Slumdog Millionaire, Hollywood, Hope & Being A Man

December 15, 2008 at 7:14 pm (Uncategorized)

Slumdog MillionaireSeems like a mouthful doesn’t it? Hollywood’s latest darling, Hope & Being A Man…all connected?

Yeah, I think so…

Have you seen the film yet? If not, you should – it’s rather extraordinary, and frankly, incomparable.

I tried to explain it to my girlfriend, and really couldn’t as it’s not like anything else I’ve ever seen.

But, it caused me to think about something and perhaps you’ve given this very same idea some thought too.

Seems like all the “great” hollywood films speak to some aspect of “hope” for mankind. It’s common to see an individual dealt challenging obstacles, which he/she overcomes to triumph.

Films like “Slumdog Millionaire” epitomize this phenomenon. I loved the film, and relished in the hope and character given via the circumstances that the protagonist, Jalil, faces.

It’s cleverly done, and the performances are superb. Danny Boyle’s direction is masterful – and I do mean masterful – but, at the same time, buried within the tale is a formula that Hollywood leans on over and over and over again.

Why do they do so?

Because we WANT it. We LIKE it. Dare I say…we NEED it.

Watched “It’s A Wonderful Life” recently, and it follows the same formula (basically). A man, played by Jimmy Stewart (and how great is he? Wow), is dealt extraordinary challenges, and is on the brink of suicide, when “something” happens and he’s given the power and strength to overcome.

Rather similar to “Slumdog”. Both men are righteous, considerate, honest, and they have backbone. They are strong and powerful. They are focused, and they know what they want. In Jalil’s case, he wants the girl. In Stewart’s case, he wants to keep his business.

But, the question I want to raise here is not one of Hollywood, but rather of humanity. Why do we need such hope? Why do we cherish such sentimentality? Why do we bang down the doors to see a man challenged, and triumph?

Why?

I say – because WE want that feeling for ourselves, as we don’t experience it in reality. We feel trampled, fatigued, and backboneless. We CRAVE the vision of a man (in these cases) “overcoming”.

Hollywood feeds it to us regularly because they know we want it. But, isn’t it time to face the music? In a recession, in a period of time where men are weaker and weaker, where relationships crumble due to the couple’s inability to be their gender? The divorce rate is as high as it’s ever been (and it will continue in a recession, studies show), and too many continue to waltz along clueless to the reality at hand.

We’re asleep to the consequences that become more and more inevitable by the day. As global warming promises drastic, possibly irreversable climate changes, the decline of men and the absence of real direction and hope in our lives promises a “male depression” on a profound scale.

Women – I’m not a female, so I don’t even pretend to “know” what your life is like and why you might suffer in this world. I’ll leave that to others. But, as a guy who works with, and helps, guys…I feel it is my responsibility to point this phenomenon out.

So, as I observe “Slumdog Millionaire”, I am caused to reflect upon myself and my life. I see fear within me, a fear that wishes that I remain the size and shape that I am, a fear that screams at me to never step out and speak. A fear that prefers safety to living, each and every moment.

In continuing my theme, “Che” is now out and I plan to see it before the holiday. “Che” is the classic guerrilla image, and is someone that has inspired me. His murderous, relentlessly cruel tactics are not endorsed here. But, his dedication to a cause, his belief and determined aim to helping people (right or wrong, doesn’t matter).

The man stood for something. Do I?

Jalil stood for something. Do you?

Is it that commitment that we feel so far from, and that we touch in these films – if only for a moment – and we feel inspired and awake…if only for just those moments.

Why was “The Matrix” so successful? Perhaps because it spoke to us, in our prisons and limits, and called us to believe something else.

But, can we?

Remains to be seen. My goal is to break out. That’s the guerrilla warfare I believe in. Not the murderous, cruel kind. But, the kind where I (and you) find what we stand for, and do just that. It’s where we break our bonds, and resurrect our real “selves”. It’s where we carve out individual paths, rather than succumb to the ones blazed by everyone else.

I think an interesting question from which to begin is just this:

What do you stand for?

And, can you design a life that surrounds that?

I challenge you.

Stephen.

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Feels Like…I’ve Been Struck By Lightning (aka, having a relationship with my father)

December 10, 2008 at 8:04 pm (Uncategorized)

Lightning Strike

Standing up to my dad has released such a swell of GUILT, that it feels like I’ve been struck by lightning.

Not literally of course – and, for the record, I’ve NEVER been struck by lightning.  So, I haven’t a clue what that really feels like.

But, the full-bodied experience of guilt and emotion it has released is unparalleled in my life.

It’s very significant.

As a guy, we are taught a LOT by our fathers.  My dad is not the healthiest guy in the world, in fact he is very very damaged.

He doesn’t know it, but his “way” has unloaded some serious guilt onto his son’s shoulders.  So much so that, a lot of my life is lived in the shadows of what it could be.

I’ve bought into it for YEARS mind you, and it’s my responsibility to change my behaviour – but, it’s taken a lot of time to become aware of this dynamic.

One lesson I learned from him was “be passive”.  Guys, know about this one??

Don’t speak your truth; don’t go for what you really want; don’t take any risks with money (a biggie).

My dad’s a FREAK about money – and it is the most important thing in his life.  He is never generous, and always selfish with his money.  He obsesses about it, and takes absolutely ZERO risks re: money.

It’s a shame.  He’s a brilliant scientist, who could be of service in a multitude of ways.  But, instead, he chooses to stay in a safe job where he is miserable.

“SAFE”…that’s a big word in my family.

Well, being a guerrilla is about learning how to be REAL.  That means, learning to live in a way that is NOT safe.

Now, I am not talking about risking your life necessarily.  But, I am talking about living in a way which threatens your comfort zone.  Living so that your ego can be shaved, slowly and definitely.  Living so that you learn to understand the true meaning of love.  Living as if you have 6 months to live.

What would life look like then?

It might not meet dad’s approval – mind you.  BUT, it might just make us grow as men.

I’ll leave you with this.

I’ve always felt like a boy.  I want to feel like a man. Learning to redraw the boundaries of my relationship with my father marks the “way” to understanding what being a man truly means.

Stephen.

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Calcified, Petrified Guilt…How It Holds Me Back & What I Am Doing About It

December 9, 2008 at 9:10 pm (Dailies)

Short answer – “action”.  Notably, action that is not comfortable, and that shows other people that their behavior is no longer acceptable.

Long answer…

I told my stepmom and dad today that I wouldn’t be coming for Christmas.  You see, they have this “rule” that our dog is not allowed in their house.  Period.  End of sentence.

Here is our dog, “Magic”:

Magic the dog

How could anyone resist?

Well, it shows how cold-hearted and callous my dad is that he flat-out rejects animals.  His answer when I told him I couldn’t make it?  He offered up a kennel in response.  Imagine.

To the cold-hearted, a kennel is the perfect solution.  To my and my girlfriend, not an answer at all.

The big picture here is learning to take up space, and pull oneself away from sticky relationships which keep us small.  My dad has lived a small, snively, angry life for a long time.  And that might just be the endgame for me (and you?) too if drastic action is not taken.  Action along the lines of becoming a MAN.

That’s what I want – I want to be a MAN (yes, in all caps), and not a guilt-ridden, placating boy.  Enough is enough.

Face the fear, feel the guilt, and learn to LIVE with it and often contrary to it.

It might just save your life.

I’ll keep you posted…

Stephen.

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The Stakes Rise

December 8, 2008 at 5:28 pm (Dailies)

Wanted to get a quick post here.  I’m being challenged, and it’s a good thing.

My dad’s a class A selfish guy.  And, I am going to have to stand up to him…yet again.

Also, my girlfriend is now my fiance.  And, she’s letting me know that she now expects more from me as a man.

I’m ready for this.  I’m 36, and it’s time to grow to the next level.

So much of it all comes back to my one word answer to why it is that men fail so often in relationships:

SECURITY

That’s it.  Insecurity is a deep phenomena in so many of us, and living a certain way is the best (only?) way to correct it.

The guerrilla lifestyle means to question everything, and challenge everything.

Be the one who makes others insecure, by threatening their own comfort zones by changing ones own.

Stephen

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The Suicide Girls & Doing WTF You Want

December 4, 2008 at 12:54 am (Reviews, Uncategorized, WTF Days) ()

Know of them? sggb31

The Suicide Girls are a collection of modern day pinup models. They tend to be pierced, tattooed, sexy, smart…and, cooler than you.

Check em out here:

Suicide Girls site

Why am I posting this here? 2 reasons:

1) My girlfriend is one of them…(no, I will not reveal which one)
2) Their movement is to be modeled…by me, and you

They believe in empowerment, and community, and there’s an unmistakable “cool factor” to the SG site. Also, they do self-improvement, but indirectly.

They aren’t ostentatious and “feel good” about it – they ARE improvement, in action.

Ever notice how there are mostly weirdos in the “self improvement” areas of bookstores? Ever notice how CREEPY self-improvement gurus are?

I mean, did you watch “The Secret”?? What a creepshow, IMO. It offers some great ideas, but it couches it in some of the most insulting, condescending and weird visuals/music/words, and gurus I’ve ever seen.

Guys don’t respond well to that. I was embarrassed by it (my fault? Possible), and didn’t even want others to see me with the DVD. So, what I’m looking to do with the guerrilla boys is to make self-improvement COOL for guys.

The only way to do that is to lean into your edge, and grow real self-esteem. You’ve gotta take risks and action to do that.

When I became a pro PUA (pick up artist), I found it to be exhilarating and scary. I grew in the process. I then left once it became mechanical and no longer, uncomfortable. Rather, NOT doing it became uncomfortable. This is when I made huge strides – in the letting go.

Nowadays, I feel I am in a new rut. One that pertains to WORK and my financial situation. I think about it constantly. And my solution is to dig-in and get busy, when the REAL answer (I believe) lies outside of that.

The Suicide Girls community supports the growth and development of its members along contemporary and FEMININE lines…sggb1

Men need the same thing. And the answer isn’t the “pick-up” community. Most guys go online for help with women and dating and find themselves steered over and over to the PUA-land. It’s creepy, but it’s the only thing available.

GBC is about making self-development cool for guys. That’s it. Plain and Simple.

We can learn from SG on that.

How will I start? This Friday, and every Friday after that…I am going to do WTF I want. It might be work, but it might not be too. I may sit around and read, I may write poetry. I may go to the gym…I don’t really know. But, when I wake up, I’ll know what I want to do and then I am going to do it.

Some rules:

1) I cannot hurt others
2) I must take risks
3) It must be fun and meaningful to ME (IOW, I live in NYC and can’t go scuba diving…I am me and am not interested in stand-up comedy).

Try it. Spend a day doing WTF you want. And lets see where it takes you, and me.

Stephen.

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What Is Your Edge?

December 2, 2008 at 6:23 pm (Uncategorized)

What Is Your Edge?

Ever read David Deida’s “Way Of The Superior Man“?

It’s a damn good read.  Dare I say…it’s a MUST read for guys looking for an edge in life.

I stumbled across it a number of years ago, and still refer to it.

In short, it helped me – and it can help you too…I am sure of it.

The question I come to often, and that this book helps me to see is…what is my REAL edge in life?

Have you ever seriously considered that question – what is YOUR real edge in life?

Where is it that you stop?  Where is it that you’ve decided is the finish line to your reality?

And…have you ever questioned those unconscious positions?

If you want to grow, you’re going to HAVE to do that.

What is my edge?  Let me give a list here.  Frankly, I’ve never written it down.  This should be interesting.

I’ll write my belief set which keeps me “inside the zone” and then my wishes for life which is “outside the zone”, and that I need to grow towards.

Inside The Zone

I work 5 days/week, and busy work is good and worth doing over resting and allowing myself to relax (and perhaps come up with better ways of growing my business);

I must live in NYC

I don’t tell people what I really, truly think of them

I am rarely bluntly honest (and when I am, I feel guilty)

I am a creature of habit and structure, breaking out of that makes me nervous…and normally towards work – as if I won’t make the dough I need.

Outside The Zone

I want to learn to scuba dive

I want to learn Spanish

I want to be ultra-good at camping and the outdoors

I want to be honest with people, and really tell them how I see the world and them

I want to give more to my girlfriend, friends, family and pets

I want to make movies

I want to be a skilled photographer

I want to read more

That’s a start.  I don’t want this to become a Christmas list or anything.  But, that should paint my edge.

By writing about what’s inside the zone, and outside the zone, I’m able to see more clearly what my real edge in life is.

Maybe I’ll post about goal-setting tomorrow.  That seems to be a good topic and one that I’ve struggled with, and made some real headway with too.

Like life, everything’s a mixed bag.

Stephen.

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Ruts, & How To Break Them

December 1, 2008 at 9:18 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

I think I am a workaholic.

I want to work all the time. AND, I am not terribly good at it. Let me qualify that a little – I am good at working, but don’t seem to be good at doing things which make me money.

Ugh. I find myself consumed with working, and needing to make money. I tell myself that when I reach a certain threshhold, I’ll relax and start doing more things that I want to do.

That might be true, but I am suspicious of it frankly. I am not the most disciplined guy ever frankly, and I certainly seem to be addicted to email/internet.

My parents visited this weekend, and I forced myself to stay off of email for 96 hours. WOW, was it hard to do so. Very often, I’d tempt myself into going to my computer and pulling up email to check for sales.

So, instead of doing that, I’d go to the shopping cart and check for sales instead!

Ever read Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week? It speaks to this challenge directly. What’s his solution?

A “low information diet”. In other words, the less distraction the better.

Also, I am not even sure I am interested in my current business any more. I frankly want it to make me enough money so that I can “start doing what I want” in life.

It’s sorta hard to see that happening when I’m not really into it anymore. What’s my business?

How To Get A Girlfriend…it is

I help guys with women and dating. I’m damn good at it too. I can say that here, because it’s clearly not a “buy my shit” plug. But, I know what I am doing in that business. I also am wildly in love, and can’t imagine dating anyone else…in fact, we’re engaged.

So, I have no interest in learning this stuff myself. Dig?

I want to be doing other things…which leads me to this blog. You see, I have an idea.

I want to break out of my ruts. And, I want to do it in a way that encourages others to do the same.

But, I have a hunch that it will be interesting and that others will want to do this along with me.

This is modern-day guerrilla warfare. Our trenches our the ruts of our lives. And we’ve gotta blast our way out.

Life is short.

Stephen

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I Got Engaged Today

November 26, 2008 at 5:19 am (Uncategorized)

To my gorgeous girlfriend…wow, is this exciting.

We’re going to get married in the mountains of NC.  Then, we’re off to Thailand for a 2-week honeymoon where will also have a Buddhist ceremony, and stay for a week on the beach.

Tomorrow – prep for Thanksgiving.

All the time…am thinking of ways to grow this site.  Ideas?  Let me know.  Here are mine:

Video submissions from others
Video of me taking actions
Stills of you/me taking actions
Holding monthly talks

etc.

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GBC: Our Mission

November 25, 2008 at 2:20 am (Uncategorized) ()

Is to make being a guy cool again.

Is to find our edge, our comfort zone, and lean into it.

Is to do something different.

Is to become an individual.

Is to rebel against convention, norm and habit.

Is to go to war against our lesser, selfish, selves.

Is to stop being nice, and start being real.

Is to do actions in life that matter…to us, and them.

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