LIFT the Mind

"His speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought.” - Of Mice & Men

The Clutch Things to know from Gillette, Masculinity, and Science

What we know and how we can move forward

In the last post, we posed an argument that is happening in the world right now with two sides: basically, “Guys suck” vs. “Nuh uh.” Then Gillette comes out with their “The Best Men Can Be” commercial and the media world has a field day about men and masculinity. Some called the ad too radical, some called it too conservative, others have called it an opportunity or an opportunity missed. All these sides seem to substantiate the “Guys suck” vs. “Nuh uh” dichotomy.

I’m not going to take a side in that debate because it’s a false dichotomy. I’ll use myself as an example. In some ways, I probably suck. In other ways, I probably don’t. Great. That’s settled. It’s our job, as men, to look ourselves in the mirror and ask what we can do to make ourselves better. It’s less helpful to have a debate about whether men are in “crisis” or how masculinity is “toxic.” We need to quit talking about whether men are either broken or perfect, because, spoiler alert … we’re neither. But Gillette has primed us to at least have the conversation so let’s have it: what is the “third path” between broken and perfect for men?

Now, I know the numbers don’t lie – a lot of guys perpetrate a lot of terrible stuff. I am not denying or minimizing that in any way. However, there is some instinctual defensiveness that comes out for many men (including me) when people claim that what it means to “be a man” is the sole cause of men doing terrible things. I mean, I feel like I’m a good enough guy, and I know a lot of other guys who are decent too. I even know a few guys who aren’t even serial killers, rapists, or mass shooters.

What the Gillette commercial did for manhood is highlight an important science lesson that is crucial to the mainstream discussion on masculinity. When people feel like an important part of their identity is being threatened – like when people say, “Men are in crisis and masculinity is toxic!” and millions of men get defensive about it – what’s happening is a primal part of the brain (mainly the amygdala) is primed for a fight or flight response. So what happens is that when guys get defensive about “threats” to their masculinity (e.g., the Gillette commercial for some), they “fight” back by doubling down on outdated stereotypes of masculinity. (More about anger and fight-or-flight here). This phenomenon – that men’s masculinity being threatened can be detrimental and affirming their gender identity can give a psychological “boost” – is called “masculinity contingency” (Joel Wong and colleagues at Indiana University who’ve studied it).

What this means, and what Gillette has highlighted, is that we need to transcend the false dichotomy between guys being either broken men in toxic crises or patriarchal gods of Mad Men stereotypes. There is a middle path for us to get the “boost” of feeling masculine without conforming to stereotypes that aren’t helping us be better men.

To be sure, men are not all broken and “masculinity” is not inherently toxic. At the same time, there are a lot of concerning stat lines out there that are real. Let’s review the highlights. In the U.S., men are about four times more likely than women to die by suicide. We are less likely to seek help when we need it and more likely to cope with substance abuse. We account for over 75% of violent crimes in this country and over 90% of sexual assault perpetrations. Men have higher unemployment and worse academic performance than women. Social science research (details here and here) suggests many issues in which men are disproportionately represented (such as violence-perpetration or death by suicide) might be made worse by rigidly over-conforming to particular “masculine norms,” including self-reliance to the point of isolation, emotional restriction, risk-taking behavior, help-avoidance, and others.

I’m not saying all men are affected by all the things. What research does suggest is that however people stereotype what it means to “be a man” can be helpful or not depending on context and situation. Thus, in order to improve as men, we must be open to growing and evolving what it means to be a man in ways that help us and those we care about within particular situations and contexts. Being aggressive and taking risks might be great for a Wall Street stock broker on the job but less helpful in the bedroom if the other person isn’t into it. If a guy is active duty military in a war-zone, it might be very helpful to be stoic and emotionally restrictive until the mission is over. When he gets out of a life or death scenario, it might be more helpful to be more emotionally aware and intelligent to prevent PTSD and ultimately be a better husband, father, and man. If I’m doing home improvement, it might feel good for me to get in there independently and get my hands dirty if I know how to do something. But if I needed heart surgery, the “manly” thing shouldn’t be to read up on how to do double-bypass heart surgery on myself. What should be considered masculine is having the strength and intelligence to utilize the tools and resources at my disposal (like a heart surgeon and decent health insurance). Again, masculinity that is both healthy and authentic is contextual. More strategies for bridging healthy and masculine here.

I refuse to abolish my gender identity because some psychologists did some correlational research with college students about how stereotypes from my grandfather’s generation might relate to various health outcomes. At the same time, I refuse to ignore the stats that clearly show we need to step up as men to be better, for ourselves, each other, and everyone we care about. Gillette has suggested the latter which has admittedly primed some fight-or-flight amygdalar responses. Now that we’ve acknowledged that, it’s time for us, as men, to be strong enough to override that initial defensiveness and be real with ourselves. We don’t have to be broken in order to be better.

As men, if we take a defensive approach akin to, “it ain’t broke, so I won’t fix it,” then we will never become better men. I might not be broken, but I’m not perfect either. Being a better man does not require throwing out my gender with the proverbial baby and bathwater. But it does require us to be real with the gaps between who we are as men and who we can ultimately strive to be as better men. It’s time to step up and machete our way through a middle path between abolishing gender and being blind to our imperfections. The mirror is a good place to start.

*Why: Men are taught a lot about what it means to be a man. Psychological research provides a bunch of evidence for what aspects of “masculinity” can be harmful and helpful. Here we aim to shed light on some of these findings and provide ways for men to become better men (without being intellectual pricks about it).

The 5 Ways “Masculinity” should Evolve Right Now

No excuses. Play like a champion. We must look in the mirror and be better.

Polarization is rampant when it comes to discussing the state of men and masculinity in this country. When it comes to #metoo in particular, the dichotomous perspectives I see playing out are basically these:

Side 1: “Look how guys suck.”

Side 2: “C’mon … It’s not that bad. There’s just a few bad apples.”

Obviously that is an extreme oversimplification that minimizes complex arguments and serious topics. But just to go with that two-sided coin for a sec, the truth is there is a crucial Side 3 here. And it involves guys simply asking themselves this question: “How can we be better?” Not “who can we blame?,” not “he said, she said,” not “I would never do something like that.” Regardless of “he said, she said,” we all need to look in the mirror for solutions. I don’t have to be broken in order to be better. So let’s look in the mirror

Here are the 5 ways we, as men, must look in the mirror and be better. The 5 ways we can man up and take some responsibility rather than pointing fingers. The 5 ways “masculinity” must evolve right now.

1: Promoting Freedom in Relationships

In the mirror, I see a guy who, because of my sex, has been taught by beer ads and influential assholes that women are objects of violent sexual pleasure. Think that’s extreme? Then consider where the phrase, “I’m going to hit that,” comes from when referring to sexual pursuits (checkout Tony Porter’s TED talk on this). Why can’t healthy, holistic intimacy in relationships be more “manly” than violence towards a sexual object?

It is my role and responsibility, as a man, to encourage freedom of choice in every relationship. Checking in with my significant other “if they’re into it tonight.” Increasing communication about sex in general in both new and familiar relationships. We all know what happens when you ASSume. Checking in with the other person and being smooth about it don’t have to be at odds with each other. Checkout other relationship tips here.

2. Building Insight to Hone our Emotional Intelligence

In the mirror, I see a man who wants to be a good husband and father, but in order for me to be there emotionally for them I face an uphill battle against the stoic, unemotional stereotypes of masculinity. In the mirror, I see a man wanting to be a compassionate and collaborative leader, only to perceive that an authoritarian iron fist is the vision of what it means to “be a man.” But checkout this research on being a better father. It’s not about an iron fist but a compassionate one.

In related news, I have to look into the mirror and discover what’s under the skin of my own emotions. Because yes, guys have them, even though we’re guys and everything. But it’s common to default a lot of emotions into anger when really there’s more under the surface. I’ve got to get in there and know my own shit in order to know how it comes up and what to do with it. Because it might hurt somebody if I don’t have it under control. Here’s a manly technique on breathing exercises.

3. Building Leverage: Utilizing Tools and Resources … Even when they’re People

In the mirror I see a guy who’s been taught to avoid seeking help, even when I probably should, because men are “supposed to be” self-reliant. Then to cope with having minimal resources, I see guys turning to bottles labeled Jack or Jim or Johnnie more than real Jacks or Jims or Johnnies for a leg up. Why is substance abuse more “masculine” than impulse control or utilizing other resources? Why do we not consider people as legitimate tools/resources?

If I have a toolbox with only one tool in it that’s a pretty crappy toolbox. Good toolboxes for life have a bunch of stuff in there, including people like friends, family, doctors, and mentors. A toolbox with nothing but a bottle of Jack or bag of weed is an ineffective toolbox. It might numb things for a hot minute but every action has an equal and opposite reaction. More tips for utilizing life’s resources here.

4. Establishing Truth: Aligning Authenticity with Masculinities

In the mirror I see my authentic growth as a person in some ways at odds with others’ expectations of what my growth as a man “should” be. But what is authentic and what aligns with my identity as a man can and should be the same thing. What is authentic and “masculine” should be healthy.

As men, we must be empowered to believe and define for ourselves that what it means to be a man is the same as being our best and most authentic selves. Period. We have the power to define and evolve our own masculinities. Emphasis on the plural here – masculinities rather than masculinity. Because there are multiple right ways for men to be masculine in ways that are healthy, “manly,” and authentic to themselves. 

We must promote freedom of choice for everyone we interact with, including in our intimate relationships. We must build better leverage and insight by utilizing life’s resources and improving our emotional intelligence. We must establish a true vision of plural masculinities that can encompass what is authentic to our best and most authentic selves.

When what it means to be a man is in line with what it means to be one’s best and truest self as a man … only then will we all be free. Only then will we become the men we were meant to be.

Awesome Boyfriends and Husbands Rely on these Crucial Relationship Hacks

The real "Golden Rule" might not be what you think.

The FB post was, "Being an awesome bf or husband requires ..." and the responses were profound. Here's a word cloud of the top comments followed by a discussion of the real "Golden Rule."

"Being an awesome bf or husband requires ..."

Relationship Wordcloud.jpg


Being a better boyfriend or husband requires the ability to understand and respond to someone’s perspective and needs that can be super different from both: 1.) my own perspective/needs and 2.) what I think the other person’s perspective/needs should be.

In theory, the first one is easy. Unless the world’s biggest narcissist has an identical personality twin they can have an effed up incestual relationship with (likely in the history of monarchies?), the respective people in relationships are different people. Different beliefs, different wants/needs, different definitions for the phrase “I don’t care where we go out tonight...”

Point two is tougher. It’s tough for the brain to wrap around the fact that somebody I could be so close to and know so well would be so different from my expectation about what they should be if they’re in a relationship with me. But this is the most crucial test of all.

Good relationships aren’t free from conflict. But they require each person in the relationship to work towards outcomes that are good for both people. People get too caught up in trying to convince the other they’re wrong. Relationships aren’t about winning battles, they’re about being on the same team against opponents like these relationship memes. In a relationship, the point is not who should win.

There will be moments where that initial reaction is like, “you be straight up crazy right now.” But that’s an emotional response to a problem that is actually cognitive: the brain being smart enough to recognize when there is disagreement (or dissonance) the ultimate goal is to work towards how everybody concerned can get their needs met. The goal is not to see how one person can dominate the other into submission or convince them to be something they’re not or believe something they don’t.

This is why emotional intelligence is so crucial for guys to practice in relationships. Being a good boyfriend or husband is about giving the other person what they perceive they want or need, not my (possibly wrong) expectation for that. Going with the latter is a path to inequality where guys just try to fight their way to being “right” rather than actually respond to the real needs being expressed by their partner.  

Treating other people the way you want to be treated falls slightly short because it assumes people who are very different want or need all the same things (spoiler: they don’t). In relationships, the highest good is about love that gives rather than takes. It’s about getting on the same team towards a higher purpose even when everybody is a role player with their respective differences. It’s time to treat our partners the way they want to be treated. And if I don’t know or understand how that could be what it is, that’s on me to explore with the person I love who, thank God for all our sakes, is different from me.

Checkout the Minds & Men FB page for more.


*Why: Men are taught a lot about what it means to be a man. Psychological research provides a bunch of evidence for what aspects of “masculinity” can be harmful and helpful. Here we aim to shed light on some of these findings and provide ways for men to become better men (without being intellectual pricks about it).

The Relationship between "Masculinity" and Health is Complicated: Here's the Research

How "masculinity" operates is complicated. Zach's research confirms that relationships between masculine norms and various health and well-being outcomes are complex. Check out the research findings and download the article from the American Journal of Men's Health. Men shouldn't have to choose between healthy and masculine. There's another option.

*Why: Men are taught a lot about what it means to be a man. Psychological research provides a bunch of evidence for what aspects of “masculinity” can be harmful and helpful. Here we aim to shed light on some of these findings and provide ways for men to become better men (without being intellectual pricks about it).

All the Things from 90+ Studies on Masculinities

Zach got another shout out from the American Psychological Association for his research on men and masculinities. Here's a summary of a research publication that encapsulates 90+ empirical studies about men's well-being (posted by APA's Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinities).

*Why: Men are taught a lot about what it means to be a man. Psychological research provides a bunch of evidence for what aspects of “masculinity” can be harmful and helpful. Here we aim to shed light on some of these findings and provide ways for men to become better men (without being intellectual pricks about it).



Abolish Masculinity or Embrace the Toxic? How about Neither?

Hundreds of studies across decades of empirical research has shown that what has historically been associated with “masculinity” in the U.S. – stuff like aggression, violence, objectification, stoicism, self-reliance – is antithetical to health and well-being. On this blog we’ve talked about the divergence between health and masculinity and the consequences of the impossible choice between what might be healthy and authentic versus what might be considered masculine.  

In response to all the national and international attention around toxic masculinity, many men have doubled down on outdated stereotypes (see men’s rights movements). While the intentions might be empowering to “take back” gender identities for men, we know that clinging to a rehash of 1950s patriarchy will do more harm than good for ourselves and the people we care about.

So now what? Masculinity can be toxic. Ok. But posing the solution as abolishing masculinity or men’s gender identities is ridiculous.

Thus, the crux: how can we evolve and diversify masculinities to encompass health, wellness, and authenticity more effectively without abolishing masculinity or men’s gender identities? You know, that old baby/bathwater dilemma: how can we throw out the bathwater without the baby, then raise baby to not be an angry, drunk, emotionless, absentee father, violent criminal, sexual assault perpetrator, and awful representation of manhood or humanity?

The Minds & Men solution for this conundrum is: LIFT. The LIFT model is about building leverage, insight, freedom, and truth in order to be better men. LIFT is about trimming the fat on masculinities-past and innovatively pioneering ways to create congruence between masculinities and health going forward.


A lot of guys see self-reliance as masculine. That’s fine. Except that it relates to dozens of concerning health findings such as poor relationships and crappy psychological health. “Self-reliance” can and should include better utilizing tools and resources – building leverage. But guys refuse to see people as resources. Asking for help? Going to the doctor? Building leverage is about utilizing people and other tools more effectively. So I guess the conclusion here is … people are tools.


Men have a bad rep when it comes to being aware about their own and others’ thoughts, emotions, and needs. A lot of guys wander through relationships and their own lives with more obliviousness than awareness. Building insight is about increasing awareness of and improving responses to thoughts, emotions, and actions (TEA) of ourselves and others. Building insight is brain health 101. And it is masculine.


There are so many ridiculous “codes” that put guys into boxes that suck. Cultures of men who drink poison ‘til we puke, objectify women, and use anger and violence to “solve” problems because it’s “masculine” to do so. Building freedom is about breaking down the boxes and codes that contain shitty versions of what it means to be a man. We have the power define our own masculinities. And they can suck less than what we see in beer commercials.


The truth is, what it means to be a man is a lot more flexible than what it gets credit for. Being one’s best and most authentic self as a man is masculine. Building truth comes in finding and creating this best and authentic self, and giving oneself the permission to feel masculine about it. Because being masculine means calling it like it is. And calling it like it is means knowing the truth about thyself.

Check out more on the LIFT model and our philosophy on consulting.

The Unnecessary Divergence between Healthy and Masculine

When there's a fork in the road between what's healthy and what's perceived as masculine, hacking the way through the middle path is the right way.

In another post, we talked about how guys often have to make the impossible choice between doing what might be perceived as “masculine” and doing what actually might be the best and/or most authentic thing. The right thing and the masculine thing can be the same thing if we make them so. A lot of times we forget, as guys, that we have the freedom to create what is masculine for us.

It’s the same with health.

I don’t get it. Somewhere in our history, avoiding healthcare has become synonymous with “masculine.” And further, healthcare somehow just equals physical health. Period. But what the heck? The brain is part of the body. All health is actually physical health. Heart health is physical health. Mental health is physical health. But we differentiate “mental” and “physical” health. To go nerd-quoting for a sec, it was Dumbledore who said that just because it’s in your head, doesn’t make it less real. For some reason, a lot of guys think of health as the gym meathead that everybody actually hates. Why is an athlete more of a “man” than Bill Gates?

James Harden (not a meathead) signs an unprecedented contract but we’ve got professors living in poverty? Not saying The Beard shouldn’t get his, I’m just saying a lot of times guys have to make the ridiculous choice between being perceived as “smart” or “masculine” but rarely are both given equal cred. In Harden’s case, he’s got the beard to go along with the baller so, I mean … basically unquestioned manliness.

But I’m confused here.

From an evolutionary standpoint, strong health in all its forms, social intelligence, emotional insight, professional savvy, and academic intelligence all give us a leg up. But then guys can give guys shit for getting good grades? Or talking about emotions? Or doing work at a computer instead of at fight club?

I get that in centuries past guys are supposed to hunter-gatherers or warriors or whatever, but millions of us have the privilege of not living in that world anymore. Masculinity should be changing with evolutionary adaptation. If you’re a Navy SEAL, alright, great. Get your warrior mentality on. But even the SEALs are doing stuff like mindfulness meditation to hone their cognitive abilities. Cognitive/mental/brain health is real health. Brain and bicep are all part of the same health system. It’s about time we take ownership, as men, of making brain health part of the workout.

Like we’ve talked about in previous posts, getting anger under control or regulating emotions in general isn’t about releasing it onto the nearest wall, bag, or idiot. It’s about using the tools at our disposal to better develop cognitive strength and resilience. That’s what the smart folks with all their nerdy degrees about brain stuff are for.

I’ll go to James Harden for tips on driving the lane. But I’ll go to Neil deGrasse Tyson for some science, Bill Gates for organizational and technological savvy, a physician for heart health tips, and psychology professionals for some better cognitive, emotional, and relational intelligence (granted they have some – side note: how can some psychologists study people but not know how to actually talk to them?).

Brain and body are all one health system. High performance, however we operationalize it in today’s society, can be healthy and masculine – if we use the right tools for developing it and the right body part (brain) for knowing it’s not weak to build cognitive resources.


*Why: Men are taught a lot about what it means to be a man. Psychological research provides a bunch of evidence for what aspects of “masculinity” can be harmful and helpful. Here we aim to shed light on some of these findings and provide ways for men to become better men (without being intellectual pricks about it).

Fathers and the Freedom to be Authentic Men

Zach's research recently got some attention from the Psychology of Men and Masculinity division of the American Psychological Association. As it turns out, dads with strict expectations about their sons' expressions of masculinity can have some unwanted consequences. Check out Zach's article about the study.


*Why: Men are taught a lot about what it means to be a man. Psychological research provides a bunch of evidence for what aspects of “masculinity” can be harmful and helpful. Here we aim to shed light on some of these findings and provide ways for men to become better men (without being intellectual pricks about it).

The Decision All Men Have to Make that’s Killing Them

Why men are often stuck between being a dude and being good dude.

So I’m at a bachelor party. Everybody’s chatting up some ladies and there’s this moment where a beautiful woman flirting with my buddy suggests they “get intimate” at his place. Other guys in the group are stoked for him, saying things like, “There you go! Get it!” My buddy declines her suggestion and takes a ton of heat from the group: “C’mon man … why not?” He offers some valid reasons and eventually everyone backs off. But in that moment, he had to make a decision: do the thing he wanted and thought was best or do the thing that would make him “more of a man” in front of his bros.

Here’s why that sucks.

What we know from research is that endorsing or conforming to “norms” of masculinity that psychologists have identified (like guys restricting emotions, acting tough, taking risks, etc.) is related to whole host of crap. The more guys believe or conform to these stereotypes the more likely they are to: abuse substances, be aggressive and violent, have psychological stress, be sexist/have negative attitudes towards women and sexual minorities, take dangerous risks with health issues and not seek help, have higher blood pressure levels, have low self-esteem, be more anxious and depressed, and have more relationship and family problems.

Well shit.

Now let’s go opposite here. Let’s take the opposite of these so-called “masculine norms.”

Masculine norm = restrict emotions / Opposite = feel and express emotions.

Norm = default to anger, aggression, violence / Opposite = stay calm, resolve conflict without violence.

Norm = “take charge,” act tough / Opposite = be collaborative and don’t put up a front.

Norm = sex is priority / Opposite = healthy relationships are way more than sex.

Norm = avoid seeking help / Opposite = use resources to be better.

So here’s the thing. Research shows us that all those opposites are way better for men’s health and relationships. It’s obvious that utilizing resources (like healthcare treatment) leads to better outcomes than not. We know healthy intimacy includes more than just sex. The most effective teams and organizations rely on authentic role players more than fake leaders. Violence resolving conflict usually leads to more violence and conflict. Staying calm is better than blowing up. Expressing and regulating emotions in healthy ways is a huge part of a bunch of empirically supported health treatments.

Conclusion: a lot of masculine norms are related to worse outcomes than their opposites.

This means men are often left with a lose-lose dead end: choose the thing that will be better for them or choose the thing that makes them look and feel more like a man.

That’s the choice my buddy had to make when he turned down that woman. That’s what most guys have to choose between in a lot of situations. Take Kid Cuddy. It took a spiral down before he was able to reach out for emotional support and health treatment. What if he had an option when he started feeling depressed and started using again that was both best for his health and boosted his masculine identity. How about an option that’s something like, “You gotta man up and share how you’re doing with your bros,” or, “Quit being weak sauce and get yourself into some treatment.” These seem counterintuitive to our default norms but they’re the third options we must somehow necessarily embrace.

We can’t keep guys at the dead end of choosing to do what’s best or doing the thing that’ll throw a blow to his masculine front. There has to be a third option.

For healthy masculinity to be a thing, we’ve got to quit making guys choose between what’s good for them and what it takes to man up. What is good and what is masculine need to be the same thing. At the fork in the road, we have to figure out how to walk straight ahead.


*Why: Men are taught a lot about what it means to be a man. Psychological research provides a bunch of evidence for what aspects of “masculinity” can be harmful and helpful. Here we aim to shed light on some of these findings and provide ways for men to become better men (without being intellectual pricks about it).

Good Pitching, Running into a Screen Door, and How Anger Screws Up Men’s Brains

The leadership behind Man Therapy (really good stuff there) invited Minds & Men to write about some of the science behind how anger can mess with men. Check it out.

*Why: Men are taught a lot about what it means to be a man. Psychological research provides a bunch of evidence for what aspects of “masculinity” can be harmful and helpful. Here we aim to shed light on some of these findings and provide ways for men to become better men (without being intellectual pricks about it). 

“If it ain’t broke...” it ain’t getting better – Mindset Matters in Men’s Health

Minds & Men was recently invited to guest blog for one of the founders of Man Therapy regarding men's health. Check out Zach's take on men's self-reliance, strength, weakness, and Geo Metros.

*Why: Men are taught a lot about what it means to be a man. Psychological research provides a bunch of evidence for what aspects of “masculinity” can be harmful and helpful. Here we aim to shed light on some of these findings and provide ways for men to become better men (without being intellectual pricks about it). 

The best offense is the one that exists.

When the Seahawks destroyed the Broncos in Superbowl XLVIII in one of the biggest blowouts in NFL playoff history, it didn’t matter that the matchup was best defense (fear the Boom) against the league’s best offense. Seattle simply dominated every aspect of the game (all due respect to the Sheriff). Denver’s 8 points wasn’t much, but 8 points has won some football games (heck - it would have beat the Seahawks last Sunday). The point is, when you dominate every aspect of a game, of course you’re going to win.

But somehow, guys forget this when it comes to our own health. A lot of us only play defense. We play to not lose rather than build up a lead. We say, “Unless I can see the bone sticking out of my arm, I’m not going to the doctor,” or “I can’t see chunks of brain falling out my nose, so no way I’m talking to some shrink about anger or stress.” That’s like punting on 1st down. Or the offensive coordinator telling his guys to get back to the sideline when they've got the ball. It doesn’t make sense. Part of the game is about getting ahead. Playing offense before you’re down two scores. Making sure bad things don’t happen before they do. In the 2000 football classic, The Replacements, Gene Hackman plays a coach who tells the QB (Keanu Reeves), “Winners always want the ball when the game is on the line.” (Which is why you need to feed Marshawn on the goal line!! Why didn’t Seattle feed the Beast against New England?!). As men, we need to take our health into our own hands. Otherwise we’re only putting our defensive unit out there. Defense might win championships, but I’ve never seen a Super Bowl winner put a fat goose egg on the scoreboard.

And the game is on the line for men right now. Men kill themselves at more than double the rate of women. Yeah, double. Like 2x. As in twice as much. Around 80% of all suicides in the U.S. are men. And overall, we die sooner than women, especially due to heart disease and substance abuse.

I was always taught that being a man meant that I shouldn’t need any help from others. Well here’s the reality. Last year we did a research study looking at what self-reliance is related to for men (the findings got presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association). Here’s the rundown. The more men solely rely on themselves, the worse their relationships are, the more depression they’ve got, and the less courage, resilience, endurance, self-esteem, and life satisfaction they have. Across 17 studies and over 4,000 men, self-reliance was related to a total of 25 negative outcomes. In other words, being proud of being self-reliant isn’t working for us. Because science.

As a man, I have a responsibility to myself and the people who love and rely on me to be the best man I can be. That means having the strength to take care of myself using all the tools at my disposal to do so. Reluctantly, that probably means a couple more visits to some doctors to get my mental and physical health offense on the field.

Checkout for some resources on brain health and stay in tune with Minds & Men for more updates.

*Why: Men are taught a lot about what it means to be a man. Psychological research provides a bunch of evidence for what aspects of “masculinity” can be harmful and helpful. Here we aim to shed light on some of these findings and provide ways for men to become better men (without being intellectual pricks about it).  

©2019: Zachary Gerdes

Created 2017