For My Boys

First and foremost, you need to know that I love you. Everything else pales in comparison to the joy of having you in my life. Second, you need to know that Gladiator is the best movie ever created. Followed closely by Brave Heart and the Godfather Trilogy.

Now, with the important things out of the way, you should spend your life in pursuit of one goal: To exemplify manliness in all it’s forms. Not just to be a good man, but to be good at being a man. In pursuit of this goal, I have gathered mentors and teachers, devoured literature in every form, and spent my life refining my character through a battlefield of internal conflict and insecurities.

“Vincit qui se vincit” is a Latin phrase which means, “He conquers who conquers himself.” You are what you are, right now. The past is vanity and the future is yet unwritten. A life is not defined by one mistake, but by what one does in light of his mistakes. Be men of action. Mindlessly drifting through complex thought has its place in philosophy and self-discovery, but action rules the day in the battle for self-mastery. You are the sum of your actions, not your intentions. Be mindful, however, of your thoughts, for they will surely become the fodder for the canon of your actions.

I have waded through the thoughts and actions of great men, both known and unknown by the fickle mistress that is fame. My life has been a refinement of these thoughts and the development of my own, and I have put together this text which, for me, has proven to be true to life. Much of the following text will be famous quotes interlaced with my own, far less famous thoughts. Read these, but decide what is true for you. You are your own men.

Lastly, there are three traits I despise in a man. None of which are deserving of respect: Dishonesty, Complacency, and Laziness. All three make for useless men; all three will destroy your chances of moving through life without victimizing others or becoming victims yourselves.

And you are not being raised to be victims.

Personal responsibility

An act of kindness is better than a thousand heads bowed in prayer. I believe in God but not in the notion that God is walking you through this life on a plus/minus system, waiting to reward or punish you based upon how good or bad you’ve been. I believe there are natural consequences, both good and bad, for the decisions you make and the actions you take or do not take. I believe there is a devil, and that devil should know your name and fear you. Never debase yourself to the place where organized religion lives. The place where God is responsible for everything good in your life, and the devil for everything bad. This idiocy is devoid of personal responsibility. If you can not take responsibility for your own decisions when the result of those decisions are negative, then you will never be able to take joy in your own successes, both large and small. Believe that everything is your fault. Bad things happen and it is your job to overcome them. Above all else, avoid entitlements. The world owes you nothing, boys. If you want something, take it. Use every legal means at your disposal, but go after everything the world tells you you can’t have. Remember to always play the hand you were dealt like it is the hand you wanted.

Trust

Be weary of the religious man, who cloaks his intentions with the veil of “God’s Will”. Often times, these are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They disarm you, and take no responsibility for the wake of devastation they leave behind. Guard your thoughts and tell no one what you are thinking. When you pray, pray silently. The devil can hear your prayers too, and he doesn’t always appear wearing horns and a pitchfork. Often times, he presents himself as everything you have ever wanted. Be cautious of generosity and the free lunch. People are not against you, but they are for themselves. To this end, choose your friends wisely. Better to have four quarters than a hundred pennies. Know that sometimes the person you would take a bullet for can end up being the one holding the gun.

There are five things that are difficult to get back: A stone after it’s thrown, a word after it’s spoken, an occasion after it’s missed, time after it’s gone, but the most difficult of all is trust after it’s lost. A man’s trust is a valuable thing. If a person cannot be trusted, they have no use. Be men of your word. Your word is truly the only thing that is all yours alone.

Self-reliance

Never change yourself to make someone else happy and never engage in conflict that is not your own. A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of sheep.

Never help anyone who does not want it. It will be used against you. Trust me on this. Pay little attention to the opinions of others. Remember, you will never reach your destination if you stop to throw stones at every barking dog. When you care about what others think, you become their prisoner.

Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing at all. Train your mind to be calm in every situation and never raise your voice. Instead, improve your argument. Become a master at setting healthy boundaries and learn how to say “no” without feeling the need to explain yourself.

Stop being distracted by the things that do not bring you closer to your goal, whatever that goal may be. Some people will choose to hate you. Make sure it’s because hating you is easier than beating you.

Get off social media. It serves as a soapbox for the ignorant. Successful people do not waste time worrying about what other people are doing. Stop explaining yourself. People only understand from their level of perception. Do not compare yourselves to others. Things are seldom as they seem. To live for the approval of others is the lowest form of human existence. Said another way, if you live for the praises of men, you will die by their criticisms.

Don’t ever let the same person waste your time twice. And never stay committed to a mistake, just because you spent a lot of time making it. Don’t waste time hating people. Either choose to love them, or choose not to care at all. Hate is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Do not waste energy on revenge. To be good at revenge takes sacrificing your conscience, morality, and integrity. Instead, move on. Indifference is often far more effective at twisting the knife than retaliation.

Outside events have no power over you unless you give them power by allowing them to occupy your mind. Rather, we create our own reality through our own perception. The choice for how you respond is always up to you. Will logic or emotion prevail? When you cannot control what’s happening, control how you respond to what’s happening. That is where your power lies.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. Remember this: A mistake that is made more than once is a decision. When somebody shows you their true colors, believe them the first time.

Live life as though it were rigged in your favor.

Read every day, but at some point it will be time to stop reading other people’s books and start writing your own. Today is always the day. Don’t put off starting your life for some later time or event. The world is changed by your example, not by your opinions. At any moment you have the power to say, “This is not how this story is going to end.”

Cancel out negative thoughts; not with positive ones, which serve only to draw attention to what you lack, but with productive ones. Focusing on positive thought is, in itself, a negative experience and embracing negative experiences is, in itself, a positive experience.

Relationships

The most important thing I can tell you on the subject of relationships is this: You teach people how to treat you, based upon the things you are willing to tolerate. Disrespect should never be one of them. Consequently, your happiness should never depend upon someone else. Very little is needed to be happy, everything you need is already within you. Within the quality of your thoughts. If someone treats you like an option, help them narrow their choices by removing yourselves from the equation.

Remember that apologizing doesn’t always mean you’re wrong and the other person is right. Sometimes a relationship has more value than your ego. It’s okay to choose to disagree. People are entitled to their own opinions, and you don’t want to surround yourself with drones. Men sharpen men through conflict. Value this truth and never be afraid as a reasonable, thinking person to re-evaluate your own opinions when presented with new information. Avoid taking too strong a position. Instead, listen to everything, evaluate the information, and make a decision, giving yourself enough room in your decision to adjust accordingly to unforeseen circumstances.

When you announce your position, you become a target. Better to stay silent and let your enemies take shots in the darkness of their own ignorance.

Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you into trouble. If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room. Be careful of men whose words don’t match their actions.

Be an encourager. The world has enough critics already. Never judge another because their sin is different from yours. Remember to be fair. A fish is a brilliant swimmer, but if a fish is judged on its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Talk to girls you believe to be out of your league. You might surprise yourselves.

Finally, stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

Work

Find your passion and figure out how to get paid for it, but remember: You can’t have a million dollar dream on a minimum wage work ethic. You can either experience the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The choice is yours.

Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. Take calculated risks. Be prepared to work and achieve on your own merits; The world doesn’t owe you anything. If you want to be successful, stop asking people for permission and do what you know needs to be done. Success isn’t owned. It is leased, and rent is due every day.

Continuous improvement is always better than delayed perfection. Champions don’t show up to take what they want; they show up to give everything they’ve got. Trophies are won at practice; they are just picked up at competitions.

Always keep your relationships, bank account, and next move private. Your success is a product of your habits. A thousand productive habits done over time is the only way to build lasting success in all aspects of your life.

Learn the art of delayed gratification. Debt is slavery when not used to leverage assets but, instead, used to purchase liabilities. Read The Richest Man In Babylon and start paying yourself first. Then give every dollar you earn a job. Your money works for you, not the other way around.

Be a boss. If you cannot climb to the top of your chosen corporate ladder, design and build a better ladder. Then own the view.

Character

Consistency, loyalty, and respect. Pursue these things. Be strong; not rude. Be Confident; not arrogant. Be kind; not weak. Be humble; not timid. Be patient. It takes six months to build a Rolls Royce and thirteen hours to build a Toyota.

Never speak out of a place of anger, jealousy, hate, insecurity, or ignorance. It is far better to remain silent at these times. How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes? Show people respect, even if they don’t deserve it. Not as a reflection of their character but as a reflection of yours. Take care of others, but remember that sometimes you have to walk away from people. Not because you don’t care, but because they don’t. Never gossip. Ever. Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.

Never let the influences of the modern world dictate your morals and who you are. Protect that which is weaker than you. The measure of a man is not in how he responds to those above him, but in how he treats those who have no power over him or ability to further his interests. Adversity is not the truest test of character; power is. On the subject of power, know this. Obsession with power has been the downfall of many a once moral man. If allowed, its pursuit will poison your mind and destroy your soul. Power should be wielded by those who use it to raise up those around them, not hold them down. If power is used in that way, you should despise it and undermine it at every turn. Unchecked, it becomes tyrannical, building its empire upon the backs of slaves. And in those times, it is your job to fight.

Summary and Final Thoughts

Never hit anyone unless they are an immediate threat. And then hit them to the ground, with enough force to neutralize the threat. No more; no less.

Learn to wet shave. It’s a manly tradition. Shave with the grain on the first pass.

Nothing looks better than a well-tailored suit. A well-tailored suit to a woman is like lingerie to a man.

When you talk to someone, always look them in the eye and greet them with a firm handshake.

Play, lift, run. Use your body every chance you get.

Brush your teeth before you put on your tie. Never wear a clip-on tie.

Pay yourself first. A small amount of your paycheck should always go immediately into your savings account.

If you aren’t confident, fake it. It will come.

You can tell the measure of a man by the things that bother him.

Be conscious of your body language.

Always stand to shake someone’s hand.

Never lend anything you can’t afford to lose.

Ask more than you answer. Everybody likes to talk about themselves.

Keep a change of clothes at the office.

Buy high quality. Buy right; buy once.

Manliness isn’t only the ability to take care of yourselves, but the people around you also.

Go with the decision that will make for a good story.

When you walk, don’t look at your feet. Look straight ahead.

Find your passion and figure out how to get paid for it.

No matter their job or status in life, everyone deserves your respect. Never tolerate disrespect from others. Remember, you teach people how to treat you.

Everything is your fault. Always take personal responsibility. Bad things happen. It’s your job to overcome them.

The first one to get angry loses.

If it needs to be done, do it. Complaining never solved anything.

Never stop learning.

Always go out in public dressed like you’re about to meet the love of your life.

Never change yourself just to make someone else happy, unless that someone is you.

If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

Luck favors the prepared.

Women find confidence sexy as hell.

Do whatever you want in life, but be the best at it.

No one dies wishing they spent more time at work. Enjoy your life.

Talk too much and they’ll think you are a fool. Remain silent and they become curious.

Care about what others think and you will become their prisoner.

You will never reach your destination if you stop to throw stones at every dog that barks.

Train your mind to be calm in every situation.

Go after everything you’ve been told you couldn’t have.

A ship is always safe at shore, but that is not what it’s built for.

Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing at all.

A clever person solves problems; a wise one avoids them.

Never take anything for granted.

You earn your trophies at practice. You just pick them up at the competitions.

When you build in silence, people don’t know what to attach.

Never tell people what you’re thinking. Stay low-key. Not everyone needs to know everything about you. Stop telling people more than they need to know.

Dressing well is a form of good manners.

Be careful who you trust. Sometimes the person you’d take a bullet for ends up being the one behind the gun.

You can’t win in life if you are losing in your mind.

No matter what the situation, never let your emotions overpower your intelligence.

Learn to say “No” without explaining yourself.

Live life as though everything was rigged in your favor.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

A mistake repeated more than once is a decision.

No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of anxiety can change the future.

Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

The key to success is playing the hand you were dealt like it’s the hand you wanted.

Ask yourself this question: What would I do today if I knew that I could not fail.

Truth is like surgery. It hurts but it cures. A lie is like a pain killer. It gives temporary relief but has lasting side-effects. The truth is rarely pure and seldom simple.

In order for someone to insult you, you first must value their opinion.

Be selective of who you allow in your world. It is better to have four quarters than a hundred pennies.

Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe.

Never beg anyone to be in your life. If you have to, walk away with your self-respect intact.

When someone shows their true colors, believe them the first time.

Trust the journey, even when you don’t understand it.

Don’t judge people because their sin is different from yours.

You are a product of your thoughts. What you think, you become. It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you, if you allow it.

Shape your world or someone else will.

Things always seem impossible until they’re done.

Move on. Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself.

Keep control. Don’t give away your power.

Embrace change. Welcome challenges.

Stay happy. Don’t waste energy on things you can’t control.

Be kind. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone.

Take risks. Take action.

Live in the present. Don’t dwell in the past.

Accept responsibility. Learn from your mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a stepping stone to success.

Enjoy alone time. You spend the most time with yourself. Like the person you are or make changes until you do.

Be prepared to work and achieve on your own merits. The world doesn’t owe you anything.

Have staying power. Don’t expect immediate results.

Evaluate your core beliefs. Modify them as necessary.

Spend your mental energy wisely. Don’t waste time on idle thoughts.

Cancel out negative thoughts. Not with positive ones, but with productive ones.

Learn to tolerate discomfort. Accept your feeling without being controlled by them.

Reflect on your progress. Always be setting new goals.

The world is changed by your example, not your opinion.

Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

You are responsible for your own happiness.

You set the tone for every relationship by showing people what you will and will not tolerate. Don’t let people take you for granted.

Exist on your own terms.

Continue…

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