8 Mental Tools That’ll Change Your Young Life

This world is an insane place that can make a man go crazy if he’s not properly prepared. Solidify your life by mastering your mind with these eight personality habits that will make you better and stronger in life, love, and the workplace.

By Wayne M. Levine, M.A.

For the past ten years, I’ve coached guys to be better men, fathers, husbands and leaders. Most of the guys are mid-30s to mid-60s. What we learned together, as we wrestled with their relationship and life issues, helped guide me as I wrote my book, “Hold On to Your N.U.T.s—The Relationship Manual for Men.”

The book offers the fundamental wisdom I think all men need to successfully navigate the treacherous waters of life and relationships. And while the information, tips and guidance that I gathered from good men over the years resonates with my clientele, I soon realized that the audience for this wisdom is much larger.

What men are dealing with in their 30s and up, are the same issues they were dealing with in their 20s. In fact, they’re the same issues that began to develop when they were in their teens. It was back then that most men began to sell themselves out for the opportunity to get drunk from the feminine nectar.

Sound familiar? That’s when it first becomes acceptable to blow off your buddies in order to keep her happy. That’s when the dominoes begin to fall, when boys begin to compromise what’s important to them. At the time, it seems insignificant. Eventually, it becomes quite significant, even painful.

These teenage habits set in as boys become men, go to college, date, graduate, get engaged, marry, and have kids. From the perspective of this old guy, believe me, it’s in the blink of an eye.

At the same time, we all learn countless lessons while at the feet of our parents that inform us about what it means to be a man, how to treat a woman, and what a long-term relationship looks like. Some of us had wonderful role models. Many did not.

So, what can you do now to develop new perspectives and behaviors that will help you to be the man you want to be for you AND your woman, current or future?

N.U.T.s

First, a brief overview of N.U.T.s.

N.U.T.s are Non-negotiable, Unalterable Terms. N.U.T.s are the things you’re committed to, the things that matter more than anything else: your work, yourself, your purpose, your spiritual practice, your kids, your hobbies, your relationships, your integrity, your morals and your psychological well-being.

N.U.T.s are the boundaries that define you as man, those things which, if repeatedly compromised, will gradually—but assuredly—turn you into a pissed-off, resentful man who will likely blame others—especially your woman—for your unhappiness.
Here are a few examples:

  • I am faithful to my significant other
  • Fear does not keep me from taking risks.
  • I do whatever it takes to keep my family in our home.
  • I honor my daily spiritual practice
  • I apologize only when it’s appropriate, not simply to please others.

Your N.U.T.s are uniquely yours. They reflect who you are as a man and the man you want to be. Compromise your N.U.T.s, and you’ll compromise yourself. Compromise yourself too often, and you’ll become an extremely unhappy man, husband and father.

To help you honor your N.U.T.s in your long-term relationships, you’ll need a few tools. What you’ll find below are short synopses of the eight BetterMen Tools I detail in my book. These Tools are the sort of guidance we would have all liked to have received from our dads. Maybe you did and this will serve as a reminder. But for those less fortunate, imagine that you’re hearing this from your dad, because the wisdom actually came from other fathers who passed it down to me, and now, to you. Fathering is what we still need to become the best men we can be.

The Eight Tools

Tool #1: Silence The Little Boy
Most of us have a little boy in us. He’s the one who didn’t get the love, attention, guidance, mothering, fathering or discipline he should have gotten – or thinks he should have gotten – when he was a boy. He’s also the real, wounded little boy who was abused and who never received the help he needed to heal and to grow up to be a healthy man. As a result, males in our society grow up without having a clear understanding of themselves as men, and they continue to act like needy little boys. Quit stomping your feet through life and in your relationships. To have a successful long-term relationship and to feel like a successful man, you’ve got to silence the little boy.

Tool #2: Express But Don’t Defend Your Feelings
Rather than discussing your feelings, you simply need to communicate them. When you learn to express your feelings without defending them, you’ll be giving your woman what she needs, strengthening your relationship, and feeling much more like the best man you can be. And when you express without defending with everyone else in your life, you’ll become a man others can count on and respect. Expressing your feelings also helps you avoid the anger, stress, resentment, depression, and a host of other unhealthy emotional and physical outcomes that come with stuffing them.

Tool #3: Cooperate Without Compromising Your N.U.T.s
Men get angry and resentful when they agree to something that compromises who they are, what they stand for. Men who have developed their N.U.T.s have no problem cooperating as long as they’re not asked to compromise what’s important, their non-negotiable, unalterable terms. Men who have not developed their N.U.T.s are likely to not cooperate at all because they live in constant fear of being compromised—they feel they must defend themselves. But when a man uses this Tool, he can show up as the man he wants to be in his relationships at home, at work and in his community.

 Tool #4: Run The Sex And Romance Departments
You had lots of sex at the beginning of your relationship because you romanced her and made her feel special. Now you want to have a vital sex life but you’re too lazy for the romance? As most married men know, that won’t work. It’s your job to run the sex and romance departments. And when you do a good job, you’ll both get what you want. Fear of rejection is probably the most popular reason why men shy aware from this duty. But once you learn the Tools and have a clear vision of the relationship you want to have, you’ll be surprised how much power you have to re-ignite the passion in your woman and in your relationship.

Tool #5: Be The Rock
One of the most important things your woman needs from you is to know that, no matter how she feels, no matter how angry, scared, sad, uncomfortable or frustrated she is, no matter how she acts or what words come out of her mouth, you will still be there when she’s done. She wants to be able to be who she is and know she doesn’t have to be responsible—in those challenging times—for the way her behavior may affect you. If she has that freedom, and you don’t run away, get defensive, try to fix her or her problem, or make it about you and argue, you will be much more the man she needs. You’ll be the rock!

Tool #6: Don’t Argue
Abandon your need to be right. Don’t argue with her. Have you realized that when it comes to arguing with your woman, when you lose, you lose, and when you win, you really lose? There is nothing to be gained from arguing that will, in any way, benefit you individually or as a couple. But you continue to do it. It may even feel, sometimes, as if it’s out of your control. It’s not. When you stop arguing, you’ll see a remarkable change in ALL of you relationships. When a man owns his N.U.T.s, there’s simply no reason to argue about anything with anyone.

Tool #7: Listen
Your woman needs to have someone who will listen to her, care about her, offer her a shoulder to cry on, be there to complain to and laugh with, and to support her. You’re it! Developing this skill—and learning why it’s a challenge for you—will transform your relationships! And when you improve your ability to listen to her, you’ll find listening to be an asset in ALL of you relationships.

Tool #8: Develop Trusting Relationships With Men
Women are terrific. But they can’t—and aren’t supposed to—satisfy our every need. That’s why we need men in our lives. And not just buddies to drink, watch sports or B.S. with. You need trusting relationships with men who will go the distance with you, challenge you when you’re in pain but denying it, who will hold you accountable to your commitments to be a better husband and father, men who will risk their relationships with you in order to be honest, so you’ll do the same for them. These relationships, this support, will help you make amazing changes in your life and in your relationships.

About the Author

Wayne M. Levine, M.A., is a life coach and mentor for men, women, couples and families. He is the author of “Hold On to Your N.U.T.s—The Relationship Manual for Men.” Wayne teaches men to be better, happier and more successful men, husbands, fathers, and leaders. Email your questions to info@BetterMen.org. Learn more about men’s groups and retreats at www.BetterMen.org.
  • http://taoofbachelorhood.com Michael

    Very interesting. The interesting problem men develop over time, though, is that some men start overdeveloping their “N.U.T.s” – creating a large, sometimes very complex set of internal rules that can actually harm them instead of help. (Ever been honked at/given the finger by a guy in the car behind you after you changed lanes safely/carefully? Chances are you violated one of his internal rules.)

    It would be awesome to see an article or series on how to make sure your “N.U.T.s” aren’t holding you back. And perhaps another one on protecting your “N.U.T.s” in the workplace – where IMO they can be compromised much more easily than in a romantic relationship.
    .-= Michael´s last blog ..7 Steps to a Great Online Dating Photo =-.

  • http://www.primermagazine.com/2010/field-manual/fantasy-football-formula-for-nailing-your-picks Andrew

    Hey Michael,

    Those are really great ideas! I completely agree there are times, especially at work, when a man’s N.U.T.s are compromised. The idea of overdeveloping them as well is something I’ve run into. I’ll get them put together! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.
    .-= Andrew´s last blog ..From Kitchen to Mantuary- 8 Tools to Master =-.

  • Jason

    How about “don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t act violently”? “Be The Rock” seems somewhat outdated for the 21st century man and even contradicts “Express Your Emotions”.

  • lol

    Okay, let’s just assume none of your readers are gay or don’t want to start families. That’s cool.

  • herman

    It started off as pretty sound advice then some how became about pleasing a woman. Don’t argue?! Give up the need to be right?! We fought a revolution for that need. Being right is one of the most satisfying feelings in life. Any woman who needs such absolute authority isn’t worth my time…