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Where Are the Blokes?

Where Are the Blokes?

Today’s post is not so much a personal development ‘lesson’ as it is a discussion and exploration into how men and women are wired; a look at something which interests me. As always, I don’t have all the answers but I do have plenty of questions and thoughts. Being as I’m not a female (mostly), I may be completely off track… so feel free to enlighten me, ladies.

    As a scientist, personal development bloke and fascinated observer of people, I love to see what people do (and don’t do) and then try to figure why they do (or don’t do) whatever it is that they’re doing. Or not doing. As the case may be. Or not be. If you know what I mean. Hey, don’t you complain… I’m confused and I’m writing it!

    Anyway, there’s two interesting observations I’ve made lately.

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    Observation 1
    In most of my open-to-the-public workshops (as opposed to my corporate gigs) the vast majority of my audience is typically women. The weekend just past we ran a ‘Renovate Your Life’ workshop and over eighty percent of the attendees were of the more attractive and sweeter smelling gender. A couple of weeks ago I gave an open-to-the-public keynote presentation (health, fitness, lifestyle, psychology stuff) in a large fitness centre and nearly ninety percent(!) of the audience were women. These kinds of percentages are pretty common for my presentations. Now, if I was a young, good-looking, stud-muffin with a six-pack and a severe case of Brad-Pitt-itis that might give us some insight into the skewed numbers, but clearly I’m not, and clearly, people are coming along for the information, the motivation and the education. Even when I do a presentation where many of the people in the audience don’t really know who I am, we still have a much higher percentage of women book in and attend.

    Observation 2
    The vast majority of commentors on personal development sites are women. While it varies a little from article to article, the ratio of female to male contributors is quite amazing. Recently I took a stroll through some of my past posts and the percentage of female commentors is regularly up around the ninety percent mark.

    So the obvious question is, “why does this happen and what does it tell us?”

    You’re right; that’s actually two questions.

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    Well, I’m not really sure but I’ll throw around a few possibilities…

      1. All the men are out hunting.
      2. Only a very small percentage of men can read and write.
      3. What I write or speak about isn’t applicable to the males of the species.
      4. I’m not manly enough to connect with the blokes.
      5. Women need more help than men.
      6. I don’t write enough articles about monster trucks or cage fighting.

      Naaah, probably not.

      Perhaps…

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      1. A higher percentage of blokes (higher than ten percent that is) actually read my stuff but they are not as comfortable commenting as the ladies.
      2. Growing up, blokes are not ‘trained’ to talk about relationships, feelings, emotions, fears, weaknesses, problems.. etc.
      3. Perhaps some guys consider having a need for ‘personal development’ to be a sign of weakness (which would make me… pathetic).
      4. Blokes don’t have the same level of emotional intelligence or awareness as the girls. Or maybe they just don’t show it.

      Or possibly…

      1. Women are simply more aware and more in touch with their emotional selves.
      2. Women are more prepared to admit (and deal with) flaws, weaknesses and destructive habits and behaviours.
      3. Women are more proactive (about creating positive change) while blokes are more reactive – they wait for the catastrophe to happen and then slip into their Superman outfit.
      4. One of my (female) staff suggested that women ‘search’ more because overall they’re not as happy as men. Don’t yell at me – a woman told me that.

      Maybe…

        1. The way I communicate resonates more with women.
        2. Perhaps the site needs less photos of sunsets and more images of blokes and their power tools.
        3. Women just like talking.

        A final thought…

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        Maybe some of us alpha-male-warriors need to climb down from the security of our monster trucks and go and see Sex and the City tonight.

        Or perhaps give another bloke a hug.

        Help a confused male out; let me know your thoughts on this perplexing issue.

        I’m off to hunt.

        Er, I mean do Yoga.

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        Craig Harper

        Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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        Last Updated on July 8, 2020

        How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

        How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

        Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

        For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

        But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

        It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

        The Importance of Saying No

        When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

        In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

        Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

        Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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        Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

        “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

        When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

        How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

        It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

        From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

        We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

        And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

        The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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        How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

        Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

        The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

        1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

        Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

        2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

        Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

        3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

        When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

        6 Ways to Start Saying No

        Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

        1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

        One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

        Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

        2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

        Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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        Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

        3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

        Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

        Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

        4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

        Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

        Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

        5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

        When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

        Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

        A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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        6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

        If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

        Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

        Final Thoughts

        Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

        Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

        Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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        Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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