BECOME A BETTER MAN – (PLAY)


“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”George Bernard Shaw

 When was the last time you played just for playing sake?

For most people, the answer to that question will be “not since I was a little child”. Adults around the world are flocking to the playgrounds of their childhoods in search of relaxation and release. Not surprisingly, an entire cottage industry has subsequently sprouted up to help them satiate their inner child.

  • In Brooklyn, an adult preschoollets office workers and executives participate in arts and crafts, and re-enact schoolyard favourites like “show and tell.”
  • In the United Kingdom, a design studio opened a ball pitjust for grown-ups
  • While laughter clubsin India offer a form of both spiritual and physical exercise for disgruntled citizens.
  • And recently, the two best-selling books on Amazon were “adult colouring books

Research has shown that people of all ages benefit from unstructured play time as a respite from the grind of daily life. Play can relieve stress, boost creativity, improve brain function, and improve our relationships with other people by fostering trust with others  and a lack of play time is seen as a major health obstacle for children and adult. Playing is on the decline  and that has negative consequences for kids and adults alike. For instance, since about 1955, children’s free play has been in continuous decline, partly because adults have exerted ever-increasing control over children’s activities, and over the same period that play has declined, the mental health of children and adolescents has also declined. So, by abandoning play, we’re abandoning an important part of ourselves. Play isn’t just important for kids,  it’s beneficial to our society. It’s time for adults to take it seriously, both for their sake and for their children.

There are three main characteristics that must be met:

  1. It’s voluntary in the sense that you’re not obligated to do it.
  2. It’s flexible and can be changed or manipulated, like Play-Doh for your life.
  3. It is enjoyable and fun.

When you think about it, there’s not enough of enjoyment and joy in our lives these days because:

  • It’s a problem of our modern, work-obsessed society:
  • We’ve lost play in the hustle and bustle of our lives.
  • We spend our time between our jobs, our kids, being on Twitter and Facebook to catch the current trends.

Why is play so important for childhood development?

  • First, play doesn’t have consequences in the same way that real life does:
  • When we want to blow off steam, this is the way we do it without having trouble.
  • Play is how children explore the world around them and themselves.
  • It helps give children the capacity to make decisions, to solve problems, to build and experiment and transform.
  • More generally, for both children and adults, it really gives us a chance to build our imagination.

It is during playing that the fantastic becomes real, the real becomes fantastic and we can try out a new hypothesis without consequence.

This one thing that we’ve lost in our society is the understanding that exploration, understanding, and creative thinking is what got us to where we are, that’s how we invented the car and the air plane. It’s because we had people who weren’t afraid to try out ideas and fail along the way and have the grit to stick with it — and learning that comes from play.

Does this change as we get older?

Play matters, no matter how old you are. The only thing that has changed is the stigma. We associate play with childhood, and therefore associate playing with childishness. Think about the world we live in, you’re supposed to answer your emails within 30 seconds, or you’re considered negligent. If somebody asks “How are you?” the appropriate answer is “busy.” It also doesn’t help that we basically have a sedentary nation. Some say sitting is the new cancer. We’re not an active nation anymore. People do better when they’re acting and moving rather than just sitting and staring. A lot of play has become centred on screens. Technology has taken over a lot of our loose attention. It is part of the sitting phenomenon, we are constantly facing a screen.

The Benefits of Play for Adults

By giving yourself permission to play with the joyful abandonment of childhood, you can reap the myriad of health benefits throughout life such as:

  • Relieve stress
  • Improve brain function
  • Stimulate the mind and boost creativity
  • Improve relationships and your connection to others.
  • Keep you feeling young and energetic

“THE DEFINITION OF ADULT DOES NOT STATE YOU CANNOT PLAY ANYMORE, AND THE DEFINITION OF PLAY DOES NOT STATE IT IS ONLY FOR CHILDREN.”

 

 

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BECOME A BETTER MAN – 6 (WORK)


2 Thessalonians 3:10

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

Work is the master key to open the hidden wealth of your potential which is the greatest task and the most pressing need of your life. You are capable of more than you think or believe and more than others expect of you. If all your monthly effort ends in a monthly report that you don’t even know where it goes or ended up, you have a job, you are not working or investing.

JOB – A paid position of regular employment.

WORK – Activity involving mental and physical effort done in order to achieve a result, purpose or destiny.

There are 3 types of work, Physical work, Spiritual work and Intellectual or Mental work which is the most important type of work because it is the avenue to bring something new to life and it helps you to understand the spiritual work. The first thing God gave to MAN after blessing them was WORK. Genesis 1:28 “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

  • Be fruitful
  • Multiply
  • Replenish the earth
  • Subdue the earth
  • Have dominion over everything in it

God gave the garden to man to till, keep and maintain = WORK. In order words, do something about your immediate environment or position; add value to it and make it what you want. “Change the status quo.”

The first land that you have to till, keep and maintain is your life. There is something still hidden or buried in it and only you can expose or bring it to life WORK ON IT. Till the ground of your life, cultivate the ground of your life, develop the ground of your life and nurture your ground. Your net worth is a direct response to how much work you are able to do on yourself which equates to how much value you are able to add to yourself and the way to make yourself indispensable and extraordinary is by adding value to yourself through WORK. The love of work is the secret to personal progress, productivity, and fulfilment. No one is ever paid per hour; everybody is paid based on the value they bring to the hour!

Purpose of Work

God wants us to be good workers, not good job keepers because it is His tool to make us productive and fruitful and God is more concerned with the use of the skills and talents He gave us than He is with our financial wealth or job title. We must work to reveal the invisible possibilities that exist in us. God worked through His spoken word to make the invincible visible, work is God’s gift to help people discover their potentials and until you start doing something to discover what you can be, you will miss the blessings inherent in work. In the absence of work;

  • strength and energy waste away,
  • dreams and visions wither and die,
  • God-given skills and talents degenerate,
  • Productivity wanes.
  • Laziness aborts potential and sacrifices possibilities.

Benefits of Work

  1. Provision for physical needs,
  2. Builds self-esteem,
  3. Teaches the discovery and use of talents, skills, and abilities which are far more important than the acquisition of money,
  4. Develops in us an attitude that sees a challenge as a reason for rejoicing because it holds the possibility for success,
  5. Offers the opportunity to transform dreams into reality
  6. Multiplies resources,
  7. Work is a blessing to others as it enables us to give generously of what we have and who we are.

How to work hard & work smart

The workplace philosophy, experts and gurus will say – “Work smart don’t work hard” and we have all bought into this ideology and everybody is looking for ways to work smart and not work hard. The solutions they are offering to accomplish this theory are things like:

  • Prioritise your tasks
  • Be a good time keeper
  • Have clear objectives
  • Have a to do list
  • Apply the 3Ds – Deal with it, Delegate it, Delete it!

These are all great ideas and practices but they will not in themselves either singularly or collectively make you work smarter. They may help you get the JOB done, but never make you work smarter because these ideas do not recognise the difference between JOB & WORK. You cannot work smarter and not harder or harder and not smarter. They go together because they both relate to YOU, not the JOB. In fact, in order to work smarter, you have to first work harder – “Intellectual work”

So, in other to work Harder & Smarter:

  1. Fall in love with the work

The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. Work is not a course, it is a blessing from God to help you maximise your life because through work you can:

* Maximise your time

* Convert your time

* Discover yourself

* Unveil the hidden treasures of the earth and in you

  1. Always do your best in everything you do.
  • Anything that is worth doing; is worth doing well.
  • Until you commit all (100%) to anything, you will not get a full result.
  • Anything that is “nearly done” is not done well and will not yield a lasting or fulfilling result.

Remember:

– When you do a good job, you don’t get any reward

– When you do a great job, you get a good reward

– When you do an excellent job, you get a great reward

– When you do an outstanding job, you get an excellent reward

– When you do an extraordinary job, you get an outstanding reward

  1. Don’t compare yourself with or by other people’s standard.

Your yardstick of excellence is God’s standard and the standard that you have set for yourself. Success will always demand from you more than you are willing to give and life will not give you what you want or demand, it will only give you what you contend for. Run the race that is set before you, everyone will have to give account for his race.

 

BECOME A BETTER MAN – 5 (FIND A MENTOR)


Figuring out what it means to be a man can be tough especially tougher for men today because,

  • Men are often more socially isolated; they don’t have as many friends.
  • Men don’t have strong relationships with their fathers and other male relatives.
  • The epidemic of fatherlessness or absentee fathers

Unfortunately, two generations of men went without mentors growing up. So, without good examples of men to emulate, young men often get a bit lost leading to poor perform in school or getting involved in crime. It’s therefore more important than ever for every man to seek out mentors to help him navigate the complicated waters of manliness and life. So having a mentor is quite important. The tricky part is, how do you find one? Here’s a suggested road map.

  1. Determine what sort of mentor you’re looking for. We all have different facets of our lives. Work, school, spirituality, family, etc. Ask yourself what area of your life needs improvement and could benefit from a mentor. Even if you’re just looking for a mentor to help you be an all-around better man.
  1. Draw up a list of three men that you’d like to mentor you. Think of all the men you know that you’ve always looked up to or admired and wish you had a better relationship with. If you’re looking for a mentor to help you be an overall better man, simply think of the men you know and admire. Also, don’t stick with men that are exactly like you. If two people are the same, one of them is irrelevant. One of the benefits of a mentor is that they can help expand your point of view.
  1. Write down how each mentor could help you grow as a man. Think of the traits each man has that you wish to learn. Do some research on them. Do they come from a similar background as you, have unique experiences that can broaden your conception and understanding of success in a particular area of your life, have they had any setbacks similar to yours? What is it exactly about this person that makes you want him to be your mentor?
  1. Figure out what you expect from the mentor relationship. Before you ask someone to be your mentor, you need to know what he should expect from the relationship. How often would you like to meet with him? How do you want the mentoring to take place? A discussion over lunch? Email? A monthly phone call? When you’re deciding this, take into account the men you’re asking to be your mentor and what will work for them.
  1. Ask the first man on your list. After you’ve done all your prep work, it’s time to ask. Call, email, or a write a letter to do the asking depending on each person. Tell your prospective mentor that you’re looking for a mentor in a specific area of your life and that you think he’d be a good one and tell him why. People love to be praised!
  1. Expect rejection. Don’t’ get discouraged and don’t take it personally if people say no. People are busy these days, and they just might not have time to be a mentor. If the first man says no, go on to the second.
  1. Say “thank you.” No matter if you get a no or a yes, be sure to thank the person. Mentoring is a privilege and not a right.

Become a Mentor too!

Just as you need man mentors, so too do other men. No one needs guidance in the art of manliness more than boys and young men, who are trying to figure how to become worthy men. Every man should make mentoring a part of his life.

Here are just a few ways to do that:

  1. Become a Scout leader. Boy Scout troops always need volunteers who are eager to make a difference in boys’ lives.

2. Become a Big Brother. A lot of young men out there are growing up without a positive father figure in their lives. Be the man these boys can turn to and emulate as they grow up.

3. Volunteer with your church’s youth group. Lucky is the young man can find a man who is both an older friend and a spiritual mentor.

4. Get to know your kids’ friends. I guess some kids try to hide from adults, but if they’re game, it’s okay to hang out with them from time to time. Take your son and his friends fishing or hunting.

 

BECOME A BETTER MAN – 4 (The Art of Listening)


Listening is something we have to learn to do because it is a learned skill. There is a significant difference between hearing and listening.

Hearing is a biological function, and like breathing or blinking it happens whether you are consciously telling yourself to do it or not.  Listening, on the other hand, is a mental process.  It requires thought, effort, and practice.

Listening is the process of receiving, attending to, and assigning meaning to oral and visual stimuli.”

We’ve all had that moment where, after turning through several pages of a novel, we suddenly realize we haven’t the faintest idea of what we just supposedly read.  We saw the words on the pages, but we didn’t actually take the time to process them mentally.  In other words, there is a difference between seeing and reading.  Seeing happens as long as your eyes are open and you have a gift of vision.  It is a passive biological process.  But reading requires you to exert some brainpower.  It is an active process of making meaning.

Listening in Perspective.

Listening is the most frequently used and invaluable skill we could possibly have for our personal and professional lives. You might be surprised how much we are required to listen in the course of an average day.  Yet, unlike many of the other essential skills in our lives that we have learned through some combination of schooling and experience, very little time has been devoted to training us as listeners.

  • Most of us probably received a minimum of 12 years of instruction on how to write well, yet it is a skill that is only used in approximately 9% of the average person’s daily communication.
  • Reading often receives between six and eight years of formal instruction, yet it only accounts for 16% of our communication.
  • Speaking receives a paltry one year of attention, perhaps two years if we’re lucky, and it is only 30% of our communication.
  • Listening, however, often receives less than a half-year of formal training, yet it makes up 45% of our daily communication.

These statistics above highlight a grave oversight in our education that, with a little effort, can be improved and yield tremendous and immediate results for us. There are three levels of listening we have to choose from during any given interaction.  Defining each level is the first step in understanding how to improve our habits.

Level 1: Hearing Words

This is everybody’s default level – the misconception that we are listening! This level puts us in the uncomfortable position of misunderstanding a message where you jump to conclusions, or unable to recall the message within moments of it being said.

Sometimes we are vaguely aware that we are to blame, yet other times we try to pass the blame on to the speaker, claiming that he or she was not interesting or engaging.  The most alarming thing about this level of listening is that we are emotionally and mentally detached from the speaker.

Level 2: Listening in Spurts

In this category, we are listening but just!!! You are aware to some degree that you are listening poorly and you know that concentration on the message is important, so you may be able to tune in temporarily, but only hear in “spurts” because you lack the required training.  In this type of listening, you are always looking for  the next opportunity to jump in and speak rather than actually attending to the message of the other person.

Level 3: Empathetic Listening

This is the real deal. This is proper listening where you set aside internal and external distractions so as to listen without judgment or interruption where you are emotionally and mentally invested and provide verbal and nonverbal feedback to the speaker.  Empathetic communication is like a partnership, and both individuals must play their role.

 

“BECOME A BETTER MAN” – 3 (FIRST IMPRESSION MATTERS)


Each interaction with others people carries with it an Opportunity and a Possibility. Every person you meet is a potential new Friend, Lover, Client, soul for the Kingdom or Destiny Helper. Every day you’re making contact with people for the first time; it happens so often you may not even really register these encounters. Whether these possibilities turn into something often hinges on the first impression you make on them.

Have you ever heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover?” Many people have never thought about their first impression because they think changing it would mean acting fake, or that judging someone at a glance is superficial and inaccurate. The implication here is that people have already decided on what you’re like before you’ve said anything beyond your initial introduction.

 

Characteristics of First Impression

  1. First impressions are registered with lightning speed,
  2. First impression last a surprisingly long time.
  3. Because of what’s called the “primacy effect,” people tend to lend more weight to the things they learn initially about someone, rather than the information they take in later.
  4. First impression forms a filter or lens through which a new acquaintance will henceforth see you.
  5. Moving forward, people generally look for your behaviors that confirm their conclusion from their first impression.
  6. Largely people ignore things that contradict that first impression they had of you.
  7. Once you’ve made an initial impression on the clay of their mind, the rest of the relationship tends to follow its contours, affecting all their future thoughts about you.
  8. It can take up to six months of regular contact with someone to change their initial impression and alter the lens through which they see you.

It might seem unfair that people form such a firm assessment of you in such a short time, and think that these snap impressions are bound to be faulty. Yet dozens of studies have shown that first impressions are actually highly accurate in gauging a person’s true personality and abilities.

What makes good first impression?

Generally, people like other people who are:

  • Warm
  • Confident
  • Trustworthy
  • Credible
  • Kind
  • Attractive
  • Make them feel comfortable
  • Feel interesting
  • Feel valued.

Basically, people like people who seem like they’ll be a social benefit, rather than a social burden. People are attracted to people who have something to offer — not just monetary resources, but those of many different kinds. People are looking for those who come bearing 4 social gifts: Appreciation, Connection, Elevation, and Enlightenment

On the other hand, people tend to avoid “high maintenance people” – those who are boring, empty, self-absorbed, insecure, and needy; people who will inflict a cost; who will require a greater energy investment than they give. So if you’re serious about improving the impression you make externally, you have to start by shaping your inner values.

Mastering the mechanics of a positive first impression thus isn’t about hiding your true personality or trying to be someone you’re not. The goal of improving your conversational strategies and body language is simply to get these external behaviours to match and enhance, rather than contradict, your inner self. Doing so helps you reveal and showcase your best qualities, and gives others greater access to them. Such packaging may only be skin deep, but it draws people in and entices them to want to “unwrap” you further.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BECOME A BETTER MAN – 2 (CONQUER FEAR)


WHAT IS FEAR?

  1. Fear is a biological instinct that prevents us from doing stupid things that might kill us. For example, fear kicks in with good reason when we see a slithering snake or look over the edge of a cliff.
  2. Fear is a spirit (False Evidence Appearing Real)

Examples of fear: –

  1. Fear of speaking in public
  2. Fear of height
  3. Fear of rejection
  4. Fear of flying
  5. Fear of spider or snake
  6. Fear of intimacy
  7. Fear of death
  8. Fear of lack or inadequacy

While fear works to prevent us from physical pain, it can also hold us back from the chance at the pain of a crushed ego and the exhilaration of victory and success. Hence the Bible say “God has not giving us the spirit of fear but of love, of power and a sound mind” Imagine the power or effect of fear. In order to counter it, God gave us three things to nullify fear – Love, Power & Sound mind.

The knowledge of the character of a person or a thing helps us in knowing how to deal or relate to the person or thing.

Characteristics of Fears

  1. Fear is irrational. Even though no one can ever be fully rational in their choices and behavior, but every man should strive to live with reason and ration as his guide.
  1. Fear is cowardly. William Shakespeare said “Cowards die many times before their death but valiant never taste of death but once”

Every man seeks to be brave and courageous. But we often try to frame our fears in ways that either soothe our egos or camouflage them in wisdom. We say that things like:

  • I’m being prudent or cautious.
  • It’s not important to me.
  • I’m just a little nervous.
  1. Fear robs you of your integrity. Integrity means behaving in a way wholly congruous with your beliefs and values. But when you want to do something that you believe is the right thing to do, but fail to do it because of fear, you violate your core values – your N.U.Ts. Living true to your principles will always involve a healthy measure of overcoming your fears.
  1. Fear pushes you from the driver’s seat. A man is the captain of his own destiny. He makes the choices and chooses the roads that lead him to his goals. But a man ruled by fear abdicates his captain ship to his fear. He gives his fear the steering wheel. Fear turns analysis into paralysis and makes coward of men
  1. Fear leaves regrets. A man does not dwell in the past. He learns from the past, but never let it hinder him. But if you allow fear to keep you from seizing opportunities that comes your way, you will inevitably look back, kick yourself, and wonder why you let fear have its way with you.
  1. Fear slows down your personal growth. A man should always be striving to improve himself, to be a little better than he was the day before. But there is no growth without risk. But note that improvement does not equate comparing yourself with another man (Bible calls that foolishness). Rather, the one and only competitor you have is the man in the mirror; that is the man you need to be better than.

 

How to Overcome Our Fears

An Irish poet – Brendan Francis once said: “Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.” We need not live our lives captive to our fears and insecurities. You can, through your will, become the master of your fears.

HOW?

  1. Change your perspective on fear. Fear is only a negative thing if you believe that it is. For instance, is the pain you experience while working out a negative thing, or is it just the feeling of your body getting stronger? You can choose to think about it simply as the “pain” your body experiences as your character develops and expands. There is very little growth where there is no pain and work by elevating your vision and your perspective will change. Instead of seeing the tackling of our fears as nerve-racking, see it as an adventure.
  1. Change your perspective on risk. Differentiate between short term & long term risks. The root of our fear is our fear of trying something and crashing and burning.
  1. What if I get rejected?
  2. What if I fail?
  3. What if they laugh at me
  4. What if, what if!!!

These are short-term risk assessments. But in making such a short-term risk assessment calculation, you are leaving out the long-term risk, a risk that’s far riskier than any short term blow to your ego.

The long term risks are these:

  1. The risk of never amounting to anything – because you refuse to try.
  2. The risk of living a completely mediocre life – because you refuse to grow.
  3. The risk of looking back in 10, 20, or 30 years and feeling your stomach turn with regret – because you took the short cut.
  4. The risk of missing out on the experience and always wondering what it would have been like?
  1. Think about the great men of history. What we call personal fears and challenges can seem overwhelming and insurmountable. But with the proper perspective, they can seem rightfully manageable. The next time you feel paralyzed by a fear, think of the following courageous men of the past.
  1. Sir Edmund Hillary ascending Mt. Everest in 1953 – he said “People do not decide to become extraordinary. Rather they decide to do extraordinary things”
  2. Noah – build the Ark for 100 years without any knowledge of what is called rain. Imagine the mockery and ridicule but he kept going.
  3. The astronauts sitting in Apollo 13.
  4. Kill the fear with logic. As we mentioned above, fear is not a rational thing. The solution is thus to kill it with logic. The best way to do this is to ask yourself this question: “If I do this, what is the worst that can happen?”

 

 

Become a Better Man – “Finding Your N.U.Ts”


One of the most important challenges facing every good man who wants to be better is to know exactly what he’s committed to. Without a clear understanding of what is acceptable and what is not, a man is likely to find himself going down a path of compromise, resentment and despair. So, what’s a better man to do? Find his N.U.T.s and maintain a firm grasp.

N.U.T.s are your Non-negotiable, Unalterable Terms. N.U.T.s are the things you’re committed to, the things that matter more than anything else: your kids, your career, your primary relationships, yourself, your purpose, your spiritual practice, your hobbies, your integrity, your morals and your psychological well-being.

N.U.T.s are the boundaries that define you as man and when repeatedly compromised, will gradually but assuredly turn you into a resentful man who will likely blame others for your unhappiness. Your N.U.T.s are uniquely yours. They reflect who you are as a man and the man you want to be. Compromise your N.U.T.s, and you’ll compromise yourself. Compromise yourself too often, and you’ll become an extremely unhappy man, husband and father.

In order to find your N.U.Ts, here are some of the questions you’ll want to ask yourself:

  1. What’s most important to me in life?
  2. Are there activities I used to do for fun that I no longer do? Is someone interfering and am I resentful because of it?
  3. Are there valuable friendships with men I’ve let slip away?
  4. Where am I currently having problems (unhappy, frustrated, sad, angry, resentful) in my life, and did compromising myself—and what’s important to me—contribute to my feelings and/or the situation?
  5. What dreams have I abandoned?
  6. If I’m going to be the man I want to be, what will I have to do differently?

Once you find your N.U.T.s, never forget them and never compromise them.