The call to ‘man up’ is a wonderful call to action to live manfully.
The Roman’s saw manliness as a virtue, as excellence in all things. Is there a better quest? Is there a more worthy quest? (Read This: How to Acquire Virtues of Manliness)
Every day we should be waking up, attempting to be excellent in all things, attempting to improve, living at better men and men who are better at being men.
The role of a man hasn’t changed much over the centuries – forget what the celebrities and politicians say, men still need to be men as they’ve been for centuries.
We have to live by the same virtues, and more than ever these virtues will guide us to a place of power, of strength, of fulfilling our role as provider and protector.
We do, however, get in moments where we feel like the odds are stacked against us. We all get down on ourselves. We wallow in self-pity, feel sorry for ourselves, and think about quitting.
What follows isn’t a list that asks you to get in touch with your feelings. Feelings can be lies. They can be attempts by our weaker Self to pull us off course, to make us feel unworthy of what we’re attempting to accomplish.
You do not have to believe your feelings. You can act as the man you want to become, and force your feelings to get in line or fuck off.
You own those bastards, they do not command you, they do not tell you what to do or how to live and while some feelings are wonderful, like love and joy and happiness, feelings of low self-esteem, laziness, and sadness can derail you, and when men spend too much time listening to their feelings they destroy the life they had the potential to live.
Let’s get after it.
1. the fuck it principle
There comes a time in a man’s life, and even on a daily basis, where the perfect answer is ‘fuck it’.
This is an ‘in the moment response’ to a feeling of fear that threatens to delay or halt your action. It can also be a response to a feeling of laziness.
When you’re faced with a fear in the moment, like weather to go on the hunt alone or a laziness feeling like whether to do the chore in the moment, ‘fuck it’ is a wonderful response that removes the process by which you allow your feeling to rationalize inaction, and opt for action instead.
Get in the habit of saying ‘fuck it’ in the small things, the chores, the daily fears faced, and you’ll be able to apply it to the bigger things in life.
It’s a response that demands a higher perspective on your life and the fear you’re feeling.
It’s a response that looks at your life from above, that forces you to think in the moment, what’s the worst that can happen? And trudge forward in action rather than the contemplation that paralyses most men in a state of rationalized inaction.
2. the ‘I’m the man principle’
A lack of confidence is merely a matter of perspective. Too many of us live small lives because of our view of ourselves and our place on this planet and in this society.
A great story is that of Captain James Cook. He was born poor at a time when your birth place determined your place and role in life. Yet, he wanted adventure, he wanted to explore, he even wanted greatness.
Where he was born was insignificant to his desire to live a great life.
He didn’t chase money, rather, power.
He didn’t let what maybe should have been his view of himself to derail what we aimed to accomplish.
You’re the fucking man. Act like it. Think about who you want to become and be him now. That’s how it works. You’re not going to one day magically become ‘the man’, you have to be him in the present, it doesn’t take time to develop, it takes a change of perspective of who you are and what you can accomplish.
When you act as you can act, when you act as you can potentially be, you act as the guy who conquers all that is in his way – which is in your capacity, no matter how you’ve acted in the past.
Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it. ~ Viktor Frank
3. the decision of destiny
The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. ~ Emerson
Two men come to mind when the topic of destiny arises.
The first, is James Cook, once again.
He knew he was here for something greater than his birthplace would dictate. Keep in mind, however, that ‘greatness’ is a personal definition. It NEEDS courage. It requires audacity. But it doesn’t have to be what society tells you greatness is defined as, or what history tells you greatness is defined as. It’s defined by YOU.
Napoleon is the second name that comes to mind.
Both guys were born into a position in life that should have dictated where they ended their lives.
Farm boys didn’t command ships in the name of the King, nor did conquered peoples grow up to command the nation that conquered theirs.
The idea of destiny is a decision. When you decide what you’re here for, moods and emotions cannot hold you back, down, or keep you from taking action.
You are here to fulfill your destiny, something as fleeting as an emotion won’t stand in your way.
4. the principle of pain
The call to man up is one of power and control. It’s a dismissal of the weakness that we all have, it’s a call to action rather than living a life of inaction. It’s a call to move forward with courage than remaining complacent in fear.
It’s also a call to move toward pain.
The act of self-improvement is one of discomfort. You cannot be comfortable and improve. When you hold the principle that you accept that pain is GOOD, that it’s beneficial, and that it makes you better, when you befriend it instead of avoiding it like the rest of society does, you live the life of that call to action.
You create an atmosphere where you nor anyone else will ever have to tell you to man up because that’s who are are.
5. the principle of living dangerously
For believe me! — the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is: to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships into uncharted seas! Live at war with your peers and yourselves! Be robbers and conquerors as long as you cannot be rulers and possessors, you seekers of knowledge! Soon the age will be past when you could be content to live hidden in forests like shy deer! At long last the search for knowledge will reach out for its due: — it will want to rule and possess, and you with it! ~ Nietzsche
Fear cripples us when it should act as our north star, guiding us to a better life, rather than holding us back from ever trying to experience it.
The quote above is a recipe for a life well-lived. It’s a call to adventure, to danger, to the risk and audacity that allows us to truly experience life.
If this is a principle that guides you, fear stands no chance.
6. the principle of discipline
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. ~ Aristotle
If your habits bring you closer to your goal, you act correctly, and you have discipline.
If, however, your habits bring you further away from your goals, it’s time you man up and change them.
Part of ‘manning up’ is acting rightly and truly. The truth you want to live by isn’t kept in your mind, it isn’t relegated to the realm of intention, it can only be how you act. What habits do you have? What are your ‘fall-back actions’?
What do you do when times get tough? What’s your morning routine?
You are what you repeatedly do. Take time to look at who you are with truth. Don’t lie to yourself. Don’t be overly harsh on yourself, but don’t you dare make excuses.
Write down who you are, how you act, and what your habits are, then take the time to set new ones, better ones that align with your overall goal for life, who you want to be, and what you want to accomplish.
Then live those habits every day.
7. the decision of daily improvement.
We’ve talked about this a bit…
Some won’t necessarily know what they want or even who they want to become. That doesn’t mean you don’t move forward.
You can use some of the principles already discussed, and you can improve every day.
Identify a smaller goal you want to achieve.
Identify values you want to live by and archetypes you want to model your life after.
Create habits and parameters in your daily life that will force improvement daily.
The more clear-cut you make decisions in the moment, that is, the better you’re able to draw a line in the sand between what must be done and what doesn’t need to be done by forming the right routine and habits, the more you’re going to improve, and the less you’re going to have to tell yourself to man up because it will be habitual.
It will be who you are, how you live, and how you act.
The principle of daily improvement is an acceptance that you are not where you can potentially be, and actions taken every day to inch closer to your potential.
That is at the core of the Roman view of manliness, and that’s what every one of us should aspire to achieve.
About The Author
Chad Howse: Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live.