A real man is self reliant and courageous. There isn’t a pussy who can call himself a real man. He’s persistent. He keeps the faith while others lose theirs. He’s a leader, a true leader who forges his own path, who talks to the loner in the corner of the cafeteria while the mob chooses to treat him as an outcast. A real man faces his fears and does what needs to be done, for his own welfare, and for those who depend on him.
Being a real man isn’t easy, but it is simple. When someone tells you to “man the fuck up“, you know what they mean. They’re telling you to stand up, take responsibility for your life and your actions, and stop complaining. About complaining, a man doesn’t do it. He doesn’t whine or wish he was somewhere else. He’s disciplined. He has his lapses, but he doesn’t lose his house on a wager, he doesn’t put his family at risk because of the drink.
To be a real man isn’t taking the easy path, it’s the hardest road to take, but also the most fulfilling. It begins with something as simple as a choice, it’s carried out through actions, and it’s brought to fruition through habit.
With the ending of each year we’re given a symbolic opportunity to start over, and start anew. Take it. Take these final days of the year 2013 to define what your manly journey is to look like. And use that first day of January to act it out. Start the snowball effect that will lead you down a path that has not yet been cleared, and can only be followed in whatever wake you leave behind.
Momentum is a powerful thing, but it needs that first push. So push. We’re only a few days away from the end, and the beginning. Let the aforementioned characteristics become you. Hone them. Live them. Breathe them. Strengthen your soul, your Self, by taking that first step towards manhood, and follow it up with a thousand more.
[Tweet “Man is born to live, not to prepare for life.”]
How to Live an Epic, Legendary Life
Most of us sit on the sidelines. Mark Twain said, Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. In this case, the side of the majority is the side of the fool and the coward. The side of the fella who resides in a state of purgatory, not yet entering death, but avoiding the risk and work that real life requires.
Most of us wander through life as if we’re walking a straight line. We move forward and backward on this line, staying within the confines of the life we think we’re supposed to live. The problem is, we’ve got it all wrong. We haven’t lived. We may have in moments, but life, that grand, epic adventure that only a handful of humans have ever experienced exists outside of the lines, it occurs beyond what’s expected of us, in that arena that few enter. The arena where warriors and masculine men thrive. The arena of life.
I’m on this journey with you, talking to you as a guy trudging through fields that haven’t yet been charted, trying to stake my claim on a plot of land and a path that hasn’t yet been paved. So how do we do this? ‘Tis the question we all have but few of us know how to answer. How do we break free from the monotony we can barely call a life, into a new realm of adventure and pain, hardship and victory? How do we leave the safety of our nest when we’re not sure what exists outside of it, and if there is anything beyond what we already know?
To start, we have to do something irrational. Do something dangerous.
If you’re looking for a safe, simple guide to being a better, stronger man, you shall be disappointed. Being a man isn’t something given, but earned. Reading through the pages of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, I’m seeing the evolution of a man who’s end I already know. I’m witnessing his immaturity, his weakness, and the gaining of his inevitable strength and courage. The only thing that turns a boy into a man is hardship and strain, pain and failure.
In these next couple of days before another year begins, determine what that itch is in your soul. Figure out what scares you. Are you living at home, saving up, figuring out what you want to do with your life? Leave. Get out of there. Find a cheap place, place hardship on yourself, and see if you can survive.
Have you been going through the motions, doing the same thing day after day, weekend after weekend, getting drunk with the same pals, bedding the same women, trying to squeeze some semblance of life from the dry, drawn out routine that you pretend to enjoy but deep down can’t stand? Leave. Go somewhere that excites you, but also scares you. You may get hurt, robbed, or killed, but you’ll have, at least for a moment, lived.
[Tweet “Every man dies, not every man really lives.”]
Most see momentum started by a small action that compounds and compounds until its a grand movement or adventure. Fuck the small stuff, the simple safe steps. If, deep down in your soul, you even have a slight inkling as to what scares and excites you, no matter how big, audacious, or dangerous that thing may be, do it. Book it. Take it. Grasp it. Make it a reality and not simply a dream relegated to that moment when you’re half awake and half asleep, in that magical state of consciousness when you find the courage, even if only in your dreams, to take big actions, risks, and push yourself beyond what you know you can do.
Do. Don’t think, plan, or wish. Just do.
If a grand, Legendary adventure can be started with a small, simple, seemingly insignificant step, imagine what can result from a big, bold, audacious action. Think bigger than you ever have. Do even greater than your dreams will allow you to wonder.
Then, do something unpopular.
Daily, we’re bombarded with images and ads telling us what to like, who to like, who to be, what to strive for, and what to love. It’s incredibly hard, especially in these modern times, to be an original. To think original thoughts and to aspire for unique goals. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done. It must be done if you’re going to become a leader and a man.
Do something unpopular. This may simply be unpopular in your circle, or on a societal scale. It doesn’t matter.
Earlier I mentioned how a real man is that guy that leaves the comfort of his friends, his “click”, to talk to the loner sitting in the corner, friendless, day after day eating his lunch on his own. That’s one of the most powerful, unpopular actions you can take. That’s thinking and doing on your own, not how your friends or your society may want you to think. That’s you being a man and taking care of your fellow man.
Do something that means something, either to you or another human being, and make sure that thing is a slap to the face of the pressures that society places upon you. Sift through the bullshit. Help another man pick himself up and find his own place this world, even as you’re helping, finding, trying to do this admirable action step on your own.
Do something unpopular that flies in the face of what society expects of you. Innovate, teach, and train. Inspire. Do so by picking yourself up off your ass and turning your life around. Realize that your success and happiness is on your shoulders, and your shoulders alone. Act like a man. Man the fuck up. Don’t wait for someone to coddle or pander to your whims, wishes, and wants. Take that first step towards self reliance and freedom. That first, hard step on a long, painful, arduous road.
Don’t do the popular thing. Don’t wait for a lottery ticket, the fact that you’re still alive and free to do whatever the fuck you want with your life is far more beneficial than winning the lottery. Work, don’t wait. Aspire, don’t envy. Stand stoically and strong, don’t gossip. Do the unpopular act of being a man, not an envious coward crying because of where he’s gotten himself in life. Take responsibility. Man up.
As harsh and critical as I am against weakness and aid, it’s just as important to talk and ask for help. There’s no such thing as a self-made man, and although this may contradict everything written thus far, it shouldn’t. Talk about your mission, help others and welcome help into your own life, even asking for it if you need it. But don’t rely on people. If you can become self-reliant, you become free. It’s freedom that every man craves deep down in the depths of his soul. Freedom from dependancy. From to do what his dreams nag at him to do. Do what’s unpopular, do what you want to do. Be an original.
Now, make your place in the world.
It seems as though everyone’s searching for an identity. Instead, make one. This isn’t “an exercise” that you can do, nor is it a year-long journey that will come to fruition 365 days from now. It may take months, or years. The journey may never “end”, but it’s the journey that will serve you best, not necessarily its culmination.
In our society we’re losing silence. We’re losing solitude. As we’re forever connected to our phones, computers, and networks, we’re losing the connection we have with our own internal, original voice. It’s that voice that tells us our desires, wants, and ambitions. It’s that voice that makes decisions that are in line with our values, who we are, what we truly believe. To make your place in this world, to craft your own identity, you have to be in touch with that voice. You have to listen to it, but you also have to make it louder than all of the noise that exists in your life.
Your voice has to be louder than the vast sea of advertisements – both intrusive, overt, silent, and subliminal – that bombard you on a daily basis. Your voice has to stop you as you head down a road that you know isn’t good for you. It has to be strong enough to prevent you from creating habits of weakness and vanity that will weaken your resolve as a man. It has to be loud enough to hold you to a code of honor that “men” of today neglect at the first temptation, challenge, or danger.
How do we strengthen this voice and take command of creating our own identity if we’re not even sure what this voice sounds like and what it’s trying to say?
There will be times when you have to unplug and remove all other “voices” from your person. Times when you have to be out in nature, phoneless, computerless, walking, thinking, allowing your true thoughts to rise as the noise of your daily life is left behind.
There will be times when you have to be tested, and you have to put yourself in situations where you will be tested. You have to see if you have the strength to proceed. You have to test your mettle. So while you’ve taken your grand adventure and you’ve done something unpopular, you now how to do something difficult, something that isn’t easy, that will cause you pain, heartache, and strife. You have to test yourself, truly.
For each man this comes at different shapes and forms and moments in life. You may have to move out of your parent’s home. You may have to break up with your long time girlfriend or travel to a poor, desolate place so you can truly understand what hardship is and looks like. You have to reach that point where others may break, fold, and quit, but you keep trudging on.
In my own life that was just over 4 years ago when I decided to either sink or swim. I’d started this lovely online business, but I was still held up by the comfort of a training business that was doing well. I had no urgency in this business because of the other. I could survive by doing the bare minimum, or by doing enough. So I quit the bread-winning business. I gave it away. And I sunk, rapidly.
Before I made the decision I didn’t understand just how much I was making in my training business, and how little I was making in this online business. It took a while to drain my savings, but it happened. It took even longer to run out of credit, but I got there. For 8 straight months I was late on rent. I had minuses in my bank account, but I didn’t quit. I didn’t start back training, partly due to my foolish, stubborn nature, but largely because I – with the help of a close friend – saw this as a pivotal point in my life. A moment that could, if I allowed it to, strengthen who I was and teach me just what’s possible and what I can endure.
So I kept on. I worked longer hours, I took more risks, I tried new things. Slowly this business became profitable. Then I started earning more, and bit by bit my hard work started to pay off. One lesson I learned was simple:
Hard work never ends. If you want to be successful, if you want to be happy, you have to work hard every day. There isn’t a 5-day work week, nor is there a day where nothing can be done. It’s a life-long pursuit, and even when things get better, ease can creep into your life, trip you up, and start another downward spiral. That’s just the way it is. To complain about it is useless and unproductive. To accept it and use it to your advantage (we all have the capacity to work hard), is where brilliance and toughness and grit all intertwine.
Alas, we have to be persistent and diligent. If we are, always, it will pay off. And that pay off compounds. It took a year off losses to see some gains. After that first profitable year, I’ve tripled both the growth of the site and the income every year since – although not with a fair share of ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys that inevitably come along when we least expect them.
It’s a journey I’m just embarking, truthfully, this journey of manhood. I’m not writing this from atop a platform looking down at my subjects, I’m in this battle just as you are. We’re in this battle as we always will be.
The journey to live a Legendary life and become a great man – no matter how you define said greatness – isn’t one that can be wrapped up in a year. However, it can be started in a moment, with a single, audacious action. If you have the balls to take that action, take it. You have to see if you have the fortitude and the strength to last a lifetime on the road to, and of, manhood.
Finally, keep on.
Hollywood, that world filled with people who pretend, but rarely do, a world filled with cowards and pussies who play warriors and heroes on the silver screen and get a free pass into the lore of the manly realm, has portrayed the real man in many forms. Be it the sensitive type or the warrior, the thinker or the hero. What a man is, is consistent.
It isn’t sexy, it doesn’t always make for great copy or an inspiring story. But the guy who wins at life is the guy who’s still standing when all others have quit or died off.
There are countless men who were real men that simply lived a strong life everyday of their life. It was a life void of epic accomplishment to the naked eye, but to the perceptive observer there is no grander accomplishment than persisting through hardship. It’s rare in today’s society, this toughness, this raw, masculine act of “keeping on”. But after you’ve gone on your grand adventure, you’ve stepped outside of your boundaries, you’ve forged your place in this world, you have to continue, you must persist. Keep working, growing, evolving, and learning. Don’t take a day off, don’t envy another’s position in life. Make your own path day after day until it’s your time to take that final dirt nap. Keep on.