The Good News About Men: We Live Our Lives by Codes.
Don’t kid yourself.
It’s a very tough, dangerous world out there. If you want to respect yourself you’d better have lines you don’t cross and you won’t let others cross. To do that you must have a code of conduct. It can be very simple. One of the most dramatic ones is from a very good movie called “The Shootist.” In this, John Wayne’s last movie, we meet aging gunfighter J.B. Books. The movie in one sentence (from IMDB): A dying gunfighter spends his last days looking for a way to die with a minimum of pain and a maximum of dignity. Here is J. B. Books on his own code:
There’s a lot more in the movie than that and at the end of this post we’ll provide a link to the trailer. The funny thing about being a man is that we must live by contradictions. To avoid death you must lean into it. There’s a great Army Special Forces saying, “When Death smiles, all you can do is smile back.”
To avoid violence you must be prepared to do violence, for when you are confident and prepared it’s unlikely you’ll make bad decisions. To resist sexual temptation you have to know a little about your own sexual power, for knowing your own sexual power means self-awareness and self-mastery. To master money means you must not love it too much or too little, for it makes a good servant and a bad master.
Codes help us, as men. They are not to be ridiculed and they are not to be taken lightly. Have lines you won’t cross and have lines you won’t let others cross. Knowing your own rules will give you confidence and make it less likely you’ll get in a bind.
Here’s that trailer:
Be bold, be authentic, be masculine—and have a code.
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