It’s often easier to figure out how not to do or be something than it is to figure out how to do or be something.
There’s a caveat here, though…
We’re not just trying to figure out what it means to be a real man.
Within the context of manhood – and that creates certain rigid parameters we’ll discuss in a bit – we’re trying to figure out how to win, to be our best, to be great.
Within that quest, there are some truths you have to come to grips with, like:
- the fact that you have been given everything you need to win, there’s nothing outside of what you have and who you are right now that you need to be victorious,
- jealousy is weakness, it’s unmanly to be jealous,
- Effort over time yields great results if you pay attention to what works and what doesn’t, no matter your starting point,
- Winning is the truest expression of your existence, there is no greater quest or life lived than a man who maximized all of his gifts while he was alive…
With that last point, ‘winning’, while it may be subjective – we all have unique talents and interests, some interests and talents reap higher material rewards than others, but that doesn’t mean they’re any better or worse – we know what losing is, which, again, brings us back to identifying the negative instead of the positive, so let’s do that.
What it means to NOT be a man.
Here are some characteristics that a man can’t have:
- Weakness. Weak men can’t be good men, because they don’t have the capacity to carry out their goodness in every situation. A weak man can’t fend off a bad guy, thus, he’s useless to his family in that situation.
- Jealousy. It’s just weak to be jealous and to gossip about other people. Let women do that. You have to win at life, your life, not anyone else’s. Be happy for the success of others, let it inspire you, prove to you that it’s possible, don’t be jealous.
- Lacking discipline. A man who lacks discipline isn’t a man. A man’s word is everything, especially his words to himself. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If people around you can’t depend on you because you lack discipline, you’re useless, you’re also not going to have any degree of success in life.
- Victimhood mentality. Simply put, though victimhood is a popular trend these days, it’s non-existent amongst men. Men are not victims. You cannot see yourself as a victim on one hand and call yourself a man on the other.
- Softness. Toughness is a baseline prerequisite for a man. You can’t be afraid of a little hardship or pain, you can’t give up when times get tough. You have to be tough.
- Controlled by your emotions. You have to be able to compartmentalize and deal with your emotions like a man. Women can be volatile – though it’s not a good quality in a wife. Men have to solve problems, and emotional decisions are typically bad decisions. This doesn’t mean be emotionless, just know how to deal with them so they don’t impact your decision-making.
Males that try and win favor with women through being in the friend zone are also not real men. Watch out for them. They’ll talk shit about you to your lady, and then swoop in when you break-up because they don’t have the faculties to get a woman on merit.
We know what a non-real man is when we meet him. And who knows, you may partially be there now. But that can change. You can work on being more assertive, more confident, tougher, stronger, more stoic, and more disciplined.
These are all things that you can decide to be or not to be.
Manhood is earned, it’s not innate. Boys aren’t born men. We don’t become men at a certain age.
Jordan Peterson said something along the lines of, you want to be the guy everyone depends on and leans on at your father’s funeral. That’s manhood.
What does this mean on a daily basis?
The specifics of being the best man you can be…
Well, life is a series of games. You get to choose what games you play. By playing a game, you play to win that game. It’s the only way to be ‘free’ from a game, which also means you need to know what score wins.
That is, if you play the wealth game, you have to know what being wealthy is. As in, what the number is. If you don’t have a number at which point you can say you’ve won the game and be rid of it (stop chasing it), but you need to win.
The goal is to be free of every game you choose to play. Winning games along the way you’ll realize that victory doesn’t necessarily make you happier. Happiness is a state that cannot depend on anything, not surroundings, not outcomes of any kind.
But, winning shows you that you were here for a very good reason, that you used what you were given, which is a necessity to feel as though you’ve served a purpose, that you’ve lived with some kind of excellence.
Thus, a real man thinks long term.
He isn’t a slave to his desires in the short term. Kids can be slaves to their desires, men can’t.
This has everything to do with the present moment.
From a scientific angle, men don’t waste dopamine on momentary desires. Men have discipline to choose the long term over the short term.
You attach your dopamine rewards to projects and tasks, not social media, porn, tv, or a bag of chips. Of everything we’ve talked about thus far, this is the simplest, most straight-forward, easy-to-follow advice you’ll ever get on what it means to be a real man.
You do what you say you’re going to do, especially what you say you’re going to do internally.
That is, if you get it in your mind that you’re going to workout, you do it. If you tell yourself you’re going to finish a task, you finish the task. What you do is not governed by your feelings, but by your purpose.
That’s what being a man is all about.
It’s being purpose-driven, not momentary desire-driven.
If you want to look at yourself in the mirror and see a real man looking back at you, don’t waste dopamine on the trivial, on pleasures. Save your dopamine for achievements, for victory. Don’t give yourself ‘suggestions’ of what you ought to do with no weight or deadline attached to it, tell yourself what you ought to do and do it immediately.
The act of doing what you say you’ll do, ought to do, know you should do, and doing it every time, is literally a superpower.
Let’s say in the make believe world of comic books there are 1000 superheroes. Well, there are probably one thousand men who do what they should do – say they’re going to do, and so on – every time. Maybe less. It’s that rare of a quality. And the men who do this are great. They may not be well-known or famous, but they are great.
They do great things. They’re reliable, dependable, they serve a purpose, they improve daily, and those tiny little actions compound over time.
Being better everyday acts like compound interest in that you may not see gains right away, but there comes a point where those gains become astronomical.
Forget about being a real man, be a great one.
That option is open to all of us.
Which brings me to my final point and characteristic, confidence.
If someone can do it, you can do it.
Few believe that to be true in their core, but it is.
In my own life I’ve seen my best friends achieve great things, and they’re truly no different than you or I. I’ve met billionaires who aren’t exceptional. They know a lot now, but they didn’t when they first started. They’ve realized those compounded gains in who they’ve become.
One thing that those who become great eventually realize is just that, that if someone can do it, they can do it. So they do it. They think big, and they get after it. They don’t think ‘oh that’s not for me’ or ‘that’s too big for me’. They do it.
Maybe they didn’t at one time, but they finally achieved something or met someone who’d achieved something great and they realized that there’s nothing special about them other than the fact that they believed they could.
I’m trying to make confidence the rational choice, because it is.
Forget about who you’ve been thus far.
Forget about how old you are or how ingrained some of your beliefs about the world are.
Forget about all that. It’s never too late.
So many people climb metaphorical mountains in life. They get ⅔’s of the way to the top, and then realize that to get to the top they have to take a different route, which means climbing all the way down and starting from the bottom.
But almost no one is willing to start from the bottom again. They hold on too tightly to who they think they are and who they think other people think they are, so they’re not willing to give up what they’ve got, and they hold on to being ⅔’s of the way up the mountain.
The winners, when they realize they have to go all the way back down and start again, they do. They love starting again. They love the challenge. They understand the reality of the situation, that this is life. It’s tough. We get things wrong. We have to change, adjust, and sometimes we have to start from scratch.
So, do it.
Rewire your brain to understand that if someone can do it – no matter what it is – you can do it. It’s just a set of skills and a grouping of knowledge that you have to learn.
That learning comes from studying, sure, but mainly from trying, failing, and learning. Trying winning, and learning on a quest to win on a bigger scale.
Confidence IS the rational way of looking at life.
To sum up what we’ve talked about…
We went over how to not be a man.
Don’t be jealous, weak, envious.
We talked about doing what you say you’re going to do.
And we talked about confidence.
You package those 3 aspects up and greatness will one day eventually be yours. You just have to stick with it, be willing to start from scratch, and you need to hammer that belief into your brain that you can do whatever the hell you’re trying to do. It’s just a matter of solving the puzzle and figuring it out.