Season 1: Episode 5 – Book Review – Aggressive & Invincible Mask

“Imagine the moments just before a cage fight. The cheering crowd. The threatening opponent in the corner, flexing, shadow-boxing, bouncing rhythmically on the balls of his feet, ready for someone to ring the bell so he can pounce. The highlight reel of his past victories plays on the jumbo-tron—man after man hitting the canvas or tapping desperately as the air gets choked out of them. Think about all the money on the line. The bragging rights. The years of training that led up to this moment.
And now think, how would you feel if you were the fighter about to enter the cage to face your opponent? Afraid? Anxious? Angry? Numb? Worried? You’d be a perfectly normal human being to feel those things.”

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

Some of you may or may not know my story about being a child, but back in 2003, I went through a phase where I saw a lot of aggression.  On the first day of school. my mother was laid off work.  We went from having a lot of food, to having very little food in the house.  My mom did everything she could to keep peace and calm in the house, but when the lights got cut off, it persisted.  There was a time my brother confronted me at band practice and we got in a fight.  His punk ass (and I mean that out of total disrespect — lol) ran home to tell my mom first.  When I got home, my mom was screaming at me, and so was my brother, which lead to me running away from home for the first night in my life.  For a mother to take someone’s side, as angry an individual one will ever meet (my brother) without hearing me first, was heartbreaking.

These things continued festering when my long-time crush, Adriana, ended up dumping me.  Following that, a manipulative girl by the name of Maria came into my life and left without a trace, too.

Going into December, I had an insane amount of anger.  There was a jazz band playing in the band room one afternoon — one of the most depressing songs ever that had stuck with me, and still does, to this day. I told my brother what was happening and he could relate.  Remember, if you’re depressed, the goal is to not be around depressed people. My mom, out of desperation, sold a truck to my uncle’s girlfriend (and the truck she got from her father).  She got a much needed $2500 USD from her, not to mention that a long time family friend had came over the previous three weeks with a full Thanksgiving dinner for us — seeing my mom reduce to tears.

Shortly after the New Years, my mother got a new job and that dark cloud that was hanging over our family for the third quarter of 2003 had gone away.  However, something was still inside me.

I would scream and slam controllers on my upstairs bedroom floor when I lost in Blitz 2003.  My mom would yell at the top of her lungs, screaming violently at me “IT’S JUST A F***ING GAME!”

That last time i overreacted was a basketball game: UNC vs. Duke.  UNC lost by a nailbiter and my reaction was so terrifying that my mother glanced at her friend, who was sitting right next to her, and asked him “is something wrong with my son?”

Days later, a kid name Manny approached me and asked about joining the high school Track & Field team.  That weekend I tried out and made the team.  Yes, there was just a small snippet of aggression and uncontrollable rage remaining in me at the time (my brother swayed my mother into not buying some shoes for me and I ended up crying really bad in the back seat of my mother’s vehicle).  After that, that was the last time I could remember being so emotionally distraught.

Aggression builds up.  There are so many areas, in my life, where I could’ve pinpointed what actually happened.  You can only connect the dots looking back.

“That said, the real problem for the development of young men is when aggression is the primary outlet for their pain, their sadness, their anxiety, and their anger.
Unaddressed anger is the glue that keeps the Aggressive Mask stuck in place, starting very early and lasting, in many cases, for decades. There is research on this, and it testifies to how much young boys, in particular, are soaked in anger. For many of them, anger is the only emotion that is “acceptable” to express.”

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

Invincible Mask Podcast

Today’s Podcast

Lewis Howes’ Masks of Masculinity Book Review: Stoic & Athlete Mask – Episode 3

I decided to break these down in increments of two (1/4) because I feel it would me too much material to handle in one go.  So, here’s a breakdown of the STOIC and Athlete masks.

The STOIC mask somewhat relates to the Alpha Mask in a way that men AREN’T SUPPOSED to show their emotions.  Every man dreams of being the hero, but the amount of pain that lies within him, is killing him — literally.

There was a substitute teacher I had back in the 6th grade that told us a story about her brother.  With every hardship, he stayed quiet.  He didn’t want to express his feelings, because apparently that would make him less of a man.  One day he had a heart attack, dying right before his family.  She went on the ask us, “why do you think he died?”  We, of course at a very young age, were scratching our heads.  The reason for the heart attack was because he held all those feelings of greed, grief, hate, and all other negative feelings with him; rather than having someone on the receiving end, listen.

What Can You Do?

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

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 and a pencil.”

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

Athlete Masks

From the Tommy Hearns and Marvin Hagler, to the battles of NFL players trying to prove rights over others by delivering the most vicious, bone-crushing hits.

“Gilbert Arenas, the ultra-talented point guard for the Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards? Not only was he a prolific scorer and a back-to-back-to-back NBA All-Star who led the entire league in minutes played during the 2005–06 season, but he and his Wizards teammate Javaris Crittenton threatened each other with handguns in the team locker room. Is that what men do? Threaten each other with dangerous weapons over a $1,100 gambling debt? This move cost Arenas $7.5 million in salary. Crittenton is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence on an unrelated 2015 manslaughter charge.”

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

“Think about all the incredible athletes out there whose prowess on the field doesn’t line up with the way they conduct their personal lives. Take Antonio Cromartie, a four-time Pro Bowler who led the entire NFL in interceptions in 2007 and holds the record for the longest play in NFL history. He is mind-bogglingly talented. But you forget all of that when you watch him in a 2010 episode of HBO’s Hard Knocks, a sports documentary series, where he struggles to remember and recite the names of his eight children (from seven mothers), three of whom are the same age. Cromartie now has 10 children with twins on the way, and reportedly pays close to $340,000 a year in child support.” – Lewis Howes

So, you can see these two masks are what 95% of men in the world suffer from.  Let’s take them off once and for all!

What can you do now?

Five core areas…

1.Health: mental, physical, emotional
2.Relationships: intimate, family, friends
3.Wealth: finances, career, education, business
4.Contribution: making an impact in the world and other people’s lives, being of service
5.Spiritual: connecting to a higher power or your spiritual beliefs”

Podcast

Lewis Howes: Aggressive Mask – Introduction

Imagine the moments before a fight.  One of the biggest fights that I’ve ever watched had to be Tito Trinidad vs. Ricardo Mayorga.  This was big on so many levels because it was the Puerto Ricans versus the Nicaraguans.  At one point in one of the rounds, Ricardo Mayorga began taunting Trinidad and there was an uproar in the house, people literally screaming at the television.  At the specific moment I couldn’t hear a word that was being said by my friend and he was standing six inches from me.

Fast-forwarding to a fight when Miguel Cotto got pummelled by Antonio Margarito.  I remember seeing the state of Miguel’s face and wondered, “how does he look that bad?”  Later, Margarito’s trainer was seen by Shane Mosley’s camp — putting plaster into the gloves of Antonio.  If you guys don’t know the horrific story of Billy Collins, this is exactly what probably took place during the Miguel Cotto fight.  Plaster, after being consumed and inundated with sweat, begins to harden.  Miguel said during the fight, “he got stronger as the rounds went on.”  There’s no real evidence, but we all know the truth.

That was from 2004, to 2008, and then after seeing interviews by boxing greats such as Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, Thomas Hearns….I couldn’t understand a word that was being said from their mouths.  Why? They lost more than 50% of their speaking capabilities because the constant blows to the head.

So after seeing everything take place the way it did over decades of being a boxing fan, I no longer supported the sport.  Human beings literally raging in the stands, shouting, cheering on an assault between two men or two women.

Welcome to the aggressive mask.

Andy Cona, who’s a British cage fighter, said this…

“The first fight I ever had was like a release. Like, “I’m allowed to hit this lad, and it’s making me feel better.” See, I don’t have a family. Me and my brother were put into [foster] homes. He was everything—he was my mom, my dad, my brother, and my sister. He was everyone, and then he killed himself. I’ve never, ever told anyone that. I don’t like to show people weakness. I’m broken inside, I know I am.”

Lewis Howes went on to say, “but still, there’s something scary about taking years of childhood issues and pain and channeling them outward at a total stranger for money and fame. As Andy’s story reveals, for the most part, the pain you inflict on others never reduces the pain you are trying to escape from within yourself.”

If you look at the majority of athletes, especially in America, they’re all inner-city kids.  Mike Tyson had a horrendous childhood and be brought along a lot of those problems outside the ring, becoming a very polarizing character in the 1990’s.

Thai prison systems, which are very controversial, has inmates practice Muay Thai and fight – fighters outside the prison yard.

What is it with aggressiveness and pouring on all your childhood pain, mistakes, and suffering onto another individual rather than honing into 100%?  Sure, no one asked to be molested.  I didn’t deserve to be dropped at a doorstep myself in 1999…however, it happened.  Did I make that my story to why I’m such a “f*** up?” No.

Ray Lewis, who had upbringings beyond comprehension, is the greatest linebacker to ever play the position in the NFL.  Fierce, ferocious, tenacity, inspirational, hungry, and just a demon on the field……he was able to unleash his childhood tribulations into wrestling first (in high school), then onto the football field.  His mother was abused for a long time by her bf….and Ray Lewis asked, “mom, you have two black eyes! Let’s go!”

She said, “no.  He’s our only means of financial stability. We can’t leave.”

Ray Lewis used a deck of cards to relieve himself of so much pain by doing pushups.  1-10; jacks, queens and kings are ten; ace 11; and jokers were I think 11-21.  I’m not sure what the exact number is, but I’m sure he did over 300 pushups.

At 41, he said this in Lewis Howes podcast interview.

“There are certain moments in a child’s life that a father should never miss because when you replace [that influence], most of the time you replace it with things that get you in trouble. I replaced it with dominance over another individual. I had hate for my father, and that hate turned into fuel. I don’t encourage anybody to live the way I lived.” – Ray Lewis

It’s like young men don’t have an outlet to their anxiety, anger or other things.  I saw the students, when I was a student, sit in class and stay quiet while they were getting bullied by other aggressive kids.  Then the shooting massacre in Colorado happened in 1999.  I was listening to Gary Vee yesterday and he was saying that poor parenting results in bullies and children being bullied.  Why do children have this aggressiveness that generates into an Alpha Mask.  Stories of Ariece, P’Allen, and Marcos (childhood classmates) will be in my podcast down below! Time to welcome in this introduction!

Podcast