You promised yourself that you’d be a Man, but that kind of promise isn’t worth the nothing it’s printed on. If you want to be a Man, you need to get real.
This doesn’t mean committing to some great and wonderful labor. Because, in the end, if you already had the habit, the inner strength to keep to a commitment, then Manhood isn’t something you’d have to commit to at all. Because you would already have achieved it.
You’ve always known what the right decision was, what you should be doing. Have you somehow, magically, become an overnight expert on how to emotionally arouse yourself, how to finally commit to acting with strength? You’ve probably tried to commit to it before, too, so does your commitment now hold water. Something you haven’t managed to do for your entire life? If you can, go right ahead, matter of fact, it’s the other side of the coin and is necessary, but that’s not the dark side that I’m going to talk to you about today. That’s the side for people with sufficient strength already. What I’m going to talk to you about today is the last leg of the stool, without which it will fall. This is the “leg” that you’ve ignored.
“I commit to doing a hundred push-ups a day.” What a lousy commitment. It’s a commitment to culmination without investment. It’s a commitment to an outline rather than action. It is, effectively, a wet dream.
It’s almost the same as saying “I did 100 push-ups, today,” (whether or not you’ve actually done them really doesn’t matter). It’s a mindset of victory, a release of the tension of challenge. But do you need that, even if you have been successful? Is that safe, right now, for the growth of your Manhood? Celebration is great but, if used improperly, it can be a drug that leads to hallucination.
Saying you’ve achieved something, or pre-committing to do something, they both come with a conceptual satisfaction of accomplishment, when the accomplishment is already over, not yet begun, but in either case entirely beyond the reach of this moment. Like a guy dunking on a lowered basket, there’s no present challenge, no present stress, no increase of awareness and so… no benefit… Saying “I commit to doing a hundred push-ups a day,” unless you already have sufficient male fortitude to keep your word, and one given to yourself and in private; this is mental masturbation.
Masturbation isn’t true “game.” It involves a visualization without true effort, without going out there, without approaching the girl surrounded by all her jock friends, without seeing the last three guys get blown off, without having to disregard the fact that you’re dressed as a bum. All masturbation leads to is an empty climax.
And most people make their commitments in this spirit. They commit to the grandiose success of accomplishment. It’s pretty futile. What a waste of brainpower. As soon as they come up against any obstacle whatsoever, let’s see what happens to the “commitments” of these boy-men.
I’m not talking about simply making a decision or plans for the future. I’m talking about promises that you make to yourself. More than an intellectual exercise, it’s an investment of your own integrity. But it’s useless if done wrong. That’s all you need to know about commitment for this particular article. Some day I’ll write an article on what true commitment means (and how powerful it can be), but that’s not where I’m headed today.
Today I want you to learn what kinds of commitments can be made, and in particular a type of commitment which might truly help you to get through the dark times on your way to Manhood. So you can suffer the sacrifices, the pitfalls, on your way to speaking louder, being proactive, being driven to a goal, facing your fears, all the little things on your way to Manhood.
“Doing 100 push-ups a day” is a commitment that skips to the end. It doesn’t recognize the aching pecs you’ll have, probably for weeks, if you haven’t done this before. It doesn’t recognize the time out of your day that it’s going to waste, that you’ll have almost nothing left for your usual daily leisure activities. It doesn’t recognize that your shirt will stink every time you do it, or that you’ll wake up and be groggy and exhausted, or about to go to bed and almost dead, or in the office with your suit on, or around others who will laugh at what a physical wuss you appear to be.
That’s why I started saying “I’ll do 100 push-ups a day” is masturbation. Not for everyone, but for you. Have you done something like that without quitting? Easy way to find out: are you still doing it? Commitments like the above account for the Manly result, without the sacrifice that goes into it.
If you commit to being a Man, to taking steps on the way to being a Man, then that kind of commitment won’t help you, not if you don’t commit to the difficulties as well. To the effort. To the sacrifices.
Sacrifices, now that’s a commitment worth making. Not because it’ll guarantee success, that depends on a lot of other factors, not because it’ll guide you, a normal commitment to the result will do that, but because the process of thinking about the sacrifices to be made makes you aware of them and prepares you for them. Because when I walk up in front of the room tomorrow and raise my voice like a Man, I’m not second-guessing myself wondering if everyone will think I’m being weird. I’ve already thought about it. I know they will. And I’ve already accepted it. I’ve already committed to that sacrifice. Paradoxically, now that I’ve accepted it, I can go up there and actually forget about it, like a Man. Eventually, as I grow in skills and as a Man, I’ll have enough evidence that it’s bullshit, that there will be no obstacles and I’m “the shit.” And then I will truly rise up.
The process of committing to sacrifice puts you through sacrifice. It makes you, in some small way, imagine what the sacrifice will be. This is not about psyching you out. It’s about accepting what is. It removes surprises, it takes some of the “magic” and “mystery” away from what would otherwise be a shock to you, what might otherwise knock you off balance. By preparing for emotional stress beforehand, you’re better able to handle it when you’re up in front of the world trying to make the game-winning basket. It’s about making you indifferent, on your way to confident.
Commit to the sacrifice it takes to be a Man. Ponder it, know what it entails, realize how hard it will be, and then commit to undergoing that difficultly. Not the actions alone, but the desperate, painful, unprecedented sacrifices you’re going to make along the way.
Commit to sacrifice. You’re going to be the guy your friends ridicule for being a try-hard. You’ll be on the receiving end of a lot of laughter. Perhaps you’ll lose your friends. You’re going to be rejected. You’re going to have only half an hour a day to relax. You’re going to stink with sweat. You’re going to have to give up your twinky dessert and focus on something other than your favorite foods. You’re going to go through great physical pain. You’re going to put yourself in physical danger. You’re going to have to sacrifice family relationships. Commit. Commit. Commit.
Then, after you’ve committed to sacrifice, you can be permitted to commit, to have the privilege of committing, to great, Manly tasks. You can commit to speaking lounder. To talking to strangers. To public speaking. To working out like a madman three times a week. To climbing a mountain. To facing whatever fears you have to to grow. To doing whatever you need to do to be a Man (more on that on this blog later).
Again, and this is important. You’re not psyching yourself out. You’re not focusing on obstacles to move towards them. But you’re accepting the sacrifices that you know will come. Not their inevitability, they are either going to happen or not and your commitment won’t affect that, but you’re making a choice to be the kind of person who goes through that. You’re letting yourself flinch now so in the future, in the moment, you don’t psyche yourself out, you don’t flinch, you’re spreading out the stress and choosing to feel it now, rather than in the crux of the moment.
We both know that there’s no “Just” in “Being a Man.” If you’ve gone your whole life without it, then achieving Manhood might very well be one of the most difficult and desperate things you ever did. Don’t psyche yourself out bud, and don’t let me do that to you, but there will be sacrifices. But once you’ve committed to them, you can have the honour and the privilege of committing the labors themselves, and
Just Be a Man.