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.
One of the best piece of advice I have ever received is to: Fap On It…To masturbate prior to making a decision involving women. When one faps on it, sexual tension is released through masturbation, resulting in a mind that is clear in thought and a rational decision can be made.
What is the best piece of life advice that you have ever received…one that has never let you down and has been with you through the good and the bad?
By George P.H.
When you’re a boy, it’s alright to do kid things. That’s what our childhood and teenage years are for.
But with each passing year, the line between “boy” and “man” is becoming blurred. We’re taking longer to move out, find steady jobs and get married. We delay the responsibilities of manhood to enjoy ourselves for longer.
This is fantastic. It’s great that we’re making the most of our lives, exploring all available options and challenging the status quo. But all these things only have value if you do them as a man – not as a boy.
Below are 5 ways to know you’re not a real man (yet). If any of them apply to you, make some changes to your life and start living with strength, dignity and manliness. It’s the best decision you’ll ever make.
1. You Blame
I was late to work because my stupid car wouldn’t start.
We went snowboarding last winter but the snowstorm ruined everything.
I hate my job; my boss always makes me run little errands for him, ugh.
I hear people say things like these every day, and I feel deeply confused each time. When did it become so acceptable to blame other people, random events and even inanimate objects for everything that’s wrong?
Hey, what’s up, I’m brandon. A few months ago I had to break up with a lady, as often happens with dudes and ladies, but I can’t say I was particularly happy to do it. It left a very specific person-sized hole in my life, and I felt unmoored, for quite a while. I was adrift! I was a slug. I was apathy personified. I was also, it may not surprise you to learn, relatively unhappy at times. I thought to myself. “Self,” I thought, “Self, you are ridiculous.” And it was true that I was. To celebrate my new-found understanding and to figure out a way to retain a bit of perspective on my slothful drifting, I started to write some little vignettes about the dumb sadness tricks my brain perpetrated on me during this time. Dami Lee, having the ability to draw, and also possessing a firm understanding of ladies (having been one her whole life), seemed like the perfect choice to turn these dumb things into tiny comic strips for your reading bemusement. And so it is. We will release one of these every Monday, and will stop when the well has run dry. If you enjoy this stuff, you can follow us on things, like twitter: twitter.com/necrosofty and twitter.com/dami_lee or these places: facebook.com/asperusual. Okay have a nice forever bye bye.