Do you know the difference between wuss priorities and a real Man’s priorities? Letting go of your desires won’t make you a real Man and meditating on nothing all day won’t grow your balls. You have to learn what priorities a Man has.
With due respect to meditation, to Buddha, to prayer, to that which trains your relaxation-response, to stuff that makes you feel like you’re part of something greater; don’t for one second think that living without desire, without ambition, without priorities will free you from the pain of weakness.
Running away from things that hurt you, like unfulfilled desire, is just another way to demonstrate what a wuss you truly are. Real Men (the “real” is redundant, either you’re a Man or you’re a wuss, but I’ll use ‘real’ now and again) aren’t scared by unfulfilled desire. They don’t skip out on joining a team because they’ll be picked last. They don’t let go of their dreams because people will mock them. They don’t give up on ambition because it comes with heartache. If anything, the heartache inspires them (that’s a topic for another article).
But at the same time, the priorities that Men have just don’t cause the same pain as wuss priorities. A wuss babbles and cries at the sight of disappointment and failure, true, but he often has more to cry about as well. He digs the grave of his pathetic manhood even deeper and makes life even because of the specific priorities he chooses. If you pick the wrong priorities, it’s like you’re shooting yourself in the foot before you begin a long hike… In this case, it’s your hike to Manhood.
I remember, vividly, a boy talking to a group of Men, “I think I’ll have to lose my emotions when I grow up and get strong.”
Do you think he was right? Do you, for one instant, think that as a Man you have less priorities, emotions, passion than a child? If you think that, then you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the fire that burns inside true Men. And you need to learn.
The answer to the boy’s comment came from one of the grizzled Elders:
“Being a Man doesn’t mean you have less emotions, being strong doesn’t mean you don’t feel, it just means you don’t have weak emotions. As a Man, you’ll have lots of emotions, but they’ll be strong emotions, and you’ll rule them.”
The more strength, the better. The more strong emotions, the better. Don’t think that walling yourself off and not feeling is the strong thing to do, it’s just walling off the fuel from the engine. The engine isn’t going to start… You won’t go anywhere, if you don’t feel.
But now we get to the point of this article. ‘What do you feel’ is the question. What priorities should you have? What priorities ruin you? What priorities do real Men have?
The answer is clear if you know what a Man is and can take a critical look at your own priorities. A Man is driven internally by the fire of his passion. The environment has minimal effect on his internal world as he only allows himself to be governed by his burning desire. So, most to all of your priorities need to be internal, because internal priorities depend only on your own strength for satisfaction, and not on some variable external factor.
Imagine your priorities as the ice axes you use to climb an icy cliff face. Are you going to put your axe into a piece of unstable, crumbly snow or cracked ice? Are you going to put your entire weight on it? No, you’re going to plunge it into a piece of obsidian hard ice, something you can trust. After that, your survival depends only on your own strength and skill. The same thing applies in Life.
If your priority is, for example, how someone else feels about you, then good luck keeping a steady head. You’ll be fighting not only your own self, but the randomness of their own appreciation for you. If your priority is how the economy is going, then you’re completely at the mercy of the fluctuating Dow Jones. If your priority is how much your kids smile at you, then God help you, since they’ll be smiling, crying, whining, and changing with every toy and dessert and bedtime and strange animal that wanders down the lane.
Imagine something different. Imagine your priority wasn’t how someone else felt about you, but instead how you felt towards people. Then acting like a Man would be enough to satisfy that priority, and you wouldn’t be at the mercy of other’s feelings. Imagine that your priority wasn’t the economy, but how much effort you put in, every day, to account for the risk and invest in the rewards. You’d have control of your priorities. Imagine that, instead of how your kids felt in any moment, your priority was to be the best father you could be. All of a sudden, you’re a better father, since you’re more stable.
Now whatever your priority is, external or internal, stable or fluctuating, there’s always the element of how you deal with it. It’ll always be up to you at the end of the day. Some Men are energized by a crisis in their priorities. But you can’t run a marathon by training really hard for one day. And even if you are a marathon runner, there’s no reason to run everywhere. Save your energy, pick Manly priorities, be as steady as a rock, and
Just Be a Man.