Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Decline of Men

Not too long ago, I wrote a post about how weakness and mediocrity are suddenly acceptable and even emphasized in today's society. I now can't help but wonder about the amazing decline of Men themselves. How did we get to this point?

This whole idea of what really makes a Man took on a whole new meaning for me this past Saturday when I became an Uncle for the first time. My sister is my best friend, and I couldn't be happier for her and her husband. They have blessed our family with a beautiful baby boy, and we are all very grateful that Mom and baby are happy and healthy. One of my own Uncles' played an enormous role in my upbringing and helped shaped me into the Man I am today. He was essentially a second father figure to me, even though my own father was always around. I was blessed to have two great male role models in my life, and I know that I am a better Man because of it. I'm going to do everything that I can to instill the values into my nephew that I hold dearly.

Society, as a whole, is breeding an inferior Man than we used to. The number of Men I know and meet are fewer and fewer; the number of babies and boys I meet are increasing at a rapid rate. What makes a Man? Self-respect (as well as respect for others), personal responsibility, loyalty, a sense of humor, humility, passion as well as the ability to be compassionate and communicative. Read this list, understand it. See if you can understand why I think that is what makes a man a Man.

What kind of men do we have today? We have men who care more about their kill:death ratio in Call of Duty then if they are making their relationship work. We have men who will remain jobless for months on end, rather than try to do something with their lives and risk failing. We have men for whom family is such a small concern that they can brush them aside like someone they barely know. There are men who are too scared to fight for someone or something they are passionate about. 

Society today coddles these "men". We provide unemployment for people that don't need to be unemployed. We give them loans so they can buy nice cars and TV's so they can continue living a comfortable lifestyle. It's no longer important that a man try and be the best he can be; we allow him to be just mediocre. It's easier to not try then to give it your best shot and risk failing. As a society, we have become accepting of that. 

Back to my list; why do I think these are the things that qualify you as a Man? First and foremost is self-respect. I think this is a pretty all-compassing trait. If you have self-respect, you won't end up weighing 500 pounds. You will have healthy relationships. You won't let yourself waste your time on things that don't matter. You won't let yourself accrue a huge amount of debt. You will have goals and the ability to achieve them. Next comes personal-responsibility; to me, this means that you understand everything that happens to you is because of you. You are exactly where you are as result of your own actions or inactions. It's not anyone else's fault. You didn't fail that class because of the professor. Your boss isn't the reason you didn't get that promotion. It's no one else's fault that the girl didn't want you. It's all on you. Loyalty is not necessarily the act of being loyal to a person (people come and go), but also being loyal to a value. Whatever it is that is important to you in your life, you have the ability to be loyal to it. Your diet, your job, your family, your wife: if it means that much to you, you're going to do whatever is necessary to protect those things and stick by them. 

What Man could be complete without humor or humility? You need to know when is the right time to relax and have some fun, and more importantly you need to know when is the right time to admit that you don't know something, or need help with something. Everybody needs help once in a while; being a Man means being able to ask for it. Finding the ability to be both compassionate and communicative means that you will always be able to understand someone else's path, and be able to help them navigate that path when they ask you for help. I think that the ability to help someone else is even more important than being able to ask for help.

Finally, we come to passion. This is something that I see lacking in the vast majority of men nowadays. Nobody has enough passion for something to be willing to fight tooth and nail for it. If men today spent as much time working towards their passion (be it a career, a woman or just a goal) as they spend on their leisure activities (video games, drinking) then we would find our society in a different place. I've said it before and I'll say it again; passion trumps everything. If you're passionate about your career, you'll be a success. If you're passionate about the woman, she'll believe in you. If you're passionate about a goal, you'll attain it.

How does all this translate into what I see in the gym every day? Guys are too scared to try something they aren't good at it. They want to do whatever is safe and easy and won't make them stand out. Since everybody else is doing it, it must be right. The current generation of 20 and 30-somethings have been so coddled that they don't know how to work hard for something. Beyond that, they have been filled with this God-awful sense of entitlement that makes them think they shouldn't even have to work hard. Working hard is the fun part. Making mistakes is how you know you're getting better. 

I know I'm not the best Man out there, but I'm working on it. I'm making a conscious effort to do what is necessary to be as good a Man as I am capable of. Frankly, I think I do a pretty good job of it.

Do something special today. Be the best Man, or (wo)Man, that you can be.

Future Alpha Male

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