087: PAUSE & PONDER – Alpha Discernment with Rockford Wright, MD

May 3, 2022 | Mental Strength, Podcast

087: PAUSE & PONDER – Alpha Discernment with Rockford Wright, MD

May 3, 2022 | Mental Strength, Podcast

This one’s a stunner of a show. Rockford “Rocky” Wright, MD, joins Brad and Mike Olsen in a stellar conversation on discernment. Rocky’s contribution to this topic is loaded with genius illustrations and stories that make some profoundly deep concepts about discernment easy to understand. Guaranteed this is an enlightening and edifying experience as he explains the survival benefit of biases and the protective factors associated with judgment.


He details some personal experiences where he learned to see things he had previously not understood in a new way and teaches in PURE ALPHA STYLE what it means to be a fair judge of self and others as a man of discernment. This is Part I of a 2-part series on this topic. Check this one out and stay tuned for an even better second half next week.




Brad Singletary (00:00:00):


Brad Singletary
With discernment. It’s healthy judgment. You have to judge what is happening and the right moves to make.

Rockford Wright, MD
What I typically go to when I have feelings for me personally is I pause and ponder. I take a step back and I try and think, What am I feeling? One, and then why am I feeling it? And I try and break it down so I can understand it. Then I try and put it into words.

Mike Olsen
That’s where I put my Northstar and how I might try to lead people at work. I might try to lead my family, and I try to even lead myself.

Rockford Wright, MD
And if I can put it into words and I can begin to work with them, and then I can update the inputs that create those those feelings in purposeful ways. So we have to take time to pause and ponder those feelings. Why and if we can put them into words, it helps us use or change or create more positively.

If you’re a man that controls his own destiny, a man that is always in the pursuit of being better, you are in the right place. You are responsible. You are strong. You are a leader. You are a force for good, gentlemen. You are the Alpha. And this is the Alpha Quorum.

Brad Singletary
Welcome back to the Alpha Quorum Show. Brad Singletary here. You guys, this is going to be a stunner of a show right now. Our guest today was born and raised in Southern California as the oldest of five kids. Since high school, he’s lived in Hawaii, Honduras, Belize, Utah, Ohio, Alabama, and now Las Vegas. He’s been married 16 years and has two boys, ages 12 and nine.

Brad Singletary
He received a bachelor’s degree in business from Brigham Young University, medical doctorate from the Ohio State University, and completed his residency training in anesthesiology from the University of Alabama. Birmingham. He’s a practicing anesthesiologist in a busy practice in Las Vegas, taking care of some of the sickest patients in the biggest surgeries that are done in this city. He loves to travel.

Brad Singletary
Get outside. He loves to explore and experience new things. And he does that with his family everywhere from Miami to Anchorage and even out of the country. He loves the ocean. He says it is therapy for him. So whether he’s surfing in Hawaii, kayaking in Key Largo or scuba diving in Belize, he has to get into the ocean.

Brad Singletary
He’s fascinated with history and war. He spent years reading and studying the world wars and conflicts that have followed. He’s currently addicted to everything in the Russia versus Ukraine conflict. He loves learning and will continue to pursue learning forever. Gentlemen, I am so proud to introduce Dr. RockfordWright.

Rockford Wright, MD
You can call me Rocky.

Brad Singletary

Rockford Wright, MD
I’ve been Rocky since since kindergarten, and eventually I’m going to grow into that name.

Brad Singletary
But that is the coolest name ever. So your wife married Doctor Wright?

Rockford Wright, MD

Brad Singletary
Well, Mr. Right, Doctor. Right.

Rockford Wright, MD
So I was Mr. Right at the time, and she went through through the struggle of being poor. Students, and we’ve come out through, you know, through that tunnel. And now we’re living life in a different way. Similar things, but little bit different. But, yeah, so she’s been with me through the whole time.

Brad Singletary
So he anesthesiology. So you put people to sleep. Is that what you do?

Rockford Wright, MD
Well, that’s the easy part, right? So we keep.

Mike Olsen
Being barely alive.

Rockford Wright, MD
We get paid to wake him up. Okay. So.

Brad Singletary
Yes, please. That will be important.

Rockford Wright, MD
Yeah. So as an anesthesiologist, my job is to facilitate a patient safety and then also facilitate a patient’s ability or a surgeon’s ability to perform a surgery. So oftentimes that requires what we call general anesthesia, going off to sleep, waking up when it’s all done. And it’s it’s my job to keep someone safe and comfortable through that process, despite whatever turbulence may come in that process.

Brad Singletary
So I just have to explain what is happening here in this room. I feel like us a sports like radio announcer where you can’t see. And they’re describing, you know, the team is moving from right to left and they describe visually what’s going on. So on my left, I have Mike Olson, who’s fresh out of church here in his church clothes.

Brad Singletary
And he’s always dapper as always, but he’s got these socks on and he pulls he pulls off the socks and it’s Tupac’s socks.

Mike Olsen
They’re my Tupac church socks.

Brad Singletary
That’s so awesome. This looks like a a GQ. What is that? Gentlemen’s Quarterly in here. These are some good looking dudes in here. I just I feel I feel special. Just that I get to hang out with these guys. Rocky, you had some connection to Tupac. You had some some people who knew about Tupac.

Rockford Wright, MD
Yeah. So it’s a small community here with with medicine in Las Vegas, even though it’s a growing city. But, yeah, I worked with a surgeon that took care of Tupac when he was shot. So firsthand witness told me that he died.

Brad Singletary
He did die.

Rockford Wright, MD
He is dead, unfortunately, I guess. But so we can we can squash that that rumor.

Brad Singletary
So tell us about your. How long have you been in Las Vegas?

Rockford Wright, MD
Coming up on six years.

Brad Singletary
Six years in Las Vegas. And you’re kind of said I don’t know if you said that in the intro or if I read that on your website somewhere that you’ve kind of settled in. You’re making this your home for now. This is where you plan to be for a while.

Rockford Wright, MD
Yeah, we bounced around a lot. I’ve I’ve you mentioned it. I’ve lived in a number of different cities, all the main time zones in the United States. But this is it. Now we’re settling in, so we’re here for the foreseeable future.

Brad Singletary
Well, I really appreciate you being here. I’ve tried to I’ve wanted to get you on this show for a long time. And, Sara, to kind of spring this on you yesterday, you had like 24 hours, and Rocky and I were in a meeting probably about a year ago where we both had an assignment to talk. And I I ended up taking the entire time, and he was prepared and ready for his speech and the meeting was over.

Brad Singletary
So I have to promise today, Mike and I, we got to keep it, keep a lid on it a little bit today and let dr. Right here, Rocky, take it over. So we’ve been doing this series on the red nine, the red nine or just attribute to that, I believe that represent the best in men. So responsibility, being resourceful, being reverent, maintaining energy being engaged with your life, having a sense of endurance.

Brad Singletary
We’ve most recently talked about discipline. Tonight we’re talking about discernment I’ve been excited to talk about this and the more I’ve thought about it in preparation, I realize how deep this entire subject is. So just looking at some definitions of what it means to be discerning, I found a couple of things basically that it means to be able to tell things apart, to make insightful observations about things in mental health.

Brad Singletary
That’s my primary employment insight means that you’re basically aware of and accept the fact that you have an illness. So someone, for example, who let’s say they have schizophrenia and they and they don’t recognize that their hallucinations are aren’t reality. We would say they they lack insider, they have low insider, no insight. So maybe discernment in its biggest, broadest term is about awareness.

Brad Singletary
It’s about insight. It’s about judging in a way that is healthy. So, Rocky, when I threw this topic at you, what was your what kinds of things came to mind for you as I shared this topic?

Rockford Wright, MD
Well, at first I wondered where this was going to go, because discernment can apply to a lot of things. And in a first the first few little blurbs that you sent me, I felt like I really connected with some self-awareness and working through problematic thoughts and feelings. And I was like, Yeah, that resonates with me. This is something I actively do.

Rockford Wright, MD
I have been a learner for a long time. I was in school for basically 17 years after high school. And so the learning process is something that I’m deeply connected to. And, you know, part of that was learning about myself as I went through it and in my path as we may get to later, kind of, you know, navigated its way and made some turns and and so I felt like I could, I could resonate with that.

Rockford Wright, MD
But then there were some other things that I questioned if I was a good person to to talk about this with, like you mentioned here, noticing the difference between flavors. Like I’m not a foodie. I can’t tell the difference between flavors. Like that’s that’s not my thing. And so, you know, can I discern? And so then I was questioning, well, is this something that I can talk about?

Rockford Wright, MD
And I think what I got to was, you know, no one is an expert in all things and no one is going to master all things. But we can focus on things where we do feel comfortable, where we we do need to grow, we do need to progress. And and highlight those. So that’s what I’m going to try to do today.

Rockford Wright, MD
I want to highlight things that I have more comfort with. And then the other thing that I thought of is really breaking this down into some of its smaller pieces. Even these smaller pieces are can be incredibly deep things when we’re talking about truth and when we’re talking about bias and when we’re talking about some of these things, we’ll get to you can dove deep into this.

Rockford Wright, MD
And there you could have multiple PhDs who have dedicated a career to studying these things and not agree on them. So, you know, in a podcast, we’re not going to cover all of the depth. There’s no way that any of us could talk about all of the things. But I hope that we can get some good things out of this.

Rockford Wright, MD
I’m confident that we will. So in some ways, I was intimidated. There’s a lot here. There’s a lot to unpackage, but I think there’s a lot of good here.

Brad Singletary
You guys that is a compliment. I mean, this guy’s like top of the food chain in the medical world as an anesthesiologist. Well, I don’t know exactly how that works, but I would consider you a highly esteemed you know, I know some some guys fall at the bottom of that. You know, those I know anesthesiology is up there pretty high.

Brad Singletary
So here’s one of the brightest guys that I know. We run in some similar circles and I’ve heard him speak and teach, and it’s just impressive the way he, you know, processes and shares information. So I’m excited about this. Mike, any general thoughts before we get digging down into the details here about discernment overall, what what that is to you?

Mike Olsen
For me, discernment, I try to identify where is discernment useful to me in my life or if I’m talking to someone else, where would discernment be useful to them in their life? For example, in my world, in the ecommerce world, and in the fulfillment world, there are still a lot of employees. And we have it’s just the nature of the beast where we use a lot of manual labor.

Mike Olsen
It’s not the highest paid labor. We might have some higher paid leads or or additional supervisors, but a lot of times we have to use lower paid wage earners. And I really do enjoy the association with people in general. And then there’s a lot of times where if you have people at the top earning capacity, they’re generally very, very good with people.

Mike Olsen
If you have them at the bottom of the of the earning capacity, they’re not as experienced. I don’t want to say that they’re not good with people. They’re not as experienced with people. But there are plenty at that level that are used to just skating by. They’re used to just telling you what you think you want to hear.

Mike Olsen
And so that’s really become a useful tool to me to be able to understand. I have a particular goal that I have to reach from a production standpoint, whatever it might be. And I have to rely on people to accomplish that production. And so as I’m talking to these people, asking them, can I rely on you to show up to work?

Mike Olsen
Can I rely on you to accomplish these tasks? I try to make it as clear as possible and as as short as possible. Here’s what I need from you. Here’s when I need it. Here’s the quality that I need. Can I rely on you? And there are plenty of times when. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I can do that. Yeah, yeah, or they might show up late to work two or three times in a row.

Mike Olsen
Oh, yeah, yeah. And they’ll have all kinds of excuses. And so this kind of applies. I might be using this particular experience from a labor standpoint in the work field, but it does apply to, I think, all of our relationships because even at the top, if you want to call it food earners, the top of the food chain in the, in the labor force or even the highest paid people, you get used to trying to discern, is this person telling me a lie?

Mike Olsen
Are they really telling me the truth? And you have to kind of say, all right, I’m going to believe you but this trust, if it’s a new relationship and you have to develop this trust, can I believe you? If I really need you to perform and you don’t perform what’s the backup plan that I can create so that you’re falling through and not not doing what you say you’re going to do does not hurt things that I’m going to be paid for, things I would be judged against.

Brad Singletary
Yeah. So with discernment, basically, it is it’s healthy judgment. So many times we find ourselves in a place of judgment. You have to you have to judge what is happening and the right moves to make. And I’m sure, Rocky, in the medical world, you’re doing the same before we dove into the things we judge externally, you know, the people and situations around us.

Brad Singletary
I want to look at the self-awareness part. You know, I talked about mental health and insight is basically understanding and accepting that you have some problem. What is the importance of understanding our own biases, our tendencies and bad habits and so forth? Because just as an example, to open that question up, if I am a person who jumped the gun often I need to know when I’m walking into a heated situation now look at bread.

Brad Singletary
You’ve got a bad habit of jumping the gun. Don’t do that here. And so in order for me to be a fair judge, I have to understand my own strengths and weaknesses. So what’s the importance of self-awareness? Particularly with like biases, your your own personal tendencies? Rocky.

Rockford Wright, MD
So honestly, when I first saw this as a potential topic of of discussion, I felt some frustration and really didn’t want to talk about it. And I told my wife, I don’t really want to talk about biases. And and she said, why not? And that was a good question because it had to get me thinking and I really had to put my feelings or transition feelings about frustration with bias into actual words.

Rockford Wright, MD
I had to reason through it so I could work with those words. And this is a skill that may come up a few times today because it applies to discernment incredibly. And it’s actually something I actively work on in this case, I was able to take a step back and pause and ponder that frustration and really discover the reason I didn’t even like the discussion or the idea of the discussion of bias.

Rockford Wright, MD
So rather than skip talking about it, I’m going to go on a little bit of a rant. Yes, if that’s OK.

Brad Singletary
Yeah, you bet.

Rockford Wright, MD
So basically, I feel like the discussion of bias too often in kind of our public sphere is is used as a tool of attack. And it seems like it’s discussing bias. And it plays out in kind of two ways. One is if you disagree with me, it’s because you are biased, therefore you are wrong and your opinion is invalid.

Rockford Wright, MD
Or number two, it’s presented as you have a bias. So you better feel bad about that and get educated. And usually that means get educated until you agree with them. And that’s so frustrating to me because we all have preconceived ideas with incomplete information. So it seems like it’s a manipulating tool of attack. If they basically say, OK, bias is bad, you have bias, so you are bad, and that discussion is so pervasive right now.

Rockford Wright, MD
I mean even my 12 year old son, who really doesn’t have many deep thoughts at all, he saw something in a show that we were watching and the character did something bad and he was like That’s so biased. I mean, he doesn’t even understand that word but believed it was synonymous with bad. So let me dare to, to break the mold and risk being taken out of context, which I hope doesn’t happen.

Rockford Wright, MD
But here goes. I don’t think we should feel such damaging guilt or beat ourselves up in unproductive ways. Because of our biases. So there I said it, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t or shouldn’t address it. And based on some prefatory notes that you sent me, I see that you you likely agree with me that there can actually be positive discussion with regard to bias.

Rockford Wright, MD
No, I tread this direction with the disclaimer that I am not a psychologist so that I have not committed to a career in this study of these things, but I express my opinion on the matter. So I want to start with painting a picture of what I think is the context or background and hopefully we can agree on most of this for this first part, which is that there are survival benefits for us as a species to recognize patterns based on input of information throughout our lives to help us prepare or even predict the future in a way that is productive.

Rockford Wright, MD
So let me give you some examples. Let’s say that we have hunters in Africa, thousands of years ago, so they shouldn’t be expected to check with each lion individually to see if the next lion is actually really a threat. Right. It’s beneficial all for the for the hunter to prejudge each lion as a threat or let’s talk about pain.

Rockford Wright, MD
So as an anesthesiologist, I deal with pain every day. And pain is a fascinating thing in itself. We could talk about pain for a long time, but for the purposes of this conversation, it serves a survival benefit or purpose that even my 12 year old friends recognized. This weekend when we went camping. So we are camping by some boulders and a group of these kids were climbing all over them.

Rockford Wright, MD
And we’re beginning to test the boundaries of their capabilities. And once slipped, eventually no. And then fell, scraped up his hands and rest. And then he comes to me and I’m the doctor dad, right? So he comes to me for help. And as I’m cleaning me, clean him up and bandaging him, he says, I just wish we didn’t feel pain and in my responsible pain actually has a purpose.

Rockford Wright, MD
And then he says, without additional prompting, he says, Yeah, I guess it helps us know what we shouldn’t do. It’s like dang deep thoughts from a 12 year old, right? That’s that. It’s protective. That pain can actually be protective sometimes. So we experience pain and situation so that we can learn and then prejudge a similar situation in the future to avoid destructive results.

Rockford Wright, MD
So these are examples of how humans can learn patterns to prejudge a situation or risk in order to promote self-preservation. So that same can be said and the opposite with positive reinforcement, allowing for the prejudging of a situation in a favorable direction. So we’re built to prejudge to a degree rather than learn each time a new if something is good or bad, dangerous or helpful.

Rockford Wright, MD
So let’s get to the dictionary definition of bias. I to I wanted to look this up, make sure I was being accurate and whatnot. So if you Google, the first result in Google is a prejudice in favor of or against one thing person or group compared with another. So prejudice prejudice has a negative connotation. It’s kind of like bias does has a negative connotation.

Rockford Wright, MD
I couldn’t think of another English word that means to prejudge something that doesn’t have a severely negative connotation. Maybe preconception was the most benign, but all the rest of the synonyms that I could find, the rest were pretty clearly negative bigotry, discrimination, xenophobia, so so that’s a fault or flaw in our modern language of definitions, right? Can you guys think of a word that means to prejudge something that isn’t associated with being an awful human being?

Rockford Wright, MD
By today’s standards?

Brad Singletary
I’m trying to think assess.

Rockford Wright, MD
So that’s different. Assess is something you’re doing in real time. Right? This is before you’ve collected the information or all of the information.

Mike Olsen

Rockford Wright, MD
So I would agree assess is a positive thing. And so we will talk about that more later.

Brad Singletary
I wonder about I wonder about assimilate. Maybe that’s not you know, it’s like filtering what I’m experiencing through what I already know is that is that the right word?

Mike Olsen
How about expect?

Rockford Wright, MD
OK, so expect. Yeah, that’s kind of predict. Yeah.

Mike Olsen
That’s what I had in mind when you mentioned a word that talks about judging I had in mind and I’m looking at the word bias and I guess I had never this is just my own opinion. I’d never really associated bias negatively, which according to the definition that you read Rocky. I agree. That’s that’s what bias or or prejudice might be.

Mike Olsen
I had just had in mind it was an expectation or a prediction based upon incomplete information.

Rockford Wright, MD
OK, so if that were all, then that wouldn’t be negative.

Mike Olsen
Correct? I can see that.

Rockford Wright, MD
I only read half the definition. So here’s the other half of the definition. So we’ll start from the beginning. Prejudice, which already has a negative connotation, just using that word has a negative connotation, prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person or group compared with another here’s the rest of it. Usually in a way considered to be unfair.

Mike Olsen
Is prejudice a portion of a word prejudge? I don’t know. I’m just I’m just thinking.

Rockford Wright, MD
That probably it’s its origin. Right. But but if you look at synonyms and the way that prejudice is used now, it is always negative.

Mike Olsen
I can’t think of another way I can’t see it because a prejudice has always seemed from my experience and the feedback that I’m getting from the world to be negative. Yeah.

Brad Singletary
Particularly with like racial prejudice.

Rockford Wright, MD
So that’s where we hear it and in the public sphere most commonly. So here we have this context of how we need to be able to prejudge for protective purposes, right? We need to be able to learn and recognize patterns. And that comes up a lot in anesthesia, too, and maybe we’ll get to that. But but yeah, so but we but all of our words to describe it, this, this necessary part of how we exist are all negative prejudice is negative.

Rockford Wright, MD
Bias is negative based on all of the definitions. And I feel like what is our common usage? So we go into this discussion with the context of this is bad, right? So that unfair part that we have to talk a little bit about. So let’s let’s unpack it’s the unfair part. This is a gray area, right? So what makes someone’s prejudice unfair?

Rockford Wright, MD
There’s a ton of subjectivity here. On rare occasions, I have female patients who refuse to let me treat them simply because I am a man before they even see me. Is that fair? A lot of debate could be had about that. Maybe. I don’t know.

Mike Olsen
I maybe there’s a difference between fair and accurate.

Rockford Wright, MD
Well, the accuracy is that that’s what they require. So this is a subjective thing. They’re subjective. Yeah. So that’s what I’m saying is, is it fair for that person to require that a female take care of them? We could talk about that for. Well, the point is, it’s gray here. Or let’s I mentioned in the in the intro as mentioned that I’m kind of into war stuff and I’ve been sucked into this Russia Ukraine conflict, which so today is Sunday, April 24th so this began February 24th when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Rockford Wright, MD
So we’re exactly two months out from the invasion or the beginning of the invasion. So if a Ukrainian sees a Russian soldier coming towards them, it is, is it unfair for that Ukrainian to prejudge that soldier as a threat? No. We say certainly not. Right. But by a lot of the standards that we we say we could we should interact with people.

Rockford Wright, MD
We should not prejudge people. Now, I understand that a war, a conflict is not the workplace. I understand that the analogy is not perfect. I’m just talking about principles and how gray this unfair prejudging situation or difficult it may be to to assess the fairness.

Brad Singletary
So you’re kind of saying you not only have the right to, but you better you better prejudge. You better be looking ahead. You better be trying to anticipate a threat or something painful.

Rockford Wright, MD
I’m saying it is absolutely natural to us.

Mike Olsen
Natural, I think especially when you take timing into account. Would it be fair to assess that that is a threat, a Russian soldier coming towards a Ukrainian citizen? We’ll just use that as an example. Now would be absolutely necessary. 20 years ago, probably not 20 years from now, likely not you know, in that situation.

Rockford Wright, MD
Yeah, we hope you’re right. So really, we can only deal with our right now. We can’t make right decisions from 20 years ago. We have to make decisions now. And so in a protective way, we recognize patterns to be able to predict threats or predict opportunities that that is in our nature. It’s built into us. So, so this whole intro was basically to get to the summary points of the background that we are built for good reason to prejudge situations including interactions with other people and these patterns we use are guided by our own experience or information input via teaching from someone else.

Rockford Wright, MD
And we don’t have a word for prejudging that has any positive connotation. And really applying the definition of prejudgment as it’s being unfair is really a complex thing. So that’s kind of the summary of all the stuff that I’ve been saying. So because of all of that, I don’t think we should immediately jump to destructive guilt because we might have prejudgments that I agree all of that story to get to that point.

Rockford Wright, MD
If we beat ourselves up or if we take ourselves down because of our biases, because of our our prejudgments, because of our tendencies, that’s more destructive than good. And part of that probably comes from the way that that we are built. So what I do think now so that’s that’s one point now we have to transition to the positive, productive direction that we need to take this.

Rockford Wright, MD
And I do think that we need to recognize that what we need to recognize is that the information we use to prejudge can be updated, it can be altered, it can be changed. And that’s maybe where some of your time comes into, because that time gives more experience, more opportunity, more change.

Mike Olsen
It’s live. It’s you’re you’re constantly updating that assessment.

Rockford Wright, MD
We should be and we can continually be learning. But it usually takes at least a little effort to make that progress. If we are purposeful in our pursuit of it, then we will definitively be updating our paradigm the way we see people, the way that we see the world, the way that we see things.

Mike Olsen
Give me an example, Rocky. What you mean by we should be making an effort to update that, like, give me like a real world example.

Rockford Wright, MD
So OK, so an example that came up with my wife and I don’t want to get into like hot topics or politics.

Mike Olsen
This is the oven we’re fine with hot topics in here, OK? Because editing works perfectly OK world.

Rockford Wright, MD
So so one example that came up, sometimes we do we struggle to have productive conversations about politically charged topics and immigration can be one of those. So my wife and I, we get along really well. But it was interesting because we struggled a little bit to talk about immigration because we were coming at it from very different angles, very different directions.

Rockford Wright, MD
She lived in Utah and grew up there. She had traveled a little bit, but South America, but she’d been to Israel once anyway. So her life was primarily in Utah. I served a mission for my church in Central America, in Honduras. If you know anything about caravans coming through Mexico, to the United States, you have probably heard that a lot of them are coming from Honduras.

Rockford Wright, MD
These are the people that I lived with for two years. I’m not saying specific individuals, but I’m saying that region. So I, I lived with these people. I was in their homes. I talked to these people. And interesting I recognized I could tell as soon as I walked into someone’s home if they had a relative in the United States, how right off because they lived better they lived better than their neighbor.

Rockford Wright, MD
They had better stuff than their neighbor. Life was better for them because they had a relative in the United States. And so then I put myself in the position and usually at that point, 20 years ago, it was history historically and before that was men. The men came to the United States to be able to earn money to.

Mike Olsen
Oh, to send back.

Rockford Wright, MD
Send back.

Mike Olsen
Got it.

Rockford Wright, MD
OK, so those families that lived better often times had a husband, father, brother, that lived in the United States. And then I put myself in their position if I was that dad and I knew that if I could find a way to get to this other place, my family would be better off. Would I be willing to take that risk?

Rockford Wright, MD
Absolutely. Changed my perspective of immigration to the United States. My wife hadn’t been able to put herself in that position and had the same opportunity. So we can’t seek out I’m not saying you have to go live in a village in Honduras like I did. I’m not saying you have to do that. But it is useful to try and put us put ourselves in other people’s shoes and we have to understand other people better.

Rockford Wright, MD
That updates the information we use to make decisions about other people and to evaluate other people.

Mike Olsen
So let me ask you this. So you’re saying that was the the contextual conversation between you and your wife. You were for immigration. You understood why they did it and she may have been against it and more protective of not that I’m trying to look at your opinion being right. I’m just trying to understand your judgment of immigration compared to your wife’s, because I’m sure that this is very common you’ll have people in the same family who will have two opposing thoughts on the same topic.

Rockford Wright, MD
Yeah. So it wasn’t that I was for or against immigration or that she was for or against immigration. The question was more. We both agreed that a controlled legalized mechanism for immigration is best. We both agreed on that. But what I was able to do was feel a sense of sympathy for the people that circumvent that the current mechanism to enter the country.

Rockford Wright, MD
She had trouble sympathizing with that because she could see the rule being broken.

Mike Olsen

Rockford Wright, MD
It was hard for her to connect to a real deep connection with why. And so what I was able to do.

Mike Olsen
She saw her side of the border and the application or the breaking of the rule. You saw the other side of the border and the application or the breaking of the rule, and you had two different contextualized experiences. She’s not she’s not coming at it from an experience of I see the benefit of this human being, having a friend or a relative in the United States.

Mike Olsen
I can empathize with that, not empathizing with breaking the rule, but you understood the result.

Rockford Wright, MD
Yeah. And my my wife is an incredibly caring, loving, generous person. So it’s not that she was cold hearted. There is just a deeper level of connection when you understand more personally what someone else is experiencing.

Brad Singletary
I just want to note, take note of something that you’ve done here. You’ve said the word understand about 50 times today. And I think that that’s a big part of what discern it really is understanding. Do you see it? Do you understand? I heard somewhere that the only people that you don’t like are the people that you don’t understand.

Brad Singletary
And when you talk about being in those homes in Honduras, there had to be some openness on your part to say, and I don’t know if if you had a very different perspective before. This is a great example, by the way. I love this example because I think our audience will really connect to this, to that particular thing in one way or the other.

Brad Singletary
And but there had to be some openness on your part to say, I’m noticing something here. I’m noticing a pattern. I’m noticing there is information here. What can I make of it? And maybe I was wrong before. Maybe there is more to the story than what I previously knew or thought that I knew. That’s a great example to me of someone who’s developing discernment from what were you, 19 years old.

Rockford Wright, MD
In 19 to 21?

Mike Olsen
And I don’t even think it’s as much of being right or wrong it’s just his circumstance gave him additional insight.

Brad Singletary
Don’t you know there’s some other kids from here in the States who were there and had sort of had the same stimulus in front of them and did not perceive it that way.

Mike Olsen
Could be. Yeah, they do. I’m sure.

Brad Singletary
They, they continued in their, in their belief about that topic or you know.

Rockford Wright, MD
I don’t think so. I don’t think we should say that they just continued. Sometimes this takes purposeful pursuits. Learning is we’re used to entertainment in very passive ways. Like we sit there and it’s screen shows us stuff. But really learning really understanding is a purposeful pursuit. It takes energy and effort, not necessarily, you know, lifting bricks kind of effort.

Rockford Wright, MD
It’s not muscular, but it’s brain energy. And I guess I’ve been blessed with a little bit of curiosity which made the process more fulfilling. So I was willing to exert that energy.

Mike Olsen
And put yourself in their shoes.

Rockford Wright, MD

Brad Singletary
So much of what happens with discernment or believing that we understand something or trying to understand is we project our own issues onto people. We displace our feelings you know, to the wrong person or the wrong situation. You know, that I guess a dumb example would be, you know, the guy gets yelled at at work and he comes home and yells at his kids.

Brad Singletary
He needs to be aware that, hey, I’m walking into my home right now upset. I’m walking into my situation with some vulnerability toward, you know, anger or aggression. And this wouldn’t be fair to my my children and my family. Here. So other thoughts on awareness or the ability to be aware of bias is I don’t know if we finished your thoughts there, Rocky.

Rockford Wright, MD
Well, the other thing I was just going to kind of what I started with when even just addressing why I felt frustrated with the idea of talking about bias, what I went to was what I typically go to when I have feelings for me personally is I pause and ponder. So I pause and ponder, and I pursue that often, like I said.

Rockford Wright, MD
So and this pause and pondering it, I take a step back and I try and think, why am I feeling what am I feeling one? And then why am I feeling it? And I try and break it down so I can understand it. And then I try and put it into words. And if I can put it into words and I can begin to work with them, and then I can update the inputs that create those those feelings in purposeful ways.

Rockford Wright, MD
So the technique that I would say I started with in this this story, and then we could apply in other situations is this pause and ponder. And again, this is the mental energy that I talk about. We have to we have to exert a little bit of it. We got to step back and pause and ponder. So whether it’s how we enter the room when we come home, whether it’s how we tend to respond to different things, we have to take time to pause and ponder those feelings.

Rockford Wright, MD
Why? And if we can put them into words, it helps us use or change or create more positively.

Brad Singletary
You talked about some politically charged things there, and I just feel like there are so many things out there from from politics to diets to different things. There’s so much information. So everyone is trying to get an audience, look, we’re even doing that ourselves. But there’s just so much so many attempts to gain people’s attention and lead them in one direction or the other.

Brad Singletary
How in the world do we make sense of all of the information that we have? All the ideas? There’s a million explanations for everything under the sun. What do we do? How do we find our way with these subjective things that are kind of these these opinions?

Mike Olsen
All the options.

Brad Singletary
Presented. Yeah, the opinions that are presented as facts.

Rockford Wright, MD
Yes. This is a huge there’s a huge bite chunk to take on because we are so overwhelmed with access to information more than any other time in the history of the world. We have information and our difficulty is not Can we get information? It’s how do we decipher it? Right. And so step one for me is recognizing that there is in fact, a difference between fact and opinion, and most of what we hear is opinion.

Rockford Wright, MD
So cable news is a perfect example of this. I read a book called Hate Inc as written by a Rolling Stones journalist for 30 years, and he’s a little provocative. I mean, he wrote for Rolling Stone. So he’s little loose with the language and whatnot, but he talks about the progression of the divide in our public sphere, specifically with politics that reached a fever pitch with with Trump.

Rockford Wright, MD
And so he talks about a lot about why that happened and the economics behind it, the cultural movement behind anyway. So but there’s the takeaway for one of the takeaways for me was that we as as individual, as people, as a society, we like simple stories or even super complex situations and provocative simple stories get our attention. So but the problem is that truth is almost always more complex.

Rockford Wright, MD
So, so, so much more complex. But we’re used to that article title. That’s a blurb that’s provocative and that’s where we’re used to consuming. But the truth is usually so, so much more complex. So second, getting and giving opinion is easy. Getting and giving fact takes work, and it takes a lot of work. And most people aren’t willing to put forth the work what.

Brad Singletary
Did you say there? Go back again about the simple explanation, simple explanations.

Rockford Wright, MD
We yeah. So what I said was that we like simple stories for even super complex situations.

Brad Singletary
Yeah. This was let me just tell you real quick what this was. This was the idea some doctor out there was saying that COVID was King Cobra venom that has been placed in the water by the powers that be and that we’re all drinking cobra venom.

Mike Olsen
And this was something you’re you’re not talking hypothetical you’re talking authentic snake venom.

Rockford Wright, MD

Brad Singletary
Like they’ve, I guess, farmed all these king cobras and they put the venom in the water and that’s why certain zip codes got got it worse because there they wanted to send more their way. Anyway, that’s a simple story. It’s a simple thing. And we love that kind of stuff.

Mike Olsen
Sensationalism sells.

Brad Singletary

Rockford Wright, MD
So was that you say that was a doctor that was credited with that. Yes. Of some sort. So yeah. So this that the title of that article is Doctor says Covet is Cobra Venom in eight words. However, I mean, I said we could summarize that it’s provocative, it’s opinion. And that’s what we consume.

Mike Olsen
It’s attention grabbing.

Rockford Wright, MD
Yeah, that’s provocative part. So so yeah, this is what we’re used to consuming right? And that clickbait, that is not helpful. It’s attractive, but it’s actually not helpful when we’re trying to navigate opinion versus fact. We are used to consuming provocative opinions. All right. So I grew up a little bit in the science world. I’m a physician, right?

Rockford Wright, MD
So we get exposure to the sciences. So I have to talk about science because it applies here. Science is the systematic process of gaining knowledge and the scientific but I have to talk about the scientific process because we got in the last two years with COVID, we have gotten a lot of science talk by nonsense, not science, but armchair quarterbacks.

Rockford Wright, MD
Yeah. So we have to understand, I understand some things about man’s pursuit of knowledge and how science works, that scientific process. So first, I have to say that science, when it’s pursuing answers to a question, is not definitive. At first. Eventually it becomes definitive or much more so, but it never starts being definitive or it is never definitive at the start, and it rarely progresses in a linear way.

Rockford Wright, MD
So let me give you an example from anesthesia. So I do anesthesia for heart surgeries, open heart surgery. So these big surgeries, sometimes they take up to, you know, 12 hours. And it’s a big strain, big stress on the body. We want to make sure that these surgeries go well. It’s my job to keep people safe. And so there’s a lot of study that have gone into anesthesia, what we need to do in anesthesia to keep someone safe.

Rockford Wright, MD
So I’m going to use the airplane analogy for anesthesia to help people understand this a little bit. So because we kind of work in the shadows, anesthesia people don’t really understand what we do, which is fine. We basically you go to sleep and you wake up, right? So here the analogy with flight, which we like to use a lot, is which people are much more familiar with, is a plane takes off, gets to cruising altitude and then lands.

Rockford Wright, MD
Right. We’re familiar with that. That’s basically what anesthesia is, too, except that rather than take off, it’s go to sleep. Then we get into the surgery and we kind of cruise along at cruising altitude. Occasionally there’s some turbulence. Usually not. And then we land, which is the wakeup. So that’s the analogy for anesthesia. Now that cruising altitude or that cruising experience when we’re at altitude, we use a medicine that people breathe typically to keep people steady on at that cruising altitude.

Rockford Wright, MD
That’s the fuel of the airplane for us. That’s the that’s the medicine that keeps people asleep. They’re getting it with every breath. It’s a gas that they breathe. So with cardiac surgery, they started with we’ll call it medicine a and decades ago, they said medicine is the best medicine for the fuel of the plane at cruising altitude or to keep someone asleep.

Rockford Wright, MD
For a heart surgery cruising along through the middle of the process. Medicine is the best. And there are some studies that supported that. And then they did more studies and they said well, actually, no medicine B, medicine B is better. So then for a decade or so, we switched over to medicine B as the fuel for cruising altitude.

Rockford Wright, MD
And then more studies were done and said, well, actually Medicine A has this additional cardio protective or heart protective property that we weren’t aware of when we did our first studies. But now we’re seeing it now. So now we’re back to medicine A And that’s the path that science took us we went from medicine A to medicine B back to medicine A.

Rockford Wright, MD
Hmm. And so we have to understand that sometimes science doesn’t take a linear direction. Sciences is fluid in some ways. So then I want to use one more analogy. So again, science is the collection of knowledge and information. It’s the development of fact. So if we understand that sometimes that development of fact doesn’t come linearly that we sometimes have to work through some things that hopefully will have a little bit more patience and hopefully will also be a little bit more flexible and maybe a little bit less absolute opinionated as we’re still developing or collecting the information.

Rockford Wright, MD
So the analogy that I want to give for for science is, is with fluidity is surfing. So I grew up in California and I lived in Hawaii and I love to surf and I served on the North Shore and I am not a professional surfer. I’m not surfing these these huge waves. The biggest waves I surfed were 12 feet tall.

Brad Singletary
If you did it once, you’re a bad ass. So. Well, you don’t have to be a professional.

Mike Olsen
That’s dangerous for your success. Yes.

Rockford Wright, MD
Yes. So to put it in perspective, like a 12 foot waves that’s bigger than a one story house and again is you’re paddling into this or you’re standing at the top, you stand up at the top of this 12 year house, your head is actually, you know, closer to 17 or or 20 feet tall. So you’re looking down from 20 feet down a wall of water.

Rockford Wright, MD
And I fell once and I skipped along that wave like someone had like a like an inner tube being pulled by a boat that gets flung out. Like, can you just skip along the water? That happened to me. So anyway, just to describe the, the size force and power of, of these waves, so that’s just for fun, but that’s my credentials.

Rockford Wright, MD
I have surf 12 foot waves. All right. So now I can talk about surfing because I have some credentials with it. So surfing is an interesting thing because you are riding on moving water. You talk about fluid it’s dynamic, it is moving, and you cannot predict exactly where that wave is going to go. You have to adapt and you have to be able to sense changes and move with those changes.

Rockford Wright, MD
You have to be flexible. Science is somewhat like that. You have to be fluid and somewhat somewhat flexible while you’re still collecting the information. You have to be like a surfer that doesn’t know exactly where that wave is going to get to. And you have to move with it and ride with it as you develop and collect the information that will eventually be fact.

Mike Olsen

Brad Singletary
So as we have all of this stuff in front of us, what do you recommend? I mean, when we’re just we have all this information we’ve talked about more than ever in the history of the world, we’re just bombarded with mostly opinion earlier in the in the in the section. Before you talk about pause and ponder, what do we do with with all this information?

Rockford Wright, MD
So I think I don’t have perfect answers for this. And this is ultimately the the golden nugget is figuring that out. And I don’t know that I brought gold today, but I think that we like I mentioned, we need to be fluid. We need to be at least a little bit flexible. We need to be patient. We shouldn’t attack each other when we don’t have all the information.

Rockford Wright, MD
We should diversify our streams so that we can get information from different places and that we need to be there needs to be a somewhat caring, compassionate approach to some of this, that we are hopefully on a team trying to understand and get better. But of course, as that book talks about, that is the exact opposite of the ways that we are pushed.

Rockford Wright, MD
So I guess my takeaway would be let’s pursue some patients, let’s try and be civil. But let’s also understand that we are still learning, we are still gaining knowledge, we are still trying to establish many of the facts.

Brad Singletary
I think something that some people struggle with is kind of almost paranoia. You know, there’s the system, there’s the man, and there’s the there’s the government who’s controlling everything. You know, this the guy that talked about the cobra venom and whatever, there’s probably millions and millions of people who watch that and half of those probably believe it. So what is the balance between not being naive and also not being paranoid?

Brad Singletary
I mean, maybe there are some things that we ought to be cautious about. There are some things in our history. You talked about World Wars and and different things in the history of mankind that have been terrible and tragic. But how do we also not run around paranoid and believing the sky is falling, but be tuned in.

Rockford Wright, MD
Yeah. So we have to I again, I don’t know that I have a perfect answer to this. My answer has been to find a balance between the virtual or digital world and the real physical world. So if we live in a Twitter sphere, we are going to be exposed to a nonstop barrage of attacks and potentially, you know, vile things.

Rockford Wright, MD
Now, not not that that’s all that Twitter is, but in that in that sphere, that digital sphere, it is built to to attack in many ways and 160 characters, what have you like. And like we talked about earlier, sensationalism, and being provocative sells so that that digital world that’s clamoring for your attention is going to be provocative. It is going to push things that trigger paranoia.

Rockford Wright, MD
I worked with a here in Las Vegas. She’s a nurse and her husband is one of the broadcasters for the news here locally. And she said that they would chart the number of people tuning in based on this story that they that they showed and they could see when they went super negative tune in shot up as soon as they started talking about positive things like look at this food bank and what they’re doing locally or whatever attention dropped off.

Rockford Wright, MD
They are incentivized to sell negative because and protect potentially. This is a protective mechanism for us as as a species. We need to be aware of threats. So maybe we are keenly attuned to threat and danger. Now, what that does for us now is it provokes anxiety and we live in this world of anxiety. So what I would do when I was kind of swallowed up in some of that digital provocation, I would turn around and look at the physical people that I was actually interacting with.

Rockford Wright, MD
When the world was falling, when racial tensions were out of this world, and that I looked at the people that I actually physically interacted with and I didn’t experience that face to face. And it re grounded me in in the reality of my interaction with people. That was not nearly as anxiety provoking. Now, I know that people do go through struggles, and I know that there are tensions but for me personally, the physical actual what I would call even more real connection that you make with people is not nearly as anxiety provoking as the digital sphere.

Rockford Wright, MD
So if it’s just a simple matter of balancing time between the two, then I think that would be beneficial.

Brad Singletary
So interesting. You’re talking about the digital. What was the phrase you used before that you were in this like this digital negativity or something all that is so abstract. And even if even if what is being described sometimes is really accurately happening or it’s some description of something that is a phenomenon that is actually occurring, if we look at our own world and our own sphere, you’re talking about the real live people, you know, in real life, you didn’t experience that abstract versus reality.

Brad Singletary
And Ray Dalio is book principles. I think his first principle or the first bullet point under his first principle was recognize reality. You have to see reality. And some of what we’re being sold is an idea. It’s an emotion. I always say that, you know, these news outlets, you know, they sell Toyotas and potato chips. It’s all just for listeners and for viewers.

Brad Singletary
And if they can they’re selling emotion basically is what they’re selling, not information.

Mike Olsen
And I think that is one of the key points to remember here what Rocky is talking about, what you just mentioned. Do you know who Ray Dalio is? Mm hmm. Do you know who Ray Dalio is? Rocky Ray Dalio is probably one of the quiet guys behind the scenes who has led up until the last few years and managed the largest hedge fund the world has ever seen.

Mike Olsen
Well, at least in America. And I think as Americans, that’s the wonderful thing about it. You mentioned Honduras, and if you lived in America, because it has the structure for capitalism to be maximized above all else, if you want it to, and it can be done in a negative way. And Ray Dalio has managed the largest hedge fund, the most valuable hedge fund that America has ever seen.

Mike Olsen
And I think that’s the thing to keep in mind. And that’s when you talk about the Twittersphere and the world of e commerce that I’m in is the fact that negativity sells. And why does negativity sells? It gains eyeballs, negativity gains eyeballs, and through Facebook, through Instagram, through all of these different social media platforms, accessibility to eyeballs, and therefore the value for anyone selling anything on the Internet in e commerce.

Mike Olsen
You now have a main line. If you want to talk about medicine and drugs, you have a main line to someone’s wallet. If you can get to their eyeballs showing something to someone through Instagram or through an ad to Taps, later, they can order it and it can be at their house within 24 to 48 hours.

Brad Singletary
Sometimes it’s and for it to be emotional, it’s.

Mike Olsen
Very it’s very advent pages to someone selling things. Now, also, as a consumer, I actually enjoy that. But discerning the difference between when someone is actually trying to provide you a product or when they don’t care what they’re providing you as long as they make money being able to discern between those two things, I think we have to have some some sort of North Star so that we can strip away we can identify this as negative.

Mike Olsen
I don’t need to be part of that. I need to add a little more physical face to face to my world because that that betters my world or hey, this is something that is digital and I do want to participate in that and I can zero in on the things that match up with my North Star. The principles that I feel are most important in my life that are beneficial that I want to keep, and the things that I want to strip away and try to ignore.

Mike Olsen
That, I think is where I think a lot of us try to get to. But if we don’t know what our North Star is, if we don’t know what our deep core principles are, it’s easy to get fooled and distracted by all of the other things that are just trying to get at our attention.

Brad Singletary
That’s a great segway into the next part, which is about how we can decide what is right or true in the mindfulness literature out there. A very popular thing in the mental health world especially are the self-help world. This is kind of an Eastern philosophy about observing the world. Observing your experience of mindfulness meditation is a popular thing where you basically just observe and allow things to happen without judgment.

Brad Singletary
There’s there’s no good or nor bad. And when it comes to like emotional regulation, maybe that’s an important thing to do. But I think you know, Non-judgment has its place, but that doesn’t work in business or in medicine or maybe in families. I mean, are there moral absolutes? How do we know what is right and wrong if discernment is about judgment, maybe we do have to judge.

Brad Singletary
Maybe all thinking is judgment. When I think about thinking, I think it is judgment. You’re driving your car and said, am I going to make this late? Should I speed up? You know, am I too close to this car or what’s my you know, when the right speed it’s judgment where we’re constantly judging that maybe as is what thought is.

Mike Olsen
I think, differently than when I hear some things. I sometimes have to know, OK, this is not a popular topic or you’re going to really cause some controversy. When I hear people talk, oh, you shouldn’t judge that other person I’m wondering in my own mind, I shouldn’t judge them because and then I try to understand that I shouldn’t try to judge that person because I don’t know if it’s right or wrong.

Mike Olsen
I think I absolutely have the not just the right to judge, but I have the obligation to judge if I think that is right or wrong to allow into my life now to judge whether that’s a terrible person or a different topic or if you are on a religious vein. Is that judging whether that person has a right to a heaven or hell?

Mike Olsen
Obviously, I’m not the one who who judges that. I certainly shouldn’t judge that for them. I don’t have the right to judge that. For them, I could care less because I’m not involved in their particular judgment. However, do I want that part of my life? Or if I ever come across the same scenario, do I want to behave like that?

Mike Olsen
I think that I absolutely have the obligation to judge that. It doesn’t mean that I’m judging that person or that I’m bad, but to judge, is this person right or wrong? This as an absolute. I like what Rocky said, because to judge that as an absolute is a dangerous thing because there are so very few absolutes in our in our world, in my opinion.

Mike Olsen
And just like Rocky talked about medicine, a being judged as the right one to use for keeping a human at cruising altitude during a surgery that might be found later to be the a different medicine that is needed only to go back. When you learned that there were unknown, previously unknown benefits, I might have the same thing in my life.

Mike Olsen
And so I have to kind of just try to say, according to my Northstar, and if I have an obligation, if I am a husband, a father and I have other people under my stewardship or my leadership or my influence, do I want to be influencing them a certain way or do I want to be explore meaning to them?

Mike Olsen
Yeah, I might be influencing you a certain way. I’m human. It probably isn’t what I truly believe, but I might have a tendency to screw up in even my own judgments of right versus wrong. So forgive me.

Rockford Wright, MD
Yeah. So I think another way I’ve heard it described as we should not make final judgments. Right. And so I don’t think it’s fair to say this person is bad but I think that it’s fair to say this action, this thing is bad. So I honestly, I’m ill informed with a mindfulness trend that you talked about. But in talking to you about it, one of the questions that I have is if there is no good or bad, it’s just we’re kind of seeing things happen how do you reconcile that with real life consequences?

Rockford Wright, MD
So if we’re aliens looking down from space and just observing, then, yeah, that if we’re not stakeholders, then there really isn’t a consequence. So there really wouldn’t be good or bad. And so I think we had talked or you had mentioned or something, there was a an example of traffic or something. If you’re an alien looking down at traffic, then it would just be like congestion of machines carrying humans that usually move faster that are moving slower this time in our little bunched up.

Rockford Wright, MD
Right. But the real life consequences are different when there are real life consequences. We can’t just be passive observers. So the example is what if that traffic which to an alien just looks like a congestion of little machines carrying cars or carrying humans? What if that traffic jam causes you because you’re stuck in it to be late for work and you’re fined or penalized or fired?

Rockford Wright, MD
Is that traffic jam good or bad? Well, you could very easily say for me, this traffic jam is bad, it has a negative consequence. So or I’m a physician and sometimes I have to respond to emergencies that may be time sensitive. So if I’m needed for a surgery and I have to race in and I’m stuck in traffic and I can’t get to help that person, that person suffers.

Rockford Wright, MD
There’s a negative consequence to this thing. Now, traffic is maybe this isn’t the best example, but it’s an example of something that could very easily be described as well. That’s not good or bad. It just is what it is. But for the person experiencing the consequence, it is bad and we experience consequence from stuff. Let me let me add one other thing or I mention a couple of other things.

Rockford Wright, MD
So if I’m in a surgery again talking about the mindfulness, there is no good, there is no bad, it’s just stuff, right? So if I’m in a surgery and a patient’s heart stops, which luckily is super and incredibly rare, especially in relatively healthy people, can I look at that and say, well, that’s not good or bad. It just is what it is?

Rockford Wright, MD
Of course not. Right. That is bad. There are real consequences. So if you were to say that looking at the world that there is no good and there is no bad I don’t know, again, how you reconcile that with consequences. I talked about Ukraine and Russia because I’ve sucked into that. So try telling a Ukrainian mother weeping over her executed son or a Ukrainian teenager held captive and raped repeatedly that there is no good or bad now, while there may be degrees of difficulty or pain or suffering or bad, to say that that bad doesn’t exist seems like you might be ignoring a huge part of the human existence or experience.

Rockford Wright, MD
So how do you how do you reconcile real life consequences with this mindfulness movement? And I don’t know.

Brad Singletary
I had a professor who talked about morality and what is moral. You know, we’re talking about morals and ethics. And he said, here’s a good question for morality. If everyone did it, what would be the consequence? I love what you’re saying. The consequence is that that should be what determines or the potential consequence. Is alcohol good or bad?

Brad Singletary
I think, you know, we can say the potential consequences of that, you know, are very bad.

Mike Olsen
I think all of those topics tie into affecting one’s ability to choose. If I’m doing something to you that affects your ability to choose, then that’s an entirely different topic. Are you someone involved in a war and now, because of the actions of someone or a group affects their ability to choose and I think I think that’s kind of that’s where I put my Northstar and how I might try to lead people at work.

Mike Olsen
I might try to lead my family, and I try to even, I guess, lead myself is am I affecting my ability to choose? Am I affecting someone else’s ability to choose in a negative manner? And maybe I’m doing somewhat something to that. Maybe I’m trying to manipulate them and I’m getting them to believe something, something through my own lies.

Mike Olsen
Or maybe I just live in a certain way. I know that when let’s let’s use my wife as an example. I know that the women’s movement, the MeToo movement, and I think the general topic of men respecting women, especially because that’s the gist of this entire thing with our podcasts and everything. It’s how we interact with other men and how we interact with women.

Mike Olsen
I think the biggest thing that I’ve always tried to take away when my wife will interact with me is am I respecting her? Am I manipulating her? Am I helping her achieve her ability to choose unobstructed the best way that she can? Am I encouraging her? This is your choice. I will love you no matter what you choose.

Mike Olsen
If you ask me what color the dress is that you should wear, and you’re just looking for my opinion, I need to understand. Why are you asking me that? Yes, here’s what I think. But no matter what you choose, honey, I love you. I want you to understand I respect you. I love you. No matter what it is that you choose.

Mike Olsen
Choose what you like. You be you.

Brad Singletary
I love this discussion we’re having we’re going to wrap up this episode right now, you guys, and pick it up again next week with Dr. Rocky right here. We appreciate you being here, man. Thank you so much for what you’ve contributed. I can tell I’m going to want to have you back more and more. It’s a good thing you live close because I’m afraid that I’m going to be I’m going to bug you with this every few months probably.

Brad Singletary
So I want to wrap this up. We’re going to in the next episode, we’re going to talk about how we can keep realistic expectations of ourselves and other people, how we can be rational about the meaning of things. We’re going to talk about understanding, cause and effect and see better what is happening and then the value of mentors and using other men to help us make good decisions.

Brad Singletary
Thank you for joining us. Until next time.

Alpha gentlemen, you are the Alpha and this is the Alpha Quorum.



If you’re like most dudes, no one taught you how to be a man. Instead, you’ve probably been taught pretty much the opposite. So many personal influences in our lives. Our parents, our peers and society has conditioned us to be obedient rather than strong. We’ve been taught to be a good boy, follow the rules, not be rude. And these ideas have been forcibly injected in our heads. Since we were able to speak the problem is it doesn’t work and is hardly ever in our best interests. These messages manipulate us into being manageable and compliant. The standards of systems that are about control sometimes giving is not right. Sometimes sacrificing is wrong. Sometimes being nice damages us. Today we’re going to discuss the book No more Mr. Nice guy by Robert Glover.

Intro (00:01:06):
If you’re a man that controls his own destiny, a man that is always in the pursuit of being better. You are in the right place. You are responsible. You are strong, you are a leader. You are a force for good. Gentlemen, you are the Alpha, and this is the Alpha Quorum.

Brad Singletary (00:01:30):
Welcome back to the Alpha Quorum Show. Brad Singletary here. I’m really excited about this episode. This is episode number 80. I can’t believe that we’ve come this far. It’s been over three years now and it’s just exciting. The feedback that we get from all of you, thank you for what you’ve shared with us in the social media and the messages and emails and so forth that we’ve gotten. Our guest today has been an entrepreneur from his first business owning and operating a car stereo shop 20 years ago until today, right here in Las Vegas. Since then he’s owned a car dealership, a bar, a strip club, and currently owns a Jeep boat and jet ski rental company. A whole bunch of ATM machines as well as a marketing agency that works with tour and rental operators around the country. Steve Edwards is the dad of two boys, one in the air force and one who just recently enlisted in the Navy. Welcome, Steve. Appreciate you being here, brother.

Steve Edwards (00:02:24):
Hey, thank you so much for having me the episode 80. That’s pretty impressive. Yeah.

Brad Singletary (00:02:28):
Yeah. Well, I should mention here too, that you’re a podcaster yourself and you’ve done played with this a little bit and he’s teaching me how to get my mics and stuff dialed in a little bit better tonight. Appreciate that, man.

Steve Edwards (00:02:41):
This is fun. I love this stuff. This is great.

Brad Singletary (00:02:42):
Well, this topic seems to be something that you really are. How are you? How are you so familiar with this information? This is like your hobby horse of…

Steve Edwards (00:02:55):
This is my catalog. This is my book.

Brad Singletary (00:02:59):
So we want to talk about the book No More Mr. Nice guy by Robert Glover as I’ve worked with men. And as I’ve figured some of my own out, I’ve realized that far too many of us are just too soft. I did a little survey recently on a private Facebook group, by the way, if you’re listening to us and you’re not a member of the Facebook group, check it out. It’s called the Alpha Quorum. It’s a private group on Facebook. No one can see that you’re there. What you post, unless they’re in the group.

Steve Edwards (00:03:28):
And you’ve got to be a man which helps.

Brad Singletary (00:03:31):
Yes, everyone there is male. We verify that. I guess we’re only looking at pictures and names, but we think we have a pretty good idea.

Steve Edwards (00:03:37):
I said, man, loosely, I guess you need to be a male. Probably a couple of not men, but there’s some definitely, everybody’s a male.

Brad Singletary (00:03:47):
You know, it’s funny. We have, I think 1% of our audience in there, it shows up is female. And I think it’s because you have, there’s a couple of guys who share their their Facebook accounts with their wives and maybe that’s where that comes from. But

Steve Edwards (00:03:59):
I mean, that could be its own podcast on its own. What does it mean when you start sharing your Facebook account with your significant other?

Brad Singletary (00:04:06):
That’s being a little bit too nice. Maybe. Definitely. So No More Mr. Nice guy. What, what led me to this entire thing that I’m doing as I speak to men as I’m working with men in my practice is just noticing that men are either too hard or too soft, too nice or too difficult. And I read this book probably three or four years ago. It was it was recommended to me by Derek Johnson. We kind of started this whole thing together, Derek and I, and he showed me this book and told me that he himself was a nice guy and recovering nice guy. So Robert Glover is a therapist and he recognizes some of the patterns that he talks about in the book, recognize that in himself. And he describes a little bit about how that has harmed his harmed his relationships. And he’s teaching this to other men so that we can get ahold of ourselves and get our balls back basically.

Brad Singletary (00:05:03):
So we want to review a little bit about this content. We’re going to talk about just nice guy syndrome, what it is, how we become this nice guy, learning to please the person who matters most making your own needs a priority, reclaiming your personal power, your masculinity, and more about getting the love and the sex and the life that you want. Those are basically the chapters of his book. Start us off on a high level here. Steve, what, what is this about and what do you recognize in general? We’ll hit some specific bullet points later, but sure. You know, plenty of guys who behave this way, they’ve surrendered their masculinity itself to the system, to their spouse, to their parents or whomever. They’ve given that up to what do you notice?

Steve Edwards (00:05:51):
I even think that this isn’t even something that I need to kick down the road. You know, this is something that I can take full ownership of as I was as nice of a guy as you could possibly meet the nicest guy. And you know, when you start seeing some of the traits that represent being a nice guy, you know, at surface level, they sound like really admirable traits. Like you’re a nice guy. You’re willing to, you know, do things for others. You want to fix problems. You are a giver. You you know, you are seek, you seek the approval of others. When you say these at surface level, these sound like great, wonderful things that you would want out of a guy. Yeah.

Brad Singletary (00:06:33):
This is the dream husband you’re talking about.

Steve Edwards (00:06:35):
Absolutely. But what ends up happening is you end up with a guy with no backbone. You end up with a guy that can’t deliver on his promises because he is incapable of it because he’s living a lie. He’s not happy. Most of this is all self-deprecating behavior because they’re not serving themselves first. They’re not taking care of their own wants and needs. And yeah, they end up in a really tough spot.

Brad Singletary (00:07:03):
Yeah. They, everything they’re doing is really calculated to try to gain approval or avoid disapproval. So we’re always trying to do the right thing so that, you know, nothing is ever hard for anyone. We want to protect everyone. Else’s feelings, repress our own. Of course. Yes. That’s so unhealthy.

Steve Edwards (00:07:23):
I’m healthy because you know, I was like to take this back as if any of you guys have ever did it. And every, every guide knows this, that women love a bad boy. Right. Right. and we see it in media. We see it in everyday life and you never really understood the why. Why do they go after the bad boy? Well, because there’s an edge because they, they appear to be a man. They have this backbone, this, this spark about them that feels alive. And when you start looking at a lot of nice guy behaviors, you know, the, this idea of not being able to stand up on your own feet, it’s almost like codependent in its own way. Totally. But they’re not, they’re not fulfilling their own wants, needs and desires because they’re so busy worrying about everybody. Else’s

Brad Singletary (00:08:14):
And the hope, why, why is that? What is the hope in trying to please everyone? What are they trying to gain from that?

Steve Edwards (00:08:20):
So the term, and I mean, we’re kind of like without jumping too far ahead, but the term is it is a covert contract. Most of everything done as a nice guy is done with the idea that you will receive something in return. The easiest way or the, you know, the dumbest way to explain this in a guide type of mentality is, you know, the time you did the dishes or you did the laundry in order to have sex,

Brad Singletary (00:08:47):
Hey babe, I changed the light bulbs. You think we could have some alone time now, a hundred percent, but this covert. So that means we’re not really, this is, that would be even better. That’s what the bad boy move is like, Hey, I changed the light bulbs. I did the dishes now let’s get naked.

Steve Edwards (00:09:03):
Yeah. But that doesn’t even express that it’s not even said what it, what it’s done is it’s almost like, I think every old person under the sun has always said it, you know, what does assuming mean? It makes an out of you and me. Right. And, and it’s that, it’s a game. It’s mental gymnastics. It’s I’m going to do all these things, right. I’m going to, I’m going to vacuum and I’m going to dump a dishwasher and I’m gonna, you know, I’m going to take care of the kids. Like, and they expect that the sex would be reciprocated. Now this has done in a million other things. This is just the easiest one. And probably the biggest miss for guys is because, you know, as you being a therapist and talking to a lot of men, what do men complain about? Hey, I’m, I’m married and my wife doesn’t put out.

Brad Singletary (00:09:53):
We have a great relationship except we never touch each other.

Steve Edwards (00:09:56):
Yeah. Because I’m, she’s absolutely disgusted by me. Sounds awesome.

Brad Singletary (00:10:00):
Well, she’s probably not disgusted by your beer gut. She’s probably not disgusted by your morning breath. She’s probably disgusted that you’ve emasculated yourself and you’ve given your handed your balls away to someone or to her maybe. And you’re, you’re not making your own needs a priority. I probably used to say this kind of thing about you’re the center of my world. You’re everything to me in that kind of stuff. When I hear that now, or I see that anywhere, I just cringe and I go, oh, please do don’t. Don’t don’t, don’t, don’t be like that because that’s not going to work out very well. And women are not very interested actually in being the center of your world. If you’re the, if they are the center of your world, that means your world isn’t very freaking exciting. I’m going to lose respect for you, man. They just, they’re not going to have much interest in you. And it doesn’t matter how you look or how much money you have. If you’re overly focused on making your partner happy, none of you are going to be happy.

Steve Edwards (00:11:00):
And I think the, as we dig into it here a little bit more, it’s not necessarily the idea of doing a nice thing with, you know, something expected in return. It’s all the other actions that lead up to it. It’s, it’s basically all the steps that have turned you into a nice guy that have made you a disgusting human to your, to your wife, to your significant, other to the female gender, you know, to females in general, you know, in order to be a nice guy in order to protect everybody from everything, you have to be dishonest, you’ve gotta lie. You’ve got to, you know, you can’t be fully transparent because there’s things in life that if you’re totally honest about them, they’re going to hurt somebody’s feelings.

Brad Singletary (00:11:43):
You’re making me think of a, what was that movie? Old School Will Ferrell and they’re in, they go to therapy and they’re like, oh, we’re in the trust tree. We’re in the trust tree. You know, you can say anything, go ahead, open yourself up. And he’s like, oh, I’m imagining what kind of panties you’re wearing to the hot female therapist. And he gets in trouble. And he said, wait a minute. I thought this was, I thought we were in the trust tree. I thought this was safe.

Steve Edwards (00:12:04):
Nope. That’s a great example because guys, guys are so scared to be honest, but you know, because it sounds bad. Nobody wants to be labeled a predator, but guys are certainly more animalistic than women. They definitely think with their wrong head most of the time, and guys are very simple in the fact that like they would trade out a lot of things in order to have sex. I mean, if they could make those contracts, Hey, all dumped a dishwasher for sex. I will run 12 laps around the block for sex. And that’s where it all goes wrong because guys end up running with the wrong brain and they make decisions. And basically the rest of their life is basically decided by these horrible decisions.

Brad Singletary (00:12:54):
Yeah. They’ve got to hide the evidence of their weaknesses. They’ve got to hide their feelings. They’re, they’re loaded with secrets. They’re trying to like be, you’ve mentioned dishonesty. They’re like compartmentalizing, everything.

Steve Edwards (00:13:06):
Manipulation is a big one. You know, again, it’s like using a different term for the same type of thing. But if you’re lying, you’re probably manipulating situations. You’re telling half-truths I was a liar. That was my thing. I like to lie lying was my drug. It was like, you know, if I could just tell a little white lie to protect my own, to, you know, ease the situation. And you know, as everybody’s aware, your lie, catch up to you, your lies bite you in the. And that, that was my, that was my game.

Brad Singletary (00:13:38):
That never, ever, ever plays out well. And it actually causes the thing that we’re trying to avoid. So why do we lie? Why do we manipulate is because we don’t want to lose the other person. We’re just terrified of abandonment, which is a theme that runs throughout this book is we’re so afraid of being abandoned. We’re afraid that if we show any need or have any of our own wants, or we want to go fishing or go on a guys trip or do any of those things that we’re going to be seen as selfish and therefore abandoned. But then we lie in compartmentalize and we’re dishonest. And we have this like covert control, this covert contract stuff that we do. And we ended up losing respect anyway, they become disgusted by that anyway. And we would probably, you know what, man, I’ve heard women here in my office, let’s say, they’re dealing with an affair. The man’s had an affair. Yeah. In 100% of the time she doesn’t obsess about what the, you know, what the girl looked like or how good the sex was or what did he say to her? What she’s hurt by is the dishonesty. And he’s dishonest because he’s afraid of what would happen if she were to find out. So yeah, tons of manipulation and all this is really, there’s a lot passive aggression that goes along with this stuff.

Steve Edwards (00:14:53):
Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, there’s a million different little pieces of this that I think every guy to some degree can look in the mirror and start unpacking some of these characteristics, some of these behaviors. I mean, I don’t know a single guy that I know that hasn’t made a covert contract about something or that, you know, is a hundred percent honest all the time. That’s totally transparent. Cause I mean, even now, even even saying that I’m, you know, a recovering nice guy, this idea of like complete transparency and total honesty is frightening as hell. Yeah. It is. I’m not saying that, you know, it isn’t the right direction and it it’s hard. But the, the other side of it is also very, very challenging. This idea of like lying your way out of situations, lying to, you know, controlling the situation.

Steve Edwards (00:15:48):
I’m, I’m, I’m a controlling guy. I’ve been the boss for a long time. Probably, you know, you take those Myers-Briggs tests. It comes back I’m, I’m a manager type. I am the boss type. So to remove controlling feelings and controlling situations and letting situation, you know, letting situations play out. I remember in a previous relationships, you know they, she would have had a disagreement at work or an argument at, with friends or something like that. All I wanted to do was fix it, or I wanted to take the edge off. I wanted to do anything to create less friction and just trying to remove all the friction from everything that, you know, I think every, what else have we always heard? Like, we don’t want you to solve the problem. We just want you to listen to us. Well, I think all the guys are fixers.

Brad Singletary (00:16:44):
It’s kind of in our nature a little bit.

Steve Edwards (00:16:45):
We’re built to fix it.

Brad Singletary (00:16:46):
One of the things he, one of the things he mentions in the book is that a lot of these nice guys are even attracted to people that they can try to fix protracted to the broken person. Codependency was a term that you used before. Maybe this is maybe this guy has made a multi-million dollar fortune right in this book. And he’s really just describing codependency. I don’t know, but it seems like a lot of those things are common things. Another negative about being a nice guys that we’re swinging back and forth for being nice and not nice. So these guys aren’t always necessarily, you know, nice. And the doormats, sometimes we, we, we let all that stuff build up and it turns into like explosive anger and those kinds of things you ever go to a domestic violence class and the room was full of nice guys.

Steve Edwards (00:17:32):
Yeah. I mean, that’s, you know, I had to had a Google it, but you know, it’s like a narcissistic style of behavior and, and it it’s because it’s so self-serving, and it’s really only built for the interest of the nice guy and not the party around it. It’s like this exchange of, of feeling like you’re going to continue to do these things in exchange. I want to feel a certain way. I want a certain reaction. I want a certain amount of touch or whatever it might be that you’re never left fulfilled. There’s never a fulfillment of like, wow, that worked out. I feel great about it. I should continue to do this. In fact, it’s the exact opposite where you’re constantly left disappointed and that disappointment builds up to resentment and resentment as you’re well aware, you know, in therapy is what ruins relationships guys are just begging for any amount of intimacy, any amount of affection from their significant other. And she’s pulling away even harder because all she’s seeing is the. She’s seeing the lying. She’s seeing the controlling manipulative guy that, yeah, maybe he dumped the dishwasher. Maybe he did this, but then he’s also yelling at me about, about not contributing about not helping about not being an equal member of the, of the family. And it’s like this weird tug of war with yourself, the only person you’re fighting with is yourself.

Brad Singletary (00:18:58):
Yeah. So there’s a lot of sexual problems with this guy. He’s usually extremely dissatisfied. There’s some often sexual dysfunction. So like erectile dysfunction, there’s like inability to orgasm. There’s all kinds of different things that go along with that. Maybe they’ve acted out sexually. Maybe they’re addicted. They have some sexual compulsion. There’s a lot of this is focused around sex. And he talks later in the book, he talks about one of the things that nice guys do is that they settle for bad sex. So they’re settling, always perpetually unhappy with that. Either not able to improve it, recognize their role in it, but you know, the bad boy, he’s not getting a lot of bad. He doesn’t have, he doesn’t have that. And it’s like, what is it about why is that?

Steve Edwards (00:19:49):
Well, because I think, again, not to dumb guys down to just three things, but you know, food, sleeping, sex, but you know, guys are hunters by nature and they definitely are seeking. They’re seeking that sexual relationship. Do they want more than that? Absolutely. A hundred percent. There’s certainly far more to guys than just food, sleeping, sex, but guys are certainly more driven to go get sex. And where I think the word falls apart is when you look at like porn of today, you know, porn on its own is like a next level thing where it’s not even like normal porn anymore. Like who even knew that everybody wanted to just have sex with her steps. I mean, who do that was like the hottest,

Brad Singletary (00:20:35):
Is that what they’re talking about now? I guess I don’t, I don’t, I don’t, I don’t know

Steve Edwards (00:20:40):
No idea, never over what PornHub is like the top fifth or sixth visited the site on the internet. I had no idea. I don’t even know what goes on there. Yes. You know, so the perversion level of like what is even being presented, it’s not even normal consensual sex, like what you’re used to or what normal people, I guess, would be seeking. They’re being exposed to something that isn’t even realistic. So they’re going home or they’re bringing that vibe. If you want to call it to their significant other. And you know, they’re not living up to it. Like everything else in their life, they’re not living up to it. It’s basically a constant feeling of disappointment and the lacking, because you’re not having the sex you want, you don’t have the relationship you want, you know, you’re not getting sex enough or up to the standards that you would want. Your wife has constantly mad at you. It’s this constant letdown. And all it does is build up into a huge, huge fight. And that’s where most of these guys go wrong. And that’s where they end up with domestic violence. That’s where they end up in cheating. That’s where the whole thing starts by alert, spiraling out of control.

Brad Singletary (00:21:50):
Yeah. So like relationship problems, this stuff, you know, goes into careers and people are unfulfilled in their careers and not living up to their potential. But usually when a guy comes to see me here, they’re, they’re coming in talking about their relationship and yes, they may have depression or anxiety. They may have anger or whatever at their core of what I see an 80% of the men that I, that come here, they got nice guy syndrome going on. And by the way, you’ve kind of acknowledged that I got to say that to myself. If you go back to episode one of this show, I talk about that, that in my first marriage, I was a little bit controlling, a little bit pushy and a little bit demanding and so forth. And in my current marriage, I tried to correct that by being super accommodating and turned into the nice guy and that didn’t work either.

Brad Singletary (00:22:37):
So we’ve been going at this 10 or 11 years now, 11 years. And we finally figured some of this out, but it took me. And I guess if she’s listening to this show, maybe she’ll comment in the, in the social media, whether or not this is true, but I feel like I did. And I have a had to just take, get my balls back. Yeah. I want to skip the part about being integrated. I want to come back to that later, but the working paradigm of the nice guys is this, if I can hide my flaws and become what I think others want me to be, then I will be loved. Then I will get my needs met. Then I can have a problem free life. But even when, even though this is effective, they only see one option is to try harder. So we just keep trying. We just keep doing more and more nice things. I hear it all the time, man. I bought her a $12,000 ring for our 12th anniversary. I did all this stuff. I had all these things and made these special trips. And I did all this thing in my I’m just orbiting around her as the center of the universe. It never seems to pay off. I don’t understand it. Why is that?

Steve Edwards (00:23:47):
You know, you’ve got these guys coming into your office and at the point, a lot of the guys are coming into your office. I don’t want to be the cynical guy and say that it’s too late, but you’re definitely, you know, now you’re trying to really fix something that’s broken versus doing a lot of the maintenance work that is required to keep a relationship healthy. And they’re at this point because they’ve basically dropped the ball so far along the way. And you know, not that we, we can’t put any blame on, on women, but when a lot of like the problems that have, I’ve heard, I know you’ve heard that guys are dealing with the blame does come back to the guy because it is such nice guy behavior. So talking about like this idea of like exerting more, being more continuing to you’re going to keep pouring from an empty bucket, into her half full cup.

Steve Edwards (00:24:42):
Right? And you’re trying to fulfill the marriage in ways that are not what she’s asking. So it’s like you even brought up the example of like buy a new car, buy this pay. I can fully admit I’m the guy that always reverts to solve it with money. Well, that doesn’t solve most problems. I mean, it doesn’t solve most relationship problems. You know, your wife has an asking for you to buy her a new bag, to keep her happy. She is asking for you to participate in the relationship, participate in your kids’ lives. Be a good, be a good partner, be a good father, be present, show up. And unfortunately Louis Vuitton doesn’t sell any show up medicine. It’s always a very nice bag, but that doesn’t buy love.

Brad Singletary (00:25:31):
They need you to be a bad-ass that probably has nothing to do with them. You’re not going to wash dishes enough. You’re not going to do these household things enough. It’s not how many diapers you changed. You know, we still need to do those things, but we lose ourselves in the process. When I look at someone who’s divorcing, I ask and I’ve been there before. And so I know that feeling personally, I ask, well, how do you feel about yourself, your own individual kind of walk in life. How are you doing with your own journey? They always say, I’ve lost myself. I don’t even know who I am.

Steve Edwards (00:26:05):
So to touch on that because I got a little left of center of where I wanted to go on this. But you know, the biggest mistake I see is that guys have lost all touch with other guys. Guys don’t have hobbies. They don’t have real male friends. And they don’t. That’s the sort of stuff that keeps you at guy. I don’t want to, you’re not probably needing to go out grunting out in the woods and like burning pallets and stuff like that. And like just screaming from the mountain tops that I am man, but you need male testosterone around you. You need guy friends, you need to, you need have hobbies that are not including of her. You know, you need a life that does not fully encompass her in it. And that’s hard for a lot of guys to hear. You know, that’s hard for a lot of guys that have been in long marriages, 15, 20 years, they’ve lost connections with their wife or I’m sorry with their friends, their only friend is their wife. You know, they’re sitting around saying my best friend is my wife. My, you know, and that’s great. That sounds super sweet, but it’s also kind of scary because if your best friend is your wife, what happens when that don’t work?

Brad Singletary (00:27:18):
Yeah. It seems like the passion fades on, on those kinds of relationships. And that may be a great friendship. That’s good for you, bro. You got a good friend, but are you getting any bl*wjobs?

Steve Edwards (00:27:29):
It’s true. You know, I can already hear the pushback of like, well, don’t you want to be friends with your wife a hundred percent. You definitely want to be friends with your wife. And, but there was a different friendship. I don’t care how close to your wife you are. You have a different conversation with your guy, friends than you do with your wife. And I think that element of, you know, getting out and shooting guns or riding UTVs or going out, being out on the water, going hunting shooting pool, working on cars, any sort of thing that you can do where you get some male testosterone, you have like real male friends and quite honestly open up, start talking like guys are so terrified of like exposing themselves in any sort of weakness. And yet they’re at home just weak as hell, just soft as can be. But God forbid, they let another guy actually know that they’re hurting. That they’re struggling, that they’re going through anything because you know, the machismo is just pouring out of them except at home where it matters.

Brad Singletary (00:28:35):
I asked guys sometimes to draw like a pie chart, draw a circle and divide this pie into the things that you think about the things that you spend your time in time on your concerns in life. And when a guy shows me, you know, it’s, he’s got 70% of his pie chart is his woman. I can already tell. He’s not very happy. He’s not very fulfilled. And, and I just pulled this number out of thin air. But you know, one thing I say is like, what if she was 20% of your life? What if she was a 25% of your life? And maybe the biggest portion, maybe the biggest percentage of that pie of your time and your focus and your energy. But what if you throw some other things in there you need to have beyond the bowling team, you need to go on a golf league. You know, there’s gotta be some kind of connection to life outside of her and your home.

Steve Edwards (00:29:25):
Well, I also, you know, this is a metric that I’ve taken into account is that unless you actually have the five phone numbers to somebody you could call right now and ask them connect, come stay at your house. I need a friend. And maybe that’s even too big of an ask. Do you have five friends that you can call right now and go have a beer with, you know, or go talk to or go stand in their driveway and shoot the. Do you have five people you can do that with? And my guess is it’s like 97% say, no, it sits. They’re being real. It’s, it’s a no,

Brad Singletary (00:29:59):
It’s so wild. That we’re the biggest like consequence of being a nice guys, that you have terrible relationships with women, your romantic relationships are suffering, but the remedy, the cause and the remedy have nothing to do with that woman or that relationship or how you look. It has nothing to do with what’s within the relationship. So much of it has to do with what’s outside of it. There are some dynamics and some interactional things that cause problems. But let’s talk about the making of a nice guy for a minute. What, how do we, how did we become these weak dudes who are just so ultra nice and unhappy?

Steve Edwards (00:30:40):
Fifty, sixty years of being raised by women, your dad went to work. The, you know, the cleavers were the real thing. You know, dad went to work, mom stayed home. Mom raised you. Mom was your first girlfriend. Mom was your first love. Mom was everything. And you know, for a lot of guys is still everything I grew up. I was a mama’s boy. I’m not afraid to admit it. That’s the problem because there hasn’t been, you know, that idea of like being raised by men, going out with men, having that sort of like male testosterone around you, you’ve just, you’ve spent so much time around and being guided by women that you’ve lost a lot of that male edge. You’ve you’ve seen what your mom needs to be happy. You’ve seen like what the male energy looks like, or I’m sorry. The female energy looks like so strongly that it feels like you’re constantly like, man, I should fix this.

Steve Edwards (00:31:37):
I should be a nice guy. I should help out mom more. It’s like all these things that it becomes super unattractive to females. And some of this does go away when you’re dating. You know, when you’re dating, when you’re out hunting for the next girlfriend, there is that edge. You have to be witty. You’ve got to put, put yourself out there. You’ve got to, you know, you’ve got to lead with some testosterone and some masculinity because you’re a tiger and a group of other tigers. If you don’t, if you don’t attack somebody else’s gonna attack. If you don’t have some sort of push in you and that all goes out the window, the second that these guys become in a relationship that they, they find misses, right? They say, I love you immediately. They’re attached it’s codependent. And they’re just pouring themselves into this other person, which feels like the right thing to do, except they’re also pouring all the things that they need into this and not getting it in return.

Brad Singletary (00:32:36):
You mentioned being raised by women. Think about school teachers. So you’re home, mostly with mom, dad’s working late. He’s gone. Now another great example. One of the things that mentioned in the book is that most of these guys were, they either had absent fathers, avoidant, fathers, addicted, fathers, philandering fathers, angry fathers. And so part of it too, is that I want to be anything except like what my dad was. And then mom is trying to program us to like, don’t be that, be a nice boy. She needs you to be kind of her surrogate husband almost. That’s a whole another dynamic. That’s a whole another show. We’ll have to do at some point. But so we’re getting programmed by the schools. We’re getting programmed by in our own homes. Society just kind of wants to water down masculinity. I saw some stuff recently talking about the toxic masculinity idea and that the problem is not masculinity. The problem is the absence of masculinity. Jordan Peterson talks about, if you, if you think a strong man is dangerous, wait till you see what a weak man can do.

Brad Singletary (00:33:38):
If you can’t see that in our society right now, you know, the woke culture, the woke mob cancel culture. The second somebody doesn’t like something they’re, you know, they’re canceling everything and that’s, that’s its own separate topic. But if you don’t think that a correlates, not everybody’s a champion, not everybody can be a winner. Somebody is going to have to lose. Somebody’s going to have to learn a lesson. And I think it’s so prevalent today. I seen that pie chart, you know, where it goes around that circle of like weak man, strong man, you know, like I forget the four quadrants, but how it goes around. And yeah, I think, I feel like we’re in such a weird spot that like, it’s going to be very, very hard for somebody to break the culture of it. But I think at some you can recognize, recognize in your own house with your kids.

Steve Edwards (00:34:28):
I think it’s you, it’s something you can recognize as a man of like tendencies that you’re doing. And I I’ve recommended to everybody to read the book. The book is amazing. The book I feel like is a game changer. And the second, once you start reading it, you’re like, oh my God, I do that. I do that. Look at this. I do that. These are all like things that you can start seeing in yourself that you’re doing that have a huge difference in your overall happiness and wellbeing. And to the idea of like these teachers, these moms, all of this, you know, you can’t blame your mom for raising you the way she, you did. But at a certain point, the accountability of like why your relationships aren’t working. You do have to be able to look at a mirror and say, Hey, these are probably some of the negative traits that I’m presenting in this relationship. And if I can find out how to be a better version of myself, maybe I ended up with a better relationship.

Brad Singletary (00:35:24):
So I want to ask about something personal here. Tell me some of your worst, nice guy. Give me some stories.

Steve Edwards (00:35:33):
Oh man. I just, I was such a nice guy and I mean, I’m sure of my two ex-wives. They would love to chime in and pour into this bucket. But you know, I was, I was manipulative. That was definitely a good one. I was gaslighting king. I could Gaslight the out of a situation, you know, because, cause you don’t want to look in the mirror. You don’t want to take any ownership of it. So it was like, that’s why it’s on you. It’s not me. This is your feelings like this. And you know, I was, I, I think I wrote the chapter on the covert contract. I was the guy of like, oh, let me dump the dishwasher. Let me help with laundry. Oh, I’m going to vacuum. I’m going to do all this that you never asked me to do anyways. But I really expect some sex out of this at the end.

Steve Edwards (00:36:19):
And yes, I never got any sex. It was like, it was like, that was, it’s so dumb looking back on it because it all makes sense. It all makes sense. And now hindsight looking back, you know, this could have all been solved, you know, not happy to say it, but I have two divorces under my belt and the second one hit me pretty hard. The second one was rough. And when I’m looking at them now, I mean, I was as mad as I wanted to be at them. I, I have to take a lot of ownership. I was a pretty weak man. I was definitely not the best version of myself. I had every nice guy tendency that you could write and you know, and already led to resentment. It led to argument after argument about not having sex in our relationship, it led to fights about like, you know, doing stuff together or why isn’t this good enough? Why isn’t that good enough? And it makes for a miserable life

Brad Singletary (00:37:19):
For me, some of those things for sure, but to add to that, my own problems with this in relationships, I was kind of the simp, you know, I was like, I was writing poetry. I literally was just trying to be like, Mr, let me, let me do that for you. Let me do everything for you. Totally. The covert contract, like, man, let me just show you what a stud I am. And, and even, you know, I took pride in my, in my vulnerability. I could talk about my feelings. You know, I’m a sensitive guy and let me show you my sensitivity. Let me be this. Ah, it’s just disgust me now to think about it. And, and I, part of that was just it’s who I am. And I needed to kind of toughen up and get a backbone like you talked about, but also just not trying to show off. I mean, I remember one time I wrote this really long Facebook posts on my wife’s page just to like how wonderful and beautiful she is and all this stuff, bro. She deleted it. I’ve never done that again, man. I’ll I’ll, I’ll, I’ll be the guy who I would get her like I’ll buy a $7 card for Valentine’s day and put love you. He like, I can’t, I won’t even say, I love you. I’ll be saying love you, you know, not hard to draw the heart to heart and that’s it sign my name, you know, I’ll put B instead of Brad.

Steve Edwards (00:38:41):
So my biggest runaway with us, I didn’t actually discover this until I was going through the second divorce. So how mine actually sprung on me was like, it was, you know, we grew apart and I was really not playing the right cards. I was playing the game entirely wrong. And you know, when, when she was ready to call it and she wanted a separation and that’s where it started, all of a sudden I went into my F you know, fight or flight. And I did exactly that. I was like writing, like the longest, most heartfelt texts you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Like literally just total samp, total, oh my that’s disgusting. It’s like gross. I mean, I look back and I’m like, and that was some real pathetic behavior. And you know, all she wanted was space. She was like, Hey, I just need some time could not give her time.

Steve Edwards (00:39:36):
Time was like the most impossible thing. And if you anybody’s like Google, you start, they, they have a thing like 30 days of no contact. We’ll think about that for a second 30 days. Not talking to your significant other when she doesn’t like you and you’re trying to make up with her. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever tried in my life. But to that, I mean, there’s a lesson to be learned about that. I mean, the lesson is in the time it’s in this idea of like being so insecure in your own skin, that you’re not deserving of love, that you’re not deserving of happiness in your relationship. A lot of this book passes all the blame down to guys, and I’m a strong believer. Like I want to own my. I want to own it all the way through, you know, it’s way too hard to kick the can down the street to somebody else.

Steve Edwards (00:40:27):
But there is an element. It’s two people in a relationship. And if you were strong in your own background or in your own backbone, and you saw how this played out and you were being a man, you would have never dealt with any of the anyways. You know, if she isn’t providing, if she isn’t pulling her into the, you know, end of the deal, you’re being a man you’re helping, you’re contributing. You’re being this good dude without being a nice guy. You’re not going to be in a relationship that fulfills you like that. You know, not every relationship is meant to last forever. Maybe you’re with the wrong person, but if you’re good with you, that don’t matter. And that I think is the hardest thing for people to wrap their head around.

Brad Singletary (00:41:10):
Yeah. So our value, we see our value, our like human value, our value as a man is all wrapped up in how we’re being treated and like sex is that’s the ultimate evidence of being accepted. And when we don’t get that and we don’t get the time or attention or whatever we used to, we get into this like existential panic. You don’t want to talk to me. You don’t want to touch me. You don’t to spend time with me. I am nothing. Well, that is going to just escalate. That’s going to just devolve even more and more and more you’re spiraling down. And this going to end in total heartbreak. That’s what, that’s what happened to me for sure.

Steve Edwards (00:41:48):
No, and I mean, it’s easy to say it from standing, you know, sitting outside of it now and having gone through it. When I was going through it, I was a puddle of goo. I was, you know, I, I was soft as hell. I, there was nothing about me that was man. I felt like I was, you know, being a simp. And that was like the awakening that I needed to do some real self work. Cause I didn’t have, I didn’t have five people in my phone. I could have called to spend the night at their house or to go grab a beer with, I had me and my own depression and my own, my own negative beliefs about myself, not believing that I was good enough. And that’s where it starts and ends is like, you have to believe that you’re worthy of the love and affection that you need to be happy in a relationship. And the hard part, the talking out of both sides of my mouth on this is that you might be in this relationship with somebody that is not fulfilling your needs. And at a certain point, you have to be able to draw a line in the sand and say, I’m not getting what I need out of this relationship and be okay with the outcome because you know, you’re not happy. And that’s hard to say,

Brad Singletary (00:42:59):
I want to talk about this list of habits of highly ineffective men. Number one, looking for the approval of others, trying to conceal our apparent blemishes, you know, our mess up our mistakes, putting other’s needs in front of our own sacrificing our own power. I like this one too. This is what you’re talking about. This associating ourselves from different guys and our own manly energy. We’re totally disconnected. You’re let me say this loud and clear for you guys. Your most unhappy moments in your life have come or will come when you are the most disconnected from other men. Nope. That’s crazy. You’re most unfulfilled, unhappy times in your life will or have come when you are most disconnected from other men. So we make connections with women that aren’t fulfilling. We’re creating the circumstances. Co-Creating the circumstances for bad sex failing to live up to our own potential. So if we’re going to fix this stuff, we got to look at Glover talks about being integrated, being an integrated man. So what does it mean to be integrated?

Steve Edwards (00:44:16):
And integrated man, as somebody who is comfortable in their own skin? One of the biggest mistakes or one of the hugest problems with this nice guy is this belief that they’re not good enough. And this w this need for acceptance by everybody. You know, a lot of people say, I don’t care what other people think, but we all know that that’s a lie and that’s actually became even worse as time’s gone on where our entire culture and civilization is ran by, you know, fake Instagram and, you know, seeing everybody’s life. That seems amazing. Everybody’s beyond happy, but actually everybody’s really sad and depressed and going through a lot. And you know, they’re dealing with things and they have mental health issues. And at a certain point, you have to just believe that you’re okay, that you’re okay as you are. And your people will love you regardless. And that’s hard for people to say,

Brad Singletary (00:45:14):
Yeah, we’ve got to make our own needs important. We need to find people who can meet our needs when you’re integrated, you can live in some, with some confidence.

Steve Edwards (00:45:27):
And I think this all, I think this is the big takeaway for all of this is like, you have to just figure out how to be good with you. Like this idea of masculinity and like, you know, I don’t think you need to be this super machismo Dick. That’s what a lot of people hear is like No More Mr. Nice guy is that they have to turn this around and they’ve got to be this non-caring Dick we’re. In fact, actually, you know, somebody who is an integrated, truly good guy that gets what he’s doing. That’s a good man is caring. He’s probably way more caring, but he also recognize the difference between caring and care taking your job is not to solve everybody’s problems. But that doesn’t mean you don’t care. I have struggled with empathy for a very long portion of my life, of not being a very empathetic person.

Steve Edwards (00:46:23):
And I thought it just actually meant that I didn’t care, but where I got confused in this are where my mistake was made is that I felt empathy was also me having to solve the problem. I always had to have a solution to a problem versus just understanding that there was a problem. Sometimes you just gotta listen, you gotta just be able to hear that, okay, this is what’s wrong. This is what I don’t like. This is what makes me unhappy. Or this is what is making somebody unhappy and be okay in just, Hey, I hear what you’re saying. I hear what your problem is and leave it at that. You’re not in business to solve everybody’s problems.

Brad Singletary (00:47:05):
Yeah. We got to just deal with things in a straightforward way, learn to experience and express our feelings. We need to just find harmony with the, the delicate things of life. And another thing he talks about is that you build significant relationships with men. I always say the womanizer needs men, not women

Steve Edwards (00:47:27):
Or womanizer does need. And you know, the other thing is just being transparent about your wants and needs. He, covert contract will be the death of like, it will be the death of many marriages. And it has up to this point. And you know, because we’ve touched on the sex portion of it, this has to be a clear and present thing of what you’re in need of in this relationship. Maybe you’re not going to go and just say, Hey, I need more sex. I need more intimacy in my relationship and immediately get it. It’s not as if you’re going to go walk to her and be like, Hey, I definitely need more sex. And she’s like, you know what? You’re right. Let’s go, you know, you’re, this is a work in progress. And you’re going to have to work these steps to get to a spot of her trusting that your not going to be this passive aggressive guy, that your going to be the best version of yourself that you’re going to show up, that you’re going to listen. And in return, the end goal is that she will be able to be the best feminine version of herself, which is in return, is going to reflect on a better sex life, a better partner and a better relationship.

Brad Singletary (00:48:39):
Yeah. We got to face our fears. We need to become trustworthy and genuine. We’ve got to set limits. I think an integrated man is able to say, no, that’s something that I’ve struggled with. You talked about empathy, something I’ve struggled with is going along to get along, giving to get. He talks about that a lot in the book, you give something to get something back in return. So when you move come integrated, we’re not afraid. We’re not even afraid of losing the relationship. Think of the things that we do, the bonehead things that we do to try to save a relationship. We’re trying to force someone to let us stay at the party that no one wants us at. And I think if we can get to the point where like, it would be inconvenient, but I’m not, as I’m not scared to be alone,

Steve Edwards (00:49:31):
You know, it’s a, it is that fear of abandonment. It is that major fear of abandonment and whoa, what if nobody ever loves me again, somebody is going to love you again. You know, when you’re the best version of yourself when you’re showing up, when you’re caring, when you’re, when you’re that guy that was outdating, your you’re putting off, it’s a different energy. You care different. You know, you, you see that you’re, you’re in this. What happens when guys start going through breakups or in the gym, they’re working on themselves, they’re eating better. They’re doing basically everything that their spouse asked them to do in the relationship, just after the relationship

Brad Singletary (00:50:12):
That would’ve made everybody a lot happier. If they were just taking care of themselves, he talks a lot about that. And if we want to turn this around, he specifically talks about building muscle and like working out and becoming physical.

Steve Edwards (00:50:26):
Yeah. You know I, I saw it earlier and I, and I love this term as this I, and I’m going to read it. A lot of people say, I love hard instead of saying I’m codependent, lack boundaries, and become borderline obsessed with a person I’m interested in because of my anxious attachment style and fear of abandonment. But yeah, I love hard. Does sound better. I heard that. And I’m like, man, I, I feel that I get it because everybody gets in these relationships and you get in a relationship. And at first it’s like the greatest feeling ever you’re. So in love, you’re ugly. It’s oh my God, I can’t even imagine my life without them. And then like the real life sets in. And like, you have the same problems everybody else does. And relationships are hard when you’re not having sex with each other.

Steve Edwards (00:51:16):
You know, you with work with friends, with relationships, take a lot of work. And then when you add kids in the mix, you had a relationship, you had money. It’s a, it’s an uphill battle. The entire way we all have wants, needs, desires, that sort of thing. But we’re so afraid of just expressing our feelings, expressing how we feel, you know, what we need out of this relationship to be successful. You know, we’re terrified, terrified of the, what if it doesn’t work. And because what if, if it doesn’t work means you’re a failure. It means you’re not worthy of love. It means you’re not, you know, all these things you tell yourself, it means you’re never going to be with somebody else again. So instead you just pour the nice guy on like, it’s, you know, the thickest you’ve ever seen. It just thick country gravy.

Steve Edwards (00:52:07):
And you end up in a situation where you’ve got everything that you didn’t want. You’re not loved. You’re unhappy. You’re not getting, you know, you don’t have the sex. You want it. You don’t have the relationship you want and your partner checked out. And now you’re sitting in front of Brad and you’re wondering like, how does, how the hell did I get here? And how do I get out of this? And the unfortunate part is a lot of times, once you’ve gotten in front of Brad, it’s too late, too little, too late, myself included. Once you’re in front of Brad is too little too late. You can choose to solve it. Today is an overnight fix handle. No, there’s no overnight fix behind this. You’re not going to read this book and go home. And all of a sudden be this well adjusted mail. But if you don’t take some action, if you don’t find a reason to go out with the guys, if you don’t have any guy friends, you got to start somewhere. You’ve got to start. You gotta take that turtle step forward to take some action, to get to a better place, because otherwise it all unravels. And then, then you’re sitting on a podcast three years later talking about being a well adjusted male or so, whatever the hell that means some adjustments in the mail, the integrated mail. I’m sure if you have somebody there’s no well-integrated anything about this, but on, at work in progress,

Brad Singletary (00:53:27):
I think that’s important. We, he talks about you would need to please the person who matters the most. And that sounds a little selfish, but if we’re talking about coming out of nice guy syndrome, we gotta, we got to shift the balance a little bit more that way, because by trying to please everyone, nice guys end up pleasing, no one, including themselves. We see sex as the ultimate form of acceptance. And when our woman gets angry or upset, we think we, we start to panic like, oh, I got to do something quick, quick, quick, quick, how do I fix this? I need a lie. I need to manipulate. I’m going to offer some ideas. Here’s let me appease you in some way. And if we can just learn this, be okay with that little wave, that little emotional wave and just not feel like we’ve got to prevent her from feeling angry or upset. Because when we do that, when we’re rushing to some quick action, some urgency it’s based on, like you said, the fear of abandonment is based on, I am nothing without you. And that’s just. That’s going to lead you to pain.

Steve Edwards (00:54:30):
I always, every time, every single time that is going to lead you to pain. And it’s just not the case. I mean, are you the best version of yourself right now? No. Am I absolutely not. I’m sitting here and I’ve been losing the same 50 pounds for the last 15 years. It’s hard work. It’s hard work. And I think a lot of it all starts in the head. I think it’s the, you know, the embarrassment of mental health. I think it’s the guys being like, oh, well, how am I going to go talk to somebody about my feelings and of all the things you should do of all the places you should put money. Maybe you need to go see a therapist. Maybe you need to go talk to your friends. Maybe you actually have to have an open dialogue about what’s going on in your life. And this is where I think a lot of the mistake has made

Brad Singletary (00:55:19):
When we’re in the nice guy syndrome. We kind of feel like we’ve got to hide any of our shortcomings. Think about hair loss and stuff like that. And now we’re both sitting here now, both sitting here, bald guys who proud and true.

Steve Edwards (00:55:32):
You asked me if I was five foot taller and 50 pounds lighter me and me and the rock, same cap. Same.

Brad Singletary (00:55:41):
So yeah, any mistakes where we think about, you know, we don’t, we don’t wanna, we don’t want anyone to know that we farm. We don’t want to have any perfect imperfection of any kind. And so to be okay with that, stop lying, stop putting up walls. You know, people are not drawn to our perfection. Something that I’ve learned as a therapist is in the textbooks. You know, they say not to self-disclose, don’t tell your own stories to your clients. And I’ve really kind of always been a little patch Adams like with that stuff, I just do whatever works. And for me, what seems to work is in small little doses, I tell people about my into jail, but in a psych hospital, been suicidal, took psych meds, been divorced, got ex-communicated from Metro. I tell all those things. And everybody’s like, dude, I like that about you.

Brad Singletary (00:56:29):
I’m glad that you shared that. And I think the same is true of women. We think we’ve got to be perfect to win their acceptance. That’s probably not very good. I hear some women say sometimes he’s actually the perfect husband. Well, why did you cheat on him? Why are you leaving him? Why are you, why is this so perfect? He’s so perfect. And that’s a lot of pressure and it’s a lot to live up to. And I feel like there’s some inauthentic thing about that. So we don’t have to be perfect. What we have to do is get our needs met and do that with some integrity.

Steve Edwards (00:57:00):
This’ll be Billy put out, I’m sure, but it’s that putting the on the pedestal, it’s raising this belief that women are perfect, that women are without flaw and that your, just this piece of meat that she accepted into her life and you bring her no value. I mean, I think that’s where a lot of this self doubt and this disbelief in yourself that you’re deserving of love. I don’t know. Like I think that this is a lot of this has to start inside. This has to start in your own head. This is your own self-worth. And if you have something about you that you don’t like change it, make the change, do the work. If you’re like, oh my God, I’m such a fat obese sack, a shoes. Well, maybe you go to the gym maybe instead of sitting around. And like, if you don’t believe in yourself, maybe you take these changes. I have a mantra that I live by and I think it’s the greatest piece of advice. You either go after the life you want, or you settle for the life, you get hands down, full stop. The only thing you change everything about yourself. You want to be a billionaire, great. Do the work you want to be, you know, you want abs, you want to be ripped. You want the best life possible. Do the work. And if you don’t do the work, then you have to accept what you got.

Brad Singletary (00:58:20):
Yeah. Sometimes when we’re trying to be appear low maintenance. So like, if I, if I don’t have any needs, if I don’t have any way to grow, if I don’t have any imperfection, no one’s gonna abandon me. I want to dig into that covert contracts again, real quick. So basically that is to say, I will do blank so that you can do blank for me. I will do whatever. I’ll do this thing for you so that you can do this thing for me. But both of you act like no one is aware of the contract.

Steve Edwards (00:58:50):
You know, again, we can’t speak for women. We don’t have any women’s setting hair or anything like that, but it’s every guy does it. I mean, you know, they’re probably doing it and they don’t even know they’re doing it. But the, the most popular is always regarding around sex. You know, they on running joke for as long as everybody’s been alive is like the second you get in a marriage, you know, there goes a sax, right? Well, these guys that are in these relationships, he’s sexless, unhappy relationship. You know, that sex didn’t go away overnight and it didn’t go for a way, for any reason, something happened, something stopped, pushed her away where she stopped having sex with you. And maybe it was your lying. Maybe it was you not paying attention. You know, that phone that you’re sitting in there in your hand or the video game controller in front of you maybe you got to put it down, put a little pay, little attention and you know, I’ve had to drink my own.

Steve Edwards (00:59:41):
Kool-Aid on that. I’m the, I’m the worst. Like I worked all the time. I always was on my phone. I’d be sitting and watching TV and on my phone and just like not paying attention. So when she stopped having sex with you at a certain point, you have pull up in the mirror what happened? And it’s two to the covert contract side. It’s this artificial like made up. If you do this, I’m going to give you this. And for guys that’s sex, like I said, it’s the chores. It’s the date night. It’s the, any, any little gesture that should be commonplace in the relationship. Oh, I went and got your wheel changed in your car. Oh, I did this. And it’s like, you laugh at that. I was like, oh, I went and got your oil change. We should probably have sex without

Brad Singletary (01:00:25):
You mentioned, you mentioned the date night. I heard a guy in, one of my men’s groups recently was talking about how he took his wife out to this fancy dinner. They were all dressed up. They bought a bunch of expensive wine and all these things. And he, his whole thing was like, oh boy, when we get home, it’s going down. And it didn’t go down because she’s half buzzed. It’s midnight 30. You know, she’s been up with the kids since five in the morning and she’s tired. And she wanted to get down the next morning when they woke up. And he was all sorts of butt-hurt because I spent $600 on you on this date. And I didn’t even get any so needs are normal. We’ve got to accept that our needs are normal, but we need to talk about those indirect ways.

Steve Edwards (01:01:10):
I’m I’m done that. I’ve done. I’ve like, that could have been me. I I’m I’m that guy that you just told a story about there. I mean, I I’ve, I’ve done it when I planned a big night and we went out to a show and a fancy dinner and we were staying at the Cosmo and it was, I mean, rolled out the red carpet. And then when we got back to the hotel, she’s like, I’m tired. I’m not feeling this. And like a little bit, I’m just like, what are you going to have sex? You they’re going to have sex. I, you know, and those ruined, and then you’re having guilt sex, which is gotta be worse. It’s almost as bad as no.

Brad Singletary (01:01:45):
Oh, it’s worse. Cause it’s building resentment and they they’re just turned off, checked out. There’s nothing intimate at all about that. Earlier, we talked about the difference between caring and caretaking and there was a cool action step in the book. Here’s one of the things that he suggests, he says, stop giving completely for a week, stop doing any care-taking completely for a week. Don’t do anything that you normally do for a week and notice how you feel and how people react

Steve Edwards (01:02:12):
When you say that out loud. And like, guys are going to hear this. Like, you know how absurd that sounds right.

Brad Singletary (01:02:18):
It sounds absurd. He says, but there’s a followup to it. But he says, all right, notice how you feel and how people react when you give nothing. And then he said, after that, then caretake more than you normally do. So go all aboard, all overboard, caretaking, checking in, making sure they have everything, give them everything they ever wanted and then notice how you feel and how people react. And I think I want to try this. So

Steve Edwards (01:02:41):
Without imploding a relationship, do all of this without imploding your relationship.

Brad Singletary (01:02:47):
I think the idea is it’s really trying to get us out of the habit of the covert contract. And just to sometimes I’m sitting around like, okay, you had a shower. I had a shower I’m guess guests. This means maybe we can do this now. You know? And, and I noticed that most of those times disappointed, but when I got to do and it’s like, oh babe, no, I got, I got something going on. I got it. I gotta go. I gotta meet up with Steve over the office to record a podcast. Like that’s when it’s like, I’m being pulled back in to like, whoa, before you leave. And there’s some crazy goes down in two and a half minutes in the closet, you know what I’m saying?

Steve Edwards (01:03:26):
And how does it like, I mean, isn’t that the way you’ve dreamed about it being isn’t that the like fun that needs to be injected into it. I know a lot of guys, if they even had to go to the idea of like scheduling it, because now when you’re an adult and you got kids in the house, you got all this, let’s be real. That sex is going to go away. It’s not going to be like, when you’re freshly dating, no kids and no adult responsibilities or no, like, like, yeah, that’s amazing. And then it all goes away and guys are like, Hey, what happened? Do what happened when we were 22 and things were amazing. And we had unadulterated I don’t know if you want to call it like young kids, sex, college kids sex. I don’t think that that’s I think

Brad Singletary (01:04:09):
That that’s in the car, like that kind of stuff,

Steve Edwards (01:04:12):
Car sex. Now I just, now that practical dad, adult side of me is like, why would we do that? Like, why don’t we like, you know, we have a fully functioning bed, right? Like, God, what if I get a leg cramp? God, I, I even, we should delete that portion out. Cause we ain’t going to be terrible. Nobody wants to hear about like, why Steve doesn’t want to have car sex too old for this.

Brad Singletary (01:04:38):
My favorite lines in the, in the, in the, I was gonna say the movie, they should probably make a movie about this. But in the, in the book is helpless. Whiny, wimpy, and needy men are not attractive. Not at all. He says, put yourself first. It shows confidence. And that is what attractive you’ll feel anxious and guilty at first. But if you can just put yourself first, do what you want to do and do nothing that you don’t want to do. Now, some guys are going to hear this and go to say, oh, well, when I go to church, they tell me I need to serve and love and sacrifice. Well, yeah, if you’re an ego driven person, who’s only selfish and completely, some, sometimes people need to forget themselves and kind of, there’s two ideas. One guy says the king eats first and the other guy says the king eats last. And which one is it? And I think it’s both depending on which you’ve been typically in the past, if you’re a nice guy, I think the king eats first.

Steve Edwards (01:05:34):
Well, and this isn’t a game of absolutes, right? Like this is not something I think that you can just go full, stop on it tomorrow. And you’re going to just have a happy life. In fact, I think you’re going to end up with a more off life than you have. Now. I think that this is something you have to recognize inside of yourself. A big takeaway for me would be the recognizing of the covert contract. I think that that’s the most easy place for a guy to start recognizing the little things that you’re trading off with the expectation of something in return. Start there, stop doing it, stop expecting anything. And maybe then you’re going to stop volunteering to do some of these tasks that I’m not saying don’t help around the house. Cause I feel like that’s like an implosion waiting to happen too. But I think you’ve got to approach us with a different energy, a different mindset and quit trying to horse trade stuff with

Brad Singletary (01:06:31):
Horse trade. I like that. I like that idea.

Steve Edwards (01:06:33):
Yeah. I, you know, it’s like this, this just, it’s a trade. It’s a trade and guys are w and it would be one thing that even if you said it, like, Hey, I’m going to do all these chores. And in return, I would like to have sex. And she says, yes, sir, do you accept this deal? These terms? And she said, yes, that’d be great, but it’s always happening without being said. And then it’s just leading to disappointment. So I think you got to take baby steps, read the book, read the book again and probably read it two or three, four more times. Cause I’m, I’m a like 10 times deep because it’s a huge mindset thing. This is a mindset change.

Brad Singletary (01:07:11):
Yeah. I think you’ve made a good point about this. This can’t happen overnight. Generally. This is just a general idea about the timeframe for change. I think it takes a month for every year that you’ve been dysfunctional. So w our average listener is about a 40 year old man. And if he’s been doing this since he was a child, you know, since he was a boy, he has been, he’s been a nice, nice guy since he was a boy, because he was trained to be that way. So he’s been doing it for 30 years. Been a nice guy. It may take you 30 months of therapy. Men’s groups talking with dudes about this, really getting control of yourself, getting your balls back. It might take you a month for every, yeah. So think of you’re on a three-year plan to get your balls back and we can help you with that stuff if you reach out to us. But yeah, it’s not going to happen overnight, and don’t go do some sudden crazy things, but in reclaiming your personal power, he talks about considering and accepting your gifts. You got to find some things to be proud of. You got to look in the mirror and see something that you like and be able to acknowledge that with yourself and the people you’re around and project a reality that we,

Speaker 3 (01:08:24):
I, I love this. I love this point. Like this, I think is a, I lead with a lot of self-confidence where it comes from. I’m not totally sure. Maybe it’s all a lie, but I have it. Okay. A lot of the guys I talked to, there’s such this belief, this self belief that they’re not deserving of better. And if you don’t believe you deserve better than what you have, how do you ever get it? How do you, how do you demand that? How do you demand more from others? If you don’t even think you deserve it? And of all the things of all the topics that one hurts me the most, because there’s a lot of guys that are in unhappy relationships and you know, maybe it isn’t a woman may, you know, but they’re, but they’re not taking any action. And all they’re going to do is they’re going to keep going down the same path, because it is the path of least resistance, because it’s easier to be unhappy in a relationship with your wife and you know, your kids than it is to break up, get divorced, you know, have shared custody, lose half your money, or lose your money and, you know, start all over and still be this weak man, because you don’t deserve, you don’t think you deserve better.

Steve Edwards (01:09:40):
In fact, now your self-worth has even less guys really have to do this. Some of the self works, you know, look in the mirror. What do you deserve? Why do you deserve it? What are you doing to be the best possible version of yourself? The way at the exercise? The self appearance is a big portion of it. The idea of like, when you start dating somebody, all of a sudden you become attractive to other females. We’ve all heard that. And when you’re single, all of a sudden, you’re basically chopped liver and nobody wants you. Well, it’s because you pull off that like thirsty vibe when you’re single, you’re needy, you want, you know, you’re wanting of love of others and it comes off as weakness versus masculinity and confidence and self-belief, and when you’re in a relationship and you feel like you’re in a S you know, those first three, six months of a relationship, when you feel like man, I’m on top of the world, I’m in this great relationship. I’ve got this girl by my side, you know, that’s that kind of like, that’s that toxic max masculinity. That’s the stuff that pours out of you that feels like you’re conquering the world. And then you let life kick you in the nuts a little bit. And all of a sudden you become this weak version of yourself again.

Brad Singletary (01:10:52):
Wow. So interesting. So true. We kind of project a reality that we want to see happening on to things. And even if it’s not real. So one of the interesting concepts in the book that, that shocked me a little was it talked about, we are trying to be monogamous to our mothers. And the way I read that was we kind of maybe unconsciously sabotage things so that we can really stay true to our first girlfriend. And that’s a very fruity and in nature, but I think it’s true to some degree. So let me go ruin every relationship so that I can get back to my mom or to this in the archetypical sense. This is the ideal love or whatever. I let me ruin this so that I can be comforted and be, you know, go back to this idealistic thing, whether your mom is alive or not. I want to go back to this ideal of unconditional love. I have a client who complains that his wife, you know, says, oh, we need to have unconditional love. And he tells me, and I believe it. The only unconditional love that exists is from God and from your mom and dad and, and no spouse, you know, because we’ve seen it. We’ve been through these situations where we love you when this is going well, when you start doing that now, I don’t love you anymore. It’s not, can’t be on a conditional only for your children.

Steve Edwards (01:12:08):
Unconditional love is such a weird concept too, of like, I mean, would you expect your parents to still love you if you were Jeffrey Dahmer or, you know, if you’re some crazy serial killer. And I know I don’t feel like I’m deep enough to wrap my head around this whole idea of like being faithful to your mom. I think it comes to this idea that you’re you do, you know, your parents are vital to your mom was in the picture for so long. And a lot of guys are mama’s boys. I was a mama’s boy. I am a mama’s boy. I see my mom a lot. And it’s, you know, you always hear the female saying like, you know, the mom is just too up in our business. You know, they, you can’t stand up to your mom because it’s your mom. You can’t say no to your mom. There’s no ability to push back. And, and over time that that almost feels like it’s how guys end up in relationships too, where they just can’t, they can’t be truthful. They can’t follow through, but you know, this idea of being faithful to your mom, I don’t know. I’m sure there’s a truth to it. I just it’s deeper than me, buddy.

Brad Singletary (01:13:15):
So he’s part of it is he saying that, you know, we are dependent on the approval of women. And so mom is just kind of the archetype of pure love and the, and the love that never goes away and that kind of thing. And so we’re, we become dependent on women. And if we’re talking about trying to take back our power and take back our masculinity, one of the things it talks about in there is we have this belief that we’re different from other men. I’m not the abusive, angry guy. I’m the sensitive, caring, caretaking person. And, and that actually disconnects us from other men, which is part of the problem. I love his definition of masculinity. He says, masculinity is basically what, whatever helps us in survival. So it’s our strength. It’s our ability to strategize. It’s our ability to fight. It’s our ability to protect and those types of things. But since say like the sixties, you know, we’ve kind of distanced ourselves from aggression. And so, but we still noticed that women are attracted to jerks.

Steve Edwards (01:14:16):
It’s like you better off. If everybody just needs to go buy themselves a Fonzie jacket and have a little bit of that. Yeah. I mean, but there is that element girls are attracted because that cause that jerk also spews confidence, whether it’s fake or not. Because I think that there’s a real level of fake confidence that goes with it. But that’s, I think where the attraction comes from is they’re looking for a leader. They’re looking for a guy who can take charge and have a strong backbone and it isn’t going to, or isn’t going to roll over. I think that’s where it comes from is that women are attracted to a bad boy or to this bad guy, because it’s everything they’ve been told that like, they shouldn’t find the nice guy, get the banker, go to go marry the guy. That’s going to raise the kids. Right. And go to work and come home and love you. And it’s like, but everybody’s so unfulfilled by that. Everybody’s so unfulfilled because nobody’s really talking about what they want. Even the woman in this, the woman isn’t saying, this is what I want, need to be happy. She’s just going with the flow too. Because if you don’t talk about it, it’s not really an issue.

Brad Singletary (01:15:27):
Yeah. Most women don’t want a man that who’s trying to please them. They want a man with balls.

Steve Edwards (01:15:32):
Oh yeah. A hundred percent. They want, each woman that could mean different things. That doesn’t mean you actually have to go out and like fight bowls or like jump, jump dirt bikes, or do any of these things, but you’ve gotta be comfortable in your own skin. And that’s hard. I think it’s hard for, you know, for guys to be like, this is who I am. This is the man. I want to be, I like golf. I like cars or dirt bikes or whatever it is. And just having a passion, like, what are you passionate about outside of your wife, outside of your kids? And that’s where I think a lot of guys lose all their happiness. You know, they give it away because it’s like, now I’m an adult. I don’t have any hobbies because I am a dad because I am married. It’s like, well, what were you interested in? You know, you used to maybe ride a skateboard or you used to like play baseball. Maybe you need to be on the softball team. Maybe you need to go play softball once a week. Or, you know, I’m not advocating for you to go on drinking with the boys, but you know that Saturdays are for the boys. Maybe you need a Saturday. Maybe you need, yeah. You’ve got to really find a way to like talk with the guy.

Brad Singletary (01:16:45):
Yeah. So true man. I was so I played college football and the idea of locker room talk and your mama jokes and all that kind of stuff. I was the guy who was offended by all that stuff. And I didn’t even, I never had any comebacks. Literally it took me into well into my adulthood to realize that that’s one of the ways that men bond with each other. And I used to get so offended. My grandfather would always call me like knucklehead, not head, you know, all these things. And I remember crying to my mom. He says, these mean things to me, you know, why does he say that to me? And it took me. I was probably in my twenties before I realized that’s just how guys do and I’ve yeah. That’s ball busting is real. So a Glover talks about, we need to do these four things to reclaim our masculinity, connect with other men, get strong, literally get in the gym, get strong workout, be physically active, have healthy male mentors and connections.

Brad Singletary (01:17:39):
And then look at, look at your relationship with your dad. And that’s something that you might consider doing with the professional, but we’re afraid to upset women because then it means she won’t have sex with us, but he makes a good point that that’s not true with our male friends. We’re not trying to get it on with our homeys. And so we can be real and we can not worry about upsetting them. We can not worry about drama with dudes. You’re less likely to have drama with male friends. And so that’s one of the reasons he says we need to have.

Steve Edwards (01:18:07):
So I know there’s going to be a lot of guys that are thinking like, well, how do I go get guy friends? Well now with the internet, you know, my best friend lives in Florida. Like I talked to him, I talked to him far too often for two males, but he lives in Florida and we talk every day about some, about anything, everything, and anything in between. But nowadays with the internet and Facebook and these different portals, you can find somebody who’s interested in what you’re into. Oh, you’re a weird European stamp collector. Great that guy’s on the internet somewhere. You’re not stuck with this idea that you have to find a friend in your backyard like you used to. But I do think that there is an element of like, you got to get out of the house. You need to find your tribe.

Steve Edwards (01:18:50):
Find those people that you can relate with that are going to check you on your and hold you accountable to your goals. A lot of guys just, they’re not transparent. Transparency being so key to all of this is they’re so afraid to be vulnerable to other men that it’s like when they’re around other men, it’s like a chest beating contest. Like we’re a bunch of gorillas. Have you ever played softball or have you ever hung? So you go to like softball and or whatever you go to hang out with the guys. None of those guys are ever having bad days. None of them are going through divorce. None of their wives are cheating on them or anything like that. Why? Because male, ego is way too high for anybody to ever be vulnerable. You need to find those three to five guys. And maybe it starts with one. Maybe it starts with two, but you need to find people that you can be real open and honest with.

Brad Singletary (01:19:43):
Yeah. Tell him when you’re messing up, tell on yourself, tell him about the problem you haven’t asked for some input. Listen to them.

Steve Edwards (01:19:50):
Find a men’s group. Men’s group is a huge thing. There’s men’s group you can go into and you can be yourself because these are not your friends. They are like-minded individuals, peers that are there to hear your problems and as well as address their problems. And I think that’s a huge step. I think that is such a miss where guys are missing out on is seek some therapy. So you can men’s group be real, like open up and be real about what’s going on in your life.

Brad Singletary (01:20:20):
We want to wrap this up guys. Thank you for being with us, but we’re just going to hit a few points from No More Mr. Nice guy by Robert Glover. Some things that he talks about, that what ways we can do to be integrated and to get our strength back, get our mojo back, get our balls back and have more respect in our relationships. Whether professionally or romantically, let’s just hit a few things here. First of all, I think is have some integrity. Be honest in what you’re saying. Be honest about your feelings, your interactions. Tell the truth.

Steve Edwards (01:20:53):
Yeah, that’s a, I think that’s a great one. Another one is quit being afraid of new experiences or what’s what’s around you. What the world has stopped.

Brad Singletary (01:21:02):
Yeah. Don’t be avoidant of new experiences. I love that. Learn to surrender what you can’t change. That’s one of the big things in alcoholics anonymous, the serenity prayer except the things that you cannot change.

Steve Edwards (01:21:18):
I mean, this next one is an interesting one, because again, it’ll, it’ll trigger some people, but do what you want to do quick, constantly trying to always please other people, make sure you’re taking care of yourself for

Brad Singletary (01:21:31):
Learn how to get help. Ask about help for your feelings. If you’re feeling uncomfortable or guilty about something. Talk about that stuff.

Steve Edwards (01:21:40):
Recognize that that people are human, that people are going to make mistakes, that people are flawed in nature.

Brad Singletary (01:21:46):
Stop trying to be perfect.

Steve Edwards (01:21:48):
Stop seeking approval. And like you don’t need the approval and the external validation from everybody.

Brad Singletary (01:21:54):
Yeah. You got to approve of yourself. Treat yourself to the things that you deserve. Take care of your own needs with integrity.

Steve Edwards (01:22:01):
Stop building such huge walls and let people in.

Brad Singletary (01:22:05):
Don’t try to cover up or take attention away from your weaknesses. Don’t be afraid of your shortcomings.

Steve Edwards (01:22:13):
Be aware or cognizant of your childhood events and some of the conditions or influences that led you to where you’re at today.

Brad Singletary (01:22:21):
Set boundaries. No who to let in who to leave out. Don’t allow yourself to be disrespected or taking advantage of.

Steve Edwards (01:22:29):
There’s a big one on the list, but be clear or start expressing your feelings. Be transparent about what you’re feeling about things.

Brad Singletary (01:22:37):
Spend more time with men. And we’ve talked about that quite a bit. You’ve got to develop your masculine energy,

Steve Edwards (01:22:42):
Recognize that women, they reject nice guys. They see that as weak, recognize that

Brad Singletary (01:22:49):
Learn to be more passionate, more assertive, more responsible, take care of business.

Steve Edwards (01:22:55):
I recognize that you don’t have to do everything right, or you’re allowed to be flawed

Brad Singletary (01:23:01):
And don’t let the fear of failure or the fear of success. Some guys, I think fears success don’t let that keep you away from the things that you want and deserve.

Steve Edwards (01:23:11):
The last I think is don’t settle for mediocrity. Go after the life you want, quit settling. You’re not a Pilgrim.

Brad Singletary (01:23:18):
Make your own rules. There’s a lot of rules out there right now. If they make sense. And if you can jive with that, go for it. But also don’t be afraid to be independent. Don’t be afraid to be, non-compliant do your thing. Get your balls back, guys. We really appreciate you being with us tonight. This is such an important topic. Men must be stronger. And that may, I mean, take a look at your upbringing. That might mean take a look at how you interact covert contracts. We’ve got to turn these things around and what I’ve noticed with myself and with men that I’ve worked with over the last 23 years, when we stand up and allow ourselves to be counted and allow our voice to be heard and be real and genuine and authentic about where we’re at, what our needs are. And we do the things that keep us alive in our spirit. Things just turn out so much better for us. Appreciate you being with us. Steve-O thank you

Steve Edwards (01:24:11):
So much for having me. I hope I come back. I got a lot to talk about.

Brad Singletary (01:24:14):
Yeah, dude, this is good. I feel like we got a good vibe. We get a little slow here, man. I appreciate you being here and we’re definitely happy back, brother. Take care. Thank you. You guys know no excuses, alpha up.

Speaker (01:24:29):
Gentlemen, you are the Alpha and this is the Alpha Quorum.

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