Change yourself and you can change the world. But what if it’s too hard to look at yourself?
At AM we recommend each man start with himself.
We say that since you are the X Factor in your life, if you improve yourself, everything starts to change. If you choose the masculine road and start on the journey to discover your own Masculine Genius, you’ll see improvements in every aspect of your life. However, sometimes we are so turned around when we look at ourselves we can’t decide where to start. That’s probably not where you are, but perhaps you a have a friend who is struggling to turn his own life around. So, rather than look closely at ourselves, let’s begin elsewhere. Look around you and ask yourself, who seems to have what I would like to have?
Who around me gets a vote on important matters in his own life?
Who around me suffers cumulative effects of small bad decisions over time?
Who around me benefits from cumulative effects of small good decisions over time?
Look around the table. If you can’t spot the sucker, it’s you.
In the fact-based movie “Quiz Show” we meet a likeable, well-educated man—Charles Van Doren— from a privileged, wealthy family. He finds himself slowly seduced by circumstances that cause him to betray himself, his family and all his values.
A key theme is his relationship to his father, but that’s for another time.
He realizes he has allowed himself to compromise incrementally over time until he has lost his way. He is mastered by men stronger than himself. As an attorney—who knows he himself is not a gambler—starts to close in on Van Doren, Van Doren’s father says something very wise over lunch about his son, who is beginning to gamble away his reputation.
Here’s the scene:
How do we become the men we want to be?
What does it look like to stay on your feet and remain in control of your life when everywhere other men are caving in small matters that always add up?
Here’s how: Seize control of everything around you. Even if it’s just with your outlook. Even if it’s just with your thoughts. Jocko Willink explores this concept to very good effect. In his book about assuming responsibility he calls it extreme ownership. This idea—seizing control of as many variables in your life as possible—is a powerful, traditional concept we, and Jocko, have rediscovered. In the 80’s, Army officers were taught to assume control of all soldiers and Army property within their field of view. As they walked down the street they were a moving zone of authority and control. Once they saw something, it was under their authority. Those were the rules of the game they played.
What are the rules of the game you have chosen to play? Who writes them?
Think that over. Hints about the biggest obstacle to being an Authentic Man are all through this post. Can you spot them?
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