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Welcome to this episode of Friday Reflections by Dad.Work!

Every Friday I share the best of what we have been doing in the Dad.Work community, to provide perspective, new ideas, and motivation for you to continue on your journey to becoming the best man, partner, and father you can be.

I was on Scott Ramage’s podcast, Brotherhood of Fatherhood yesterday, talking about doing the right hard things and becoming the family’s intellectual leader. Many men are currently influenced by the idea of doing things that are pleasant and simple because that is what society is attempting to establish as the standard! This undermines their self-esteem, which now has an impact on how they present themselves as their true selves. In this episode…

We go deep talking about:

  • Seeking truth, not comfort
  • Being able to trust our intuition and connecting to it
  • Raising our children with what THEY need rather than what WE want as parents
  • Contemplation and being the intellectual leader of your family
  • Being in charge and intentional as a dad

 Mentioned on this episode:

Curt Storring 0:00

Welcome to the Dad.Work podcast. My name is Curt Storring, your host and the founder of Dad.Work. This is episode number 69. Do the hard right thing. And being the intellectual leader of your family, this is a Friday reflections episode where I'm going to go into stuff that's real for me, general thoughts, new ideas, and just something to get you thinking and to maybe break you out of a pattern that you might be in. And this is what I love to do. Because it's real. It gives you guys a sense of where I'm at and what it looks like to be doing the work and to be thinking this kind of stuff. And we'd love to dialogue with you guys, if you have thoughts on the episode. So I'm going to break down a reason, insight and conversation I had with my friend Scott Ramage, he runs the brotherhood of fatherhood podcast, which I highly recommend you guys check out, subscribe on Apple and elsewhere. And we talk about doing the hard right thing. And getting better, not easier. I think this is a problem that a lot of guys are facing today, our society is sort of building this up as the way to do things as being just comfortable and easy. But I think there's a lesson to be had in here. So it's, it's a bit of a, an intellectual exercise. I don't have any answers necessarily. But it's almost a pattern interrupt for me, to instill some more confidence in my own thought and not second guess myself when I see truth in the world. We're also gonna be talking about how you can become the intellectual leader of your family. And it starts with contemplation. This is something I've been thinking about for the last couple of weeks. And I think I'm trying to build this into my life. Because without the time to think, and believe, and contemplate and figure out what I actually think about the world, I can't lead my family, I can't be the intellectual leader and inertia takes over rather than intention. So this is a more of an intellectual exercise for me. And hopefully, for you as well. I would love to hear your feedbacks, you can leave a review, obviously, on Apple, you can leave a rating on Spotify, or you can email me or even perhaps even better DM me on Instagram Dad.Work cart. So we will get into it in a second. At the very end of this episode, I have a quick announcement about the podcast as well as a couple things we have coming up. So make sure you listen to the end, guys, thank you so much for listening. And make sure as I say, at the end of this podcast to use the day, tomorrow and on Sunday, to actually get out there and be with your family and hopefully build some contemplation time into your day. Here we go the next episode of the Dad.Work podcast starting right now. Hey, Dad,

we got a couple of things that I want to talk about today. I don't know where this is gonna go. Usually I've got a little bit more notes. But I'm just gonna go off the cuff today and just see what happens because the two things we want to talk about are doing the right hard thing. And being the intellectual leader of your family. I'm going to start with the first one doing the right heart thing I was speaking to Scott Ramage of the Brotherhood of fatherhood, he's got a podcast, which is your checkout, Apple, Spotify, I think it's basically everywhere. If you're looking for another good podcast on fatherhood, this is one you're gonna want to add to your rotation. It's called the brotherhood of fatherhood. And Scott had me on his podcast yesterday. So there will be another episode. I've been on there before. And I'm super grateful for Scott having me back on. But he wanted to have me on because some of the things I've been posting on Instagram lately have been a little bit challenging. And I mean that both because I would prefer to trigger you on Instagram, then have you not be triggered live a life that might be full of regret, and 20 years from now wake up and go, Oh, no, If only someone had told me. So that's one thing. But the other thing is, it doesn't always align with the so called narrative. And, you know, there's a lot of difficulty in talking about this, because I like to make sure that I always mentioned that there's absolutely nothing in the personal experience of a human that I have against them. It is simply what I think of the sort of culture leading to certain things. So just want to caveat with that. But these things are not always so called politically correct. They're not what you're supposed to think. But I think that they are truth, in many ways. And I'm not saying that I'm the holder of truth or keeper of truths are true to me. They seem true to me, obviously, I'm willing to be challenged on them, as you know, is to be expected in his right in a dialogue. But we were talking yesterday on this podcast. And I think Scott said it best. He said you're supposed to be doing the right hard thing. Don't do something because it's easy, don't do something because it's convenient. If there is truth in it, you should be expected to do that thing. And that means that we should be striving to be better, not living easier lives. And so where does this ring true for you? I've been thinking a lot lately about what is truth rather than what do I want? And so part of my journey lately has been just exploring more of the existential questions that I have almost swept under the rug for a long time. Why something? Not nothing? For example, why do I have consciousness? Why with my consciousness, can I think about my consciousness? What does it even mean? And so as I go into these things, I start to realize, I wonder if there is almost universal truth, if you will, underlying humanity. And obviously there could be a religious element to this, and I will not get into that today. Perhaps another time, but it made me realize that there is likely The truth that we have access to just through our intuition, and through our observation of how humanity actually works in society, as individuals, even in your own personal experience, and I've noticed that I am prone to looking for things that support my worldview and support what I want to be true. And sometimes those things feel out of alignment. And there's this, just this feeling. There's this intuition. And of course, you have to be able to tap into that by doing things like meditation and slowing down and contemplating and thinking and feeling into what is real. But I think that you can access something like that. And I have been thinking, Okay, what does that even mean, then? What does that mean, for me as a father as a man? Okay, well, sometimes what I want to happen is not going to be what needs to happen, or what would be in integrity, or what would be aligned with truth. And so rather than trying to find, you know, the worldview that best aligns with what I want, or what would make it easy for me, I should be looking for the worldview that is most true. And you don't have to take this to its extreme, which I said is probably a religious undertaking. But it can be done in your everyday life, you likely know, when something feels right, there's something in you, that is likely to tell you even though you might have an intuition to do something that is easy, or that is comfortable. For example, you're watching Netflix, or you're scrolling on your phone, and you realize you've been on there for two hours, and you're like, oh, like you know, that's not right, there's something about that, that is a failure to live up to your human potential. There's a failure to lead in that there's a failure to take advantage of the time that you could have spent working on yourself, working on your relationship, parenting your children, I feel like you just know, even though what you want in that moment is to veg out and escape and chill. And so there becomes this almost necessity to differentiate between what is distraction numbing, and comfort, and what is real and what is true. And I don't know what the final version of this looks like, I don't know how deep down the rabbit hole you have to go, obviously, as in all things that are balanced. But I feel as though it's important to just call this out. I think there's a movement almost conditioned us not to trust our intuition. Because when there is something that's happening in the world, I often find myself going okay, here's what I think. And wait a minute, am I being insensitive? Am I being judgmental? Am I you know, stepping on toes because I don't know what other people's reality is? And who am I to judge? And all of those things are good questions to ask, that helps me be humble. And yet, there are certain things that I just believe to be true, that the world would have me say are not true. And rather than doubting myself in this, I'm trying to develop a sort of confidence to go, Okay, I might not think this, and I absolutely have no judgment on it, who am I to judge or shame how someone lives, but I don't have to buy into it. I don't have to live like that I don't have to miss trust my intuition, just because you're telling me that everyone's lived experience is subjective. And that's what's right. I think it's a very slippery slope, you, you lose morality, you lose reason you lose anything that you can inherently feel as being true. And that leads to a great distrust of self. And when there's a distrust of self, I wonder if the overarching thing that comes from that is a belief in either nothing, which is quite nihilistic, or a belief in something greater than yourself with, particularly in our day and age, what I would consider the state or, you know, a non personal actor, and because we have gotten so far out of trusting our intuition, because we have got so far out of step with nature, because we are no longer awestruck regularly. I mean, I saw, I don't know, maybe 100 stars last night on my walk with my son. And that was like, wow, look at all the stars that are out, we can't usually see this mount. But if I were to go out somewhere in the woods away from light, I would be flabbergasted by the millions of stars I could see. And I think we've lost that we've put ourselves on this pedestal, where, instead of seeing what is true, knowing that we don't know, a lot of stuff, we get into this sort of bizarre dichotomy of both thinking that humans and humanity is the be all end all, but also thinking that we don't know anything. And so what do we do in that? Do we put our trust in human organizations, governments, you know, corporations, things like that, or do we just like I said before, become nihilistic and think that nothing matters? Well, I think that's very hard to believe that because as we are going through life, clearly something matters. Otherwise, what would the point be? Clearly we can feel meaning there's a shared lived experience of meaning when you do something versus not doing something and sometimes it's hard to access In a state of depression or anxiety, but I think that there's a reason that we want to be good men, good husbands good fathers, there's something to that, that I don't think can be reduced to meaninglessness. Otherwise, I don't think you'd be able to access meaning as a concept. And so what is there for you? Is there something that you have put on a pedestal outside of your own intuition? Is there someone that you trust more than you trust yourself? Why do they deserve that trust? Are there things in the world that you do? That are easy? Because you don't know what else is? Right? And I, I almost think, to the so called Man box, right in masculinity. So right now we're being told two different things. One, is that there's still this culture of men, the so called Alpha bros, who go there and say, like, just be better, bro. And if you have feelings, well, you're a loser, you know, just just go through it. But I mean, men are humans, we have feelings. And so on the other side of this, you get a world that says, surely masculinity is toxic. So yeah, don't be masculine. But don't feel your feelings, because we can't handle that. So there's like this, this weird dichotomy between be a man, but don't be a man. You know, masculinity is toxic. But also, if you're with bros, they're like, Yo, do just don't feel your feelings. So there's this weird state where we're unsure what it actually means to be men. And we just go inward, many of us go inward. And I think this is perhaps a call for you to stand with what you know, to be right. Rather than wonder, Oh, no, society's telling me these two things. I don't know what I do. Find out for yourself. What is the right hard thing to do here? Is it standing up to a world that says masculinity is toxic? Is it standing up to the bros saying like, No, dude, I actually do have feelings. And I'm okay talking about them, while still being able to be fully embodied in your masculinity. What is real for you, in a way that you sense is potentially reality throughout humanity? And these are ridiculous concepts. I don't even know why while they're tackling them, because I don't know the answers. But I think there's something to be said here. I feel as though there's too much comfort in the world. And we're willing to sacrifice and obviously, this is not meant to be political. And obviously, my views are my own. And again, maybe just let me call myself out here. Whether or not my views are my own, I think they're right. And I'm willing to stand up and have you listened to and be like, Oh, this guy's an idiot, you're gonna write me an angry email. Great, do that, tell me maybe try and be in dialogue rather than blame, which I really tried to promote. But I think that we are way too comfortable as men as a society, and that it is through struggle and hardship and standing up for what's right, where we get to actually forge ourselves into men. And I think this is true, too, for our children. One of the other things we talked about, is this idea of helicopter parenting. And it's, it's weird, right? Because I see this in, you know, the last 510 15 years, there's this idea of helicopter parenting, you don't let your kids get hurt, you don't want to do these things. You want to make sure that you're parenting from a place of comfort and ease, rather than what your child needs. And maybe that's what's running through this whole idea is, I think I saw it on Instagram, it was an account called raised good. And she said, oftentimes we're parenting with what we want, not with what our children need. And so where else is that happening in your life? What are you doing? Where do you want and rejecting what you need? Is there a need out there? Have you as a man, have you as a leader in your family? Have you as a husband? Have you as a father? What is the need, that you feel that you're actually rejecting? Because you simply want something else? And whether that's something else is comfort? Whether that is the want not to be ostracized in an increasingly hostile and divisive world? Is there a want that you're operating from that is easier than doing the right thing or the need? So I think this might give more questions than answers. But it's on my mind. And it's something that I've been thinking about a lot. Where can I maybe take a stand? Where can I stop second guessing myself? Where can I be confident that I am right in a world telling me that I am wrong? Because I simply don't feel good about how the world's going. And I think there's something to that. How many of us, though, are connected to that intuition that goes, pump the brakes here, like Yeah, I get I could be wrong, I'm really open to be wrong. I love learning where I'm wrong, because it helps me learn then what is true and what is right. So can we discover truth? Can we be curious about truth, but in a way that also respects our ability to know, to be confident. And as I said before, it's a balance you must have humility, but I think we have become so humble in a sense that we now don't believe anything that we think and that's a that's a dangerous place. Guys. If you're questioning everything that you believe in, that you think as a human being, you start to distrust humanity, you start to lessen the importance of humanity. And then we see things that I don't know how to say it denigrate humanity basically, put us to the side and you see this. I think personally, just I see this In, you know, people who say that humanity is a is a virus on the earth. Well, like who would care about the Earth? There are no people though. And who gets to make that decision? That seems very fatalistic and anti human. And I think that's terrible. And in a world that I see, and I feel as being more and more like that, what is actually true? And can I trust myself? And am I willing to take a stand to do the things that I think are true and good and necessary, even though they are hard, even though they go in the face of you know, what so called society says is right right now. So this is an interesting conversation, guys, I hope that there's something in this. And obviously, it doesn't turn around and let you do things to hurt other people. It doesn't allow you to take control or power over other people, I think there's a very big nuance we need to have in here as well. But it means that you take control for yourself. And I think perhaps that's what we are missing. There's this mistrust in self. And while you should take a stand, it should be a stand that makes your morality and your right your sense of knowing what that right is, seriously. I'm just thinking now, I have no idea how this is gonna go. I don't know if this is useful at all. But I think there's something here. And so let's move on now, to sort of the meta question the meta picture behind even having these thoughts, which is contemplation, and being the intellectual leader of your family. One thing that I have tried to bake into my schedule the last two weeks and moving forward is more time for contemplation and thinking and being able to write down and go through different scenarios. I feel that part of the problem here is that the world moves at such a fast pace. And the external world, if you will, with society, and technology is going so rapidly that we can never get a grip, we can never ground ourselves in what truly is we just have to be keeping up. And if we stop moving, we get left behind. That's a huge fear. And so we keep doing, and we never be, we never think we never contemplate what is truth. How do I feel what is right here. And the reason that this came to mind was because I'm reading Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and, and, and influence people. And I have such a hard time with that. Because there's a Simon Pegg movie called How to lose friends and alienate people. Fantastic title. But the the positive version that Dale Carnegie version is How to Win Friends and Influence People. So this is a very basic book, I think. But it's extremely important. And I think it talks to a lot of fundamental truths. Speaking of, is there something that's right versus, you know, easy. I think what this shows is that outside of any particular fact, you can see this being true, you can feel these things being true.

But one of the things that he says in his book, just in passing, he mentions that he undergoes a six day fast, which whenever he wrote this, you know, in the early 20th century was a huge fad. Can you imagine way back then I mean, fasting now is weird enough, but doing a way back then What a strange thing to do, right? And he was testing, obviously open to this. He didn't say anything else about it. But he mentioned that he spent a lot of his time traveling, he would hop in trains to travel to do sales calls at the other state or the other town over. He would pay his way by tending to the horses in the horse cars. And I just thought, how much time would you have to think it's not like he was on his phone. It's not like he was listening to music. Maybe he had a journal, maybe he had a book. But those are contemplative practices. And if you were back in the 30s, or 40s, or 50s, I don't know exactly when it was written. But if you were doing that, and you were fasting, and you were at four or five, six days in, man, you could not easily distract yourself. And so there would have been time and expectation. And just, it would have been natural to sit and think, man, how am I feeling right now? Is this fast doing something for me? What do I notice about myself? What am I hungry for right now? Is it food? Or is it something deeper? There's all of these thoughts that can be applied to a very intentional situation that I feel is missing today that we cannot even get into our lives without extreme dedication and intentionality. And so where are you contemplating? If anywhere? Do you have your own view of the world? Have you thought about the existential questions like why is there something not nothing? Have you thought about morality? Why is this right and not wrong? What about the basis of civilization and society? How we organize ourselves? What is a good man? What is a good husband? What is a good father? Do you have a good answer to these questions? Or are your answers repetitions of something you heard along the way? And whether they are or not, is no real difference? It's a matter of whether you intentionally choose what your answer is. And I don't think we can get here without building contemplation back into our lives. And so what this looks like potentially, as I'm exploring it is significantly less time on the phone. It's building blocks in the calendar that I cannot be scheduled calls for. I was noticing a couple of weeks ago, I think I had four or five calls a day. and I was getting half an hour, 15 minutes, 90 minutes between calls. And it simply wasn't enough time to drop into a creative, thoughtful space. And so I was just go, go go and nothing was able to land and integrate. And the same sort of thing can be said for doing work on yourself. Personally, I experienced, you know, the most work that was ever done in my life was when I had a failure, or what I thought was a failure at the time, which has been a blessing now. And I just stopped to feel everything. And all of the stuff I've been doing all the lessons I've been learning, all this stuff I had been running from smacked into me when I stopped moving for a week. And that week turned into a couple of months of slow and flow and contemplation. And that was so important. And so I'm now trying to build in spaces in my life, where I can slow down, or I can let things come to me, rather than trying to, you know, squeeze the blood out of a stone, I'm allowing myself to just be in this bizarre cosmic mystery of life, and see what comes and write down what I think and allow myself to forge my identity as a man, a husband and a father through thinking and then action that comes from that thinking. And if you're not doing this, guys, you're not leading, you're simply not leading, you're showing your children to simply let life go through them. Let life dictate how they live their lives, rather than the other way around. By doing this, you can get out in front of everything that's happening, you can get out in front of how the world interacts with you, you can be in charge, you can be intentional, you can think and have your ideas so that when they come up in the world, you know what is right to bring it back to the first idea, you know, yes, I've thought about this. Here is where I'm not sure. So if something were to hit me in this area of the belief or, or personhood or whatever, I know that I have some questions to answer. But if something hits me over here, which I'm very certain about, I can stand strong, and stand tall and move forward in the lead. So you need I think, at least I need contemplation, intentional, contemplative time in my schedule, so that I can lead my family intellectually, what I bring into the family, in terms of ideas, is going to shape how we live our lives, as well as shaped my children's view of the world moving forward. And that is important that is one of the roles of a good father. Rather than taking things passively and allowing inertia to run your life. Where can you become more intentional? Where can you lead with thoughtfulness? Where can you bring hard ideas, and challenge your children intellectually, so that they learn to think for themselves rather than simply going with the status quo. This is where we get progress. This is where we get growth. This is where we get confidence, and resilience. And I think I want to call out myself, as well as everyone listening to really build this into your life more so that you can lead because otherwise you just go with the flow. And that's great at times, but if your whole life is going with the flow, you will have no

say in where you land, you will be a rudderless boat on the sea. And whichever shore you wash up on that will have to be good enough. And if that happens to be a shore of cannibalistic villagers, then you know too bad if it's the shore of a volcanic eruption, too bad, I would rather have a rudder on my boat. And that means I need to build that rudder with intentional contemplative time. So I'll leave you with that. Hopefully, this has been an intellectually stimulating conversation. And if not, just go to the next episode. We've got stuff coming out every week, obviously, as usual. So yeah, thank you guys for listening to this Friday reflections with me. And I want to just make a couple of announcements as well. The first one is that in the spirit of finding more space for contemplation, I'm going to be doing two times weekly podcasts. There's gonna be a Friday reflections, there's going to be one interview, we've been doing three to this point, and I keep getting feedback. Like, that's insane. And of course, my ego goes Yeah, but I'm handling it. But what's happening is I'm finding my days are just packed with finding guests being on podcasts, having calls with the guys in my men's group, having calls with you know, other guys who are looking for support, I am unable to give this project, the attention and the thoughtfulness that it deserves. And so I'm going to be slowing down ever so slightly. We're going to be putting out one interview a week and one Friday reflections per week. This will give me time to both prepare better for the interviews I do do, and to be more contemplative, with the Friday reflections and with all the other work that we're doing in terms of writing on Instagram. In terms of leading my men's groups. I want to have more time to think about that. How can I create a space in these men's groups that helps a man live a better life as a father, a husband as a man I need to more time to think. And so this is me giving that permission to myself, even though honestly, I just I struggled with this. I think you know, this one of the stories, I'm telling myself one of the tricks that my mind is trying to play on me as, oh, if you, if you cut this to two instead of three a week, you're a failure. And you're a liar too, because you said you were going to do three. And so what if all these guys listening are like, oh, man, I only come here because it's like three times a week, I need these on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. And you know, I've got fear of change, because I'm worried that you will not accept this. And it is the right thing to do. And it's hard, and I'm going to do it. And so I really appreciate you listening to this point, I appreciate that all of you are coming along for the ride, we are literally growing month over month. It's really, really wonderful and scary and surprising. And just I'm so grateful for you listening. But we're going to be doing two per week. But I can focus better on each project and build more space. So that each thing I do is more intentional, is better quality is more based in what I think is true and right and real and helpful. And I'll just leave you with a quick mention of everywhere else that we are operating in case you have not found that yet, everything's on our website, Dad.Work, we are offering a free men's group community call on the last Friday of every month, it's a great way for you to drop in for 90 minutes to do some men's work to build relationships to say what is real, to do a little bit of inner work with other men supporting you, that is on the last Friday of every month. So coming up here in a couple of weeks. And you can find that at dad.org/free. We also have a couple of spots depending on when you're listening to this. In our Wednesday men's group, Wednesday morning Pacific Time, we're almost capped filled our Thursday groups that is now a waitlist only. But of course, there is sometimes ebb and flow when people come into the group. I don't think we'll have any space there for quite some time. But if you are interested, please sign up for the Wednesday group or apply to the Wednesday group I should say at Dad.Work/Group. If there is more and more interest and more and more of a waitlist, I will consider adding a third group if I can make sure that it leaves me time for contemplation and service. We also are launching in just a couple of weeks the village, this is our online brotherhood and training community, we are going to be doing all sorts of men's work in an intentional container of other men who have bought into the vision to do this work with other men. I love just personally, online communities that are based on something specific where you have to actually buy in to be a part of this. And it's going to be very low priced. We're going to start less than 50 bucks a month. It's insane value. We're going to be doing community calls, I'm going to be doing question and answer periods with you guys.

We're going to have a monthly workshop by an expert where you'll be able to listen and ask questions, we're going to be having worksheets and you'll have access to my courses, there's gonna be so much as well as a 24/7 online community, which is going to be off of Facebook, because I do not interact there anymore. And you'll also be able to join a member led men's group to build even deeper community. So I really think this is gonna be the thing that propels us into being sort of a global force coming together we're going to be as we grow, making sure we connect guys locally so that you can build friendships and relationships and even your own local men's groups. This is the thing that I'm so fired up about. So if you are interested in this, please join the waitlist at Dad.Work/Village we'll be sending out a couple of emails over the coming weeks so that you are ready and able to join before anyone else gets a chance to if you are on the waitlist. And that is dad.Work/Village. And I think other than Ins tagram dadwork.curt DADWORK.CURE That is it for now. Oh, perhaps the last thing if you haven't gone through our free 14 day better man better than email series, you can find that at Dad.Work/Email. So just dropping everything there so you know what's going on. And yeah, this has also given me more time to build great intentional communities and offerings, which has, you know, been literally like a lifesaver for me. So I am really excited about building these communities and serving you and helping you grow as a man, a partner and father. And we're gonna be doing all that over the coming months and years. So guys, thank you so much. I appreciate your listening this extremely intellectual and who knows if it makes any sense episode. But that's what's on my mind. Happy to be challenged on it and happy as well if it brings something up in you. That's it for now. Thank you so much for listening. We'll see you back here on Tuesday. It's going to be Tuesday, Friday rather than Monday, Wednesday, Friday, with the next episode of the Dad.Work podcast that is going to be episode 70 with Karen Brody, how dads can rebuild trust in their intimate relationships. That is going to be an excellent show. I love Karen's book open her I recommended that to everyone in our men's group. And I'm just so glad that we got to talk to Karen so come back here on Tuesday for that episode of the Dad.Work podcast. That's it for now. Guys. Have a great weekend, spend some time with your kids and make time to contemplate

That's it for this episode thank you so much for listening it means the world to find out more about everything that we talked about in the episode today, including Show Notes resources and links to subscribe leave a review work with us go to dad.work/pod that's DAD.WORK/POD type that into your browser just like a normal URL, dad.work/pod. To find everything there you need to become a better man, a better partner and a better father. Thanks again for listening and we'll see you next time.

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