Tag Archives: men

Competition keeps you focused

Yea, competition is, in our politically correct little La-La Land, a bad word. But since most of the politically correct don’t really have a proper appreciation of gender differences, they want to live a quiet mediocre little life, really can’t adapt or accept differences (despite their rhetoric) we feel we have to accommodate the mediocre and unmotivated among us.

We really don’t frankly, they should be ignored, because they just don’t know what they’ve talking about and just don’t care. Their responses are usually emotional outbursts, although they condemn that in other people. They’re usually little bullies, physically, only if they can get away with it or emotionally. They will resort to petulant adolescent outbursts, instead of reason and resolution, despite what they think they’re not very smart, and they can’t understand why someone would respond emotionally. It’s their way or no way. Yea, I know, being a little harsh. The fact that there are those out there who are weak, passive or whiney is not an excuse to stomp on them either. Quietly correct them and move on. They will fuss at you as you’re leaving and will try the usual passive/aggressive undermining, but be assured no one really takes them seriously. For the rest of us who want to move on and actually do something in our lives we are the stronger and have to live that out when dealing with the, frankly, weaker and unmotivateable. Ya, I know that’s not a word, but it is descriptive.

The impetus for this rant is an article in Mens Health (May 2015 pp 130-134) The writer (couldn’t find his name) writes about personal rivals. Ya, that can get ugly sometimes, but the fact is that if you’re doing anything with your life, you will have rivals: “If you don’t think you have a rival, that could be your first problem. There is truth in one Holly wood agent’s assertion that ‘you’re no one in this town unless someone wants you dead.'” Ya, again a little harsh, but if you’re not worthy of someone else’s, let’s say dislike, you are just part of the mediocre crowd. Again, competition is not an excuse for playing dirty, lying, cheating, etc. It’s a way to motivate and strengthen.

For those of us who are Christians, we see rivals all through the Bible. God’s people simply had to stand up to their rivals in order for us to move along according to God’s will. The early Christians had the Jewish establishment and the Romans to compete against. They could have passively rolled over to them, but they knew what was right and took a strong, principled stand and so should we as Christian men in our daily life.

The author of the article points out: “Our recurring competitive bouts against known rivals ratchet up anxiety, excitement and also performance. Oddly, considering that rivals date back at least to Cain and Abel, the science of rivalry is relatively new,…” Yes, that was not a healthy rivalry and did not serve to improve anyone. Frankly it’s a better example of the nastiness of the mediocre and uninspired then it is of the positive affects of rivalry.

The writer refers to a positive example of how rivalry motivates us: “…NYU’s Gavin Kilduff, PhD studied the running community in State College, Pennsylvania he found that going up against a rival could cut 25 seconds off a competitive runners 5K time.” It may not seem like much, but I would love to be able to improve that much in a 5K, that’s a huge improvement.

“In one experiment, Uris Gneezy, PhD, an expert in behavioral economics at UC San Diego, gave people the choice to earn money at either a piece rate or a competitive basis for solving puzzles. Men (but not women) preferred to compete – going  against rivals dramatically increased their output.” There are numerous examples of the impetus of competition has created something better, and has done something difficult a lot faster. In 1961 when President John Kennedy challenged the United States to put a man on the moon before 1970, there weren’t many people around who were going to put money on that, yet because of the competition with the Soviet Union, eight years later the goal was accomplished with a few months to spare.

The writer points to Paul McCartney and John Lennon, yea, maybe not buddies, but smart enough to compete against each other and produce music that is still mainstream 40 years later.

Can women compete? Yes, of course and they do and there are many who do it in an inspiring way. God bless ’em. But again for those of the “don’t try to confuse me with the facts”, the mediocre, lazy and frankly just plain lame, competition is part of men’s makeup.

“When you’re the champ in any kind of competition, testosterone levels often quickly rise in your blood stream, says Matthew Fuxjager PhD, an assistant professor of biology at Wake Forest University.”

“Experts hypothesize that a rise in testosterone feeds your noggin’s reward system. And an influx of T may equal more receptors in brain structures that feed competitiveness and social aggression.”

For those in public education that simply can’t understand, identify with and are incapable of properly channeling this in boys, they really need to accept the facts and get out of the way, stop stifling this in boys. So many in today’s society think that they somehow get ahead by dragging someone else down, especially when they do it from ignorance and laziness. That’s not acceptable. Those who go out and accept the challenge are to be encouraged over those who prefer their laziness and passivity. In fact the writer concludes by saying that this chemical affect on a man has the affect of growing and building and helping to make life better for all of us, versus the mediocre la-la-ness. “Additional T receptors are probably still hanging around in your head long after your victory, Fuxjager says. The effect? You’ll be more likely to aggressively repeat the steps that led to your last win.”

I know this effect. Twenty-nine years in the Coast Guard competing against Mother Nature. Despite what the La-La’s think Mother Nature is an unforgivable competitor, she won’t hesitate to kill you if you make a mistake. When we went out and pulled someone out and got them to safety and help it was definitely a rush. For those who think drugs, booze, twinkies or just plain laziness is happiness, they will never know that rush. But I can tell you from personal experience, the next time I was called out, I had more knowledge, better prepared, bolder in accepting the challenge, and more motivated to pursue success. I’ll bet the person I rescued was probably pretty happy about that. For the mediocre and unmotivated they will never know that fulfillment and sit around and whine about it.

God equipped men to stand to the challenge, to be pushed to strive harder, God gave us rivals to push us and challenge us, to do things that will improve lives for other people too. It is not an excuse for men to stomp on others, to take what’s not theirs. But we should strive to serve God, our family, our community to the best of our ability and God gave us the make-up to do that and we should. God did not put us on the earth to be mediocre, passive, lazy. Read the Bible, I don’t see anyone in their that could be described positively in those ways. If someone pushes or inspires you to be a hero use that and always remember that it’s to the glory of God, His leading, His encouraging and in His service.

Men and women are different, that’s how God made us

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Starting decades ago, right up to the present, there is still this odd, persistent idea that there are no differences between men and women. The more real science there is and the less pop science that is so popular in liberal circles, the more we understand how different men and women are. That is not to say better, not so good, right/wrong, it’s just that’s the way God made us.

It also underscores the fact that brought together, in holy matrimony of course, men and women complement each other so amazingly, clearly we were made that way in order to, together, be a small indication of the completeness of God. God is the totality of everything, neither man nor woman, but the completeness, and so much more of humans. God made man and woman to be together, I understand that doesn’t always work out in life, but it does say that we are complete in heterosexual marriage, and homosexual marriage does not complete anyone or anything, it undermines what God has intended for us and tries to convince us that there are alternatives to God’s plan. There certainly are alternatives, but nothing other than God’s plan ends up well.

Anyway, the prompt for this blog is an article in “Christian Counseling Today” published by the American Association of Christian Counselors, since I’m pretty sure the vast majority of people reading this don’t subscribe I will quote at length. If you are interested in Christian Counseling this organization has great programs to train clergy and laity, if interested feel free to check with me.

The following article is by Walt Larimore, Dr Larimore is an MD “…one of America’s best-known family physicians and has been named in ‘The Best Doctors in America’ and ‘Who’s who in Medicine and Healthcare’. He is the best-selling author of 30 books, which along with his health blog and free daily devotional   DrWalt.com 

“…as I counsel female patients, they seem surprised to learn that men’s brains are simply not structured for long talks – whereas a woman’s brain is designed to process and enjoy long bouts of verbal communication.

This is not learned behavior. Rather, males and females come into the world with differences in how they hear and speak, already in place. The effect of testosterone in the unborn male changes his brain so that it has fewer and less connected verbal centers than does a female brain. So, it should not surprise us that girls develop proficient language skills earlier than boys…These differences are so profound that by three years of age, the average girl has twice the vocabulary of the average boy.

What is happening in the brain to cause these differences? Women use specific areas located on both sides of the brain for speech and language functions, while men tend to use just one side of their brains (the left hemisphere) for verbal tasks. when it comes to talking, women are naturally good at it, enjoy the process, and do it often. In addition, the neural connections between a woman’s emotional processing and memory centers are larger, far more active and more strongly connected to the verbal center of the brain than in a man.

She is designed to connect memories, words and feelings, so her conversation tends to be laden with emotion and meaning. Not so with men. The biological design of men causes them to be less likely to identify and communicate their emotions. With a smaller emotional center, men remember fewer emotional experiences than women. Furthermore, the portions of his brain that process emotion are much smaller and much less connected than those in her brain. So a man’s capacity to feel and express emotions is physically separated from his ability to verbally articulate. In conversation, men are much less likely (or even able) to talk about emotions and generally express much less emotional content than the average woman. This reality explains why male conversations are usually filled with facts and are devoid of emotion.

It is no surprise to veteran counselors that the most common dissatisfaction in marriage for a woman, at least after a few years, is that her husband does not provide the conversation she needs. Yet, most are not aware that a woman’s sensitivity to this communication gap has a biological origin – the calming, feel-good, bonding hormone called oxytocin.This hormone compels a woman to find others with whom she can talk it out because, when she does, it feels good and helps relieve stress and tension. Nevertheless, conversation with her husband is important because it magnifies the feelings of bonding and intimacy that she longs for in her relationship with him. However, if a wife’s expectation is that her husband will be the sole provider of oxytocin-rich relationships and conversations, she is likely to feel unloved and quite alone. She may expect her husband to feel unloved and quite alone. She may expect her husband to be available and able to meet all of her emotional and conversational needs, but it is just not the way he is built!

His brain is built to see conversation as a means to an end, whereas her brain is designed to see talking as an end in itself. Researchers have found that not only is her brain built to listen more acutely than his brain, but a woman can use up to six ‘listening expressions’ on her face in any 10-second period of conversation. Whether women are speaking or listening, they reflect in their faces what they are feeling. A woman’s facial expression communicate feelings to such an extent that when two women are talking to each other, it can be very difficult to tell who is sharing and who is responding…

…A man’s high levels of testosterone and vasopressin lead him toward problem-solving responses to stressors. Therefore, a man’s brain and hormones compel him to respond to emotions and stress by either doing something or fixing something They also lead him toward aggression and action, dominance and decision making. Functional brain scans show the male brain is extremely systemized, with a high ability to compartmentalize, a low ability to multitask, a high ability to control emotions, a low relational orientation, a high project orientation, a high ability to ‘zone out’ a tendency to act first and think later when faced with stress, an aggressive response to risk and a tendency to compete with other males. The female brain, on the other hand, has been shown to be highly empathetic with a low ability to compartmentalize, a high ability to multitask, a low ability to control emotions, a relational orientation, a low project orientation, a low ability to ‘zone out’ a tendency to think and feel before acting in response to stress, a cautious response to risk, and a tendency to cooperate with other females.

In addition, the cortical processing areas that men use for solving puzzles or problems tend to be the same regions that women use for emotive processing. In other words, when he is dealing with a project, a problem, a stress, or an emotion, a man will typically become very quiet. While using his right brain to solve problems or deal with emotions, it is hard for a man to use his left brain to listen or speak. His compartmentalized brain is designed to do one thing at a time; it is difficult for him to solve a problem and converse at the same time. Scans show that when a man is sitting silently, his brain is either at rest or he is having a conversation with himself.

Most women find it incomprehensible – and even frightening – when they realize this is how a male’s brain is designed to work. This is because it is almost the opposite of her brain. A woman’s brain is never at rest – when she is dealing with a problem, she not only wants to talk, but also needs to talk. Her conversation with another person allows her to reduce stress and talk through the problem. It is important for men to realize that when she does this, she is not necessarily looking for a solution in the same way he would.

The fact is that his brain and her brain perceive the world quite differently and communicate in very different ways. We speak and hear language differently. We mean different things by what we say. As a result, a significant communication gap can build up and divide us if we are not aware of our design differences and why they are there. To bridge this communication gap, we need to understand not only how we say what we say, but also what the other sex’s brain hears. Coming to recognize and understand our communication and language differences has allowed my wife and me to smile and laugh more as we work to build a stronger marriage.” ( Christian Counseling Today Vol 20 No 3 pp 54 -57)

In summary, there are clear differences and reasons why we are how we are. Guys be there for your wives, spend time listen and share, it does have to be both ways, don’t just be a sounding board. Ladies, realize that there is a limit, husband needs to make more of an effort, but don’t overdo. Speaking as a man, please one favor, unless there is a very important reason, please come to the point first, then fill in the details. As a pastor, I really do value my wife’s input, she really does give me an important perspective, but there are times when she’s talking about something that’s kind of a hot-button and I really do need to know where the discussion is going. Let’s get out of this nonsense that men and women are the same, they aren’t, vivre la difference, God made us different to be paired together by Him to glorify Him, let’s live up to His expectations.