Author Archives: Graham Stoney

About Graham Stoney

I struggled for years with low self-esteem, anxiety and a lack of self-confidence before finding a solution that really worked. I created The Confident Man Program to help other men live the life of their dreams. I also offer 1-on-1 coaching via Skype so if you related to this article contact me about coaching.

How To Be Assertive With Strangers

I was on my way to music class this morning and the peak hour train was a little more crowded than usual. As I headed downstairs to find a seat, I came across a couple of men occupying two opposite-facing three-person bench seats. I wasn't keen on standing for a half hour while two guys occupied six seats, so I politely said "Excuse me" to the guy on the aisle end of backward-facing seat, and he kindly moved over to the window to accommodate me.

As I sat in the newly vacant aisle seat, I felt constrained by the man sitting in the middle of the bench seat opposite me. He was sitting forward with his legs spread wide in the classic genital display pose that male primates evolved to demonstrate dominance to other lesser primates. So wide in fact that his left leg and knee were taking up at least a third of the legroom in my own individual seat.

His behavior may have been unintentional and unconscious; but it didn't feel good to have my newly acquired space dominated by another man's knee.

Assertiveness Makes a Man Feel Strong

I'm working on getting over my fear of conflict with strangers, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to be assertive with one who was overstepping my boundaries; albeit boundaries that I had just stepped into by requesting the seat.… Continue reading…

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How To Be Coachable

I've spent the last 5 months studying music performance full time at a local college, and this has given me the opportunity to observe both myself and the other students in my class. I particularly noticed how our approach to being coached by the teachers effected how enjoyable the process was and the final results each student got. Some attitudes to learning end up being much more enjoyable and productive than others. Other attitudes create stress, drama and unpleasant learning experiences for everyone.

I'd describe the degree to which a student exhibits the collection of traits, behaviors and attitudes that facilitate fun, powerful, rewarding learning as how "coachable" they are.

Make learning more fun by being coachable

The more coachable a student is, the more they get out of the learning process and the more fun it tends to be. This correlation between fun and learning isn't coincidence: it's a consequence of how our brains and central nervous systems process and store new information and skills.

As a confidence coach, I can appreciate that like the students in my music classes, clients who are coachable get the best results. They are the ones who tend to enjoy the process more, make faster progress and get better value for money out of each coaching session.… Continue reading…

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How To Stop People Pleasing And Start Facing Conflict

I recently got this email about the problem of people-pleasing and avoiding conflict:

Yo!

I read ur article about fear of conflict and laughed hysterically. Ure fkn brave man! I like ur eastern take on things too where ure aware and u breathe n things. I recognize me being a people-pleaser too and I'm shitless afraid confronting people and coming into conflict. How do i go about it? Do I just do it? How do i do it if the other part is childish and runs from u like a scared little bitch? I want to please everyone but inside i know i HAVE to come into conflict cus i cant escape it. I have to let others know when they're being retarded. I focus too much about making others happy n i cant see em sad. Is this wrong? I think its good to be this compassionate and nice but the more i read up on it somethings telling me this kind of people pleasing is bad for u and ur future. and others?"!?!?! But isn't that another layer I'm adding to it? Stopping people pleasing to please others even further?!?! SO FUCKED UP. WHATS THE POINT OF LIVING WITHOUT VALIDATION and ATTENTION OUTSIDE YOU.Continue reading…

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How Power Postures Give You Greater Self-Confidence

I recently came across a great TED talk by social scientist Amy Cuddy titled Your body language shapes who you are. Her research shows that simply adopting a power posture for two minutes can increase your testosterone, reduce your stress hormone cortisol and make you more powerful in social situations... all of which translates into greater self-confidence.

She goes on to describe how to overcome the feeling of being a fraud not just by faking it until you make it, but by faking it until your become it.

From now on, I'm walking around my unit with my arms in a power pose. I don't care what the neighbors think! Check it out:… Continue reading…

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How To Deal With Someone Who is Upset

Many men (and women for that matter) in our society don't deal with their emotions well. As a result, most of us are walking around carrying an ever-increasing accumulation of emotional baggage that can get triggered even in seemingly innocuous situations.

People who are upset need empathy, not judgement.

For an example where this happened to me, check out my recent story on Why I Got Upset In Guitar Class. I'll wait here while you do that...

... OK!

Dealing with people who are upset can be very challenging. Part of what makes this challenging is that other people's emotional upset is likely to trigger our own unresolved emotional baggage. This is why many people try to shut down expressions of unpleasant emotions in other people or resort to "rescuing" behaviors intended to stem the flow of another person's feelings that are making us uncomfortable. Naive rescuers often think they are "helping" because they see the upset person appearing less outwardly distressed; but the upset person is simply internalizing their emotional pain which has disastrous consequences for everyone in the long run.… Continue reading…

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Why I Got Upset In Guitar Class

I'm a full time music student at the moment, and I'm loving learning how to write songs, perform in front of people and express myself through music. Music is great because it deals with both the analytical and emotional side of our brain.

Becoming a rock star isn't all riffs and distortion. There's conflict with other musicians to navigate too.

However, the irrational nature of emotions means that they don't always arise just when we want them to. Most of us are still carrying unhealed emotional baggage from our past which can get triggered in what might otherwise seem fairly innocuous situations. This can make dealing with unexpected upsets challenging both in ourselves and in other people.

In yesterday's guitar class, I got triggered by my teacher's response to what I though was a fairly intelligent question about whether the best way to improvise over a chord sequence in a major key would be by using the associated relative minor scale. My engineering brain thought that this would lead to less potential dissonance; but for any other budding musicians out there the answer turns out to be No: you use the minor pentatonic scale of the same key.… Continue reading…

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How To Recover From A Narcissistic Mother

Narcissistic Mothers Turned Their Back On Our Feelings When We Were Upset

Growing up with a narcissistic mother can be a complete disaster for a growing boy's of self, self-confidence, and future adult relationships. Narcissists are essentially children walking around in an adult body, which makes them incredibly challenging to have as a parent. Even if your narcissistic mother does eventually grow up, her emotional unavailability and controlling nature when you were developing your sense of self can leave deep wounds in an adult man's psyche.

If you're wondering whether you had a narcissistic mother, check out my previous article Ten Signs That You Had A Narcissistic Mother.

Here's how to recover:… Continue reading…

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Ten Signs That You Had A Narcissistic Mother

I had a narcissistic mother and it was a complete disaster for my boyhood sense of self-confidence and the way I saw myself as I grew into a man. A narcissistic mother can leave deep emotional and psychological wounds that get triggered in our daily adult lives, undermining our self-confidence and making life extremely stressful. The impact is most pronounced in our relationships with women, leaving us feeling disempowered and emasculated around women until we get our narcissistic mother wound healed.

Narcissistic Mothers Are Emotionally Unavailable

Narcissists carry a lot of internalized shame and project their own unhealed emotional wounds onto everyone around them, especially their children. As a boy we were powerless to deal with our narcissistic mother and may still carry this sense of powerlessness along with her paranoid world view unconsciously into adulthood.

It's easy to recognize a narcissistic mother because they typically:… Continue reading…

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My Plan For Next Year: Become A Rock Star

One of the activities that I recommend in The Confident Man Program Guide is to learn to play a musical instrument. There are a whole host of benefits to doing this beyond simply being able to play music: You also learn a whole bunch of life success skills in the process such as:

  • Committing to a challenging task
  • Taking daily action towards your goal in the form of practice
  • Dealing with plateaus and setbacks
  • Overcoming your own resistance to success
  • Developing both sides of your brain: analytical and emotional
  • Expressing yourself on a deeper level
  • Having more fun!

Once you've got some basic skills under your belt you can also jam with other musicians and join a band where you'll also learn:… Continue reading…

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How To Put Your Mother In Her Rightful Place

I was visiting my parent's place on the weekend and seeing some relatives from interstate who I don't often get the chance to hang out with. At one point we were all sitting in the lounge room listening to my father describe the apocalyptic nightmares he's been having lately, while my controlling mother kept interrupting, talking over him, "correcting" him and just generally dominating the conversation.

Take Your Mother Off The Power Pedestal

I've always found my mother's domineering behavior annoying, but I used to be far too scared of her to stand up to it. This time though I casually lent towards her, put my hand on her arm and said "Mum, could you be quiet please. I want to hear what my father is saying".

She moved her arm to brush me off dismissively in a way I've always found infuriating. This time though rather than feeling powerless and simply capitulating, I channeled my anger into assertiveness: "Don't just brush me off!", I said, "I want to hear what he's saying."

Continue reading…

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