Through a friend, I stumbled upon “32 Things Every Man Should Do” Reading through it, I found myself repeatedly agreeing with the headline of most items, followed by mild revulsion as to the author’s reasoning why. So I decided to go through his list, and under the mantra of “the right thing for the right reasons” decided to edit the whys into something reasonable. It felt like the best way to get the grime off.
My list should not be construed as a list for “real men” since what the hell is a “real man” anyway? I prefer to think of it as a list of (mostly) good ideas.
1) Physically build something
…or paint something, or write something, or sculpt something. Creating things, regardless of how they come out, is good for the soul.
2) Build a business
Starting a business is sort of like having children. Its exhausting, exhilarating, painful, rewarding and not for everyone. But, if you are inclined towards it, I can say that, succeed or fail, there is no education quite like it.
3) Take privacy seriously
Yours and others. Never put on the web that which you wouldn’t want to have to explain to your Grandma. And let others choose what they’ll share – don’t choose for them.
4) Own his own online name
Sorry, I got nothing for this one. I can’t tell if this was product placement or hubris. I fail to see the point, really.
5) Lift weights
Weight lifting has been shown to have positive benefits as part of a workout program for anyone, including preserving muscle and bone health, body mechanics, disease prevention, and boosting energy levels and mood. How can you argue against something that will make you feel good and is good for you at the same time?
6) Eat meat
Meat is tasty. So enjoy it in moderation. Unless you are a vegetarian or vegan. Then don’t. People choose what they eat for lots of conscious and unconscious reasons. Choose to be thoughtful in what you eat, and then you won’t have to worry about what anyone else thinks about it. Remember, we once thought feeding people lobsters was cruel and unusual punishment.
7) Dress for success
Like it or not, clothing acts as a set of symbols, displaying to the world who we are and how we expect to interact with it. That doesn’t mean you have to wear suits and dresses all the time, simply that dressing for the occasion doesn’t mean sublimating who you are as much as it means respecting the people who are around you.
8) Wet Shave
I don’t do this often (hell, I don’t shave that often in general) – but I will admit – it is a rather relaxing indulgence when I do.
9) Shake hands
Shake hands with business partners and when meeting new people, unless you are in a culture that prefers something else. Hug friends and family in greeting. Kiss cheeks, fist bump, high five, whatever. Just get out and interact with people and put yourself in situations where you need to go through some form of greeting ritual in general.
10) Follow the 30 Days of Discipline bootcamp for winners
I don’t know what this bootcamp is, but I do agree that discipline and focus are key to achieving what you want. I usually meditate to increase my focus and mental discipline. Find something that works for you and do it when you find yourself adrift. Unless you want to be adrift – sometimes that’s fun and rewarding in its own right.
11) Keep a Positive Mental Attitude
Stay positive, but don’t feel bad when it’s hard or you can’t do it. Happy, sad, angry, embarrassed, tired, joyful … emotions are the key to human experience, and all of them are valid.
12) Own you car outright – Debt is slavery
Debt is slavery is a tad excessive. There are a lot of times when debt, managed smartly and consciously, is beneficial. Instead, be thoughtful in your spending, and when you do go into debt for something, think through the full measure of why and what you get (and add up all the payments – see what you are really paying!)
13) Be loyal to blood
Yup. But remember, all humans have the same blood flowing through our veins.
14) Stop watching porn
Far more thoughtful people than me have written many better things than I can on both sides of this debate. Read them if you want to make a decision about this.
15) Never supplicate to women
I’m afraid there is no reason I can give to support such misogynistic bullshit, so I won’t try…
16) Just say no – Forget the excuses after you say “no”.
We all have the right to say no to things. Sometimes we get overwhelmed, have other obligations, and the like. And sometimes we say yes anyway, because we love and care about other people and want to help, even when it’s hard. Especially because it’s hard.
17) Seek out adventure
By whatever means you define adventure, whether it is to climb Mt. Everest or simply to attend a party that has a lot of people you don’t know. Find and push your own boundaries.
18) Take cold showers
The occasional cold shower or polar bear dip has been shown to increase white blood cell count, help fight off disease, and be invigorating. That said, most mornings, I turn my shower firmly towards H.
19) Don’t talk too much
…because it gets in the way of listening to others. There is not enough time in our lifespans to experience everything we want, meet everyone, or go everywhere. But when others share their experiences with us, we get to see beyond our own horizons.
20) Know how to throw a punch
If you want to punch things – and I emphasize the word things there – I’d learn how to do it properly. A poorly thrown punch is likely to break your hand.
And, of course, if you don’t want to punch things, then don’t. That’s okay too.
21) Stay out of debt – Debt is prison.
Dude’s repeating himself. We already covered this.
22) Subscribe to the BOLD & DETERMINED email updates –
Taking a note from #16, I’ll go with NO. I can get misogynistic douchewaddery in plenty of places on the internet. I don’t need it delivered to me.
23) Never rely on anyone else for your income
Warren Buffet said it better – never rely on a single source of income. Diversify, invest, and reap the rewards.
24) Be proud
Pride is what we feel about ourselves. Bragging is what we want others to thing of us. Protect your pride, let others think of you what they will.
25) Be fit –
Largely just reiterating what was said in 5 & 6.
26) Never argue with idiots
I keep wondering if this is a pre-emptive request for people not to criticize his list. I’m going to go ahead and assume yes.
27) Not spend all day on social networking sites
I like Facebook; it’s like getting year-round Christmas card updates from people you’d otherwise fall out of touch with. I like Twitter; it’s a way to have conversations with a lot of people you’d otherwise never meet. But a few minutes a day while riding the bus or waiting in line is usually enough. Don’t let it get in the way of interacting with actual humans.
28) Hold yourself accountable
The only thing you can control is yourself, and even then, you don’t have complete control. But if you are going to start change anywhere, the best place to look first is within yourself.
29) Give 110% at all times
Let’s ignore the cliched mathematical impossibility and think of this in slightly different terms – there is a thread of thought in Taoism, Zen and others that has been backed by psychological research that shows that people who are fully present in the moment, rather than multitasking across a variety of tasks and thoughts, tend to be happier and more at peace. Or, to paraphrase Zen: “If you spend your time washing the dishes thinking of the ice cream you will eat, what will you be thinking about instead of enjoying your ice cream?”
30) Live Like a Spartan
I feel like this has already been covered. Since he capitalized it, I guess he means actual Spartans – either from Sparta or USC, and not just spartan. So I guess he’s either asking you to violate NCAA regulations or maintain oddly progressive attitudes towards women (unlikely from his earlier item) while holding largely regressive attitudes towards citizenship as a whole. Or there is no real coherent thought behind this one, other than, “That movie ‘300’ was pretty cool – and didn’t Gerard Butler yell in really cool ways?”
31) Like, retweet, or share this post!
Dude has stopped repeating himself and is now contradicting himself (#27). I’m running out of energy myself. 32 items is a lot when you have nothing interesting to say.
32) BE BOLD.
Sure, whatever. Be yourself. If that’s bold, then fine.