Masks of Masculinity: Season 1: Episode 2 – What Can You Do Right Now To Remove The Alpha Mask

“The first step to shedding this mask is, in a way, just embracing that fact. Just give yourself enough gut-check moments about the kind of behavior you see around you. It isn’t enough to see it; you’ve got to see it and then have a reaction that’s more critical than complimentary.” – Lewis Howes

Honestly, your true friends don’t give a damn about how “alpha” you are.  All it takes is for a male to say that “one time” and I’ll switch him off and can him in no-time.  Alpha Males honestly pile a lot of pure pressure on their peers.  I saw my brother succumb to pure pressure back in 2000 when his friend, Brandon, told him to spoke a cigarette.  When I saw him smoking a cigarette, I was amazed.  What is this 14-year-old kid doing smoking a cigarette; let alone he’s my brother.

Now that I think of it, all of these alpha males my brother is or was friends with ultimately took him down a path he never wanted to go down.  There was a Puerto Rican, ego-maniacal friend my brother had by the name of Raf who would constantly demean me because I was the “younger” one.  The other friends my brother had at the beginning of his young adulthood had already committed crimes, or they were into drugs, smoking weed and playing videos games all day.  What my brother thought was “cool” was a disease he was slowly drowning himself in.

Now that you know the situations, now it’s time to breakdown what you can actually be free of if you remove this mask.

Win-win scenarios
Being the hero who lifts others up
The joy of being in service
Empowering others around you
Letting go of being in control
Freedom
Deeper sense of love

“Work for win-win scenarios in every possible circumstance. Use your energy to win and empower others to win. Instead of looking for things that separate us, look for things that unite us. Instead of looking for evidence that your way is the only way, try other people’s ways. Listen, connect, and hear other people’s ideas. A true leader doesn’t need to be right in order to feel worthy; he is able to see the best idea from anyone and bring it to light.”

Excerpt From: Lewis Howes. “The Mask of Masculinity.” iBooks.

What does winning mean to you? What does losing mean to you? If you look at all the NFL players, they’re obsessed with winning and hate losing.  Losing is the greatest part of life…and this is how a lot of them are sucked into wearing the Alpha Mask.

I lose everyday in Thailand.  I lose at getting the typical passerby’s respect.  That’s my loss, and I love it.  I’m a man who’s not afraid of showing his emotion.  When I cross the line at the Spartan Beast later on this year, I will cry.  I’ll go on Instagram stories and show my emotions to the world, too.  That doesn’t make me any less of a man than Ray Lewis. Your self-worth shouldn’t be wrapped up in winning.

 

 

Season 1: Lewis Howes’ Masks of Masculinity: Alpha Mask – Continued

This is the beginning of the season (but soon to be the end of this book).  Season 1 will be a quickie, since I’ve already finished 95% of this book.  However, expect this to happen from here on out.  Each season will be a new book and I will mark the episodes, too!

“I was nearly 30 years old when the fight happened, and I remember running back to my place after pummeling this guy’s face bloody, flopping onto my bed, and nearly hyperventilating as memories of an equally bloody fight from my childhood flooded my memory banks. At the time, the two fights felt related. It was as if they tapped into a deep pain and anger that I’d never processed. You could say I’d stuffed these unprocessed emotions down and hidden them behind my Stoic Mask and my Athlete Mask. Upon reflection, I think all of that is still true.”

Excerpt From: Lewis Howes. “The Mask of Masculinity.” iBooks.

When I heard about this from Lewis Howes, it reminded what I had done to my sister (in a much less violent way).

My younger sister, Rolonda, was the victim of bullying — by me.  I constantly bullied her since I was young because I was bullied by my older brother.  After doing something I knew was completely wrong, I remember walking into my room, falling on my knees, and covering my face with my hands.  At the time, I had the Alpha Mask on.  No way would I go down stairs to apologize to her, but I should have.  After I returned from Australia, I remember I was an entire different person and we had our first legitimate conversation EVER.  However, I returned back to my bullying because of course, my brother was the one with the power under my mom’s roof (yes, even more than my mother herself).

When you identify these things, you can always connect the dots and see where it all went wrong.

“Here’s the truth: We misunderstand the whole alpha/beta definition. We tend to think of it as strong versus weak, active versus passive, hard versus soft, effective versus ineffective. All of that is nonsense. In most situations, we confuse strength with brutishness. We confuse being active with being directionless. And we confuse being hard with being insecure.”

Excerpt From: Lewis Howes. “The Mask of Masculinity.” iBooks.

The last two sentences really stuck with me.  Directionless and insecure…it’s what I see everyday in society, and especially on videos in YouTube (which I try to stay away from).

Most alpha males, in general, are big football/rugby players.  If you look at every American sports player, they all have big houses and big cars — this is a sign of the material mask because their financial blue print stemmed around “not having enough,” so they want to have the feeling of “having enough” to prove other people wrong, moreover, themselves.

With the Alpha Mask, most men want to show not only physical dominance, but emotional dominance over another.  This is why I mention my brother a lot because he’s the one you could never calm down once he reached a certain threshold of anger.

“So in a locker room for a guy to step out and say, “Hey, listen, that’s not right,” or “Hey, I love you, man,” or whatever it is that steps away from the masculine ideal, he’s going against that strong negativity bias which just says, “I’m in danger if I step out of that norm.” And that’s a really powerful thing. And it takes an environment that’s really supportive to that person to be able to do that.
Any guy reading this book has felt that pressure. Someone makes an off-color joke, and you stay quiet. You see someone getting picked on, and you look the other way. Someone is going through a tough time, and rather than offering him words of comfort, you change the subject or tell him to “be a man.” There is that toxic phrase again. In other words, you act like an alpha because, well, that’s what you’re “supposed” to do with guys, right?”

Excerpt From: Lewis Howes. “The Mask of Masculinity.” iBooks.

Lewis Howes: The Alpha Mask Introduction!

After so many months of not reading this book (and now realizing that I’m finished with the Gary Vee book), I’ve reverted my attention back to one of the most splendidly terrifying books out there that’s almost certain to put all men in some of the most uncomfortable places.  I present you the ALPHA MASK!

“You’re in a bar and some guy gets rude. You’re in a meeting and someone other than you is getting all the attention. You’re trying to talk your phone bill down, but the guy on the other end of the line is a jerk about it.

How does this make you feel? How do you respond? For a lot of men, the answer is simple: It challenges their very identity as a man. It makes them feel less than. Since they see themselves as alpha males—the top dogs—they simply cannot handle the downgrade in status.

But here’s the danger—in some of the situations, the degree to which you are assertive and display your full alpha colors could meaningfully change what happens, for better or worse. It might affect whether you are able to walk away in one piece.”

Excerpt From: Lewis Howes. “The Mask of Masculinity.” iBooks.

BOOM! Omg! I mean, when I read this, I laughed out loud! How many times, especially throughout our daily lives, are we accosted by this insidious behavior?

Ok, I’ve been seeing a lot of trolls on Gary Vee’s LinkedIn who literally argue against everything he writes.  You got the “labelers,” who call themselves “CEO, founder, manager, and other ridiculously outlandish and egotistical titles, who berate Gary Vee with the most senseless antics and phrases imaginable.  Remedial yokels from another dimension.

A long time ago, I was holding a sign, peacefully, inside McCarran International airport when I was approached by a group of clowns…..those who call themselves “McDonalds Managers,” and one specific man said, “omg who prepped you?” It was like three back-to-back-to-back questions that sounded like 21 questions.  He did this because he wanted to have that managerial feel.  The feeling of superiority — and this is why Americans are so WAY-IN-OVER-THEIR-HEADS because they let titles, which don’t go to the grave with them, get to them.

You got the shady clubbing men who go to clubs in groups to stalk “prey” (yes, I’m saying that in a very mysogynistic way because they do treat women like objects).  After they make eye-contact with another one who’s trying to gain power over the other, he approaches him by saying, “wtf are you looking at?” Brawl happens; orbital bones are broken; people are slammed; concussions are given.

It’s head-scratching, isn’t it? Males, even here in Thailand, have a tendency of beating women.

“Well, getting everything they want is actually third on their list. First of all, being in control is number one on their list, and that’s emotionally satisfying. The second thing is the alpha type—which we refer to as “the assertive”—the one thing that’s more important to them than actually getting what they want is being respected and making sure that you know everything about what they’re coming from.” – Chris Voss

Excerpt From: Lewis Howes. “The Mask of Masculinity.” iBooks.

“That’s the lesson for me. You might think you’re the big tough alpha male, but you’re actually profoundly weak. It occurs to me that establishing “alphaness” is what drives a lot of outrageous behavior and needless mistakes. When I think about things like gang violence or terrorism or bar fights or abuse, all of them seem to trace back to this need to establish one’s presence or dominance or strength. All of these acts seem to be about men wanting to show off how alpha they are.” – Lewis Howes

Stoic Mask: Part II – What Can You Do Right Now?

“Men lag behind this shift because they are still learning how to talk openly with their partners and connect honestly with other men. We know what to do. We just don’t know how to do it. And until that changes, where does that leave us? That’s right. It leaves us alone.”

Excerpt From: Lewis Howes. “The Mask of Masculinity.” iBooks.

So, I have a confession.  Just recently I had a situation where I distanced myself after coming across a series of events that I just did not like.  It all started with an infestation of small bugs in my kitchen, which I was easily able to handle.  However, I had a headache later not hat evening and my significant other was saying things that were very agitating.  Woke up that morning and of course what happened the night before spilled into the next day, which was Saturday.  I went to work lackadaisical and I just didn’t get out of my own rut; what’s more, in the beginning of the day, I told her that I would be going on a media purge to stop the negative vibration from continuing.  It worked, but instead it hurt her feelings and she thought it was her that was the negative vibration.  Instead of just opening up and showing her how I truly felt the night before, it extended for a couple days (into Sunday morning) when it should’ve just ended Saturday morning.

This could be the sure driver to demise for all relationships.  Men, especially those who come from families where stern fathers are present, aren’t able to open up as easily as women because that would make them a “bitch.”

And when men decide to open up ,they open up to the wrong person.

If anyone can recall the scene from Bad Boys II when Marcus (Martin Lawrence) sat down next to Mike (Will Smith), they would giggle.  The Stoic mask was suddenly ripped right off Marcus; and instead of being a badass cop, he began talking to Mike about very personal matters, A.K.A. – Not Getting An Erection.  There was a couple of other things said, but it was one of the most hilarious funny and REAL scenes I’ve ever seen.  Some men just don’t open up to particular things, so they hurry up and tell the other person, “Ummmm we’re partners with boundaries.”  When that happens, that particular individual who tried opening up will never do it again.

“Dr. Brené Brown, author of the bestselling book Daring Greatly, points out that this is a step toward real gender equality and fairness. “Most women pledge allegiance to this idea that women can explore their emotions, break down, fall apart,” she said, “and it’s healthy. But guys are not allowed to fall apart.”

Have you ever seen a man have an emotional breakdown?  Society is becoming much more loose, thanks to the NCAA Basketball Tournament last year (and not thanks to the reporters) for shoving cameras down athletes faces after a tough loss.  These athletes were crying egregiously on camera and were made fun of by those pseudo-alpha males around America – however, I believe it was a turning point for society.  Men should be able to show their feelings in a very expressive way – just like women.

Who has heard of Tyrese?  Yes, the star of the Fast N Furious saga literally crying like no tomorrow on either an Instagram post or Facebook.  The world took by storm and told him to “man up” – so it ensues.

There are so many other examples I can use, but let’s get into the “what can I do Arsenio Buck” section of this.

What you’re doing right now is creating disease.  Diseased cells that will fester and compile over a many of years.  It’s creating anger.  It’s creating everything that’s synonymous to my previous sentences.  Expose yourself by being vulnerable. 

What will be available when you drop the Stoic mask?

  • Emotional freedom
    A weight off your shoulders
    Deeper relationships with men and women
    Healing
    A healthy heart
    Vulnerability
    The permission to feel
    Acceptance and belonging

And on top of that, here are some steps from Lewis Howes book that will guide you.

Step 1: Make a list of the five most painful moments of your life. Note what happened, and how you felt in each moment. Journal about it and go into detail. (An example could be: My dad was my best friend growing up, but he abandoned me when I was 6, and it left me devastated.)

Step 2: Once you’ve journaled about these painful moments, read them out loud to yourself. Give yourself permission to feel or to cry about them when you hear your own words. Play soft instrumental music during this process to facilitate your ability to reach your emotions as you allow your feelings to awaken.

Step 3: Share them. When you have accepted the truth of this pain and all these emotions, tell a friend, partner, or family member whom you trust. Part of removing the Stoic Mask is allowing other people to support you. The only way they can do that is if they know what’s going on. I’m a big believer that anyone who has experienced trauma in their past (and hasn’t ever discussed it with someone) will allow the trauma to grow in negative ways. You won’t be able to heal until you begin to share your story.

Step 4: Look into hiring a coach, therapist, or someone who is a specialist. Once you’ve shared your pain, you need to find someone who has experience with helping people understand their emotions and get comfortable with them. For those who really struggle behind the Stoic Mask, this is serious work and it requires a serious approach. But it is work that can start today, right now, with a piece of paper ”

Excerpt From: Lewis Howes. “The Mask of Masculinity.” iBooks.

Podcast

 

The Masks of Society, Identifying Yours & The Journey

1.The Stoic Mask: Because every man must be invulnerable and tough, emotions are carefully managed and suppressed. There can be no crying, no pain, no feeling. A wall is put up between him and the world to protect him, to pretend he doesn’t feel the things he does, because weakness is an invitation to scrutiny and judgment and rejection.

2.The Athlete Mask: One of the clearest ways a man can distinguish himself is on the field or on the court. He is like a modern-day gladiator whose weapon isn’t death, but domination. Sports are how men prove themselves, and a good athlete is a good man—period. This means spending hours in the gym to get in shape. It means fighting through injuries and pain and fear to win at all costs. And of course, if for some reason a man isn’t good at sports, he had better compensate for that by loving them and knowing everything he can about them.

3.The Material Mask: There is no clearer sign of a man’s worth than the amount of money in his bank account. Not only do men work incredibly hard—and sometimes do questionable things — to make as much money as possible, it’s all for naught if other people don’t know how much money he has. In this way, his cars, his watches, his houses, and his social media feeds become a representation of who he is. A man’s net worth becomes his self-worth.

4.The Sexual Mask: A man is defined by his sexual conquests—his worth determined not only by his bank account but by the number of women he’s slept with. Relationships? Those are for lesser men—for quitters and settlers. A real man loves them and then leaves them—but he’s so good in bed, they’re left fully satisfied, of course.
5.The Aggressive Mask: Men are aggressive. It’s their nature. They’re violent and tough, and they never back down. When they see something they want, they take it. Men hate; men have enemies. Of course they have a temper; of course they break things; and of course they get into fights. They’re the hunters, not the gatherers. It’s what men do. A man who thinks otherwise is not a man and is responsible for the weakening of the world.

6.The Joker Mask: A man has a sense of humor and a wit that can repel even the most withering critique or the most nagging doubt. Talk about his problems? Okay, Dr. Phil, maybe later. Cynicism and sarcasm and a sense of superiority, these are the intellectual weapons that a man uses to defend against every attempt to soften him or connect with him. If you want a man to let you in, expect a knock-knock joke, not an open door.”
7.The Invincible Mask: A man does not feel fear. A man takes risks. Whether that’s betting his life savings on a company or cliff diving or smoking and drinking in incredible quantities, a man doesn’t have time to think about consequences, he’s too busy doing. Other people (i.e., women and betas) have “problems.” But men? Men have it all under control. They’ve “got this” and they’ll be fine.

8.The Know-It-All Mask: A man is not only physically dominant but intellectually dominant too. If you don’t understand why that is, a man is happy to explain it to you—along with all the other subjects he’s an expert in. He went to a top school, he watches the news, and he knows all the answers. He certainly doesn’t need your—or anyone’s—help. He knows it all.
9.The Alpha Mask: At the most basic level, men believe that there are only two types of men: alphas and betas, winners and losers. No man can stand to be the latter—so a man must dominate, one up, and win everything. A man can’t ever defer. As a man, he must be in control, and he can’t ever do anything a beta (or a woman) would do.

Excerpt From: Lewis Howes. “The Mask of Masculinity.” iBooks.

  1. This has to be one of the strongest misrepresentations of the African American community.  Turn on your TV in America and see a man berating the airways by Lavar Wall, preaching that he’s a man because of whatever reason.  People, especially men, who cry, are not men….period.  I’d have to say a good 70% of American men have this “Stoic” mask on, but luckily I’m not one of them who suffers from it.
  2. On part of the other book I’m doing by Darren Hardy, his father was definitely a representation of the “Athlete Mask.”  Football coach among so many other things taught Darren to be “tough,” but that toughness also equated to amazing habits and unshakable discipline that manifested millions upon millions of dollars.   However, if you look at the “jocks” of high school – you need to have a letterman jacket, a car, and a ton of girls to be considered the “cool guy” of the school.  I still remember a handful of those boneheads that walked around school with their chest out – and all of them are working 10$ hour jobs at the age of 30.  Damn.
  3. INSTAGRAMMERS! How many of you have scene those men, “motivational” (although fake) posts of guys in ultimate, luxurious suits strutting those high end watches in front of Ferraris? Yeah, these are the fakes.  These are the men who seriously believe their bank accounts and being successful only means the dollar signs.  90% of American men MUST suffer from this, because it almost seems like every Instagram post I see has a link that says, “click the link to make six figures.”
  4. This is more of the Generation Z tribe.  I remember also being in school and hearing African Americans (just trying to make a point about a specific group) that would spew sexual rhetoric towards their friends: “did you f*** her yet? Ahhh n*gga you a b****!”  Yeah, welcome to my junior and senior year of high school in North Las Vegas.
  5. Men who club. PERIOD! I believe clubs are grounds for the worst people, including women.  How often do you hear of the “big fight after a night club closed” news?  Go online and type “fight at the club” and hundreds of videos will pop up.  These are men trying to claim their territory, most notable men such as singers Chris Brown and the singer from Canada (completely forgot his name) who got into a massive scrum inside of a nightclub.  Short-tempered thuggery is what I call it, but this also happens at football games in Europe (Serbia) where hooligans throw chairs and all kinds of objects at each other…..for…..nothing.
  6. Yes, and no.  There is a colleague I have that just uses endless amounts of jokes and doesn’t take anything serious. That’s not necessarily a mask, though. There have been a few people that tread this line before, but nothing very blatant.
  7. MY BROTHER! My goodness.  This made me laugh out loud.  Drinking, smoking, etc…he also has the know-it-all-mask.  Try telling him anything and he wants to argue to the point a fight breaks out.  If the sea looks black, please agree….or else.
  8. Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, along with so many other athletes who try showing that they’re “macho” blur out this “Alpha male” bs.  There’s no such thing as Alpha.  If there is, it’s a man who’s beyond insecure to show his true side.  My best friend, who lives in New York, tried being an Alpha male….but there were times I saw his weak side (that he doesn’t want to show).

Podcast