What It Really Means to Be A Man.
“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy stuff we don’t need.”
——- Tyler Durden (Fight Club)
In this article, we are going to go beyond the stereotypical masculine traits.
…Strength, dominance, aggression, protector, provider, etc.
Even teenagers possess all that stuff 🙂
We are going to talk about ELITE Manliness – what it really means to be a man to the FULL.
We’ll be looking at the inner workings of an elite masculine mind. A journey, if you may, THROUGH the center of a man…
Does Money Make The Man?
Many of us guys are under the very persistent illusion that it is all about the money.
That a man becomes a man the moment he rakes up a huge pile of cash in the bank.
That what makes a man worthy is the amount of money he has in the bank; and the wealth of resources at his disposal.
But in truth, becoming a man is not really a becoming…but an unfoldment. A discovery…
An unlocking of an innate potentiality. And this has absolutely nothing to do with pieces of paper.
For me, below are the core attributes I believe to be at the very heart of what ‘being a man’ truly is:
This is actually a more accurate description of what CONFIDENCE really is.
Not being loud or ostentatious. But unwavering self-belief.
Self-trust is what a warrior finds when he fights a battle and survives.
Self-trust is what an artiste taps into when he steps on stage before an expectant crowd – and knows that he will deliver.
It is what a song-writer feels when he pens a song in the middle of the night – and believes, with certainty, that this song which just took form in his heart is good enough for the airwaves.
Society is in a conspiracy of sorts to rob you of your innate strengths, your basic vitality and your natural self-belief as a man.
Society will turn you into a great engineer, a wonderful architect and a fine doctor…but it will destroy the fabric of your masculinity.
It will turn you into a validation seeking zombie; a follower instead of the leader that you are.
Self-trust is the attribute you unlock when you climb an Everest.
It is the hidden trait you discover when you go against the grain or when you shoulder responsibility.
Self-trust comes from stepping up.
Being authentic means being yourself to the hilt.
Not trying to modify who you are or your actions because of how others will perceive you.
You come to achieve an alignment between your words, thoughts and actions.
You don’t apologize for your desires as a man.
You bend over every chic if that is what pleases you.
You say what you truly feel without minding whose ox is gored.
You wear what you want because it is what you like.
You don’t tell tall-tales of how you slew dragons and rode dinosaurs – simply because it is not true.
You do whatever because it is what you want to do but not from a place of narcissism or insensitivity.
Of course you’re also sensitive and don’t go out of your way to offend. But you also know that offending others is inevitable. That there are people who won’t like you no matter what you do or who you try to become.
They even killed Jesus and Ghandi!
Your sense of who you are becomes autonomous.
Your sense of identity becomes COMPLETELY independent of external sources.
You stop looking outward for a definition of yourself.
Even if you’re placed in the middle of a filled 90,000-capacity stadium, and everyone chorused in unison that you’re an idíot, that you’re good-for-nothing or that you are a moron – it wouldn’t hit…
…BECAUSE…you hold yourself to a higher standard than anyone else would.
…AND because you rate your opinion of yourself, by yourself on a far higher scale than anyone else’s.
You disconnect yourself completely from the “matrix”…
The matrix of societal expectations, the matrix of conformity.
The matrix of moving unquestioningly with the herd.
We live in an unthinking society of mindless zombies. We are all more or less like programmed robots, mechanically responding to external stimuli with no individual thought whatsoever.
We have no strong convictions of our own.
We always go with the public consensus.
You use the phone you do because OTHER people think it is cool.
You wear the clothes you wear because OTHER people think it is cool.
You drive the car you do because OTHER people rep it. Your house is built to the taste of 500 million others.
But just ONE man in a moment of originality came up with that ‘cool’ stuff you now identify with.
Who even decides what is cool?
I’ll quote a favourite author of mine here, Ralph Waldo Emerson (In his Essay ‘Self Reliance’ – one of the damn finest piece of writing on the ENTIRE planet – every human should really read that…and internalize it):
It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
The objection to conforming to usages that have become dead to you is that it scatters your force. It loses your time and blurs the impression of your character.
If you maintain a dead church, contribute to a dead Bible society, vote with a great party either for the government or against it, spread your table like base housekeepers — under all these screens I have difficulty to detect the precise man you are…”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance, Essays: First Series (1841)
You deeply understand that everything on this temporal plane is fleeting, ephemeral, transient.
And that every circumstance, good/bad, is merely a different face of the same impermanent coin.
You treat all ‘your possessions’ with the same levity and “lightness” with which you would treat even the finest sand castle you’ve built by the beach.
It is never yours…
You do not stay behind to guard it.
You do not build a fence around it; and you do not take it home either.
The sand was there when you came…and it will be there long after you’re gone – so will your car, house, land and everything else. They’re all just temporary playthings.
You do not fuse your identity with things. Anything.
You will not be diminished in any way (I hope) if your skyscraper sand-castle gets washed away by the tides.
It would be also equally ridiculous if you feel diminished when your other temporary playthings dissolve, get taken away or just go the way of all physical forms.
You feel exactly the same on the day you have $10 and the day you have $100m.
…Sure, there could be the surface excitement that comes from knowing you can now get more done and have more experiences.
But it’s really just like the surface ripples on a very calm lake.
Not like: “I am now the fucking shit”, “everyone else is an ant compared to me…and I am now ENHANCED” – you see?
It’s cool to hustle when it’s time to hustle, but you should also have a certain detachment from the outcome of your hustle.
You’re happy when you lose and also happy when you win.
You don’t “kill” yourself over the outcome of your endeavours.
And you’re the same on the day everyone thinks you’re the shít, and exactly the same when everyone thinks you’re full of shít.
You’re the same on the days women chase you down and the day they all run away from you.
And finally, you’re not “attached” to any work, any relationship, any union, any friendship any interaction or any outcome.
You give your ‘all’ in all these, but you also perfectly understand that they all could come to an end at any moment. And you will gently walk away.
I LOVE the quote below from the Thai Buddhist monk Achaan Chah… (also transcribed below the image)
“You see this goblet?” asks Achaan Chaa, the Thai meditation master.
“For me this glass is already broken. I enjoy it; I drink out of it. It holds my water admirably, sometimes even reflecting the sun in beautiful patterns.
If I should tap it, it has a lovely ring to it. But when I put this glass on the shelf and the wind knocks it over or my elbow brushes it off the table and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’
When I understand that the glass is already broken, every moment with it is precious.”
Achaan Chah, Thai Meditation Master