Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Education: What Is Critical Thinking? by Kyle Phoenix

Recently I've been teaching a class on this and the students of course needed a clean and clear system for how to define critical thinking.  We were able to figure out that being smart was natural, that all conscious beings, whether man or animal have some level of smarts.  But learning, focused learning leads to intelligence.  Which brought us to the question of then what is intelligence and that brought us to critical thinking.  The assumption that critical thinking is the capacity to ask why is not only puerile but harmful because critical thinking is so much more powerful and useful.

Critical Thinking can be broken down into a 4 step process:

  1. Identify Assumptions Informing Thoughts & Actions
  2. Check Assumptions for Accuracy & Validity
  3. View Ideas & Actions from Alternative Perspectives
  4. Take Informed Action

Identify Assumptions Informing Thoughts

Why are you thinking what or how you're thinking? Who started that? Where did that come from? We often think from being trained by society, parents, teachers, peers, fools and the guy on the corner. I do an absolutely annoying thing to people constantly---I ask them where or how they got that thought.

So someone says to me: "Everyone knows that men won't pay for dinner when you go out with them without you having to be sexual with them afterwards."

Who told you that?  No, really, who told you that?  Where did you learn that?  That reality doesn't exist for anyone besides-----your society, your parents, your teachers, your peers, your fools and the guy on your corner but is it the truth?  
Ignorance of one's own mind and where the detritus in it is the road to ignorance.

In Personal Power 2  Anthony Robbins teaches about being conscious of what we allow into our minds, questioning each nugget as carefully as we might examine the food we put into our bodies.

Check Assumptions for Accuracy & Validity

"Everyone knows that men won't pay for dinner when you go out with them without you having to be sexual with them afterwards."

First off, who is everyone?  Second, what kind of men?  Third, what about lunches and brunches, does that have quid pro quo attached too?  Fourth, what is your definition of sexual?

A statement or supposition can and sometimes has to be challenged for whether it's real or valid.  But maybe most importantly we should ask the person who says this---where they got that thought?  What experience have they personally had?  From that we might then go Oh, you've been asked to put out a lot for dinner, huh?  But that doesn't hold true for me and ten of my friends.  Maybe even 100 of my Facebook friends.  Maybe, just maybe we know a social strategy that you don't.  So we might have to check and see where you got this idea.  If all your dinner dates happen in your house or his house, then yes,, sex might be hinted at and since your bedroom is only ten feet away, all your dinner dates, that a man has bought dinner, you've ended up being sexual.

I might be able to challenge that on a date, if you have dinner at a restaurant at least 50 blocks from your house, at a reasonable time and somehow slip into the conversation that you'll be going home alone.  Suddenly your "everyone" doesn't hold water.

View Ideas & Actions from Alternative Perspective

Now you get all excited about doing this with me and extend yourself.  This is the most crucial part of Critical Thinking, you have to extend yourself mentally and emotionally.  It's okay.  You won't die.  People often feel like if they step away from their thought/opinion to anew thought, they will "die".  In fact what they're talking about dying is all of the structures that they've built around that thought.  The more abnormal or dysfunctional a thought the more difficult it is to examine and put aside to look at a new way of considering reality because it just might shift ten other things in your thought system,.

"Everyone knows that men won't pay for dinner when you go out with them without you having to be sexual with them afterwards."

A new perspective might be that there are plenty of men and women having dinner without sex afterwards and this might lead to more dinners and dates and it might also lead to a relationship.  Then our new question stem might be are you being sexual so fast to avoid or sabotage the second date?  We might then question the kinds of men who jump to your house with two bags of take out and a condom.  We might then question what boundaries would like?  We might then get into do you know what boundaries are, even with people you like?  We might then question where you got your dating skills and from whom?

What we'd be doing together is exploring alternative perspectives to arrive at new thoughts/answers.

Take Informed Action

Critical Thinking is ultimately mental masturbation is you don't do step four.  Without step four you're in a spiral or a factory (if you're doing it with a group) when there is no action.

"Everyone knows that men won't pay for dinner when you go out with them without you having to be sexual with them afterwards."

Again, with our comment we can then say, ok, I'm going to try out dinners at restaurants, I'm going to only have dates in other boroughs to avoid possible sexualization, I'm going to wear dirty underwear or keep my apartment messy or have a friend to meet after the first date---something, some interrupting new action that will example that we've examined the old thought and behavior and come up with some things to not only do but we're trying them out.  Most people think when they're talking about say politics that they're really doing something but most times they're just jabbering or posting online.  Joining your school board or community board is taking informed action to try and make change to new thoughts.  You might even end up running for office or joining some political group that will actively go out on the high seas and block/catch illegal whale hunters.

Most people avoid true Critical Thinking because it might require doing something.  Real Ideology examined and then Liberation to being and doing new things that have an effect upon your own world will require risk.  Therefore, true critical thinking is exampled in the by-product of risk.  Now you have followed through in a process that has really defined what critical thinking is and you can apply this to anything from waffles to world affairs.  The question is though: how many of your thoughts are flexible enough to be examined, reexamined and perhaps up ended to change?

Thank you,
Kyle Phoenix
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Instant Intimacy By Iyanla Vanzant On Kyle Phoenix Blog

Instant Intimacy

We can become so emotionally charged by a person that we allow ourselves to be intimate before we know who the person really is. When we give our bodies to another being, we are giving them a piece of our souls. We might want to take the time to find out if they deserve it. Sexual activity is not the only way to let someone know we like them. Sharing information, supporting each other’s goals, giving of our time and energy without expectations sends a much stronger message than sex. We must take time to know the other person; understand what they want, where they are going and figure out if we want to be in the same place. When we let down our hair too early in the game, we are apt to end up with a messed up head.

I will choose time over intimacy.

By Iyanla Vanzant

Thank you,
Kyle Phoenix
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Why You're So Lonely by Kyle Phoenix

You've got a dollar extra.  You can legally drink.  You know what your favorite sexual positions are.  You have some nice clothes.  Your friends tell you you're handsome..........but you're lonely.  You watch Ellen dance a weird shuffle and see bad sitcoms about good gay men and you read blogs about bad dates and you realize, you're not even going on bad dates....why are you alone?

Don't despair.  Okay, don't despair anymore.  

One, it's natural to be alone what is unnatural is to be in despair about it.  What our society doesn't teach and display in the media is that we all spend some of our adult years single.  Hopefully in that time you're developing yourself.and doing some fun things and interesting things and dynamic things about yourself, for yourself.  In my twenties I remember a roommate who was so desperate for men/a boyfriend that he was attacked, used, abused and eventually tossed out as a roommate.  And I remember relating to the desire on some level but not that deeply.  I felt interest in dating and occasionally lonely and bewildered at how to socialize in the big city but I knew I wasn't at that extreme.

So I got a life.

I went through the internet and newspapers and would just show up at places---meetings.  I once even crashed a Sex Addicts Anonymous meeting---it was really a depressing group but it was my secret funny in my head wild night out.  I discovered on the internet meetings in public spaces around the city and went to some of those.  Discussions on the Greece financial meltdown were fascinating with a dozen people even when I wasn't quite sure what the Lithuanian financial wiz was explaining.  I joined not one, but two men's groups.  I sat in one group for weeks even helping to lick and send out their newsletter to a thousand people just to get out in the world.  I took real estate classes at Pace and threw myself a glorious birthday party on 7th Avenue at a restaurant (Pennyfeathers) sending out invitations that told people to give me candles, incense or book gift cards as gifts (and they did!).  I went online and created a wham bam slamming profile on Yahoo Personals and charged forward to date 100 men in a year's time.  I did.  It was like a marathon of Sex and The City.  I went to the movies by myself at least once a week and one time on a dare went to a bar or nightclub every night for a week, even when I had to work early the next day.

I got a life by experimenting and playing and trying things out and wandering into odd places and making new friends (some I still have a decade later, others who got left in that time tunnel) but I refused to ponder my loneliness.  I recently joined an entrepreneurial mastermind group and besides my normal education and law classes I took a video/film editing class, an environmental certification, volunteered at a children's after school program and helped start a same gender loving men's group on campus.  I am currently eyeing a church up the way that says in a huge sign it needs volunteers for it's GED program.  Not my faith, not even my language but what a better way to improve my Spanish, eh?

I go to museums with friends, mentor geniuses and knuckleheads, scour Goodwill stores for books and try to go out for one alcoholic drink a week at a local bar---where they know my name!  My close friends will tell you I'm good for calling up and inviting people out to dinner on me!  Generosity battles away slumpadumps!

Loneliness is defeated by generosity and activity.

I read books, ordering like Croesus on Amazon and then awaiting phone texts that my package has arrived.  The other day I threw all sense of cholesterol caution to the wind and bought myself a porterhouse steak that was so thick I cooked it then had to microwave it halfway through eating because it was so massive.  Just for me.  Just a steak Monday treat for no good damn reason.

Loneliness treats one's self badly, love treats itself well.

I go to the gym---ok, I'm not a happy gym person, I'm not all about let's chat and bond over the Stairmaster but the other night I was huffing and puffing and whisper singing along with Deborah Cox then Natalie Cole then Luther Vandross then Alicia Keys for 45 minutes on the treadmill.  Got those endorphins up then walked back home with a proud Kool Aid smile.

Activity burns away the cobwebs of despair.

For about eight years now I've had a secret weapon in my arsenal for getting stuff done in life, I exercise.  I'm convinced that there's something connected to moving our bodies that moves us in the universe that makes our lives move and shift physically and spiritually.  Maybe it just wakes up the body and mind or maybe extra exertion in the Universe moves us metaphysically.

Loneliness is about disconnect from the Universe.

I go and I tape several episodes of The Kyle Phoenix Show, I facilitate a group on Fridays, I spend at least 4 hours editing and taping and refining fill ins and videos and going through the wonderful comments and suggestions people send me.  I watch Shark Tank.  I take one day, no guilt to just sleep, to allow myself to luxuriate in resting, in the pillows, in the comforters, in the breeze and the silence.  I rent and watch extremely not smart nor always good movies from Blockbuster for $1 a day----and I laugh.  Middle of the night, I was laughing at Madagascar 3 which is like some sort of animalistic halcyon trip about animals, French cops, inter-species romances, trapeze, lubricants and ideology and liberation, enacting power.  It's a mess.  It's deep.  The hippo is wearing a tutu with a thong.  It's very strange at the exact same time.

When you're living as much as you can, you become attractive to the Universe, to it's participants and they call you, they text you, they chat you up, they ask you out to dinner.  I'm an only child so I rarely feel lonely because I appreciate that I am alone, even when surrounded by a dozen people I know and love.  I am still the only entity in this body.  But I can share that inner being as much as possible and I can dance by myself on 145th waiting for the bus to Me'Shell Ndegeocello and I can speed into a supermarket and audibly sigh out loud that pumpkin pies are in!!!!!!

And when I do all of the above, when I launch myself into life, the moments of loneliness I may experience, I can see them and realize---oh, that's going to pass or I need to fill that space or it's time to call someone up and invite them out to dinner on me or sometimes it's as simple as treating myself to a movie in a theater to offset choosing to be lonely, instead of simply being joyously aware, loving, conscious and present in being alone....for the moment.

Thank you!
Kyle Phoenix
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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Education: Mentorship: Don't Waste My Time by Kyle Phoenix

Mentorship: Don't Waste My Time

A few days ago  I posted an essay about fatherhood---I teach a mentoring/fatherhood program to teach men, particularly men of color, how to be fathers, heal their lack of a father wounds or to act as mentors.  It was natural then that I would write about it and I've dedicated several episodes of The Kyle Phoenix Show (simulcast Thursdays EST at 12 midnight through to this line of discussion. Then I got a wave of emails about the blog on Fatherlessness.  The overriding question though was if you aren't a biological father, how to mentor?

I've been actively, professionally mentoring for about 10 years.  The outline I teach others or when I hire mentors is: Maintain Boundaries, Set Outcomes, Stay Accountable, Teach Responsibility, Don't Let Your Time Be Wasted, Recycle Into Mentors

  1. Maintain Boundaries
    • The age group I've worked with has been from 13 to 65, about 60% male with about 55% being Black or Latino.  The best way I've found to find and help people is by working or volunteering for an agency.  The agency itself will give you great additional resources (such as a Social Worker, Psychologists, Probation Officers, Guidance Counselors, etc.)  The first boundary is to recognize that you can't be all things to them though you might feel some of that projected gratitude.  I'm a teacher---essentially I'm an Educational Mentor so 2 out of 3 conversations with me are going to center around an individual increasing their reading skills, educational attainment and that's expanded for adults into career development and job skills.  I always gently but firmly make the delineation between what is my professional knowledge and opinion.  Now one's life experience is invaluable but it shows a level of responsibility and maturity not to come across as the know it all God by always hindering one's self with honesty.  You also want to make sure that you utilize some counseling skills but that you don't cross into being a therapist.  That's not your job.
    • I've worked at the places where the older men would chickenhawk the younger men, hang around my youth center to see what young ones were coming in, sexualize them, seduce them, add them to their taxes and then break them off a hundred or so.  Thirty year olds to 17 year olds being used because there was no agency structure/healthy support.  The agency then started a project with the young males where they would officially pimp them out.  The Executive Director looked the other way until he was forced by other employees to fire the predators.  He fired the predator for 1 week.
    • The commitment to improving others can't come included with your crotch or your needs.  If you find yourself distracted, hit the road.  I savor being in positions to fire those who would do more harm than help to young people  It warms a special place in my heart for those I've directly or indirectly gotten fired, dismissed, eradicated.  They make the legitimately committed or interested frightened due to internal perceptions of how being a man or a Black man or a homosexual will have an agency judge your relationships in mentoring.  Stand in your integrity and help; don't let the predators win by psyching you out of the game before you even get in..
  2. Set Outcomes
    • You're trying to help a person so you really want to know the timeframe of how long you should be committed to them.  They will test you.  No, they will really test you.  I now intimately know why parents are applauded for keeping their children because when you don't have to stay attached to someone, you fast learn to question and navigate your frustrations with them.  
    • An outcome for my mentees has been: 
      • high school
      • GED completion, 
      • college entrance, 
      • job skills (MS Office, LEED Certification, National Work Readiness, Career Coaching, professional corporate skills), 
      • college survival, 
      • graduate school entrance, 
      • graduate school completion, 
      • life planning/coaching or some mix of the two.  
    • If you're doing it even casually, you should keep some sort of charting file to mark where you started with someone and where they're at.  This will help you measure movement and effectiveness.  You might also want to have some sort of identity takeaway for them; something that answers questions about themselves that you may not completely be able to answer---an assessment. I use Now, Discover Your Strengths (see review on here: for the Gallup Oragnizations Theme and Strengths evaluation to give each mentee an objective reflection back about themselves.  
    • I can tell you that based about age, race and sexuality how long you think outcomes should take and how long it really might take are vastly different.  I've learned that high school/GED/college mentees can take anywhere from 2 to 5 years for them to make movements and progress and then maintain progress.  So if you take someone on you have to be committed to that timeframe, unless they (or you) breach some of the boundaries/rules.
  3. Stay Accountable
    • You want to make it clear that you want them to advance.  That's your interests.  I explain to my younger mentees that they are essentially teaching me how to parent in the future, to learn how to articulate to my own children, in all their inherent variety, how to become whatever it is they want to.  
    • Older mentees give more of a symbiotic process/lesson as they teach you how to solve problems, restructure concepts and that in turn that helps you change your own mind and thoughts about your life and abilities.  At one position, as a teacher, the work I was doing was to do career developmental work with adults.  By just processing the material to them I evaluated and made radical changes in my career and left the position.  The work you do, will change you especially if it's good material.
  4. Teach Responsibly

    • I try to back up my discussions with mentees with some sort of text.  I believe that as a teacher I'm teaching Ideology + Liberation= Power.  Now I'm challenged with what Ideology to present you with.  This will task you as a mentor with having a book, movie, music for whatever it is you're trying to convey.  But most importantly, most responsibly, you should give this in a physical form to anyone you're mentoring/teaching.  Why?  It neutralizes the possibility of narcissistic based power/control from the mentor.  If I hand you a book and say this is what I was telling you about, I'm now giving you the chance to take it and examine it intensely.  If I withhold text or facts or act as the only cipher of facts or a new way of thinking for you, that I might even insist/believe is better, I'm acting as a narcissistic demagogue.  Therefore you have to make sure your material is on point whether it's The Autobiography of Malcolm X to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to Nelson Mandela's Long Walk To Freedom autobiography because you're trying to grow not clone.  Mentoring can be seductive because it's aggrandizing attention to you.  But your mission is not to be the smartest person they know but to teach your mentee how to think, how to reason, how to think critically, how to appreciate their own intelligence, how to grow and develop themselves.
  5. Don't Let Your Time Be Wasted
    • I'm vicious with my time.  I'm not your social worker nor your psychologist.  My goal, whether that's professionally or personally, if I take my personal time with you, is to get you to the next level.  To help nurture you through the challenges that I have gone through or know how to navigate.  We can of course talk about your choices and how say having a child before you're 30 years old will massively impact your potentiality because now you have a new, demanding responsibility.  For a mentee who is in a pregnancy situation we'll talk about abortion, safe sex and parenting and how it affects your future/education.  
    • The understood knowledge, based on statistics, is that children become what their parents are, not what they say to do.  Which is why poverty is so hard to change---impoverished people can't teach their children of what to do or not to do because they don't know.  We often don't consider that most of the college educated people come from high school graduated college educated parents---one perpetuating the other.  If that person's parents don't have higher education, that's where mentorship is so valuable.  In fact if you or someone you know parents' didn't attend college but you did--track who told, taught, mentored you about college.
    • This folds back into my time with mentees.  They either want it or they don't want.  Hard head, soft ass.  If you won't listen to me, life will teach you why a hard head equals a soft ass.  By 2014 the American requirement for a living wage with benefits and a future ($15 an hour) will be an Associates Degree.  Because of the threat now of a permanent underclass being created, I think of mentoring like a MASH or a triage unit in an emergency room and myself more like a surgeon than a kindly doctor.  There are potentially too many who will get left behind if I diddle away or allow my time to be  diddled away with push and pull and senseless drama.  Do you want it?  If you do, then let's get to work, if you're not sure or need to figure it out or question the efficacy of developing yourself, then you need to get the hell out of the way.  I have your eager replacement right behind you eager for the time and attention and resources that I can give.  You must have this rule and more importantly, you have to understand that you can't save everyone.  There are too many who aren't capable, don't want it, don't know better, are crazy.  When I teach teachers this is most often what I'm counseling the newest through their guilt over and assuring them that it's a necessary transition and the guilt should be replaced with strategies to help others.  But you have to remember:  You can't save everyone.
  6. Recycle Into Mentors  
    1. But the ones you can save you can then see them becoming mentors.  My greatest gratification have been mentees who are employed, who've moved into new careers, who've graduated from school and who are actively giving back.  Sometimes I've even placed them into old positions that I'd outgrown or no longer had time for a a teacher because they had the time and ability to do good work.  Most importantly the parents now have a different skill set to pass down to their children and a work ethic or an educational ethic. 
I look at the impact of my work as ever expanding circles of intensive influence. This blog and podcasts are another two circles within multiple circles that approximately serves 10,000 people directly a month but multiplies back out to 1.3 million in the syndication circuit around the world. The Kyle Phoenix Show on videos and television hits about 1 million viewers a week so I do a level of mentoring to about 6 to 8 million people a month around the world (hey, Mauritius! :)). 

I outline this not to brag but to suggest to you that what you know---how to cook, how to get through school, how to write a resume, how to use Word 2007, how to raise a healthy child, how to start a business---you can upload that video to YouTube and spread it on Facebook or even start a blog about it.  Use Facebook to post useful things to people because it's acting as a passive mentor---I'm often watching hundreds of people watching their phones on the train but rarely do I see them teaching each other.  But I do see them get off at the poverty laden stops in the poverty laced clothes with the lack of developed knowledge because we, who have resources and education, aren't leaving golden information nuggets along the information highway---we're keeping it hoarded to ourselves and share only with like minds at dinner parties.

Maybe you'll take this and mentor to someone in your family, neighborhood, job or at school or volunteer (NYC Volunteer is a great site I use for finding projects to volunteer at least 10% of my time to) with a non-profit.  I also spiritually look at mentoring as filling a spirit bank account when I pray for myself or others, when I need help in the Universe or more importantly when I'm confronted with people asking for help.  
Marianne Williamson in one of her audio lectures said that people who complain are generally the people who don't actively go out and do things in and for the world.  That's always struck me because I don't  feel as helpless or put upon by the world because I'm helping, Black and Mexicans and women and gays and the disenfranchised and the abandoned.  I can't save everyone, and I'm vicious with my time but I'm reaching out to millions, maybe just a scrap of hang on or a meal of read this book to start your business or feeding a mentee in person because they have no father.

"By your pupils, you learn............"

I can anecdotally say that mentoring has developed me into a whole other career strength in doing life/professional strategy and coaching work.  Helping people develop businesses and improve non-profits because my mentees have given me valuable insight into what they might need or observe in their lives.  Your mentoring, I can assure you, will enhance you on many levels.

In closing, I challenge, what are you or what could you be doing for someone else you might never even meet?

Thank you!
Kyle Phoenix
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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Race: Things Fatherless Black & Latino Men Beget

Race: Things Fatherless Black & Latino Men Beget

What I want to do is compare overall statistics to some of the remedies/enhancements boys to men can get from fathers and male mentors.  Unfortunately poverty has become matriarchal  more to the point Black & Latino families expect to be single parent headed, mainly by women.  While we revere the women for doing this we never connect what their lack of abilities in key areas creates as an outcome.

We're going to assume that fathers referenced below in the abstract are good, healthy men even if maybe they divorce the mother of their children.  They still stay intensely devoted and supportive to their children.

  1. If 30 to 40% of Blacks and Latinos in America are in poverty and 70% of their households are women headed, what does that create?
  2. If only 35% of men of color are college educated, what does that bode for their families/children?
  3. If for 20 years the CDC has been tracking that men of color are increasing in HIV and other STI infection through MSM, why is that?  That men below 30 are potentially as high as 45% infected amongst Black and Latino communtieis, , what does that say for the ones infecting them?  Who are they?  And if they're the same race as the ones they infect, why would a Black or Latino man infect another Black or Latino man?
  4. Why is it so difficult for you to find a Good Man?
  5. WHat's going on?  What's really going on?

Lack of Education

As a teacher, I'm biased to education.  In fact I often tease my students that like a criminal profiler I can identify educational levels by quick observation of people in public or in fast social contact.  But I also can see in my Black and Latino students what a lack of fathers has done to them.  Grown men are what boys want to emulate.  Boys want to be men, particularly the men in their immediate range.  If the man is educated, he wants his sons to be educated, to be able to navigate the world, to understand what he does and even progress further than he has. What I learned personally from my father was that there was no whining, there was no simpering, there was no mewling when it was time to go to school because he'd grown up in a segregated South where education was not a guarantee to brown children and I sure as hell wasn't going to take education for granted.  (He'd worked his way from Louisiana to New York to a bachelors and then a Masters degree, no education wasn't even a remote possibility.)
Because I wanted to live basically. lol

Lack of Motivation

My father and stepfathers kept me attentive to moving along in my life, doing the right things, staying out of trouble and focused on becoming a man.  Women can't teach you how to surmount a psychological passage into manhood because they've never done it.  In fact women can observe when a boy is male and male is a man but they don't know nor have the skill set to transition a boy to manhood.  Simply can't be done.  Men are needed for that.  Now throw in our statistic of 70% of Black and Latino males growing up without fathers and you're surprised you have saggy pants as a fashion trend?  Do you what kind of natural hell walking around, purposefully having my ass hanging out would have garnered from my fathers.


Because men see the boys/males under their wings as representations of themselves   A healthy man can't have no busted, flagrant  foolishness under his aegis.  Even as a mentor, I jettison young males who I discuss decorum and decency with who continuously breech that.  Mentoring allows one the space to understand that you can't save everyone and there's always someone new behind the jettisoned one to help.  The jettisoned rarely understand that they've lost out on a lifetime enhancing relationship and all I've just lost is a little time but I am refining my mentoring skill.

Lack of Manhood (Addiction to Masculinity)

MSM are often raging about wanting masculine men, checking the masculinity level of men, guys being effeminate, not being real men---and then they rush to the gym to pump up their bodies to look as masculine as possible  However in contrast look around you at all shapes and sizes of  men, fathers with their children.  Manhood is generosity and strength and caring and going to work to support and provide for children and spouses and family.  The distortion of lack of men teaching males, even homosexual males, about manhood means that boys/males will grasp at whatever they can.  Whatever they can translate to hyper-sexuality  hyper concern over masculinity, and even the fear of intimacy.

I would stretch so far as to suggest that it's easier for men of color to bareback, to have unprotected sex with other men, to infect them, out of resentment and anger towards lack of father figures. Males who don't have men to love will have trouble learning how to love, and not harm, other men.  When you're talking to men, ask them about their relationships to their father (figures).  Asking how he's learned to be loved by men, will inform you how he loves men.  If you don't  have healthy father figures or none at all, you learn to fear men, especially well rounded men because there's an unknowable quality/training they've gotten from men.  They might seem harder or tougher or less open to your emotional needs because of some of the boundaries they've learned from their fathers.  It answers why homosexual men have both an attraction to and resentment/fear of heterosexual men.  It might even answer why Black and Latino men festishize such hyper-masculine/distant extreme imagery of thugs and criminals and ne'er do wells.

When you have a solid male figure in your early life, you have a solid manhood figure as part of your festishization scope---all that Oedipal and Elektra complex stuff really does apply throughout a lot of our psyche and sexuality.

Lack of Resources (Poverty)

There was a rule in my house growing up.  Everyone worked.  Me, my mother, my father, my stepfathers, even when a cousin stayed with us for a year.  Everyone worked.  My parents made enough money to give me the trinkets I wanted without big stress (comics, action figures, movies, toys, candy money) but they engineered a system for me to learn the prime rule of life.

You have to work for what you want.

At 7, I wanted some more action figures, more comics, just more, dammit!  My parents sat me down and first we worked out a chore list but eventually there was only so much I could do so they were like let's create something you can do to earn the money you want for this other stuff.  My mother wrote up a contract and they loaned me $5 to start a Sunday newspaper delivery business.  Buy for 50 cents, sell for 75, keep the shopping cart in front of you when they open their doors.  In a week I'd made and paid back my investors plus moved on to hiring the babysitter's children to franchise out to other buildings.

At 17, during summer vacation from high school I was jobless and my mother told me that she had the perfect job for me.  The plan was simple: get up at 7am, she'd made me breakfast, be dressed to impress and have my resume and copies on me.  I did.  I was scared (my mother can cook but doesn't so this solicitousness was frightening).  We stepped outside, she locked the door, took my keys and told me to start on the left hand side of Flatbush Avenue at 8am.  Walk up it and at every store stop and ask for work.  She handed me $5 and said at 1pm stop and get some lunch.  Then cross the street and work my way back doing the same thing.  I had 3 jobs by the end of that day.  My father thought this was a great plan.

My father fully supported this.  In fact my father had things about boys (even as young as 10) sleeping too long into the day whether or not it was a weekend.  What are you doing was always his challenge.  FInd something to do.  Do you need me to find you something to do?  At times it was a blessing to be able to wander outdoors away from him but it taught me how to explore the world; how to go find something to do.

Men teach boys that it's safe and expected for them to go explore the world, to take risks and to support themselves.  Boys without fathers are left to their own devices about what to do with their time and energy.  And boys have a lot of energy.  Fathers teach you how to focus that energy.

My father explained to me at the age of 7 that while as my parents they were responsible for the big things (food, roof, school/clothes)---boys who were becoming men didn't take money from women.  Real men didn't.  Women, unfortunately because of disparities in society, can't always earn the same as men or more than enough to support herself and children.  Women left by men overwhelmingly end up in poverty because they haven't had the time to develop and nurture while also being full time parents.  HEnce why Welfare rolls are inundated with women and children and now, a generation later, men who haven't been socialized by healthy men in how to survive and generate resources.

I often ride the train or wander around neighborhoods throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn and Queens and I see Black and Latino men from 15 to 50 just hanging on corners---all times of the day.  The odd thing about focusing so much of my career and education towards teaching and school is that I'm no longer on a strict 9 to 5 schedule so I see more of the world versus when I was in corporate America for 10 to 12 hours a day.  I see an overwhelming amount of males going nowhere at the speed of light. Outside on block now are Latino men who are effectively dead to their futures.  I've had to learn that I can't save everyone, that I have to focus my energy and skills in the areas that I can help individuals or groups at.  Lack of fathers has left them without guides how to transition from boys to men, so they're stuck.  They're males but they'll probably never be men.  They'll never work nor educate beyond boy-level but they will procreate and having no father to teach them how to be fathers, they'll abandon their children.  People never consider that abandoning fathers breed males who learn how to abandon.  Where do you think abandoners learn to abandon?


How do we change this?  How do we encourage and develop men of color to be active involved parents to one or a dozen children?  More importantly, why should we consider this an emergency?  Black and Latino males will become the permanent underclass.  Sure there will always be a small percentage of men of color, regardless of their sexuality and family origin who survive, thrive and find male mentors who teach them the manhood transitioning skills that their single mothers can't.  But let's conservatively flip that 70% boys of color in mother headed households to 70% of Black and Latino men won't progress to manhood.

1. No viable mates for women and/or other men.  Can't find a Good Man?  It might have to do with the fact that two thirds are trying to find and mate with the good one third.

2. Men make money.  But if there is no economic power (which translates to political/social power) within communities of color to launch into power positions around the district, counties, towns, cities, states and eventually the nation.  Imagine a country where right now people of color are over 30% of the population but by 2050 being reversed and being over 60% of the population. But the financial, political and educational capital rest with the minority 30% to 40% who are still Caucasian because that other 60%?  70% of their males are useless in the capitalistic system.  Where do you think the next Barack Obama's will come from if there are no father's to raise a new generation?  Our hopes and futures can't be lottery ticket built on hoping for the 1 in a million.  When people talk to you about 1 in a million people.  Remind them there are 999,999 who it didn't work out for----it reduces the cheering from just one in a million.

3. Men move families and communities along to higher education because fathers have money, time and resources (motivational, mental and spiritual) to move their families to the next level.  If you don't have men who are responsible back to their communities and children then they aren't advancing the communities nor the individuals.  Hence the cycle will beget itself again.

Remedies include:
1. Getting men of color off of Welfare and HASA.  Teaching men that they have value and training them in skills to improve themselves starts a stop gap.  Welfare, HASA and Social Security Disability have to be safety nets,not norms for men of color.  If you don't buy the self esteem argument then consider this---anytime someone gives you support they can change it.  I once challenged a group of men/women who were on Welfare with the question of what would they do if the very next month Welfare lowered the money/Food Stamps they gave them by $5.  Would they walk away in protest?  No.  They all agreed they'd be upset but adjust.  I then asked them what if the following month it was lowered by $20.  And then another $5 the third month?  We played the game until we got to if your benefits were cut in half, then you'd rise in some form of protest but what if the Welfare office just shrugged back at you and said you can take half or go away. with none, what would you do?  Only slaves and whores keep knuckling under to such financial undercutting, men/manhood says oh, hell no and pushes back healthily, assertively but if you haven't been taught how to have healthy assertive power, you can't stop being made into a slave.

Welfare/HASA is not helping anyone, in fact it's destroying them.  Destroying someone's natural capabilities to work and progress means that they develop the habits of complacency and helplessness.  Not of power, not of empowerment. Manhood though is built on one's sense of power and integrity and value.  If you don't have those as a constant in your identity and goal, what are you?  Safety nets should assist, help and develop not incubate weakness.

2. Getting skills and education.  You're on the Internet---you should know how to use all Microsoft Office programs because the lessons are free on YouTube.  In fact the equivalent of a doctoral education is available on the internet.  Find a college, get some syllabi and between the library and internet fill in the holes in your education.

3. Give back to boys.  As uncomfortable as it may make you, because you didn't have the experience go volunteer with some boys or teens.  If you can't play basketball you can still referee   If you can't walk, you can still teach a boy how to read, how to find a job, how to tie a tie.  In order to save your people, you must as much as possible take the place of absent fathers.  Teach a boy how to use a checking account, how you use a credit card, how to fill out a job application, how to drive a car.  You have valuable skills and most importantly that mentorship will teach you how to patiently parent boys, how to care for them, how to nurture and enhance them and that will help to heal your own loss and wounds.

Thank you!
Kyle Phoenix
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Dating Skills 202 for MSM: Getting To A Relationship, Part 2 by Kyle Phoenix

Ok. you've gotten to the point where not only are you going out on regular dates (once a week at least) but you're really starting to like him and vice versa.  Maybe you've even wisely put off sex for the moment deciding to experiment and try something radical---getting to know a man first before being sexual.  There's been some casual bumps, maybe a goodnight kiss or two but you're playing it real cool, but you think you might have a Good Man here.  First, how did you get here?

1. You spent time listening to him  
That's what non-sexual dating allows you to do, simply listen.  You've been able to hear his short term goals, long term goals, about his school/job/career, some stuff about his finances, seen his level of manners towards you and others in public and been able to hear about his family relationships.  A couple of years ago I was out on a date with a guy who spent half the meal on his IPhone "waiting for an important email" and the other half dodging someone he knew in the restaurant---dodging them when he wasn't trying to get them to pay attention to him---even to the point of calling out their name(which they ignored).  By simply being present and listening I was able to see him clearly and not go further.  Another dude talked about women in really debasing ways---bitches this, cunts that---women we were both in contact with often at work and I realized that not only was he a misogynist but he was really angry.  Another jettison.  

But if I'd glossed over that stuff and been sexual with either of them I'd probably have a full blown emotional drama story to relay.  Instead it's like driving a car where you spot a pothole ahead and either swerve to avoid it or slow down enough to gently glide through it with no damage or jarring to you.  

2. You've watched him

This isn't the time to take care of someone else's emotions.  Now you can of course be courteous but you're really paying attention to his personality and his character.  What's the difference?  Personality is if someone is playful or goofy or nerdy or feminine or masculine or teasing or cautious.  Character is what they truly are: generous, thoughtful, considerate, loving---all the things that matter in the long run.  If you (or he) are concerned with short run personality traits it's probably why you're constantly disappointed.  Everyone is a little clumsy or silly or nerdy or even feminine---but you're in it to win the prize and be happy with someone, not to be "Aha!  I got you pinned down!" right about measuring a man's masculinity.  Right?

And you're able to be this mature because you know that you're not exactly rocking out every high scale yourself in all areas too.  Right?

If you don't and you have these invisible bars of measuring men by such redundant values as masculinity and femininity it's why you get used and dogged out because all someone has to do is play up hyper-masculine and because that's all you've set your standard at---he dogs you out.  And then you're bitter and upset and hurt and alone at night wishing, wishing, wishing or pulling a Lauryn Hill doo wop and "...still defending him now..."

3. You've internally checked out what you really want.

Nothing will elucidate yourself to yourself like dating.  Which is why weak men avoid it like the plague.  One, it does put you on stage to another human being's examination.  Comfortable, secure, confident men recognize and can manage their own neuroses and are cool with doing this because they know the reward outweighs the uncomfortability.  Weak men who know their shit will be blasted, found out, challenged and walked away from, abhor dating. They hate it.  Now they'll give you all kinds of reasons that have to do with OTHER people.  But truly, it's about them.

(In fact as just a psychological tip: If someone tells you how wrong other men, women, children, waiters, people, friends, you, are---RUN!  That's a sign of low self esteem and abusiveness tendencies.)  

Now if he says others make mistakes and he jokes about it or jokes about his own errors, that's balance.  We all get irritated at others, but it says a lot about us if we gently forgive fools, chuckle at children, dismiss silliness or demand summary execution for anyone who does it anyway other than ours.

Sitting across from someone who is asking you questions, sometimes from a diametrically new directions about your career, your schooling, your past can be unnerving.  One, you're trying to maintain your in public composure; two, you're trying to manage yourself to hint at but not gush your attraction to him; three, you might even be trying to really measure if you're feeling a spark, a flame, an explosion or a nuclear bomb.  

(Mature men know that it's the atom that sets off the nuclear bomb so sometimes you're not immediately in full blown lusting chemistry laden devotion but it's simmering and getting there as you hear and observe more and more.)

But he's asking all these damn questions!  And if you just deflect and ask him some damn questions, he either looks like Joe Cool by having good, cogent answers or he pushes back for you to answer first.  What to do?

Breathe, baby.  He's interested in you.  And that's what you want, right?  Right?  The first level of self introspection might be am I comfortable with this?---which is him extending and looking to bond with you to create intimacy.  Do you feel safe and secure with him or intruded upon?  You can politely deflect things you feel are too deep, like, when was the last time you had sex?  But, where do you work? shouldn't illicit---"Men ask too many damn questions!"

You signed up for this and to some degree he's genuinely interested in getting to know you so calm down and answer like you were on a talk show.  Don't look crazy, don't talk about your crazy uncle but do answer clearly, politely and honestly.  You're sharing your inner self with him and he wants to know about it, in fact he's probably been thinking of different things to ask you about because you are and always have been a fascinating human being.

4. When should we talk about our Exes?
Smart dating would say never.  Truth says eventually.  But real truth says don't push it.  You're not a spectator to his past nor he to yours.  First date, no.  Second date, no.  Third date, no but maybe an acknowledgement to the past.  Aim for the seventh or the tenth.  Look at that now you have to be sharing some level of intimacy over time before you have a discussion about Big Earl.  

What if he brings up his ex?  Gently, lovingly, with a dazzling smile say, "Oh, we can talk about our pasts later.  I'm more interested in hearing about you.  Tell me more about your____________<<

He has a past.  You have a past.  But you're on the date to create a future.  If he asks you then you gently deflect with, "Yes, I've dated and been in relationships, currently I'm single.  However, I'd really like to focus on the present and the handsome man across from me."  And then SMILE.

Nice, polite, deflection, honest but still answered, stated your position and even slipped in a compliment.

Men have messed up more dates telling about the crazy convict/whore/manic depressive/narcissist/violent/thieving/effeminate/fool/thief/liar they were with---on the first date.  The signal this inadvertently sends is that either his radar about you is off (because you were crazy enough to be in a relationship with crazy) or that his (hopefully low level) craziness is going to soon be on blast before he's seen as a full person who's had some problems and drama in life, the way we all have.  When you give it some space and LISTEN and WATCH you'll know if his comic book collection is just a carry over from his childhood that you can deal with or worse level of crazy---that he's planning on bringing his momma to be part of the second date.

Dating is a lot like job interviewing in the sense that yes, you are presenting yourself.  But the good news is that it's the job interview where it's your job to lose.  He likes you enough to make an effort and that means that you have time to build, bond and see if this works for you.

Remember heterosexuals get practice at this from grade school on up so they get into relationships that are deeper and last longer faster because they have been studying this process and are coached in it from infancy by parents, siblings, tv and movies, and then friends.  You're just working it out for yourself even if you were one of the rare ones who was out and dating as far back as high school.  He might not have as much experience.  The biggest plea I try to leave men with in workshops is: BE PATIENT with him (and yourself); he's overcome his momma, his daddy, his community, his church, society, presidential candidates  the internet and his cray cray gay friends to get to the table with you---cut him (and yourself) some slack!

Next: Part 3: Getting Boomtastic!  Sex, Sex, Sex---When Dating Involves The Rubber Parts!

Thank you!
Kyle Phoenix
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Homosexual Men and Sexual Standards by Kyle Phoenix

Homosexual Men and Sexual Standards

What are you sexual standards?  Let's back that up, do you have standards and do you know what they are?

Here's how we measure out Sexual Standards.  We question them when confronted by others with their experiences and look at---does that fit/suit me?

Sexual Standards
You can have your personal peccadilloes, your interests in the fetishes that turn you on, that's completely fine.  However the things you like, more importantly, what do they say about you?  Do they endanger your job, your health, your life? With that additional info, what are your standards around sex?

A funny diddy, is that in the course of facilitating a men's group (full of African American and Latino men) around sexuality, men having sex in the park kept coming up.  In fact, a particular park in Manhattan.  Mount Morris Park Harlem kept coming up as a destination for sexual cruising and outdoor sex.  Finally, I had to admit to the group that I'd not only never gone to that park for sex but not searched and found sex in a park setting.  The group was shocked, I was shocked that they were shocked.  So I questioned them deeper and it turns out that is the sexual expectation for Black and Latino men, that was a community sexual standard......for some men.  My defense as to why I wouldn't do it went along the lines of first, I didn't want to damage my slacks.  That should have tipped everyone off as to where the discussion could and couldn't go with me. Second I had no experience of such a craving, but I took it a step farther, I actually went on a Sunday, later afternoon, and investigated this sexual Wonderland.  Was I young and handsome and missing out on something amazing and scintillating?

Imagine, at the top of a hill a concrete arena surrounded by trees.  No one is in the wide expanse but men are circling around the concrete wall on the outskirts side of trees, shrubbery and dirt making it difficult to discern them from the woods.  So I took up residence, at around dusk, on one side of this circle and noticed that if you moved say clockwise, the scattering of men around the circle (it's about 100 feet wide) would move either closer or farther way.  The other thing I noticed was that I had poor vision at dusk, even with my contacts in, so I didn't know who or what I was clockwise or counter-clockwise towards.

In two words, after a half an hour of observing this, I deemed it somewhere between de classe and ridiculous, and went home.

In retrospect, I realized I had a different standard.  A date, an online chat, a study buddy from school, a friendship---something before sexual contact.  Now I'm no prude, I've been involved in enough sexual congress to have answered all of my questions....and seven of yours....twice.  But standing outside on a Fall afternoon playing sideline, clockwise games in the dirt and foliage reeked of fear and weakness to me.  Then I thought deeper into it and I realized that the art of cruising is the deliberate action of riding low level fear.  Not fight or flight fear but the anxiety level fear of acceptance and rejection and the hope that you'll finally be sexually (socially) acceptable and therefore sexed as an outlet for all that fearful anticipation of copulation.

And beyond my lack of fear or interest in it as an anxiety based aphrodisiac, I have an addictive penchant for Emporio Armani slacks.  Uh huh, they can't rock outdoor ground based stress.  Sometimes one standard will inform another, a vacuous example but I think you can see it's a valid point.

This brings me back to Sexual Standards.

  1. Are you down for outdoor hits and misses from strangers?
  2. Are you down for public restroom sex? Are you down for public sex (voyeurism/exhibitionism), period?
  3. Are you into threeways, fourways?
  4. Are you into strangers?
  5. Are you into abuse?
  6. Are you into risky pick up off the-corner-boy sex?  (I have a friend who calls them Dirty Boys.)
  7. Are you into being penetrated by random strangers without condoms?
  8. Are you into back of video store/triple X theater sex with strangers?
  9. Are you down for married men?
  10. Are you only into ex-convicts?

Notice some of these turn-ons aren't so much about personality or personhood but around stereotypes and anonymity.

The bigger question is then are you turned on by sex that lacks human intimacy---without hitting this with judgment, I think we should look at how often are you into non-intimate sex and how risky does it need to be?  The answer to this is your sexual standards, because your sexual actions are more about you than someone else.

Thank you,
Kyle Phoenix
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Friday, October 26, 2012

The ABC's of Getting Out of Debt by Garrett Sutton, Book Review

The greatest barrier to attaining wealth, to becoming financially savvy and to ultimately helping one's self and one's loved one's out had to be the management of money and credit.  I was recently at a meeting and someone stood up and asked the panel of financial advisors why having good credit was a good thing; essentially why should they use credit at all---he insanely went on that he felt that credit was a conspiracy based trap.  (Yes, I am often in surprisingly insane company in educational settings.)    First, it's no shame to get into debt or be confused about credit; as a teenager I got my first credit cards and while I didn't go buck wild, it was a learning curve.   After a few years of charging away, eventually my family bailed me out of credit card debt of a couple thousand before I left for college   Rich Dad, Poor Dad was actually instrumental in my learning how to manage credit (and start a business) by teaching me what money and credit are to be used for.

About 10 years ago, I started again with a secured credit card (you give a bank a deposit of say $200 up to $10,000 in cash and they extend you a credit card worth the amount of money you've deposited---a savings account that you access with your credit card.  The charges onto the card are minused from the total and you repay (yourself) to the bank/to the balance and eventually they not only increase your credit limit but this is reported to the 3 credit reporting agencies (Experian, Trans, and Equifax) as having credit card responsibility.  Your credit score is generated by credit card usage (credit scores go from 300 to 800, the higher the better---you want as an adult 600+; timely bill payments, minus outstanding balances and loans.)

If I couldn't pay for it in cash, I didn't buy it.
No car leases, no phone contracts, no store credit cards, no store payment plans, I simply focused on paying off all of my debt (mainly college loans---yeah, all them degrees look cute on the wall but the bill every month keeps me on the career pole!).  I applied the strategies in this book by Garrett Sutton to snowball my payments---essentially pay off the small first (sending at least $5 to the large ones---if you try to pay, you can't go into collections because you're legally making an effort) then when you pay off the small snowball, that payment rolls into the next largest bill due and so on.

I was recently talking to a friend about my interest in buying a property here in NYC in the next few years and that I'd been designing/building my savings towards paying for more/law school (again!) but also making sure that I had spotless credit.  Every year I pull my credit report (you can get it for free by typing in free annual credit report) and I shockingly discovered that I owed a library fine (a small amount) and an old electric bill from another state---but other than that I'd paid off everything else, using these tactics. This is a great book for teaching one how to build and maintain good credit and then what credit is good for.  I learned one of the secrets to credit is that you get a bad mark (your score is lowered) when you spend more than 1/3 of your credit limit at any given time (it shows a lack of control)---I now teach this regularly to all of my students when it comes to credit/financial discussions/classes.

Back to the nut in the meeting: what is credit good for?  

Credit is how we buy property in America (and the rest of the world) and most importantly pass the property on to future generations and this has been the secret of amassing wealth.  Credit allows you to go to and pay for college by taking out loans and education is the key to personal empowerment. Credit allows you to gratify yourself now for something you can afford over time and teaches you how to delay gratification.  You live in a capitalistic society, you must master it's rules before you can achieve or navigate it or it will consume you.

Pssssssst.  The capitalistic society will not go away in your lifetime, nor your children's. 

You might also want to consider that in your attempts and desires to be in a loving relationship, management of money will come up.  You have probably been overlooked or passed by when you revealed to someone of good credit that you have low or bad money management skills.  Change that.  Money is also our responsibility to others (to care for them) and a measure of our personal Accountability and Responsibility translated simply to Integrity.  As I've aged, so have my parents, and now they need, just small things because they've been reasonably financially wise, but they still require my help with things or I can expediently send them things that it might be difficult for them to find in their town.  There's also a host of things that I've learned aren't covered by my parents insurance, small but building expenses that it's a pleasure to be able to jump in and take care of.

The ABCs of Getting Out of Debt is a worthy addition to your financial bookshelf because you'll have to maintain and manage your credit for the rest of your life (and perhaps even teach a spouse or children how to do the same).  Wealth is designed by knowing and understanding how money works.  Most people are poor not for lack of smarts, talent, ability, work ethic or even money but because they lack the understanding of what money is and how to manage it. 

That guy at the meeting?  Welfare.  Bad credit.  Thief.  Often borrowing money and having to be bailed out.  He's in his 50's.  Knowledge is power and ignorance pervasive 

Thank you!
Kyle Phoenix
Thanks and enjoy! You can Like Us/Share this post on FaceBook, LinkedIn, Google+ or Follow Us on Twitter! Don't forget to watch The Kyle Phoenix Show on Channel 56 (Time Warner), 83 (RCN), 34 (Verizon) and the Thursday/Friday 12am/midnight simulcast on

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, Book Review


When I consider what to review it generally happens in two ways:I look at my bookshelf and I look for something that impacts me immediately.  This book qualifies for both.  I even went so far as to stay up until 5am one morning to watch Malcolm Gladwell on CSpan give a speech about his incredible book, Outliers.  Simply put Outliers are people who through stand out from the crowd because of a talent.  It's a great system for figuring out where you are in whatever it is you like or even more importantly how to achieve (and understand others achievement).  The magic number is 10,000 hours of practice that purposefully increase sin complexity.  With just that information you can understand Bill Gates, Raymond Federman, Nina Simone, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Toni Morrison, Bill Cosby, Nikolai Tesla, Carlene Hatcher Polite, Oprah Winfrey, Ervin Laszlo and a host of others.  We look at these people as having a genius or a superior talent but we rarely consider how that talent got nurtured, developed and blossomed to what we see today.

In undergraduate college I really started getting published around the country.  For four years I was a Teacher's Asst. to three professor's, all three focusing heavily on creative writing, I took close to 80 credits of just writing classes (prose, journalism, poetry even playwriting), I was often weekly in not just the campus newspaper but the campus magazine, chapbooks and even the graduate school literary magazine.  Professors began recommending me to publishers and magazines around the country.  I even had the surprising pleasure of going into a bookstore, picking up an interesting looking magazine and finding one of my short stories in it.  Friends and classmates assumed I had some sort of dark genius that was being reaped upon the university but in fact since the age of 12 I'd been writing diligently.  For about 10 years time I'd written comic book scripts and manuscripts and poems and essays so that by the time I got to college at 21, I'd had 10 years of writing experience, my heaviest work being being done with Denise Donnelly, Debbie Freeman and Dr. William Hunter at John Jay High School.  What appeared to be an amazing well spring was in fact my arriving at college with 10,000+ hours of writing experience under my belt.  By the time I arrived at the university I was ready for high level instruction in writing because I'd mastered the basic form but to the other students who were just beginning their 10,000+ journey (if they were going to stick to it at all), I seemed far ahead.  I often felt excluded from the students' level of ability and more comfortable with the teachers because I had gathered so much more experience.  Outliers was finally able to quantify for me why.

Now transfer this algorithm to another skill, any skill, that might be achieved in college.  Working 40 hours a week is approximately 2000 hours a year.  College, full time study, is the equivalent of working full time for 4 to 5 years.  Boom!  10,000 hours.  Wait for it---now graduate school is where one achieves their "Master's" degree because you've graduate from being a novice/intermediate to now a level of mastery.  Outliers has wonderful case by case outlines of people who've attained mastery and an examination of how and why, even down to examining the preponderance of Jewish doctors and lawyers and how that can be traced back to family origin and 10,000 hours.  Use this book to examine yourself or understand how to fill in the blocks of your own study.

Remember mastery is achieved by a 6 Step Process (outlined in Mastery by Robert Greene---I'll be posting it's review as soon as it comes out in November):

1. Discover your calling: the life's task
2. Submit to reality: the ideal apprenticeship
3. Absorb the master's power: the mentor dynamic
4. See people as they are: social intelligence
5. Awaken the dimensional mind: the creative-active
6. Fuse the intuitive with the rational: mastery

Thank you!
Kyle Phoenix
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