How The Hammer Fails You

When I was 17, I destroyed a barn.

My father had deemed one of our farm’s crumbling outbuildings beyond repair, and set me and my brother loose.

We came to it gleeful and howling, armed with hammer and sledge, eager to smash it to pieces in a bacchanal of destruction.

Minutes later, chests heaving, faces glistening with sweat, we stared in dismay at the un-budged structure: all we had to show for our wild smashing was a few dented boards.

Decrepit as it was, that small barn did not come apart so easily, did not comply with our brute, exuberant force.

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1 “Realistic” Belief That Keeps Creative Men In Chains

Every day you are beaten:

Beaten by the leaky sink you keep avoiding.

Beaten by the applesauce on the wall you keep not scrubbing off.

Beaten by the dent in the drywall you keep putting off fixing.

You long to conquer mountains, yet every day you are beaten by molehills.

All these little problems… they should be so easily solved. Yet they go on defeating you, day after day, until at last you conclude that you are not a capable man:

If you are this easily defeated, “surely” you do not have what it takes to win the bigger fights: to become your fittest self, to create a business empire, to create works of art that will outlast you.

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The 5 Levels Of Financial Freedom And Slavery

You’ve been told you don’t need to be rich to be happy.

In this idea, there’s an essential truth that’s been lost, and an essential lie that’s replaced it.

I hope to disabuse you of that lie with a simple story.

There once was a man whose daily path came to an underwater cave. To reach the other side, he had to take a deep breath, plunge beneath the water, and swim through the underwater passage.

There was only enough time to swim straight for the other side. Any lingering within the cave, and he would drown.

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Create The Queen

You stood at the altar, utterly convinced.

Your friends had warned you: told you that you were about to exchange your bachelor freedom for sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and the ceaseless braying of children.

You saw the burdens of family life before you, and you felt happy–even eager–to shoulder the harness.

For this woman in white before you… this beautiful, adoring bride… she fired you as no one ever had before.

With HER by your side… with her love, adoration and BELIEF shoring you up, what could you NOT do? What burdens could you NOT withstand?

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Steady Eddie and Roller Coaster Rick

We all know Steady Eddie:

Cheerful, even-keeled, slow to anger, quick to smile, steady as the rising sun.

Eddie is the paragon. The gold-standard of married masculinity you constantly compare yourself to.

And you do not measure up.

In fact, your name could be Roller Coaster Rick.

For, whether visible or not, you flit from despair to elation and back again at blinding speed.

Unlike Eddy, you are restless: one moment playful and kind, the next distracted, impatient, roaring.

You are discontent.

And adding shame to misery is your mistaken assumption that all this makes you malformed, broken, abject… that you are, to everyone’s disappointment, so unlike Eddie.

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Man’s Leprosy Of The Soul

I’ll never forget the sight of that leper begging in the slums of Nairobi.

The man had no feet or hands, and lay on his back like a dog, waving his runny red stumps in the air to draw the passerbys’ pity and open their purse-strings.

The twist with leprosy is that it’s not the disease itself but the secondary effects that wreak especial havoc.

First, the disease shuts down the pain messages that warn your brain of bodily damage. Then begins the body’s slow destruction: you stand on a hot coal unaware, or walk about, oblivious to the nail buried in your foot, until infection and rot take hold.

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Chain Yourself Free

As creators, we are both attracted to and repelled by creating within a committed routine.

In many ways it feels anathema to inspiration… that the proper relationship to creation is to work only if and when the muse moves us to.

When we give in to that wistful arrangement and leave our creating undisciplined, the powers latent in us go untapped:

We live as potentialities, always wondering what we are capable of but never disciplining our creative lives in a way that will ultimately reveal that to us.

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Why Men Are Addicted To Sacrifice

Photo by ladydragonflyherworld [cropped & flipped]

Photo by ladydragonflyherworld [cropped & flipped]

You stand there shivering in the rain:

Ankle deep in a muddy field, your belly empty save the weedy scraps of yesterday’s meager gleanings.

You are the work horse, set grimly to rocky pasture.

Your entire life, the message: “your place in the world… it’s here, unfeeling and unflinching in the field… your gift to the world your ability to self-deny, self-deprecate, self-annihilate.”

In a world of lower order problems… a world of tooth, claw, ice, darkness, blood… these gifts may well be your full extent: survival via stoic resolve the highest order of problem your bleak life can aspire to solve.

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How To Get Your Fire Back

I sat on the couch in the dark, hating myself.

I felt so stupid:

College-educated, “creative,” visionary… with a wife and kids looking to me to provide not just food and shelter, but to LEAD them into a life of love, adventure, joy…

And I was FAILING.

I felt more a slave at my *business* than I had felt at my day job.

Each passing day shredding my confidence, our bank account steadily draining out like a severed vein in the neck.

All around me, it seemed, men less creative, less educated, less visionary were succeeding wildly… creating the life of wealth and abundance that I craved…

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Year Of The Gut

You have at your feet a new year fresh and unblemished:

A blank canvas yet unmarked by the blood of failure, a fresh snow not yet stained by despair.

So here you stand, poised on the fork: a part of you planning out another year’s goals and resolutions, another part hissing to yourself: “fuck these goals, fuck this charade of ‘creating my future’… this illusion that I will someday break through.”

These paths you’ve inherited, you are right to doubt them:

You’ve tried the path of cold, solitary reason…

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