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10 Rules That Helped Me Become a Better Man
Growing up isn't what it used to be.
Being a guy today is different than it’s ever been.
Your dad probably never used Tinder and can’t teach you how. Your parents probably can’t give you concrete advice on whether or not you should unfollow your ex on Instagram. I’m not sure about you, but my dad can’t teach me the first thing about being sensitive and vulnerable because, well, he never learned it himself.
It was a different time to be a guy back then, and now, most of us are figuring this “masculinity” thing out for ourselves.
I don’t see myself as some all-encompassing authority on manhood or masculinity and I’m certainly not perfect, but I have figured out the “code” that works for me, right now.
Here are 10 maxims that have helped me to become a more well-adjusted man in a bizarre, digital world. They are not by any means exclusive to men.
Remember that your ambition blinds you to the true nature of reality.
Young people get caught up in the pursuit of more money, more status, or a “better” partner. Our culture (that has been amplified through social media) has trained us to always want more.
I know this because, well, I’ve been that guy. I know what it’s like to feel like nothing is going to be enough for you. I know what it’s like to want the world and more.
Here’s some tough love: you can’t have the world. Your ambition does not directly correlate to your ability to achieve.
Be very careful about pushing away the stuff that is currently in your life in the name of an imaginary one you are pursuing. Some things, when pushed away, will never come back.
Treat those weaker than you as if they are stronger than you.
As you start to grow as a human being, you will develop strength. You will develop authority. People will start to look to you for guidance.
Have the humility to help people see strength in themselves that they can’t yet see.
That’s how you actually change a life. Don’t be “nice”, be kind.
Accept extreme responsibility for yourself and others.
In your life, you have two options, and both are equally terrifying.
Either everything matters or nothing matters.
You don’t get to have it both ways. You cannot live a selectively meaningful life. Selective meaning is chaotic.
You have to pick one: meaning, or chaos.
If you asked me, meaning is always better.
Use your technology, don’t let your technology use you.
Social media is drugs. Your phone is drugs.
Your phone is a tool, it is not an extension of your reality. The answer to your problems is not on your phone or on social media. You can’t Google yourself away from your depression or your anxiety or your problems — you have to deal with them.
The deeper you allow yourself to go down the digital addiction rabbit hole, the harder it is to crawl yourself out.
Again, speaking from experience. I grew up online.
Your ego is holding you back. Dismantle it.
Unless you’ve been living in a monastery doing nothing but meditating for the past 10 years, you probably have an ego that affects the way that you live.
Seek experiences that damage your ego. You will grow.
The ego changes the way you talk to people. It changes the way you pursue your goals. It changes the voice that runs through both your conscious and unconscious minds.
Seek failure. Seek your limits.
Do not express arrogance, no matter what.
Arrogance has always been a problem for young men, but in the age of social media and the internet, this arrogance looks much different.
It looks icky. Avoid it.
Even if you believe you’re the best, hold back on expressing those feelings. Demonstrate your confidence and talent through your skills and hard work.
When you’re really good, people will tell you.
Love is not pain.
If your love is pain, it’s probably not love, it’s probably a trauma bond.
If your relationship is exhausting and makes you feel strung out, it’s not a good relationship. If your relationship is a series of chaotic events and catastrophes, it’s not the right relationship. If no matter what you do, your relationship feels like it kind of sucks, it’s not the right relationship and you need to get the hell out.
Stable, loving relationships are sexy. Manipulation is not.
Learn the difference.
Do not chase people.
Desperation looks good on no one.
Invite people into your life, and seek to spend time with people who you care about, but never, ever, chase anyone. The more you chase people, the more it will feel like they’re running away. One-sided relationships are not healthy.
Those who want to be around you will find a way.
Give just as much as you earn.
As you develop proficiency in a skill, you will likely earn money, status, and even influence over others. Never let this get to your head.
The more you earn, the more you must give back in order to keep a level head.
They say “money makes people do crazy things”. This is bullshit. If you can maintain a self-aware mind by giving back to others, you can be happy, wealthy, influential, as well as peaceful.
Do not adopt a “persona”.
The world wants you to have a persona. It wants you to be a tough guy, or an artist, or a minimalist. It wants you to have these personas because personas are easier to sell products and ideas to.
Do not adopt a persona.
Be like water. Do not be a chameleon.
Learn the difference and you can become whatever you set your mind to.
I always wanted a moral code for a way to live my life, but I’ve realized over the years that no code on rules for life is complete.
Yup, that means that my list above is probably missing some rules that could help you live a better life. However, I did the best I could with the knowledge I have right now.
This list just includes 10 principles that I have used to improve as a man in the last 5 years.
If I’m truly living well, 5 years from now, I’ll have an entirely new list of principles that can help future me live better. I doubt I got it all right on the first try.
When I know more, I’ll share it with you.
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