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How Men Dress For success.

      Most regular guys are goal driven, we want to be successful in our work and personal lives. Knowing how to dress and comport ourselves is akin to receiving a master key that unlocks a lot of life's barriers. Humans are hard wired to make snap judgments based upon what we see.

First impressions are critical because they last. However, few guys want to dedicate time to clothes selection. Below, you will find a straightforward guide to men's dress and social technique. It takes some inspiration from Steve McQueen, a regular, decent guy with timeless style.

The golden rule is to keep things simple, functional and masculine. Fit and quality provide confidence. Select solid colors and avoid patterned clothing with the subtle exceptions of sport coats and neckties. Tie bars, chains, bracelets, badges and pins contribute unwanted distraction. Loose neckties with open shirt collars, either look contrived or convey intoxication.

Sweaters, sweater vests or cardigans, worn over shirts tend to age most of us. Mid-layered knitwear is more suited to ladies fashion. Rolled up jean cuffs may be in vogue with hipsters but detracts from classic masculine style. Skinny jeans also convey the wrong message. Thick scarves should be draped rather than knotted. French knots flatter silk scarfs. Cotton Shemaghs have multiple knots but are typically worn like an over sized bandanna.

Outfit colors

The following principles are not absolute but will let you assemble outfits and be certain that clothing won't clash. Select your shirt color and build your outfit from one option only. That includes socks, shoes, pants, belts, neckties, jackets, overcoats, scarves, gloves and leather watch bands. Shirts and pocket squares are restricted to white and blue. Outfit option A is restricted to gray, charcoal, navy and black.

Outfit option B is restricted to green, navy and shades of brown like, khaki, golden brown, tan, chocolate and burgundy. Stainless steel cuff links and eye wear are compatible with both outfit options. Color for men will guide your palette expansion with respect to polo shirts, casual shirts, neckties, pocket squares, jerseys and sweaters.

The second principle is contrast. Building an outfit comprised of a white shirt and one other color may appear to be the simplest solution but you can't live in a funeral suit. Color tones rarely match unless purchased as a unit. Select contrasting jacket and pant separates. One item's color should be significantly different from the other. Matching a navy jacket to black pants is an example of poor contrast.

Reserving pattern for sport coats eliminates the risk of a clash between shirt, neck tie, pant and jacket. Clothing etiquette is almost boundless, extending to fabric contrast and beyond. Currently, wool dress pants and cotton khakis are the typical pairings to casual jackets, sport coats and blazers.

The third principle is formality. Contemporary business casual dress codes, endorse blurring the lines. However, combining polar opposites, will generate an awkward, tacky ensemble. Denim is demonstrably casual. Jeans shouldn't be worn with neck ties, bow ties or pocket squares, which are all formal accessories. Polo shirts and rugby shirts are worn untucked.

Oxford button down shirts shirts are worn open necked and without a neck tie. Leather jackets and blazers, are on par with denim's formality. Politicians visiting troops, often fail to remove their neck ties, upon switching to a leather flight jacket. This conveys a dorky image, somewhat like sporting socks and sandals. Pairing a tie with a leather blazer evokes a sleazy '70's wiseguy persona.
Color For Men
Dress for Success

Vacation Wear

1: Vacation & Summer

Vacation wear is the most casual element of a man's wardrobe and can be a sartorial minefield. However, this classic ensemble, will have you blending with the jet set. It pulls double duty as stylish lounge and summer wear too. Black water shoes and a few pairs of board shorts cover any marine activity.

Board shorts typically run small in the leg. Black and red are classic. Cotton chambray shirts, linen pants and leather slingback sandals comprise a versatile beach outfit. It can be smartened up with leather loafers, silk camp shirts or cashmere v-neck sweaters.

An unbuttoned and untucked solid colored rugby jersey, navy jeans and khaki canvas loafers are perfect for exploring around the town. Smart golf attire may comprise of a black Ivy hat, wayfarer sunglasses, black merino top, light gray khakis and white golf shoes.

Black masks any damp patches, merino wool has excellent moisture and odor management. Cotton underwear is durable but retains moisture, generating odor. Black synthetic trunks, boxers and no show socks, are better suited to warm weather. Boxers flatter a heavy set. The give and go style integrate a fitted crotch for comfort.
Water Shoes
Board Shorts
Chambray Shirt
Linen Pants
Slingback Sandals
Rugby Jersey
Canvas Loafers
Ivy Hat
New Wayfarer Sunglasses
American Optical Aviators (USA)
Merino Top
Synthetic Trunks
Synthetic Boxers
Synthetic No Show Socks

Leather Jacket

2: Casual

Casual clothing may be surmised as jackets and mid layers that are compatible with denim jeans. Leather jackets are ideal for situations like coffee shops, burger joints, ball games and going to the movies. They can be paired with almost anything but an unbuttoned shirt offers the greatest impact. All leather is not the same. Full grain, top grain, genuine leather and bonded leather are descendingly ranked for durability.

These grades take precedence over hide type when ranking durability. Horsehide is the strongest followed by bison, cow and goat. I recommend full grain cowhide as a minimum for everyday use. Horsehide is ideal for motorcycle jackets, being tough and naturally waterproof. It's worth spending extra for quality leather as it will see you out, if oiled periodically. Don't store your jacket in plastic as it needs to breathe.

Leather jackets can be broken down into three categories, motorcycle jackets, flight jackets and everything else. Belstaff's motorcycle touring jacket is versatile but prohibitively priced. The classic double fronted perfecto jacket suits the hog rider but looks slightly awkward without the motorcycle. Vanson's dominator variant dispenses with the cumbersome waist belt, making it a bit more versatile. Wear it over a solid black, crew neck, t-shirt for best effect.

Schott's popular 641HH cafe racer represents the holy grail of classic motorcycle racing jackets. The quality is second to none and the styling suitable for everyday causal wear. The horsehide leather will be stiff initially but gives the jacket robust appeal. Black roofer boots are a casual alternative to sneakers.
Vanson Dominator (USA)
Schott 641HH (USA)
Black Roofer Boots (USA)

US Wings Legend Jacket

Irvin sheepskin flying jackets are beloved by Morgan, Caterham and Cobra owners, providing stylish warmth and wind protection. The Irvin is typically worn with the collar flicked up around the neck and complimented with a watch cap. The A2 flight jacket will be many guys first choice but there are number issues you should be aware of. The waist is bloused like an MA-1.

This will flatter a stout build but looks sloppy on an athletic frame. The knitted cuffs and waistband get tatty. Most examples come in goatskin, cheaper jackets will be lambskin. The suppleness of goatskin affects jacket drape. WWII A2's were manufactured from horsehide, Aero still make like they used to. Bomber jackets are a generic variant of flight jackets. They are bloused but some designs forgo knitted cuffs and waistband.

Pictured above, US wings offer their alternative Indy jacket. Based on the Indiana Jones model, it has a similar layout to military G1 and A2 flight jackets but offers a straight fit. The leather cuffs and waist are more durable. Side adjustment straps maintain a smart fitted look. The distressed cowhide conveys rugged appeal. Accentuate it with cotton bush shirts, wool commando sweaters, chestnut leather belts and desert/jungle boots. Navy jeans, sand jeans, gray khakis and olive khakis are compatible.
Bush Shirt
Commando Sweater
Irvin Flying Jacket
Indy Jacket (USA)
Desert/Jungle Boots (USA)
Tobacco Roofer Boots (USA)

Harrington Jacket

Two button, single breasted, leather blazers aren't appropriate for the office but enable a graceful wardrobe adjustment, if hitting the town after work. Just lose the necktie. Leather blazers also make excellent car coats. Optionally, wear a classic submariners sweater underneath, delivering stylish warmth, while carving through canyons. Brown and cognac blazers are the most versatile.

Goatskin or cowhide are preferred if available. Wool dress pants strike a more refined image when matched with leather blazers but khakis and dark navy jeans are satisfactory. The Barbour Beaufort is the only fully waterproof fabric jacket in this guide. The navy model is quite versatile, functioning as executive top coat or casual weekend rain wear. Wear it with khakis, jeans, rugby jerseys and sweaters. Worn over a leather jacket, the Barbour International serves as a motorcyclists waterproof top coat.

Alpha Industries' MA-1 and M-65 jackets are timeless casual icons. The MA-1 looks best unzipped in olive and navy and the M-65 in khaki, olive and black. Named after Ryan O'Neil's character in Peyton Place, worn by James Dean, Elvis and Steve McQueen, the Harrington jacket is wonderfully versatile. It looks preppy with khakis and super cool with jeans. Black, navy, wine and cream are the colors to own.

Merc make the most authentic style with metal zip, tartan lining and a short body that barely extends to the waist. Style gurus own multiple examples of a classic garment, in several different colors. These fabric jackets represent a perfect opportunity to adopt the strategy. Beeswax desert boots flatter leather blazers, MA-1 jackets, M-65 jackets and Harrington jackets.

The polo shirt is a smarter alternative to the ubiquitous tee shirt. It requires significant attention for correct execution. Construction should be pure cotton with interlock knit. Polyester and polyester blends don't breath well and are less pleasing to the eye. Interlock knit is smooth like a T-shirt. The alternative pique knit may develop unattractive pile. Logos should be discrete.

Solid, white, royal blue and navy examples, form a universally flattering foundation. The shirt should be worn untucked with top placket button undone. The front hem should drape no further than mid fly. The shirt tail should terminate mid pocket. Fit should be snug through the shoulders, chest and biceps. The waist should exhibit more slack. Classic, custom and slim variants, respectively adjust for heavy, medium and slim physiques. Applying starch underneath the collar and inside the shirt, maintains structure and conceals the typically shiny residue.
Barbour Beaufort
MA-1 Jacket
M-65 Jacket
Harrington Jacket
Submariners Sweater
Classic Fit Polo Shirt
Custom Fit Polo Shirt
Slim Fit Polo Shirt
Desert Boots

Smart Denim

Stonewashed jeans have become very dated. Contemporary casual jeans should be worn in classic dark indigo or sand. Novelty colors of black, green or brown will quickly fade and appear shabby. A modest rise will flatter the gut and promotes a good fit on the rear, which is critical to the look. Denim jeans are undeniably casual, never wear them with suit jackets, neckties or pocket squares.

If you are uncertain, upgrade to a pair of khakis. Denim on denim and corduroy on corduroy should be avoided. Riggs jeans have proven durable. The leather pocket tab, supports pocket clipped tools. I'd like to see the jeans available in dark indigo for an even smarter appearance. Sand jeans are often only available in slim fit. Work Khakis are almost as durable as work jeans and available in a relaxed fit.

It is acceptable to wear a sport coat with jeans but it remains a distinctly casual affair. Jackets should remain unbuttoned at all times. Navy jeans will work with 2 button, single breasted, wool, tweed, camel hair, cotton, linen, silk, velvet and corduroy sport coats. Cotton and linen sport coats are particularly suited to casual use.

Compliment them with crisp, cotton, oxford button down shirts. Select reserved, solid hues, fine stripes and fine checks. Eschew excessively casual plaids and bold colors. Introduce silk knot cufflinks, if sporting a French cuff shirt. Beeswax desert boots, oak Morris Oxford shoes and cherry Morris Oxford shoes, complete the ensemble.
Linen Blazer
Work Jeans
Work Khakis
Desert Boots
Morris Oxfords
Classic Fit Button Down Oxford Shirt
Slim Fit Oxford Button Down Shirt

Business Casual

3: Business Casual

Business casual may be surmised as "no jeans, sneakers or athletic wear". It may be worn in casual surroundings but is perfectly acceptable for an office, restaurant or family celebration. Appropriate mid layers consist of untucked polo shirts, oxford button down shirts and wool sweaters. Cotton work pants serve as a blue collar contractors' alternative to denim jeans. Pictured below, corduroy pants are of versatile medium formality. Wear them with sweaters, textured sport coats and desert boots.

Cotton khakis and wool dress pants constitute the formal range of business casual pants. Cotton khakis are lighter than wool dress pants and suit warmer temperatures. Linen dress pants are the only business casual style that's lighter. Most khakis aren't heavy duty items. However, Carharrt work khakis are particularly durable. Consider them, the next progression from work pants.

Khakis break down to trim, classic and relaxed fit. Trim fit suits very slim build. A relaxed fit with pleated front, masks troublesome spare tires, below the belt line. Khaki, tan, gray and olive, look terrific when matched with a royal blue shirt and navy blazer. Avoid darker colored khakis.

Medium weight wool pants can be worn year round. They are available in trim or classic fit. Classic has more room in the seat and thighs. Solid colors of gray, navy and black work best. Woolrich Big Horn pants have classic business casual styling, complimenting open necked shirts, submariners sweaters, Aran sweaters and newsboy caps.
Work Pants
Work Khakis
Slim Fit Khakis
Classic Fit Khakis
Relaxed Fit Khakis
Relaxed Fit Corduroy Pants
Big Horn Wool Pants
Wool Aran Sweater
Newsboy Cap

Business Casual Pants

The smooth leather outsoles of traditional dress shoes can be treacherous on wet surfaces like grass, leaves and marble. Loose gravel can catch us out too. Dr Martens Morris Oxfords are suitable for bad weather, the job site and the office. They mix the ruggedness, traction and comfort of work boots with the versatility of traditional oxfords. Oak, cherry and black are the preferred colors.

Morris Oxfords feature a thinner, smarter air cushioned sole. The traditional yellow welt thread is eschewed, delivering a more refined appearance. Factor in some break in time around the house. The thiner PU soles of Bates uniform shoes retain practicality and represent a progression in formality.

In fact, once polished, they may be worn with a suit or tuxedo. Bates formerly incorporated rubber soles that would disintegrate after 5 years. The new PU Vibram sole resolves that flaw. Black dress chukka boots are extremely versatile complementing everything from jeans to dinner suits.

Pure cotton socks retain moisture enabling bacteria to feed on the feet and make them stink. A cotton and Lycra mix will be less damp. Wool socks will keep your feet dry and sweet smelling. Moisture is wicked away and evaporated, keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer.

Wigwam wool and silk hiker socks are favored for their durability and luxurious comfort. The nylon mix supports machine wash but make sure it's set on cold. Check out the woolly pully page if you want to lanolize your socks. Matching black socks to black shoes and navy socks to brown shoes keeps the logistics pretty simple.
Hiker Socks (USA)
Morris Oxfords
Uniform Oxfords (USA)
Dress Chukkas (USA)

Spread Collar

High quality dress shirts should take priority in our clothing budget as the coat is removed for the majority of office hours. Shirts frame the face and torso, which is what others will focus on. Select your dress shirts by the following sequence, fit, collar type, cuff type, color, pattern and size. A classic fit flatters stout builds but billows on trim waists. Trim fit compliments an athletic build.

Pictured above, spread collars flatter long faces. Forward point collars suit all other facial profiles and may be worn unbuttoned under sport coats, blazers and suits. Barrel cuffs have integral buttons and work equally well in casual or formal context. French cuffs are only obligatory for black tie but make us look and feel special. A selection of solid white, blue, French blue and royal blue shirts is perfectly adequate. Solid white shirts are the most formal.

Consider the necktie the last bastion of masculinity rather than a corporate leash. It serves to unify the disparate elements of a man's outfit. Picking up another outfit color is desirable but avoiding clash should take priority. The tie permits us to adjust tone by selecting subdued solids to suite sombre occasions and vibrant solids or stripes, if self expression is appropriate.

Patterns other than diagonal stripes are acceptable but less flattering. Woven silk delivers an evident touch of luxury. Slim ties work best in subdued solid colors. Their width of 2.25" compliments narrow jacket lapels, which flatter a very slender build.

Tie widths of 3.25" flatter standard lapels, which accentuate the natural 'V' of a developed male torso. The four-in-hand knot is our default. The wider Windsor knot consumes the expanse of a spread collar. The necktie should terminate at the belt line.
Spread Collar French Cuff Shirt
Point Collar French Cuff Shirt
Basic Stainless Cufflinks
Silk Knot Cufflinks

Sport Coats

Sport coats are fundamental to business casual style and may be worn in several levels of formality. Single breasted two button designs are the most versatile. The design originated from the country pursuits of the aristocracy. Today, many sport coats retain rustic undertones, their material will often sport a weave of herringbone, houndstooth or check. Pure wool sport coats will be restricted to cool weather. Blends of silk and wool support year round wear. A keen eye is necessary to wear plaid sport coats without appearing dated or gaudy.

Pairing a sport coat with a submariners sweater, corduroy pants and suede desert boots gives a relaxed look with enough warmth for fall and winter. Ercu, black, navy, royal blue, burgundy and gray are preferred sweater colors. Sport coat, sweater and trouser color should contrast.

Substituting khakis and an open collared, long sleeved shirt takes formality up one level. Add a silk tie and pocket square when in the company of suits. Though less formal, this ensemble will often make more of an impression than competing suits. Coats featuring structured shoulders are most appropriate, if wearing neckties and pocket squares. Understandably, supply of wool sport coats and blazers is seasonal. Stock levels are highest in winter.
Camel Hair Sport Coats
Wool Submariners Sweater

Blazer Navy

Favored by European royalty for their flexibility, blazers blend the formality of a suit jacket with the relaxed fit of a sport coat. Casual use may incorporate lightweight cotton turtleneck sweaters or open necked shirts. However, the blazer trumps the sport coat when necktie and pocket square are incorporated, conveying significantly more gravitas. Solid navy, single breasted, two button designs are the most versatile.

Brass buttons add traditional flair. If absent, ask your tailor to add them during alterations. Deep blue shirts and vibrant solid or striped neckties deliver the greatest impact. Gray wool trousers, olive khakis and tan khakis are classic companions. Avoid blazers in polyester blends or colors of gray and green. They're intended for security staff and professional golfers. Unlike sport coats and suit jackets, blazers may have their lowest button fastened.

Sport coats and blazers have several advantages over generic suits. Purchasing a good basic fit is less difficult, as trouser and coat can be purchased separately. Most suits are sold in fixed sets with a standard drop of 6". This means if we buy a 40" suit, we are forced into 34" suit pants, which may not be desirable.

Secondly, the ability to compose different outfits by mixing sport coats, blazers and pants, creates the illusion of a broader wardrobe. Considering we receive more value from sport coats and blazers, it makes sense to invest in high quality examples with the luxury of natural materials.
Linen Blazer
Navy Wool Blazer
Silk, Cotton Turtleneck


4: The suit

Single breasted, two button, notch lapel suits are timeless. Side vents are typical and make waist alterations simple. A center vent may gape if taken in at the waist. Tropical weaves and lower wool 'S' ratings are cooler. It's better to be shivering at a winter funeral than hiding sweat patches at a summer wedding.

Linen suits are even cooler and well suited to beach weddings but crease too easily for other occasions. Linen blends are more practical. Silk blends are suited to sport coats but lack durability in a full suit. They look great in movies and music videos.

Shoulder fit is the most important attribute in suit sizing. Other alterations are relatively straightforward. The jacket shoulders must terminate where our shoulders end. Move your arms to check for binding, bunching or slop in the jacket shoulders. The seat takes priority in pant sizing. A trim fit has a tighter seat and less rise, encouraging wear on the hips. A classic fit is worn on the waist with more slack in the seat.

Don't be alarmed by extra long sleeves and pant legs. They enable alteration to custom fit. It's easier to remove material than add it. Jacket sleeves should be altered to expose half an inch of shirt cuff when standing straight. Trouser legs should be altered to half break and no cuff. Trouser waist may be altered for comfort and jacket waist cinched to promote an hour glass figure. The bottom jacket button should remain undone to attain proper drape and freedom of movement.


5: The Dinner Suit

Black tie is traditional for diplomatic engagements and industry ceremonies. This dress code emphasizes conformity and understatement. If you are representing your employer at a black tie dinner, being conspicuous is most undesirable. Events such as opening night at the theater or evening dinner on a cruise are less critical. Contemporary Tuxedo styling is little more than a black wool business suit with satin detail on the notch lapel and breast pocket.

This style is more flattering than a peak or shawl lapel. Satisfy convention by wearing a French cuff shirt with lay down collar, black silk bow tie and black formal cufflinks. Black patent oxfords are traditional but high polished, plain toe, uniform shoes, are more durable and comfortable. Patent leather scuffs easily and can be very stiff. Waistcoats and cummerbunds are optional but dated. Outerwear consists of an unbuttoned black wool top coat and ivory evening scarf.

Trench Coat

6: Top Coat

Top coats protect clothing from snags, dirt and liquids while out and about. Three quarter length coats are the most practical. Full length coats present a dated, stuffy image. Double breasted trench coats, great coats, single breasted wool coats and waxed cotton rain coats are the traditional styles.

Developed for military officers in WW I, trench coats offer masculine flair. However, they can appear scruffy in modern khaki or taupe. London FOG offer a stylish interpretation with their retro mud brown, similar to WW II British Khaki. Pictured above, Black is also distinguished and practical. Discard the detachable wool collar liner. Drop two sizes.

The trench coat's collar is traditionally worn flicked up at the rear. Contemporary trench coat belts are disappointing. Consider upgrading to a web belt in black or tan. Modern trench coats will withstand light showers but they aren't rain coats. Wear a navy Beaufort when the rain is pelting down. A gray newsboy cap will compliment either coat.

Most wool coats provide warmth but are a pretty standard affair. Camel is a lively traditional wool color that compliments most colors. Add formality with leather dress gloves, silk scarves and cashmere scarves. Wool top coats can also be worn in casual surroundings. Black leather great coats are a debonair alternative to bland nylon raincoats.

Tying the leather belt in a knot is traditional but may be construed as effeminate. Leather will block wind and rain but doesn't have much insulation. Make extended cold weather periods comfortable by adding a 300 weight fleece underneath.
Trench Coat
Barbour Beaufort
Wool Top Coat
Leather Great Coat (USA)
Dress Gloves (USA)
Web Belt


Skills for success.

There are two groups of general skills required for success, thinking skills and communication skills. All of these skills are based upon empirical experience and proven principles. The material is actionable step by step technique, which needs to be practiced, maintained and referenced.

It requires hard work to develop these valuable skills. However, the material was developed to be accessible for operational staff. You won't be grabbing the dictionary to decipher academic terminology. These manuals will be regularly referenced. I recommend using a physical format, preferably hardcover.

Although good communication skills make things a lot easier, mindset is the most important tool in the success kit. People with the right stuff will succeed through sheer mental resolve and hard work. A mindset has two elements, reference experiences and a mentality. Under pressure, people fall back to their level of experience, rather than rise to the occasion.

Experiencing risk, stress, exhaustion, hunger, cold and pain provides a base reference. A person's coping level is proportional to the hardship of their base reference experience. This is evidenced by the increased pain tolerance of women that gave birth naturally.

A mentality is a conditioned thought process acquired from role models and peer groups. It affects how we perceive our circumstances and how we rationalize our decisions. Victim mentality and entrepreneurial mentality are the two polar extremes. Traits of a victim mentality are a sense of entitlement, laziness, low esteem, rudeness, negativity, egocentricity, helplessness, defensiveness and risk aversion.

Traits of an entrepreneurial mentality are a strong work ethic, motivation, decisiveness, resilience, humility, responsibility, accountability, empathy, self control and risk acceptance. Despite its title, Executive Toughness isn't about business but rather developing the drive and self discipline of an entrepreneurial/warrior mentality.

Create drive by visualizing having already attained your goal. This stimulates the subconscious, the engine of drive. Prioritizing and scheduling tasks prevents procrastination and wasting time on nonproductive activities like T.V., video games and Internet social media.

Every guy is subject to the stimuli of stress, risk, physical pain and emotional pain. Individuals with superior coping skills prevail in a competitive field. Systema breathing drills, detailed in 'Let Every Breath', are a good option for regular guys. Developed for soldiers, the drills utilize common physical exercises, controlled breathing and visualization. The physical exercises build tension.

Breathing techniques and visualization, remove the generated tension. If the body is relaxed, the mind becomes relaxed too. Burst breathing is used to control pain. Deep theoretical understanding isn't required. Skip the first two anecdotal chapters and get stuck into the drills. This isn't necessarily a global endorsement of Systema. Combatives are much simpler and have a proven track record. Though effective, martial arts is more of a lifestyle.

Mindfulness is a more profound approach to altering mentality. Basic mindfulness enables us to become more focused and aware. It flushes distracting negative thoughts and memories from our consciousness. A fundamental tenant of mindfulness is that we are not defined by our thoughts. Formal mindfulness uses meditation to gain extreme awareness of the present.

Ultimately, this enables us to recondition a thought process to select a different response to a stimulus. Formal mindfulness effectively combats stress, anger, chronic pain, PTSD, depression, anxiety and addiction. It's a skill that requires practice to master. There are no religious or counter-religious elements. The audio CD only accompanies printed book formats. The stress reduction workbook is a compilation of the best current techniques including Autogenic training.
Executive Toughness
Let Every Breath
Mindfulness (Book + CD)
Stress Reduction Workbook

Critical Thinking

Learning, thinking and communicating, are fundamental life skills. The Dunning Kruger effect identifies the phenomenon that humans are often oblivious to our own ignorance. We don't know, what we don't know. Ignorance isn't a vacuum, rather a collection of some knowledge, opinion, hearsay, assumptions and beliefs. Ignorance cultivates ego and complacency, which are significant impediments to learning, performance and decision making.

Ego prevents us from accepting informed instruction or constructive criticism. Ego prevents us from holding ourselves to account. Useful training exposes weak spots, enabling us to address them. This requires a performance standard and objective evaluation. Elite performance is founded on mastery of basic skills, which requires thousands of repetitions. Once the basic skills are owned, an expeditionary mindset will continually seek out improved techniques and complimentary abilities.

People often attempt to solve perceived problems rather than addressing actual problems or root cause. Actions based on unsupported assumptions and beliefs are doomed to failure, spawning the idiom "assumption is the mother of all screw ups".

Critical thinking utilizes methodical thought processes as an alternative to natural thinking. Its objective is to provide a successful means of making decisions and solving problems. A critical thinker questions the norms they are presented, resisting confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance, emotional investment and institutional inertia.

Critical thinking is essentially the practical application of logic theory. The core skill is statement (premise) evaluation, preventing unsupported assumptions and beliefs being presented as facts during decision making. Think Smarter is a concise critical thinking action plan, intended to support anybody that needs to make decisions. It's accessible, practical and non-business specific. It employs a four stage process of clarity, conclusions, innovate and decide.
Ego Is the Enemy
Think Smarter


Logic needs to be combined with ethics to support sound judgment. The world is a harsh sleazy place that can wear a good man down if he isn't careful. It takes twenty years to develop a good business reputation and only five minutes to destroy it. Most people favor the easy route to success; brown nosing, back stabbing, cheating and lying, work in the short term. Temptation is even worse, if influence or power is gained. However, sleaze usually surfaces in the long run. Folks that get away with it, still forfeit their self respect, leaving them desperately hollow.

Ethics 101 isn't academic theory or political policy. It isn't a convoluted decision tree. It's not even a how to book. It's a why book. Maxwell boils it all down to one rule "do onto others as you would have done onto you". There are guys out their that love complexity but when things get sketchy, simplicity rules the day.

Frankly, all competent adults know right from wrong. The issue for many is will they get caught. This is what Maxwell addressees, trying to give us enough ammunition to defeat temptation and intimidation. Ultimately, whether atheist or fundamentalist, everybody needs sound judgment and ethical actions to be happy.

However, it's human nature to form tribes and bestow preferential treatment on its members. The rules get bent all the time. Tribes will tolerate a member that's totally straight on condition that they don't snitch on others. Snitching on another tribe member, triggers the tribe to turn on the snitch, rather than the offender. By hook or by crook, the snitch (aka whistle blower) will be forced out of the tribe. That often translates to the end of a career and sometimes imprisonment or even execution.
Ethics 101


Communication skills group into two sets. Conveying presence, confidence and warmth makes the sale. That sale may take the form of a successful job interview, first date or lucrative business contract. If stakes are high, opinions vary and emotions run strong, conveying empathy and respect secures compliance and co-operation.

Examples of such circumstances would be negotiating a divorce settlement or addressing an employee's delinquency. It's human nature to mask our emotional state as a form of protection. Most body language manuals are light entertainment rather than formal instruction. However, Dr Paul Ekman's Emotions Revealed enables us to gain feedback as we apply the communication skills detailed below.

The Charisma Myth is a peculiar little book that is a broad collection of actionable tips, tricks and techniques supporting our first group of communication skills. I recommend using this title first because of its ease of execution. Physical techniques covering focus, nodding, handshakes, speech tempo, speech intonation, speech tone, body language and clothing promptly deliver results.

Conveying gratitude, compassion and warmth are mastered by training to emote from stored memories, just like an actor. Confidence is generated by positive visualization and positive internal chatter. Other topics include selecting the style of charisma that is most suitable, dealing with physical discomfort, difficult people, public presentations and delivering constructive criticism.

Developing charisma is essentially creating a persona and letting it take root. Some of the book's other techniques might be dismissed as parlor tricks but can achieve a profound improvement in quality of life. However, I need to point out that it's difficult to get our mind right without looking after our bodies. Some generic public speaking techniques may obstruct full engagement with an audience.

Be Heard Now guides us in developing a natural public speaking style, particularly useful for impromptu events. Certain job interviewers like to cull the heard with an etiquette ambush. Business Class is a practical guide developed to help us side step these social bobby traps and banana skins.
Emotions Revealed
The Charisma Myth
Be Heard Now
Business Class

Verbal Judo

Verbal Judo introduces our second group of communication skills. Originally developed for police officers, it enables us to interrupt emotional people, calm them and affect compliance through, respect, acknowledgment, interruptive questions and coercive empathy. It also assists controlling our own emotions. George Thomson's simple formulaic approach replaces the natural language that often escalates matters.

Illustrated in Thomson's video lecture, a friendly tone of speech is critical to success. The speech exercises in Charisma Myth provide valuable assistance. Verbal Judo's techniques excel at de-escalation but the subsequent compliance narrative is somewhat sparse. Crucial Conversations amply compensates with a host of prescribed tactics and dialog designed to obtain co-operation under tense circumstances.
Verbal Judo
Crucial Conversations
VJ Video Lecture

Self Esteem

If there is one thing that's an elixir for success with work and women, it's self esteem. Self esteem, self confidence and self belief, are founded on the ability to stand up for oneself. The first rule of being a guy, is not to get emotional when our buddies are breaking our balls. Breaking balls is a rite of passage and good practice for the real world.

Guys must be able to deal with hassle and intimidation in the workplace. I once had a female boss that was a bit of a bully. Four of my colleagues left because of her antics. However, I continually stood up for myself, which eventually frustrated her to the point that she organized my promotion out of her department. Whistle blowers usually fall under the bus. That's why the other four just cut bait.

Breaking balls also develops banter skills and a sense of humor. The only defense to broken balls, is to shift the focus on to some other poor schmuck. Banter is used by guys to contact ladies at bars, clubs and house parties. Self confidence is the outward expression of self esteem. Women are instinctively attracted to guys with self confidence. Dress, posture, body language, speech and eye contact are typical indicators.

It's much easier to develop genuine self esteem than to fake self confidence. Earning money, working out and healthy eating dramatically boost self esteem. Most guys, even millionaires, dress for comfort. Dressing well gives our self esteem another significant boost. Women are highly observant, if a guy dresses well, they will approach him. The conversation may even start with a compliment or question about his attire.

What Wives Want

What Wives Want

1) A strong capable partner:
There is nothing a man wants more than his woman to look up to him with doe eyed respect. However, respect is earned by demonstrating skills and abilities. A husband should be a rock rather than a dependent man child. A guy needs to be able to buy his own clothes, cook for himself, wash his own clothes and clean his own dishes.

We should be capable of clearing air locked radiators, blocked gutters, drains and sewer pipes. Displaying basic vehicle maintenance, electrical DIY and plumbing DIY skills satisfies her instinctive need to build a nest. Basic preparation for power outages and natural disasters lets us take charge in a crisis.

A fitness test is a woman's instinctive system check that her man is still up to the job. Almost any disrespectful behavior intended to illicit an emotional response should could be classified as a fitness test. Women will periodically perform fitness tests well into long term relationships and marriage.

Emoting, retreating or denial are major fitness test failures. The tests will only escalate until the correct response is received or the relationship is destroyed. Her instinctive need is to be sat down and calmly corrected, being informed that her behavior is unacceptable and won't be tolerated. Calmly stay on message. Don't let the conversation get diverted or flipped to your previous transgressions.

2) Understanding:
The sheer emotion of the female experience can make it a tough row to hoe. Emotional instincts that perpetuated the human race in adversity, can become a major source of pain and disharmony. The ambiguity of female instinct spawned the idiom, "Women don't what they want but reserve the right to be pissed off, if they don't get it".

'For Men Only' is the closest thing to an operators manual that men are going to get. Shared instincts such as jealousy or revenge aren't covered. Displaying an understanding and empathy of the female condition eases tension. Understanding doesn't imply acquiescence. Men still need a mission, quiet time, man time and a man cave.
For Men Only

3) Unconditional love:
Unconditional love implies acts of affection leading up to sex are qualified and thus suspect. However, touching, holding hands, hugging, cuddling and small gestures of affection, throughout the day, satisfy a wife's need to feel genuinely loved. Women can't directly communicate their emotional needs. Discover her preferred expression of affection by reading The 5 Love Languages with her. Use it as a launchpad for discussion.

Relationships based solely on infatuation, usually flame out within six months. Shared values, goals and interests offer a more secure footing for long term relationships. Pillow talk is invaluable to emotional intimacy, which is critical for a long term relationship. Pillow talk isn't necessarily related to sex but does take place in bed. Discussing fun and intimate topics, should be a highpoint of the day.

These sleepy, happy conversations, help lovers relax, open up and connect without distraction. Planning future getaways, visualizing a happy future life, reliving treasured memories, compliments and flirty talk, all make excellent fodder. Women are modestly visual but highly verbal. Sharing a saucy passage from her romantic novel can be very conducive to intimacy.

If a women isn't sleepy after making love, a little afterplay prevents her feeling like a sex object. Embrace and tenderly caress her, keeping hands off her x-rated parts, unless she instructs otherwise. Kissing should be sensual, as things are winding down. Whisper sweet nothings to her, such as compliments or her favorite love song lyrics.

Don't go overboard with generic romantic dialog. Keep it personal and intimate. Unconditional touch, pillow talk and afterplay are great, non-soppy techniques that maintain the fragile bond between husband and wife.
The 5 Love Languages

4) To feel safe and protected:
I cover defensive mindset, tactics, skills and gear, on a dedicated page. Some may find it excessive. However, it's one way, rather than the only way.
Self Defense

5) To be financially secure:
Wealth is an emotional subject with a deep psychological impact. Financial stress is the primary factor in marriage failure. Financial disagreements are the primary predictor of marriage failure. All couples need to be skilled budgeters and investors for their relationship to be successful. Sound financial practice may be uncomfortable but is is not complicated.

The secret to budgeting is to use cash and organize it in envelopes. It's relatively easy to lose track with a credit card. It's important that budgeting be a shared responsibility, maintaining the balance of power in a relationship. Dave Ramsey's total money make over is a step by step guide to budgeting, exiting debt, saving and building wealth.
Total Money Makeover
Spendvelope Wallet

6) To be physically satisfied:
Wham, bam, thank you Ma'am, doesn't do a lot for the ladies. Female arousal and climax occur in the brain, which invokes emotional satisfaction to progress. Most women desire a leisurely, sensual, seductive experience.

Emoting warmth, holding hands, brushing hair back, touching foreheads, extended eye contact, shallow kissing, light petting, kissing the back of her neck and shoulders, close embrace, dry humping and heavy petting are preferred. A paced, teasing approach builds her mental tension, providing a satisfying release. Sensual massage is just another string to a guy's bow.
Sensual Massage
She Comes First
Male Endurance

7) To have a good father for her children:
The first three years of fatherhood are a blur of sleepless nights, nappy changes, vomit, teething, potty training, pinching, hitting, biting, hair pulling, screaming and equally charming stuff. Although toward the end, we should have something resembling a human being, that can play simple card games. The man's role is a tag team support partner.

Four years to ten years is a magical time for kids. Most of the following is applicable to girls but boys particularly require a father figure to successfully instill character and comportment. The male psyche yearns for adventure, battle, construction and camaraderie. Bringing up boys is a devilishly simple recipe of discipline, boys own adventures, backyard antics and skill demonstrations.

The subtle act of bringing a water rocket to the local park serves as a meet and greet with all the other local kids. Bring commando comic battles to life with G.I. Joe and some cheaper cannon fodder. Launching a projectile is deeply satisfying, whether skipping stones, using a sling shot, throwing knives, firing potato cannons, paintball skirmishes or air rifle sniper competitions.

There is nothing a young boy wants more than to learn to be a man. Tagging along, observing and helping with work, DIY, motorcycle maintenance, bushcraft, fly fishing, shooting, archery, hunting, bivouac, BBQ, cooking, working out, self defense, shooting hoops, darts, pool and poker. There are also several rites of passage that require the guidance of a father, riding a bike, first pocket knife, first gun and first part time job.

Scooters develop balance and make the transition to bike riding effortless. Capitulating to the nagging for video game machines, only shifts the battleground to getting them away from the thing. Unlike '80's arcade games, which spat a kid out in a matter of minutes; modern home games are epic collaborative quests that suck a kid in for hours. That's a problem. It's best to endure the nagging and continue with real character building activities.
Delta Kite
Book of Paper Airplanes
Hand Shadows
Water Rocket
G.I. Joe
Commando Mini-Books
The Dangerous Book for Boys

Questions & Feedback.

Well, that's about it guys. I hope you found this guide useful. If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to contact me through the welcome page.

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Ian ST John.

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