A few weeks ago, I started watching the Westworld TV series. The story, (without spoilers!), Is about highly developed artificial intelligence machines created by humans.
These machines, which look, feel and act like humans, live in their own separate world - the title "Westworld". Periodically they are visited by real humans who use them to satisfy their every whim without consequence or punishment.
Machines think they have free will. When in reality, they are programmed to do things that would appeal to humans who visit their world. Many times this means getting killed, raped, used, etc… horrible things. So we could say that these machines are programmed to live a life which consists mainly of suffering.
And even though it's an imaginary story, I felt bad for them.
Maybe because I had a relationship with them in some way or another. I felt that I too was having a similar experience - that I did not have full control of my life, of what I think, do and feel. Which made me suffer too.
And it got me thinking: how are we different from these machines?
The only difference I could find is that they are programmed by humans while we are programmed by the circumstances in which we grew up.
We are like them even in the conviction that we are totally free.
We live our lives thinking that we think as we think, do the things we do, and feel what we feel because we have our personal reasons. While most of us are just prisoners of our own code - the past.
Our ways of thinking, acting and feeling are nothing more than the product of where we grew up and the people we grew up with.
Yet we never question our ideas, actions, and feelings. Few of us ask ourselves "did I choose to think, act or feel this?" And the real problem here is that these patterns often lead us to a life where we are in pain.
In other words, when we acquire negative thought, feeling, or behavior patterns from the past, they lead us to a painful and miserable future. Unless we identify them and get rid of them.
And here is the power of self-awareness.
Self-awareness is the only way to know what negative patterns you have, their underlying reasons, and how to change them.
How to become self-aware
The first step in becoming self-aware is to know and recognize that:
- You didn't choose who you are today - at least there are many parts of you that you didn't choose.
- You don't know yourself - you have little or no idea why you think, do, and feel what you do.
- You don't have control over yourself - you don't have complete control over what you think, do, and feel.
The second step is to challenge your negative patterns. Ask yourself:
- "Why do I keep thinking about these negative thoughts that make me bad".
- “Why do I have these self-destructive habits that hurt me or the people around me?”
- “Why am I sad, angry, scared, anxious or envious most of the time?”
And this is a crucial step in the process of self-awareness. Because only after you have identified the underlying reasons for your negative thoughts, actions, and feelings, will you know exactly what you need to do to change them.
To conclude, I want to say that self-awareness is a long and difficult process, but it is absolutely necessary if you want to free yourself from all the negative patterns that are causing you pain and suffering in your life.
It is worth investing the time and energy in your own happiness.
Previously published sure way
If you believe in the work we do here at the Good Men Project and want a deeper connection with our community, join us as a Premium Member today.
Premium members have the opportunity to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. Need more information? A full list of benefits is here.
About six months before I turned 50, a friend tried to convince me to enter a physique contest. He had just turned 40, and was thrilled to be in the over-40 category because there were fewer guys for him to compete against. He said to me, “Kirk, you can win the over-50 category. There are only a few guys who enter. But, you have no lats or traps—most older dudes don’t. Work on your back and you got it in the bag ! ” I wasn’t too excited to enter a competition with “no competition, ” but I was pretty peeved to hear him say I had no lats or traps. My back was better than that. Although I had no volonté to enter the competition, I started doing more single-arm dumbbell rows to work my back. Now, a few years later, it’s one of my favorite dumbbell exercises. Importantly, I’m not trying to break any records when it comes to weight here, like I might have in my younger days. Quality reps at low weight is the bigger focus.
There are variantes of the exercise where you see guys use a bench for support, using a hand or even placing a knee on the bench. These have their merits ( although MH fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C. S. C. S. would rather you not put a knee up ). However, I mostly do the version with no aide from the bench with both feet on the ground as points of contact. This version works your traps, rhomboids, rear delts and rotator cuff groupes musculaires, but you also get some core work, something you greatly need as you get older. Remember, though, that the way do the exercise is subjective to your own abilities. If you need some extra support for balance, don’t hesitate to put a hand down.
to set up for my preferred variation, pick up a light dumbbell, especially to start. Stand with your feet in a parallel stance about shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbell in a neutral place at your side, as if you would for a hammer curl. Place your free hand behind you, with the back of your hand on the small of your back ( you can also extend your off arm out to balance ). Next, bend over by pushing your butt back and hinging at your waist, with your knees slightly bent. There should be no rounding of the spine, and you should keep your gaze down at the floor in a neutral neck place. Lastly, as you’re hanging onto the dumbbell with your arm pointing to the floor, squeeze your shoulder blades together so your shoulders lock in place and don’t slump.
From this starting place, use your back to sweat the dumbbell up without twisting your spine. Pull up as high as you can, pause for a moment at the top and squeeze your shoulder blades together even more. Then release by lowering the dumbbell back to the starting position. to control my pace, I usually pull up for 2 seconds, squeeze at the top for 2 seconds, then release back to the starting place in 2 seconds.
By doing the dumbbell row unilaterally ( one arm at a time ), you’ll feel yourself being pulled off balance. You must fight with your abs and obliques to maintain balance and stability, which is why I love this exercise so much. Although you won’t be able to load up with as much weight as you would using the bench for stabilization, the extra core work you’ll get makes this version well worth putting in your arsenal of exercises. Try 4 sets of 8 to 10 reps during upper body workouts to get started.
We all know that it’s common for men to skip the doctor until they become sick, injure themselves or are faced with a serious health problem. And a majority of men will postpone seeking care for a few days to see whether they feel any better. It’s the whole ' if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it ' line of thinking.
But there are steps the men in your life can take today to improve their vitality and help prevent health problems down the road. Of course, there are some things that can’t be changed, such as family history and age, but every day choices can have a big impact on their current and future health.
Eating a diet that’s low in fat ( less than sept percent of kcal should come from saturated fats ), cholesterol, and salt, and packed with fresh fruits and vegetables ( two cups of fruit per day; three cups of vegetables per day for men up to age 50 and two and a half cups for men aged 51 and over ), whole céréales and fiber can help improve your health, prevent heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
Try to get 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. Taking a walk, jogging, swimming and mowing the lawn all count. But don’t be a weekend sports warrior. Start slowly if you aren’t normally réactive and gradually build up. No time ? Research shows that even bermuda bursts of physical activity—as few as 10 minutes of soutenu activity several times a day—can help men improve their health. Talk to your doctor about the right exercise program for you.
It’s important to maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight, especially around the waist, can be hard on your body. Carrying too much body fat forces your heart to work harder and increases your probabilités of heart disease and stroke, even if you have no other risk factors ! So, try to curb weight gain as you age.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 4, 000 chemicals and is a known cause of cancer. Smoking also increases the likelihood of high blood pressure, heart disease, lung problems and other health problems. And if you think chewing tobacco is safer, think again. Not only is chewing tobacco a known cause of cancer ( carcinogen ), it also contributes to gum disease and tooth loss and may be linked to fertility problems. And, few could argue that chewing and spitting is attractive to a partner. If you smoke or chew, talk to your health care professional about ways to quit. Consider nicotine replacement therapy products that include self-help programs, if appropriate.
Whether it’s pulling out the weed whacker, going for a bike ride or grilling with the neighbors, safety is key. Here are just a few examples : Take care when moving heavy objects. It’s easy to strain yourself when lifting boxes, furniture and other heavy items. Use your knees and legs and not your back for leverage. And ask for help, if you need it. Wear appropriate protective gear for your eyes and ears when using leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other machines at home or work. Excessive exposure to noise is the most common cause of hearing loss. Wear a helmet when you ride a bike or ski and throw on reflective clothing if you go for a run after dark. When grilling, never leave the grill unattended, especially when small children and pets are around, and keep a fire extinguisher handy. The grill should be at least 10 feet from your house or any building. to protect your skin, avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and apply ( and reapply ) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or greater that provides protection against UVA and UVB rays.