Facing the Lions

You know how it is when your brain is working on a new concept and all around you, the world keeps throwing you examples?

That’s how it’s been for me for the last few months. I’ve been studying the concept of how people learn new behaviors and what makes some people more successful than others at changing. And it turns out that the people who are the best at learning new things are the people who aren’t afraid to take risks and aren’t afraid to fail.

Recently, I came across this video. It’s about a tribe in Africa where the hunters aren’t able to take down a large animal because they lack the resources to make strong bows and arrows. So, instead, they ……. well, watch it for yourself.

Just an incredible clip. The thing that strikes me the most forcibly is that the only tool they have is …. a lack of fear. They totally have to bluff the lions and the slightest show of fear would render the whole bluff useless. After watching that, all of our usual excuses about why we can’t do x, or how doing y is just impossible because of z, are pretty lame, aren’t they?

We all need to be doing things we’re afraid of. That should be part of your goals each and every week. Find something you’re afraid to do …. and then go out and do it. And keep doing it until you’re not afraid, anymore.

For me, the obstacle I’m working to overcome right now is a literal obstacle. At the gym, I’m working to conquer the box jump. For whatever reason, I’m really afraid to jump up on that stupid box. I have no idea why. My trainer says it’s a really common fear in women. I keep working on it and eventually, I will conquer the fear and become a great box jumper. :-)

What about you? When’s the last time you did something you’re afraid of? When’s the last time you challenged yourself to do something you didn’t think you could do?

Go find that thing that makes your heart pound in your chest and your stomach have butterflies. Go face the lions. 

 

Conversations from the Gym

So, why do you think that is? Do you think it’s because of all the media that portrays men as clueless idiots?

Yeah, maybe that plays into it, but no, I think the biggest thing is that men don’t fight tigers, anymore.

There were only 4 of us left after our workout; Brian, the gym owner/trainer, another woman, another guy and me. We were stretching out after an intense workout and had fallen into desultory conversation that had taken a more introspective turn.

The question came up as to why so many men were so afraid to take risks. Brian said that over the decades he had been training men in martial arts and physical fitness, the men he coached were increasingly reluctant to take risks or to push themselves to excel.

“I don’t know. It’s like they want everything handed to them. If it’s too much work, forget it, they’d rather go home and play video games.”

We talked about how the reluctance to take risks bleeds out from the gym into their personal lives, careers and relationships. And we talked about the fact that men who are afraid to take risks are less attractive to women.

Other Woman, with a dawning light of comprehension     You know, I never thought about it, but that’s the main thing that attracted me to my husband. He never put up with my crap. I always knew he was strong enough to handle me.

Me        Yeah, now that my husband is doing MMA, he is so much stronger, not just physically, but mentally. He stands up to me more than he ever did, he’s not afraid to argue with me anymore. It’s really sexy. MMA has changed him more than any other single thing he has done.   

The other guy was mostly silent throughout the conversation. But I hope he was taking it all in.

Changing the world, one little conversation at a time.

 

 

It’s Time

First Day of Fall.

For those of us in the Northern hemisphere, that means it’s getting tough to get any Vitamin D from the sun. The sun’s altitude has to be 50 degrees or higher in order to provide you with Vitamin D. So, in Chicago, for example, your window for getting Vitamin D from the sun closed on September 17 and won’t re-open again until March 25. New York? Fuggedaboutit. Not until March 22. My Canadian friends? Ha! Vitamin D for you is but a distant memory.

Even in my beloved south, our window has shrunk to a 3 hour period from noon to 3pm.

Time to start taking your Vitamin D.

Don’t put it off; it’s not complicated. Buy a bottle from the grocery store or Wal-Mart, put it next to your coffee maker so you don’t forget and take it every morning. You need about 50,000 units per week if you’re low (which most of us are). It doesn’t matter whether you take tablets or liquid. It doesn’t matter what brand. Full stomach, empty stomach, morning, noon or night. Doesn’t matter. Just take it.

Why is it important?

You can read about it here, but TL;DR version. Vitamin D is more like a hormone than a vitamin and is a precursor to testosterone production. It also helps prevent various types of cancer.

And yes, my Aussie friends, I can hear you gloating from here as your days get longer and warm weather arrives. Enjoy your season in the sun!

 

 

Why I’ll Never Tell My Son He’s Smart … Sal Khan

Great post from Sal Khan, founder and owner of Khan Academy.

 

For those who don’t know Khan’s story, the TL;DR is that he’s a really smart guy from Metairie, Louisiana, who has 3 math/engineering/computer degrees from MIT and an MBA from Harvard. He worked in Silicon Valley and was a hedge fund analyst before starting Khan Academy from his home office.

 

I’ve talked before about how you can change your behaviors by consciously and mindfully practicing the behaviors you’re trying to master and how fear of failure holds us all back. Here and here.

 

Well, Sal said it a lot better than I did. If you don’t read anything else this week, take a look at what Sal Khan has to say. It will change the way you look at life.

 

 

My 5-year-­old son has just started reading. Every night, we lie on his bed and he reads a short book to me. Inevitably, he’ll hit a word that he has trouble with: last night the word was “gratefully.” He eventually got it after a fairly painful minute. He then said, “Dad, aren’t you glad how I struggled with that word? I think I could feel my brain growing.” I smiled: my son was now verbalizing the tell­-tale signs of a “growth­ mindset.” But this wasn’t by accident. Recently, I put into practice research I had been reading about for the past few years: I decided to praise my son not when he succeeded at things he was already good at, but when he persevered with things that he found difficult. I stressed to him that by struggling, your brain grows. Between the deep body of research on the field of learning mindsets and this personal experience with my son, I am more convinced than ever that mindsets toward learning could matter more than anything else we teach.

Researchers have known for some time that the brain is like a muscle; that the more you use it, the more it grows. They’ve found that neural connections form and deepen most when we make mistakes doing difficult tasks rather than repeatedly having success with easy ones.

image

What this means is that our intelligence is not fixed, and the best way that we can grow our intelligence is to embrace tasks where we might struggle and fail.

However, not everyone realizes this. Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University has been studying people’s mindsets towards learning for decades. She has found that most people adhere to one of two mindsets: fixed or growth. Fixed mindsets mistakenly believe that people are either smart or not, that intelligence is fixed by genes. People with growth mindsets correctly believe that capability and intelligence can be grown through effort, struggle and failure. Dweck found that those with a fixed mindset tended to focus their effort on tasks where they had a high likelihood of success and avoided tasks where they may have had to struggle, which limited their learning. People with a growth mindset, however, embraced challenges, and understood that tenacity and effort could change their learning outcomes. As you can imagine, this correlated with the latter group more actively pushing themselves and growing intellectually.

The good news is that mindsets can be taught; they’re malleable. What’s really fascinating is that Dweck and others have developed techniques that they call “growth mindset interventions,” which have shown that even small changes in communication or seemingly innocuous comments can have fairly long­-lasting implications for a person’s mindset. For instance, praising someone’s process (“I really like how you struggled with that problem”) versus praising an innate trait or talent (“You’re so clever!”) is one way to reinforce a growth ­mindset with someone. Process­ praise acknowledges the effort; talent­ praise reinforces the notion that one only succeeds (or doesn’t) based on a fixed trait. And we’ve seen this on Khan Academy as well: students are spending more time learning on Khan Academy after being exposed to messages that praise their tenacity and grit and that underscore that the brain is like a muscle.

The Internet is a dream for someone with a growth mindset. Between Khan Academy, MOOCs, and others, there is unprecedented access to endless content to help you grow your mind. However, society isn’t going to fully take advantage of this without growth mindsets being more prevalent. So what if we actively tried to change that? What if we began using whatever means are at our disposal to start performing growth mindset interventions on everyone we cared about? This is much bigger than Khan Academy or algebra — it applies to how you communicate with your children, how you manage your team at work, how you learn a new language or instrument. If society as a whole begins to embrace the struggle of learning, there is no end to what that could mean for global human potential.

And now here’s a surprise for you. By reading this article itself, you’ve just undergone the first half of a growth­-mindset intervention. The research shows that just being exposed to the research itself (­­for example, knowing that the brain grows most by getting questions wrong, not right­­) can begin to change a person’s mindset. The second half of the intervention is for you to communicate the research with others. We’ve made a video (above) that celebrates the struggle of learning that will help you do this. After all, when my son, or for that matter, anyone else asks me about learning, I only want them to know one thing. As long as they embrace struggle and mistakes, they can learn anything.

The Rosie O’Donnell Paradox

Take a look at this picture. But then again, I didn’t even have to ask, did I? You did it without even thinking.

 

 

Your eyes focused on Salma Hayek, and automatically went to her breasts, her legs and her booty without realizing what you were doing. Your pupils dilated, your heartbeat accelerated and your testosterone surged. What’s more, in about a fifth of a second, your brain decided that she’s hot.

You didn’t consciously think that she has an hourglass figure and so is probably fertile, that her stomach is flat so she’s probably not pregnant with another man’s child, that she has clear skin and shiny hair, so she’s probably healthy. All of this takes place just under the surface. If you’re a healthy, hetero male, all of this occurs without conscious thought or volition because that’s how your brain is wired.

 

Now, take a look at this pic ……….

 

 

Different story, right? If you were looking at a series of pics on a computer screen and came across this picture, you would actually expend effort to make her image disappear faster.

So, that makes you pretty shallow and superficial, right? After all, she’s probably a lovely person on the inside. Why can’t you just be attracted to who she is?

Well …. because you can’t. You’re not wired that way. And no amount of effort is going to change that. Attraction isn’t a choice.

Okay, none of this is exactly brain surgery. So what’s my point?

 

Here’s the deal. I work with a lot of guys who are struggling to add leadership and dominance in an effort to attract their wives. And a lot of you are really really angry that you have to make all these changes in order for your wife to want sex with you. Comments that I hear fairly often ….

“It pisses me off that I have to jump through hoops just to have sex with my own wife.”

“Why do I have to be someone I’m not in order for her to be attracted? Why can’t she just love me for who I am?”

“Why does she have to play these games? Why can’t she just want sex?”

Well …. because she can’t. She’s not wired that way. Attraction isn’t a choice. Women are attracted to male leadership and dominance in the same way that men are attracted to Salma Hayek.

What happens when you first start trying to lead your family is that you constantly boomerang between the old you and the new you. One minute, you’re this strong, confident manly kind of man, but just as attraction starts growing …. BAM … the old supplicating, indecisive you rears his ugly head. This is completely normal. These behaviors are all new to you and it’s going to be a struggle to be consistent as you learn.

However, the problem is that for your wife, all of the back-and-forthing gives her whiplash. Just as she starts feeling a bit of tingly attraction, you suddenly revert back to old, beta you. Picture having sex with your wife. She’s her normal, sexy self. You bend down to kiss her neck and when you straighten up again, Sexy Wife is gone and there’s Rosie !!!

Argh. What happened? And it happens over and over again. You close your eyes to your pretty wife, and open them again to Rosie. It’s enough to give you nightmares, right?

This is what it’s like for your wife when you endlessly morph between the old you and the new you. It’s really a struggle to keep the positive momentum going while all these changes are taking place..

So, how do you fix it?

Mostly, it’s just trial and error. You need to keep working on it and have patience with both of you. As you get more consistent in your behavior, your wife’s attraction will continue to grow. I see this over and over again in coaching. The guys who have a firm understanding of what behaviors drive female attraction and are the most consistent with the new leadership behaviors make much quicker progress than the guys who boomerang back and forth. It can be especially difficult for a guy who’s been low T for a while and is just making his way back. In those situations, especially, it’s a matter of consistently practicing the new behaviors.

Above all, the most important thing is to understand what’s going on and accept that it’s a process. Give yourself and your wife room to make mistakes. The mistakes are what help you learn. Just keep practicing and you’ll get there. :-)

I’m Thinking About Testosterone Therapy, but It Scares the Hell Out of Me

Your labs came back saying your testosterone levels are low and you’re trying to decide whether to treat it. You know you should because you feel like crap all the time, but it really scares you because you’ve read that testosterone therapy can cause heart attacks and strokes for guys with certain risk factors. How do you know whether you’re at risk?

Great question. While testosterone therapy is safe for most guys, there are a handful of men out there who need to tread very carefully.

So, what puts you at higher risk from testosterone therapy?

One condition that absolutely puts you at risk when you start testosterone therapy is if you have a pre-existing clotting disorder. You can have this your whole life and never know it until you start using external testosterone. Testosterone therapy increases your production of red blood cells. That’s not necessarily a bad thing unless you have a clotting disorder. If you do, you can have major problems. As red blood cell count increases, the blood can thicken and cause high blood pressure. Thicker blood is more likely to form clots and clots can be really dangerous for you.

How do you know if you have a pre-existing clotting disorder?

There are simple blood tests your doctor can order to rule this out. The incidence of men having blood clots on testosterone therapy is not high; Dr. Charles Glueck estimates that roughly 1-2% of men taking testosterone therapy will develop a clot. While this is a very low percentage,  if you’re in this 1%, it’s vital that you find out. Dr. Glueck recommends four tests to check for a blood clotting disorder.

    • Factor V Leiden
    • Prothrombin gene
    • Factor VIII
    • Factor XI

In working with various men who are undergoing testosterone therapy, I haven’t seen a lot of HRT specialists order these tests prior to starting testosterone, so this is something you need to bring up with your doctor. I have seen a few who order the tests after starting external testosterone administration, but life-threatening clots can form as quickly as a month after testosterone therapy begins, so these tests need to be done before you start.

Any other risk factors to consider?

Estrogen Levels     You need to make sure that your doctor is carefully tracking your estradiol (estrogen) levels. Most experienced HRT doctors are going to do this, but I’ve seen a few who simply don’t understand the importance. The reason it’s important is that high estradiol levels can contribute to clotting problems. Your doctor needs to keep your estradiol levels optimal.

Blood Count     Another thing you need to monitor is your red blood cell count, your hemoglobin and your hematocrit since testosterone therapy can increase all these levels. If they rise too high, you may want to consider donating blood periodically to lower them.

Blood Pressure     You need to keep track of your blood pressure. Ideally, you want it to be below 120/80.

What’s the bottom line? Is testosterone therapy safe for me or not?

There really is no clear-cut answer to that question. No two people are exactly alike. Testosterone therapy has both benefits and risks. There are studies that seem to suggest that raising testosterone to therapeutic levels can actually improve your health. There is some data out there suggesting that it can be a problem for at least some men.

The problem with trying to study the benefits and risks of testosterone therapy is that it is tough to separate correlation from causation. For example, we know that men with low testosterone are at higher risk for heart issues, obesity, diabetes, and certain cancers. But does low testosterone actually cause these conditions or is it only correlative? Will taking testosterone therapy improve these conditions or not? None of this is clear at present. Maybe 5 or 10 years from now, we’ll have the answers. But that doesn’t help you right now.

In the end, every medical decision has risk.Increasing your testosterone levels may carry some risk for some men. Doing nothing and living with low testosterone levels also carries risk.

Much of it will depend on how badly your lowered testosterone levels are affecting you. I’ve talked with guys who were almost crippled by their low testosterone. It was affecting their careers, their marriages, and whether they wanted to get out of bed in the morning. After they started testosterone therapy, they were like new men. They became energized, vibrant, more productive and happier. For them, clearly testosterone therapy was worth the small risks it might present.

The most important recommendation I can give you is to please, please, please find a doctor who knows what he’s doing. One who knows which tests to administer and what he needs to monitor. That’s the single biggest risk preventor available.

Finding the Right Doc

 

Without a doubt, the most difficult part of the whole testosterone therapy process is finding the right doctor. This is the part where I see guys get bogged down and discouraged as they struggle to find someone experienced who’s within driving distance and takes their insurance and actually knows what he’s doing. All I can tell you, guys, is that you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. You may have to switch doctors at least a couple of times before you find someone good.

My own husband went through 6 or 7 doctors before he found someone who knew what he was doing. If I recall correctly, 1 GP, several urologists and endocrinologists, 1 holistic doctor, and 1 guy who specialized in hormone therapy, but wasn’t experienced enough. We wasted a lot of time and money along the way.

There’s a really broad spectrum out there between the drive-thru testosterone therapy clinics, where you barely have to slow down to get your testosterone injection as you walk in the door and the holistic doctors who don’t want to prescribe testosterone therapy, but instead recommend snake oil and yoga chants. 30,000 om om om‘s later, your testosterone levels are still in the toilet.

So, how do you find someone good? 

The first thing you have to understand is that most doctors get zero training regarding hormones while they’re in medical school. That’s right. Zilch. Zippo. Nada. Bupkas.  In his book, “I’m Still Sexy So What’s Up with Him?”, Dr. Sloan Teeple mentions how surprised he was when he was diagnosed with low testosterone .

“Most surprising of all, perhaps, I had no clue about any of this — and if anyone should have had a clue, it was me. After all, I had studied hard for many long years to become a urologist, a glorified plumber. If any medical doctor should know about testosterone problems, it’s a urology resident. But like nearly all of my colleagues, I had received almost no training in diagnosing or treating low testosterone and the life-altering problems that such a condition can provoke.”  pg. 3

 

If a urologist, who is trained to study the male reproductive organs, gets so little training in testosterone therapy, how much training do you suppose the average GP receives? You’d think you’d have better luck with an endocrinologist. After all, endocrinology is the study of the endocrine glands, the glands that secrete hormones. However, my experience is that many endocrinologists focus primarily on thyroid and diabetes. In my own personal experience, as well as that of my clients, I haven’t seen many endocrinologists with the deep understanding of hormone therapy necessary to safely administer it.

Who does this leave you with, then?

Your best chance of finding a doctor who really knows the ins and outs of testosterone therapy is to find someone certified through the A4M (American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine). You can google ‘anti aging doctor’ plus <your zip code> to find a doctor in your area. Then it’s a matter of looking at their website to see what they offer. If you’re not comfortable doing this, you can also set up a One Hour Call with me and I can walk you through the process.

Many hormone replacement specialists don’t accept private insurance. You pay out of pocket and file the bill with your insurance company on your own. They do it this way because typically they spend a lot of time with you, usually between 45 minutes to an hour, and don’t want to be constrained to a shorter amount of time by insurance company dictates. You might be concerned that it will be insanely expensive, but that’s not necessarily the case. Depending on your area of the country, an initial visit may run between $200-300, with follow-up visits typically being slightly less. While that’s not cheap, you won’t have to sell your first-born.

As long as your insurance company will cover your lab work, and most of them do, then testosterone therapy can be surprisingly affordable.

Many of the full service clinics are moving to a concierge system, where you pay a flat fee which covers a year’s worth of care, including lab work and follow-up visits. That’s a good model for some people, and allows you to budget for your T therapy at the beginning of the year, knowing what the overall cost is going to be.

What really determines whether your doctor is first-rate is whether he looks for known risk factors and contra-indicators for testosterone therapy as I discussed in this post. Testosterone therapy is not a one-size-fits-all situation and there’s a whole battery of tests he needs to run to determine risk factors for your specific situation. I’ll talk about that in the next post.

T Therapy … The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I get asked all the time … “Is Testosterone therapy safe?”

To which I answer …. “Yes …………… But Not Always ………… And Not if Your Doctor Doesn’t Know What He’s Doing.

Not much of an answer, I know. The truth is that for the vast majority of guys, testosterone therapy is not only safe, but can actually improve health. For guys who have low testosterone levels, testosterone therapy can have tremendous benefits. Guys undergoing testosterone therapy can see improvements in muscle mass, bone density, heart health, libido, sexual function, mood, energy and motivation.

Some men are actually able to discontinue their anti-depressants (under their doctor’s care) once they start testosterone therapy. They improve their motivation, memory and cognitive function so much that their careers get a giant boost and they earn substantially more money.

They lose the depression and irritability that has impacted their interactions with their wife, family and friends, and their relationships improve and deepen.

Some guys regain the sexual vitality they thought was gone forever. Their marriage and sex life improve beyond recognition.

That’s The Good.

There is, however, a tiny minority of men for whom testosterone therapy can be not only dangerous, but in very rare instances, fatal.

So let’s talk about The Bad and The Ugly.

Prostate or breast cancer

While starting testosterone therapy won’t cause prostate or breast cancer, in men whose testosterone levels have been medically lowered as part of their treatment for pre-existing prostate/breast cancer, changing their testosterone levels can cause already occurring cancer cells to re-grow. So, if you are currently being treated for prostate or breast cancer, testosterone therapy is probably not a good option for you. Good article on the subject here.

However, men with low testosterone levels are actually at higher risk for prostate cancer, so keeping your testosterone levels optimal can lower your risk for prostate cancer.

A doctor who knows what he’s doing will administer both a DRE (Digital Rectal Exam) and PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test to rule out any pre-existing prostate cancer prior to starting testosterone therapy. Incidentally, these are both good tests to do periodically even if you’re not starting testosterone therapy.

Heart Problems

This is another of those paradoxes where guys who have low testosterone levels are at higher risk for heart disease, BUT if you already have pre-existing heart disease, then testosterone therapy can be a problem, especially if not administered correctly.

Testosterone therapy tends to raise not only your testosterone levels, but also your estrogen levels and your red blood cells. Both of these can be issues for heart health. A good HRT specialist will monitor both your estrogen levels and your red blood cell counts to make sure they stay within optimal limits. If your estrogen increases too much, an experienced doctor will prescribe a med (aromatase inhibitor) to lower the estrogen and will likely suggest that you donate blood to keep your red blood cell count within optimal levels. Article here.

Blood Clots and Strokes

For most men, testosterone therapy is safe, but if you are in the estimated 1-2% of men taking testosterone therapy who has an inherited blood clotting disorder, T therapy could actually cause a disabling or even fatal stroke. Fortunately, there are simple blood tests to rule this out, available with your other blood work at your regular lab and routinely covered by health insurance. BUT, you have to have a doctor who knows enough to request it. It’s really important to do these tests because many people with clotting disorders have no idea that they have one. There’s some good background on the topic here.

 So there you have it … The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. 

Like any other medical treatment, T therapy has risks and benefits. The biggest take-away I hope you get from this blog post is that the single, most important, absolutely vital, Number 1 part of getting testosterone therapy is finding a doctor who has specific training in administering testosterone therapy. Don’t assume that your GP, urologist, endocrinologist or holistic doctor knows what he’s doing. Many of them don’t.

Next up …. how to find a doctor who’s experienced in safely and effectively administering testosterone therapy.

And just because this is a cool video and so you’ll have this song stuck in your head the rest of the day as I do ……….

‘Normal’ Doesn’t Mean Optimal

“My GP said my testosterone levels are normal and so he doesn’t recommend T therapy.”

I wish I had a dime for every time I’ve heard a guy say this. I would … have a lot of dimes.

What is normal when it comes to T levels? The reference range most labs use is 348-1197 ng/dL. What your doctor doesn’t tell you, and very likely doesn’t understand himself, is that those so-called ‘normal’ levels don’t take into account age or health. So, your level may be normal … for an 80 year old man with heart problems.

Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

What it means is that a lot of guys go home from their GP’s office feeling like they must be hypochondriacs. ‘My GP says my testosterone level is fine, but I still feel like crap. It must be all in my head.”

This makes me crazy. While having the best of intentions, a GP who doesn’t know anything about hormones can actually dissuade a guy from seeking out the help he needs, thus making the situation worse. If a doctor hasn’t been trained in hormones, he has no business saying anything other than, “Let me give you a referral to someone who knows what they’re doing.”

My own husband went through this with several doctors. They wasted a couple of years of our lives with their ‘not knowing’. Our marriage was on the rocks because of my husband’s medical issue and no one could be bothered to say, “Hey, I’m not sure what’s going on with you, but let’s find you someone who can help.”

How many guys are suffering needlessly due to this nonsense?

Here’s what you need to know.

‘Normal’ doesn’t mean optimal. And most likely your GP is clueless about what’s going on with your hormone levels. Here’s a chart that breaks T levels down for you by age.

Avg Age Tot. Test.
30 617
40 668
50 606
60 562
70 524
80 471
93 376

If your T level is 378, congratulations. You’re normal ………… for a 93 year old man.

And if you’re in that low T fog, you know that 378 doesn’t feel so good.

What you need to remember is that ‘normal’ and ‘optimal’ are not the same thing. And if your doctor tells you that you’re normal, you’re just getting older, there’s nothing to be done, then you need to walk away. Would you stick with an eye doctor who told you not to worry about the fact that you’re having a hard time reading small print, that it’s normal to not be able to see well enough to read as you get older, it happens to all of us?

     “I’m sorry, Mr. Smith. Your eyesight is getting worse because you’re getting older. Just go out and buy yourself a magnifying glass so you can keep reading. Or better yet, I’ve got these stretches that will make your arms longer so you can hold the book out further.”

Of course not. That’s ridiculous.

Just as it’s normal to lose your reading vision as you get older, it’s also normal for your T levels to decrease with age. What’s not normal is to pretend that it’s not a problem, to refrain from correcting it if possible. Both conditions are treatable and need to be addressed in order to retain your quality of life.

So, your GP just told you your T levels are ‘normal’ and won’t treat you because it’s ‘not safe’. Now what?

The next post will discuss why finding an experienced hormone replacement specialist is so important …… 

You Don’t Even Know What You Don’t Know

“We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

It took me about 3 minutes to realize that I had no idea what I didn’t know.

When I first walked in the doors to the MMA gym, I thought I would be pretty good at it. Seriously. I’ve always been in decent shape and have done various work-outs through the years. I thought I would struggle for a few minutes, but then find my pace and get through the work-out fairly well. That’s actually a little embarrassing to write, now. :-(

And then within about 3 minutes, reality set in and I was all, “Holy crap. This is totally beyond my skill level. How are these people doing this?”

Hell-lo Conscious Incompetence.

My work-out coach, Brian, was the first one to introduce me to the 4 Stages of Competence.

Unconscious Incompetence –> Conscious Incompetence –> Conscious Competence –> Unconscious Competence

Until you try to do something, you have no idea how difficult it is or how unskilled you are. Think about how easy golf looks …. just get that little ball into that little hole, right? …. easy. Until you try it. Congratulations, you just went from Unconscious Incompetence to Conscious Incompetence in one tiny step. It only takes about 3 minutes to get from Stage 1 to Stage 2.

However, it can take weeks, months, or even years to complete the next step; going from Conscious Incompetence to Conscious Competence. I’ve been doing this new work-out for slightly more than 3 months now, and I am still very consciously incompetent.

When a guy first starts coaching with me, trying to improve his marriage and increase attraction, he typically starts with a certain level of Unconscious Incompetence. He knows that his wife isn’t attracted to him, but he has no idea why. As his coach, it’s my job to help him figure out what the blockages are to attraction and how to fix them. However, it’s his job to do the practice that actually helps him get better at the behaviors that attract his wife. The longer he practices, the better he gets.

Typically, what I see in coaching is that slightly more than half-way through, the guy gets tired and discouraged. Even though he’s made tremendous gains fairly quickly in the first half of coaching, he has started to realize how very difficult it is to change behaviors and achieve competence. “This is really haaaaaard,” is a common statement at this point. Yes. Yes, it is. It is very hard to change the behaviors of a lifetime and it takes a lot of practice. Moving from Conscious Incompetence to Conscious Competence can be a frustrating process. This is the point where a huge part of the coaching involves encouragement and support in addition to training and correction.

“This doesn’t come naturally to me,” is something else I hear frequently. No. No, it doesn’t. It doesn’t come naturally to you, but if you practice long enough, it does become second nature to you. You move from Conscious Competence to Unconscious Competence. This is the sweet spot where you no longer have to think about displaying leadership, you just do it.

It’s kind of like tying your shoes. Do you remember how hard it was when you first learned? The strings seemed awkward in your fingers and you were constantly needing advice on which string goes on top of which. But eventually, you learned to do it without even thinking about it. You haven’t consciously thought about how to tie your shoes in decades. Your fingers move without conscious volition.

Unconscious Competence. 

“What should we have for dinner,” your wife will ask, and without even thinking about it, you will tell her, “Let’s grill chicken. That sounds good.”

Unconscious Competence