#202 Good Blokes – Mike Dyson

This week I welcome back Mike Dyson onto the podcast, who talks about his continued work with men through his company Good Blokes Co.

It’s been three years since Mike was on the podcast last, in this conversation he shares with us many of the patterns and consistencies that he sees across his work. He talks about the ‘Man Box’, which seems to be a crappy version of masculinity that is passed down generation by generation, that involves a lack of emotional literacy and a lot of shame and guilt. He also talks about how a lot of this can play into the hands of violence.

Mike also talks about opening up a space for healthy masculinity and what that involves in terms of men defining what they want to be into in terms of their masculinity.

This is a great conversation; Mike gets very passionate, sharing a lot of wisdom and knowledge from his years of doing the work in the men’s space.

https://www.goodblokes.co/

Read Full Transcript

Bryn Edwards 

This week I welcome back Mike Dyson onto the podcast, who talks about his continued work with men through his company, the good blokes. Now, it’s been three years as Mike was on the podcast last. And so what he shares with us in this conversation is many of the patterns and consistencies that he started to see across his work. He talks about the man box, which seems to be this crappy version of masculinity that is passed down generation by generation, that involves a lack of emotional literacy and, and, and a lot of shame and guilt in there as well. He also talks about how a lot of this can play out and play into the hands of violence. But Mike also talks about opening up a space for healthy masculinity and what that involves, you know, in terms of men, defining what they want to be into in terms of their masculinity. This is a great conversation with Mike. He gets very passionate, and he speaks really well. There’s a lot of wisdom and knowledge that you’ll gain from this conversation from his years of doing the work in the men’s space. So enjoy, Mike.

 

 

Bryn Edwards 

Hello, and welcome back to web rail. I’m your host, Bryn Edwards. Today I have the great pleasure of welcoming back. Mike Dyson, Mike, welcome back to the show.

 

Mike Dyson 

Thanks for having me again.

 

Bryn Edwards 

So we were just talking. It’s been nearly three years. Yeah. You were Episode 48. Yep. And we’re early two hundreds now.

 

Mike Dyson 

It’s a different world.

 

 

Bryn Edwards 

It is for both of us. So last time we spoke you were doing rites of passage. Yep. I think it was you were sort of a couple years into it.

 

Mike Dyson 

Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

And you also had a Chinese medicine practice?

 

Mike Dyson 

Correct.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Which was a lot about that. We talked a lot about your upbringing. Yep. And how that shaped some of the work that you did. But if I’m right in understanding, no more Chinese medicine practice.

 

Mike Dyson 

Yep.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Or with rites of passage, the good blokes. And do more men’s work.

 

Mike Dyson 

Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

How is this a function of the demand? Or is it a function of might be more interested? In in the men’s work? Yeah, a bit of bit of column A bit of column B? Yeah,

 

Mike Dyson 

the demand has been absolutely massive. And, you know, leading up to COVID, I was just sort of noting that the the COVID kind of locked down happened about 18 months ago, which was around the time I closed my I closed my clinic and moved into this work full time but leading up to that I was just getting more and more and more demand. And it was really difficult to juggle the two finding I was away a lot for camps. And I just think my passion was more in that area, saying, you know, saying yes to everything, which was leaving me you know, trying to treat patients in my clinic but say our I can book you in, but I’m not in the week after in three weeks, I’m away. Yeah, and all that kind of stuff

 

Bryn Edwards 

does get a bit stressful with the consistency of

 

Mike Dyson 

I had to make a decision one way or the other. And I was 15 years a Chinese medicine practitioner and I really loved it and there’s parts of me that really miss it. But But yeah, it’s it’s been a really exciting journey and pulling the pin on the clinic and, and hoping that I’d be able to pay the bills during rites of passage camps and men’s camps and but the the demands been been huge. I’m sort of turning people away at the moment, which is, which is a good problem to have.

 

Bryn Edwards 

So what’s underpinning that demand?

 

Mike Dyson 

It’s It’s interesting. I think there’s there’s a real appetite for conversations around around manhood and masculinity. I think there’s a lot of people there’s more and more people who are willing to have the real conversations that we need to be having around masculinity. I think it’s just reaching that point where it’s like, are we can actually start talking about this stuff now. Whether that’s about you know, men’s mental health stuff, which is something we’ve kind of swept under the carpet for a long time. It’s men’s, the Men’s Health Week, this week. Yep. There’s more of those conversations happening or whether it’s around how we are as men in terms of respecting women and girls as well. I’m getting a lot more inquiries from from parents of boys saying, How do I have these conversations with my son about consent about mental health about all these kind of things? So yeah, just a real appetite for it. I think.

 

Bryn Edwards 

So. who’s who’s what are the services you’re offering now? And who’s typically taking those up now?

 

Mike Dyson 

Yeah, so the the heart of good blokes CO is that is our good blokes retreat, which is basically a men’s retreat for anyone who’s interested in in driving this this newer, healthier sort of form of masculinity. We talk about a better way to blog. So blog. We’re looking around their workplace thinking, are we as men at our best here, blokes looking around our footy clubs saying, are we are we really supporting each other? When we’re struggling these kinds of things? So, yeah, whether it’s, you know, whether it’s you know, blokes from a corporate environment or blokes from local community groups or or men who just want to be the best dads they can be or the best husbands they can be, or the best boyfriends they can be your brothers, uncles, whatever. How can we unpack this whole masculinity thing? The man box I talked about a lot, and how, yeah, how that’s how that’s formed us, and how we can go on to live happy lives and have a really positive impact on other people. So that’s the good lecture treat and then I do father son cancer or mother son camp as well. And a bunch of work in schools helping schools to design really impactful programmes so that they can have really good conversations around this stuff with with boys at the schools.

 

Bryn Edwards 

superbe. So without giving the whole game away, what are some of the themes that you’re looking at? When you open up this man box? I really like

 

Mike Dyson 

that. Yeah, well, the demand box, there’s a study that came out of Queensland University in 2018. And box study, people can look it up online, it’s really interesting. And they asked a bunch of young men 18 to 30 year old men, not old bloke slightly

 

Bryn Edwards 

old blokes, like young obviously, you must be in a different age category to me.

 

Mike Dyson 

They asked these these blokes, how much pressure Do you feel to fit that that traditional stereotype of being a real man and you know, most men feel a certain degree of that of that pressure? And

 

Bryn Edwards 

the more men so going, when you say a real man, yeah. So what are the themes in that? Yeah, well,

 

Mike Dyson 

when I asked this, I asked these two groups of men or two groups of boys, and they always come back with the same answers. What does it mean to be a real man or to who end up they talk about being tough, strong, dominant, alpha, in control, don’t let anybody disrespect? You don’t show your emotions. Don’t cry. Don’t be weak. Don’t be a pussy. Don’t be a girl. Don’t be anything feminine. Don’t be gay. Be the breadwinner? You know? There’s a lot of expectations which get in the way of us fucking neurotic. Yeah, yeah. And I think all of us as men feel that at some level, there’s some guys who are really stuck in that man box. And the guy’s like, Yeah, I know that that’s a thing. And I’m trying to just be my own man and not feel that kind of pressure. But I think most of us feel a degree of that. So you know, the good blokes retreat is about unpacking that, like how can I just be my own version of myself? Yeah. But there’s there’s five major impacts of the of the man box one is mental health blokes who felt the most pressure to be the man box more likely be anxious, more likely to be depressed, more likely have thoughts of suicide and less likely to ask for help? Yep. Which is the second piece is around being a lone wolf and not not being a collaborate being independent, kind of to have faults and there’s nothing wrong with independence. There’s nothing wrong with being self sufficient. But, you know, can we actually ask for help when we needed as Yeah, can we actually go to the doctor with radical individually and we can we work as a team? Yeah. And the third one is around risky behaviour blokes who felt the most pressure to be the man box with three and a half times as likely to have been in a car accident, which is just fascinating. That whether that’s around drunk driving or risky behaviour, or speeding or whatever it is, and and then around around violence, the blokes who felt that pressure were more likely to have been online bullying or to be violent with another person physically. And then the fifth one is around respecting women. There’s some there’s some interesting stats around women, men who felt the most pressure to be that type of a man was six times as likely to self report. Having made a sexualized comment to us to a woman they didn’t know in public, right, in the last count, remember

 

Bryn Edwards 

that something like that? Says mental

 

Mike Dyson 

health, mental health. Help seeking behaviour. See collaboration? Yeah. Go back through the list ago now. Yeah. Lone Wolf. risky behaviour, risky behaviour. Yep. Violence, and then relationships with women. And so that man box affects, I think it actually affects all all men. We’re all grown up with those little messages. And it’s not just someone saying, Don’t cry. It’s just the looks you get from someone when you’re emotional and the way someone stands, you know, a bit further away from you, on the bus. And I the really interesting one that comes up for me is when when boys are becoming young men, and the one of the big topic that’s come up recently is around respecting women and consent and these kinds of things. Are we actually giving boys the opportunity to learn intimacy and closeness because they don’t feel like they’re really okay to hug their mates, to tell their mates that they love them, even to be friends with Girl is kind of risky. Because you feel like you’re in the friendzone. And there’s an insult word that gets thrown around, you can get called a cent. For being nice to a girl, there’s a long, long history of the word, you have to look it up, right? It’s it’s supposed to mean someone who’s being overly nice to, to, you know, get sexual favours or something like that. But the way it’s used in schools, is like, if you’re just being nice, if a girl drops a book, and you say, oh, here you go and pick it up, someone will call you a sin. Because that means you’re being being a nice guy, rather than being the tough dominant alpha. Right? It’s a little it’s a little disturbing that our, that our boys are learning, like, from each other, that it’s not cool to be to be friendly and kind. Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

So you brought those five things out? Do you see how this all comes together? As as like this self perpetuating pattern? Yeah. You know, whether it’s cuz I asked that, because it certainly strikes me as I listened to you, you know, even you know, into generally did intergenerationally Yep. Where? You know, we have, you know, fathers have not traditionally talked about feelings. Yep. Is your remember, right. Your father was an ex Vietnam vet. Correct? That’s right. Yep. And, and that, that raises an interesting question as well. You know, we’ve gone for a long period of time without actually being exposed to the horrors of war. Yep. So whether that has helped to open up this space for men to be less than the man box? Yep. Because the man box may well have been shaped from fathers or grandfathers. You know, I come from England. So you know, my grandfather who has passed away, we’re both of them. But they both had experience of Army War post second World World War Two, yourself. So now we’ve got that sort of space that you can see how with the, with the rigid nature of this man box of, you know, lone wolf, don’t talk about emotions. You know, I use the word early warning, that sounds freaking neurotic. But you can see how it spirals around. Because if you’re not, if you’re not even being kind to other people, is bizarre or challenging, being kind to yourself very little chance even contest itself, because that’s seen as you know, we wet pussy type behaviour. Yeah. And then there is only a destination of mental and emotional health problems out. Yes, that totally. And plus, you know, we’re not exactly encouraging emotional literacy. No,

 

Mike Dyson 

we’re totally not you’re not supposed to have any emotions, let alone talk about them. So how are we supposed to breed these, you know, emotionally mature, and, and kind and caring and collaborative and resilient men? If we’re telling them you’re not supposed to have an emotion? emotion is a sign of weakness? If you have one, don’t talk about it. Yeah. How are we supposed to be resilient and strong? If we’re not actually understanding our inner world and how to manage a difficult time in our lives? You know?

 

Bryn Edwards 

it because I find nowadays I mean, look, I, I grew up in a English boys boarding school for 11 years. Typical Lord of the Flies type stuff here. So yeah. And so it’s very much shields up. Yeah. All the time. Yeah. Yeah, no showing any emotions. But what I’m finding more and more is that as we go through life, you have to process your emotions. First, before you can get to any sort of rational, logical thought.

 

 

Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

And, and people, you know, there’s been this misnomer of, I will put emotions over here, and we’ll deal with them later. But I think one of the, I’m finding one of the truths of the human condition is they actually come first,

 

Mike Dyson 

we’re driven we’re driven by we think we’re quite rational creatures as human beings, it’s actually rubbish. Our behaviour is kind of automatic, driven by emotions, and very much cultural as well. It’s like our, our behaviours are in the way we are with each other. So if I ask you how you’re going, you’ll say, Oh, good, thanks. Yeah. Or something similar? Because that’s just what we do. Yeah, you’re not saying that because you’re good. You’re saying that because that’s the the expectation of how we are as human burners. So that’s why it’s tough to change this kind of stuff, because it’s so ingrained into our culture. Yeah, that I’ll take the car keys and my wife will sit in the passenger seat and all these tiny little things that have me thinking that I’m Supposed to be the one who worries about the mortgage and stuff? Yeah, you know, little though I know that she’s worried about the mortgage as well.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. Which makes it sometimes, you know, and I’m not trying to open another massive rabbit hole. We’ve got some more to go to. Yeah. And but that’s why I wonder sometimes whether calling it mental health is actually a misnomer because he’s actually emotional health. Yeah, yes, men. I think we do mental quite well.

 

 

Yeah, well, you know, to a degree,

 

Bryn Edwards 

we do a lot we do a shit tonne of thinking, yeah. Do we do a lot of feeling? I would argue, yeah. And

 

Mike Dyson 

do we have the literacy? Or do we have the vocab? But one of the first things I do when working with younger guys is like, let’s start working on vocabulary. What kind of words do you have that describe the feeling of when you’re down and flat? Yes. Throw them out. Yeah, say what kind of words you have to describe fear. What kind of words you have to describe anger. And they throw all these things at me. I’m like, cool. Which one Have you felt most of today? And then they’re like, Oh, it’s this. It’s this. It’s this? Yeah. So when you when you create that space boys and men I find a really happy to have a conversation is not. It’s just not normal. In our normal kind of environment. Those conversations don’t happen around the water cooler, they don’t happen in the in the lunch room, we’re going to create a bit of a different environment for us to be able to have those conversations. And when we do I find men actually absolutely love talking about feelings.

 

Bryn Edwards 

I think it’s when you create, I find with many, many things like this and other you know, sort of weird and wonderful discussions. If you create the space, or in this space, then people like, Oh, that looks pretty safe. I’ll come in. Yeah. And so now I can talk about this.

 

Mike Dyson 

Yeah, totally. Which is not rocket science. It’s just like, what do we need to be safe here? Like, let’s really respect what people are saying, Let’s not interrupt. Let’s not not even give them advice and these sorts of things, or I call what’s going on for everyone? Yeah. And it’s Yeah, it’s relative. There’s some there’s some simple tips and tips and tricks to get blokes into the space to talk about what’s really going on. But yeah, my experience is certainly blogs actually really want it’s a human need to talk about what’s what’s actually going on in our lives. What’s hard, what, what our hopes and dreams are so difficult for blokes to talk about what’s really beautiful in our lives and what we really want in our lives as well.

 

Bryn Edwards 

And yeah, it’s interesting, say that, because I found whilst I was still stuck in the man box, yeah. And that often, you know, people around me would ask me, you know, how’d you feel? What do you want? And half the time? I didn’t know, because I didn’t even have the space to explore it. Yeah, you know, you know, around feelings, you know, being able to coordinate and locate. I feel like this. And that word actually resonates. So now I’ve made the connection. Yeah. And then what is it? I want? All I don’t know, but it feels a bit like this. And I don’t want that. So let’s have some space to explore that. Yeah. And it’s like, oh, crap. I’m learning something about myself. Yeah, as I’m talking as I’ve got a safe space, where I’ve not got to be right. I’m not going to be correct. You know, I could make sure you don’t look a day. No, yeah, look like a dick.

 

Mike Dyson 

But if you actually, you know, take a breath and breathe. How am I feeling? I feeling kind of prickly and hot in my in my ribs. I guess you’d call it anger. Okay, cool. That’s what’s driving that bow call. How do you want to feel? I want to feel like this. What can I do here? But we’re not. We’re not taking that breath. We’re not taking that pause to realise I’m, I’m actually reacting here. Yeah, we’re actually reacting out of fear or out of out of sadness. So yes, practising taking a breath and practising building that emotion and practising talking about it. Which is, which is a, you know, a courageous act as a man to talk about

 

 

your feelings?

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yes. So if we flip it on its head, what are some of the hallmarks? Or would you say now of healthy masculinity? Yeah,

 

Mike Dyson 

well, I think it’s about it’s about diversity. It’s about authenticity. It’s about being who you are. Yeah. So I don’t think there is a healthy masculinity. I think there is. I think the opposite of the man box is just being who you are. Yes. And if you’re into 40, and beer great being fully in beer, because you’re genuinely

 

Bryn Edwards 

into 40 Yeah, yeah. Because

 

Mike Dyson 

you’re into 14, whereas if you’re into cha cos ki and Tolstoy be into that and if you’re into hip hop and you know, jazz be into that like like if you’re into drawing draw if you’re into kayaking, kayak, just be your own person rather than rather than us all having to be fully in beer. Just being just do the things you want to do and be who you want to be. And and I think the other thing is around knowing for me a good man because my company is good. brightscope so a lot of people ask me what is a good boy? Yeah,

 

Bryn Edwards 

funny. raise the question. Yeah,

 

Mike Dyson 

I still I still think about it in terms of yin and yang for me. It’s the, the the Yang, man, I want to be as strong, resilient, dependable, reliable, accountable, accountable for my actions and make good on my mistakes. And on the inside, I want to be kind and caring and loving and generous, and humble. And so I’m not all of those things all the time, but I’m having a crack. I’m just I’m just like I can be. So that’s healthy masculinity to me.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. And that. Yeah, because it is young and young. Yeah, totally. And we do have stuff lurking around in our shadows. Yeah. That we’re yet to integrate. Yeah. Totally. Thanks to the man box. Put a lot of stuff in there.

 

Mike Dyson 

So yeah, there’s this expectation that you’re either being tough and strong. Yeah. Or you’re some kind of a flaky we’re, and it’s like,

 

Bryn Edwards 

a permanent state.

 

Mike Dyson 

Yeah, it’s either one or the other. It’s, it’s, it’s not a zero sum game. You know, being emotionally intelligent does not make you less resilient. It makes you more resilient. Yeah, it doesn’t make you less reliable. It makes you more reliable. Being kind doesn’t stop you from being strong,

 

Bryn Edwards 

you know, or assertive or having boundaries. Yeah,

 

Mike Dyson 

it’s strange that we have this black and white view, or you’re either a tough guy or you’re some kind of a girly man. Heaven forbid, you display some kind of feminine traits. And it’s like, I had to put my dog down a couple of years ago, I was crying my face off, while mowing the lawn, I thought this is an interesting integration of yin and yang, I’m doing this traditional masculine chore of mowing the lawn, whilst in the depths of sadness at the loss of you know, my best mate or 15 years is like, you can have both you can be emotional, and get the job done. It’s not mutually Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Because I see. I see find now that as a journey, Don, looking at the typical man box type way of functioning, I actually looked at as being quite weak nowadays. Yeah, it’s not very, it’s not very flexible. It’s not very flexible. And it’s, it’s quite a house of cards. Yeah. Which comes down quite quickly. And then obviously, once that comes down quite quickly, if we’ve not got that emotional literacy, or we don’t know what to do with these overpowering things that we pushed away, you can start seeing how then violence ensues.

 

Mike Dyson 

Yeah, what’s gonna break so you know, like, we want to be as men like, like bamboo, you know, you can build, you can build scaffolding out of bamboo. It’s strong and reliable. We don’t want to be the kind of wood that breaks when you when you bend it. And the problem when when we break as men is the leading cause of death in young men is suicide. Yeah, three quarters of suicides in Australia are our men. Yeah. Which is not held. And on the other side, violence 19 92% of victims of violent crime in Australia named the perpetrator as a man. You know, sexual violence is predominantly perpetrated by men. Domestic Violence is predominantly perpetrated by by men. And we’re killing ourselves. It’s, it’s Yeah, it’s not a great situation.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Mm hmm. And I guess again, and regular lesson listeners will go, Oh, he’s gonna bring out that hypothesis again. Is that so I’ve moved. I’ve moved here. I’m playing with this hypothesis at the moment. Yeah. That the rising the rising mental health issues, particularly around anxiety, depression and suicide. Yeah. To a degree, an appropriate response to an environment that is not healthy. Yeah, I agree with you. 100%. So we’re like the canary birds in the mineshaft? Yeah, yeah. And if our mineshaft of man bogs is producing this, then we’ve got to come back and have a look at it and go, the way we’re doing this is just not on. Now. Why is that? Because we’ve probably been buying into this mimetic story. She’s not really serving as Yeah, a lot, which we as humans are really good at buying into mimetic stories that don’t really serve us. You can blow that out to capitalism and all sorts but that’s not the focus of this conversation. Yeah. But yeah, more and more start to look at, because because the challenge I’m finding at the moment is, as we’ve moved to this more sort of radical individualised focused culture that we seem to have, that places an enormous onus on the individual. Yeah, so particularly, you know, if he, if you’re a man, and you’re having these weird thoughts of, you know, potentially sitting in the car with a hose coming in or or behind yourself or something like that, that’s all going to be scary. And that’s all going to be like, oh, there’s something wrong with me. Yeah. So I won’t talk about it and I won’t ask for help. Yeah, yeah, cuz because we’re also not we’re also really good at not going to the doctor for the slightest things that Yeah, time. Yeah. So So Then, you know, with this extra focus on, you know, over individualization is easy for us to then go. Or there’s something wrong with me. Yeah. where it’s like, no, there’s actually nothing wrong with you. Yeah, it’s the way you’re doing this. And the way you’re doing this is because of this bigger, yeah, non box type culture that we seem to be moving around in

 

Mike Dyson 

the cultural expectations on men and the world that their fast paced, busy world that we live in, there’s no break for our nervous systems, we go from working 60 hours a week to doing the laundry to scrolling through Facebook, to watching Netflix to, you know, not getting enough sleep, and then straight back to back to work again. And we’ve we’ve, you know, lost a lot of that sense of community in our lives, you know, human connection is a neurological need. There was a book that I read recently by Vivek Murti. I’m probably pronouncing his name wrong. He was the chief surgeon general of the US, like highest ranking medical officer in the US. At the end of his tenure, he wrote a book about what he considered the most pressing issue facing the US medical system, which is human connection. Yes, he talks about how neuro scientists have identified three levels of connection that we need, we need friendship, yes, we need a common sense of purpose. And we need a deeper emotional connection. We don’t when we don’t have that human connection, it can be as dangerous social isolation can be as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, yes to our physical health, not just our mental health, like actually the impact on your heart. So imagine the damage it’s doing to our mental state of well, being this feeling of isolation, which, you know, many of us on some level are feeling more and more and more than we did, you know, 20 or 30 years ago,

 

Bryn Edwards 

and, and often, I suppose it’s difficult to put your finger on it in a busy life. Yep. We’ve got these devices. Yep. that make us feel connected. Yeah, I can FaceTime mum and dad in England. Yeah. But that’s not me being with mum and dad. Yeah. And yeah. And yeah, it can leave you feeling quite hollow inside. Yeah. And then all of a sudden, the joy drips out of life. And then you start doing weird and wonderful things to try and get a buzz.

 

Mike Dyson 

Yeah, yeah. Totally. And the, the, the interesting, you know, the spike in anxiety and depression since, you know, what was it 2007 when the iPhone was invented? Was was that? Is that a cause? And effect thing? Or did we just jump onto these iPhones because we’re already feeling incredibly disconnected for each other? I think it’s actually once again, it’s a bit of column A and a bit of column B. Yeah, we like those things because we’re already feeling disconnected. And they certainly don’t make you know, there’s some friends that I have on the East Coast that I wouldn’t connect with otherwise. So they’re really wonderful things around modern technology, but they they don’t make me feel connected on a really deep, nourishing level. It’s like the difference in having a burger from McDonald’s versus having actual real food. Like, it doesn’t doesn’t leave me feeling fresh and healthy and nourished afterwards. You

 

 

know? Yeah,

 

Mike Dyson 

it’s it’s junk connection that we get on social media. Mm hmm. So what

 

Bryn Edwards 

was some of the key themes that you’re really personally resonating around? At this moment at the moment? Yeah, well,

 

Mike Dyson 

I mean, Men’s Health white week, we always start to think about men’s mental health and what we what we can do to be part of the solution there. But the the big one that’s been in the in the news for me recently and a lot of parents of boys asked me about is how to teach boys about respecting women and consent in these kinds of conversations. So that’s been the the biggest one that’s come up in some of the schools that I work with and on father son camps and Mother suncat the mother son camps a beautiful opportunity. We do that murder in December the next one, we’ll do it again twice next year for boys and years at eight and nine, and they get a chance to actually hear the stories of of women from from the from this community. And I think it’s actually a rare thing for boys to really hear what’s going on for girls and women. You know, I often say 15 year old boys aren’t that the key target market for feminist literature for feminists podcast, like they’re not going to go out and, and buy Clementine Ford’s new book, they’re just not. So if we don’t give them a chance to hear the stories of women and girls, they’re never going to know what it’s like. And conversely, I think it’s super valuable for everyone to know what it’s like being a 15 year old boy being in a school. Where there’s this pressure to be tough, dominant, alpha strong, cool. And to not be a simp, to not be kind and respectful and, and thoughtful in those cases. So it’s like it’s a really unhealthy environment that they’re growing up in. So yeah, consent and respecting women is the is the big sort of hot topic at the moment. And something I’m really passionate about. I’m a father of two daughters as well. And, you know, I have great relationships with with a lot of women in my life, and I really want them to feel safe and respected and valued in the world. And I think a lot of them aren’t feeling that way, you know? So I think we’re in a position as men, we can we can do something about that. So those are the sort of blokes that I feel are coming. You know, being attracted to good blokes co at the moment are blokes who are like, ah, how do I do something about this? How do I have this conversation with this bloke at work? Who is being incredibly disrespectful? How do I have a conversation with this bloke at work, who might be really struggling? And it’s coming out as aggressive towards, you know, women in the workplace, and whatever else that might look like? So that’s the big kind of, that’s the big hot button issue. I think at the moment,

 

Bryn Edwards 

I suppose with all the coverage in the press of reason. These are quite hot topics. Yeah.

 

Mike Dyson 

And there’s a lot of parents out there who are like, Oh, my boy could grow up to hurt girls and women. And and I don’t, I don’t want him to do that. And, like I talked about before, like this, are we preparing boys for, you know, beautiful, intimate relationships, I think we want we want our boys, I want young boys to grow up to have a beautiful, tender, gentle, kind, caring, relationships with, with people that they’re intimately involved with. But also, you know, girls and women in their workplace, in their communities, and all this kind of stuff. And I just don’t think we’re preparing boys for that. We’re not we’re not telling them that intimacy is okay. I call it the intimacy gap. I might have to write a book on a TED talk or something like that.

 

Bryn Edwards 

is where there is gap, then you fill a void with rubbish? Usually? Yeah,

 

Mike Dyson 

well, well, what they’re filling the gap with is the average, the average age of first exposure to pornography is is 11. And the the average age where boys are starting to use it regularly is 14. Right? So like regular use of porn at the age of 14, like, is that teaching you how to how to have respectful relationships? I don’t think so. No, they’re learning about this stuff from their mates. And from the internet. It’s like, there’s a lot of conversation now boys needs to be blind leading the blind. Yeah, that is? Yeah, totally.

 

Bryn Edwards 

I mean. Yeah. And, you know, I think, look, I’m just thinking back to the first time I encountered pornography. Yeah. And it was, yeah, well, it was a magazine. That was different batteries. Just ladies with Kitt off, right? Yeah. you’d read the stories. And even they had an element of how should we say? Fake romance? Yeah, going on in there. So at least it was like a story in it. Yeah. Not just two people come together,

 

Mike Dyson 

buying it. And there’s a bit of your imagination in their work right now. What you’re seeing on the screen is nothing. Yeah, it leaves nothing to the imagination. And it’s it’s mostly not kind and caring and loving relationships that are displayed in in porn. It’s a certain certain way of being it’s, it’s a man box type of relationship. You could say, if you want to call it a relationship, it’s probably another word for interaction interaction transaction. Yeah. Yeah. And so how do we move from transactional towards mutual benefit? So one of the big things that I think it’s really valuable to ask our boys is, if you’re having sex, how do you want the other person to feel? So rather than consent being framed as How can I get what I want? Without getting in trouble? Is this other person okay with me doing something to her or him? versus our? What do they want? How can we have a good time? How can everyone be winning here? Yeah. Because when I asked boys, you know, how do you want the other person to feel they’ll, they’ll say, Oh, I want them to feel safe. I want them to feel respected, I want to feel cared for. I want them to feel good and come back for more is a common,

 

 

which is, you know,

 

Mike Dyson 

and then there’s a whole bunch of other boys who say, I don’t know, I’ve never thought about that question before. Yeah. And that’s the issue. If we if we’re not thinking about how we want the other person to feel, then you’re going to run yourself into all kinds of trouble. Because then you just entering this consent, consent conversation going, I want this. Are you okay with this, and that’s where the grey area starts to come. Whereas if you’re going into a sexual relationship going, what do you want? How you want to have a good time here? What do you want it to look like? Do you like this or do you like this? Then, you know, the consent conversation becomes a heck of a lot easier.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Mm hmm. Do you think? So? I always get concerned that Adam got this. There’s, I understand why we need to focus on having these conversations with young boys. Yeah, right. Yep. And while they’re at school, I get it. Right. Yet, when you leave school, and, you know, school can be this lovely cocooned environment. Yeah. But then you go to the outside world. So you go and do an apprenticeship. Yeah. Or something. Yeah. Then you’re in to full exposure of the man. But

 

 

yeah, it ramps up after you leave school. Yeah, yeah. And, and there’s not many places to come back from. Yeah. You know, anyway.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Because because now you’re in the, you know, your informat man box work place. Yeah. You know, now it’s expectations of things like, you know, pubs, clubs, booze. Yep. And all of that Friday over drinks rolling into all sorts of Yeah, awkward stuff and ball joints, chairs. Yeah. All of that sort of stuff. And so, look, I always have this challenge with Yes, I understand that we need to educate kids. Because it’s, you know, at some point, if we consistently do that, they will. It’s not bludgeoned their way through. Yeah, over a period of time. Yeah. Right. But at the same time, sometimes I wonder, you know, is it or would we get to where we would want to? And let’s just say where we want to get to is a, a masculinity? That was more like you described earlier on? Yeah. If we also really focus out I don’t know, I’d say that sort of 3545? Yeah. Type? area? Where is it? This probably brings in almost the concept of elderhood. Yeah. Because you, you’re going to have this bunch of 20 year olds who’ve come out of school, having this traumatic experience of having to leave the lovely cocoon of school and come to work. Yeah. Right. Who can start to perpetuate a whole lot of weird and wonderful behaviours. But ultimately, it’s going to be this next group, which is kind of our age. Yeah. Where we can look around and go, that’s not fucking acceptable. Yeah. And if you don’t do that, you’re out of the job. Because by this point, we have the responsibility and the authority to be able to do that. Yeah. which then makes the transition for the kids coming out of school. Much more gentler, do you get? Totally, because sometimes, you know, and look, I’m totally I’m thinking about this more pragmatically. Because I’ve met lots of people. Oh, you know, we need to educate the kids, we need to educate the kids need to educate? And we do. Yeah, but we also need this like middle tranche to be educated. So it is easier for the kids Otherwise, the kids are almost like, I have this vision now. Just like, you know, what was I just send the kids in, send the kids, enough kids in there, and some of them will be lost on the way. And finally they’ll get into the opposition post? Yeah. Did you get where I’m going?

 

Mike Dyson 

Yeah, totally. And I think I think the key thing there is like leaders need to be embracing a healthier form of masculinity. So there’s a lot of you know, you know, after you whether you go through university, or apprenticeship or whatever, when you go out into the workplace, how many workplaces in Australia have really healthy cultures around around masculinity? It’s like, you look at the number of female CEOs. And you know, there’s more what was the stat that came out last year, there’s more, there’s more CEOs in Australia called David than there are female CEOs, right? Which is a little bit you know, it’s slanted is a little bit one sided, you could say so, are we making room for women in leadership positions? And are we making room for anyone who is not hyper masculine in leadership positions, what we actually find is that is that good leaders have what we call those traditional feminine traits, then their collaborators, their collaborators, they listeners, they’re empathetic. So what kind of culture are we creating in those workplaces that kids are going to after they leave school? Well, that’s, that’s up to middle aged white men. That’s our GIG

 

Bryn Edwards 

that is bestowed upon us.

 

Mike Dyson 

Yeah, that’s, that’s our that’s our chance, like were often in those positions of being the small business owner, the board member or all of those positions. It’s like it’s our opportunity here. And it’s actually It feels really good to take responsibility for these. We don’t have to be the ones who are the blame. And we’re not the cause of all of the problems. We didn’t. We didn’t create the man box ourselves. So we did No, no, no, we didn’t build the patriarchy. We’re just, you know, being put in this. well groomed right handed tissue. Yeah. So now that I’m the head of this business with 200 employees, because of my privilege as a as a healthy white bloke, in part, probably because partly, I’ve worked hard and probably because I’m a smart bloke, and probably because I’m a bit ruthless. And probably because I knew some of the right people. Okay, well, now I’m here, what am I going to do about it? How am I going to include other people in that, yeah, we’re gonna make it a really good environment for healthy young men and healthy young people of all genders and diversity. Because diverse workplaces are, you know, effective and efficient and productive and profitable workplaces, because you get to hear from a lot of people’s different sort of perspectives. So it’s a real opportunity for us as white blokes to learn and lead and create really healthy cultures, whether that’s like I said, at the footy club or with your mates or, or in your workplace, or wherever that is.

 

Bryn Edwards 

You see where you see my point, though? It’s good, because I see often, you know, it’s almost like this regret. Oh, it’s not happening for me. We need to put it all into the kids. It’s like, well, it can still happen. Yeah, totally. And in actual fact, if you want the kids to inherit a workspace, that’s great. And isn’t like what you went through? Then the responsibilities, responsibilities, even bigger on you. Yeah, shape and make the space for them to come into that.

 

Mike Dyson 

Yeah, it’s all just tap out. Yeah, yeah, it’s down. It’s hard. And it’s awkward to lean into it, but it’s actually incredibly rewarding. And like the youngest guy, we’ve got booked into the next year trees. 18, the oldest guy we had on the last retreat was 76. Yeah, you know, this is this is for all men. This kind of stuff we can all be, you know, the majority of blokes that is showing up are in their 30s and probably into their 40s. But it’s really it’s this is for any of us to think about how can we all be part of the part of a better world here where we as men just get to be ourselves? And and women and girls get to feel respected and safe and valued. It’s like, I want to live in that world. Why don’t be part want to be part of the solution? Yeah,

 

Bryn Edwards 

we’re not Yeah, I guess. Not even feel safe. Safe. Just given. Would should be Yeah. No, no. Not a feature. Yes. To give it Yeah. Yeah. No, totally. It’s not a high bar. We’re setting like we just want people to feel safe. Yeah. Yeah. Safe and trust you know, yeah. base level of over adequacy. Yeah,

 

Mike Dyson 

it’s it’s it’s pretty simple. It’s It’s sad that what the stories that we’re hearing more and more and more is that women just aren’t feeling a basic level of safety in the world and like we can we can be part of the solution and we can we can choose to feel our I’m not that guy. I’m not a rapist. I haven’t causing that problem. It’s like, well, that you’re not you’re not part of the solution night. But you’re not you’re not helping to fix the issue by saying, oh, wasn’t me. Yeah, that’s great that it wasn’t you?

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah, what are you gonna do about because if the stuff Yeah, cuz if the stats are, you know, exactly what they’re either one in five ladies is as encountered x, y or Zed Z’s go. Yeah, well, four and five don’t. Yeah, like world. But what are the four and five doing to make that not acceptable, though? The one not acceptable? Yeah. As opposed to?

 

Mike Dyson 

Yeah. What are the what are the healthy men doing out there to, you know, to call the other blokes out, call it call them up, we like to say these days rather than call them out, rather than calling bad behaviour out, call them up towards a better version of who we want to be. It’s like, because most men like when I I go into school workshops, and I create a list for boys like Who do you want to be? What kind of man Do you want to be? And they say, Oh, we want to be dependable, reliable, resilient, hardworking, fun, funny, humorous, humble, caring, loving, kind. Yeah, like all of this stuff comes out a whole rainbow. Yeah, the boys want to be all of the character traits that any human being of any gender wants to be. But there’s just a bit of stuff that gets in the way and we kind of learn that being tough and alpha and pushing other people around is how we resolve our problems. In terms of resolving our problems there. James Gilligan does a bunch of has done a bunch of research for years in the UK in the US reckons the primary cause of male violence is shame. It’s men not feeling man, enough men. feel like they’re being disrespected and pushed around. And they’re being violent towards another person to regain a sense of control in our lives regain a sense of power. Yeah. So, so if we can avoid shaming men for not being mad enough, where we’re a long way towards a solution. Hmm. And when you think about it from a male suicide perspective, as well, it’s when, if you think about shame, it’s when people start feeling like a burden, that they’re in real trouble. And that’s the red flag, then this is one of the environments. Yeah, so if we can, if we can dissolve the shame of not being mad enough, we end up with happy, healthy blokes who are okay to look after themselves and are just being kind to healthy collaborators to a healthy community.

 

Bryn Edwards 

And I can certainly see listening to how you’re running the man box. Now, modus operandi. And, you know, like, life hasn’t been easy. Yeah. Over the last 18 months. Yeah, the latest. A lot of things that we uses external coordinates, to shape our identity and maintain our identity and who we are and how we do things as well as just there being general uncertainty in the world where I found the best thing to be able to do at times is just to be able to sit back and go, I don’t know. Yeah, I genuinely don’t know. Yeah, I have no idea how this is going to map out.

 

Mike Dyson 

And to say that I don’t know is not a highly revered man box nitrate Deuce to admit that you don’t have the answer. Yeah. Is is takes takes courage. And to be honest,

 

Bryn Edwards 

life is you know, if a COVID or no COVID like life is pretty bloody chaotic and confusing and vital. It all uncertain and complex. Yeah. And, and too, so yeah. That net by an operating system. Yeah, it’s little wonder. You know, I need to be in control. Yeah, really. Goofy life but yeah. of wall. Yeah. So anything that anything that regains that sense of Yeah, that shades you know, for once we get down to shame and guilt, you’re at the right base level of the emotional experience.

 

Mike Dyson 

Yeah, that’s the date. Well, shame and guilts interesting. So Bernie Brown has an interesting definition of the difference between shame and guilt. So shame. Shame, is that feeling of I’m a bad person.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. So

 

Mike Dyson 

much into Yeah, whereas guilt is I’ve done the wrong thing. Yeah. Which is, which is actually drastically different. Because when we feel NZ nation ones, yeah, trade, when I feel when I feel bad about myself, I’m a bad person, because I have lost my job. Yeah, then I potentially will strike out again, or blame other people that so that’s a key red flag, when we’re looking at boys growing up or healthy male behaviour is is blaming others, that real need to blame other people comes very often from shame. And it’s often associated with that, wanting to control others and push other people around to feel powerful again. On the flip side, guilt, I’ve done the wrong thing. Well, how can I take responsibility? How can I be accountable? And how can I put it, right? Yes, that’s, uh, you know, when if you if you want to have a difference between unhealthy masculinity and healthy masculinity, it’s probably guilt versus shame. Yeah, if I feel guilty, I will take responsibility and be accountable for my actions and do something better

 

Bryn Edwards 

next time because still now I’m at the core of

 

Mike Dyson 

a call, I’m having a crack and I’m trying to be a good bloke, whereas shame I feel like a bad person. I’m gonna try and blame other people out and push them some yes and around and make myself feel better, and

 

Bryn Edwards 

then genuinely into a spiral of anger and cloak colour that

 

 

Yeah,

 

Mike Dyson 

yeah. And then I heard someone and how am I gonna feel about that? I generally don’t feel that Greg. So I’ve heard some of that are was probably all folded anyway, so I’ll push around again, and it’s just gonna spiral. Yeah. And then you’re fired. And it’s like, I’ll find some other employee. Oh, why? why these employees continue to think such idiots. I keep having to fire them. Like,

 

 

maybe the problem is you night?

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. Let’s go home and drink 20 beers. Yeah, yeah. Oh, yo, yo. And as you’ve gone further into this work, what have you learned about your own masculinity? Yeah.

 

Mike Dyson 

So it was interesting. I mean, you said before, it’s like, now that I’ve learned about the man box. The more I’ve gone into this work, the more I realise it’s got as it’s got its tendrils around me, you know? Yeah, I’ve been aware of this stuff. I’ve been working here for six, seven years now. And you know, I learned about this kind of stuff. I was never like a massive alpha male anyway, I don’t have very big biceps and I can’t lift super heavy things

 

Bryn Edwards 

is defining characteristic of an alpha I’ve never been

 

Mike Dyson 

I’ve never been earning, you know, bucket loads of money. I thought, Oh yeah, I’m not really big man box guy. But the more and more I get into it, the more I realise protecting for me, the big thing is about being a workaholic. I learned from my dad, my dad worked really hard. He wasn’t around a lot when I was when I was a kid. And I have a real problem in in taking on too much work and work too hard and not spending enough time with the people that I love. Like, the most valuable thing I have in my life is my relationships with my wife and my kids are my friends. And why do I not make them a priority? When I’m already got enough work on why am I taking on more work? Yeah. Because I don’t feel like I am successful enough and and man enough unless I am working really hard. So yeah, my name is Mike on the workaholic. That’s how it manifests in

 

Bryn Edwards 

w 87. Yeah, yeah. It’s interesting how Yeah, there’s obviously that very. Yeah, I mean, look, we’ve through this conversation have talked about these very open and overt traits of man boxy alpha males. Yeah. But then there’s this other stuff like you say that that comes in? Yeah. quietly. Yeah, they’re busy. I need to be doing the thing I need to be. Yeah.

 

Mike Dyson 

Yeah, so that’s, that’s my version of it. That’s, that’s the part that I struggle with. But I think everyone’s got their own sort of, everyone knows it. You know, they talk in that study, they talk about 67% of men feel a significant pressure, but they rated them on a scale of one to five, I think everyone knows it. And I think everyone, everyone feels that that pressure, it’s just a question of how, how strongly we feel? And how much how able we are going back to that pause, and that emotional intelligence things like how able are we to take a breath and go, Ah, how am I being here? Am I reacting out of this? This need to be right? This need to be the boss, this need to be the alpha? Or am I reacting out of what’s the best thing for everyone here?

 

 

Have you?

 

Bryn Edwards 

Have you noticed much between the relationship between the matte box type of reading things and the relationship between that and drinking booze?

 

Mike Dyson 

I think I think, you know, the traditional stereotype of a man is a man who drinks beer. You know, you’re not sipping, you know, fancy. Other types of things, you you drink whiskey, and you drink beer and other things, you know, not so much. Okay, and I’m, I’m not much of a drinker at all. I drank pretty heavily in my early years and, and haven’t really been a drinker for many years. And I’ve the I’ve had interesting, strange looks from, you know, alpha males around or what, what’s wrong with your kind of thing? It’s like, it’s interesting, the pressure that we that we feel as men to just have a beer in your hand to be accepted as as Okay, it’s, um, yeah, there’s, there’s a lot of pressure there around around alcohol to be able to, you know, to be able to hold your booze to be able to drink lots of it and to be to be always up for it. Is the is the is the expectation there, I think.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Because I certainly grew up playing rugby. So rugby and beer go hand in hand. Or at least they did during those amateur

 

 

Yeah. did for me before.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. And, you know, as, as I looked up to the guys that were playing, you know, top quality rugby and, and particularly, you know, Dan friends and stuff like that. They were drinking a lot, maybe have more of a function of being in the UK. But it’s not Worlds Apart from Australia either. Yeah. And again, I wonder. So it’s been quite a period of time, but since I’ve drunk Yeah. And rather than calling it I’ve stopped drinking or I’ve been sober for X amount of months. Yeah, I’ve developed the phrase which sits really well. And it was x months ago that I moved past during Yeah, right. I’ve moved beyond it. I’ve moved past it. Yeah, that that was a really interesting experience that brought up a whole lot of stuff. Because with I mean, look, just with the clarity was great. But it brought up more and more stuff around why don’t drink. Yeah. Why do wet Where did this start? How did I get into this? You know, as you start to enjoy the benefits of not Thank you. So why did I end? there? Again? Like you say, growing up, you look at the bigger we want the approval of other men we want. Yeah, we ultimately want to know how to be a man. Yeah. Right. Because then it gives you the instruction manual. No. And there’s,

 

Mike Dyson 

there’s a big gulf between, you know, your body feels like a man’s body when you’re 15. And 16. Versus question I asked a lot of blokes is when did you first feel like a man? Yeah, not many of them will say 15 or 16? No, no, most of them will say 30. When I had kids, when I became the boss when I was married, or, you know, I would

 

Bryn Edwards 

put around 4445 Yeah, there’s a big Gulf there. You know, that’s when I felt like a grown up. Yeah. grown up, man. Yeah. And yeah. And so. So again, you know, we grow up we want, we want to know what we actually want. You know, as you said, we want to be connected to other men. Yeah. So we will do things to be what they are doing. So we can connect. And I guess one of the things for me was drink. Yeah. And and, you know, like you say, you grow up, you know, in the conversations, you hear the guys that drank a lot and held it and we’re still like, yeah, we should or do something, you know, yeah. We’re highly revered. Yeah, conversation. And so the the things that are revered in the conversation are the things you go, that’s what I need. Yeah, constantly. It’s like, they’re the things that I need to do.

 

Mike Dyson 

So. So where else are boys getting good healthy role models from, you know, their back in the day, you go back a couple of 100 years, they would have been out in the field working with adult men and quite possibly adult adult women. But nowadays, there’s just not a lot of healthy male role model role models surrounding them. There’s a few male teachers in the US I work with a lot of great male teachers, but you know, are they having a lot of healthy conversations around manhood with their uncles, with their dad, with their granddad with their dads mates with their mates dance? And it’s like, you know, the way teenagers kind of separated from for men these days, they’re just not having enough chance to see them. You see men in their in their natural habitat, you know, other than ours on the weekend, dad’s on the dad’s on a piece again, he’s the son six beers. Yep. That’s what blokes do.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. Yeah. Nice. Now emotionally unavailable. Yeah.

 

 

Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. Because? Yeah. It’s interesting that it is. Because the other trait that I’ve sort of noticed is that sometimes, particularly when we consider, you know, the large fivefold culture that we have here, there was sort of I sort of noticed in the UK, probably from boarding school, but also as well, that there was this sort of underlying theory underlying expectation that men go away. And then they come back. Yeah, they, whether it’s to work to or to something, men go away. Yeah. And then they come back, as I’m doing this.

 

 

Yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Why? Why am I going away?

 

Mike Dyson 

It’s just the the patterns, like I was saying before, it’s like, it’s in our culture. It’s just an economy expected thing that we that we do. Yeah. And if we don’t have conversations to or some kind of contemplating of processes to unpack that, like, Who do I want to be? versus, you know, what are all these expectations? I’m feeling like I didn’t, when I finished school, I was like, are you just go to uni? Yes, I can’t get that’s just what people do. My dad. My dad said to me, he goes, don’t go to uni. If you don’t know what you want to do. I’m like, Yeah, whatever. Just the the expectation of the world that I was in, trying to go to uni. Well, I went to uni, I wasted two years, studying random stuff that I was vaguely interested in, ended up with a hex debt of 1000s. of dollars. Because that’s just what people did. Yeah. So yeah, I think it’s really valuable for for every young person and for every older person is ought to be having conversations around who do actually want to be what do I actually really want to be doing in my life, rather than just being sucked along by the time of, you know, what’s expected of me and what other people are doing and what I’m seeing on social media? And if we don’t have time to unpack that, that stuff influences us, you know?

 

Bryn Edwards 

Yeah. And then, you know, we can get past role modelling and into, dare I say wisdom. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that’d be a great place.

 

Mike Dyson 

And one of the things I think is hugely valid, valuable for young men is to hear the stories I talked about them hearing the stories of women hearing the stories of men, yes. And, and, and with some level of vulnerability if they can hear a grown An adult man who they all look at as successful and has their life together, whether you have your life together and successful or not. That’s how they’ll look at you. If you can share a story by saying, Oh, I actually really struggled when I was your age, and this was what was going on with me. And this is what I was confused with. And this is what was difficult. Oh, yeah, right. Okay. I didn’t, I didn’t know that. I struggled with things. Yeah. Because Yeah, he’s so different. Yeah. It’s fascinating. When I will ask a group of men, it’s like, put your hand up. If you’ve been really angry. At some point this year, everyone puts their hand up, put your hand up. You’ve been really angry in the last month, everyone puts the end to the end. Have you any really angry in the last week, you’ve got like, half of the hands up in the room that then you do the same thing with sadness. And you’ve got same thing. Everyone’s been really sad at some point this year. Everyone’s been really sad in the in the last couple of months. And you know, fair, few of us have been sad this week. But none of us are talking about Yeah, well, not none of us. Some of us are. Yeah, we are like, come on the good bloodshed rates. Right? This is what I’ve been struggling with. This is who I want to be. Let’s support each other and actually have real conversations around being the best version of ourselves. You

 

Bryn Edwards 

know, I have a bit of fun nowadays, because I’m all up for honestly answering questions like How have you been? metre? Yeah, and you can have fun with it. And, and who? Remember, it was someone asked me recently, and I know Oh, here we go. Have you been pregnant? I was like, it’s been emotionally dads recently. They’re like, Oh, right. Was that mean? Do you want?

 

Mike Dyson 

Yeah. Two responses. People go. Oh, that’s okay. Bye. See? Yeah. Or they’ll go Oh, tell me more about Yeah. Because sometimes the, the, you know, the mere thing that you’ve actually opened up, just gives them permission to actually have a real conversation. So I can’t stand I don’t say I’m good. I’m fine. A lot anymore. I’ll be like, ah, I’ve got this scratch on my right elbow that’s really bothering me. And I’m really proud of myself for how I made some really tough decisions at work yesterday.

 

 

How are you?

 

Mike Dyson 

That’s literally how I’m feeling at the moment. Like I made some tough decisions yesterday, this bloody scratch from chopping wood in the garden yesterday. And that I’m good to go. And people are this is a different kind of conversation. So yeah. And

 

Bryn Edwards 

one of the questions I like to ask my guess particularly like yourself, where you have this very sort of acute and well focused lens into the world? How is it for my looking into the world? Being able to clearly see, man box behaviours playing now? Yeah. people struggling in amongst that. How is you know, we’re talking probably outside of the sanctuary of a retreat or something, just in your everyday stuff, whether it’s going to the supermarket watching the news, interacting, or, you know, catching up for someone else for drink, or whatever. How is it for you, as you look more deeply into the world? And you see certain things go on? How does that wear on you?

 

Mike Dyson 

What’s interesting for me is I go straight to, you know, what, what’s beneath. So, I was actually driving here this morning. And there was a young bloke who was sort of standing on top of the hill next to a main road and he put his bike down and he was just yelling at the traffic. And I was like, what, what on earth is going on there? And it was like, he looked upset. And he was yelling at the traffic. And I was like, I don’t quite know what to do here. But with my, you know, having the history of the work that I do, and with that lens that I have, I just looked at this bloke and thinking like what what is what does he need here? What what is going on for him? So I find myself looking sort of beneath the behaviour I see. I see blokes who are struggling, blokes, bloater being a real douchebag blokes or being a dickhead. I’m thinking what is going on for that guy? Is it shame? Is it sadness? Is it easy feeling a sense of injustice, because there’s suddenly always something that’s, that’s driving that unwanted unwanted behaviour? You know, I think there’s a really tiny proportion of humans who are just pathologically bad people. There’s a lot of people that are doing things that would be considered bad but I don’t think that makes them bad people. I think there’s this stuff goes down with delineating between shame and guilt. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, there’s something there’s something going on for that guy. So that’s the lens that I kind of look at the world like, Yeah, why have you chosen to pull out in front of me? That’s Yeah, that’s a bit of a douche move. Hope you’re having an OK day. So I think it’s really the man box thing is really helped me to build a sense of empathy. for blacks who are being douchebags if that answers your question, I’m not sure

 

Bryn Edwards 

surely you must get a bit frustrated at times like can’t guys we can do this

 

Mike Dyson 

totally, totally. Yeah, there’s it frustrates me with the blokes are clearly struggling. The one that frustrates me the most is i is i get an inquiry on my website from from a woman. And I say woman, because it happens probably once every couple of weeks. My boyfriend or my brother, or my uncle, or whoever would really benefit from your work, and he’s got this, this this this this going on? I’m like, yep, he would, he would love it. And you know, so he’s, he’s, he’s got anxiety is really struggling. He’s, he’s a coach of a hockey team. And he, he really wants to do something about I’m like, great, he’s, he’s passionate about all the right things. He’s got some personal experience. He’s in a position of leadership, great, let’s do something that’s have to come. And he’s like, now just refusing to acknowledge that I don’t need this any kind of feeling like oh, that’s, that’s for some blokes who are really struggling. It’s like it’s not for blokes who are really struggling. It’s actually we all struggle. Yeah. What’s it’s the blokes who aren’t struggling so much that actually have the capacity to do something about and so if you’re feeling well, why are you not running? You know, some father son camps with the year six boys at the primary school, and, and you’re trying to have some conversations around manhood with those boys? And if you’re feeling really well, why aren’t you pulling the 12 blokes aside in your workplace and saying, Let’s make sure we’re feeling this to making the three women here feeling really included here? Yeah. Like, why aren’t those of us that are in a good place actually being more proactive? I think that’s what probably frustrates me the most that blokes aren’t being more proactive, because you know, and we touched on that earlier, didn’t read that whole when I was talking about, you know, the four and five, what Yeah, yeah, exactly. Exactly. And the thing with mental health is that, you know, you one out of five, that one out of five things, one out of five blokes will have a mental health issue over the next 12 months, like, how are you going to know which one of the five blokes in your office? It’s going to be? Yep. How are you going to know which one of your five mates it’s going to be? Because if you’re not having proactive conversations about it, you probably don’t even know this the thing for me the reason I’ve got into this, and

 

Bryn Edwards 

how are you going to stay yourself out? If you happen to be the one?

 

Mike Dyson 

Yeah. Are you ready to have like, on the Ioh k website, people like are you okay to be a waste of time now as the information on how to have the conversation is on the Are you okay? website? Yeah, I look up Ioh k de.org. Like it’s on there. This is how to have the conversation. So you know, and that’s what good blogs CO is about empowering men to have these conversations more proactively with with other men who might be struggling with with, you know, people in your workplace, people at your footy club dads at the local primary school. All of those kind of things. Like why aren’t we having really super healthy versions of bucks parties, where we’re guiding men to be really clear on what kind of marriage they want to have and how we can support each other and all this kind of stuff? Yes. Let’s be proactive. let’s not let’s no wait till he goes on. I packed up all my stuff. And I’m leaving. I’m like, hang on a sec. You never even told us that you’re having a relationship trouble? You’ve been telling me about this two years ago? Yeah. So yeah.

 

Bryn Edwards 

So last question. I asked all my guests. Yeah. If I could get if I if I could get the whole world to just chill out for five or 10 minutes. Right. And then my, and then Mike just uploads a question for into the collective consciousness for us all to consider. Yeah. For five or 10 minutes, what would that be?

 

Mike Dyson 

all that. So there’s a few options, a country a question, a question. The question I would want to ask people is, who do you want to be? Because I think, I think when we think about that, we don’t even have to have a clear answer to that question. But if we’re thinking who do I want to be? Then we’ve at least got some kind of, you know, truenorth on the compass to guide us. Yeah, in terms of, you know, making big, big decisions and in terms of guiding us through difficult times in our in our life. So like,

 

 

I

 

Mike Dyson 

i would i would love people to be clear on you know, who we want to be versus those those influent like the Mad box kind of influences of, of having to be the way that other people expect me to be like, just just be you. Just be you. And what what is that? Well, that’s the thing. It’s like that you when you asked about healthy masculine, it’s like it’s diversity, like we’re all into different things. We all love different Things we all like doing different things we all have different strengths and talents let’s let’s bring that stuff out you know

 

Bryn Edwards 

it’s been fun great chat super enjoyed it. Yeah thanks for having me on again. It was really good. So if people want to find you where can they find you on the website which

 

Mike Dyson 

is good blokes.co Yep. Or on the on the social media we’re on Instagram and Facebook Yun search good blokes. CO and you’ll, you’ll find this Sure enough, indeed. And it’s my it’s my favourite thing to talk about. So if people want to reach out and, and have a chat. Yeah, we’re always happy to chat more about it.

 

Bryn Edwards 

Mike. Thanks very much, Utah. Thanks for the pleasure.

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