I’ve written this email/newsletter/article in a few different ways, from a few different angles…
What started out as an attempt to create an exercise for myself to make sure I’m living true, thinking true, and acting true to who I am and who I am at my best, turned into another question altogether, the notion of understanding what’s true by identifying what is not true. (read: Be Your Own Man)
Sometimes we better understand what something is by identifying first what it isn’t.
You’re not strong if you’re weak. You’re not good if you’re bad. You’re not a man if you’re a woman. You’re not a man if you’re soft, timid, cowardly, useless, and so on.
Defining Who You Are
There are questions to answer a bit later, but who you are is essentially your potential. It’s not who you’ve become because of diminished goals, because of settling, because of surroundings. Who you are is best defined by this scenario… (read: 15 Steps to Becoming a Better Man)
You live a good life. You work hard, do good, support and provide for your family, and then you die. Upon death you reach the pearly gates where you’re met by Saint Peter who introduces you to a guy you recognize but can’t put a name to. He looks like you, but better. He stands taller and stronger. He has a sense of pride about something, a mission, achievement, he’s driven.
The man is who you could have been filled with everything you could have achieved, with everything you could have accomplished. Meeting him hits you like a ton of bricks. He’s you, but devoid of the laziness, removed of the intentions that went unacted upon. He thought bigger. He didn’t see limitations only obstacles that could be overcome. He didn’t pity himself. He wore out before he rusted out. He chose to see the good rather than dwelling on the bad. By the end of his life he looked like a different man because of these characteristics and choices.
This is you. This is who you have to be true to, not the guy who holds too much self-doubt, or the guy who says he’s going to do things and never does them. With that definition, let’s move on. (read: The Lost Art of Fulfillment)
The Trap of Becoming a Fraud Because of A Lack of Confidence
Listen, we’re all acting and thinking in some way that isn’t true to who we are. We’re influenced by ads and marketing and culture. We compare ourselves to what we want to be and to who others are.
The fraud is often the result of a lack of confidence. It comes about because we’re unaware of who we can be, blind to who we ought to be, so we try to become someone else.
The fraud is rooted in laziness. We don’t want to think deeply, so we stop at an incorrect conclusion. We don’t want to risk, so we copy someone else’s ideas or follow someone else’s advice.
At its worst, the fraud is weakness. It’s the guy who takes the easy route, who doesn’t call out evil because he’s afraid of the consequences that will follow.
If you know who you are, what you believe, your values, morals, ethics, and desires, and you have the courage to live by them, you cannot be a fraud.
Just like we humans today are the result of being stacked upon previous generations, their victories, mistakes, failures, and successes, who you are is a collection of past knowledge and present ideas.
You’re both an original and a tapestry.
You, however, have to choose what and why you take from others, and what you create completely anew.
Don’t Adopt Someone Else’s Dreams
The worst we can do is to try to live someone else’s life. From a misdirection aspect, we have to curtail everything about who we are to succeed at something that we are not.
Question 1: What are your goals and dreams?
Spend Sunday thinking about what they really are and why they really are. Wanting power, wealth, happiness, a big company or a large ranch is fine, just understand why you want it and question whether it’s truly what you want.
Happiness and Misery
We all have different senses of humor. Different things make us happy and other things make us miserable.
It took me a while to really think about what really makes me happy, and the times I’m the happiest, and the times I’m the least happy. For myself, I need 3 things above all else:
1. A challenge.
And they all tie into one another. When I’m working on something that’s challenging and I’m excited about and hopeful about – meaning there’s real evidence that it’ll bear fruit and help others and become something big – time stands still, in fact, there’s not enough hours in a day.
Add in good relationships and newness, and I’m at my happiest. I need new things. I need to see new places, try new things, get better new skills. I need to be improving, and there needs to be struggle in the improvement. Monotony makes me miserable, as does comparison.
When I’m comparing myself to what I’d rather have or be doing or what others are doing or what they have, I’m miserable. Extreme solitude is also not great, we need to share, we need to benefit others and benefit from others.
Question 2: What are your happiest times? What are your most miserable times?
I’ll Never Be That
I’ll never be the envious fella. I’ll never be the lazy fella. I’ll never be the guy proclaiming all he’s going to do when everyone around him knows he’s not going to do it. I’ll never be the guy who sets out to hurt others, I’d much rather be the guy who makes others laugh and helps others.
I’ll never be the poor guy, the broke guy who has no power to help others. I just don’t want that. I’ll never be the insecure guy. I’ll never be the down, depressed guy. I’ll never be the low energy guy, I’ll never be the small thinking guy. I’ll never be the scared guy, the timid, soft guy who doesn’t do what’s necessary because it’s too difficult.
The fact is that I’ve been each of these guys before at some moment in time. That’s when you have to step back and identify why, what’s making me act like the man I do not want to be and get rid of it?
Question 3: Who do you never want to become? What or who are making you become that guy?
Morals, Ethics, Values
Much of this is already laid out in who you are and who you vow to never become. But we truly have to identify the ethics, values, and morals we think are important, write them down in code form, and have the courage to live by them no matter the consequence.
Will you earn by any means necessary? Will you turn a blind eye to those doing wrong or will you step in even if there consequences aren’t good?
I value risk, I don’t want to act because I’m afraid of risk. I value effort, I never want to be lazy. I value my word, both to myself and others, I do what I set out to do. I value courage, I will always move forward in spite of fear and often because of fear, chasing it rather than running from it. I value confidence, I won’t get down on myself or pity my situation. I think it’s ethically wrong to waste time speaking ill of others, to waste time thinking and not acting when the action is clear, to waste time doing things that make me worse, that degrade my body or my mind or my relationships or my potential. (read: Be Toxic)
Hopefully that helps.
Question 4: What are your morals, values, and ethics?
Be Your Own Man, Don’t Be a Fraud
You can be a good fraud. You can be kind and well-intended, but fraudulent. You can be nice, but be a fraction of who you can be, that guy you met at the pearly gates.
Don’t spend your life living by someone else’s ideals and ethics, their desires and dreams and goals. Don’t belittle who you are because you think someone else is greater than you.
Don’t look up to people, admire their actions, what they’ve done, their discipline, but don’t idealize them. Most often, they’ve simply made the right decision and had the courage and discipline to see it through.
Their potential is no different than yours.
Their worth is no greater than yours unless worth is judged by what they’ve done, in that case, they’ve simply done more. And you can do more.
I admire what Theodore Roosevelt did, the manner in which he lived, how to worked tirelessly and did what others thought impossible or just too difficult to do, and there are many others like him throughout history, but they’re all just guys, with the same struggles as we all have.
We all have struggles, and we all must overcome them.
Understanding who we truly are, and having the BALLS to live the best life we can possibly live, on our own terms, is our task.
Get after it.