To be a better man is a constant and never-ending quest. To be a better man isn’t just a goal, but a duty. There’s this idea that our life is ours and we can live it however we want to live it that leads some to think that laziness is a right, that mediocrity and minimal effort is something that they can aspire for if they so choose.
The fallacy in this belief has nothing to do with what it will get the individual who believes it – though it will bring a lack of happiness, meaning, and purpose, and a lack of self-respect and confidence – but with the fact that our life is not just ours, but in part, those who’ve allowed us to have such a life, one filled with opportunity that we don’t necessarily deserve.
Think of your life not just as your own, but as the latest line in generations. There’s your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and your other ancestors. For you to live, at some point, people made sacrifices. Your parents made many, but so did your ancestors. To survive as a human 5,000 years ago meant you had to be strong, courageous, and formidable. The weak would die, they would not procreate because they couldn’t protect.
You’re also a part of a society. If the Second World War had been lost, we would not be free. We would be speaking German or Japanese. It’s an easy example of men you don’t know sacrificing their lives so that you could live yours, whether you know it or they knew it at the time.
Your life is owed, it’s a gift. Thus, the gift must be repaid by not remaining as you are born, but improving, growing, evolving, and giving.
To be a better man is not just a goal, but a duty, and one that every man has to fulfill every day.
As man, you’re going to have a lot of weight on your shoulders. You’re the guy others look to for support, be it emotional, financial, or physical. That’s what being a man is. It’s about taking on more weight, not pushing it to someone else.
This is tough, it’s difficult, but it is what it is, it is who you are, there’s no escaping it. It’s this reason why your improvement as a man in many different areas is so important. The stronger you are, the more you can carry.
- Be better at being a man.
There’s being a good man and being good at being a man. Being good at being a man speaks more to the basic reasons for men, the providers and protectors. You’re the fella at the city gates fighting and protecting those within the city. They may not know that you’re fighting for them, and that’s the goal. You should be working so hard, fighting so hard, that they’re free to live how they want to live, without the stress, worry, and fear that you take upon your shoulders.
On a basic level, this means you at least need the capacity to fight, protect, and provide. Get better at being dangerous. We need more good men who are dangerous, the bad ones will always train to develop that capacity.
- Get stronger.
Men need to be strong. If you think about the differences between men and women, our testosterone levels are important. For women, 70ng/dl is good, even high. For men, 1192ng/dl is high. That massive difference in testosterone means we’re going to be able to get stronger than women can.
Thus, it’s a duty to do so. It means you’re going to be more helpful, both when it comes to combat and even fixing and lifting things around the house. There’s nothing more useless than a weak man.
- Get good at fighting.
You may never have to fight, but you better be good at it in case. Not only will being good at fighting enable to you help those who need it and can’t fight themselves, but it’ll give you a quiet confidence that comes when you know you can handle yourself in any situation.
- Daily reflection.
Reflection is a necessity. Keeping a journal, writing thoughts, making sure you’re going in the right direction rather than in just any direction, is vital. Spend 30 minutes a day at the end of the day in reflection. Were you good? Did you work hard? Did you live well? Did you focus on what you can control and not on what you can’t?
Reflection is as important to growth and improvement as planning.
- Daily reading.
I’m sure they exist, but I haven’t met a successful, good, honorable man who doesn’t read. Usually the more voraciously they read, the better they are at whatever they do.
Read for pleasure, of course, but read to improve. Read the stoics, about business, about historical figures you admire and would like to emulate.
Great lives have been lived. You nor I have to rewrite the journey, it’s been done, all we have to do is work our asses off and emulate.
- Do what you set out to do.
If we can simply do what we set out to do, we will live a great life. And I mean a GREAT life. Most people don’t actually do this. They set out to do a million things and maybe do one or two. Imagine if you actually did, finished, completed, everything you set out to do. That would be a life well lived.
- Be great at something.
You’re not just here to be, you’re here to do, to achieve, to prove that you were here for a reason. The work you do is evidence of that reason. Don’t jump from thing to thing, sit down and choose one thing, and become great at it.
- Do what you don’t feel like doing.
If you don’t feel like doing something it’s probably a good barometer for something that must be done. Don’t think your way out of doing it. Don’t push it off. If you don’t feel like doing something, just do it.
- Be careful about what you watch and listen to.
Don’t fill your brain with crap. Read good books. Watch good shows. Don’t watch the filth or read the filth that’s dominant, rampant today. Frivolousness begets frivolousness. Fame, today, is not something earned or warranted. It’s not something to admire. Be careful about what gets your attention, because it influences who you are.
- Do what you have to do to be at your best.
Your family, friends, and everyone else around you, benefit from you being at your best. Thus, create a schedule and a structure that helps you become your best. If I’m not following my schedule, I am not at my best.
I rise at 530am everyday. I read for 45 minutes to an hour. I head to the gym. I come back and I work 10-12 hours. I do that 5 days a week. The other day is a half work day. And the Seventh Day is for God, nature, and living. That’s how I’m at my best, and I learn the lesson over and over again, if I don’t create the structure, if I deviate and don’t take care of myself first, I fail those around me.
It’s like in the airplanes when they say you have to put your oxygen mask on first before you put your kid’s on. If you don’t take care of yourself first, you cannot take care of others.
- Struggle more. Struggle well.
In Ray Dalio’s book, Principles, he notes that life is struggle. If you try to avoid the daily struggle of work and discipline, you will end up bringing more struggle into your life in the form of obesity, poverty, and just outright failure. If, however, you learn to adopt more daily struggle in the form of work and exercise and so forth, and you learn to struggle well, you’ll live a better life.
- Dare mightily.
You have one life, why live it chasing things that don’t really matter to you or excite you? Excitement brings energy. It’s powerful. Be daring, don’t be timid. Face your fears with aggression, not with a timid step or a weak heart.
- Don’t be a critic.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
- Don’t complain.
Do the best with what you have and where you are. Don’t wish you were somewhere else. You have the capacity and potential to create pretty much anything you want. Don’t complain.
On top of that, no one wants to be around a little bitch, or with a little bitch. Don’t be a little bitch.
- Be stoic.
Stoicism is not being a slave to your emotions. It’s understanding that you can react to an event however you want to. You hold the power. The event does not.
So much of the pain and sadness we have in our lives is because of how we react, not the actual thing that has happened. Be a man. Be stoic.