Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery. ~ Horace Mann
America did something profound. Among other things it created the first nation where rights were not given to the people by a monarch or ruler.
A ruler or king or President didn’t have power over the person, thus, the right to bear arms or pursue happiness wasn’t theirs to give.
It also formed the first land where your end was not determined by your beginning.
Of course, you could have a leg up in the way of a rich father with many connections, but that rich father wasn’t a king. He wasn’t a prince or a duke (aside from John Wayne). He was simply a man who earned more than other men, usually by providing some service better than other men had provided it before him.
No matter the class or race or sex, humans in America have risen. Sometimes it’s taken generations, other times decades, and other times years as the result of a very good idea.
It is skill, knowledge, and talent that sets men apart in America, not birthright, and any man has the ability to develop skill and acquire knowledge. You don’t need a mentor. You don’t need an education to get an education.
We have libraries and used books. You can buy a ‘mentor’ for 30 cents and read his advice over a weekend.
When America was formed, it was also the only place where land was a man’s. It wasn’t on loan from the crown like it was in Britain. If a man bought land he owned it, and he owned what was underneath it.
In Canada we only own the plot a few feet deep. If we’re sitting on a field of oil, that oil isn’t truly legally ours.
America, no matter what it’s become or what you think of it, is the land of the free. It’s a grand experiment that shook the world.
If you’re a man, today, living in America, you have an opportunity like no other. Seize it. Don’t get caught thinking about what may have been or wishing about what could be. Make what will be by the sweat of your brow.
Become an educated man by studying and reading and learning even if it’s not in a formal classroom, and no matter where you start, you’ll create an uneven playing field in your favour.
Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being ~Plato
I love innovation, but good things also have a price.
Another reason for the regression of manhood is the removal of the physical nature of life.
Writing this, I just bought a house. I can remember when my folks bought their first house. I was 5, filled with piss and vinegar, and completely ignorant to what was going on around me. As long as there was trouble to be had, I was in it, a sport to be played, I was doing it.
I didn’t appreciate what my old man was doing nor the man that he was.
He knew nothing about building or handy work or carpentry, yet, the house needed a new deck, a new bathroom, and a heck of a lot of touch up. My folks, however, didn’t have the funds to do any of it, so my old man literally bought “plumbing for dummies” and went to work on the washroom. He did the same for the deck.
He took matters into his own hands and relied on his brain rather than his wallet to get the job done, and the job was done. (Read This: The Death of Self-Reliance)
Owning my own house and my own business, my time is given to my business and the returns are given back. It doesn’t make financial sense for me to spend hours on a bathroom or on the deck or painting the rooms or building shelves, but the pride and the satisfaction that men get from working with their hands cannot be matched by typing with the fingers.
It isn’t always about economics.
Sometimes it’s about value and about doing what we’re here to do.
As technology has risen, the physicality that made good men great men, tough men, and gritty men, has been gone. (Read This: How to Be Grittier)
This isn’t to lament. I love my heated rooms, my truck, my fridge and my stove. In past times things weren’t so easy, and thus, the men were tougher. But just because you have the option of ease it does not mean you should take it.
I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature. ~ John D. Rockefeller
You have to remember this fact; it isn’t talent that gets you greatness. There won’t be a single moment when you get what you want if it’s not first built upon the back of countless other moments where you were learning to deserve what you want.
The fact that perseverance is the most important quality to possess is something you have to remember when you’re overcome with doubt.
It happens to all of us. We doubt in our abilities, in our talent, in our direction, pursuit, even in our habits or the work we’re doing right now.
We doubt that what we’re doing will yield the results we want them to. We think about quitting, we question whether this is all going to be worth it.
It’s these moments that make you or break you.
You can either persist or quit.
If you quit, you’re guaranteed to fail. You’ve proven that negative voice right, that you weren’t cut out for it after-all, that you’re a loser, a whiner, a quitter.
This doesn’t have to be true, your truth, or your reality.
You can carry on.
In these moments of doubt we don’t necessarily have to ‘believe in what we’re doing’. Sometimes it’s too difficult to rationalize that all of this effort is going to pay off as we want it to.
Doing something for an end doesn’t always happen.
Sometimes we need to persist simply because that’s what we do, that’s who we are, and it’s persistence that will make us who we ought to be.
Forget about the goal, the dream, the motivation and inspiration and the pursuit. Sometimes you need to put your head down and work if only because you’re the kind of guy who does that. You don’t quit. You don’t look for an easier way. You’re not a whiny little bitch who feels entitled to something he’s not yet earned.
You’re a worker.
As a worker, you don’t complain and you don’t even ‘wish’. You just work.
Next time you wonder ‘if’…
If all of this work is worth it or if it’s the right work or if it’s what you really want, shut that part of your brain off and carry on.
There is time for reflection, where you need clarity on your path and your focus within that path, but often times that questioning voice just needs to be shut up.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. – Aristotle
We can all be better.
Read this with that understanding. While I will call you out, I am calling myself out and every other fella out as well simply because on the mountain that is our lives, we’re barely making a dent in our climb to our potential, as we are now.
We’re weaker than we can be physically, mentally, and spiritually. We’re lazier than we need to be, we complain more than we should, we envy and see the world with a cynical tint. We all do it from time to time. But we shouldn’t.
The path to manning up requires you to be self-aware.
If you aren’t rooted in humility, you will see no room for growth. On the flipside of that coin is confidence. If you think so low of yourself that you aren’t worthy of improvement, you’ll do nothing to better your situation either.
You must see yourself as you are, not as others see you nor as society would like you to see yourself.
When Christ took that shot to the face and opened up his other cheek for more of the same, we read that as meekness and a complete lack of desire to fight. What that act really was, is defiance. (Read This: Why You Need to Fight)
Your homeland is controlled by a foreign and brutal power, and one of its soldiers punches you in the face. Both fighting back or running away and cowering would be natural and immediate responses that take little thought or discipline. To turn the other cheek comes from a place of strength, but also disrespect. He’s essentially saying…
You hit like a little bitch. Here’s my other cheek; have at it.
As kids we’re told to turn the other cheek as a way of keeping us docile and calm and to avoid fighting. What young boys really need are more battles. We need to know that we can fight, that we can hit back and beat someone up or take a beating ourselves, to then be able to avoid fighting all together.
You cannot turn the other cheek from the place of victimhood. By refusing to fight for the sake of refusing to fight you’re practicing being a victim, a coward, and you’re using scripture as your excuse for being a pussy.
The same goes for manliness.
Yes, it’s good to like masculine things. It’s good to want to be overtly masculine, to be rough and tough and gritty. In fact, you have to get to this place of brutish masculinity before you can become refined. Practicing non-violence as someone who doesn’t have the strength to be violent isn’t courageous. It requires no discipline. It’s done out of fear, not strength. Practicing non-violence as someone who has the capacity to dish out harm, however, is practicing discipline. It does take self-control.
To try and soften the already soft is useless. First you must become hard, rough, and gritty.
At times Teddy Roosevelt was the bull in the china shop. He was like a Tasmanian Devil when he had something on his mind, something that he wanted to accomplish. He developed into a fighter, a warrior, a rancher, and a real, masculine male. And he did it on purpose. His model was his father, but he also felt as though he were a part of something greater, a tribe of sorts, a race of warriors and it’s the virtues of said warriors, the “barbaric virtues” that won the West and conquered most of the world. He saw that in being of Anglo Saxon decent, he was a part of a tribe that created the first free and democratic society on the planet. He saw America as dependent on the brutality of conquering as well as the kindness and goodness we’ve grown to praise one hundred times more.
Unless we keep the barbarian virtues, gaining the civilized ones will be of little avail.
Through the books and papers I’ve read on Mr. Roosevelt, he does not appear to be a man born rugged and rough, but a rich, soft and curious boy who grew to understand the value of raw masculinity, the necessity of it not just for his own life, but for the betterment of his great nation. Without the fighting and getting into trouble and roughhousing, boys cannot become useful men, or at least not as useful as they could be otherwise.
Being brutish is something that you should practice. Of course the refinement must come as well. You cannot thrive in a society as a Neanderthal. You must have that recipe, the nerd, the man who’s thirst for knowledge is unmatched, the curiosity that allows you to ask questions, and combine it with the toughness and the ruggedness and the grit that will allow your innate kindness and curiosity to be put to use. We’ve lost the aggression and instead have taught pacifism, neglecting or ignorant to the fact that it was aggression and intelligence that won the West, that gave the poor hope and gave everyone a voice. It’s also aggression that cannot and will not be removed from the world, only from the society or the culture that actively pursues its destruction.
Just as we are.
As we temper and tame our boys, ourselves, we remove the barbarian qualities that must be present for the civilized ones to thrive.
We’ve gone so far as to label rambunctiousness as a disorder, medicating those who’ve been caught under its spell so they can sit quietly and learn like good children should be able to do. We’re scientifically attacking all that is masculine by imposing the good and calm and caring qualities that are feminine. We need both. You need both. (Read This: Are We Raising a Bunch of Pussies?)
As the rest of the world tells you to calm down and to temper yourself, I say do the opposite. Embark on adventures. Fight. Be physical and live a physical life. Do things that others would deem archaic and even brutish. You’re not going to lose the intelligence, the civilized part of persona in this quest to be a man, because what’s civilized is all around you. By pursuing toughness and grit and brashness and boldness, you’re only going to make the civilized self more powerful and more useful.
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.
You can contact him at –
It is not what he has, or even what he does which expresses the worth of a man, but what he is. Henri-Frederic Amiel
Who you are doesn’t change for a different audience.
Who you are isn’t dependent on documentation. You don’t need people watching or accountability to be great, good, disciplined, or a winner.
Your motivation to become better shouldn’t depend on an audience, either. Sure, we’ve become a culture that requires likes and shares for an event to be worth embarking upon. But that’s a fickle way to live. It’s the life of a dependent.
When the doors close and you’re alone in your office are you working or searching the internet? Are you reading, training, living, and lifting, or are you being a lazy bastard?
Who are you?
Who are you when nothing is going right?
Who are you when you have no energy, when you have no motivation?
Who are you when it’s easier to cheat than it is to stay the course?
I love John Wayne movies. I think we all do. They’re about men, and not just what men do but who men are.
Honor leads their actions. They may walk a tight rope between good and evil but honor wins in the end.
It’s who they are that dictates their actions. It’s the man they are that determines how they treat others.
They don’t stand for evil even if fighting it means trouble. They do what must be done not because it’s a rule, but because it’s what they do.
John Wayne always creates a fork in his movies, a moment where an easy path is met with the right path and the man does what’s right regardless on the impact to himself.
Today, who we are is dependent on where we are.
That’s not good. It’s not real. It isn’t consistent and when we’re thrust into a situation where right and wrong are foggy, we have no clue how to act so we act with convenience. Our honor, our goodness, our grit haven’t been clarified over years of acting with honor so when ‘the moment’ comes, we don’t act with it at all.
Spend time thinking not just about what you want to be or who you want to be or what you want to become, but who you are and who you want to be.