lower libido.

 

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Might people have become less happy since the turn of the millennium? Twenge thinks so. Another of her papers found that general happiness among those over 30 had dropped markedly since 2000. There could be any number of reasons for the fall, but one intriguing suggestion is that the economic trends that have shaped the current political climate may also have affected our more intimate relations. A 2011 study from the University of Virginia that analyzed GSS data between 1972 and 2008 found that Americans reported being happier in the years when income inequality was at its least fierce. Not because they were richer, the study suggested, but because times seemed fairer. Many more American workers have had to embrace erratic work schedules because of the 24/7 work economy. That makes it hard for couples to spend time together.

 

 

Economic pressure might also explain why young people have experienced the steepest falloff in sexual activity. Millennials and the generation below them, sometimes known as Gen Z, have suffered more in the great recession. Young men, especially, are finding it harder to find jobs; more than a third of 18 to 34-year-old Americans are living with their parents, an arrangement usually mutually exclusive with having a stellar sex life.

 

“I think it’s important to consider that this might not be bad.”

 

All of this, Twenge believes, may be leading to a generation of young people who are not interested in partnering up, who are moving away from pair bonding into the sexual equivalent of a gig economy. Instead of having a job or steady relationship, people have to find their own opportunities. “The theme that comes up over and over [among young people] is the increase in individualism,” says Twenge. “More focus on the self and less on social rules.” That would explain both the openness around sexuality and the drop in actual sex.

Escape into Reality by Michal Trpak

Escape into Reality by Michal Trpak

 

 

Whatever the causes, say therapists, the solutions don’t change. Couples need to figure out their sexual needs and wants, communicate them and perhaps put down their phones for a while. That doesn’t always mean having more sex. Cohen notes that the drop in the rate of sex has not been accompanied by a rise in divorce. “I could imagine a positive scenario where people communicate more and better within relationships now and the low interest partner talks the high interest partner out of it and they’re happier,” he says. “I think it’s important to consider that this might not be bad.”

 

This was the key for Matt and his wife. “Sometimes there’s still a libido mismatch,” he says of his marriage now. “And not every week or month is perfect, but my wife and I have learned to communicate better, and we’ve both learned to listen better.” Things are going so well that they recently decided the time was right to try to start a family and in October they found out they were pregnant.

 

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Conversation, it seems, is the most powerful type of foreplay. “If you want me to give my advice to the American public about this, it would be, ‘Talk to each other about sex,’” says Klein. “Talk to each other about how you want to feel. Do you want to feel attractive? Do you want to feel desired? Do you want to feel young? Do you want to feel graceful?” And then you have to decide if you’re willing to put the work in, he adds. “Gourmet sex is like gourmet cooking,” he says. “They don’t happen without focus.”

A Challenge to Male Roles In U. S. Since 1937

Another Conversation on Masculinity, Society, and Change. by  Calvin Harris H.W., M.

 

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“Rationalization was much easier than recognizing the gravity of what was lost: an innocent, healthy childhood and an introduction to sexuality on my terms” - Concepción de León

This is a powerful quote from New York Times writer, Concepción de León.

I have spoken before about the necessity of sexuality, and  gender preference be defined by the individual, coming from their innate self, expressed outwardly decided by the  person in their own terms.   

I have mention before how this innate process has been derailed through  children’s storybooks, affecting  children’s gender and sexual behaviors from centuries past. So, today I would like us to look at a tenacious  twentieth century  American comic strip, that has speed seemed to act as an equalizer of bad behaviors (if for only one day), a chance for the young female adults of the last era to enact behaviors befitting their male counterparts. and  how this American folktale may have the underpinning for new sexual roles and yet again poor marks regarding Males and Masculinity in the twenty first century and beyond.

The Sadie Hawkins Day Race

The Sadie Hawkins Day Race

The Comic Strip was created by cartoonist Al Capp and called Li'l Abner. The Encyclopaedia Britannica reported that Li’l Abner, ran in American newspaper from 1934 until 1977, chronicling the absurdities of daily life in the fictional Appalachian town of Dogpatch.

The comic strip abounded in stereotypes of Appalachia. Its title character, Abner Yokum, was a handsome, muscle-bound hillbilly, as lazy as he was dull witted. Like Abner, most of the men of Dogpatch were cast as essentially useless to society; all the real work was done by the “wimmenfolk.” One such woman was the curvaceous and beautiful yet hard-working Daisy Mae Scragg, who was hopelessly in love with Abner and pursued him fruitlessly for years before they finally married in 1952; they produced a child, Honest Abe, in 1953. Another was Abner’s mother, Mammy [who to me looked like Popeye the Sailor], She was the unofficial mayor of Dogpatch, who smoked a corncob pipe and kept the Yokum household running while her lazy, illiterate husband, Pappy, did little more than lie about.

Capp used Li’l Abner to comment satirically on American life and politics, spoofing ruthless capitalists in the early years before turning his wit on hippies and antiwar activists as his views grew more conservative later in life. He retired his creation in 1977, two years before his death. Since then, Li’l Abner has been reprinted at various times.”

In its wake, this comic strip has had a profound influence on the way the world viewed the American South, Men’s  & Women’s roles. and a notable celebration in Dogpatch called, Sadie Hawkins Day, on which the women of the town were allowed to marry any bachelor they could chase down and capture; annual on that  day of role reversal. Females asked males to dances, have sex, or marry. The enormous popularity of the Sadie Hawkins Day  had Capp obligingly  making it a comic strip tradition every November, lasting four decades. The Sadie Hawkins Day phenomena went from being  a pseudo-holiday  November 15, 1937 to gaining in popularity in 1939, two years after its inauguration, the celebration warranted a two-page spread in Life Magazine, who reported that on “Sadie Hawkins Day, Girls Chase Boys in 201 Colleges." By the early 1940s the comic strip event had swept the nation's imagination and acquired a life of its own. By 1952, the event was reportedly celebrated in various venues around the world. It became a woman-empowering rite at high schools and college campuses, long before the modern feminist movement gained prominence.

 

The practical side of Sadie Hawkins day was simply one of gender role-reversal. Women and girls take the initiative, make decisions in preparation to go out with their  invite  man or boy of choice — almost unheard of before 1937.

 

Yet the Male paradigm, the persona of the male counterpoint in Dogpatch  depicts a protagonist, “who is handsome, muscle-bound and as lazy as he was dull witted. A character essentially useless to himself, to his family and to society.  

A character, that we can only hope will not take hold in the American male psyche, as the roles of men and women begin to balance each other out, no longer  men vs women but equal in opportunity.

 

Book Unspeakable by Daum

Book Unspeakable by Daum

Meghan Daum, author of “The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion”,  an occasional, Los Angeles Times oped columnist. www.meghandaum.com

 

On a topic of women vs men causes and movements,  Meghan said [these movements] “will live or die by the degree to which it’s willing to let people in. Until it makes room for examinations not just of toxic masculinity but also toxic femininity—and, even better, dispatch with these meaningless terms—it will continue to tell only half the story. Until it admits that women can be as manipulative and creepy and generally awful as men, the movement will continue to send a message that we’re not really whole people.”

 

I’m wary of any language that defines people ‘only’ based on what was done to them, as opposed to an identity they chose.  I would not want people’s life story to be overshadowed by notions of popular culture.

Yet so many men have felt isolated and unresponsive by what was misread as to how they should act and be by their culture. Decisions in life and sexually counter to their nature, that they just freeze up, or succumb to that which can only be described as trauma.

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Dr. van der Kolk a psychiatrist specializing in post-traumatic stress disorder, working with  veterans to sexual assault survivors, wrote a book called: “The Body Keeps the Score”  which hinges on his idea that trauma is stored in the body and that, for therapy to be effective, it needs to take into account the physiological changes that occur. He says, “Many people also experience dissociation, which can manifest as literal desensitization in parts of the body or the inability to describe physical sensations.”

 

Men’s identities must change to be able to let go of painful isolation.  Let go of fragmented storylines,  images, sounds and emotion that must be processed as belonging to the past.

The Re-Imaging of Masculinity in the 21st Century and it’s role model for the coming youth, must be vigorously overhauled and fiercely optimistic of a person’s place in the world, for example:

Masculine youth needs to learn to be rigorously honest about what he knows and what he needs to know, and what he feels. To express constructive emotions that exposes the past and lets it go. He knows how to rage without hurting others. He knows how to fear and keep moving. He knows joy, and shares gratitude. He seeks self-mastery.

The 21st Century and beyond male youth has to learn to let go of childish shame. Feeling guilty when they have done nothing  wrong. He is kind to men, kind to women, kind to children. He teaches others how to be kind.

He stopped blaming women or his parents or men for his pain. He creates intimacy and trust with his actions. He stopped letting his defenses ruin his relationships. He stopped letting his libido run his life. He has learned self-respect comes from telling the truth. He has men who he trusts and turns to for support.

He confronts his limitations. He knows how to take conscious chances makes things happen. He knows how to learn from his mistakes and roll with it. When he falls, he gets back up. He practices compassion, for himself and others.  He is disciplined when he needs to be. He is flexible when he needs to be. He has high expectations for himself and those he connects with and finally He knows how to listen from the core of his being.

S. F. Pride 1986 Snake Man

S. F. Pride 1986 Snake Man

He knows he is an animal and part of nature. Yet he knows his spirit and the connection to something greater. As a whole person, he looks for ways to serve others. He knows he has a higher purpose. He loves with fierceness. He laughs with abandonment because he lives fully.

 

These are some descriptions of the Re-Imagined Masculinity, a reality that means a revolution/evolution of the holders of the future, that means a change in you, A call for a rethink of the stories you tell about yourself, a rethink of expectations of yourself and others, and a focus on tomorrow.

 

If these words speak to your heart, learn more  

mentoring and training that offers powerful opportunities for men’s personal growth at any stage of life.

Calvin has been facilitating men’s work for over a decade.

A credo for the new masculine. a New Conversation with Men,

Reclaiming Male Role Models,

Tools For The Self Directed Life

Yearly Retrospect: How to Maintain Focus of Your Life

Focusing on Life

Focusing on Life

by Calvin Harris H. W., M.

As we are in the third quarter of 2018, and before the holidays fast forward us to the end of the year, Now may be the time to consider planning and directions for 2019. Let’s take a moment to look over events and activities to see what this past year in retrospect, has indicated to us about being on course with our strategic plans and goals.

 

For many, it was not a year with a lot of forward movement. Experiences and activities throughout the year seemed tempered with a “watch and see undercurrent”, as if to say be patient. For others,  whose ideas, creativity, political and business plans, all seemed ready to launch, yet, somehow fail to launch fully, or the trajectories where off.  

Decisions to Reflect

Decisions to Reflect

 

Looking closer at this dilemma, of the pass year’s progression, it could be an indication to slowdown and to re-align habits for normalization. Sometimes life moves at such supersonic speeds, we get so busy, that we stop thinking, become automatons in our thought s and actions. An entire year can go by without us taking a moment to think deeply about whether we are following the right course, or if we should turn off to a new direction. This slowdown could be the move needed to rethink, research, and re-calibrate who we are, where we are going, and what we want to achieve and the Habits we have in place to do it.


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A book out right now that you may want to read is called Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin. Ms. Rubin indicates to us that Habits are the invisible architecture of our lives, and she provides an analytical and scientific framework from which to understand these habits--as well as change them for good


Personal and professional life compete for priority, meaning clarity of objectives and focus will be needed in finding a balance going forward. If we are looking to make a change, then slowdown, reflect on what we identify as important to achieve. Build habits aligned with what can produce that goal. The results can come later as we perfect our presentation.  As a result, what we manifest, call our outcomes, cannot be imagined, because they happen by paying attention to habits aligned with core values and then out of the blue, there is achievement.

 

Habits moving you forward

Habits moving you forward

 

Blogger James Clear reminds us “Motivation is fickle. Willpower comes and goes. Mental toughness isn’t about getting an incredible dose of inspiration or courage. It’s about building the daily habits that allow you to stick to a schedule and overcome challenges and distractions over and over and over again.”