This is the test of your manhood: How much is there left in you after you have lost everything outside of yourself? ~ Orison Swett Marden
It was early on in the life of this online gig that I quit my onlymoney source and focused solely on trying to earn a living online.
The logic was reasonable. If I really wanted to make something of this online stuff, which would allow me to earn a living from anywhere and not be dependent purely on hours worked, then I’d have to give it everything I had.
I wouldn’t, however, say it was ‘smart’.
By giving away my only income source while not making anything from the online business, I was being dumb and naive. It didn’t take long to burn through my savings and then my credit before I was stuck trying to fund a business and pay rent.
That was one of the ‘when you’ve lost everything outside yourself’ moments I’ve had, and at least now I’m happy to say that I didn’t quit. It took eight months of overdue rent or rent not paid on time and late nights and early mornings working before I got a breakthrough.
The best story of a guy who showed his mettle when his world was collapsing is Cinderella Man.
As always, the book is better than the movie but the movie is incredible.
Want to know what it means to man up? Watch that movie and read the book.
Man up, Carry On
The term, man up has had a dark shadow over it for a while now. It’s a term that’s perceived as ‘shut up, don’t talk about your feelings, and carry on’. I know this is incredibly politically incorrect, but what’s wrong with that?
What’s wrong with seeking your own solutions?
What’s wrong with proving to yourself and to the world and your family and peers that you can make it on your own?
What’s wrong with persisting and hustling and working harder than others?
I get the whole ‘talk about stuff’ thing with depression and so forth. Read the Depression Cure if you have depression. See the science behind it, the causes of it.
To Man Up is to accept your role in your own life. It’s to accept responsibility for your role, your future, your part not just in your own life but in the lives of others too. It’s something you find out, create, when you’re at your lowest and you refuse to quit.
Youth is a blunder; manhood a struggle; old age a regret. ~ Benjamin Disraeli
To man up is to accept the struggle of manhood. And yes, it is a struggle, a daily one, often without reward or acclaim, just the pride of the man enduring the struggle he’s put here to endure.
This struggle is necessary, but it’s being avoided by guys who opt for the quick fix, the easy path, the cheat to wealth. Why wouldn’t you want ease? Why would any man quest for an arduous road?
What is this struggle?
Is it merely hardship or something more?
Norman Mailer said, Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor.
Man Up: Face Your Battles
Every day we face battles. More often than not we’re ignorant to the wars being waged because we see these not as ‘battles’, but as natural desires. As such, they’re innate and nothing can be done about them. (Read This:Fight Your Desires)
Other times we ignore these wars and blame things as being ‘just the way they are’. We willingly sweep our role in our own lives under the rug and play the role of someone having things done to them rather than being someone who fights for a better road, path, or way of life.
Yes, you have to win these battles with honor, but you also have to identify the damn battles.
Don’t think life happens to you, know that you control not the event but you definitely control your reaction to the event. You may not control the weather or the news, but you have power over how you respond to the weather or the news.
These are the battles.
Your desire to be lazy isn’t innate, it’s a choice. Your desire to spend money isn’t ‘good’ because it comes from within, it’s only good if it propels you closer to your goal.
Man Up. It’s a simple request, but to man up is to follow the hard path, one of awareness and not of ignorance.
When you’re ignorant you don’t have to fight any battle, you don’t have to accept the role you play in your own life. You can remain blind to the power you wield and instead ‘go with the flow’. You don’t have to rise to the occasion. You don’t have to wake up earlier, or go the extra mile at your work because you think your success or lack-there-of is the result of a system, not of discipline, hard work, and many many battles won with honor.
You can be a little bitch, a lacky, a victim, or you can be a damn man.
It’s your choice.
Being a coward is easy. You always choose the easy way out. You blame others for your mess, your life, your failure. When you act like a man, when you man up, the only one you can blame is the man in the mirror. It’s a tougher road, but it’s a necessary one if you’re going to live just and honorable and successful.
When I was a kid I was puzzled by Muhammad Ali’s dodging of the draft for the Vietnam War. He could kill everyone – or so the logic went in my small little brain. I obviously thought the same about John Wayne. Why wouldn’t they just send John Wayne in to fight the Nazis or whoever the bad guy was at the time?
When we get older – and I wouldn’t say ‘old’, in past generations this started at 17 years of age if not earlier – this becomes our pursuit, and it should be a serious pursuit.
You cannot dream about being a great man, you’re not a boy any longer, it’s time that you craft a plan and follow it every day.
The Dead Serious Quest to Man Up
We grow up later in our society than we did before. It is, in part, because our lives are longer, but we’re also lazier and far more entitled than we’ve ever been. We’re creating entitlement generations by awarding and rewarding them without merit, just for participation. (Read This:Nothing is Deserved Unless it’s Earned)
At some point the notion that you’re the center of the world or that you’re deserving of something you haven’t yet earned has to end, this is when you man up, when you become a man, when you take greatness more seriously.
There comes a time when life has to be taken more seriously, and this includes having fun, adventure, relationships, and your career path.
Life has to be taken more seriously because it’s fleeting. With every day you’re brought closer to your death. This is serious. What’s more is that most people exist in ignorance of this fact. They ignore death and doom and go through their days disregarding the significance of this countdown.
To be a man is to pursue not just a more serious life, but to pursue greatness in every moment of life.
Man up! Stop acting as if there are no consequences for your lack of clarity or for your laziness. Man up! Stop pushing greatness to tomorrow and stop idolizing others who’ve accomplished it already or are on their way to doing so.
You’re a man, dammit, man up and start acting like one by doing what you’ve been afraid to do up to this point.
There are choices, daily, that men make that boys don’t.
Choose to read instead of watching TV.
Choose to work on your house instead of ‘relaxing’.
Choose to work another hour instead of playing video games.
Choose to spend time with your family instead of surfing the net.
Manliness is a choice, and a dead serious one at that. Make the choice to man up every day. It’s a lifetime pursuit, and it’s your duty to pursue it as such.
Wake up every day as if greatness is your purpose.
I’m not a huge fan of the term, but when applied to every area of your life it provides clarity as to what your choices must be in every single moment.
A man’s role is protector and defender. ~Chad Howse
If we don’t learn from history we’re doomed to repeat it.
Last year I spent a month in Rome and three months in Italy. There are few places in the world that can connect you with history so closely as Rome.
The city is big, huge for an ancient city. It’s surrounded by great walls and within the confines of their gates a once great people ruled.
The Romans of the past are nothing like the Italians of the present. They were workers, hustling and toiling endlessly. It was their priority, to do, leave the philosophy to the Greeks, the Romans were here to build and conquer.
When they first came across the Israelites, the Jews, they were perplexed with a people that took an entire day off every week called the Sabbath. They saw them not as insightful or respectful of their God, but as lazy.
What’s interesting about Italy, and Rome, is why many of its other great cities were built.
I spent two weeks, for example, in a town called Sorano. It’s an ancient town once inhabited by the Etruscans who predated the Romans but essentially lived in caves that look like they were carved our by spoons and now used as perfect wine cellars.
Sorano later became a city the Romans used as an outpost, a warning against invaders. Towns like Sorano, heavily fortified and very well situated atop a canyon, nearly impossible to overtake, litter the countryside of Tuscany. The Romans, like the Brits or French or any other great nation knew that a great city can’t huddle up within its own gates and expect to protect itself from invaders.
Defense doesn’t start where the city lines begin, they start on the edges of the empire.
Success, victory, winning is found in consistently doing the things you don’t want to do.
Think about it…
Everyone does what they love to do and want to do. Most people aren’t tough. They won’t do what they don’t like to do or what they don’t like to enjoy. It’s human nature not to do that stuff. Go against your nature.
For me it’s video. I hate doing video, but it brings a lot of people to the site so it has to be done.
People don’t like answering emails or writing long books or getting up early. They don’t like training hard or training every day. They don’t like staying late at work. They don’t like not buying stuff. They hate saving.
People don’t like to persist.
The act of simply outlasting everyone is a valid approach in any industry.
Unless you’re a complete goof, you can’t help but learning things along the way if you persist.
No man is more unhappy than he who never faces adversity. For he is not permitted to prove himself. ~ Seneca
You have no reason to try to prove yourself to others. They really don’t matter in your pursuit, one that should be yours and yours alone.
You have to, however, prove yourself to yourself. That’s how you gain confidence. That’s how you gain power, strength, and character. And a man who never faces adversity can never really know what he’s made of nor what he’s worth.
Seek adversity by aiming higher and persisting. The flaw in many of our pursuits in life is that we think we find meaning. No, meaning is something you create, not by jumping from project to project or job to job, but by sticking it out and creating meaning in the least likely of places.
The profession is irrelevant. The aim has to be high, but the persistence has to be infinite.