To give your mind only to those things that make you a better man, this is what is the ideal, the thing we strive for. Everything else, those things that are not necessary, are non-essential.
I just opened up Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography the other day. Franklin, as a young man, made a plan to become great. He saw goodness and greatness in the same light. And he saw the mastery of 13 virtues as his path to doing great things.
Greatness wasn’t in his bloodline, at least not in the same way it was for Aurelius. Franklin was born poor, yet he saw his destiny as something he controlled. He saw God’s gifts as the potential for him to rise, but his action as what will actually make him ascend in a society far more difficult to rise up in that our modern one.
Before you ever determine what you specific quest may be, before you know what you’re working toward, be as Ben was and aim simply to be great, then determine the things that will help you get there.
The “things” that will help you get there are already within your grasp, they have just yet to take hard form. They aren’t more money – the myth that you need money to make money can be dispelled time and time again. You don’t need more courage, that’s something you have that you’ve left dormant for far too long. You don’t need more help, that will come when you begin helping yourself. You don’t need a greater potential because you have no clue what yours is as you are right now.
What you need are better habits. You need to live virtues, and you need to identify what those virtues are. Your quest, as is mine, isn’t to change the world by creating something or to conquer the land. Our quest isn’t yet laid out for us in that fashion, the quest simply is as it was for the young Ben Franklin:
To become great not by achieving something of great value but by becoming so good, so great of a human, a man, that greatness has no recourse but to find its way into our lives.
This, at it’s base, is the act of manning up. This is forcing yourself to do what you must to be at your best and what you must do is not easy. You need to develop the manly virtues of courage, humility, frugality, honor, and others. And it’s these virtues that will take you from where you are now to the badass mother fucker that you have the potential to become.
Mediocrity is evil, if you think about it. Mediocrity, which can be defined in so many ways so we’ll simply define it as you not being anywhere near your potential yet being perfectly fine with that fact, is avoidance of life. It’s giving in to what the masses have given in to, a kind of purgatorial existence awaiting something better to come when death arrives.
Mediocrity is living as a shell of the man you can become, and that’s evil. It’s evil if you’re a Christian or a Jew, a Muslim or Buddhist, atheist, agnostic, whatever you believe in, wasting what you were given, an opportunity, is not good in any sense.
To become great, to man the fuck up both daily and in the bigger picture, the virtues of manliness must be a part of your character and your character must be that thing that leads you to a better life.
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.