The Undisputed Champ of Women’s MMA: Fightland Meets Ronda Rousey

A Concise History of U.S. Divestment in Black Men

The Kind of Men We Want to Be by Anthony Carter

Anthony Carter realized that the problems in our society can’t be fixed by looking for a scapegoat.

 

In an effort to make sense of so much of the craziness that goes on, everybody would like a scapegoat. Someone to blame everything on.

I have read a great deal of feminist literature. I love me some Bell Hooks and actually met and talked with her once on a subway when I lived in NYC. I have read feminists, male and female, and I have realized that the problem was never with men.

The problem is with our culture and its social structure.

In fact, anyone, male or female can be an agent of oppression. I have become obsessed with letting go of the idea of men as the big bad.

You’d think being gay would make me male-friendly and somewhat male-obsessed. This is what oppression does to you. It has you inviting and creating a great big bowl of crazy called your life and inviting all sorts of wrong and not very well thought-out beliefs and personal policies into your mind.

As a young queen fresh out of undergrad, I was determined to change the world. I read tons of material on oppression, misogyny, classism and racism. With all of this information, I was ready to take on all the powerful entities in the world that decided how far I could go and what I could dream about.

There was only one problem.

I took in all of the “men are the problem” thinking.

Granted, growing up an inordinate amount of torture was wielded in my direction by men, all straight. The type of torture that teaches you self-hate and self-negation way before you know that’s what your doing.

The type that says you are wrong for not liking, being good at, or obsessing about sports. That if you were a real boy you’d wanna fight, destroy, and maim. The indoctrination begins early and often and never, under any circumstances, lets up.

If you’re a young kid who is gay or perceived as such, it sets you up for a life or mockery and shame at the hands of friends and family. This is what happened to me.

Having grown up in a working class, black neighborhood in the 70’s, there was little I could do to uphold a particular type of masculinity. So between that upbringing and all the reading I read from 23 onward, is it any wonder that I also thought, “If men would just get it together, what a wonderful place this world would be.”

I hadn’t realized two things:
That society and the way people, not just men think, is the real problem, the true enemy; and
there was no way to truly feel good about myself and my male allies if I believed we were all flawed beyond compare and hopeless.

I would like to offer praise and love for all things male.

I want all men, myself included, to truly fall in love and commit to being loving towards the incredible gifts and joys we experience and share simply because of our gender. I want us all to seek out and work towards becoming incredible men.

Men who can be all things. Vulnerable and action-oriented. Playful, kind, and to the point.

The type of fathers, uncles, brothers, and lovers who can be counted on to take care of children and be secure enough to say, “I don’t know. I think we should ask someone who has more experience in this area.”

We need men who can think and love and a world that doesn’t fear or demonize them as a result of this choice.

See original article here.

 

How to Be Openly Gay and in School – High School by Bold & Sugar

High school can be hard for anyone. Darianna Jones has some advice to make it easier for kids who are out in school.

 

High school. From “trying too hard” pep rallies to watching fights in the hallways, life after middle school can seem daunting to say the least. You’re fast approaching adulthood and possibly college, and teenage angst is about to reach nuclear levels. As a gay teen, you can safely multiply all of the typical high school teen problems by at least 10, especially if you’re out of the closet. How do you navigate this treacherous place full of social hierarchy, bad choices, and “Homophobia I learned from my parents”? Here’s a few tips:

1. Build Your Support Network

Starting high school is intimidating for everyone at first, even the soon-to-be jocks and popular crowd. These next four years are going to be rough on everyone in some way. Whatever clique you end up in, make sure the people in it are willing to support you as much as possible. And don’t just stop there. Teachers, parents, coaches, and school counselors are just a few more people you should consider adding to your support network. And if there are other out-and-proud gay folks at your school, try to befriend them. There’s strength in numbers!

2. Don’t Back Down

Inevitably, you’ll face a situation where you’ll have to deal with a jerk, whether it’s name-calling or straight up harassment. Don’t back down to a bully. Show them that you will not be pushed around. If things escalate to physical violence, seek an adult as soon as possible. Though it seems a little extreme, enrolling in self-defense classes will certainly help too. Of course, bullying isn’t limited to physical violence or taunting anymore. If someone is spreading rumors about you and harassing you online, they can easily be reported here.

3. Build Tough Skin

If you’re openly gay in high school, expect to be called names. Expect to get dirty looks nearly every day. Expect even teachers and other adults to squirm in your presence. It will happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it get to you. Realizing that it’s their problem and not yours will help you find the strength to let their pettiness bounce right off of you. You determine the kind of person you are, not others.

4. Get Help When You Need It

Sometimes, you’re going to get overwhelmed. Perhaps you’ve had a really hard test week, your grades are slipping, that bully just won’t leave you alone, and your support network helping you the way you thought it would. Seeking professional help is not a “psycho sentence”. Many people who experience a great deal of stress seek out professionals to help “re-sort” what’s bothering them to help them move over the bump that’s currently holding them back.

5. Do What Makes You Happy

High school is the chance to delve into many different extracurricular activities such as sports, music, arts, theatre, dance, and cheer-leading. Never let anyone deter you from doing what you truly want to do. Yes, if it’s something like male cheer-leading you’ll have to deal with a lot of flack and name-calling, but don’t let it stop you.

6. Watch Those Boys/Girls

You’re going to have crushes, sugahz. There are going to be boys and girls that catch your attention, and if the chemistry is right, you may start something special. However, be careful of someone who isn’t quite ready to be “out” of the closet yet. While you may be out-and-proud, at some point they may seek to retreat further into the closet for a little while and shut you out in the process, ending the relationship abruptly.

And leave those straight boys and girls alone!

7. Hang In There

It’s going to be tough. You’re going to make a lot of friends and lose a lot of friends. You’re going to face hardships that many people will, quite honestly, never understand no matter how many times you explain it to them. In fact, sometimes you’ll just feel alone. But keep your chin up, remind yourself of how special you are every day, and stay in those books. High school doesn’t last forever, and it’ll be over before you know it. In the meantime, make some memories and have fun! You being yourself will encourage others to do the same. Always remember that.

See the original article on the Good Men Project Website here.

How to Rise Above Criticism and Embrace Your Calling

When Positive Thinking Doesn’t Help By Allison Carr

“The best way out is always through.” ~Robert Frost

Earlier this year my partner, our son, and I all moved to Santa Barbara from Oregon. People move all the time, but for us it was a huge step.

My partner had a new exciting dream job and we were eager to experience the sunshine of California. But our son was only six months old at the time, and we were leaving both our families and all of our friends. On top of that, I was leaving my successful private practice in Chinese Medicine to become a stay-at-home-mom.

I knew it was going to be hard, but I was determined to turn the move into a positive new opportunity for myself. It was a chance to renew my commitment to blogging, perhaps work on that book I’ve been talking about writing, maybe start a coaching practice?

We arrived in January, excited to find sunny skies and mild weather, while our friends and family were complaining about the rain. We both started a cleanse, determined to start the New Year off to a healthy start. We walked more, took our son out for strolls.

My partner went off to work, and I was determined to dive into re-inventing my business. All I needed was determination, the right attitude, and everything would just come flowing my way, right?

Friends would call and ask me how I was: “GREAT!” I would answer, determined to keep a smile on my face.But it wasn’t great. Nothing was working. In the few spare minutes I had between chasing a six-month-old, I would try and write. But I was stuck and I couldn’t figure out why.

I even hired a life coach, thinking all I needed was someone to point me in the right direction. The first thing she said was “You are back at square-one, it’s not time to be making plans.” I burst into tears.

She explained how I had to take the time to grieve my old life. I had to grieve the loss of my career, my identity, friends, family, even the loss of my favorite grocery store if that is what it took.

No wonder nothing was working! I was so determined to think positively about my new transition I didn’t even take time to feel sad.

It was like I hadn’t even landed in my new home; I was just walking around about a foot off the ground in a bubble of “everything is fine,” when really, I wasn’t fine, I was sad.

I took her advice and it made all the difference. Here is what I learned about when positive thinking can actually slow you down:

Feel your feelings; just don’t attach meaning to them. 

I was so afraid to feel sad because I thought I would be blocking myself from positive experiences. The trick was letting myself feel the sadness without attaching a story to it. Like “I will never find friends” or “I will never get my practice started.” It was the negative stories that weren’t helpful, not my feelings.

Feelings are just like the weather; they can’t be controlled and they are always changing. I found that if I just let myself be in the sadness, it passed so much quicker.

Take the time you need for yourself.

Shortly after this realization I took some time just for myself. I quit blogging, quit planning, quit putting so much pressure on myself, and just let myself be sad. I cried. I napped when my son napped.

Planning and being busy were just another way for me to avoid how I was feeling. I needed time to turn inward, not expand outward.

Even in grief there is room for gratitude.

This was a hard one because I wanted to blame my unhappiness on our new home. But as hard as I tried, the beauty and charm of our new home won me over.

As I took time for myself, I made sure to be grateful that we had landed in such a beautiful spot. Having something to be grateful for really helped me keep my head above water.

The time for dreaming will come again.

At one point I thought it was never going to shift, but then it did. Little by little, I began being excited by life here. I stopped feeling like I was missing something so much. With that shift came new friendships, new business opportunities, even a renewed sense of fun and adventure in my relationship.

This was the magic I was looking for; it had to come from a place of true, grounded joy, not hollow optimism that I thought I had to fake.

There is nothing wrong with trying to keep a positive attitude, but it can’t come at the expense of your true feelings.

Only by allowing yourself to be present with more difficult emotions can you begin to move through them and create space for a new experience. Real happiness comes only when the positive thoughts in your head are aligned with the true joy in your heart.

Start Now – Motivational Video

Are Limiting Beliefs Holding You Back and Making You Feel Bad? By Victoria Cox

“If you believe yourself to be limited in some way, whether or not it is true, it becomes true for you.” ~Brian Tracy

I have often wondered why the most formative years of one’s life, in early childhood, tend to be the hardest for us to recall.

Most of us cannot even begin to tap into those memories. Those scant memories that do bubble up to the surface are often fog-tinged and dreamlike. Images or sensations may appear, but the linear, day-to-day recollection evades us.

Perhaps Mother Nature does have a sense of humor, because, oddly enough, it is usually only those traumatic or intense moments of our lives that seem to come up.

Can I remember winning the sack race when I was six? No. Do I recall my first day of school? I remember in vivid detail walking up to the school gates clutching onto my mother’s legs, panicking that I would never make any friends.

I have always thought that these types of memories don’t simply vanish into thin air but rather get stored somewhere in our subconscious.

The problem is that we don’t know the password to access them. The same can be said for things people said to us when we were young children. Those words and life lessons, whether positive or negative, became imprinted on our psyche.

If you were one of the lucky children that constantly heard “The world is your oyster” or “You can do anything you set your mind to,” you probably carried these beliefs into adulthood.

The positive reinforcement received from a young age seems to sustain a secure sense of self, which guides these people through their lives. More often than not, they turn out to be successful, because why wouldn’t they?

(Of course, there are those that receive positive reinforcement from a young age yet somehow morph into self-entitled monsters, but that’s another article.)

If others tell you, and you believe, that there is nothing stopping you from achieving your dreams, then chances are you will take more risks in life and your life rewards will increase exponentially.

But what if the opposite were true? What if you were constantly fed a diet of negativity as a child?

If others regularly told you that “You will never amount to anything” and that “You are worthless,” what kind of foundation do you think that provided? A shaky one, and from shaky foundations come insecurity and a wavering sense of self.

Sure, some people who have this kind of upbringing find great success in life, but it is often overcompensation for this self-limiting belief that spurs people on to greater heights and bigger lives.

The drive comes from a need to prove that what they heard as children was wrong; it’s not a drive emanating from the belief “I deserve this” or, to quote L’Oreal, “because I’m worth it.”

I strongly believe that whatever our parents (or parental figures) told us during these formative years remains in our bodies on a subconscious level.

Have you ever had a situation when someone said or did something to you that felt like it struck a nerve? Did someone make a comment to you that unexpectedly brought back a plethora of sensations, fears, or worries that you haven’t felt in years? How does that happen?

We subconsciously reinforce those messages and viewpoints that our loved ones continually reinforced until they become our very own beliefs.

And then we unknowingly pass them on to our children, and on and on the cycle spins. But what would life be like if you could learn to separate yourself from a belief pattern that has no foundation of truth but nonetheless has a hold over you?

My self-limiting belief revolves around money and my attitude toward it. From a young age my parents worked very hard, holding multiple jobs and doing everything in their power to give us what we needed.

As they built their business together, their lives and incomes improved; however, their attitudes toward money did not.

Having come from a place of lack, they didn’t want us to find ourselves in that same place. So the constant message was that saving money is important, and they frowned upon spending frivolously. We learned that you buy only what you need.

While these financial beliefs helped me greatly in certain aspects of my life, I’ve run into some residual issues as a result. In the dominant memories of shopping with my mother, the all important question was not “Do you like it?” but rather “How much is it?”

My mother did not encourage spending on anything but the basics, and she hardly ever splurged on herself.

I internalized the message that it is a bad thing to treat yourself to nice things.

Years later, despite having worked hard to find myself in a financially stable position, the first thing I do when out shopping is to look at the price tag. The voice in my head tells me it’s too expensive. I tell myself, “You don’t need this; what are you thinking?”

In the event that I decide that I do, in fact, need it and like it very much, I drag myself to the register yet spend a good thirty minutes afterward berating myself.

I am fully aware that I do this, but can’t seem to stop myself.

The first step toward change is awareness, and I am consciously aware that I’m a work in progress.

These days when I find myself in the midst of a heated argument with myself in the fitting room mirror, I give myself a pep talk. “Do you like it? Can you afford it?” If the answer is a resounding “yes,” I go right ahead.

So, what’s your self-limiting belief? How does this way of thinking hold you back in life? By encouraging an open dialogue, we can begin to free ourselves from the invisible shackles of these negative beliefs.

The more we hear, read, or speak a word or phrase, the more power it has over us. By staying aware and refuting these beliefs as they come up, their authority starts to wane.

Being consciously aware that we have the power to choose how we think can be wonderfully liberating. We no longer need to react according to some outdated belief system that we inherited, which doesn’t serve our highest potential.

What we choose to shine a light on can no longer carry a hold over us. So maybe it’s time to get out the flashlight, get really honest, and work through those beliefs that no longer serve us so we can put them where they belong, in the trash.

See the original article here.

The One Mindset That Separates The Successful, Fulfilling Life From the Mediocre, Boring, Routine One by Alexander Heyne

I’ve repeatedly observed one single mindset that causes more failure than just about anything else.

I noticed it in myself in my early to mid 20’s, when I was floundering and wasting a shitload of time. And I now notice it in loads of 20 somethings that aren’t where they want to be in life.

This single mindset repeatedly causes more pain, discomfort, and failure than virtually anything else – and it often goes unnoticed.

Scared? You should be.

Two Insanely Powerful Life Shifts

Here are the two, which will determine how far you go in life, and whether or not you end up living the life you want:

Blame

and

Personal responsibility

In my early 20s, after just moving back from China to a shit job market, I had little personal development under my belt.

It took about 6 months to find my first job, all the while I was asking:

“What’s with this piece of shit economy, why can’t I get a job?”

versus

“How can I get creative, and/or start earning extra money now?”

I blamed my connections, thinking: “Damnit, if only I had been a more connected person, with more friends, a better network, and so on.”

Rather than:

“How can I start creating an epic network of people who can help me crush it?”

I bitched and moaned about not having money, rather than cultivating the true entrepreneurial spirit I have now, which asks:

“Okay, stuff is bad now. How can I make it better?”

As you’ll soon see… these two mindsets change everything. And just by having a 5 minute conversation with someone, the presence or lack of these two concepts immediately tells me everything about the state of their lives – EVERYTHING.

And I can predict, almost 100% of the time, where they’ll be in 5 years, and unfortunately, where they’ll be when they die – unless they change.

Why These Change Everything

All success originates in the mind – pretty much a conclusion that just about 100% of the most successful people on earth have reached.

Why? If you don’t believe you can do something, you won’t try. Simple as that.

There’s much more to it, but we often only look for what we want to look for. If we view life through the lense of blame, we choose blame to explain the story and our circumstances.

If we choose personal responsibility, that becomes the underlying theme of our epic story.

Let me give you an example, let’s talk about Blamer Billy and Personal Responsibility (PN) Nancy.

Let’s see how they adapt to a couple life circumstances – these are all true stories, and even though the individuals aren’t real, the stories are composites of thousands of conversations I’ve had with very happy, successful, fulfilled people, and well, nothappy, or fulfilled people.

“My Relationship Goes to Shit”

Blamer Billy is in a relationship with the girl of his dreams. To keep the story short, she breaks up with him, and he’s crushed. Day after day, he goes out, smokes, plays video games, and tries to find as many distractions as possible for his mind.

In fact, this goes on for months. Three months later, he’s still like this. Friends and family get worried. “Blamer Billy, when are you going to get over this girl?”

But he can’t.

Whereas some people would blame the other person (“she doesn’t appreciate me” etc.), Billy goes on to blame himself. As he gets more and more depressed, he continues to blame himself for not being a high quality guy, for not being healthier, for not being more attentive to her needs. On and on it goes for Billy.

Personal Responsibility Nancy is also dumped by her boyfriend. She’s crushed. She goes through the similar nights of drinking wine and eating ice cream, watching movies, becoming a couch potato, trying to go out and drink as much as possible.

Her life is also in the dumps – but even though she blames herself, for not being a better girlfriend, and her boyfriend for “not being serious,” she decides that life is too short to be miserable. So she takes charge – creates an entire new friend group through meetup.com so she doesn’t have to see her ex again, she picks up a new hobby – karate – and she starts going to happy hour with her work colleagues more.

Which one of these two people do you think is doing better a year after the breakup?

“I lose my job (or can’t find one)”


Blamer Billy gets fired from his IT job in California.

“Shit. Balls.”

He was planning on taking a vacation this summer too, but now he can’t because he’s going to have to be saving that money to pay for his rent and living expenses.

Months go by as he applies for jobs, and he can’t get anything – even though he notices people WAY LESS qualified getting jobs that he just applied for. What gives?

He starts moaning and complaining to his friends about the unfair economy, about how it’s all rigged and run by Illuminati, and six months later, he’s no better off than before. Still searching and shotgunning resumes before finally finding a job.

PN Nancy on the other hand, also gets fired. She’s also in trouble financially. She also can’t get a job for six months. But Nancy, rather than saying why can’t I, asks the million dollar question: how can I.

Nancy decides she needs cash, fast. So she learns about freelancing – selling a skill for $$$. Nancy was pretty organized in college, so she decides to be an organizational coach. She originally starts at $30 an hour just cleaning up the homes of local moms and dads, but she quickly realizes she can charge more – $50 an hour – or even $100 an hour if she sells it to local businesses that are disorganized.

Over the next six months, Nancy brings in an extra $3,000 – from a brand new skill – and that number increases to grow.

Eventually, one of her clients also manages to land her a new day job.

After the 6 month period, when both Billy and Nancy now have jobs (finally!) – Nancy’s side freelancing business sometimes makes more than her job. Within two years, she quits her job to go full-time into the business – doing something she loves.

“I’m unhappy and my life sucks”

Blamer Billy is pissed off today. The Barista at Starbucks spilled a bit of coffee on him. There was more traffic than usual on the way to work. He had to wait an extra 30 minutes at work for someone who showed up late for a meeting. It rained after work nonstop. He’s just having a really bad day.

For some reason, he seems to have a lot of really bad days.

When I ask Billy why he’s always bummed out, he says, “It’s raining” or “Client showed up late” or “I’m stuck in this goddamn traffic.”

Billy’s happiness depends a lot on what’s going on around him.

PN Nancy asks herself that famous question, not why am I not happy? 

The coffee spills on her? Who cares, it happens. She can always get the shirt dry cleaned.

There’s traffic? She puts on a great podcast – besides, she can’t speed up the traffic flow anyway.

A client is late? She just so happened to have a great book on her kindle.

It rained? It’s all good – time to go see that museum with a friend and grab drinks instead of play in the park.

Nancy’s unbeatable happiness is built on the understanding of resistance.

Whereas billy resists virtually everything – and it makes his life a living hell – Nancy just accepts it, and then asks “Okay, so what’s the next step?”

Billy just complains about the next step, always finding something to blame to avoid taking action.

It’s your choice: take it or leave it

I’m sure, by now you can see my point.

These examples aren’t even dramatic – if you ask a heavy “blamer” about their childhood, you’re really going to get an earful.

And I’m not saying life is easy, or that you should just “suck it up” and get on with your life. Some of us really have gone through awful things, things we can’t or could not control.

But guess what?

When you blame – you lose the power to change things. Because you put it “out there.” “Life did this to me, and now I can’t do anything.”

But when you take responsibility, and decide that now is the perfect moment to change your life – you understand a rare truth.

It’s all up to you.

The economy really doesn’t have anything to do with your job, or your business.

The rain really doesn’t have anything to do with your happiness.

But your trajectory in life – whether or not you live the life you want, achieve the goals you find important, and end up fulfilled – that’s entirely up to you.

You either blame the world and circumstances around you, or you begin taking responsibility today.

Once you shift from “Why isn’t my life this way….” to “how can I make it this way?” everything changes.

Thoughts? Leave them below

– Alex

P.S. If you’re serious about creating an epic life: For those of you trying to figure out WTF to do with your life, trying to find your dream job, figure out your passion, or are just wondering WTF (And where) to go next – I’m opening enrollment for just 30 spots of this new crossroads coaching program.

A while back somebody asked about “where” do you find those friends, those people, that tribe of people who are MAKING SHIT HAPPEN, and will inspire you to do the same.

It’s here.

 

See the original article here

Kyle Maynard – Have No Regrets In Life

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