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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Simplifying Your Life

Robert Manni - Friday, May 19, 2017


Modern life is way too complicated. It doesn’t have to be that way.

There's a myriad of ways to cut through the chaos we face each day, and benefits of breaking your day-to-day life down into tasty digestible chunks are many. Start with piece of mind; add a splash of humor, and a dash of creativity. Life doesn’t have to be so damn overbearing. Regardless of what your boss says, there can be a separation of life from work. And that’s why your Guy’s Guy is serving up a platter of ideas that will help make your life more pleasurable and manageable. I call it the Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Simplifying Your Life.  Here goes…

1. Stop double and triple booking – Most of us manage our calendars digitally so you’d think we’d be smart enough not to double up on our appointments. Wrong. Lots of folks say yes to everything that comes our way. We pile multiple events on the calendar before choosing what we feel like doing the most at that time. Then we blow off or reschedule all the other appointments. But it doesn’t end there—we end up doing the same thing a week later.

Overbooking might make you feel like an important person, but all it really means is that you don’t know how to manage your day. No one wants to disrespect people, and we’ve all cancelled on at the last minute. But even if there’s a valid reason for a change of plans, it can be annoying when you’re on the receiving end of the cancellation. Bottom line, overbooking does not make anyone feel good, and often creates anxiety while causing chaos. My suggestion is to plan just one event in a time slot. If you are already booked when something else comes up, do your very best to find another time. Then show up, be present, and enjoy the time without worrying about what you’re missing.

2. Get a handle on your dating life – If you’re single and in the game, it’s easy to fall into that all-too-familiar trap of having too many dates, but no meaningful relationship. Between all the dating apps and services, anyone one with a pulse, a personality, and can clean up can score their share of dates. But too many dates can be a trap. When you date too often, people become disposable. You trim the herd by ghosting or deleting potential partners without giving them a real chance. Before you know it, you’ve lost focus on why you are dating in the first place.

I realized that after years of dating and broken relationships that the reason I remained single was because regardless of my current status, I’d stayed active online and on the lookout for the next partner. Frankly, I was selfish. And this self-absorption cost me. I paid the price by losing a number of relationships because of selfish cravings and lack of focus. Everything changed when I met my wife online. We went on a few dates and things felt good. I was really enjoying her company. I was still dating for the first couple of weeks, but after I asked her what I needed to do to be a good boyfriend, she said the two words that changed everything.  She said, “pay attention”. And that was it. At that moment I decided to give our relationship a real chance. I logged off the dating sites and took the time to get to know this wonderful person who became my wife. And I’m glad I did. It settled me down and got me focused.

3. De-clutter – If you’re like me, you don’t follow the trends. You know what you like, your choices are practical and classic, and you take care of your things. That can be a good thing, but it also means you’ve accumulated a lot of “stuff”. Things like clothes, books, music, tech, furniture, and other stuff that clutters up your space. When your space is congested, all that clutter gets in the way, and even affects the way you think. It’s challenging to solve problems and create fresh perspectives when you sit down see that same pile of crap around your workspace.

Take the time to rifle through your closets every so often so you can prune and toss what you don’t use. The old 80/20 rules for clothing (people wear same 20% of their clothes 80% of the time) still applies. Plus, giving some nice things to charity helps those less fortunate and helps you. The same thing applies for furniture, books, and music. Even if you are not that charitable, you can still make a few bucks by selling your stuff online or at your local book or music store. 

4. Be present. Focus on doing one thing at a time – My son is turning four this week. How time flies. As you probably know, toddlers’ minds and behavior is often unfocused and contrarian. You tell them to do one thing and they do the opposite. It’s not because they’re ignoring us, it’s because their minds have not fully developed how to process, discern, and do what we ask them. It can be extremely frustrating, so I came up with a very short list of “rules” for my son. One of our favorites is “do one thing at a time”. Like many adults, he’s got an overactive mind and is always multitasking. And like an adult, he’s at his best when he concentrates on doing one activity at a time.

Staying focused and present has its rewards. It allows us opportunities to immerse ourselves in our work or play, clears our mind, and provides opportunities for accomplishment, as opposed to running around from place to place with three balls in the air. Try staying present and doing one thing at a time. Then see how it feels.

5. Treat yourself to a little down time, every day – Life is for living, not stressing. Unfortunately, we live in a culture driven by fear. Don’t fall into that trap. Manage your media consumption, social media, and meetings as best you can. Find an hour or two every day to get outside, exercise, meditate, or read. If you can’t do that, at least take a few moments each morning and evening to take stock of your life and what’s most important to you and your happiness. Use this time to reflect on your life, your family, your friends, your loves, and your dreams. Ultimately, amigos, isn’t that what it’s all about?

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is you, the reader. By reading up to this point in my post you’ve taken the time to consider what I hope is a simple message that helps you live your best life.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Staying Sane

Robert Manni - Thursday, April 06, 2017


Can you recall a crazier time in our lives than right now? Probably not.

Between every excruciating day of chaos ushered in by our new president, global terror, rising health care costs, homelessness, weekend subway service in NYC, an endless winter, GMO’s infesting our food, drone-like jobs with longer hours and less pay, it’s a tough time to be alive. People are stressed out, tired, unfocused, hyper, and stretched to the human limits. This is not how things are supposed to be, amigos. I’m actually surprised our society hasn’t completely melted down.

More and more I read about disclosure and how our planet is on the verge of a major change for the better. But when you are under a constant assault of fear by the media and the powers that be, no one would blame you for feeling life is uninspiring and becoming a long, slow downward spiral.

What’s a Guy’s Guy to do? Lots. With the hope of contributing to your mental, physical and spiritual wellness, I’ve pulled together a punch list of ten things you can do when your world appears to have gone absolutely bonkers. I call it, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Staying Sane. Here’s my list in no particular order.

Drum roll, please…

1. Breathe – That’s right. Breathe. When you are on edge, even the smallest slight can trigger you into overreacting and regretting things later. If your latest Facebook post puts you on the receiving end of the social media trolls or your boss is sabotaging you because you can do her job better than she can, don’t take the bait. Take a few slow breaths, hold, and release. Breathe and repeat. Try this slow breathing when riding the subway or the bus and within a few minutes your mind will calm down. It’s a good start.

2. Ease up on social media – I don’t know about you, but my feed features a polarizing gamut of spiritual articles and memes, sports and culture, and partisan political posts. After asking myself why do I care what my grammar schoolmates post about Trump, I began unfollowing, and at times unfriending and blocking those I found annoying. I feel better. It’s a start to regaining my sanity. I’ve found that endlessly scrolling Facebook and Twitter makes us anxious, like we’re all on pins and needles waiting for that post or tweet that’s going to make everything better in our lives. It’s making people crazy. Sure, I enjoy videos of the kitty that scared off the alligator and the kid with no arms who sank a 3-point shot. But there’s too much weird activity on Earth to keep up with while trying to be productive. So get a grip, amigo, holster that phone, and push away from your computer screen. Live your life offline.

3. Turn off the news – Whether it’s online or on your television, there’s an endless feed of news and propaganda spewed at us all day. Have you ever wondered why you see the same stories on most of the networks? It’s because a handful of organizations own the news outlets. They decide what stories are worthy and how long to pound them into our consciousness. Right now it’s all about Russia, Trump, the latest global terror strikes and other stories that instill fear. Those topics have legs, while other topics like fixing our environment and safeguarding our food supply are ignored. I’m not suggesting we turn a blind eye to what’s happening in the world, but we need to remind ourselves that there is an agenda. We’re served what they want to feed us. So it’s important to our mental health to consume news in moderate, manageable doses or else risk depression. After all, you still need to submit that updated Excel sheet with the Q3 projections by close of business tomorrow.

4. Get outside – Nothing brings me more sanity than getting out of my crib. When it’s cold and dreary, it’s tough to push yourself out the door. But, when you stay inside there are too many temptations to flip on the TV or laptop. A walk in the fresh air brings a new perspective and is very helpful for calming down.

5. Exercise – When the world seems to be going crazy, a workout or a run in the park provide a hard to beat mental, physical, and spiritual respite from all the stress. I prefer a long run to clear my head. Others like yoga or spin classes, stretching, cardio or free weights to decompress. Whatever you choose is fine. Like they say, just do it. Sex is a good exercise also.

6. Meditate – Meditation has many benefits. Besides relaxing and clearing the mind, meditation gives the physical body an opportunity to heal from the duress of modern life. And of course, it also allows us to get in touch with our inner consciousness and higher self. Even if you can only spare a few minutes a day, find time to meditate. You’ll see a difference in how you view the world.

7. Appreciate art – Thank God for artists. They reflect our world in so many ways while allowing our minds to process life through a fresh lens. It doesn’t matter if you are reading a novel, wandering through a museum, watching an indie film, or listening to jazz. Taking time to appreciate the arts always provides a needed mental break from the craziness and helps us see our world and plight with a different perspective.

8. Create something  Putting your focus into personal expression keeps the cray cray away. Writing, singing, painting, sewing, chanting, or even sculpting your body are wonderful outlets to let off steam and express how you feel about what’s gong on in the world and your personal experience. These all take a concentration and getting into a zone where you’re focused on building something instead of simply processing information. Creativity is a safe haven from a messed up world.

9. Engage with other people – Deep conversations with a friend, laughter, hugging it out, and sex are proven ways to de-stress and stay sane. And they’re usually fun.

10. Service – Extending oneself to others, even in small ways has a ripple effect. Doing good makes the world a better place, and a less crazy place. Sharing your knowledge, being a mentor, volunteering, or even giving accordion players a buck all helps make the world a better place.

These are just a few ways we can keep our sanity in an increasingly dysfunctional culture. The media and the powers that be want us to live in fear and see one another as separate. The truth is that underneath the surface everyone is connected and we have a lot of collective power. Stay positive and control your thoughts. You are not crazy.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is the Dalai Lama. Throughout his life he has managed to maintain wisdom, calm, and equilibrium in the face of the endless challenges that have been thrown his way.

What I've Learned Hosting the first 200 Episodes of Guy's Guy Radio

Robert Manni - Thursday, February 02, 2017

I launched Guy’s Guy Radio a few years ago. In keeping with my novel, The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Love, and my syndicated blog “On Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness” at www.robertmanni.com, I was looking for another medium where I could help bridge the communications gap between men and women. It’s been a great experience for me. Over the past three years, I’ve met and interviewed over 200 fascinating people—experts in their field who are passionate about their work. And even though hosting a podcast has been hard work, my guests have provided a free education for me on a multitude of subjects.

Here’s how I got started: After deciding on a service provider, I began broadcasting the show via my cell phone before switching to a landline and finally upgrading our production through the computer using a Blue Snowball microphone and headphones. It’s still fairly basic stuff, but besides some early glitches in service and the occasional blare of a passing ambulance racing to Mount Sinai Hospital outside my studio, technologically speaking, the podcast is working out well. In fact, our show is booked solid through the next few months, and these first two hundred podcasts have given me the invaluable opportunity to hone my message and my hosting skills. I’m constantly learning about crafting a clear, on-brand message, engaging listeners, and interviewing guests in a way that puts them at ease. Fast-forward, and within a few months I was named a featured host on Blog Talk Radio.

But it hasn’t all been that easy. Besides being the on-air talent, I book my guests, review their work which could mean reading a book, craft a set of relevant points to discuss, and prepare my opening remarks and weekly Guys’ Guy’s Guide™ feature. It’s psychically rewarding, but surprisingly time-consuming. The goal is for the show to be less Q&A and more of a conversation, so our audience can sit back and enjoy the broadcast or interact with it they by calling in with a question for the guest.

All in all, it’s been a fun gig. Being a Guy’s Guy, I want to give back and share some of what I have learned so far from hosting a show. And since they’ve become so popular now, who knows, you might be considering producing your own podcast. It’s not rocket science, but it takes discipline, composure, and a little finesse to handle the many curveballs that come your way.

Before we go any further, let me give some thanks to another Guy’s Guy. I’d like to extend a heartfelt shout out to my producer and friend, Ryan, my favorite millennial. Without his expertise and guidance, I’d be lost in a logistical hell. He’s a consummate pro and a super problem solver. Thank you, amigo.

Now, onto what I’ve learned about podcasting over the course of my first two hundred shows.

Although anyone can host a podcast, it’s not for everyone. Like writing a novel, hosting a successful radio podcast needs to be more than something you like to do. It needs to become something you have to do. If you scroll through iTunes or the Podcasts app, you’ll find podcasts available about almost any topic imaginable. This relatively new medium has become increasingly popular to the point where even mainstream celebrities are getting into the act. However, because the cost is minimal and the technology is relatively easy to use, it also means that there is a glut of podcasts hosted by folks who like to hear themselves speak more than what they can offer their listeners. It’s expected, so no big deal. The only takeaway is to be discerning when looking for podcasts to follow. Guy’s Guy Radio is about living your best life in a world where men and women can be at their best and everyone wins. It’s all filtered through the lens of an evolving Guy’s Guy. Our guests range from relationship experts and dating coaches, writers, healers, channels, psychics, wellness experts, fantasy sports pros, and entertainers.

Here’s how I handle the show: I begin with my theme song, "Uninspired," contributed by the band Noba, before greeting the audience and tease our special guest. For the next five to ten minutes I tackle a few current events through my personal Guys’ Guy’s lens. Then after a quick reminder of how GGR began and what we stand for, I move to my weekly “Guys’ Guy’s Guide” where I hone in on a specific topic for a few minutes. These are usually featured in my weekly blog posts. Then it’s time to welcome our special call-in guest. Our conversation takes between 30- 45 minutes. Though the majority of listeners subscribe to podcasts so they can tune in on their own schedule, our show does take live callers. I choose my own guests, so I support their work and as a result, although we may disagree on an issue, I am not seeking conflict. I want my guest to feel at home with me and our listeners — a mix of both men and women.

After hosting 200 podcasts, I’ve nailed down a working template. I know what I stand for so we rarely stray from the Guys’ Guy’s credo — Better Men. Better World.  If all of this sounds appealing to you, make sure you have a concept you feel strongly about and that you are committed to the time it takes to get traction before launching your own show. If you think this might be something for you, keep reading.

Start slow, know your brand, and keep an open mind.  Because my novel and website were anchored in the relationships area, my first few podcasts centered on dating and relationships. At first, I hosted with a female on-air talent. Each week we focused on a specific dating issues like online dating, technology and dating, what men need to know about women, and visa versa. We exchanged banter and answered caller questions. It was working pretty well, but after a few weeks my partner had other commitments. This brought on my first major challenge—I needed to make a quick decision to either drop the podcast or go it alone. I’ve always been a big fan of radio and after listening to my intuition I decided to give it a go. But, I needed to find a guest within 24 hours. I contacted a friend who’d recently launched his one-man off-Broadway show. Fortunately he agreed to be our first guest in the new solo format. He’s a comedian and an old friend, so we had a good rapport from the start. The show came off well and people responding positively on social media.

I knew I could make this work, so I sketched out a list of interesting people I knew or that other might know that I could get on the show. After a few months we’d booked a steady lineup and expanded the show’s focus beyond relationship issues to wellness, spirituality and other topics I felt passionate about and believed would resonate with our audience of evolving guys and the women who love them. Pretty soon some publicists found me and began pitching me potential guests. The rest, as they say, is history. We’re now booked well in advance, but are always on the lookout for provocative guests who have something of value to share with our audience. Speaking of value, if you do decided to launch your own show, once you have generated a steady audience there are ways of earning money through program sponsorships or revenue sharing from your provider. This takes patience and time, but if you can score a sponsor, good things can happen.

Depending on the show’s platform, podcasting can be a free education. It’s been an honor meeting and learning from so many interesting people who have devoted much of their life to their particular areas of expertise. One of the things that I’ve learned is that like the core tenants of the world religions, many of the spiritual teachers we’ve hosted guests have shared the same universal truths in various ways. And their answer always comes down to our making choices between love and fear. It’s that simple.

I’ve only scratched the surface about the ins and outs of podcasting, so look out for part two in the near future. Until then, look for me on Guy's Guy Radio every Wednesday at 7pm ET on Blog Talk Radio, iTunes, Stitcher, and TuneIn I’ll now leave you with the words I use when I close each show: Guy’s Guys finish first.

This week’s Guy’s Guys of the Week are all of my guests, listeners, and subscribers. They make everything possible and deserve my heartfelt thanks. 

How to Find Peace Anywhere, Even New York City

Robert Manni - Friday, August 05, 2016


“If you can find peace here, you can find peace anywhere”.

That’s not Frank. It’s your Guy’s Guy. And it’s true. It’s possible to live a serene, drama-free lifestyle in New York City.

One way to find peace is to sit near the ocean watching the sea and listening to the waves crash against the shoreline. After a few short minutes you will definitely calm down. Another surefire way to quiet the mind is resting under a lotus tree on a remote mountainside. But how can we find bliss when we spend portions of our day, not on a mountaintop, but wedged into a sweaty, overcrowded 6 train during rush hour?

No worries. Finding peace in New York City is not as difficult as you may think. Over the years I have found a number of ways to stay calm and find tranquility, even in the city’s unusually stressful environment. So, I wanted to share are a few tips to help you chill. I’ve included a few of my faves and old standbys, and some new techniques I’ve recently picked up. And, trust me amigo, they all work if you have the right mindset and truly want to slow things down, even if it’s only for a short time. So without further adieu, here are your Guys’ Guy’s Tips for Finding Peace Anywhere, even in New York City.

1. Limit your media consumption – Everyone in New York is inundated with an endless barrage of media—internet, iPhones, television, text messages, Instagram, radio, podcasts, video games, newspapers, and all of the advertising that accompanies it. Every day we're clubbed and have our faces rubbed i[ a mixed mush of Trump, Isis, Hillary, and the damn Zika virus. You can’t even take a piss in a bar without seeing ads selling you the beer you just eliminated. It’s a vicious cycle.

In advertising, our aim is capitalize on feelings of lack to sell crap you really don’t need. Media takes things to another level. It preys upon our fears. Their strategy seems to be, “let’s scare the shit out of them so they’ll stay tuned”, hoping for a solution to the world’s problems. But as we know, whenever one problem is solved, lots more enter the trending news cycle. When people fall under this spell of doom and gloom it becomes close to impossible to find peace or solace.

There is one thing you can do to help alleviate the issue. Make sure you find the time to unplug every day. Be mindful of your work, but afterwards make it a goal to go old school. Don’t check your the phone every ten seconds, take a breather offline, have a real conversation, and see if you can leave the office without plugging in your ear buds. I know that’s tall order for millennials in a hyper-connected city like ours, but unplugging can make a big difference in elevating your mood and soothing your feelings of anxiety.

2. Replace it with literature, music, film, and art – One can argue that surfing the internet is reading, and most of the time, surfing the internet does consist of reading. But let’s consider what we’re reading when we’re online. Snarky Facebook posts about the election, what people had for lunch, or the latest news about Bernie Sanders, Kanye, Beiber, or the Kardashians probably won’t help your inner peace or sanity. Books and other art forms can help you find the peace you're seeking, if you consume peaceful content. Porn, ultra-violent graphic novels, speed metal, and Tarantino films are not recommended when you want to add peace to your day.

3. Walk more – Buses are slow. Subways are filthy and curtailed by delays. Taxis and Uber can get expensive quickly. And all these modes of transportation create stress. Want some peace? Over the years I have found that walking whenever possible does wonders for your heart, relaxes you, helps you learn the city, and is a great way to either start your day or de-stress after a tough go at the office. Of course there are times when we need to take public transportation or call Uber. But if you pay attention, you’ll find ample opportunities to walk instead of riding that stinky C train. And, over time you may find yourself steering your walks towards the more scenic urban landscapes like our wonderful parks. 

4. Meditate, do yoga, get physical – I find that twenty minutes of meditation or yoga helps alleviate stress and fosters peace. If a high intensity cardio workout can help get you into a zone where you can find clarity, then go for it. Any physical activity that requires focus also works to quiet that noise and monkey chatter in your mind.

5. Find tranquil settings – I’ve worked in most areas of Manhattan except for Wall Street. And having traversed almost every inch of Manhattan, I know enough to avoid Times Square, Midtown, and the financial district whenever possible. Between selfie-obsessed tourists, cartoon characters, and workers marching to and from the office texting and yapping into their cellphones, I steer clear of these over-populated sections of the city. If you are forced to spend time in one of these congested areas because of your job, if you look you will find a few mini-oasis and quiet places to sit, some with urban waterfalls. Weather permitting; stepping outside during your lunch hour or on a break does wonders for your mood.

6. Breathe – If you only do one thing to help you find peace in the city, make it being conscious of your breathing. Each time you can sit quietly for a moment, walk down the street, or when you’re feeling angst creep in, focus on your breath. Concentrate on breathing in and breathing out. Do this for a minute or two and I assure you that you will find a brief respite from your daily struggles. Simply pay attention to your breathing. The more you do it, the more bliss you will find. It’s that easy, amigos. Peace out.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Sri Dharma Mittra. He is a wise and peaceful yoga teacher who has an amazing studio on 23rd Street in Manhattan and followers worldwide. 

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Working at Home

Robert Manni - Friday, April 08, 2016


If you don’t have to get up at 7am to schlep to an office in the bitter cold, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of lounging around your flat all day in your pajamas.

But that’s not how championships are won or how you pay the rent. When you’re working from home, especially after spending years toiling in a traditional corporate environment, things can get dicey quickly. There is an additional skill set you’ll need to deploy to make a go of it. It’s called discipline and time management. And, you’ll need to do so without the resources you had while working in a large team at an office.

Let’s face it, even in the most stringent corporate office environments, you can take solace knowing you can become invisible every so often without forgoing your paycheck. That changes when you're working freelance from your home office.  When you're on your own, time really is money in or out of your pocket, so you need to be sharp. Yes, many jobs are becoming virtual due to our being tethered to technology, but when you’re working virtually at a real company you still show your face every so often, and with that comes the usual office politics and gamesmanship. Plus, you still collect a paycheck.

When you are flying solo, maybe in a creative endeavor like writing, art, or music, you need to master the fine points for being your own boss and motivator pronto, and it ain’t always easy. That calls for some insights from your Guy’s Guy. After all, he’s been slugging it out from home for a few years now and he knows a thing or two about managing time and making the most of a day while working from the home HQ. With that I offer you my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Working From Home. Hopefully, you’ll pick up a few nuggets that will help you on your way to more productive days and the fame and fortune that awaits you from your solo pursuit of success.

Drum roll please…

1. Set routines – Okay, this may sound boring, but managing your time while working from home is mission critical to success when going it alone. It’s far to easy to sleep late, get distracted by Facebook, memes, and all the media that’s hurled our way every second of the day. I’ve found it extremely helpful to set my iPhone and mental alarm clock every morning. I'm usually awake before the alarm goes off, so I use the time to for a short meditation based on being thankful for my health, family, abundance, and joy. I do this every day and it gets me off on the right foot. I get up and swish coconut oil around my mouth for twenty minutes before drinking a big old glass of water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar mixed in. While swishing I feed my cat and help my toddler get ready for school. By 8:30 I’m usually on my own and ready to work hard for the next six hours. On most days, I crank out 70 push-ups, work out for an hour, or go for a run. The physical activity ignites my mind, body, and spirit for the rest of the day. The discipline of a routine is good for the mind and necessary when you have a dream, time on your hands, and working from home on your own. Once I sit down to work, I listen to digital tracks created to help my focus, creativity, and IQ enrichment. In fact, I’m listening to one right now. Then I work, work, work until mid-afternoon. I might take a short break for lunch. I use that time to check my email, etc. between mouthfuls of nutritious food.

Have I been tempted to loaf around in my shorts, watch sports, porn, movies, or scour Twitter, Facebook and the like? Sure, but that's a quick path to a downward spiral. Maybe you’re more adept than me at juggling your time and getting things done. That’s good. For most, a routine can be our friend when making the transition to working from home. Without the usual office distractions and office meeting nonsense, you can get a lot done in six or seven hours.

2. Get out of the house - Although getting the written work done is extremely important, it’s also critical to get outside and maintain your relationships and connection to society. During the long winters in the northeast, I’ve found it easy to stay inside for days at a time. Not good. Sure, I get a lot done, but I find myself becoming insulated at my workstation in my man cave. When I do this, I find that whatever I’m working on or what is on my mind becomes all-consuming. I also have a tendency to take things too seriously so I get too intense and eager. That’s why I go for a run, talk a walk, or hop on the subway and meet up with my friends or former colleagues for lunch or a beverage. Frankly, it reminds me about my professional cred and reputation, and that people I respect are pulling for me to break through. And, that’s exactly what is happening.

3. Don’t neglect yourself – As mentioned, part of my routines focus on nourishing my mind, body, and spirit to enhance my productivity and chances for success. So, I eat organic food, hydrate throughout the day, work out regularly, and even forgo alcohol and recreational drugs when I'm inspired to do so. Over time, I find myself less in need of booze, pot and whatever else used to turn me on. This may sound like a boring lifestyle, but it’s anything but tedious. My mind is fresh with new ideas and I have the psychic energy to grind out projects in one sitting. It’s all good and I know I can enjoy a glass of wine or tequila if that’s what I want after my work is done.

4. Shun media – Although I come from the media business and have made a good living from it, I also know how easy it is to fall prey to staring at the television, social media, or simply binge-watching sports, movies or cable series like Billions or Ray Donovan. It’s easy to get sucked in, but there is a way around being pulled into it. The key is not turning on the television until all of your work has been completed for the day. At first it’s challenging, but it soon becomes a non-issue when you realize how much you can actually accomplish during the day if you're not goofing off.

Did I enjoy being part of a functioning team, having the tangible accomplishments you get when working in an office, and bonding with lots of other people? Yes, but I also have a dream, and sometimes dreams require you going it alone.

So, I hope you’ve gleaned some insights that will give you a good start to making the most of your time if you decide to work from home. If you find that flying solo is not your cup of tea, I hope you find your way back to the rat race. But remember, they call it that for a reason.

This weeks’ GUY’S GUY of the Week are all the people who took a chance and went for it, whether they worked from their studio apartment, mother’s basement, or even out of their car. Success to you, amigos.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Managing Fear

Robert Manni - Tuesday, December 01, 2015


Fear runs rampant throughout our culture. If you don’t believe me, check out our newspaper headlines, evening news, movies and scripted television series.

Tales of terror, hate, murder, looming economic collapse, disease, and death fill our headlines. Listen to the language used by your friends, relatives and people on the street. In many of these casual conversations doom, gloom and threads of fear are etched in the subtext. And it’s true—the world can be a scary place, and there is a lot to worry about if we decide to focus on the negative. But is that how we want to live our lives? Of course not. So, this week I humbly offer my Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Managing Fear as a way to escape this omnipresent perceptual trap.

Like Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “We have nothing to fear except fear itself.”

Those immortal words have never resonated more than right now. Fear is mindset, a perception, a decision to claim anxiety and potential negative outcomes lurking around every corner. This is a myth. When bad things happen, if we don’t immediately succumb to fear, we get a better handle on the situation and can make better decisions. For example, if you lose your job, you can freeze up, shut down, or panic. Don’t do that. Take a step back. Breathe in. Exhale.

When change comes abruptly, it’s better to study the situation before making any unnecessary moves that can be driven by fear. Be cool, amigo. You might be out of a job, but most of time life’s twists and turns eventually turn out for the better. Think back on when that job went kaput. Were you happy? Was it your dream job? Probably not. Now, what can you do with the down time? You can reassess your future and life’s purpose or go barreling into the first job you get offered because you are afraid that you will never get another job if you don’t take the first one you’re offered. Hey, I know the market is tough, but I’ve been there and I’ve done that and it was not a good move. Sure you’ve got bills to pay and you need that cash, but if you can hold out, don’t let fear control decisions on your life’s work. You may wind up in the same situation a year later, all because you let fear get the best of you.

Are you a spiritual person?

Most of us think we are spiritual. If that's the case, there is no reason to be afraid. Because if you have a spiritual foundation you believe that God or the universal consciousness has your back and is on your side. So why are you afraid? And most importantly, if you do have a spiritual underpinning pointing the way, you know that you’re exactly where you need to be and at the perfect place and position to learn whatever need to learn right now. This may sound like a convenient way to brush aside the seriousness of real life (and sometimes death) circumstances, but if you really think about it, how can you live in fear if you believe in God? Don’t be afraid. Believe.

Turn off the television.

Because of my inner work and meditations, I’m finding that I start to feel ill if I watch too much television or ingest too much media in one sitting. Hey, my background is in marketing and advertising so I appreciate a well-told story or an engaging advertisement. I also like to keep up with what’s going on in our world, so I like to check in on the news now and then. That said; the news and our media thrive on fear. The news stories scare the shit out of us. The movies and television shows show us how dysfunctional we are, and the ads sell us what we need to feel better about our lacking selves. Need I say more? Be careful of what your mind consumes, amigo. Which leads us to…

The mind is our most powerful tool.

The more you can control your thoughts, the more you can control your life and manifest or actualize what you want. In other words, if you spend your time thinking about what you fear most, you may end up getting exactly that. So let’s spin it another way. If you focus on what you want and your intention for it as being the highest good, you’re putting yourself on a positive track.

Gratitude works.

Mentally expressing appreciation and thanks for all my blessings upon awakening and right before falling asleep has created a less fearful mindset. It clears my mind and creates space for good things to come into my life. After all, if our minds have been choked with fear, we need to make room for the things we want. So again, each morning and night I mentally express thanks for everything in my life even experiences of loss or rejection. Somehow it calms me down and slows my mental chatter. If you don’t believe me, give it a try for a week and see if you don’t begin to experience a shift in your mindset from fear to feelings fueled by positivity, abundance and gratitude.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Pope Francis. He’s fearlessly taken on the conservative, static framework of the Catholic Church, world leaders intent on power, people’s prejudice, hypocrisy, and warring factions across the globe.

Image courtesy of Stu Mayhew on Flickr.

Our Negative Culture

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 22, 2014


Seeing all the videos, parodies and effusive comments on social media about Pharrell’s omnipresent hit song, “Happy” makes me scratch my head.

If everyone is so damn happy, then why do we wallow in a bottomless pool of gory, violent, toxic stories in the movies, on television and in the news? The common denominators on our palette are negativity, human failure, and buckets of blood. Welcome to 2014.

For some reason, studios and networks insist on showcasing deceit, vengefulness, violence, and dishonesty as entertainment. I thought that’s what we have to deal with at work. Who wants to experience this angst again in their free time after hours in HD? Could it be the hypnotic power of that 54” screen dominating our living room and minds? Your Guy’s Guy takes his media medicine in small, detached doses and decries, “Is this the best we can come up with?” Here are a few considerations for consuming content.

Violence

A Guy’s Guy likes a good dust up and action-packed films, but lately, things have gotten out of hand. Even the Hollywood legends have gotten into the act. Stallone’s “Expendables” franchise is really just a bunch of aging action stars shooting, stabbing and punching their way to a paycheck. Sly’s latest endeavor is something called, “Bullet to the Head”. What can I say?

Ah-nold? His recent film comeback includes “Expendables 2” (number three is on the way), “Escape Plan” with Stallone, and “Sabotage” (a B version of an Expendables movie). The poster features the usual cadre of buff guys and gals wielding machine guns of varying sizes. And the next generation of stars is on a similar path of death and destruction. Have you seen the trailer for the new Tom Cruise movie, “Edge of Tomorrow”? Its tagline is, “Live. Die. Repeat.” We see Tom wrapped in futuristic battle amour, toting an assault weapon that appears to be welded to his arm. Didn’t Matt Damon already do that in last year’s futuristic death match, “Elysium”? This is just a sampling of what the big stars are up to. Let’s not forget, “Machete” and “Machete 2013”? Wonderful.

Some say Hollywood is simply giving the people what they want (lots of video game action) and anti-heroes like we had in the seventies. When I think of anti-heroes, Clint Eastwood in “Dirty Harry” and “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” or Charles Bronson in “Death Wish” come to mind. Sure, their movies had selected violent scenes, but the acts were focused on moving the story along.  They didn’t glorify killing and maiming as an art form. With all the hype about Dirty Harry’s Magnum, he rarely used it.

Fast-forward to today and we see blood spurting and mayhem starting from the first scene. Even the once car-based “Fast and Furious” franchise has gone ultra-violent. After seeing the first two “Fast and Furious” movies a few years ago, I recently watched the first fifteen minutes of “Fast and Furious Six”. I was amazed at the non-stop violence. No breaks: just kicking, punching, and fighting amongst all the main characters.

I’m not even going to get into the video games aimed at kids and teens. So many of them are hyper violent and focused on deception, thievery, and war.

Shady Characters

We also are inundated with hit show and films like “Penny Dreadful”, “Scandal,” “Revenge”, “Breaking Bad”, “House of Lies”, “Shameless”, “Wolf of Wall Street”, and “American Hustle” all focused on human failure with main characters lacking in moral fiber. The industry tells us they’re always looking for “interesting and intricate characters”. Yes, I know that conflict drives storylines, but do you have to be an a-hole to be interesting?

For a change of pace there is “True Blood”, “The Walking Dead”, and all the shows about zombies, vampires and creatures bent of exterminating mankind. Want a change of pace? How about those housewives, the slippery realtors in NYC and LA, the backstabbing contestants on “Survivor”, and lying bachelors and bachelorettes? There is little escape from bad behavior and dysfunction unless you turn to the talent shows.

And Now To The News

Adding to this Gatling gun of toxicity, is our news industry. Regardless of which network we watch or what newspaper or major website we follow it spits the same selected, fear-inducing stories at us.  If you don’t believe me; just turn on any local or national news network and you’ll see the same stories rolled out and read to you in almost the same order by a different talking head. Fire in the Bronx kills three, measles on the rise, the world economy on the brink of collapse, voter fraud, and on and on. Until you reach to the last two minutes, it’s all bad news and human failure. During the breaks, most of the ads are for cars we can’t afford, fast food that makes us obese, and from pharmaceutical companies selling us medication for all of our diseases. Your Guy’s Guy is getting a stomachache.

The Solution

We live in a culture that requires connectivity, so it’s almost impossible to simply tune out. We need to be mindful of our media consumption and make the effort to unplug whenever possible. The folks running the networks and studios need to make a buck, so they are not going to change unless we stop consuming what they push our way. Here are three suggestions: Don’t watch the news or violent shows before going to bed. Do not keep your TV in your bedroom.  I know we all need to check email and do our jobs, but each morning, see how long you can go without tapping into mass media. Your mind will become more peaceful and quiet, and you’ll get to know that wonderful person hidden inside you a lot better.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is George Clooney. No, it’s not because he’s getting married. It’s because he chooses to make movies that are well-told stories that are never ultra-violent.

10 Awesome Non-Scripted TV Shows for Guy's Guys

Robert Manni - Thursday, May 01, 2014

Okay, I get it. All television is scripted. I’m not talking about mainstream series like “Scandal”, “Revenge” or even “The Family Guy”. I’m referring to all those wacky cable shows that somehow hook our interest when we’re surfing the gazillion channels clogging up the cable box. When I embarked on my research for this blog I was amazed at how many ridiculous shows are currently on air, many of them already in seasons four and five. So, using a male-centric Guy’s Guy filter and eliminating the obvious “ESPN SportsCenter” here are ten tasty shows that guys can confidently invest a smattering of their psychic energy in. So, in no particular order…

1. INK MASTERS (Spike) – Hosted by rock’s Dave Navarro and a handful of the world’s best tattoo artists, this competition show uses real people as canvases for contestant’s to demonstrate their ink design skills. Hey, who wouldn’t want a “X-Men” character adorning their thigh or neck? The artists are good, but I feel bad for those bozos that agree to be permanently defaced with a failed design. But who knows, maybe they actually wanted that bad version of the Wolverine’s face and claws on their chest.

2. BAR RESCUE (Spike) – If you are a failing bar owner who is about to lose his home because he runs a skivvy venue that should be shuttered by the Board of Health and manned by a staff of rejects who skim tabs and can’t mix a Cosmo, then Jon Tafer is the man for you. Jon is a total Guy’s Guy. He and his team occupy the bar in question for a week. While ferreting out the problems, they break down the owner, staff, and the actual venue. Then with a special version of tough love and common sense, Jon rebuilds the business, the staff’s morale and the bar. You can place your bets on how long it will be before the owners refer to their old ways again after Jon leaves, but for a brief moment in time, their dreams are reborn. Way to go, Jon.

3. BOBBY FLAY’S THROWDOWN (Cooking Channel) – This former Food Network staple has found new life on their sister station filled with recycled content. At the onset of each show a bike messenger delivers Flay’s latest challenge. He might take on the biscuits and gravy champ in Chattanooga or the meatball king of Bronx. It doesn’t matter to our Bobby. He battles all comers and with the help of his crack staff, he owns about a .300 winning percentage. You can also pick up a number of cooking tips while being entertained. Nice show.

4. FIRST TAKE (ESPN) – Even in non-scripted television conflict is a key to the storytelling. If you’ve ever watched one of the housewives shows, you’ll know what I mean. Behind the desk of First Take are Skip Bayless, hailing from Oklahoma, Stephen A. Smith from Queens, New York and hottie, Carrie Champion, who acts as referee. Skip and Stephen A. both have long careers in sports journalism and a healthy dose of diarrhea of the mouth. I say this as a compliment because they can wax on endlessly any topic relating to sports without coming up for air until the next commercial break. Even my year old son turns his head when he hears Stephen A. start to wind up on a topic that he feels passionate about, like the Dallas Cowboys.

5. BREAKING THE MAGICIAN’S CODE (Bio) – If you ever wondered how a magician makes a girl’s torso disappear, makes spirits appear, or survives the fiery blades of depth, this is the show for you. In these days where selling out means good business, I’m wondering when the rest of the magicians trying to make a living are going to make this show and its participants permanently disappear.

6. KAYAK FISHING WITH JIM SAMMON (Fishing Channel) – Yes, there is a fishing show with a host named sammon, even if it is spelled differently than the fish. What could be more relaxing than sitting back and watching Big Jim paddle around the rivers and lakes of the Pacific Northwest in a tricked out kayak, casting his lines and scooping up fresh water beauties? Answer: Being Jim Sammon and getting paid to do this.

7. ALIEN MYSTERIES – Discovery - I have studied a number of books about alien contact. The consistencies I’ve read are that they are here, there are different species, and there are many who want to help. But, of course, we’re not ready for the truth. So instead, we’re fed scary stories of little gray creatures with big eyes that abduct us and shove cattle prods up our butts. Each episode begins by teasing the audience in the hopes that the final, uncontestable proof of alien contact will be offered. But, by the six commercial break or so, they show that photo of an ominous creature who we are reminded might have plans for enslaving the human race.  The show does investigate a number of ne sightings and cover ups, so if you are curious, there is fresh content delivered.

8. UNTAMED FLORIDA (NatGeoWild) - For some reasons, consumers love to watch shows featuring alligators and crocodiles. I guess the combination of curiosity and fear, along with the fact that you are safe at home in your armchair and not wandering through a southern swamp in the darkness makes for good viewing. What this show boils down to is that as crazy as the SoBe party scene is, Florida is a state populated with all sorts of wild creatures.

9. CHOPPED CANADA (Food Network) - Anyone who watches the Food Network can see that it is close to jumping the shark with so many shows featuring cupcake, food cart, dessert, and Iron Chef competitions. “Chopped” was a fresh ideaseven years ago. Now, for some reason, the brand has been extended north to Canada, which is not what we usually consider the epicenter of gourmet cooking. That said, this show fun to watch. The ingredients in the basket are different than in the US and the competing chefs are not quite as talented. So the competitions feel more organic than the gold standard set with the original show. The other thing I like is the judges are not as full of themselves as the New York judges.

10. CONSIRACY THEORY (Bio) - Jesse Ventura is a character. He's the former governor of Minnesota, former professional wrestler, and a free spirit who's not afraid to speak his mind. Of course he is often discredited and branded as a kook, but he does not back down from his points of view. Jesse and his team explore topics usually tinged with government security issues.  We see him get shut down at the point of entry to many areas of the country that are supposedly free open space. In one show Jesse and his team of experts explained that the government was breeding a new species of half-human mutant super solider in a hidden location that he tracked down. The show’s airing time gets juggled around by the network, so of course, Jesse says that this is part of a conspiracy to keep him quiet.

I could keep going with these shows, but the list is endless. The point is, if you’ve had enough of dark depressing television series produced with binge-watching in mind, you might find a few nuggets of light entertainment here that don’t take up all of your free time.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Mark Burnett, who brought us “Survivor”, the first real original non-scripted/reality show hit.

Things to be Cheerful About in 2014

Robert Manni - Friday, January 03, 2014


Let’s leave 2013 where it belongs…over, done, in the past.

I hope it was a good year for you, although many folks might prefer to deposit it in the dumpster. The good news is that every 365 days we get to reset. Never mind the resolutions we don’t keep and the baggage and pounds we need to shed. Those are just details. Here are some things, Guy’s Guy style, to be thankful for as we dig our teeth into a fresh and juicy 2014. Let’s do this, amigos!

1. You made it!

It’s no minor accomplishment. You’re alive. Think about that and be thankful. If you decide to stop reading here, that’s cool, because this is the most important point. Actually, on second thought, please keep reading…

2. You’ve got a second chance, again.

Okay, so you didn’t quit drinking and you never made it back to the gym after Valentine’s Day. So what? You have a fresh start, a new beginning, and another shot at your dream. You scored a do over. Now make the most of it.

3. No one cares if you screwed up last year.

Bottom line, we take ourselves way too seriously. Most of us feel that everyone is watching us and judging about our every move. Guess what? They’re not. Most of your friends don’t really give a shit about the sordid details of your life. They’re more interested in how you make them feel. Come to think about it, isn’t that what you feel about your friends? Gotcha!

4. The World Cup.

Soccer (the real football) keeps growing in popularity and this year’s tournament in Brazil should be a dilly with top teams from Europe and South America duking it out in the global matchup. Bet on Spain or the home team.

5. No presidential election.

Yeah, I know this was also the case in 2013, but it’s worth mentioning that we won’t be subjected to an endless onslaught of candidates political and personal slagging each other for eleven straight months. And think about it, once the person elected sits get in the big chair, they all drink the Kool-Aid on wars and the economy while ignoring the environment and our food supply.

6. The New York Super Bowl.

This could be a colossal success or fail. With no tailgating and temperatures anticipated in the teens for a night game, I’m betting fail. Also, I find it hard to believe that two wealthy New York football teams who share one stadium couldn’t come up with the scratch to install a retractable dome. Really? Either way, all eyes will be on NYC this January. I just read that they are building a giant toboggan that will run down Broadway. Only in New York.

7. New York has a new mayor.

Bloomie’s gone so you can drink your Big Gulps without worrying about being stopped and frisked. Park Slope rules now. The new administration could be a great tonic or a disaster. How much does anyone know about this guy anyway? I like his kids, but when they played such a major role in determining the election, I begin to wonder what’s behind the curtain. We’ll soon find out.

8. The government is still printing money.

I suspect we’re safe for another year before the bubble bursts again. The hogs gorge at the trough while the struggling masses continue their hope for a ray of light on immigration reform, a minimum wage hike and a return to full unemployment benefits—which, by the way, haven’t risen in value for the past twenty years. So what’s there to look forward to here, Guy’s Guy? Many now have health care and awareness is on the rise for other issues because…

9. The Internet is calling out more key issues.

Just a few years ago, was anyone talking about GMO’s, our food supply, or the NSA and our privacy?  Technology has been a great contributor to our collective knowledge base and wellbeing. Okay, so we’ve taken a few too many twerking pics and selfies, but news spreads like wildfire now. This is a good thing if managed with the right intention.

10. The Stones are still touring.

Just thinking about it keeps me young.

This week’s Guy’s Guy of the Week is Baby New Year 2014. Here he is decked out in his diaper and sash. Let’s give him a collective slap on the ass and hope he’s a Guys Guy.

What makes you happy about 2014?

Social Media and Dating: The Good, The Bad, and The "Oops"!

Robert Manni - Thursday, July 18, 2013


It is the best of times. It is the worst of times…for dating.

The deepening integration of technology into our lives has, in many ways, pulled the world closer together. However, when it comes to developing basic social skills and maintaining a sense of privacy and decorum it has also pushed us further apart.  Dating is a prime example of the fallout, with both men and women paying a price.  Let's take a quick look at how technology and social media makes dating easier, while also presenting a few challenges along the way.

The Good.

Hooray for online dating.  I scored tons of dates with hot women while sitting at home in my tightie whiteys.  My wife likes to say that she found me online.  And it saved me years of hanging in clubs, bars and gyms in search of Ms. Right.  Dating online is fast, empowering and fun.  All you need is spell check, a handful of flattering photos, and the mindfulness to read between the lines of another person’s profile before investing your valuable time.  Once you meet, it’s business as usual.  And when you meet online, you can end things swiftly.  There’s an unspoken rule that makes anyone we meet online more disposable.  Sure; it’s not necessarily fair, but I think you’d agree.

The Bad.

Just because you meet someone online doesn’t make him or her less deserving of respect.  That’s the flip side of eliminating someone via one keystroke.  What is intended as expediency can come across as cold.  And although there's an endless pool of prospective partners available online, an itchy trigger finger on the delete button could prevent you from getting to know someone you may have liked had you met them in person, instead of your iPhone.  And when it comes to that first "date" at the coffee shop, not everyone is at the top of his or her game.  That’s not to suggest that you waste time on a bad fit. Just keep in mind that everyone has feelings. After an awkward first date a woman I met online wrote to me and stated that she did not “feel the sparkles”. How could I be upset?

The Oops.

Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. we live in an age of maximum exposure.  Once it’s online, it’s there forever.  You need to be mindful when being photographed at the party wearing just your tats and drinking straight out of a bottle of Whipped Cream vodka.  That may not be something you'd want to share with future paramours or potential employers.  My policy when dealing in the online space is if you can’t keep it positive; don’t put it out there. That goes for this post, too. Technology and social media can be a dater’s best friend or worst enemy—it’s up to you to decide.

Our Guy's Guy of the Week is Matti Makkonen, the inventor of the text message.

Be kind, be mindful, be loving and technology will serve you well.


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