Arriving in Italy after a 13 hour flight from Vancouver to London, then on to Rome, I hailed a cab, speaking no Italian, and tried to figure out how to get to the apartment I’d rented for a month. I didn’t know where in the city it was, or that it was actually a bit outside of the city in what was considered a “rough” area, I was just happy to finally visit the center of the Roman Empire. Thus began adventure number one of 2014, a 3 month trip in Europe, with a couple weeks in Scotland, the rest traveling throughout Italy, the country where my dear mother was born.
The adventures didn’t stop there as I booked a trip to South America within a month of returning home from Italy.
2014 was a year of growth. A year where I tried to build a business and see the world all at the same time. A year where I chased adventure and fled monotony. A year where I was forced to man up in many instances, face fears, and do what was necessary to survive and thrive.
I’m no archetype of this alpha male, the man we’re aiming to become, I’m merely in pursuit of him, of who I intend to be in the future.
The alpha male is us, but improved, optimized physically, emotionally, spiritually, and of course, mentally. It’s the leader of the pack, the leader of leaders. The alpha male is a badass, something we aspire to be, a guy who grabs life by the horns and has his way with it.
This was a year where I moved closer to the man I want to become, but the man I want to become also grew in stature, in audacity, in what he will accomplish and what he will dare. The lessons learned this year have come from experience and from some of my closest companions, my books. I’ve been blessed to read some fine ones, and they’ll help shape this article. (Read this: 30 Books Every Man Needs to Read Before Turning 30)
Regardless of where you are in life, you should be chasing the man you want to be in 5 or 10 years. You should be improving in every area, many of them we’ll cover today. The purpose of this article is to possibly make you think, and purposely help you find clarity in what your alpha is, and how you can become him.
How to Live Life Audaciously
1. If you don’t know where you’re going, someone else will tell you where they want you to go. More and more I’m understanding the need of a clearly defined goal, a place where I want to be, whether it’s business, spiritually, mentally, or even geographically. If you don’t have a clearly defined idea of the man you want to become, you’re going to have a tough time becoming him.
2. We rarely set worthy goals. I always thought I set audacious goals, but within the past year I’ve had my eyes opened just a tad to what can be accomplished if we dare mightily enough. Do not set goals that you know you can accomplish. Set goals that you would love to accomplish, that will get you up early and on the grind, that excite you, that are as big and bold as the goal can be. There’s no sense in setting goals that don’t push you to become something you currently aren’t.
3. What you dream or aim to do is of little consequence. What you do is all that matters. The world is filled with dreamers and talkers, and almost completely devoid of action takers. Talk less, do more.
4. If you hang around with losers, you’re likely going to be a loser. Hang around with winners, and if you can’t find any, be alone with your books.
5. There are two kinds of people in this world, those who make excuses and those who don’t. The masses make excuses. They feel hard-pressed and hard-done-by. They think the system is set to make them fail. The winner, even if the system is against him, sees it as a challenge, and a challenge he will win.
6. Choose your books wisely, read the words and about the tales and adventures of great men, problem solvers and winners. Your books should inspire you and give you a taste of what it takes to be great, a taste of what can be accomplished with discipline. Choose them wisely.
7. Create sink or swim scenarios. If you want to succeed at something, make it the only option. When this business started to grow, it was because I quit everything else in my life that gave me money. I forced this to grow. It was no longer a bonus or a passion project, but everything. Create these scenarios in every area of your life if you really want to see what you’re made of.
8. Use your fear as a compass. Those things that scare you most shouldn’t be a deterrent. You should follow them, seek them out. The adventures that scare you most should be those you embark upon.
9. Men need danger and excitement in our lives, ’tis how we’re hardwired. If we’re not given it, this desire for adventure will show itself in other ways. Men are bred to be warriors. We’ve spent more time hunting and conquering than we have sitting and typing. If you’re not giving yourself the danger and excitement you crave, you’ll find yourself getting depressed, or feeding it in other ways, like porn or adultery or idiotic violence that does nobody any good.
10. Be the man you want to be, don’t be swayed by the interests of others. Never feel like this is how you should be. If you have your interests, follow them. Your life has to be your life if you’re going to become the man you were put here to become, if you’re going to reach your potential.
11. Learn to say “no”. It’s a word I’ve used a lot more as of late. The requests for meetings and skype calls and drinks, dinners, and parties don’t add to life, the majority of them take you away from what’s essential. Learn to say no more often. Say no to the things that come into your life that take you away from the tasks that are essential to your success.
12. Journal, daily. The people who accomplish great things in life have a focused sense of where they want to be, even daily. Keeping a journal helps with this a lot. It helps you find clarity in what you should focus on, but also clarity in what you want in life. Make the habit of keeping a daily journal.
How to Live Life as a Badass
14. Prepare your body for war. It’s beyond me how some people think that they can live a truly grand life without first building a strong, powerful body. Start with a program that makes you stronger and more powerful.
15. Get out of the city. Throughout my travels I gained a growing distaste for cities. They contain more people, it’s almost impossible to be truly alone, and yet people in cities feel more alone, depressed, and lost. In nature, though, you can be the only human for miles and yet be at peace with where you are with no need for companionship. Get out of the city and into nature. This is where real adventure lies, and where true beauty is found.
16. Be a “yes” man. Say yes to adventures. Don’t spend too much time weighing your options and instead get into the thick of the action and see what you’re made of.
17. Push yourself in every way possible. Add more discipline to your life. Get up earlier, read more, train harder, travel more, don’t get caught being content with who you are. Life is to be lived, we are not here to merely exist.
18. Be reckless, sometimes. Sometimes you just have to be stupid and be willing to accept the consequences, even if they may be bodily harm or death. Life can’t be found in safety, nor can growth. Sometimes what we need is a healthy dash of stupidity mixed in with audacity and the balls to embark on whatever daring adventure is calling our name.
19. Do what others aren’t willing to do. Work harder. That’s a simple one. A badass is a well-rounded individual who faces his fears and does what others aren’t willing to do. Train harder. Set higher goals. Make the big changes in your life that deep down you know you have to make but have, thus far, been unwilling to make.
20. Conquer your fear of death and pain and getting punched in the face. It’s an unpopular view, but you really can’t know what you’re made of until you’ve been in a fight. You also don’t know who your true friends are until they stand with you and fight. The cowards will flee and save their own skin, but your true friends will stand with you even if that means taking a beating. If you fear death and bodily harm as most do, you’re going to hold back when it comes to adventures and life. (Try this: Be Bold as a Lion)
Building The Alpha Male Body
21. Perform Olympic lifts on a regular basis. Become proficient at the clean and the snatch if you want to develop the explosive power befitting of any alpha male.
22. Deadlift often. There may be no better exercise. Make sure you deadlift weekly.
23. Focus on strength for the first 3 months of 2015. Strength is the first goal every trainee should have, no matter what their end goals are. It makes every other physical or physique goal not only more likely but more successful.
24. Have physical goals you want to reach, be they weights you want to lift, or a race you want to enter, or a fight you want to have. Don’t just train to improve, train to be the best.
25. Eat like a man or perform like a lady. Nothing against women, at all, in any way, but we’re separated essentially by our dominant hormones. And the male dominant hormone, testosterone, is on the decline, and it’s declining fast. It’s the hormone that gives us a greater capacity for strength and power, and to be the uglier of the two sexes. If you’re not eating or training to naturally increase your testosterone levels, you’re hell-bent on not reaching your potential.
How to Be Sissy
26. Make excuses for yourself and others. If you want to know how to improve, also understand what lines of thinking will hold you back. Don’t ever make excuses, not for yourself, or for others. People don’t need your pity, they don’t need a hand-out, they need a hand-up, an opportunity, a reality check. Excuses keep people down, they prevent them from doing what’s necessary to rise up.
27. Be relentless at finding the easy way out.
28. Follow the crowd. There aren’t many real world alpha males, leaders, real men, or warriors. That’s because it’s difficult to be any of the things mentioned. It requires of you to do what’s good in the big picture, to take the bold actions that lead to victory, to work harder than your competition, to extend a hand and help someone other than yourself. If you want to be a loser, think like one, there are a lot of them, it should be easy enough to find a role model.
29. Discount the value of a strong body. The mind is your strongest muscle, for sure, but your quads are damn close. Don’t discount the power of power. When your family needs protecting, when a life needs saving, when an ass needs kicking, pure power, strength, and physical skill become very important.
30. Believe you’re cursed. You can see life as a series of curses, or as a series of challenges. The majority feel as though they’re cursed, the few, the strong, see a setback as a challenge and something they will rise above.
How to Be a Leader
31. Lead from the front. The essence of what it means to be an alpha male is simply being a leader. And you can’t lead from the back. Take the lead, don’t wait for it to be thrust upon you. Grab the reigns and steer.
32. Talk less, do more. Don’t talk a big game – I say this as I sit, writing – take action. How refreshing is it to meet someone cut from the old school cloth? A guy whose words hold weight because they are so few. The weakest man in the room is usually the loudest.
33. Ask more of yourself. Don’t look to others to blame, only focus on that which you can control, and that’s you, your thoughts, emotions, and actions.
34. Study great leaders. If you want to be a great leader, study other great leaders. Study Christ, Robert E. Lee, Napoleon, or Tony Dungy. Read about Louie Zamperini, Christ Kyle, and Theodore Roosevelt. Study what made them great. Take their strengths and weaknesses and use what they learned in your own life. (Read this: 12 Lessons on Manhood from Johnny Cash)
35. Know your values. Few people know what they stand for or why they stand for it. They get worked up over the smallest things, the slightest perceived wrongs, without knowing why or what they actually stand for. Know what you stand for if you want to know how to lead. Write your values down, keep them visible and close and let them guide you in life.
36. Don’t seek popularity. Society is increasingly placing more value on popularity and less on substance. People want fame, not to truly matter. They want instagram followers or facebook friends and their real relationships are few. Don’t seek fame or popularity, set out to help and to lead by leading a good life on your own terms. People will follow, but they’ll follow a man making them better, not a celebrity who’s own life is in shambles.
37. Know what’s at stake. When you sit down to work everyday, or you go to work, understand what’s at stake with every decision you make. Understand where the distractions will lead, to a life devoid of great accomplishment. Know the same with effort, persistence, and focus, know where a job well done will lead and work completed; to a life lived as the man you’ve set out to become, living the life you’ve set out to create.
38. Make the tough decisions. It sounds somewhat cliche, but a leader is not only willing to do what others aren’t willing to do, he’s willing to make the unpopular decisions that need to be made. Politicians aren’t leaders simply because they no longer make tough, unpopular decisions, and they’re rarely made in our personal or business lives either. Possibly why those true, tough, old school leaders are also so rare.
39. Laugh often, and even more-so at yourself. In business, especially, people take themselves too seriously. This is blinding, if we can’t laugh at ourselves or even our faults, we can’t grow, and we’ll be hit in our weakest points. Learn to joke around, to take jokes directed at you, and to laugh at even your most sensitive and insecure areas.
40. Take whatever comes at you on your feet. Don’t be a push-over. It’s simple. Don’t bend or break to the wishes of others when they conflict with who you are and what you want to accomplish.
41. Don’t depend on others for success. Always be willing to walk away from a deal if it doesn’t give you what you’re worth or if it’s out of line with who you are.
42. Don’t be a networker. Don’t seek out relationships trying to cling on to someone else’s success and use them for your own gain. In other words, don’t be a sleezebag riding the coat tails of another human. Meet people. Genuinely try to help them or enjoy them, but don’t meet them and treat them as a stepping stone to something better. Create what you want, don’t use others to get ahead.
43. Invest in yourself. Buy books. Buy courses and programs that will help you grow in the field and area you want to grow in. Put some skin in the game and invest in who you want to become. Don’t be a fella always after a freebee, never putting it to use once he gets it.
How to Be Tougher
44. Train your body and your mind to get tough. The gym isn’t only a place to develop bigger, stronger, muscles or burn fat, it’s a great place to push yourself through pain, and where you can grow to appreciate pain, you can become tougher. Try for one more rep, don’t quit so early, pay attention to the thoughts running through your head as you train and make sure you’re warrior’s voice is load and the coward’s voice is quelled.
45. Add more discipline to your life. Identify disciplines, things that make you uncomfortable, that also benefit you, and add them to your routine. A simple one is the morning run and cold shower. Both suck, but both wake you up and prime your body and your mind for a great day.
46. Join a boxing gym. I love boxing. I love all combat sports, and I respect – on some level – every man who walks into that ring to face another man one on one. You have to overcome fears and that part of your brain that seeks the easy route. Join a boxing gym if you want to become tougher, and not just physically tougher, but mentally tougher as well.
47. Put yourself in dicey situations. Travel alone. Hike alone. Go to areas of the world without much research and depend on your skills to survive.
48. Persist. This is maybe the most important lesson I’ve learned on this list, the power of persistence. So many smart, intelligent, imaginative people set out to go great things in this world but quit before they realize their mission and create their vision. The single thing that sets the great apart from the good is the ability to persist and evolve.
49. Never compare yourself to another human. This could fit in any one of the aforementioned categories. It’s impossible to be happy, to be tough, to win or succeed if you’re always comparing yourself to someone else and what they have. You are your own man, living your own life, all you can do is make the best of it, and you’ll find that your best is the best.
50. Move on only after the task is done and the battle is won. Get in the simple habit of avoiding distractions until you’ve finished what you set out to complete. Focus on one thing and only one thing. Commit to accomplishing things rather than just starting them.
At the beginning of this past year I wanted to publish a book. I started two. This year both will be published, but the Resistance, the distractions and the projects that fill our lives taking us away from our biggest goals, are relentless. Fight through them. Stay the course. Hopefully the lessons in this list will help you do so.