Brad Thor is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with his series of international thrillers. Brad has written 21 thrillers including including BLACK ICE (ThrillerFix Best Thriller of the Year), NEAR DARK (one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Books of the Year), BACKLASH (nominated for the Barry Award for Best Thriller of the Year), SPYMASTER (“One of the all-time best thriller novels” —The Washington Times), THE LAST PATRIOT (nominated Best Thriller of the Year by the International Thriller Writers Association), and BLOWBACK (one of the “Top 100 Killer Thrillers of All Time” —NPR).
Brad’s work studying international terrorists, and the american intelligence agents who hunt them down has not only informed his novels, but landed him numerous appearances on major news networks including BC, CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX News Channel, FOX Business Channel, CNN, CNN Headline News, The Blaze, and MSNBC.
Brad Thor is more than just a writer
In 2008, Brad went along with a black ops team in Afghanistan, and he served as a part of the Homeland Security Red Cell program to help brainstorm defenses to terroristic threats.
In this interview, Josh Hatcher tells the story of how Brad Thor gave Manlihood a big head start, and asks him about his book, his life experiences, and what it means to be a man.
In this podcast episode for men, Josh Hatcher of Manlihood.com breaks down the answer for happiness for men.
Happiness isn’t the point of life. Don’t make it your most important pursuit. We’ll talk more about that in a bit.
If men want happiness, it starts by realigning your perspective with a clearer picture of your situation. It’s often easy to see the bad things and lose focus. You’ve heard the old adage, “I always envied a pair of new shoes till I met a man with no feet.”
Gratitude is not just a reaction to happiness for men. It’s actually a catalyst. We often equate feelings with actions or choices. We may not feel grateful, but choosing to express gratitude unlocks the feelings we desperately need.
We usually don’t think of discipline as happy – but the truth is – taking care of ourselves, eating right, getting exercise, sleeping well have a huge impact on how we feel. To be disciplined to put good content in our brains and reject the content that makes us feel bad also requires discipline.
Joy vs Happiness
Happiness is a feeling. Joy is a choice – a state of mind. It’s okay to want to be happy, but don’t let the feeling satisfy. Life will often bring times of sadness, anger, loneliness, or other feelings we think of as unhappy. We have to learn that to choose joy helps us overcome the despair that those other feelings can bring if left unchecked.
After dating for some time, throwing a reception, exchanging your vows and finally getting married, you think it’s going to last forever. Alas, marriage is a fragile and sometimes ephemeral thing. Every man has his forte, and dealing with a divorce might not be the one thing you’re particularly good at. You know that sometimes it’s rather difficult to deal with your feelings, and it gets unimaginably difficult when you add another person’s rollercoaster of emotions to the equation. However, there are a few things you should have in mind that could help you with accepting the whole process and going through it. Here they are.
The past is in the past
When you invest a lot of time and energy into your marriage, and it breaks at one point, it’s normal to start remembering all the wonderful moments you’ve been through together. Nevertheless, you can’t let yourself be stuck in the past, as it won’t help your current situation one tiny bit. You have to be bent on getting the best you can out of it. Think about moving to a place you’ve always wanted to live at, invest some more time into your hobbies, friends, travel someplace new, anything that will positively affect your well-being. It takes time to process everything and remember who you were before your marriage, so try to turn the situation in your favour.
Engage with your kids
If you have kids, you should be reminded that the whole divorce might be taking a heavier toll on them that it is on you. Men tend to be reserved when it comes to opening up and talking about emotions, but you should take a different approach in order to play your role as a father. If you act your part, spend time with them, stay calm and be honest about what’s going on, this exposure to divorce shouldn’t be as difficult as it normally can be. With the help of family lawyers in Sydney, your divorce can go smoothly, and this swift process helps the kids handle the whole situation better. That’s why you should be cooperative and reasonable, which will speed up the process and make it easier for everyone involved.
Be respectful until the end
We all keep some of our emotions under our hats, but there is a limit for a healthy amount of that. If you’ve been repressing a lot of them over many years, divorce might be a stimulus to let them all out. It’s certainly a natural reaction to be angry, bewildered, irritated, and annoyed, but you should be careful as to how you’re releasing those feelings out into the world. Don’t go belittling your spouse, calling her names, or calling her out for something she did. Also, try to keep her private life a secret and forget about revenge or anything of that sort. Mutual respect is a life-saver.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Along the way, many triggers are bound to pop up, and you have to learn to cope with them. Some places, people, or everyday things around you will remind you of your spouse and it could cause all of the previously-experienced emotions to surge out once again. If you feel that you’re not doing well at those instances, think about going to therapy or reading self-help books. As little as a friendly conversation with your dear ones can also go a long way into making you feel better. Things get better over time, but you have to be patient when everything gets dark and gloomy, as that’s an integral part of a divorce.
Some things in life can’t be controlled or changed, and everything that’s left at those moments is to learn to accept and adapt to them. Try to slow down with rebounds and a hectic lifestyle that you might regret later, and make sure to slowly start establishing a new life. A post-divorce life is filled with numerous challenges, and the most important thing is to take care of your well-being and work on setting your new life on the right course.
In this episode of the Manlihood ManCast, Josh Hatcher talks about being RESOLUTE – making resolutions in the New Year that stick.
Make a Lifelong Resolution
Take some time this week to identify an area of your life that needs to change.
Your relationship with your spouse, your parenting skills, your work habits, launching a new career as a writer, becoming a more positive person – whatever it is that needs to change in your life.
And start meditating on what it means to change it permanently.
You don’t have to be stuck at a job you hate for the rest of your life. You don’t have to walk on eggshells because you are afraid your wife is going to leave you. You don’t have to be afraid about your kids making bad choices. You don’t have to be fat, or tired all of the time. All of those things can be fixed – but all of those things will require you to change. And change doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen just because you say it will.
It starts with aligning your head and your heart with your destination, and it finishes when you fulfill your commitment. If you want to lose weight, you can lose it – but if you don’t commit to changes for the rest of your life you’re going to be in the same place you are now. You can resolve to be a better husband, but if you fall back into the same patterns of behavior, you’ll find yourself in the doghouse again.
It’s not just about changing behavior, it’s about changing your lifestyle.
That starts in your mind, and flows out from there – but change requires commitment, or you will always return to your old self by default.
Don’t be Swayed
Can you be defined as bold?
Can you be defined as steady?
When people see your life, do they see you as waffling, indecisive, and wavering?
In some ways it doesn’t matter what others think of you, and what their judgments are – but other times, your reputation is a good indicator of your character! Surround yourself with men who will challenge you and ask you the hard questions. Ask them if they see you as bold, steady, determined, resolute.
While we’re often talking about behavior changes, it’s important to note that bad behavior, overeating, mouthing off, addictions, etc. are the visible manifestations of an inner issue. You can try to change those things all you want, but these external problems stem from an internal one.
Resolving to change is not enough. You actually have to change. And that starts with changing the way you think.
I’ve found that I often need reminders to stay on track. A piece of jewelry, an item in my pocket, a post it note on my workstation or refridgerator that encourages me to stay the course can really give me a little push in in the right direction when I start to stray, or start to get weary of keeping my commitment.
Positive reinforcement is great, but sometimes you need a little negative reinforcement. Even something as simple as a rubber band, snapped against the wrist when my mind starts to want the thing that I shouldn’t have helps me associate that pleasure-able thing with pain, and while at first, many little red-skinned wrist snaps were uncomfortable, I find myself thinking less and less in the wrong direction.
In order to avoid being swayed from your path, you have to internalize the decision to change. You have to change the way you think. And that is really the hardest part.
What steps can you take to change your thinking?
Change your Mind
Remember those commercials for the NAACP that used to say, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste” ?
Those words have often haunted and sung in my head, because they highlight the value of the human mind. But they don’t even come close to describing the power of it.
I know that may sound like metaphysical mumbo-jumbo, but truth sometimes can sound a bit strange. Especially ancient truth.
The word “mindset” breaks down to imply that the mind is fixed like concrete or glue…. Hardened in the way that it thinks. And this perspective really helps us understand how to succeed and how to accomplish what it is we are meant to do. When we SET our mind on improving some area of our life – we will improve. Especially if we reinforce that concrete as often as we can with continual reminders of our destination.
What is a mindset? It’s simply what you think about, and how you think about it. Before we can talk about developing a healthy mindset, we need to talk about how you got your unhealthy mindset, and why it is unhealthy.
From the time you were born, you’ve heard lies about yourself and the world around you. If you hear a lie enough times, you start to believe that it’s true. If you tell yourself that you can’t lose weight – will you lose weight? If you tell yourself that you are worthless, will you ever find self-worth?
The first step in correcting your mindset involves the choice to identify and root out the lies about your situation. Identify the un-truth, call it like it is – and then move on to the next step, which is to identify the truth.
The truth is you CAN do it. The truth is you do have value.The truth is you ARE an addict in need of recovery. The truth is you have treated your wife like crap. The truth is you can change.
Identify the truth, good or bad, and then determine what changes need to be made in your lifestyle as you strive to chase that truth. If the truth is bad, focus on the corrective result that you want to see. “I’m an alcoholic, but I will kick this habit.” “I’m a crappy husband, but I will choose to be a better one.”
Cultivating that mindset means kicking out thoughts, daydreams, and internal dialogue if it goes against the positive direction that you want to go. Thoughts sometimes swirl around and get you off track, and it’s up to you to kick it out. How do you kick it out? It simply starts with telling it to go. Outloud if you have to. “Get out of my head. I am not stupid. I will pass this exam.”
You must also kick out the external voices that are holding you back. If your spouse is berating your attempts to improve, tell her that you need her support. If you are listening to music or watching television or movies that reinforce the bad habits or ideas, toss them out.
Changing your mind is not instant, nor is it simple. It take the discipline to “take captive every thought.” Whenever a thought comes into your head – take the time to evaluate it and file it appropriately. Is it positive, encouraging, true, motivating, brutally honest? Is it weak, passive, negative, destructive, dishonest?
You know which ones are good. Put the good ones in the right place – and kick the bad thoughts out.
Changing your mind also takes education. Read, attend seminars, classes, and groups to enrich and enlarge your mind. If you want to see change, you have to be properly equipped.
Replace Your Addictions with Habits
Probably the most common resolutions are “Quitting Smoking,” “Losing Weight,” or “Getting Healthy.” These resolutions, along with others, like getting sober, quitting drugs, and many others are in response to addictions.
Psychology Today defines addiction this way:
Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (e.g., alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.
There are a number of different ways that we deal with addiction: We often trade one addiction for another. That’s why smokers who quit often gain weight…
There are so many facets to treating addiction, and getting to the root of the problem that we can’t get into here. I’m no expert, and even the experts have a variety of opinions on it. If you find yourself in need of more help, consult an expert.
In the meantime though, and especially in dealing with the smaller more manageable addictions – I can offer some advice.
Replace those addictions with good habits.
If you normally reach for a sugar soda to quench your thirst, replace it with ice water!
If you are addicted to caffeine, (by the way – the first three days of that addiction are the hardest!) Replace the need for a boost of energy with a quick burst of exercise or stretching! (My wife sells essential oils – I’ve found that a quick whiff of peppermint oil actually gives me almost the same boost of caffeine!)
Trying to quit smoking? If you are taking the smoke breaks out of your life, you have to replace them with something else that is GOOD for you.
Get together with your brothers-in-arms and talk about the addictions you need to cast off. Ask for advice, ask for accountability. Be honest with them about the struggles, and about the process. It may not be instant – sometimes screwing up is part of the process!
Men and Women are different in many aspects of life, and money is no exception. From the way one acquires funds to the spending habits to keeping savings – differences abound. If you think that may not be the case, here are some numbers for you:
Around 31% of American men are thinking about dipping into their retirement funds when the need arises, as opposed to 23% of women.
Only 14% of men would consider downsizing their lifestyle in tough times, opposed to 25% of women.
Men also tend to carry more debt with higher mortgages than women. They also have a higher chance of being late with the mortgage payment.
From these few snippets, it seems that men are prone to risky behavior with their funds. In today’s uncertain economic climate and with the pandemic threatening a variety of jobs, it may be wise to handle money with care. Here are some tips on how to handle your finances in a meaningful way:
Change your mindset
It is not about having enough for food and clothes. You need to change the way you think about money and what it means to you. Be sure to know who you are and what you want to accomplish with money. Focus on positive aspects of life – there are always some. Also, try to visualize the best version of yourself and act upon it.
Create and maintain an emergency fund
If you have not done so already, plan and start creating your emergency fund. All it takes are small steps. Put aside a couple of bucks each day, and it will yield a thousand or more after a year. Also, do not dip into it unless it’s an emergency. Set it up so that it’s not easy to get money from it; that way, you’ll avoid unnecessary spending.
Stop comparing yourself to others
It is nice when we can show our friends how successful we are – with a brand-new car or a larger house. What’s not so great is overspending so much that your signs of success make your budget suffer. Practice living within your means. Don’t let showing off lead you into financial troubles – it’s not worth it.
Do your research
Before you embark on a journey to invest in something important, like a flat or car, do research. Explore all the possibilities and write down the pros and cons of every possible way you can finance your idea. If you are thinking about getting a new vehicle, look for several deals on car loans. Do not take the first one you find – compare them all and see which gives the most value for the buck.
Pay with cash
Today’s economy seems as if it all turned into virtual earnings and spending. Even so, you should still rely on good, hard cash. It gives you a sense of control, unlike a plastic card that seems to have unlimited money. You also get in physical contact with spending and it makes you value your hard-earned cash more.
Track your spending
It is not only the big expenses that influence your budget. The little things often add up. Start tracking your spending, even to the tiniest amount. The idea is to have a clear vision of your expenses and where your money goes. It also helps you get in touch with spending habits that are bad for your budget.
Focus on passive income
If you have a place for rent, you can boost your finances with it. Have an idea for a book or similar artistic product? It also becomes a source of money. It does not have to be a physical thing. Online courses and subscription services can be a great source of passive income, especially with people spending more time indoors.
In the movie Apocalypto, directed by Mel Gibson, a young Mayan man is set to be slaughtered.
The Mayans believed that a bloody human sacrifice was required of their gods to bring favor on their land. After all – while the brutality was in practice, their kingdom thrived! In their brutal and twisted minds – it made sense!
Of course we know that killing innocents as an act of sacrifice to the gods is not a good thing.
But our culture is built on sacrifice – and I contend that it’s a cornerstone of manlihood for a man to be willing to lay down his life.
When a man swears an oath to his country, as a soldier, a police officer, a firefighter, etc – he pledges to serve the greater good at a great personal cost. In order for him to serve, his life may be required of him. They all know this – and yet they agree to serve.
We may not all be heroes, signing or name in blood with an oath to serve and protect – but we should all strive to live our lives in a way that reflect some of that courage.
Sometimes a commitment to sacrifice doesn’t mean death – sometimes it means going without to provide for our children. Sometimes it means doing the right thing, when it costs us dearly to do so. Sometimes it means standing up to defend against wrongdoing around us.
Are you willing to give your life, or part of your life to the service of others?
Are you willing to put yourself second, to put your needs behind the needs of others? Are you willing to charge in to danger to help another in need?
In this episode of the Manlihood ManCast, Josh Hatcher talks about some dark, creepy, and gross things. There’s light, even in the darkness!
Testicles are gross. When you really think about how they work, they’re awesome, and they are gross. All you have to do is imagine Anthony Bourdain as he travels around the world, and inevitably, someone will serve him a dish of testicles from some native species, and he always says, “It tastes like balls. They always taste the same.”
We often describe someone with GUTS or GRIT as having “intestinal fortitude”-
I like to joke that someone with BALLS has “testicular fortitude.”
Let’s explore that. First of all, I’ve known women with more testicular fortitude than you can imagine – so I don’t mean to identify courage, strength, and honor solely with masculine specific parts, but I want to emphasize that there should be a correlation to having ACTUAL testicles and having BALLS.
I always thought that my brother had the most testicular fortitude of anyone that I knew. The kid was fearless. I watched him surf down a hill of crumbling shale on a big chunk of flagstone. It flipped over and took a chunk out of his hand. He bled and cried a bit, but it was worth it to have that kind of adventure. Another time he got in a bicycle accident that ended up with him getting hit in the testicles. The doctor told him not to ride his bike for awhile. That night, after icing down his sore gonads, he climbed to the top of the swingset and started walking it like a tightrope.
That was his behavior as a kid – he does show a little more responsibility as an adult, but he certainly hasn’t suffered from any “shrinkage” of testicular fortitude.
Questions to ask the modern man
Why is it that we settle for lives of comfort and safety?
Why do we NOT say or do the things that should be said or done?
Why are we content to watch adventures on television, or to play adventures on playstations instead of having the real thing?
Should we be okay with expecting other people to protect us, and not preparing to protect ourselves?
Why do we minimize risk and then complain about the little return that we receive?
We are men in need of testicular fortitude.
Are you NOT a man of courage? Do you feel you DON’T have the balls you need? It starts by making a goal for yourself, and then doing it. Courage is a muscle – and you have to exercise it.
Start by picking something that you didn’t think you could do – and then just do it.
A few weeks ago – I walked 15 miles in one day…. something I never thought I could do!
Maybe it’s an adventure sport, or just an adventure!
Maybe it’s a fitness goal – or asking a girl on a date.
Just start building that courage by taking small steps until those steps get bigger and bigger and build confidence.
The one and ultimate motivation for everything I do in my life, every hardship I encounter, every boulder that needs to be pushed up a cliff, is the endless, unrelenting need to prove my own abilities to myself.
Mindset alone isn’t enough to motivate men.
Motivation is a muddy and unreliable thing. It can push you out of a state of mental and physical inertia, but it can also serve as an addiction to self-improvement messages that keeps you from actually doing the self-improvement that needs to be done. Many people find motivation is places where there is little true value to be found.
Instagram posts about “grinding” and “hustling” can get you pumped at that moment, maybe even push you to get something done in your life. But that motivation is short-lived and ultimately meaningless. Because it does not draw from your life and your life experiences.
Other people find motivation in achieving a certain goal.
They see a mountaintop they wish to reach, and then work on their discipline and mental and physical abilities. They keep pushing until they reach it. This is a standard type of motivation for men. We evolved to be seekers, always looking for a new challenge to overcome, a barrier to destroy, a dragon to kill and a princess to save. Yet, this kind of motivation, while being natural and productive, is also very short-lived.
Even when there is an infinite amount of mountaintops, not all of them will be as beautiful and desirable to a man. While a man might give all of himself to reach one of those mountaintops, he might make it– the other mountaintop might not be as motivating to reach. Thus, this kind of motivation inconsistent and lacking in many ways.
There is yet, a third kind of motivation for a man.
Some of us are motivated by proving other people wrong.
A sentiment and mindset well-encompassed in the phrase: “Let them mock, let them laugh, let them doubt and disbelieve and let them watch as you prove them wrong.” This is a strong message and a strong and masculine mindset to adopt. Many men have accomplished great things with this mindset motivating them to give all of themselves to the fight.
The thing I dislike about this mindset as a source for motivation is that, even though this is an internal source of motivation, it is still focused on the opinions and perceptions of other people.
I am a firm believer that, to a good man, opinions of people who are not his family or his tribe, should not matter at all. This is a mindset mostly adopted by people who were bullied or harassed in their younger years, having faced oppression from people who had physical or metaphorical power over them. This is why this mindset brings such a powerful motivating force to a man’s work, because it stems from his experiences and overcoming not a challenge in front of him but a challenge inside of him.
Prove it to yourself
The motivation that I personally use is similar to the previous one I’ve discussed. The motivational mindset of “Proving it to yourself.” This is also rooted in a man’s personal experience of life. But, instead of a focus on the beliefs and opinions of other people, it’s focused on striving to achieve a state of confidence and certainty in one’s own masculine ability to accomplish what one said he will accomplish.
Doing what you say you will do is a strong form of masculine integrity. To have a mindset of proving to yourself that you indeed have that integrity and that ability to do the things that need to be done well and without procrastination will lead to the development of your sense of duty to your own life and confidence and self-esteem in your interactions with other.