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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Meditation

Robert Manni - Friday, September 12, 2014

In today’s hyper-competitive, fast-paced world, it’s almost impossible to slow down. It seems that every day is mired in multitasking, double booking, and working overtime—all just to maintain the status quo. The demands on our time are endless. While all this is going on our brains get clogged with mega doses of information that perpetuates that incessant, internal monkey chatter. What time is my client meeting? Is my hairline receding? Who do I start at tight end in my fantasy football league? Why are there so many housewives shows on television? Should I buy the new iPhone or wait? It goes on and on. Our mental circuits are overloaded. We’re all on a runaway train careening along the rails towards a meltdown. What can we do? Sometimes the best course of action is to simply go inside and chill. And Guy’s Guys like to keep their cool. With this in mind I humbly offer you my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Meditation. I’ll share what I know about this new age, old school art and how I do it. There are myriad of ways to mediate, so I’m sure you can find one that suits you best.

Why Meditate?

It’s ironic that one of the healthiest activities for the body and mind requires that we do nothing. The benefits of meditation are numerous, led by a double dollop of good news. It helps prevent stress from entering the system, while at the same time releasing stress that has accumulated internally. Physical benefits of meditation include lowering high blood pressure, improving the immune system, reducing a propensity for anxiety attacks, decreasing tension-related pain, increasing serotonin and increasing energy levels. If that doesn’t convince you to give meditation a whirl, consider the mental benefits: decreased anxiety, increased creativity, happiness, intuition, and peace of mind, and an expansion of your consciousness.

How to Meditate

Meditating is easy and you can do it just a few minutes a day and get great results. And there is a cumulative effect. The more you meditate, the more benefits you reap from the process. You plant a seed and a flower grows. It’s up to you to plant those seeds.

I have a background and accreditations in Reiki and clinical hypnotherapy and I’ve been meditating for years. I can go deep almost anywhere whether it is during a long run or even tucked inside a MRI tube.

Over time, everyone develops his or her own technique. What I usually do is find a place where I can be left undisturbed for approximately twenty minutes. I sit quietly, close my eyes, and slowly inhale through my nostrils while exhaling through my mouth. Slow and steady, slow and steady. Then I count myself down from three, saying to myself with each breath, “Three, calm and relaxed, two, calm and relaxed, one, calm and relaxed.” While doing this I imagine a stream of white light pouring into my crown chakra and down throughout my ethereal and physical body. As I maintain my slow, steady breathing I begin focusing on releasing tension throughout my body and mind. The monkey chatter quiets down after a minute or so. If a random thought surfaces during the process like “where could I have left that dry cleaning ticket?” I treat it like a fluffy cloud that shows up in the sky on a sunny day. I recognize it and then let it slowly drift off. I’ve found that it helps if you can meditate outdoors in a pristine, natural setting, but that is not always possible.

If there’s an issue I need to resolve, I ask my subconscious or higher self for guidance. Other times I spend the time visualizing. I focus my intention on something I want, what it looks like upon completion and how I will feel when I have it. It may be for perfect health or writing a best seller or being of service or providing for my family. In fact in can be anything as long it is for the collective higher good. Although there is nothing wrong with abundance, I personally don’t intend hot cars or money for the sole reason of material gain.

Other times I intend that the divine white light pour into my consciousness and flush out any dis-ease or toxins in my system. I allow, I receive, I release.

Whatever direction I take my mediation… or not, the process goes on for twenty minutes or so. When I feel that I reached completion, I slowly bring myself back to the surface employing the same breathing technique. This time I tell myself “Three, I am awake and alert, two, I am awake and alert, one, I am awake and alert”. Then I open my eyes. And that’s it.

There are many forms and schools of thought when it comes to mediation, but the end results are the same. Better mental health, better physical health. Choose the type of meditation that fits you best, but do give it a try. 

Are you ready to go deep?


This week’s Guys’ Guys of the Week are the southern Indian tribes credited with conducting meditational practices fifteen thousand years ago. Talk about old school… 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to MRI

Robert Manni - Friday, September 05, 2014

Sometimes the human body is like an automobile. You take your car to the dealership for an oil change and before you know it, they’re telling you about potential issues in your transmission.

It’s the same with doctors. As a Guy’s Guy I do my very best to stay in shape and treat my body well. I give it good fuel and take it out for a long run a few times a week to blow off built up stress. But, I’ve also put some tough mileage on my tires. As a result over the past few months I had a bout with a small kidney stone. Thankfully, it has passed. I will be sure to do whatever I need to avoid experiencing that off-the charts discomfort again. During the process of sorting out my issue, I was asked to undergo a series of tests. This included a cat scan, an ultrasound and the dreaded MRI. Frankly, I have been so healthy that I invested very little psychic energy in these technologies. But that changed when I was asked to experience this gauntlet of standard tests.

A cat scan is painless. You are forced to drink a liter of creamy barium prior to the process on an empty stomach. Then you lay down and they take photos of your insides.  An ultrasound is easy peezy, too. It’s the same procedure given a pregnant woman. They rub some gel on you and work a stick across the area they want to look at.

An MRI is different and frankly until the day before my test I had no idea how it worked. I consider myself lucky to be so healthy and the experience gave me a lesson in empathy. As a result, I’d like to offer up my two cents on how to deal with this intrusive test. Here is my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to an MRI. Is this relevant to a blog about life, love and the pursuit of happiness? I think so. Let’s file it under “Life”. This is my take on my experience. If you need more official information, do online research and talk to your physician. Okay, that was a disclaimer.

What is MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. So, it uses magnets and radio waves to get a very clear and crisp look inside your body. I read about professional athletes getting MRI’s on their arms or ankles, but that usually consists of slipping the area of interest into a magnetic sleeve for images. When dealing with your core, the process takes on a different flavor.


What Is the Process?

You lay on your back on a motorized sliding “bed” and are covered with a “blanket” of magnets. They may or may not strap you in to keep you still.  The machine has a long tube. Mine was about five feet long, although MRI machines vary in size and the size of the opening. But the one I was looking at was a tube.

You are slid inside of it head first or feet first depending on the location of the images needed. I went feet first and was thankfully not strapped down. I could move my arms approximately nine inches to the sides. The tricky part was the tube came fairly close to my face, and I was staring directly at it.

Collecting and processing the images is noisy. You hear lots of loud beeps, bongs and clanking. To diminish the noise, they provide earplugs, headphones and a choice of music. The technicians talk to you during the process, mostly asking you to hold your breath at various times. I assume this is so you keep still. I had to strain to hear them because of the earplugs. Frankly the headphone’s sound quality was not very good and I was not in the mood to listen to the Stones during the procedure.


How Long Does it Take?

Tests usually take anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour. The average is forty-five minutes. If you end up having a procedure following the test and need to return, the process is usually shorter. During my one-hour session, I spent forty minutes pushed all the way in. Then they slid me back out towards the edge of the tube for the second round of “photos” which took about twenty minutes.


How Do You Prepare?

Physically, you don’t need to do anything to prepare. You can eat that morning. All you do is change into a hospital gown with the ties facing front and remove your jewelry. Of course, due to all the ligations in the medical business these days, you need to fill out a pile of forms and repeatedly answer a series of the same questions. The one question you are constantly asked is for your name and date of birth. I assume that is so they don’t mistake you for someone else before removing your spleen or whatever. Basically, all you need to do physically is show up.

Psychologically, it’s another story. I did my online due diligence the night before and what I read and saw unnerved me. About fifteen years ago, after working late I found myself trapped in an elevator alone for an hour. Up until that day I had never had an issue with enclosed spaces. But getting stuck in an elevator with limited communication with the outside world can shift your perspective. After that incident I did not enjoy flying or riding the subway for about a year until I used my hypnosis training to get help reprogramming my mental perspective. Even so, being slid into a tube for an hour listening to loud clangs, beeps and bongs was not a desired leisure time activity. I read many articles about how to handle the enclosed space issue. Some suggested closing your eyes, others said, “no way”. The best advice came from my good friend, Rick. He suggested that I simply “go somewhere else”. He was right.


The Process

They give you the earplugs, headphones and music and then they slid you into the tube. Boom. The techs also hand you a rubber thingy filled with air that you squeeze if you are feeling uncomfortable. That prompts the tech to slide you out. Apparently no one likes the process.

Although I did inadvertently open my eyes a few times, I kept them closed throughout most of the process and I am glad I did. I did not know how close the proximity of the tube was, although there is some space and nothing to fear, psychologically, you could feel like you are in close quarters. Once we got started, the clanging and banging and noises seemed to go on and on. I lost track of time. I tested out a few meditations, but due to the noise, they felt garbled. I shifted my thoughts into St. Germaine’s Violet Flame chant, “I am a being of violet fire. I am the purity of God’s desire”. As I mentally repeated this waves of violet light washed over me. It was very comforting and I’m grateful this came to me at the perfect time.

After what seemed like an eternity of loud beeps there was a prolonged silence at what I figured afterwards was the forty-minute mark. I waited patiently for a few minutes and then asked the tech what was going on. No answer. I waited some more and asked again. No answer. By now I’m thinking – are they on break?  Finally I squeezed the rubber air hose. One of the techs came on the speaker and told me to hold on because they were waiting for some shots to develop. What could I do? So after another few minutes they slide me out and asked if I was okay. I said, “yeah” and the tech told me they were more than halfway. I nodded and he slid me back inside. Thankfully, for the last series of images my head was close to the outer edge of the tube. I was more “relaxed”.

And then it was over. After, exhaled and wondered how long it will be until the technology evolves into something less intrusive.


I’ve got a few things to tend to, but I’m fine. In the meantime, I have been reminded how precious life is and how easy it is to take our health for granted. Just like a top shelf automobile, every so often the human body requires a look under the hood and a tune up.


Are you familiar with MRI?


This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Raymond Vahan Damadian, an Armenian-American who invented this breakthrough technology in 1969. 

The Guys' Guy's 2014 Fantasy Football Overview

Robert Manni - Friday, August 29, 2014

It’s that special time of year again for sports fans and Guy’s Guys.

Major League Baseball is entering its annual pennant chase, tennis’s US Open has taken center stage in New York, and another NFL season is about to kick off. From what was once limited to a few football crazies to a mainstay in every office and group of friends across America, fantasy football has taken our sports-centric culture by storm.

I’m not a licensed fantasy football expert, but I’ve played and succeeded in a league for close to twenty years now. Whether you are a Guy’s Guy or Girl’s Guy, here are a few nuggets to get you off to a good start this season.

What League is best for you?

Although there are many league options including auctions, PPR (points per reception), and ten to fourteen team leagues, far and away the most popular leagues are made up of twelve teams. Most have no or limited keepers and feature a snake draft where team one selects first in the round one, then last in the second round, and so on. Each week your team is pitted against another, and for the next thirteen weeks you play head to head until the playoffs. Each team plays two running backs (RB), one quarterback (QB), two wide receivers (WR), one flex player (RB, WR or TE), one tight end (TE), one team defense (D), and one kicker (K).


Although the rules of the NFL have evolved over the past decade to favor passing and scoring, running backs are still a key consideration for your early picks. Many pro teams have shifted to committee backfields that deploy multiple running backs. This makes drafting at least one “bell weather” RB early on a team that prefers running the ball critical. Many experts consider drafting a top quarterback or wide receiver as viable early first round options. I suggest you consider position scarcity and select a running back and possibly even a second one in rounds two and/or three. The WR pool is deep and unless you can grab one of the top four QB’s you are better off grabbing a top RB. I assure you, the starting RB’s will be taken a lot earlier than you’d expect.

I like to grab a few WR’s and then zone in on my QB and TE. The way I look at it is although you draft a base team of sixteen players, along with a few injury slots, you can only play one set of players in the aforementioned positions each week. So even though there are “bye” weeks for each team, you’re still going to play your go-to/top players almost every week. That means you need to focus on filling out your starting team before stacking your bench. Well, at least that’s how I see it. And, every draft takes on a life of its own, so invariably a top player or two falls through the cracks and becomes available later than you expected. If this is the case, grab him. After all it’s only fantasy football.

Quarterbacks: Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford are studs worth taking early. If you wait there are a number of viable options including Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Nick Foles, Colin Kaepernick, and Russell Wilson. Some reaches to consider are Phil Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Carson Palmer. I’d avoid this year’s rookies. I really don’t have a QB philosophy beyond considering their past accomplishments, team’s offensive philosophy, and their injury history.

Running Backs: There are a handful of studs worth choosing if you have the opportunity to take them in the first round. These include Lesean McCoy, Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, and Jamaal Charles. I also like up and comers including LeVeon Bell, Montee Ball, Eddie Lacy, and Andre Ellington to step up as future keepers. If possible, I’d steer clear away from injury-prone Adrian Foster, CJ Spiller, and RB’s I consider less than top shelf including Freddie Morris, Gio Bernard, and Ben Tate. Again, consider stocking up on RB’s early because they go fast and you don’t want to be left without at least one top runner.

Wide Receivers: There are a lot to choose from, so have fun with these picks. Beyond the top five of superstars— Demarius Thomas, Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, AJ Green, Brandon Marshall, there are numerous options. Alshon Jeffries, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Keenan Allen, Pierre Garcon, Antonio Brown, and Vincent Jackson should all be on your target list. It seems like every year more than a handful of overlooked WR’s turn into fantasy stars due to a combination of talent and injuries. When looking at “sleepers” consider up and comers C. Patterson, K. Wright, TY Hilton, and even E. Decker. Towards the latter stages of the draft, I like to load up on WR’s, again because the pool is deep and there are many that become stars that are worth keeping for future seasons, if your league offers that option.

Tight Ends: This is a feast or famine position. Unless you can grab J. Graham, J. Thomas, or V. Davis, you are better off waiting. Each NFL team has a different philosophy on deploying this position so you need to do your research to be successful. This is also a position where first year players have a hard time breaking through and getting balls thrown their way.

Defense: Unless you can grab Seattle or San Francisco early, it might be better to wait. I’ve checked a variety of syndicated resources and the other picks are all over the place. I like Denver and New Orleans because both teams have shored up their defenses and have explosive offenses that will keep limit the amount of time their defenses need to spend on the field.

Kickers: Unless you can get New England’s Gostkowski, wait until the very end of the draft. NFL kickers are talented and the majority is serviceable from a fantasy perspective. Try and select a K who plays for a high scoring tem, preferably that plays indoors.

That should get you thinking and hopefully off to a good start. Everyone has his or her preferred strategy and players they like. That’s part of the fun. Keep it light and by do your best. One more tip— try to not get upset over league rules, etc. You may not like every rule, but try to remember that crafting a league charter is not easy.

Are you ready for some fantasy football? 

This week’s Guy’s Guys of the Week is Bill Winkenbach, a part owner of the Oakland Raiders. In 1963, he sketched out in a hotel room what has become the template for what is now fantasy football, our cultural phenomenon.  

NYC vs. SoCal - Part 2 (The Subtle Differences)

Robert Manni - Monday, August 25, 2014

This isn’t your usual comparison between LA and NYC. We’re not talking movie stars and masters of the universe or beach bunnies and fashionistas or the Yankees and Dodgers. Those comparisons been covered quite well by numerous insightful writers and bloggers. This post targets those under the radar differences in how people live on both coasts. For context, my in-laws are in Temecula, ninety minutes southeast of LA and I visit them every summer. So through my Jersey-bred Guy’s Guy lens, I’ve spent the last week studying the day-to-day nuances of the people and the area. Here are my findings on the nuances between the two coasts. 

Oil and Water

In most cases, these two liquids don’t mix. But in SoCal they’re fundamental resources that drive the economy and lives of the vast population of this sprawling state. The highways are jammed with gas guzzling vehicles at all hours across the myriad highways woven through the mountains, plains, cities and beachfronts. For the most part, the vast terrain is stained brown and parched except where developments have been built and landscaped. All the foliage needs constant hydration to counteract the impact of an ever-blazing sun. Without oil for transportation and water for hydration, this state is cooked. Back East, we don’t see the importance of these resources in the same way. We have the option of mass transportation. And, the ravages from flooding far outweigh the infrequent dry spells. In SoCal, drought is the norm. There have been rumblings about privatizing the water supply since. If the water supple continues to dwindle, watch these closely.

Old vs. New 

In SoCal, you constantly see land being cleared and vast, new developments being built. In New York, it’s all about gentrification and the re-re invention of neighborhoods throughout the boroughs. What was once a ghetto is now a million-dollar listing. In New York, old becomes new. In SoCal, everything is new except those off the beaten path, barren and forgotten small towns in the valleys that look like they were built in the seventies.

The Ubiquitous Taco

In Manhattan, if an establishment serves decent tacos, it gets a write up in the coolest city-centric blogs and publications, lauding its creativity and authenticity. In SoCal, there is a Mom and Pop taco shop or chain store situated on every other street corner. And most of them still beat the pants off any Mexican food you can find in the Big Apple.  The inverse is true for pizza and bagels. They’re great in NYC and for the most part still fall short in SoCal. Go figure.

Health Foods

Advantage SoCal. Chains like Sprouts and Roots are light years ahead of Whole Foods and the small health food stores permeating the city. The produce is fresher, bigger, tastier and far less expensive. I bought a gluten-free tuna wrap the other day for three dollars. I did a double take on my way to the register, thinking the sandwich dude had messed up. But, no, the cost was one-third of what I pay in NYC or Jersey. In fact, all the food in SoCal is way cheaper than in New York. But with the exception of mahi-mahi, the seafood in SoCal is in no way comparable in quality or taste to what we get on the East Coast. Go figure.

Stores and Service

Let’s face it. Everyone in New York who works in retail hates their job and most of them let you know it. Who hasn’t dealt with the grumbling, grunting retail employee whose idea of friendliness is a curt “no problem” when you ask for a bag to carry your groceries? In SoCal the vibe is looser, sometimes to the point of absurdity. Yesterday the check out guy at Ralph’s in Temecula looked at my San Diego Padres baseball cap and exclaimed, “Cool hat!” I wondered if he was talking to me. After all, the Padres are the local team. Does anyone say this when you wear your Yankees cap in New York? The other night I ran into Albertsons to buy ice. The check out guy looked at my paper coffee cup and said, “Ah, having a late night cup of Joe?” People just don’t say things like that to you in New York. As innocuous as this comment is, it would feel intrusive.

Another example of the differences—my wife and stopped by a local Coffee Grind at 9:15pm for a decaf lattes. The Place closes at 9:30. We’d had not been there in a year. However, the owner told us we looked familiar. Then he gave us one half dozen doughnuts that he was planning on tossing. And they were really good. A bonus example: I called Sports Authority to find out the stores hours. The place was closed. Yet, someone answered the phone. “Sports Authority. Hi, this is Eric.” Never happen in a New York minute. I chalk all of this up to the fact that unlike in the hectic grind of New York City, people in SoCal have more time to be friendly. Another cool thing. The supermarkets sell wine and booze and most have banks under the same roof. And for some crazy reason, despite the non-stop, scorching sun and baking heat, the tanning salons do quiet well out here. Go figure.


In New York, pedestrians usually seek out the sunny side of the street. In SoCal, drivers keep their eyes peeled to find a spot in the shade. What the heck do you call those silver and black mats drivers prop up against their windshield to block out the sun? Go figure.


In SoCal you can hop in the car and be in the mountains, the beach, golf or gambling within an hour. Technically you can also do this in New York, but the Catskills are not six thousand feet high, as far as I know.  And my beloved Jersey Shore is not Malibu. And the number of accessible and affordable golf courses in SoCal dwarfs New York. And all the Indian Reservations in SoCal are less seedy than Atlantic City or the dumps in Queens.

Sounds like your Guy’s Guy is contemplating a move west. Maybe. But despite all of its crabbiness and dirt, there really is no place like New York. There is a passion that permeates the air, the energy and everyone you meet in the five boroughs. Hell, even the guy flipping pizza on Carmine Street dough has attitude, gravitas and a few stories to tell. I’m an East Coast guy through and through, but I do love the So Cal lifestyle and with each trip out west I find more to enjoy about it, despite things that seem weird to a New Yorker. Go figure.

Is your vibe East Coast or West Coast?

This week’s Guys’ Guys of the Week are all the people who love New York and SoCal and find the joy wherever they’re at.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Hypnosis: Part 1

Robert Manni - Thursday, August 14, 2014

Guy’s Guys enjoy learning new things and adding to their game. Hypnosis is actually a very old, and to many, a very odd thing, but it will help you with your game. 

Hypnosis or hypnotherapy has been one of the most wonderful gifts of my life. In fact, when I tell people I’m a certified advanced clinical master hypnotist, they often look at me apprehensively, as if I might put them under a spell. This outmoded thinking couldn't be further from the truth. Hypnosis is a positive, spiritual practice with a foundation grounded in love, not exploitation.

And with this in mind, dear friends, I humbly offer my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Hypnosis: Part 1. In this post we’ll explore hypnosis fundamentals, while clearing up the usual misunderstandings people have about the practice. A few weeks from now Part 2 will drill down into hypnosis techniques that help people help themselves. And, that’s what hypnosis is all abouthelping men and women be at their best. Sounds like it fits right into a Guys' Guy's world, doesn’t it?

What is Hypnosis?

According to Wikipedia and the 2004 version of the Encyclopedia Britannica, hypnosis is a psychological state with physiological attributes superficially resembling sleep and marked by an individual's level of awareness other than the ordinary conscious state. I’m already falling asleep already. For all intents and purposes, hypnosis is a holistic art that access the subconscious mind to address and reprogram specific mental and emotional issues. Think of it as fixing or patching your personal, subconscious software. It’s that simple. We operate using both our conscious and subconscious minds. The conscious mind deals with our daily taskslike picking up the dry cleaning, tuning out those annoying subway dancers, and digesting the most up-to-date stats from ESPN's Sportscenter.

How Does Hypnosis Work?

Although we are born “perfect”, our subconscious inscribes everything we do and experience, including our human functions. For instance, we don’t think about breathing. We just breathe. That’s our subconscious mind at work. Same with sleeping or farting—they’re wired into our subconscious. The subconscious is also vulnerable to suggestion and because of this, it’s also way more powerful than our conscious mind. Basically, we tell or suggest to our subconscious what to do and how to feel. It always behaves as directed and that can be dangerous.

In hypnotherapy, invariably, the client brings the hypnotist both the problem and the solution. The hypnotist doesn’t “do” anything to the client except relax him and get to the bottom of the issues. A good hypnotist helps a client access the information so the client can help him or herself.

Give Me An Example.

Here’s how life can get sticky and how hypnosis can help. Let’s say a client, John, has an unfounded fear of the water. A good hypnotist would help John relax by guiding him into a deep meditation. Then he and John will access John’s subconscious mind and communicate with it to clearly identify the trigger for the issue and then suggest a thought process and affirmations that reframe the issue in a positive way. In this case, the hypnotist would regress John through various stages of his life. Together they would uncover the trigger for his fear of water. 

Maybe when little Johnny was two years old he drifted too deep in the pool and panicked. He called for his Mommy, but she had a few too many cocktails and was flirting with Carlos, the hunky cabana boy, instead of paying attention to her son. Eventually, little Johnny was pulled to safety, but the experience left him with a subconscious fear of the water. In this case the hypnotist helped John identify this trigger, isolate it and reframe it so John can file it away and move on with his life. This particular technique works for just about anything that has a trigger, provided that the client relaxes and does the work. If John won’t relax and is not buying into the process, he will not lose his fear of water, With the help of his hypnotist he can revisit and address the trigger, and give his subconscious new instructions about water that eliminate his fears.


Let’s get a few things straight. You can’t be hypnotized unless you want to be hypnotized. And, no, you won’t cluck like a chicken, unless you want to cluck like a chicken. The stage hypnotists you see on television represent an offshoot of the practice. They are entertainers and at times frowned upon by the hypnosis community. When stage hypnotists work with people, the process begins with their pouring through a large number of audience members and winnowing down the group until they find people who are exhibitionists or like being manipulated on stage. It’s who they are, so they are not doing anything out of character. With this in mind, a hypnotist cannot force anyone to exhibit behaviors outside of their nature and moral boundaries. So you don’t have to worry about a hypnotist turning you into a psycho killer… unless that is your true nature and desire.

What Can Hypnosis “Cure”?

As previously stated, hypnosis doesn’t really cure anything. It does however work with your subconscious mind so you can “cure” yourself of a variety of behaviors and ways of thinking. The “big three’ issues that hypnotists work with are clients 1. becoming non-smokers 2. sleeping better 3. managing their weight. Notice these were all framed in positive terms. That said, the overriding client issue I’ve personally encountered is low self-esteem. The good news is that hypnosis can help a person reconfigure their feelings about self worth.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I again stress that the goal of all hypnotherapy is helping people live better lives. There is a huge spiritual component to the work that comes from a place of love for mankind. Hypnotists don’t prescribe drugs and are careful not to overstep their boundaries.

A good hypnotist helps clients identify and address their issue while also teaching them self-hypnosis so they can work on themselves on their own. And, isn’t it about time we all took some responsibility for our personal well being and did the work required to make a difference?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Dr. Joseph Murphy, author of the book, “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind”. This book is a simple, straightforward introduction to hypnosis and a practical guide for self-hypnosis.

Do you think you understand hypnosis?

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Time Management

Robert Manni - Monday, August 11, 2014

There’s been a lot said about time.

It waits for no one. It plays no favorites. It’s all about the “now”.  Everything can change in a blink of an eye. All these statements are true. That’s why it is important to grasp the concept of time and master the art of timing to help manage our lives. So, in the spirit of knowing when to hold em’ and knowing when to fold em’, I give you my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Time Management. Tick, tock, tick tock…

Work: We live in a me, me, me culture where people ironically spend a disproportionate amount of their valuable time at work. And unless you’re a government employee, gone are the days of sticking with one company and scoring a pension that carries you through your golden years. Instead it’s a scramble to get ahead, acquire the things you want, and find the time to enjoy them.

That’s why it’s important to clock your time while charting your career. Here are a few things to keep in mind. First, you only live once, so find a line work that you like, knowing that every company is different. It may be necessary to jump around a few times before finding a corporate culture that suits you. Also, keep in mind that the journey is as important as the rewards for your efforts. And, with all due respect to hard work, it’s equally important to work smart and throw in with the right people, particularly those you can learn from.

Timing your moves is critical to managing your career. Stagnation is the kiss of death for today’s employee. Too many people fall into complacency and a “comfort zone” where they stay too long in a mediocre job. This can end badly for the worker. You see it happen all the time. Stay loose and keep moving, whether it means adding to your skill set or switching jobs. We need to be open to new opportunities and take a few risks early in our careers. That’s how the game is played these days.

And, for God’s sake, enjoy the ride. Find work that provides a sense of satisfaction on a daily basis. That means serving others in some way while building a reputation on integrity, regardless of how other people may play the game. You will look back and be glad you did things the right way. And hitch your star with the winning brands and teams whenever you can.  Maintaining relationships are critical to your career. Also, keep track of the health of your company, and your status and perceived value as an employee. Be prepared to walk away without looking back, if that’s what is feeling best for you. Tick, tick, tick…

Love: This is another area in life where many times people get comfortable in their current situation, even if it not a place that serves them well. How many times have we heard from friends who tell us how their boyfriend or girlfriend is making them unhappy? Yet, they stick with these toxic relationships. I made the mistake of staying in a live-in relationship well beyond its expiration date. We were both good people, but the thrill was gone. We lived separate lives for an extra year or so before the whole thing fell apart. We can’t go back in time, but it was a mistake and we both paid the price…in time lost during our prime years. Do whatever you can to make your relationships work. But if deep down you know that it’s not happening, then move on, regardless the initial pain. In the long run you will both heave a sigh of relief. Tick tick, tick…

Life: We only go around in this incarnation once, and as the years pass time speeds up. So it’s important that we keep a grip on the steering wheel at all times. That does not mean that you need to live an expected cookie cutter existence where you get married and have two point five kids by the age of twenty-five. People nowadays spend more years living single and on their own. There is no right or wrong way to play it. It’s whatever works for you. But, these life-stage decisions come with a price of time. I stayed single for many years before getting married and becoming an “older” parent. My priorities changed quickly and I face a distinct set of challenges due to my decisions with respect to time. Finding satisfying work, maintaining my health, and spending as much time as possible with my little family now take precedent. This is a big change and it’s not easy or something I’d recommend for everyone. It works for me, but evolving my habits and lifestyle has not been a cakewalk.  That said, here we are. I made the decisions so I own them. Tick tick, tick…

The key to managing time wisely is paying attention and maintaining an awareness of what that little voice inside is telling you during your journey. It’s that simple.

This week’s Guy’s Guys of the Week are Yi Xing and Liang Lingzan, who are credited with inventing the modern clock in China in AD725. Thanks, guys! 

Is it Better Dating Only One Person at a Time?

Robert Manni - Thursday, July 31, 2014

Can you have too much of a good thing?

When it comes to dating, the answer is maybe. Between speed dating, Tinder,, texting, sexting, Google, Instagram, Facebook and selfies there are an innumerable number of potential partners at your fingertips in the time it takes to hit send.
I was dating at rate of three or four times a week. Online, offline, it didn’t matter how I met women. It was a numbers game with everyone being disposable, including me. I must admit, connecting with all those women and having sex on a regular basis with a new partner was great, but my wad of cash grew thin and at a certain point endless dating got old. I yearned for a lover who could be my best friend.

To succeed at the dating game, we need to be comfortable with who we are and know what kind of partner we want. And that usually necessitates engaging in lots of casually dating. I can tell you as a certainty that guys like variety, and this may be why so many men defer getting married. Most women I know say they being in a relationship. However most of the women I’ve met online were dating multiple guys. When everyone involved is dating a half dozen other people, things can get complicated. With this in mind, I humbly offer my perspective on the benefits of dating only one person at time.

After a few years of dating, dating and dating, I met a really nice woman. We went out a few times and enjoyed each other’s company. We hit the sack and things seemed pretty cool. I assumed she was seeing other guys, so I continued power-dating. Then I found out that she was only dating me. One day she checked my online profile and asked why I was still active. I gave her a vague answer that kept the door ajar for my continuing to date other people. She dumped me. That’s when it hit me. She was showing respect and giving our relationship a fair shot, while I was chasing other women all over the place. Like so many others, I wanted to have my cake and eat it too.

I licked my wounds, moved on. Then it happened again. I connected with a nice woman, stayed active online and got busted. Then it happened a third time. That’s when I realized that it was time to reconsider my approach. From that point on though, I only saw one woman at a time. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly things either ended or came together. I’m not preaching that this is the only path to true love, but dating one person at a time worked for me. Within a few months my decision to focus on only one person at a time rewarded me with the companionship I yearned for and the sexual variety I craved…all with one woman! Go figure.

Are you better off dating one person at a time?

How to Lose 30 Pounds Naturally (And Keep it Off) - Part 2

Robert Manni - Friday, July 25, 2014

What you learn is as important as what you do. That’s a Guy’s Guy credo.

Last week I wrote about how I lost 30 pounds over the past six months, naturally. Since losing those 30 pounds, I’ve peeled off yet another five pounds through a combination of diet, exercise and healthy living, and I’ve never felt better. Although my last post took readers on a quick sojourn through my first six months of the year, I never summarized the program template or share what I learned from the process.

Guy’s Guys don’t tell others what to do, so this program is for your consideration only. Consult your doctor before starting any diet, blah, blah, blah. This plan is flexible, customizable and designed for results, not misery. No diet plan works if it feels like drudgery. And ultimately you know what works best for you. This is what worked for me.


Week One – Limit diet to juicing organic carrots, kale, beets, dandelion, apples, lemon rind, ginger, spinach, and any other vegetables. That’s it. Begin cardio- elliptical, running, always taking the stairs, and getting lots of fresh air. Visualize yourself at your best weight and how you will feel. Use affirmations throughout the day. Be mindful of any negative thoughts. Hydrate constantly. Get lots of sleep. Relax.

Weeks Two Through Month Three – You can start eating solid foods, but eliminate meat, soda, ice cream, cake, pie, candy, chocolate, sweet desserts, alcohol, and caffeine. You can have fruit smoothies, but use water instead of fruit juice. I continued juicing five mornings per week and ate lots of veggies and legumes. Eat small meals throughout the day instead of pigging out at night, which is my weakness.

Ramp up your cardio. Hydrate with lemon water throughout the day. De-caf tea or coffee are acceptable, but use Stevia. Limit carbs. Continue affirmations, visualizations, positive thoughts and get lots of rest. Limit watching television, especially the news. Weigh in once a week.

Month Four – Continue the program. Add an occasional glass of wine or beer. Treat yourself to dessert or a slice of pizza now and then. Weigh in weekly. If you level off or experience weight gains, which is normal, eliminate the pizza, desserts and alcohol. Keep hydrating and continue with cardio.

Months Five and Six – Continue program and eliminate gluten, sugar, salt, processed foods and alcohol. Increase cardio. Weigh in twice a week. The pounds will fall off.

That’s it in a nutshell. It’s healthy and easy if you’re focused enough to get through the first few weeks. Seeing positive results helps. 


1. We really are what we eat. Garbage in results in building a vessel which functions like a barge filled with trash. Eating clean food makes a difference.  Our internal systems function smoothly, our body looks better, our energy level soars and our minds are clear. What’s not to like? Okay, you had to give up cheeseburgers and buffalo wings, and they do taste good, but that brings me to my next point.

2. It gets harder as we age. For Guy’s Guys who like to roll with the good life, the fun ultimately plants its flag in the abdominal area. And it does not plan on leaving, so you have to stick to your own program and out-will the fat. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to lose that unwanted, expanding paunch. And it’s not healthy. As I stated last week, do you know any obese old people?

3. Patience and perseverance pay off. Once you fasten your belt one notch tighter, sticking to the program gets easier. Results spur us on. Congratulate yourself and keep going.

4. The enemies of weight management and good health are sugar, carbs, gluten, salt, GMO’s and processed foods. I’m not going to serve up all the empirical data that’s available online. I realize it’s next to impossible to completely eliminate all of these culprits from you diet. But, you can certainly limit them by being mindful of what you put into your mouth, which brings up my final point.

5. It boils down to choice. This is where we began the discussion last week. Life, and eating in particular, is a series of choices. If you do your best to choose healthy foods, your body will thank you. Of course there are other circumstances when it comes to health and disease, but health, or a lack of it, starts in the mind and manifests in the gut. Think about it next time you are hankering for a side of bacon.

Do you have a handle on managing your weight and well being?

This week’s Guys Guy of the Week is Bill Clinton.  Say what you want about his politics or character, but when facing serious health and heart-related issues, he embraced a vegan diet. He lost weight, looks terrific and has given himself a better chance for long-term good health.

How to Lose 30 Pounds Naturally (And Keep it Off) - Part 1

Robert Manni - Friday, July 18, 2014

Life boils down to a series of decisions.

For Guy’s Guys, it’s no different—each day we’re faced with a number of choices. What we eat and what we elect to put into our mouths impacts our health, looks and waistline. Of course, lifestyle also plays a major role in managing our weight. As the years pass, the choices become more important because our metabolism slows down. If we don’t get a handle on our weight and fitness, well...  Have you seen a lot of fat old people? You get the drift. As we age, weight management becomes a slippery slope, and when we factor in a glut of processed foods and GMOs we’re faced with, we can get in deep doo-doo quickly. My choice was to take action and mark the results.

I hope our guy and gal readers relate to my sojourn and I sincerely hope it provides encouragement for achieving their own personal goals. Part 1 focuses on how I lost the weight. Part 2 chronicles my learning, because without achieving knowledge about yourself, you’re likely to fall back into the same patterns that packed those unwanted pounds on in the first place.

It all started when I stepped onto the scale late last year. I could not believe what I saw. I’d broken through the 200lb barrier for the first time in my life. I have not been “thin” since my college days, but over the years I’ve have stayed in decent shape. But I was mortified when I saw that big two on the scale. Having run three marathons and consistently banged out sets of between fifty and eighty pushups almost every day since my teens, I had never let my weight or level of fitness slip beyond my reach. But that was then.

A few factors must be noted.  Last year I became a new dad and decided to take a left turn on my career and go all in on my Guy’s Guy brand. Talk about stress! Adding to the pressure, I’ve always been a nervous eater. When I get uptight, I munch. I’m sure many readers feel me on that. Bottom lineI had a paunch and needed a plan. So I gave myself six months to lose serious weight and keep it off. Here’s how I did it.

A Vision. The Plan

I knew that to succeed I needed a clear idea of what success would look like, a solid plan, and time to execute it properly. I wanted this to be a fun challenge where positive choices would be their own reward. Although there would be sacrifices, I did not want to constantly punish myself and hear that little voice in my head barking, “I can’t have this. I can’t have that”. That was critical. After hemming and hawing about what was realistic, I decided on dropping thirty pounds over six months. I’d kick off the program with a big move to lose ten pounds and continue in phases of dropping three to five pounds or so every few weeks. I’d maintain the loss for at least a week before adding additional action to ladder down. No crash and burn diet aids, shredders or fat burners were allowed. This was going to be old school.

The Critical First Two Weeks.

I kicked off the program on January 1st by drinking only organic juice for a week. All I consumed was the liquid from organic vegetables and apples. The juicer extracted the fiber and pulp and I drank my meals. I also jumped on the elliptical trainer for an hour followed by a few sets of free weights four times a week. This helped fuel my metabolism. But the down side was that I was always hungry. Like a lot of guys, I’m not huge on veggies and salads, so a diet of carrots, celery, beets, ginger, kale and spinach juice was a major adjustment. Where were my beloved peanut butter, fish tacos, and tequila? Grrr. When I hopped on the scale on January 4th, I had already dropped a four pounds. That made a difference. What did I want¾ mandarin orange vodka or a trim waist? Tough question, but I held my resolve and got through that challenging first week. I was rewarded when I hit the scale on January 8th. I had dropped eight pounds. I considered a quick return to my past eating habits, but that little voice reminded me that I’d pack the weight back on faster than I’d lost it. This was a watershed moment.  I needed to launch the second stage immediately. I read Dr Oz’s quick weight loss plan and modified it so I could stay focused, while getting a little relief. I kept juicing in the morning, but added black beans and rice, grilled fish dinners with a big organic salad. I avoided booze, ice cream, chocolate, dessert, cookies and candy. I was pleasantly surprised when at the end of week two I had dropped fourteen pounds.

The First Four Months.

From January through March I maintained a somewhat strict diet and my cardio workouts. Although I was still juicing for breakfast Monday through Friday, I went back to eating fish tacos and the occasional slice of wheat pizza. I did not eat meat (haven’t for six years), booze, or caffeine. I did slip back into an occasional tab of dark chocolate, an organic cookie, decaf coffee with whipped cream for dessert though.  Once the weather broke, I took to the streets and ran the six-mile loop around Central Park at least once a week. It’s a hilly track that never seems to get any easier. By April 1st I had lost twenty pounds and was holding steady. I felt great, slept like a baby and was fitting into all of the clothes that had become too tight for me in the early stages of the winter. On April 15th I had my first glass of wine and drank in moderation for the next few weeks. But I think this prevented me from getting to the next level. Just as an aside, I did not view what I was doing as a sacrifice. I was having fun learning about my body and habits. I really did not feel that I was missing anything by eliminating so many foods that are really not nutritious. I was rethinking my relationship with food and I liked it better.

Breaking Through.

My weight was down twenty pounds, but it had leveled off. I bounced between a loss of eighteen and twenty pounds for the next month. I still felt great, but I had reached a plateau. No matter what I did, the weight would not come off. I needed to take the program to the next level. So I stepped up my workouts, hitting the gym or road five times a week. But what truly ignited the third stage of the program was cutting carbs, gluten, sweets and salt. I eliminated pizza, bread, added salt, processed foods, sweets, and alcohol. By mid-June I was down twenty-eight pounds and feeling wonderful. By July 4th, I had hit my goal of losing thirty pounds. Two weeks later I’m holding steady at thirty while anticipating that I will whittle away any residual abdominal fat over the remainder of the summer. Again, I feel fantastic and have more energy than ever. The last time I ran the park I finished the loop ten minutes faster than I did during the spring. In fact, my times are the same as they were twenty years ago.

I can’t speak for anyone else when it comes to weight management, and I’m hoping this does not come across as boastful. But, it’s comforting to know that we all have the internal capacity to change and reach our goals if we focus and do the work. There really are no shortcuts in life and if you do things the right way, it feels a lot better when you succeed. Next week I’ll address the learning I picked up over the past six months.

Are you ready to get a handle on your weight and fitness?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week are all the guys and gals on “The Biggest Loser”. It’s easy to dismiss these folks, but you have to give them credit for going for it. Let’s wish them well.


The Guys' Guy's Guide to Vacation

Robert Manni - Thursday, July 10, 2014

It’s defined as a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually for rest, recreation or travel. But vacations can be stressful.

If you want to know who is ultimately responsible for any vacation-related tension, take a look in the mirror. So nowadays people have a hard time enjoying themselves during their precious week off. Back in the day, we’d accrue an annual vacation and actually use the allotted days. But with all the tech and connectivity in our lives, at times it feels like there is no escape. How many times have you or one of your colleagues taken more than a week off at a time or used up all of your vacation time? Not very often. Whether you’re headed to Brazil for the World Cup, the Jersey Shore, or a quiet staycation in the city, you need to plan your invaluable time off wisely. Enter, Guy’s Guy, with a few pointers for making the most of your time off this summer and beyond.

1. Level Set at Work – Face it. No one cares about your new pair of chartreuse board shorts or your upcoming week off in Belmar, New Jersey with your crew. All they care about is that your work gets done without it being dumped it on their lap when you’re out of the office. You still have your cell, iPad or laptop so they can and will find you. That’s why it’s important to sew up all the loose ends on your projects the week prior to your departure. I suggest leaving your boss and colleagues a project status that includes next steps that if necessary can be addressed in your absence. If not, they will email, text or call you. If you are so paranoid that you think you’ll be fired the day you return to the office, you have no one to blame but yourself. Cover your ass and then let go.

2. Unplug – My brother had a great idea when a group of couples vacationed together to Anguilla. After we were settled in, had a quick swim and cracked open that first bottle of rum, he placed a bowl in the center of the dining room table and dropped his wristwatch into it. We all followed and it worked as a reminder that in terms of time, all that mattered that week was either the sun was out or the Caribbean night was lit up with stars. It was a great step for detaching from the grind. Listening to the local reggae station on the jeep radio was about as techie as we got that week, and it made for a great trip. I know that it’s challenging to break the FB, Instagram and email addiction, but if you can do it, you will be a happy camper.

3. Explore – Since you are supposedly off the grid for a week, consider going local and trying some new things. This could include water skiing, snorkeling, drinking the local beer or rum, or just checking out a different type of cuisine than you eat at home— and not a chain, even if the local Mickey D’s offers a specialty burger featuring local flavors and toppings. No chains!

4. Take Stock – Congrats! You made it halfway through another year. While sipping that Planter’s Punch poolside, take a deep breath and think about the good things in your life and how you are probably better off than eighty percent of the people in this crazy world. Think about your dreams and aspirations, and what you’re doing to manifest them. For starters, if you are healthy, you’re way ahead of the game.

5. Read – They don’t call them beach reads for nothing. Summer travel and reading go hand in hand. You can read on the plane, on the beach, on a deck with a cocktail, or in your room. Reading nurtures the mind and it’s a great way to mentally escape and let your imagination take over. If you’re looking for a fun, frothy summer read about love, sex, power and money, consider my first novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE.

Are you ready to rock your vacation?

This week’s Guys’ Guys and Gals of the Week are all the fellas and ladies who leave their problems at the office when they check out for their week off.

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