Assertive Masculinity Part II

 

 

 

 

Another essential aspect of assertive masculinity  is masculine energy. What is masculine energy? I’m not sure that it can even be put into words. When a man has it you can see it and you can feel it. You can even see it in still photography, you know when a man has it. Women can spot it from a mile away and find it both irresistible and rare nowadays. I have finally found an explanation on this topic that has eluded me for a while. This explanation comes from Mishima’s commentary on the Hagakure, the Samurai code. In it he touches on the virility of men. He touches on mania. The author of the Hagakure states that greatness cannot be achieved in a normal state of mind. Men must be virile, they must act like men. This is why it is so disturbing to those who do not possess it. This is why people try to denigrate the jock, the masculine and the military man. These men, among others, posses a sort of mania, a masculine frenzy. This is what makes them successful. People may think what they want, but according to the author of the Hagakure, “Greatness does not happen in a normal state of mind.”

That being said, how can we gain masculine energy? Where does it come from?

Masculine energy could best be described as the overflow of a man’s internal state, its authentic, it cannot be faked. “Modeling” is of the utmost importance here. A man should have several role models that exhibit this energy. Having at least one who is living and observable is essential but the rest can be men from history, or even a fictional character that resonates with you. The important thing is to keep it as a tool that will advance you to your goal, rather than getting stuck in only acting as if and not being. Here are some of the things that can be used to cultivate your masculine energy. I will give one word of warning; as with respect you can only cultivate masculine energy for yourself, not for others.

Being the Man:  Years ago a good friend of mine made a very astute observation. He claimed that women are attracted to a strong man willing to be kind rather than a nice guy trying to be strong. There is a lot of wisdom in this saying. An alpha doesn’t judge people, he protects all, he shows all respect. In order to make any of the following work for you, you must first be “good at being a man”. Plain and simple. This is really the fun part of the whole thing. Be unashamed to be a man. Do the masculine things that you want to do! Life is worth living.

Posture: Posture is both a reflection of how you see yourself as well as a signal to others of your status. Posture must be actively worked on daily. There is a cause and effect relationship here; the better you feel about yourself, the better the posture, the better the posture the better you feel about yourself. Personally I have worked these exercises into my routine and they have helped tremendously. Give them time, it did take me about 6 months to start feeling the results.

Vocal tone: Like your posture your vocal tone and timbre of speech contribute to your masculine energy. Like posture this is both a cause and effect. Speak clearly, say less, speak audibly, and deeply. The more you do this the more masculine you will feel. The more masculine you feel the deeper you will speak.

Confidence: Ahhh…confidence. The Holy Grail that every man is seemingly in search of.  “Confidence” has been thrown around for the past ten years over the internet as the magic elixir for picking up women. While it certainly helps with the opposite sex, confidence is much deeper than that. Confidence is needed in every day life, in both the mundane and the extraordinary. Confidence is gained by expanding your comfort zone. Confidence can be gained only by action and proper thought. If you lack confidence there are two things that will help. First, you must think confidently. See yourself as someone who is competent and courageous, able to do the things that you set out to do. Journaling and daily quiet time will be necessary for this. You must also actively engage your thinking. Often, lack of confidence will come from your past experiences and your thinking gets caught up in a vicious, unconfident, fearful cycle. Its going to take work but the rewards will be worth it. Secondly, it is important to push yourself in your actions. Often, the most mundane things are causes of anxiety. Do you not like crowds? Force yourself to go to a party. Are you shy? Force yourself to talk to several people, particularly women each day. These may seem like trivial matters, but the little things add up to big things. Ultimately confidence is gained by action.

Friendliness: Jack Donovan compares the alpha male to an “older brother” figure. I agree with this. One of the characteristics is an easy going friendliness. Very masculine men who are confident are extremely friendly, kind and approachable. As a matter of fact, this is one of the reasons why so many people are attracted to them. They are also a father type figure. They are warm. Be interested in the world around you. Many big time alphas are knowledgeable about other cultures, well travelled and speak other languages.

Caring: This goes right along with the friendliness. Caring has often been portrayed as a “feminine trait” which it is, if it is expressed in a feminine way. Think of the stern master seargent or master chief in the military. They are stoic disciplinarians, and you don’t want to get on their bad side. Really, this sterness is caring. They must be the strict in order to teach men to survive almost unsurvivable situations. Often, a masculine man needs to be very stern, the disciplinarian. He does this in his role at work and particularly in the home. This comes from his ultimate care of the one whom he disciplines and cannot be compared to putting someone else down in order to elevate himself.

Virility: To me this is something that we often overlook. I have met several very masculine men in my life who were in their 70’s yet maintained this youthful kind of energy and enthusiasm. If my memory serves me, the things they had in common were as follows: they were either retired or ex military, police or they were foreigners. They were all physically active, mentally sharp, aware, friendly and paternal. What does it mean to be virile? Virility is strength, drive, manliness and even your sex drive. Virility encompasses all of these above mentioned qualities; I never met and older, virile man who was angry, depressed or complaining. Much of this virility comes from a long held belief in their own masculinity and a positive type of entitlement, particularly in regards to women and how they expect to be treated by women. As I think about it these men in their later years also possess clarity and acuity. This is how important T levels are in older age. No matter how old you are in the present moment, now is the time to start. Don’t let yourself degenerate in thought. Study a foreign language, music or simply study things that will interest you and keep your brain working. Never stop learning. The other thing that I noticed about these men is that all of them were fit even into their 70’s and 80’s.

 

 

Understanding in Strength

My absolute favorite prose written about lifting weights is Henry Rollin’s “The Iron”. Its just phenomenal. In it he cites Yukio Mishima on strength. Mishima said that he could not contemplate romance unless he was strong. This really resonated with me and to be frank its something that I’ve written about extensively in my own journaling. What I have come up with is that in order to understand anything I must understand it in strength. I can only understand life when I am strong. These revelations have made a profound impact on my life.

Often when I was younger I searched for something that I could not put into words. What I searched for was a masculine identity. I searched like a thirsty man in the desert, looking for some sort of oasis to quench my unquenchable thirst. I didn’t find it. What was offered to me as masculinity was like drinking diet soda, people say it has great taste but its just not the same as the real deal. At the same time I was bombarded at school by female teachers treating me like there was something wrong with me for being interested in the things that boys are interested in. I found that there were sanctioned places to be men and I tried them only to find them utterly useless and disappointing. I knew there was more.

When writing in private on some of Mishima’s writings I have isolated what I searched for. Authentic masculinity is on the fringes. I thought about what my junior high and high school teachers would have thought about Mishima. He would have been branded a fanatic, a rebel on the fringes, someone counter to the zeitgeist of the times that is held so dear. This is exactly where Mishima’s authenticity lies. He is on the fringes, he scares because of his authenticity. He is what Ernst Junger would call the “Forest rebel”. I don’t know about his homeosexuality or bisexuality, these things seem up for debate, I will let others debate him. For our purposes he was a man with a background much like many of us today. One important thing that the young Yukio encountered was being raised by women and around girls a lot as a child. This had a profound impact on his life. Now comes the line of departure; he knew that he wasn’t getting what he needed to get to become a man, so he did what he needed to do to change it. He had an Epiphany of sorts and made the appropriate changes. I laugh when I read critics talking about how he swung in the opposite direction to a “hypermasculinity”. What else was he supposed to do? Just sit there and take it like the rest of them? No, he began to get into natural bodybuilding, martial arts and swordsmanship. He lamented that the spiritual aspect of the samurai code was no longer being passed down from father to son in Japan.

These experiences led Mishima to understand that strength comes first. As Henry Rollins says in the Iron, ” a strong body will produce strong thoughts.” This is right out of Mishima’s classic “Sun and Steel”. Training and excercises in self discipline condition the mind to think in a strong way. I have seen in my own life that particularly with weight training, the greatest limitation on my progress are my own thoughts. Right now is all that we have, right now is the time to change our thinking. Right now is the time to be strong.

Thinking in a strong way is difficult, we are not taught to do this, its actually discouraged. I would venture to guess that very few men are taught how to think in a strong manner today. Some try to compensate with braggadocio and putting others down. Others embrace their “feminine side” or cede any remaining scrap of their masculinity to women. Neither of these ways of thinking are strong ways of thinking. Strong thinking is incredibly difficult. I don’t pretend to know it, as a matter of fact, through my journaling I only recently became able to put it into words. What I do know is that when I practice it my entire world is turned upside down. I feel positive, strong, a sense of well being and my creativity doubles. My workouts also improve dramatically in intensity. I do not accept anything less than living up to my commitments to myself.

Understanding in strength is the masculine way, the way of the warrior. We must first seek strength. We must be true to ourselves. Every time that we sell ourselves out we feel the repurcussions in our lives. Mishima understood this well when he wrote, “Cowardly words make the heart itself cowardly, and being regarded by others as a coward is the same as being a coward. The slightest flaw in word or deed causes the collapse of one’s philosophy of life. This can be a hard truth to bear.”

 

Winter Training

For those of us who live in areas where winter will be dark, cold, rainy/snowy this is a great time of year to up the intensity of our training programs. Its not all about locking yourself in your garage and working out 6 hours per day. The winter weather, particularly snow, can offer ample opportunities for conditioning as well; after all, Rocky did it to train for his fight with Drago.

Let’s face it; it is much easier to get outside in the summer when the sun is shining, the days last longer and the weather is warm. As a matter of fact, it may be a challenge at this time of year to get yourself to the gym and work out. The winter, on the other hand, is cold, wet and the sun sets at like 4:30. This often makes it easier to get into a great rythym for training, as well as pushing our game to the next level in terms of conditioning. For those who go through a bit of depression during the winter time, ratcheting up the intensity of your workouts can help overcome that.  I realize that a lot of bodybuilders use this period to “bulk up” adding muscle at the same time adding fat which they will “cut” before summer. I don’t subscribe to this theory. What I am talking about is using available time to lift harder, heavier, jump rope, hit the heavy bag, condition, condition, condition! Using this method we can come out in the spring stronger, faster,more agile and looking great!

Here are some simple ways to up your game this winter:

1) Lift heavy: This goes without saying. Spend some more time with the iron, maybe even an extra day. Decide and act on a specific goal that you would like to achieve over the winter and do it. This could be something as simple as adding in an extra shoulder exercise daily. Its your call. Since I train 6 days per week anyway I usually like to lengthen the duration of my individual weightlifting sessions. I also add in training whenever I can. I took a cue from Cade Courtley and I often do pullups everytime I enter or leave my bedroom. This can be switched up as well to pushups, situps, squats or anything that you want to challenge yourself with; it is extremely versatile.

2) Getting outdoors during the winter also provides fantastic training opportunities. If you live in an area with snow or close to snow there are several excellent sports that you can add in to your routine. First, just consider going for a walk in your locale while there is snow on the ground. Go walk several miles or several hours. Walking through somewhat deep snow adds a considerable amount of exertion; I guarantee that you will be starving afterwards. If you have small children put them on a sled and pull them during your walk. If you live in the mountains or near by, adding in snow shoeing or cross country skiing periodically is a great way to up the ante on your program. Maybe these are things that you have never done before and you can use it as a challenge for yourself as well. If you don’t often go into the woods or nature take the time to prepare seriously, nature is a beautiful thing but it must be respected as well.

3) Do some extra conditioning this winter. If the weather is crappy outside and you want to condition inside there is a tried and true, inexpensive method of conditioning that is among the best; jumping rope. Boxers train with it because it works so well. You can get a decent jump rope for next to nothing. I would recommend getting real rope. I have tried several synthetic jump ropes and I keep coming back to the old standard rope with wood handles; nothing else works as well for me. Jumping rope for a while will get your heart rate up and give you that burn in your lungs that you get from a good run. Sandbag workouts are another excellent form of conditioning.

4) It is important to take care of ourselves all year round but the winter months will afford us some more time to devote to self care. Stretching is important. I do a deep stretching program in the morning and in the evening before bed as well as a warm up before working out. Sounds excessive but I wouldn’t have it any other way, my flexibility is great and at 41 I still workout like crazy with a minimal amount of injuries. The older you get the more you need to focus on flexibility and stretching if you want to continue to push yourself in your workouts.  In addition to the stretching program its great to go get a massage periodically as well as a sauna and anything else that relaxes you. Foam rollers can work as well if a massage is not in your budget right now.

5) Increase your focus on specific body parts. Our bodies develop in different ways, some part develop faster than others. Pick those parts that need extra work and hit it like mad. You can also focus on those parts that are specific to a sport or combat art that you do. I like to really focus on neck bridges and forearm development at this time. Stretching and maintaining flexibility is also vitally important here too, particularly for kicking and grappling.

6) Try something new. If you are looking for a new weightlifting program I highly suggest Victory Pride’s, “Body of a Spartan” This is the program that I have been using for some time now. Not only is it a great program for your body but it is also good for your emotional health. This program will get the testosterone pumping!

7) Discipline. Finally, this is a great time to focus on self discipline and challenging one’s self outside of the weight room as well. This is also time where I  check in with my motivation. I like to go through Victor Pride’s, “30 Days of Discipline” as well. If you are just learning about masculinity, being alpha or motivation then this program is an absolute must; go get it now and start right away, it will change your life. If you have been doing this for a while then this is a great refresher course; I use it several times per year just to check in, almost all of these things are now daily habits for me but it is good to refresh and rebuild. Setting a time apart to intensely focus on acquiring greater self discipline is immensely valuable. This program will help any man do that. Being as we are nearing the end of the year, it is an awesome practice to do the 30 day program and then work on your goals for 2015 after that, you will be in a completely new state of mind, totally motivated.

8)Earn it. Finally, with Christmas and New Years coming up, there is a lot of eating that will be taking place. I like to enjoy myself during the holidays and take part in all of the festivities. In order to do that, I make myself earn it first. For instance, on Thanksgiving day I added in extra HIIT training in addition to my regular workout. As a matter of fact I will probably do that every day of Christmas week. Nothing in life is free, including eating tasty food. The “conventional wisdom” is that you eat like a pig and then make up for it by working out like crazy the day after. I prefer to do the working out beforehand. This way I not only train my body but also strengthen my self discipline; if I don’t earn it beforehand then I don’t eat it.

Please comment and let me know what you do for winter training.

Why Should I be a Minimalist?

One of my business mentors is a former boss of mine, who incidentally helps me out by working for me 3 days per week now. I remember his office, it was clean and basic yet tastefully decorated in a very manly way. One year he held a Christmas party at his house and I noticed that his home was the same way; very basic, clean lines, well kept and very masculine. You will notice a pattern forming here. There is an old saying, “A sound mind in a sound body”, I would also add a new saying, ” a sound mind in a sound environment.”. The bottom line is that successful men are not slobs. Take the movies as one example:  the powerful sit in offices that are well taken care of free of clutter and unnecessary junk.

There are two main reasons for this. The first reason is that the rich and successful live below their means. Read that again; the rich and successful live below their means. This means that a successful man will be a minimalist because he does not purchase unnecessary junk. He purchases only those things that contribute to his greater good. When he does purchase something, he purchases something of value. He purchases things that will assist him in his quest to be a better man. He does not buy useless toys for the sake of buying or having.  This also means that he will value his time greatly. He will not clutter his time with unnecessary junk either. Everything he does will have a purpose, even his leisure time.

The second reason is an offspring of the first. In order to have a clear mind, free of mental clutter, our external environment must also be free of clutter. Having outward clutter in homes, offices, vehicles and in dress are both the cause and effect of a struggling mind. It is a cause because it is very difficult to unclutter useless thoughts and emotions from our own mind while being in a space that is clutered and dirty. Clutter in our spaces and in our dress is also an outward sign of our inner disposition. This is one reason why it is so important to dress well. It is either a vicious cycle of depression or it can be an upward cycle of clarity and inner peace. That is our call to make. This is one of the reasons that the military is so focused on uniform appearance, cleanliness and discipline.

We are not isolated creatures. Our surroundings affect our mindset and our mindset will affect our surroundings. The main thing that we need to do is to take control of the situation around us, one of the by products of practicing assertive masculinity. When people enter our space, be it our office, home, vehicle or all of the above, they are coming into our world, a small kingdom so to speak. A man must own those things that are his.  If you have peace in your surroundings it will help you to have peace in your soul. If you have peace in your soul it will affect your surroundings. One of the best exercises to do is to remove clutter, donate the stuff that you don’t use anymore, then start to surround yourself with books. Of course you will need to read them too, but the act of having neatly arranged books surrounding you will affect your mindset tremendously. If you have a room that is a study or a home office this is even better. After dinner, retire to the den for a while and pick a book off the shelf and read. Expand your comfort zone by also purchasing books that are not directly in your realm of interests. If you love history, buy a book on basic physics, if you are a science guy pick up a book about philosophy. By doing this daily you will acquire vast amounts of knowledge in a very short period of time! Just as we can see in the mirror the physical aspects of ourselves that we would like to change, we ust be honest with ourselves as far as the intellectual weaknesses that we need to overcome. Only by knowing what we need to change can we attack that aspect and improve ourselves.

Being a minimalist is necessary to focus in on our goals, and finding our purpose in life. Once we have established these things, being a minimalist will help us to focus only on those things that are necessary to achieve these things. We will recognize the clutter trying to intrude on our lives for exactly that they are; a waste of time.

 

Who’s Life Are You Living?

There are men who just naturally ooze Assertive Masculinity. The operative word being; naturally. They do this naturally because they are authentic, they are themselves. While there is something to the theory of “fake it till you make it”, eventually the behavior, in this case lets call it alpha behavior, must become natural. It must become who a man really is or else its just acting. Focusing only on “faking” it, leads to just that; being a fake. Eventually fakes are uncovered and nobody respects or likes a fake. This is why women get so creeped out by a guy who hopes he can orbit in the “friend zone” for years while secretly harboring romantic intentions. The alpha does not hide his intent. Some say that men with higher levels of testosterone are less likely to lie. I don’t know the science behind this theory, but this isn’t suprising since an alpha male is secure in himself, he lives a life of action rather than reaction. Lying is a reactive behavior.

We often “act” for a variety of reasons. What is harmful to us is when we start to act and then be for other people, when we start to script our lives to their wants and needs, their perceptions. When we say things or alter our behavior for other people what we are essentially doing is trying to control others thoughts and situations. This is both unhealthy and futile. In this case we choose form over substance.

There is a time for acting. We act like the man that we want to be in order to become that. The “acting” is a transient phase, it is a tool to get to a higher goal. Here is an example; if you want to have integrity you must immediately begin to act as a man who has integrity. You must also visualize yourself this way. By doing this you will struggle day by day. You will work and sweat to become this man. My experience has been that consistent visualization and work will start to bear fruit after several months. You will just realize one day that you are evolving into who you want to be. Visualization, or modeling/acting will not in and of itself do anything; you must make the choices and take the actions to become the man that you are visualizing. We don’t “hope” to become something; we decide that is what we want to do, then we do it using visualization as one of the many tools in our box. Always remember that action is the greatest tool of all.

What we can control and determine is who we are and what we stand for. Once we do this, we don’t need to act because we become; being is much more rewarding than seeming to be. This goes hand in hand with goal setting and reflection. Coming up with a baseline of beliefs and a code of conduct for ourselves, we begin to live our lives in a thoughtfully proactive manner. We start to live our lives with integrity; our thoughts, feelings, words and actions become aligned.  We begin to de clutter our lives from comittments that do not benefit us. We begin to learn the power of the word “no”. We boil our lives down to the essence, we become clear of thought and more able to be in the moment. Our workouts get better, they become something out of time.

Freedom comes from being ourselves; pure, simple and unapologetic. Other people respect straightforwardness but what is most important is how much we respect ourselves. Who is the man looking back at us in the mirror?

 

Why I Said the Previous Video “Says it All”

A reader asked me privately why my previous post, a video from YouTube, was titled, “This Video Says it All”. I figured that this was a good question and would also provide material for a good article.

First of all, lets start with the title. I believe this video “says it all” because it shows several key factors to being a man.

Of course, there is the obvious; this guy is a warrior. He trains, and trains hard. He is out doing his “road work” in what looks to be early morning, still during twilight. I’m sure that he would much rather have been in bed. As he is running he pulls a muscle or something (I’ll admit, he won’t win any academy awards for acting.) but he pushes on. He trains tough, pushing himself. There is kind of a crescendo to the training portion of the video, you get the feeling that he has reached that point where his mind tells him to quit but he pushes himself until he reaches a certain point. Anyone who has seriously trained will know what point I mean. Its the point where his mind tells him that he is at failure, his mind says that he can’t go any further, but as he pushes on he reaches that point where he actually becomes stronger.

We see him helping what looks to be his son with homework. This is a lost element of masculinity in our times. Men must teach, we are bound by our honour to teach the next generation of men. He also teaches a younger guy hand to hand combat, at one point knocking him down and beckoning him to get back up. This is tough love, how men are made from boys.

Finally, we also see the main character working on some sort of course work as well. We don’t know what it is, but most likely it is for his betterment. As men, we are always learning, growing and striving to improve ourselves whether it be physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual. For some reason, whatever it is that he is working on frustrated him; he balls up a piece of paper and throws it away, but then he keeps on going overcoming his sense of frustration.

Essentially, what we view in the video is one day in the life of a man; training himself both physically and intellectually, working through pain and frustration, giving back by teaching and mentoring the younger generation and finally walking off to face the next day.

Methods of Discipline

There are two primary methods of discipline that we encounter. The first and lesser of the two is external discipline. External discipline is a form of discipline exerted from outside of us. This is the discipline instilled by our parents when we were boys. This was the discipline of school, the military and of religious practices. These types of discipline are all good and necessary. They are, in fact, essential in providing the foundation for the higher form of discipline which is internal. Internal discipline is the higher of the two forms because it takes work, it takes daily struggle. It takes adaptation, trial and error, pain, frustration and sacrifice. It develops true leadership because no one else imposes it on us, we freely choose it.

Both external and internal discipline reap rewards. Learning and being reared in external discipline lays the foundation for and acceptance of internal discipline. We learn and absorb from external sources and then make them our own. Every man comes to a fork in the road where he will either accept or deny the discipline he has learned and take it further. Those who will take on the discipline will generally be successful in life, those who deny will generally become unsuccessful.

We find self discipline in many small areas that add up to a greater whole. For instance, have you ever walked into a CEO’s office? Have you seen a movie where a rich person or member of the aristocracy was portrayed in their home or office? The common denominator you will find is that these men of success are orderly. You won’t find crap laying around on their dining room table or in their office. Our external environment is a reflection of our internal state and our internal state is influenced by our surroundings. If we work in an office that is cluttered, unclean and unkempt, we will see a decline in our thought processes. Our thoughts will become more scattered, reflecting the clutter that we see daily. This is why retreat centers tend to be minimalistic in their décor. We strive for a sound mind in a sound body in sound surroundings.

We can also practice self discipline in our eating habits. I will touch more on intermittent fasting in a fitness article at a later date, but the practice of I.F. is extremely valuable in the quest for greater self discipline. Have you ever noticed guys who can’t stop talking? By controlling what we put in our mouths we become much more able to control what comes out of our mouths. Who seems more powerful and in control to you; the guy who cannot control his thoughts and words, or the man who can?

Sometimes we find ourselves at a crossroads. We can take what seems to be the easier road of laziness and indulgence. This road turns bitter when we find ourselves far down the road having accomplished nothing. In the distance we can see the man who took the seemingly more difficult road of self discipline and we see him being successful. Reading, in and of itself, is a fantastic discipline. Not only is it a form of entertainment and relaxation when you read something that you enjoy, but it also works your mind in ways that television never will. The added bonus with reading is that you will also learn things. If you are serious about self discipline then reading about stoic philosophy is an absolute must. The next level of self discipline comes with filtering the material, thinking critically about it and then putting it into action.

Action is the final step, it is the ongoing step. Theory is necessary, but ultimately action is where the rubber will hit the road. Action is what will separate the men from the boys. Action is what separates the doers from the dreamers. Action is what teaches us success and failure. Action is what gives us the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day, knowing that we were being proactive and moving forward in a clear concrete way. Action is where we gain that wisdom which is called, “common sense”.

 

 

 

Proactivity

Picture yourself on December 31st, it is about 8pm. The new year is just around the corner. There were several beautiful ladies who waited on your decision about taking them to a new year’s party. You chose to go alone instead. You are getting dressed, standing in front of the mirror looking good in your custom tailored suit. As you stand there adjusting the cuff links on your shirt you ponder the past year. You feel great, you feel confident, you feel at peace, you feel like you accomplished much. You set out to achieve your goals and you are reaping the rewards. You succeeded and you failed. You had times of joy and times of sorrow. You got through it all. Then there were the “friends” who put down your dreams and told you how your plans would fail.  Those who put down your dreams are at home drinking beer, eating chips and watching the ball drop in Times Square on the television. You have transcended that, you are living your dreams. It is time to feel good about what you have done. You realize that you actually are becoming the man that you have always wanted to be. You are living your life on purpose.

You are tempted for a moment to just ride the wave and enjoy it. You realize that is the old you talking. You remember that one of the greatest lessons that you have learned is that you must always be moving forward. You are either growing or you are dying. Rather than just taking your successes for what they are, you start to jot down down ways that you can improve on them. You can’t wait for New Year’s Day to come so that you can write out your plans and goals for the new year.

You know that you must always be proactive. You have learned that life is like chess, you must always be thinking several moves ahead. You know yourself, you know that you can easily go back to your old ways and just take the path of least resistance. “No”, you tell yourself, “it doesn’t work like that anymore”. You have broken out of those old patterns of thinking and being reactive.

You decide on ways to be proactive in fitness, and your business ventures. Suddenly you realize a way that you can turn your side business into something even more profitable, allowing you to explore even more entrepreneurial ventures. You find ways to be proactive in dating and your social life. What used to frighten you is now second nature. Now, women actually come to you. You are proactive in your ways of thinking, you think deliberately, useless thoughts have no place in your head.

Now the thought of just sitting back and being reactive is repulsing to you. You put on your suit jacket, make a couple of adjustments, and look in the mirror. You like what you see. It is now time to move forward again.

 

classical, masculine businessman on phone riding in car with laptop

 

Empire Building

Men build empires, its just one of the things that we do. While the vast majority of us will not be called to build an empire like Caesar or any of the French, British or Russian monarchs, we do need to build our own personal empires. An empire is nothing more than personal growth; we are either growing or we are dying. Even our leisure time must be filled with worthwhile pursuits, gaming is not one of these.

Empire building starts with personal growth and moves out from there. Where do you want your empire to be? What do you want it to be made of? Where do you plan on being financially in one year? Five years? The reason why empire building begins with personal growth is because you must know what you want. The operative word in that phrase is you. What do you want? What does your ideal version of yourself look like? What will it take for you to become him? What are your desires? What are your financial needs and goals?

Once you have your goals in place it is time to get to work. Yes, work….it takes dedication, perseverance and hard work to achieve your goals. Every man should have some business element in his empire building. Ultimately, the goal is to move away from a “job” and into entrepreneurship. Self sufficiency is key. After the initial excitement of a new plan wears off you will be stuck with the reality of the situation, this is where your inner strength and self discipline will make or break you. Even supposed friends will be intimidated by your drive and passion. These same friends will try to talk you out of your dreams, they will laugh at you, scorn you, make fun of you.  This is where most men decide that it was a whole lot easier to grab a bag of chips and live vicariously through someone else, either in movies or video games. You are not most men. Most men don’t build empires.

As the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day.” Your empire won’t be built in a day either. As time goes by small successes turn into big ones. Then success builds upon success. Success has a smell that women can pick up a mile away. Now you look back on the struggle and pain to get where you are and it seems so minimal, the result was worth it. Now you have arrived, it is time to just put on cruise control and enjoy life? No, a man is always growing. In your growth process you have learned new things about yourself. You have learned new things about the world. You have learned new things about success. You now set your sites on a new territory to conquer for your personal empire and you do it all over again gladly.

To build your empire, you must educate yourself. You must know everything there is to know about your chosen field. The best way to learn is through reading and experience. You must be an avid reader. Not only will you learn from reading, but it will also challenge your language skills as well as critical thinking skills. Take notes of what you read, give yourself examples of ways that you can apply these lessons to your daily life. Ultimately, you will only solidify your learning by practical application. In his book Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki writes that rich people, when employed by others, see employment as a learning opportunity. In other words, watch how the business is run, take notes on what works and what doesn’t. Take notes on possible business opportunities. We can learn from others mistakes so that we do not have to make those same mistakes ourselves.

I wish you all the best in building your empire.

Regards