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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

Four Lessons I Learned from Surgery

Robert Manni - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Well, it’s a new year and I’m better now.  The first half of last year I got into the best shape of my life, relative to my age. It was exhilarating to run like the wind for ten miles and feel the endorphins kick in while perspiring under golden sunshine. My daddy weight melted away, I was jacked, and my abs were as tight as they’ve been in years. I felt great.

Then in July I found out I had a kidney stone that was slowly and painfully making its way to my bladder.  Following a CT scan I received a diagnosis of opportunity. The doctors found a non-aggressive growth on each kidney. As a result, the second half of the year consisted of tests and more tests followed by two robotic surgical procedures. Fortunately, I received excellent care and by the end of the year I was on a path to a full recovery, almost as if nothing had happened. I have a follow up MRI in six months, but that’s it. The ordeal is over and in some ways it was close to miraculous.  Now that I’ve had a few months to let things sink in, your Guy's Guy would like to share what I’ve learned from a very real, life-altering experience and wake up call. Maybe it will be of help to you as you find your way on your journey. I hope so.

1. ACT, DON’T WAIT.

My painful bout with a kidney stone was a blessing because it pushed me to see a doctor and get a CT scan. That scan identified the growths. The next step was up to me and I was told that the growths were non-aggressive and may not cause a major problem for years. But, they weren’t going away, and who wants that hanging over their head? I asked my inner guide and the answer was obvious. Do it and do it now, Guy’s Guy.  I decided right then to have them removed as quickly as possible. Now I’m sure not everyone would push to undergo back-to-back robotic surgeries within a month’s time, but I knew it was the right call. And now that it is over, I’m glad that I took this course of action.

2. PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCESS.

In the past many people simply handed themselves over to their medical practitioners.  No second opinions, not enough tough questions asked. I’ve seen this with my family and others. Frankly, in many cases, that’s a potential recipe for disaster. These days, our health care system is in flux. At times, it can be chaotic. This makes it critically important to have your insurance ducks in a row and know what is covered. Then, do anything you can to find the right practitioner for whatever ails you, and in particular, the best surgeon.

Follow directions prior to any procedure and take proper care of yourself throughout the healing process. It makes a difference. If a hospital stay is necessary, bring your own food, water and whatever else provides you with comfort. My hospital offered a free post-operative program that included numerous healing arts including Reiki. It really made a difference.

3. LEARN HOW TO HEAL.

Many of us live under constant pressure, and at times, fear. It doesn’t have to be that way. At some times it’s critical to step out of the whirlwind of our stress-inducing careers and simply be. One way is to set aside a half hour every day for meditation, but how many people actually do this? Not enough. But when life gives you the kind of heads up that I received last year, I made sure to listen to my intuition carefully and do whatever was necessary to heal— physically, mentally, and spiritually. I set time aside each day for positive affirmations and visualizations of my body healing. I actually spoke to my body— thanking it for the wonderful service it has blessed me with over the years. And, I let myself be. I ate well and went to bed early for three months, and it paid off in spades. I did my best to put my career and my personal brand on somewhat on autopilot and I was fortunate that I could afford a short respite from the pressures of a corporate career. This was a special time for me, and in ways, a sacred time. Find the time to take care of yourself. You’re worth it.

4. LIVE IN GRATITUDE. 

Getting caught up in our day-today world and media-driven society makes it easy to forget how and why we got here in the first place. Regardless of your personal beliefs on this very personal subject, we can all agree that we did not do all of this on our own. Somehow, we are here, right now. And although each one of us ultimately determines how our daily lives manifest, we are part of a great universal conscious. The fact that we are even here is a miracle. So thank your lucky stars or whatever you choose for this gift of being alive, on this planet right now. And remember— all we have is the right now and it can change in a heartbeat. Enjoy each day of good health and be thankful for it.

Now it’s time for me to put this experience behind me and put into action all that it taught me about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. I hope I treat people better and learn to respect and not judge. I hope to savor everyone and everything in my life, and know that despite my free will, everything is unfolding just as it should.

This week’s Guys’ Guys of the Week are my inner guide and angels who I know helped me get through this ordeal in a way that will make me a better person.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Healing

Robert Manni - Saturday, October 11, 2014


Shit happens. And it usually happens when you least expect it.

This year I’ve been on a major health kick. I lost thirty-five pounds through a drastically improved diet and workout regime and have never felt better in my life. In fact, relative to my age, I’ve never been in better shape. I did not know why I was training so hard, but I’ve been diligent and disciplined like never before. I’ve been on a mission.

So I was flabbergasted when I learned I needed two robotic surgical procedures. Yikes. The finding was purely incidental and the prognosis is excellent for a complete, 100% recovery. In fact, a few short months it will seem like nothing ever happened. Maybe I was subconsciously getting my body, mind and spirit in shape to handle this.  Surgery is no walk in the park and I have to deal with a double dip, so I really needed to be ready.

Today marks two weeks since round one and I am feeling terrific. My body is healing steadily and I feel and look (so I’ve been told) terrific. I’ve learned a lot over the past few weeks and more than ever, I’m appreciative of everything in this life. With this in mind, I offer my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Healing. Not that Guy’s Guys heal any differently, but this recent challenge has provided some important learning for me. I will devote another blog post to surgery, but right now, let’s discuss the process of healing. It is an important aspect of our lives, regardless of our physical health. I hope some of my insights work for you.

Sometimes we need to get off the grid. Even though I mapped out my upcoming blog posts and Guy’s Guy Radio podcasts in advance, I went dark for a solid week, focusing only on the procedure. Prior to surgery there is the usual prep and some anxiety about the unknown. I decided to hand my troubles to God and focused on relaxation, knowing I am healed, and my connection with the universal consciousness. I did not read the newspaper or watch our toxic news on television. I bought a copy of Men’s Health on my way to the hospital and managed to flip the pages for a few days while drugged up on painkillers. I did not listen to my beloved Rolling Stones or post on FB and Twitter. I rebroadcasted an earlier podcast for Guy’s Guy Radio and reposted a blog for the website. I planned my business activities out in advance so I would not be disturbed. This was a time for quieting my mind and spirit. I remained calm throughout the hospital stay and praised the heavens when they removed my catheter. Finally, after two long nights I returned home.

Sleep is a miracle cure. Although climbing in and out of bed was discomforting, sleeping in my own bed was far better than being propped up in the hospital with an IV and that damn catheter. I am a tummy sleeper, so adjusting to sleeping on my back for the next two weeks was challenging. But, I made sure to make the most of my time in the sack. I sank back, meditated, and let myself drift in and out of sleep for days. And, as if on cue, I felt better each and every day. I made sure to nap in the afternoon and not allow my mind to be disturbed by anything. I have found a new appreciation of the powers of sleep. It has been a miraculous path to my healing. I was off painkillers in less than a week. Sleep, sleep, sleep.

Learn to appreciate the little things.  After having the catheter removed, I had a new appreciation of not having anything dangling from my you-know-what. Then after three days of noshing on soft and slippery foods, it was great to ingest solid foods. The painkillers keep you constipated so after three long days I was ecstatic after my first bowel movement. Yes, these are the little things that we so often overlook. I am now very appreciative of all of our creature comforts and simply being capable of functioning like a healthy human being. It’s something we too easily ignore. Be thankful, people. Everything can all change in a heartbeat.

Be flexible. Adapt. If you can’t sleep on your belly, sleep on your side. If you can’t jump in and out of bed (a favorite pastime that drives my wife crazy), then quietly slide into bed. If you have holes drilled into your abdomen, keep them covered when showering. If it hurts like hell to sneeze or cough, do whatever you can not to sneeze or cough. If you can’t drink, don’t. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t pick up your seventeen month-year old child, find a way of cajoling him onto the couch so you can read to him. It’s that simple. Learn to do things differently. I did not get frustrated and the challenges helped me stay sharp and heal. I improvised and am a better person for it.

The power of visualizations and affirmations. From the moment they jabbed me with general anesthetic, I have been visualizing and mentally repeating affirmations of my health. I say, “I am healed and renewed” and “I am one with the energizing life of God” throughout the day. I also see myself in my mind’s eye as completely healed. There is power in the words “I am” and the intentions that follow. You can use these for any area of your life. It works. Just know it.

Surround yourself with love. I am certain that my healing is on the fast track because I am sleeping with my wife, son, and cat in the same room. I feel their love and it helps my body, mind and spirit heal. I know this. Love heals. Surround yourself with people you love and who love you. It’s that simple. That’s all I am going to say about it.

So after two weeks, I’m feeling strong. In fact, I feel tremendous. My surgeon told me that the procedure went perfectly. I am well rested and in a state of grace, more than ready for round two.

Do you know how to heal?

 

This week’s Guy’s Guys of the Week are my surgeon and the team at NYU Langone Center who have cared for me during each phase of my procedure. Thank you all.


The Guys' Guy's Guide to Listening

Robert Manni - Friday, May 30, 2014


How many times have you told a friend or colleague something of importance only to see their eyes glaze over while you pour your heart out?

Don’t worry. It’s not you. It’s them. But we’ve all been “them”. What I mean is, our crazy world and its demands set our minds on overdrive for most of the day. So unfortunately when someone is speaking to us, many times we’re either thinking of our response or what we want for lunch or that we have to pick up the dry cleaning or sex. It’s a sign of the times. Too often people talk at each other. If you don’t believe me, next time you are sitting alone, fiddling with your Samsung Galaxy, eavesdrop on those people at the adjacent table or seated close by on the train. You’ll probably hear one person dominating what is supposed to be a conversation, but is really a download. That fact is, life is tough and we all need to be heard. 

But take heed. It doesn’t have to be this way. You, yes, you, can turn one of these verbal dumping sessions into a positive experience. It takes a little work, but it can be done. Here are my Guy’s Guy tips for active listening. We’ll use the example of two BFF’s here, but the template works in business, also.

1. Take a deep breath.

Let’s say your bestie has just lost her job or she’s having  major love issues with her partner. She probably wants someone to hear her out and empathize with her struggle. She may or may not want your suggestions right now. She simply needs to hurl and you're within range, so you need to prepare yourself. Remember, we all face trouble at one time or another and it is helpful to tell them to a friend. Inhale, exhale, and get hip to the situation. It’s your time to listen.

2. Shut up.

Now that you know what the conversation is all about, you want to clam up and hear her out. If you feel it is necessary to slow her down or if you need a break, ask her something like, “so how do you feel about that?” This may get hear thinking about how to fix her problem. The same holds true in business, especially a service business. You need to find out where the pain points are before you can add value and sell a client a solution. So, do your best to keep your lips zipped and let the other person have their say before adding your two cents. It’s part of being a friend or a good business partner.

3. Think about what she is saying.

That’s code for actively listening instead of tuning out or thinking about that cute guy with the long fingers in your yoga class who reminds you of Daniel Day-Lewis. The reality is that your friend is confiding in you for a reason. She needs someone to talk to, and more importantly, she thinks highly enough of you to give you with the honor of dumping her data on you. So be the good friend you signed up to be and deploy some psychic energy so that you can help her out.

4. Ask what she’s going to do.

This will also get her thinking about solutions or what she needs. This is also a good time to ask her if she wants your point of view. If she agrees, you might start out with questions that crystallize the issue what she wants to get out of it.

Let’s say she lost her job and she’s on a rant about her a-hole boss who pushed her out. Maybe ask what would bring her the most joy career wise and the type of work would make her happy. Just your asking her this question may help her realize that she never really liked being in advertising and that she’s always wanted to open up a flower shop.

5. Ask how you can help.

This is what friends do. This is also what smart people in business do. They look for ways to be of service to their friends, colleagues and clients. Yes, I know business always comes down to making money, but business is conducted between people, so you’ve got to sharpen those people skills to get ahead, and better yet, to be of service.

At some point you’ll be the one who needs a shoulder to lean on, so be generous and sympathetic when someone starts downloading on you. Of course if their M. O. is to do this every time you get together, then you might not want to hang with them. Unfortunately, when this happens in business, you’ll either need to suck it up, or find a new client.

Are you a good listener?

This week’s Guys’ Guys of the Week are all the people who work in retail or the customer service field. They listen to people’s problems all day. They probably need someone to talk to when they get off work.

When Guys Cry

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 08, 2014


I’ll admit it. I shed a tear at the end of “Silver Linings Playbook” and when Joaquin Phoenix retakes the stage as Johnny Cash towards the end of “Walk The Line”.

It doesn’t matter what film it is. A successful Hollywood movie expertly knows how to evoke emotion from their audience. At the same time, I recently watched a segment on ESPN about NFL draft picks crying after teams call out their names. These are big strong, manly men reduced to tears while being made instant millionaires. That’s seemed a bit much for this Guy’s Guy, so let’s discuss.

Guys need to be mindful about managing their emotions, even in this new age where the men moisturize and the women play the alpha role in so many relationships. It’s gotten to the point where if I call to get a friend at home with the hopes of luring him out for a round of golf, I have to ask him to put his supervisor on the phone before I get a decision. That could be, “Sure, Larry is free on Saturday, but he needs to be back by six to pick up the kids,” or “ Sorry, Larry promised to sweep out the garage this afternoon. Give us a call next month.” That said, Guy’s Guys celebrate women’s ascension and long overdue recognition. Even if many guys roll over and let their women call all the shots now, Guy’s Guy see the change as a win-win for both men and women when handled evenhandedly. But even with the new freedoms each sex is experiencing, unlike women, men remain under the microscope when it comes to their emotions.

Today’s world needs men to be men—more evolved, less ego, more caring, but men just the same. And women want men to be men. So how do our newly sensitized guys deal with their emotions, and specifically, crying? Good question. I would not dare to lay down a strict set of rules on this delicate issue, but I will throw out some loose Guy’s Guys parameters to consider when it comes to men shedding tears. Let’s call it, Cry—No Cry.

CRY

A family member, close friend, colleague, or pet passes. The birth of a child, marriage of a daughter, break up after a long-term relationship. During a movie or piece of music that strikes an emotional chord. When a son or daughter returns home after serving their country. Did I leave anything out? Probably.

Within the context of a relationship, a guy can cry once. And it doesn’t matter why. He gets a free pass. After that he’s walking a thin line where his lady might secretly think the worst. So guys need to be mindful that women don’t want to date a blubber puss.

NO CRY

Following the last episode of “True Blood”, “Breaking Bad” or any favorite television series. When you get a promotion. When you are selected by an NFL team to play left tackle. When KISS gets elected to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. When you graduate anything. When she lets you bed her for the first time. When opening your Christmas presents, unless you get a Maserati. When you win your fantasy football championship. When your son says, “Da Da” for the first time—be proud, but don’t cry. When you finally beat her in tennis or Scrabble. When you finish your first marathon (hydrate, don’t cry). When you lose your job—wallowing won’t pay the bills.

I think you get the picture. Crying is certainly acceptable for men, but we have to be careful no to allow the waterworks to take over our emotions. There is still something to be said for a guy who can on occasion still be the strong silent type and someone a woman can lean on when the going gets tough.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Lou Gehrig, the famous New York Yankees first baseman, who shed tears when referring to himself as the, “luckiest man on the face of the Earth” during his farewell speech at Yankee Stadium after being diagnosed with the fatal malady now known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. 

A Guy's Guy is a Friend's Friend

Robert Manni - Friday, April 11, 2014


Friendship is at the heart of being a Guy’s Guy. 

The frenetic pace of the modern life can get in the way of maintaining long-term friendships. The world has gotten smaller and as a result we spend so much of our time working or managing our complicated lives that we sometimes forget about the importance of having real friends. We make friends throughout life—in grammar school, high school, college, at work and through meeting friends of friends. Our bonds grow deeper with some of them than with our siblings, while many disappear like ships passing in the night. We grow out others of like old sweaters. Friends get married, start families and move away. And as our lives and values change, some old buddies may no longer fit our lifestyle. Throughout it all there are a few individuals who withstand the test of time and circumstance and remain our friends. It’s important to protect and respect these precious connections as they become more rare over the passage of time. 

Most of the Guy’s Guys that I know can count their real friends on their fingers. I fall into this category. Here are a few thoughts about the importance of friendship and how to manage the challenges of making and maintaining friendships throughout life.

You'll have to make an effort to maintain your friendships.

All but a few friendships will fade away off over time. This is not a bad thing. It’s just a function of the speed of modern life. Time flies and before you know it you’re hearing abut former classmates who have passed on. It’s called life, amigo, so don’t sweat it. And if your friendships are important to you, sometimes you’ll have to be the one who reaches out. Let’s face it; people are so busy that many of them see life through a “out of sight, out of mind” filter. It’s understandable.

If I like someone and we haven't connected in the past year, more often than not, I pick up the phone or shoot them an email or a text. More often that not, I get a response, Because I enjoyed a positive high school experience, I made sure to attend another high school reunion. It would have been easy not to go. But it was great seeing so many good people that played a role in my early life. For one night, it was like nothing had changed, regardless of who now had the big money or powerful job.

You'll outgrow some of your old friends.

Don’t take this as a put down of your old chums. It just means that over time and through experience, your values and lifestyle evolves. You may have moved away from the town where you grew up and the cast of characters that you ran with back in the day.  So pounding beers at the local pub may not be as appealing as it had been years ago. That’s okay. You can still cherish the time shared with your old buddies. And if you do run into them, why not have some fun? Never look down on your old town. Whether you like it or not, you are a product of the environment and community where you grew up. Respect.

You are never too old for making new friends.

Have you ever thought about your inner circle of friends and how they came about? When I asked myself that recently I realized that more half of my current friends were not from my high school or college years. That reminded to keep meeting new people. As quickly as our old acquaintances fall away, new people who are more in line with our current energy replace them.  I like that.  And it in no way undermines our valuation or appreciation of those former friends.

Don’t poach from your friends.

We’ve all had a crush on our buddy’s girl or wanted to get it on with his sister, but think twice before you do something that yields short-term benefits at the risk of losing a long-term friendship. Of course every situation is different, but you get the picture. Right, amigo? 

A friend in need.

Being a good friend is easy when everything is going fine. But this is rarely the case. We all run into bumps on the road of life, whether it’s illness, job loss or the passing of family or a friend. That’s why friendship is so important. Part of the responsibility of being a good friend is checking in on your buddies when they are up and more importantly when they are down. I lost a good friend a few years ago and was dismayed at how so few of his many friends showed up to visit him when he was ailing. Ask yourself how many times you’ve reached out and called someone you know who is sick or out of work, just to chat for a few minutes and show your support? If you’re a real Guy’s Guy, you are also your brother’s keeper. 

Are you a good friend?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is my old friend, Bill James; we’ve maintained a friendship that began in Little League, throughout school and over the course of our careers. We have never argued and or not had a great time when we get together.

 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to a Good Night's Sleep

Robert Manni - Friday, April 04, 2014


According to the National Sleep Foundation, 43% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 64 say they rarely or never get a good night’s sleep.

Of those bleary-eyed folks, 60% claim that they have trouble sleeping every night. This is an alarming trend for our country’s restless masses. But sleep is as natural an act as breathing or eliminating waste, and the benefits of getting a good night's sleep are endless, so here are my Guys’ Guy’s tip for scoring a good night’s rest.

Hydration.

Believe it or not, your water intake has a major impact on your ability to sleep. A lack of adequate hydration explains all that seemingly endless tossing and turning in the middle of the night. But you are not alone. Studies show that to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. If you're concerned about making too many trips to the bathroom over the course of the deep, dark night, consider drinking water throughout the day instead of chugging a few big glasses before hitting the hay.  And remember that alcohol and caffeine are contributors to dehydration and those restless feelings.

Your sleeping quarters.

Your bedroom should serve two primary functions— sleep and sex. Watching television and in particular violent shows about zombies or depressing news does not create a restful, relaxed frame of mind. So don’t watch TV in the bedroom. But the real eye-opener is your phone. Studies have shown that over 83% of young adults sleep next to their cell phones. That’s no way to get your much needed shut eye.  

The equipment.

Everyone has their own personal preferences, but a firm mattress and a few buckwheat husk pillows have worked wonders for me. Buckwheat husks conform to the curvature of your neck and believe me, this makes a major difference over the course of the evening. They’re also cheaper than conventional pillows. If you feel like your body changes temperatures a lot, I'd suggest using blankets made of natural fibers in layers. This way you can shed or add them as you need and the natural fibers breathe better than synthetic materials.

Napping.

I was never a napper until I reached my thirties and realized that I was no longer Superman. I decided to pay more attention to my body and grab a few winks whenever I felt the urge. Naps rejuvenate the body and mind without concern that a short siesta will prevent you from getting a full night’s rest.  Even a short nap could have surprising health benefits, and the National Sleep Foundation agrees.

The power of your mind.

When all else fails, consider working with your subconscious. After all it, makes sure you sleep and breathe and most other things you do without having to be reminded. When I turn in I’ve found it helpful to lay on my back and softly tell myself, “I fall asleep easily and I sleep soundly”. If you need more examples there are hundreds of websites that are chock-filled with affirmations that could help you get the rest your body and mind need.

So don’t relegate yourself to a life of insomnia. There are many factors that contribute to your ability to sleep. After all, you spend a third of your life in bed so you might as well use all the resources at your disposal to make the best of it.

Are you doing what’s necessary to get a good night’s sleep?

5 Things to Consider Before Moving in With Him

Robert Manni - Friday, March 28, 2014


Guys are creatures of habit.

You can bet that if you stop over his place and more than once you find him lying across the couch watching sports, this is a reflection of how he lives. Small tells like this can be critical guideposts when deciding to take the plunge and share living quarters with your guy. This isn't to say that all guys are like jungle animals who hunt, eat, then lay around until they get hungry again, but men have their own rhythms when it comes to their mancaves and their idea of cohabitating with a woman. As always, your Guy’s Guy is in your service, so without further adieu, here are my five suggested considerations for women before shacking up with a dude.

The Big Picture.

While channel surfing recently, I stumbled upon a reality show about professional wrestling divas. The stars were two lovely twin female wrestlers who were dating two big time male wrestlers. While commiserating about their relationships, one twin stated that her boyfriend was fine with her moving in to his palatial home but told her in no uncertain terms that he would never marry her. He said her loved her and that he’d be faithful, but his stipulation was that marriage was 100 percent off the table. She decided to move in anyway.

Ladies, if a guy ever positions your relationship like this, run. If you agree, he’s going to have his way with you sexually until he gets bored. Then he'll replace you. (Please don’t shoot the messenger. Being your Guy’s Guy means sometimes sharing the occasional ugly truth and it’s not always an easy task.) The point is, find out the parameters of what the relationship is and can be before agreeing to live with your boyfriend. Of course, all things being equal,  you can always play the role of the male wrestler.

It’s the Money, Honey.

We all know how important finances are to a successful relationship and how many breakups happen due to the issue of cash, or lack thereof. Talk things out in advance and make clear who will be responsible for what. My experience is that once you’re living together, patterns form fairly quickly. The rent, mortgage or monthly maintenance fall into place relatively easily, but who pays at the grocery store, or for the utilities and cable, or dinner, the movie theater or the dry cleaner? The list of transactional possibilities is endless and I’ve found that once someone pays for something a few times, they own it until further notice. Have that talk before you sign the lease or you may be in for a few surprises.

Clean Machine.

When it comes to a tidy living space, many guys fall short. Of course this is a generalization—there are plenty of women who let the dishes pile up and leave the laundry in a big ball on the floor, too. That said, I suggest taking a good, long look at your guy’s bathroom, sheets and floors before sharing a space. I read somewhere that on the average men only change their sheets about five times a year, so that’s what you're up against. Unless they have a cleaning service, the same is probably true for how often they get those scrubby bubbles going in the sink, shower and toilet.

Friends and Family.

Have  you noticed how often there are a bunch of dudes hanging out at your boyfriend’s crib? Or if his brothers, sisters and other relatives seem to always be around? This is worth keeping in mind. He may not be a happy camper if his buds or brothers are not as welcomed as often as they were in the past. Again, this is about men being creatures of habit. Be gentle, but be firm when dealing with friends and family. It’s always a delicate topic and many guys take it personally when they see their life evolving. 

Party Time!

A man cave is also where dudes enjoy throwing back a few cold ones. So if your guy’s lifestyle is different from yours, be aware. Maybe you’re a night owl and he’s an early riser. Maybe you’re a social butterfly and he’s a lone wolf or maybe he likes to fire one up on Saturday night and you’re allergic to smoke. Whatever the case, we’re all individuals and we have our own lifestyles and behaviors.

The bottom line is that moving in with someone is a big decision and we’ve all seen friends that rushed into what was from the outside an obviously a bad fit. It’s because everyone wants love and there is nothing wrong with that. But let’s look before we leap so we make our relationships the best they can be. Asking a few important questions can go a long way to building a successful live-in arrangement.

Are you asking the right questions before moving in with your man?

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Finding Inner Peace

Robert Manni - Saturday, March 15, 2014


We live in a high-octane, turbulent world that keeps surging forward. And inner peace is an important topic that requires more insights than a down and dirty blog post can address. But in true Guy’s Guy fashion I’ll share a few tips to help get you started on a path out of the chaos and into that snuggly happy place inside your consciousness. Here are my Guy’s Guy ways to tap into your inner peace.

Gratitude.

It’s easy to take things for granted, that is until things are taken away. Many guys, including this Guy’s Guy, has been the lead actor in that play where we don’t pay attention to our partner before she blindsides us and tells us she wants out. Ouch. Part of paying attention is being appreciative of our blessings, big and small. Just waking up, hopping out of bed and inhaling a deep breath is cause for a minor celebration. You’re alive, you can stand on your two feet and you’ve been gifted with yet another fresh start. It’s that simple. For the past few years, and no matter how bad things may have seemed to be at times, I’ve done my best to say, “thank you” upon awakening each day and again before falling asleep at night. This sets up and ends my day up with a positive vibe and I’ve learned that I really am thankful for each day on this beautiful, crazy planet of ours.

Forgiveness.

There are a lot of people out there who behave like total a-holes. Surely we’ve all come in contact with the person who cuts in line at the movies, cuts you off on the highway, steals your food from the company refrigerator, or does things a lot worse. The media subjects us to so many movies and TV shows with messages seeded in retribution and revenge that it’s easy to let these poisonous emotions take control of our thinking. We just have to get that person who screwed us back. Now I’m not saying you should be a doormat, but it is possible to forgive the bad behavior of others while insuring that you getting your due. Focus on rectifying the situation while leaving the punishment to karma and the universe to deal with at the appropriate time.

Meditation.

Acknowledging how crazy busy our lives have become and how we are constantly tethered to technology, it’s important to find ten minutes a day to center ourselves and quiet our minds. This can be as simple as a brief walk around the block after lunch, even if you ate another tuna sandwich at your desk while checking in on your fantasy teams. If you can discipline yourself, set aside five to ten minutes in the morning or before turning in to sit calmy, breathe deeply while slowly while watching the thoughts from your monkey mind drift by. I repeat Om Namah Shivaya, which is basically a bow to the inner self as being part of the divine consciousness, to myself throughout the day. It’s non-denominational and helps quiet my mind.

Diet.

Yes, I know that we can never get enough bacon, but you really are what you eat. Over the past six years I’ve eliminated beef, lamb, pork, poultry and for the most part, fish. I’ve lost some weight and really don’t miss the meat. I gave up both caffeine and alcohol for New Year’s and surprisingly I have never felt better. Anyone who knows me knows I love a glass of pinot noir or a top shelf cocktail. Still, it’s good to give your body a break now and then and after the first time out at the bar with friends, ordering that first club soda with lime is not such a big deal. The tricky one is caffeine. You drink coffee to wake up and then it keeps you awake at night. So you wake up tired and need more coffee. Thank you, Dunkin Donuts, for keeping us going. Bottom line, what you consume impacts both your mind and your body, and that means your inner peace, too.

Exercise.

The older we get the harder it is to work out and maintain a high level of fitness. And that makes it easy to find excuses to forgo exercise for a cold beer. I find that working up a sweat clears my mind and keeps my body as strong as it was twenty years ago. A long run in Central Park is a great way to get with nature and break down whatever is bothering me. I constructed each chapter and the plot for my novel, THE GUYS’ GUY’S GUIDE TO LOVE, during my runs and I’m working on another book now as I do my six-mile runs. Again, exercise slows me down in a good way and quiets my mind.

There are so many ways to find your peace. I’ve just touched on a few that have stood out for me. But even thought we’re all connected, everyone has their own style, ways and means of chillaxing and finding their inner zone. The key is making the time to find yours. Peace out, amigos.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Thich Nhat Hanh, author and spiritual leader who said, “Smile, breathe and go slowly”.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Staying in Shape (Without a Gym)

Robert Manni - Friday, March 07, 2014


There are workout classes now for pole dancing, trampoline, twerkshops, Vikings and Valkyries, hula-hoops and even “voga”—a mash-up of yoga and vogueing.

But for this Guy’s Guy, nothing beats an old school workout and classic exercises for peak fitness and a sculpted physique. I realize that working out is a personal issue so for context, I wholeheartedly endorse any regimen that gets you moving and burns calories and any fitness regime that includes yoga for stretching, breathing and healing the body from the inside out.  Now that we’ve gotten the disclaimers out of the way, let’s get on with it.  Most of us lead fast-paced busy lives. A lot of well-intended people either do not have the time or the money to join one of our high-tech gyms that charge thousands for a membership and real cash for a class. With that in mind, here is my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to working out on your own. Most of these moves require less than an hour’s time and little, if any, equipment.

Push Ups.

This old school exercise pits you against your body weight as it works your delts, pecs, triceps, biceps, forearms and abs. I’ve built my fitness life around this core move. I’ve pounded out one set of anywhere from fifty to seventy-five push ups almost every morning since I was twelve years old. If you don’t believe me, ask my Mom, roommates, girlfriends or my wife. This basic move has done wonders for maintaining my strength, a decent upper body, self-confidence and discipline. You can do push ups almost anywhere and they require no equipment. Towards the end of each set I hold the plank position and slowly counted to two hundred. Then I squeeze out another ten push-ups. If you only have time for one exercise per day, look no further. And that includes the ladies. It’s tough for women to build upper body strength and shape with many women concerned about bulking up from weights. Push-ups give you strength, tone and shape and they don’t cost a dime.

Jumping Rope.

Okay, you need a good rope that will run you about $15 bucks. I suggest a rubberized rope to get that whip action going. You can jump rope outside or in any room with a ten-foot ceiling. Boxers are probably the best-conditioned athletes and they all integrated the rope into their workouts. Jumping will get you heart rate soaring while melting blubber around the midsection. It’s also great for maintaining your coordination.

Jumping Jacks.

We all half-assed our way through short sets of these babies in high school gym class, but when done properly in high reps this is a great exercise for cardio conditioning and shedding pounds. Think they’re easy? Do one hundred using perfect form. Actually, make that two hundred and then get back to me. You’ll see what I mean. And you can do them almost anywhere. They are not fun, but they work.

Running.

As we age a lot of us either lose their interest in running, trade in their runs for bike riding, or experience physical problems in their knees, shins and joints. I’ve completed three marathons, but I’m done with the 26.2 miler. During my third race it felt like every single tweak and twist I’d ever experienced was reappearing and telling me in no uncertain terms that this would be my final marathon. My meniscus was scraping. I had cramps in my calves and my hammys were tight. I took some time off before getting back on my horse and running along the Hudson River Park and the boards at the Jersey Shore. Now that I live near Central Park I’ve returned to that hilly 6.2 mile run around the outer loop and I’ve never felt better. Maybe I will consider one more marathon. Running clears my mind, trains my legs and keeps my weight in check. And it’s therapeutic to work out in nature and the elements instead of indoors on a treadmill. You’ll need to invest about $100 a year in a good pair of running shoes, shorts, a top and some sun block.

Dumb Bells.

I always keep a set of twenty and ten pound dumb bells in my room. This way I can squeeze out a few sets of Arnold presses or basic curls whenever I get the urge. This is pretty basic stuff, but throwing the iron around helps maintain strength and muscle tone. I’ve recently switched to a body bar, a great piece of equipment that costs about $20 that can be used for a number of different moves with high reps and high intensity. If you want to go big, then by all means invest in a bench and a barbell. 

Guy’s Guys stay in shape and who doesn’t love a fit woman? So regardless of our busy lives and financial constraints, it’s still important to look good and treat your body with respect. You only get one body and if you take care of it, it will serve you well for many, many years. And what could be wrong with that?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Hershel Walker, former NFL running back who at age 49 began a new career in the MMA and does 1500 push ups every day!

Are you making time to work out without breaking the bank?  


5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting Back Into the Game

Robert Manni - Friday, February 21, 2014


The most important person to know in your life is yourself.

Yet so many people spend the majority of their time reacting to what’s going on around them. Before they know it, each new day has turned into a Xerox copy of the previous one. And there’s no other area than dating that demonstrates this repetitive, redundant behavior where we too often rush into a new situation without considering what we want and need to be happy. They say the heart wants what it wants, but we can be swayed by the conscious mind and exterior world into believing someone is right for us when they really aren’t.  Since we’ve just begun a new year, let’s address our dating goals like a good investigative reporter and ask a few basic questions before hopping back on the dating merry-go-round. And of course, we’ll approach it Guy’s Guy style so everyone can win.

Who?

There is no better place to begin than by asking who we are at this point in time. Many daters are not in touch with themselves and as a result they continually chasing after people they think will make them happy. If we take the time to slow down and explore our hearts we might find that we have been putting our emotional eggs into the wrong baskets. If you don’t know who you are and what makes you tick how can you really know someone else that you want to give your heart to? This is the critical step for finding the right partner. In advertising terms, it’s called knowing your brand.

What?

This is another critical question to ask before beginning another dating cycle. Many women have a list of criteria they expect in a man. Maybe it’s money, a certain occupation, a physical look, style or even a specific attitude. Nothing wrong with having parameters, but instead of simply asking ourselves what we want, let’s consider what we have to offer a potential partner. Men make this mistake all the time. I know a lot of guys who expect the women they date to have a stripper bodies and razor sharp minds. Unfortunately, a lot of these guys are just regular dudes who spend too much time on the couch watching the game with a Bud in their hand. If we ask ourselves what we have to offer, we’ll be more realistic about the type of person we can attract.

Where?

I recently read a book by a prominent dating coach to help women find and meet men. I was amazed that this had become such an issue. There are guys everywhere and a simple smile will usually get their attention.  The bottom line is to fish where the fish are. If you want to meet men, you may have to hit some bars, ball games, ski slopes and gyms. You can also meet lots of cool dudes in wine tasting or cooking classes, tech stores, libraries, the museum, the laundry mat, book stores, running clubs, and on and on. Guys are omnipresent and usually approachable. Meeting them is more a function of your attitude.

When?

Nowadays we’re all so busy with our career nowadays that we say we don’t have time to invest in dating. Okay, but just like anything else in life, you get out what you put into it. So if you are seeking a partner, you’re going to have to meet new people and that takes time.

Why?

Hey, Guy’s Guy, between all the circumspection, knowing my brand and fishing where the fish are, this dating business really does takes up a lot of time. Why am I doing all of this? A-ha. That’s the magic question. Go ahead and ask yourself.  And then ask yourself who, what, where and when before jumping back into the dating pool. Hopefully you’ll be more prepared to meet a partner that’s right for you.

Are you asking yourself the right questions when it comes to dating?


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