In 1911, three men set out on the adventure of a lifetime. They wanted to trek the unknown territory of Antarctica and link it with other known portions of the desolate continent.
The three men were ages 33, 30, and 29 respectively. They were ambitious, strong, courageous, and unwaveringly committed in their endeavor, so much so that two of them died along the way and one barely made it out alive. He was all alone on the ice.
This is a far cry from the 30 year olds that walk in our midst today.
Instead, they have traded their ambition for something far less virtuous.
Men have become soft, emasculated, and lazy.
This is due in part to real men having become reclusive and passive, and our culture becoming impervious to masculinity.
Look around and you will see that men are more concerned about the pants that they wear and the way their hair looks than how to make ambitious goals, and pursue their dreams. They have become afraid of their own shadow and doomed themselves to a life of mediocrity.
Chances are, that if you are reading this, then you go against the status quo, that you as a man have found yourself on the other side of society. You have been called “rough around the edges” or “insensitive”.
Take this as a compliment
Unfortunately, our culture has deemed men who are passive, and relinquish their manhood virtuous, and esteemed.
What men really need is self-awareness, mastery, and other men to learn from.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” – Proverbs 27:17
Men need to pursue mastery and be in constant pursuit of huge ambitious goals. They must constantly challenge themselves and push themselves to learn new skills and to grow in strength, endurance and mindset.
These things can only be developed if they are done with discipline and consistency.
The Lost Virtues of a Man
Men need to have some sort of consistent physical activity that they do, whether it’s lifting weights, martial arts, running, swimming, biking or a combination of all of them.
When men don’t do this, they get fat, injured, or have health issues. Don’t believe me, look around.
They also need to have a why, a reason for existing. They need to know their why, so that they can work in their Strengths and become who they are made to be.
Socrates said it best: “No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”
If you are not pushing your limits or putting your body under deliberate physical stress every day, you are denying your very essence.
Men need to know what they are capable of. When you lift weights, move heavy objects, destroy your goals and win, then you become confident and more alpha minded.
Lifting weights just to lift weights is not enough. You have to train. Life is going to come at you from all angles and you need to be prepared to handle whatever it throws at you. The more you exercise your body and your mind and put it under good, deliberate stress, the easier the problems will seem.
Learn how to do heavy Lifts like the Deadlift, Squat, and Olympic Lifts. Get a trainer, or go to a fundamentals class to learn these lifts. Proper form is key.
Men don’t play the victim. They take ownership.
Your mind will tell you that you can’t do something. You have to be able to tell it to shut up.
You have to build your mind by repeating positive habits. There are two very important ways that this can be done.
- Lift Weights and Exercise: Lifting weights boosts testosterone, builds confidence, and leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction long after the workout. I quote Jocko Willink “If you want to improve mental toughness, try this: BE TOUGHER“
- Read Good Books: You have to read books that set your dreams on fire, and grow your library of manly books .If the only time a man is getting information is from Social media, Netflix or the TV, then he must just like being useless. Every great man in history was a reader, Marcus Aurelius, Themistocles, Teddy Roosevelt, Solomon, and many more.
- I’m not talking about hippie yoga crap. I’m talking about shutting up and listening to what is going on around you. Take five minutes every day to sit, breathe deeply and remain quiet. Focus on who you want to be, and your ideal day. Then go out and do your best to be that man.
Do these things every single day.
Men need a battle to fight, and a challenge to face
John Eldredge in his book “Wild at Heart”, said that men need three things.
- A Battle to Fight
- An Adventure to Live
- A Beauty to Rescue
If a man wants to know what he is made of, I would urge him strongly to take on some sort of endurance event. Triathlon, Spartan Race 13+ miles, Biking, Marathon, Ultra-Marathon, go-ruck event, being away from your family or loved ones for an extended period of time.
A man will find out a lot about himself by physically and mentally challenging himself. The thing you don’t think you can do. That’s the thing you need to do.
Men need to continually learn new skills and become proficient at the ones already developed. If you want to build a website but don’t know how…then learn. If you don’t know how to bench press…then learn. If you don’t know how to shoot a gun, then go learn. Do manly stuff!
Men know that there is never an arrival point, there is never a destination. This life is asymptotic. Meaning you will continually come closer and closer to perfection, but never reach it. This should be encouraging because the sky is the limit.
Once you have a skill, work hard to hone it, and incorporate it into your daily life.
Every day you have a choice as a man, you can settle into mediocrity and passivity that this culture nurtures and cultivates, or you can set yourself apart and be the man you are made to be.
Being that man isn’t easy, because doing things the right way is not popular, and others will go against you because they are shallow scared little boys.
Boys hide and do what feels good, they don’t take responsibility or ownership. They are cowards, afraid of the success they can achieve, afraid to be dangerous and harsh.
It takes a man to make men.
How to obtain Mastery
- Don’t look for shortcuts. First, say to yourself what type of man you want to be, then be that man. No one is going to push you more than yourself. A man doesn’t wait for things to be perfect, he takes action.
- Stay Consistent. Don’t give up because something gets hard. Becoming the man you are made to be, takes time, effort and practice. Lots of it. Epictetus said: “No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.
- Remain Teachable and Humble. These go hand in hand. Humility leads to being teachable. When you realize that you don’t know anything that is when you are ready to learn anything. Remember that you are a warrior and that you were made for greatness. Warriors are teachable, and always ready to learn.
- Be willing to adapt. Things don’t always go as planned, but if you remain strategic in your approach and are developing your skill and strength then you will be able to adapt and change as new opportunities and openings arise in your life.
- Challenge Yourself. Never think that you have arrived. That you have reached your destination. A man’s journey lasts a lifetime, and you can’t do things because you think you are going to get noticed or because you want accolades. Do the things you need to do because they will make you better as a man, not because you think you will be rewarded for doing them.
Don’t ever settle into mediocrity. Always choose the higher road. You will be a better man because of it, one that is born hardship, pain, discomfort, and grief. Life is never guaranteed to be easy, and as a man, this is the first step in developing a warrior mindset and a never quit attitude.
Be Legendary, Be Authentic.
Do Manly Stuff, Create goals and then conquer those big audacious goals that you set for yourself.
Kick ass. Ever. Single. Day.
Be the man that you were made to be.