Harry Potter and the Path of Confidence

You might think that the Harry Potter series are just children's books, but there's plenty of adult wisdom in them if you look more closely. Their incredible popularity means that they've obviously struck a chord with millions of children and adults alike. So what can we learn from Harry Potter about the Path of Confidence?

Warning: contains minor spoilers...

You're A Wizard

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry learns that he's a wizard. He just didn't realize because he's been brought up as an orphan in a family of muggles (non-wizards). It's a similar situation to many other men I know who lack confidence: we were brought up in families with low self-esteem and poor communication skills, and we internalized this believing there was something wrong with us.

You're a wizard too. You just don't realize because your unique gifts weren't valued in the environment where you grew up. Once Harry enrolls in Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he's finally in the right environment to flourish and discovers that he's already famous. It's the same for you: once you realize that you're a wizard and get into the right environment, you'll flourish and your old feelings of lacking confidence will be a distant memory.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

How to Develop Your Masculinity

Being a man in today's world can be a challenge. Fortunately there are a lot of resources out there that can help get us in touch with the masculinity at our core and be more confident and effective in the world.

Between fellow course junkie Dunstan Bertschinger and I, we've explored a bunch of books, courses and workshops that have helped us get in touch with our intuition, emotions, and inner magician. Dunstan is a swimming coach who helps his clients gain confidence by developing their relationship with the water. He sees learning to swim as a metaphor for finding your place in the world: you can relax and trust the water to support you, or you can struggle to stay afloat.

Here's a podcast conversation between the two of us discussing several courses and workshops we've found helpful lately for developing confidence and getting in touch with our masculinity. Some of the themes we cover:

  • The real meaning of confidence
  • Opening your heart to receiving from others
  • Being real with women and other people
  • The problem with being nice when we're inauthentic
  • Giving up perfectionism
  • Transforming emotional wounds into personal power
  • The power of naming your fears
  • Your thoughts and feelings are not real
  • The secrets of personal magic/alchemy
  • Overcoming creepiness
  • Reversing our childhood conditioning and being honest
  • Overturning negative beliefs

It's real, it's raw, and you can preview it by clicking the play button:

The full interview is included in The Confident Man Program.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

Spending “Quality” Time With My Father

When my father invited me recently to join him on a Railway Historical Society trip from Sydney to Broken Hill and back, my initial thought was “5 days stuck on a rusty old train with uncomfortable seats isn't exactly my thing”. But I'd been looking for an opportunity to travel somewhere and spend some quality time with my Dad, so I ended up jumping at the chance.

My father is 79, and although he's just as mentally alert as he's ever been, he's not getting any younger. His father lived to be 100 and there's no sign of mine dropping dead any time soon. But whenever I speak to men whose fathers have died, they often talk about feelings of regret over the questions they didn't ask, and the connection they never made with their father while he was still alive. He's not going to be here with all faculties intact forever.

Dad and I next to the train at Broken Hill station

On the other hand, connecting with my father isn't exactly easy. He's in his element in a group of mostly-retired mostly-male historical train buffs. They talk about the intricacies of the trains, the tracks, the sidings, government mismanagement of their cherished but slowly declining rail transport, and the resulting increasingly-deserted towns we pass through on the way.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

How to Recover from a Passive or Ineffective Father

Having a passive, ineffective or absent father has an enormous effect on a man's development and eventual self-confidence. The quality of your relationship with your father, and his ability to pass on to you his positive masculine wisdom and energy are the most important factors in you developing your full potential as a man.

A passive father will damage your sense of masculinity

However, if your father was relatively passive, non-assertive, ineffective, absent physically or even just shy and withheld, you may have some work to do in order to recover what you missed out on. Here are some suggestions on how to fill the gap your father left:

Join a Men's Group

The most important indicator of confidence in a man is your secure ability to relate meaningfully to other men. Your relationship with other men is modeled on your relationship with your father, and on your friendships with other boys while growing up. You can't improve on this by yourself, nor can you do it with women: you need to find other men who you can relate to on a deeper level.

Find men you can trust who are prepared to drop the usual competitive male bravado and talk straight with you about their successes, failures, frustrations and joys in life.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

Get Yourself a Male Mentor

In an ideal world, your father taught you everything you need to know in order to grow into a confident, powerful, successful man. In the real world, my father didn't know half of what I needed in order to be the man I was meant to be. That meant I needed to find other male mentors to fill in the gaps. If you talk to anyone successful at anything, you'll discover that they didn't get there on their own: they had help from their teachers and mentors. So I suggest that you specifically seek out men who have achieved what you want to achieve, and learn everything you can from them.

Your relationship with a mentor can take many forms. Mentoring may happen in person, remotely via email, at training courses, or through books, ebooks and websites. It may be a one-off interaction, a short term relationship or a longer term arrangement. Successful people love passing on their wisdom, seeing other people flourish and helping them avoid the obstacles that they got stuck on in their own journey. Some mentors coach others willingly for free as part of the way they give back to the world, and others make a living doing it professionally.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

How to Recover From a Controlling Mother

Growing up with a controlling and/or domineering mother can suppress your masculinity and leave you stuck feeling and acting like a boy in a man's body. My mother was the dominant figure in my family of origin, and with a passive-aggressive father and two relatively dominant older sisters, it was a disastrous recipe for my developing masculinity.

A controlling mother creates a relationship dynamic that will undermine your confidence in yourself as a man unless you take steps to counter its effects. So here are some steps to take to help you recover from growing up with a controlling, dominant mother:

Recognize that Your Mother is Controlling

Did you have a controlling Mother?

Did you have a controlling Mother?

The first step to dealing with a problem is to recognize that it exists. It took me a long time to even see that my mother was controlling. It wasn't until I did The Landmark Forum in my mid-30s and they started talking about how controlling most of us are that I had this insight.

When I was a child, my mother used a physical leash to control me; partly for my own safety, and partly for her convenience. As I got older, verbal stoushes with my father made it very clear that the masculine point of view wasn't welcome in our household.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

Men's Group

Group of Men talking about stuffThe discomfort and apprehension is so palpable you can feel it just watching Men's Group, as six men meet for the first time in the leader's home to begin the painful cathartic process of talking about their lives. Half of them are ambivalent about even being there; some are there under duress, and all are struggling in some key area of their life. They're in pain, and their learning how to heal and sort things out by sharing it with other men. It's a practical lesson in learning to trust and how to do intimacy with other human beings, with no printed agenda or how-to-style self-help book to guide them. It's as simple and as difficult as talking about what's going on, and listening to each other... really listening.

I could relate immediately to this movie. I'd even visited the particular men's group in Sydney that it's modeled on a couple of times before recently finding a group more to my liking. The guys in this movie aren't just acting; they're being very real. At times the comments seem inappropriate but they're learning to stop self-censoring and talk about what's real. It's not always what they want to hear, but it does always end up bringing them closer together.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

How to Attract a Superior Woman

If you want to attract a superior woman, you need to become a superior man. As much as we'd like to think that us guys choose our partners, the reality is that women do the choosing. A superior woman has many, many options to choose from, so if we want her to choose us we need to stand out from all the regular guys she meets who want her attention every single day.

David Deida's book The Way of the Superior Man is a great textbook on becoming the superior man that women are naturally attracted to. Whether you're in a relationship now or not, it's an amazingly insightful book with heaps of wisdom about what works in being a man, and on what it is about the superior man that naturally attracts women.

One of the key principles Deida teaches is about masculine and feminine energy. We all have a mixture of both energies, and the polarity between them is what sparks attraction between the sexes. Masculine energy is all about direction, purpose and mission in life. If you have no mission in life, you're lacking masculine energy. Feminine energy is all about loving and being loved. If you don't have the love that you want in your life, feminine energy is what you want to start attracting.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago

Mature Masculine Power and The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo Movie Cover Dr Paul pointed out on David DeAngelo's Deep Inner Game program that the story of The Count of Monte Cristo is a metaphor for the journey that men take in growing from a boy into a mature man. So I recently watched the 2002 movie version starring Jim Caviezel and Guy Pearce, to see what nuggets of masculine wisdom I could extract from it.

At the beginning of the story, Edmond Dantes is a boy living in a man's body. He lacks intuition and street-smarts, and has a naïve overly-trusting view of other people. He has never questioned his belief in God, has weak personal boundaries, and allows other people to manipulate him and take advantage of his naïvety. He has an excess of conscience and looks at the world the way a young boy does. In short, he's guileless and clueless. While he is deeply in love with his fiancé Mercedes, the relationship has never really been tested by any kind of hardship.

When Dantes is prematurely made Captian of his ship by his employer, his childhood friend Fernando Mondego becomes extremely jealous. He is also jealous of Dante's relatioship with Mercedes, who repeatedly knocks back his routine attempts to seduce her.… Continue reading…

By Graham Stoney, ago