Dressing to feel good !

How to be a better man: You own the behaviors you allow

So this is another post in my “better man series” these posts are meant for heterosexual men who are looking for wisdom. They may or may not be applicable to you, these are not meant to be offensive anyway. So that out of the way, behaviors are a window into the future. If you see someone who is chronically late, the chances are 3 years from now they will be chronically late… You get the point.

So for men this is paramount to your happiness if you chose to be in a committed relationship with a woman. This is true for females too, don’t get me wrong here it works both ways. I can’t speak to how females perceive this issue beyond my experience living with them. For men though, here is the point: If you commit to a woman, you commit to her as is. You see there is the old notion that women try to “change men” maybe it’s true maybe it isn’t.

The good news is its 2022 and the game has changed dramatically. Equality? You got it. Women pursue men, women propose, women pay, women do lots of things that were traditionally slotted in the “male role” so as things balance out, you shouldn’t adopt a “I can change this later” attitude. Now there may be habits your chosen one has that annoy you but you can live with. I will give you an example. I have been married for nearly 25 years, my wife sometimes talks to me as she is brushing her teeth. I hate that, but I put up with it because she has been doing it forever.

If you tell the truth, you don’t need to take a pill.

I chose her, and when I did I took all the good and the bad. So for you my young male friend you are now going to have to have a very serious internal discussion with yourself. If you chose to get serious with a woman and be in a committed relationship you have to be honest with yourself about her habits and if any of them bother you. This can be silly small things (like mine) or they can be serious issues (she talks over you sometimes).

Whatever it is YOU have to be clear about it in your own mind and be completely blunt with yourself. Can you live with this? Will it get better? Here is the thing, if you do provide yourself with this clarity and you still chose to go forward into a committed relationship you have placed her in a position where she can’t win. Even if you talk to her about “annoying habit A” you are still choosing her, and that tells her that it is safe for her to invest in you emotionally.

Don’t do it to her, and don’t do it to yourself unless you are 100% certain those habits are deal breakers. It’s one of the small things many men do when entering a committed relationship, they tell themselves “I will put up with this because this other thing is great”. 2 years later, you are full of resentment and she wants an engagement ring. You’ve now created a situation where you will be in misery if you go forward or you will have a huge blow out when you DON’T get her the ring.

All because you weren’t able to be honest with yourself, and clear with her about behaviors that bother you. Its 2022, women deserve the truth, they are not princesses anymore to be rescued and protected and you are no white knight. Want a long term successful relationship? Identify behaviors that bother you and either chose to own them, or chose someone else.

Thanks for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Where you are now, doesn’t have to be where you end up.

This is more of a pep talk post. The title is of course meme worthy but its very very true. Let me give you some perspective. 30 years ago, I was unemployed, out of work, living on a friend’s couch, smoking drinking, partying with absolutely no direction at all. My family was broken, my siblings spread out all over the country, my father deceased, my mother a raging alcoholic. I had no hope, I had no support, I was hanging on by a thread.

Things got progressively worse for me, the 1980’s turned to the 1990’s and it looked like I was going to be homeless and broke. I caught a break, I hooked up with a girl friend who had her shit together. She got me a job at the company she was working at. The boss there told me, and I will never forget this. “You have an opportunity here to change your life, if you mess it up, its all your fault”. It wasn’t prophetic, it wasn’t an epic line from Shakespeare etc. It was though a chance, and I took it.

It took me years but I grew a thick skin.

I stayed with the GF for a year, I banked as much money as I could. We didn’t last, she changed jobs and changed boyfriends. I held the job though, I had enough resources to afford a very cheap apt, food, I was living. I was able to reduce my drug intake and booze. I went to night school (the company helped me pay for it). I took a second job, selling men’s dress shoes. I hustled my ass off and did everything I could to generate income and better my position.

By the time I got out of that company I had an associate degree, I cleaned up A LOT, and I was dating my future wife. Fast forward to now, 30 years removed I have two college degrees, a very nice house, financial independence, a great family and a decent career. I have issues still, I struggle with anxiety, I have moments where I am not a fun person to be with.

I never thought I would arrive at this place in my life, I am happy, most of the time.

Where are you now? What do you see 5 years from now in your life? Is it bad? Is it really bad? It’s likely much worse than my situation. I caught a break, but I didn’t know it was coming. I got one shot and I made it work. Life isn’t fair, most of the time it sucks but along the way you’ll likely meet people that can help you, you just have to have your eyes open enough to see that the help is there to take. It’s okay to take help, its okay to need assistance.

You must hang in there, imagine for a moment 30 years from now. What will you be? Where will you be? If I can make it, you can make it.

Thanks for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Gandalf

The Wisdom of J.R.R. Tolkien

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So, do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” 

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Time is the most precious commodity on the planet. It does not care about your race, gender, political affiliation, religion, sexual orientation. It moves forward regardless of your personal situation, it is all encompassing. You and I are simply passengers on the journey of time, like a train rolling down the track. No one knows when they will get to their stop.

Do you wait in anticipation for the stop to come or do you take advantage of the journey on the way to the stop?

Gandalf was right, we must decide what to do with the time given us.  

I have made horrible decisions regarding time, I have wasted a lot of it. I have also had moments of absolute joy and reveled in the moment. Despite everything that is thrown at us, every minute, of every hour, of every day, of every week, of every month, of every year, our greatest challenge is to enact Gandalf’s wisdom.

J.R.R. Tolkien was a brilliant writer. In his works you can find so many gems, it boggles the mind. I decided to spend some of my time sharing this with you, have you decided what it is you are going to do with the time given to you?

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Why I don’t invest in Crypto

So another finance piece today. There is a massive story that broke recently pertaining to FTX exchange collapse. Let me get this out of the way now, I am not a crypto expert. You should take any advice/opinion you see online with a grain of salt and always do your own research. The FTX collapse is tied directly to Crypto currency values. Many people have lost a lot of money and for them I offer my deepest condolences. I know what it’s like to lose money on investments, it sucks.

So for me I never invested in crypto. Why? Because I am not educated in that market. It really is that simple folks and YOU should apply this simple philosophy to anything you chose to invest in. You have to be educated on the investment type. Now a caveat here, you can invest in things you are unfamiliar with if (big if) you are not risking a major portion of your portfolio (5% or less).

I simply don’t know crypto currencies. Further they, for the most part, are not regulated in any manner so the risk is much higher. So is the reward of course. Like most things in life the higher the risk the greater the reward. For me I use a long term conservative approach to investing. I invest in things I know, like Microsoft, Toyota, McDonalds. You see companies like that, whether you like them or not have long term established business models.

Money gives you the opportunity for a comfortable life.

I always felt more comfortable investing in companies who produced a tangible product that I actually used. See for me, the best advice I ever got for investing was “Take note of the products you buy and use and invest in those companies”. It made sense to me, if I am buying the product its likely other people are as well. That establishes a revenue stream that equates to value.

So those simple principals enable me to avoid the current decline in crypto currency. It also means I missed any and all gains by crypto as well. It’s a double edged sword. Meantime I keep the long term boring process of investing in companies that produce goods and services with a long term track record. Coca Cola, Intel, Google, Apple we can go on and on. The point here is I know these products, I use them and by slowly and steadily investing into stocks and mutual funds that hold these stocks I’ve created a nice portfolio.

Maybe you know crypto, maybe you know oil or real estate? There isn’t a perfect formula here, but investing in what you know is often the best you can do. Sure you might miss a trend and not get in on those huge returns, I get it that sucks. By long term steady investing into companies and products you are educated on is a great way to ensure liquidity and viability of your investment portfolio.

Thanks for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

One critical mental exercise for those with Anxiety

No articles today, no witty quotes, I’m just going to share with you a little life experience here. Many of us have full lives. Spouses, In-laws, Children, Friends, Co-Workers, Pets on and on. Some of us have too full of a life, meaning we have so many ways to expend energy and time we often come up short. What does that mean exactly? In short it means we are expanding our mental energy and time on so many different things we are contributing and in some cases making worse our mental health.

“So what is the exercise Karac?”

I do this from time to time, but the exercise is tonight when you are in bed staring at the ceiling before bed, list in your mind the 10 most important people in your life. I mean the people who are really important. These are the people you truly love. Your kids, your spouse, your dad… Make a mental list. Did you even get to 10? I don’t mean people you play cards with on Saturday nights. I mean the real substantive people in your life. This can include pets, it’s imperative that you get clear in your head who is on that list.

Some lists help a lot, some not so much

So the exercise has two parts, it’s the next day do you remember the list? You can write it down if you need to, but the last part of the exercise is you honestly assign to each how much time you spend with each person per week.

I know this sounds silly, but trust me on this. So you got the list of people (10 or under) you have assigned an estimated amount of time you spend with each per week. How many hours (again rough estimate) was it? It’s critical you were honest with your estimate here but you round up to the nearest hour and divide by 168 (the total hours in a week) and you get a %. Was it higher than 50%? Less than 25%?

Remember in that 168 total hours, you sleep, you eat, you go to the bathroom, you go to work, and you drive to the market… It’s critical you were honest with your time allotment estimate to the people on your list. If you were you now know, on average what % of your week to you spend with the people whom are most important to you.

This % changes during holidays etc., but on a normal week that is where you are at. The result of this exercise is the show you how much time you spend with the people who are most important to you. You should be working actively to increase this. If you have anxiety, it’s likely the people on that list (and pets) are super important to you, you may not even have 10 (I have 8 on mine). Whatever your list revealed, it’s your normal. If you continue to do the same things over and over and expect a different result, that’s insanity.

Interested in more posts about the value of time? Check out my post here.

What is Black Friday?

So what is black Friday? Yes, it’s the day after Thanksgiving and there are a lot of great sales but where does it come from? It actually stems from the stock market crash of 1869 (not 1929). There was a horrific crash of the gold market that ruined many people, not just the rich either. The 1929 stock market crash actually happened on a Tuesday, but at the time there were numerous comparisons to the black Friday stock crash of 1869. Over time people assume (incorrectly) that the 1929 stock market crash that kicked off the great depression happened on a Friday.

How did it become associated with retail? In the 1950’s the Philadelphia police labeled the Friday after thanksgiving as black Friday as thousands of people would stream into the city. Not to shop but to get ready for the Army Navy game happening on Saturday. There was crime, shopping, all sorts of shenanigans. From there retailers began to market sales to capitalize on the influx of people and call it black Friday sales.

This began to take hold, but many in other cities called it “Big Friday” and a snowball effect occurred. Simply put, one store had a sale so other stores to compete had sales and months turned to years, to decades of this tradition. So much so that many retailers were able to parlay black Friday sales into huge profits putting their business on an annual income of “being in the black”. This is when we really see X-mas marketing go through the roof as more and more retailers started banking on a robust black Friday sale kick off to fuel the ytd corporate earnings.

Next up Christmas….

Here we are in 2021 and this hasn’t changed much, you see all the holiday music, the nonstop adverts etc. We now have a new concept “Cyber Monday” which is beginning to eat away at the traditional black Friday sale concept. You can now shop year round and have things delivered on credit anywhere in the world. Remember in 1957 things were different. Most people didn’t have credit cards, you bought things you could pay cash for. Travel in the U.S. was blossoming with the highway system but it was new. International travel was still fairly limited, compared today and ordering a good or service abroad meant a catalog order you did through mail which would take months to receive.

Black Friday as we know it today is consumerism at its pinnacle. We have been marketed to believe that it is this consumers holiday. When in reality it is the cumulating of a series of events that happened that some clever marketing firm in the 1950’s capitalized on. Have fun out there and remember gift wrapping is only an additional 20.00……

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Glogg

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the U.S. one of our biggest holidays. We gather with our families and celebrate what we are thankful for. This is the busiest travel season for the U.S. We fly more, drive more, busses, trains tens of millions of us are on the move. I am traveling this year. I am not at my home which is good and bad. Its fun to visit others and travel you get to see new things. The down side is you are not at home and you don’t get your comforts.

There will not be a formal post today, other then for me to say thank you. Thank you for your continued support of my blog. There will be some changes coming to the blog in 2023, nothing major. I will outline these changes soon in a blog post. For now I am going to enjoy my family and enjoy this holiday. If you are in the U.S. and celebrating, safe travels. For all of my international readers, there will be a more formal post on Friday as per normal.

Again, thank you so much for your continued support, It really does mean a lot to me.

Take care, Karac.

Basics of Anxiety – General Anxiety Disorder

Let me start this post off with a link to a great resource the Anxiety and Depression Association of America . This site has excellent information for anyone who thinks they have an anxiety disorder or knows they do and you just need more information. This website has a lot of information and resources and can assist with a multitude of issues. I strongly recommend taking a look at the site and the reference material it offers.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is essentially a catch all for nonspecific anxiety triggers most of us call them phobias. “GAD is diagnosed when a person finds it difficult to control worry on more days than not for at least six months and has three or more symptoms” . When I read this I realized that at several points in my life this applied to me. GAD isn’t a constant condition it can come and go but I’ve found in my travels that more often than not it is always present just to varying degrees.

From the Website: “GAD affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, in any given year. Women are twice as likely to be affected. The disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. Although the exact cause of GAD is unknown, there is evidence that biological factors, family background, and life experiences, particularly stressful ones, play a role.”

Surviving 2020 & covid
Anxiety Sucks, Millions suffer from it.

I thought this excerpt from the site was particularly potent. 6.8 million adults… Ya we aren’t alone. I found it very interesting that they claim women are twice as likely to be affected. I can logically extrapolate some instances why, pregnancy, physical appearance and family pressures come to mind. The worse part though is the multitude of factors and the lack of specificity as to why this occurs.

Essentially anything can trigger this, maybe you went to a concert Saturday and your ears were ringing when you got up the next day “am I going to go deaf?” you ask yourself. A common seemingly sterile situation right? So the next time you don’t hear something correctly are you now delving back into anxiety? Technically yes, again its degree’s but you are anxious about a future outcome based on an example of the past. You can’t absolutely say that your past experience will be identical to your future outcome but it’s your best gauge.

Then you begin to think “god if I just didn’t go to that concert I wouldn’t have this issue” and on and on it goes. That’s just one very simple example but it’s a prelude to Generalized Anxiety Disorder. There is no definitive moment as to when it begins for anyone, but when you are “in the moments” of anxiety you know it. The sensations are unique to everyone but if you’ve had panic attacks you know the gambit it can run. You can be highly functional and then for days struggle to get out of bed because you can’t overcome the anxiety.

Then, one day you feel good. Not perfect, not “wow that was silly I am free and clear” but the fog clears for you and you go on without worrying about it at all. This is GAD and it can flip day to day, week to week for your entire life. Knowledge is power and remember you aren’t alone. There are millions of people all over the world that have anxiety and deal with it sometimes daily, sometimes randomly sometimes just situationally with specific phobias. Hang in there, one day at a time.

Thank you for coming by to support my blog. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Finance: Interest Rates

So from time to time on this blog I do finance pieces. I have been in the finance industry now over 30 years (yikes I am old). This is not financial advice only my financial opinion. You should consider multiple sources when making any financial decision and become as educated as you can. So the subject today is interest rates and how in the U.S. the federal reserve manipulates them to create false narratives in the economy.

Let me be clear here there are several factors in the U.S. economy that contribute to its overall health and well-being. The availability of credit though is a major factor and manipulating interest rates has a dramatic impact on financial outcomes. IMHO one of the biggest travesties in the U.S. economic model is the propensity to promote debt as a means to obtain assets. Of course there are times when you need credit for large purchases you don’t have the capital on hand to cover. Houses, vehicles, machinery that’s traditionally what credit was meant for. Now? You buy your lunch on credit.

The issue then becomes “how much is this purchase costing me?” you see it’s not the 8.99 for the sandwich and soda it’s the interest charge you incur on the purchase when (or if) you don’t pay off your credit card every month. Which, most Americans don’t do. The federal reserve’s rampant meddling with the federal reserve rate (the rate in which banks lend to other banks) has created horrible economic outcomes in the past.

The Fed’s need to relax on rate hikes for at least a quarter.

There is a good article here https://www.forbes.com/advisor/investing/fed-funds-rate-history/ from Forbes that discusses the changes. Essentially what happens is the higher the interest rate the more valuable currency becomes. This is actually a viable method to combat inflation. Inflation often occurs when too much money is in the system or to little supply of products. Post pandemic we have both of these issues which is why the Fed is raising interest rates so much so fast.

Prior to the interest rate hikes over the last 2 years the fed rate was too low. You see the issue really is the U.S. federal government manipulates the value of their currency as a buttress against its monumental debt spending. Now all governments do this to a degree but the U.S. is on a whole other level. We had the prime rate in the U.S. at .5% for years and under 1.0% for a long time. Everyone knew that was way to low but the economy was humming along we had good times so no one complained much.

The problem with that approach is you put off the pain and here we are. Had the fed maintained a more pragmatic approach to interest rates, bringing them back to historic norms incrementally over the last 20 years we would have less inflation now. In the year 2000 the prime rate was 5.75% high by today’s standards but a reasonable rate in my estimation. Why? Because what it does is requires those who use credit to make purchases to think carefully as the interest expense on the debt is high. It’s a big commitment financially to borrow anything at 5% IMHO.

So how do we get out of this manipulation? You can do rate caps but that’s another artificial means to an end. You do what’s called settling the rate market. You get to a point say 4% and you do not raise or lower the rates for 2 full quarters to see how the economy adjusts. The problem now is you have the government changing rates every month. They are doing this to manipulate the economy due to severe inflation. I get why they are doing it but had they not kept interest rates artificially low for nearly a decade the huge increases now wouldn’t be necessary.

I know all of this is fairly dry and not something most of you will probably want to read through. Here is the net bottom line. Leave interest rates alone for 6 months, let things play out see how the economy does. You then adjust .25 -.50 % from there and then wait again. Market adjustments take more than a quarter to take hold and because interest rates were so artificially low for so long it’s going to take well into 23, if not 2024 to flush out the current inflationary situation we have.

Hang in there and remember, your personal economy is paramount. Have a 6-month emergency fund, secure your income sources by diligence at work, and keep an eye on your spending.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

How to be a better man – Pornography & Masturbation

Did the title get you? It’s not click bait I will be very clear about the subject. A disclaimer first, my be a better man series is target toward heterosexual men. That’s what I am, and that is what I know. This advice isn’t meant to offend other sexualities, if you are offended that’s your choice. It may or may not be helpful to you regardless of your sexual identity.

So that out of the way let’s get to the heart of the issue right away: Watching pornography creates an unrealistic perception of females. Masturbating to pornography and inducing ejaculation gives you a dopamine release which floods the limbic system of the brain (our reward/feel good system). This is why it is so dangerous because one enhances the other and creates an extremely problematic outcome, unrealistic expectations.

You see the truth is fella’s, most women cannot compete with a porn star whose profession is to be highly sexual to please men. Now let me be crystal clear here, most women can compete on this level from time to time but daily on command? NOPE. Lingerie, toys, language, submission women can fill this want of yours but if you are watching porn and masturbating to it, you’re going to want this outcome regularly and no woman that I have met is up for that 24/7.

So now we have this reality that presents females with a really hard choice. Be themselves and have their male partners not fulfilled, or become something they aren’t and please their men? Both end in resentment, which is the silent killer of relationships. Look this isn’t an anti-male post here, women have plenty of their own issues they project on to us but I can’t control that. As a man though I can control my issues and work on my personal self-improvement.

The way to a mans heart is through his stomach, the way to a mans brain is through his penis.

So what is the answer? Here is what I did. First, I am married with 2 adult children, I am 52. In my 20’s I dated a lot had some some fun (and some heartbreak) and after marriage in my late 30’s early 40’s I started masturbating and watching porn regularly. 4 to 5 times a week actually and it had negative consequences for myself and my wife. So how did I fix this? I took the steps below.

  1. I wrote out in a journal for 90 days how often I watched porn and how often I masturbated.
  2. I wrote out what kind of porn I was watching. I was specific, as an example: Lingerie styles, hair color, positions, locations, ambience.
  3. I then cut the days in half and monitored.
  4. From there (where I am now) I made another cut. I only watch porn once a month, the first Sunday of every month and if I miss it, I don’t get a “make up session” I wait until the next month.
  5. I reduced how often I masturbate even if I don’t have intercourse with my wife. Honestly this is the hardest part. I either have to have intercourse or masturbate at least once a week if not more. Now it’s once a week or intercourse.

Now clarity on the items on the list, first #5. This changes with age, I’m 52 the engine still runs fine but has miles on it, lol you get the point. Items #1-2 this is where you have to be very honest with yourself. If you are watching a lot of porn you might be addicted. Additionally, the kind of porn you are watching is telling. Be very honest here and if you suspect you have an issue talk to a professional. Porn addiction is real and can lead to all sorts of negative outcomes.

The hoped for outcome here is you masturbate and watch porn less = better relationships with the women in your life. Removing this burden from her to “perform” based on your fantasies relieves a great amount of sexual tension. Additionally, it gives her the opportunity to give you the “gift” of a performance sometime in the future which you will thoroughly enjoy and empowers her sexually.

A healthy sexual relationship requires clear communication of expectations, wants, and desires. It’s okay to want your female sexual partners to “perform” for you, I mean why lie about it if that’s what you want? The issue becomes EXPECTING them to do so. Look at it this way, it’s a gift to be given by a woman, not a service to be provided to maintain you as a mate. Spend the time, make the effort and get a good understanding of your porn and masturbation habits. We want positive outcomes for ourselves and our partners so you work on what you can control, and this one is important.

Thanks for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another video like this one? Click here.