#10 – For the most part, what others think doesn’t matter.
Ten years ago I was a 17 year old high school student who let the opinions of other people largely influence my choices. It was a dumb way to live, considering that ten years later, those people whose opinions I held in such high regard aren’t even a part of my life anymore!
The times when someone else’s opinion of you truly matters are few and far between. Think first impressions, like meeting your significant other’s family, meeting a new client, or meeting a potential employer for a job interview.
Don’t let other people rent space in your head. What they think of you isn’t important. What matters most is how you feel about yourself.
#9 – Explore new hobbies and opportunities often.
When I cared about what other people might think about me, I never tried new things. I was afraid that if I sucked at something, I’d be embarrassed. To spare myself the embarrassment of being bad at something new, I would never explore opportunities to learn a new skill, or start a new hobby.
Looking back on it, I see it as lots of time lost!
Nowadays I’m always anxious to put myself out there and learn something new. I sing at karaoke, I enter juggling contests, and I play Euchre even though I suck at all of them. I try new things as they come up, whether it’s a new restaurant, a new beer, or a new pastime. When you try new things, you discover more and more things that you enjoy.
Currently, I have plans to master the piano, the pool table, the surfboard, and the pen in my lifetime. They’re things that I know I love. Still, if you were to introduce me to a unicycle today, I’d hop right on to try and take it for a spin, fall off, and then hop on again!
As Harold and Maude put it best, “Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can’t let the world judge you too much.”
Here. Yes here, sit right here, in this little box. Your chair has wheels on it so you can scoot from one side of your box to the other. Perfect. Sure, go ahead, decorate your little box, make it your own, settle in. Use this box to avoid the sun. Come in here every day just as the sun rises, and stay here, safe, secure, until the sun goes down. Then return to your own life. Go back to your home and tune in to your own life. YOUR OWN LIFE. The one that takes place thousands of miles away in stadiums, studios, and servers. The one that doesn’t even know you exist.
Multiply by forty years.
2.5 kids, a beautiful wife, a dog, a house, two cars, a timeshare, and a great big 72-inch screen in your living room. You earned it. You put in your time so that you could purchase those extra channels, pull the trigger on that music festival, buy that ring, pay for that trip, neuter that mutt, afford that stroller, tip those cleaners, replace those gutters, rotate those tires, fix that fence…. pay that bill… pay that bill… pay that bill…
Isn’t there something missing here? What happened to dreams? What happened to aspirations and goals and hopes? I’m not talking about world peace here either. I’m just asking why no one around me is pursuing the life they actually want for themselves. Why is everyone fake-laughing? That joke was not, is not, and will never be funny to anyone in this conference room so why did everyone just laugh?
Real business is judgment. Judgment is figuring out who the hell the person you are talking to actually is. So why is everyone dressing up in costumes in order to interact in a professional setting? I want to see how you present yourself. Don’t dress for your job, dress for the job you want? I’d rather dress like my job does not dictate how I dress… I am who I present myself to you as, through and through, now lets talk business.
Don’t get me wrong being an upstanding member of society and raising a decent family is incredibly honorable (and apparently hard enough as is) but what about YOU? What happened to the thing you knew you could do every day for the rest of your life without a paycheck and still be happy? What happened to the grand scheme to turn that thing into a paycheck?
It didn’t go anywhere, you did.
by Nick Notas
When I began coaching, I expected people to come to me with all sorts of problems.
But I never expected so many to tell me, “Nick, I feel totally stuck. I’ve tried everything but I just don’t have what it takes. My life is hopeless, so why should I bother trying?”
These people feel completely helpless in their lives. They feel like they have no control over achieving their goals or finding fulfillment.
The first time I heard this, it hit me hard. Because I remember how trapped and powerless I felt years ago.
In the span of months, my dad had a heart attack and was forced to close our family restaurant. I had to drop out of college to support my family. My friends all moved to colleges out of state and my social circle disappeared. Then my girlfriend of two years dumped me.
It seemed like there was nothing I could do to stop the shit storm. I believed I was destined for unhappiness.
So I blamed myself. I blamed others. I wallowed in self-pity. For a long time, I did nothing and nothing changed.
I was experiencing a mindset called learned helplessness. And it kept me miserable and from getting what I wanted out of life.
What does it feel like to be wrongly convicted
I was wrongly convicted of murdering my wife. I recall that first night in jail. It was not unlike being punched in the face. I was stunned, numb, and not sure of what lay before me. All personal control had been yanked away. What I wore, what I ate, where I slept, and where I could not go were all dictated by the State. In that situation, the absolute power of government becomes blatant, coercive, Orwellian.
The first few months of prison life are about adaptation. It’s a different society, a subculture of power — physical, emotional, and spiritual. There are simple rules. Obey and internalize those rules and you’ll get by.
As the years pile up, feigned apathy becomes your outward mask. But on the inside, anger and bitterness consume you. Revenge occupies your so-called free moments. At other odd times, you fantasize about living a normal life… or escaping to a tropical paradise… or dying in prison. You imagine building houses, establishing relationships with the opposite sex, or burning down the houses and the relationships of your enemies.
But as the decades accrue, an acceptance and an understanding of life creep in. If you’re lucky, you become calmer, more relaxed, more sure. You see the value of faith, hope, and of course, love. You come to appreciate pure things, like the behavior of animals and the joy of small children. It sounds cliche and almost banal, but time wears a man down.
In the end, if you are lucky, you see that our trials are what improve us. And if you are very lucky and somewhat insightful, you see that whatever your trial has been, it is exactly what you needed. Our trials make us who we are.
There comes a time in every Man’s life, when frustration starts to dominate every aspect of your reality. You start questioning yourself, your choices, your ideals and even your own existence. You start feeling lost, without even the slightest sense of direction and your understanding of what matters and what doesn’t, starts fading away along with your dreams and aspirations.
This was my reality a few years ago and this is the constant reality of many men I know and interact with. It comes from a deep feeling of uncertainty that characterizes our times and the various choices we force ourselves into. It comes from years of trying to decode the secret meaning behind the terms living and existing and it usually denatures to a wild combination of uncertainty and doubts.
Living our lives in our own terms has never been an easy thing. It is easy to complaint about it but if you don’t really know what these terms are, you will never be able to achieve it.
In the Quintessential Man’s Manifesto, I expressed the 10 rules every man should live by in order to shape a quintessential reality. Today however, I am going to propose a different set of Rules. They are somewhat more fastidious and refined. They try to move away from commonalities and generalities but at the same time inspire and direct.
I wrote them for a friend who found himself in a difficult time some years ago. But then I thought, we are all friends in a way. Lost men in need for direction and hope. Hope that there are people like us that can bring us together and share the same ideas and collectives.
Hope they will inspire you the same way they inspired my friend.
by Henrik Edeberg
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last 30 years I’m pretty sure you know who Bruce Lee was. Besides being an awesome fighter and iconic figure, Lee also had some very useful things to say about life.
Here are 7 of my favourite fundamentals from Bruce Lee.
1. What are you really thinking about today?
“As you think, so shall you become.”
Perhaps the most basic statement of how we work. Think about what you are thinking today. What do those thoughts say about you? About your life? And how well do they really match your plans for your life and your image of yourself?
It’s easy to forget about this simple statement in everyday life. It’s easy to be quite incongruent with what you think on an ordinary day compared to how you view yourself and your goals. A simple external reminder such as a post-it with this quote can be helpful to keep you and your thoughts on the right track.