The 3 Biggest Emasculators Of Men (Part 1)

Cropped photo by X

Cropped photo by 69263780@N04

I’m doing a series on the current state of masculinity, starting with what I consider to be the three biggest emasculators of men today.

And when I say “emasculators,” I mean forces in our culture that invisibly foul men’s progress by creating pernicious discouragement, self-doubt, depression, and self loathing–often with little to no awareness of the root causes.

1. Wage Slavery

Working at the employ of another is a radical and recent departure from man’s historical role as free agent.

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Stay With The Heat

A while back I was in Whistler with some buddies for a dads getaway.

We had a ping pong tournament, and before long, the last men standing were me and one other guy.

We squared off, played a fast and furious game, and I won.

It felt great.

But then he asked for a rematch.

I felt a little niggling doubt, but of course I accepted.

…and promptly got SKUNKED.

He trounced me on the second game as well.

As we played, I realized this had been a pattern in my life.

In sports, business, and so many other areas, I’d often been the “fast start” who is first out of the gate but then quickly plateaus, fades, and ultimately FIZZLES OUT.

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How Men Get Ownership Wrong

You’ve heard it all before:

Success requires ownership.

You must take full responsibility for your life.

Although true, in my experience most men don’t suffer from lack of ownership, but from OVER ownership.

Out of duty, they accumulate commitments and responsibilities over time, until they are caught in a web of obligation so thick they become numbed and paralyzed.

It’s a conundrum: as men, we are energized by taking on new challenges.

But when you “own” too many commitments, your wits, powers and creative forces are dissipated, and your life loses both joy and impact.

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Your Inbox Is Broken

Photo by terrasidius [cropped]

So often we log in to our email accounts with a little spark of excitement in our bellies, eager to see what the world has sent us.

Unconsciously, we think we will find the missing piece there… a message that will take us by the hand and show us what to do.

It’s a fantasy played out across millions of computers every hour of every day.

But it doesn’t work that way.

The inbox isn’t where you go to change the world. It’s where you go to distract yourself, to lose yourself in other people’s wills and agendas.

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Ego vs Mission

How do you personally decide what you will or will NOT do in the pursuit of a goal?

What actions are “off limits?”

Most men let their ego be their guide: so long as an action will not make them uncomfortable, or make them look the fool to others, they will consider it.

And so the map becomes filled with blacked out paths, scratched out shortcuts and narrowed options because there are so many things “I’m not comfortable with” or that “just aren’t me.”

As a result, many men are stuck, made impotent by their own half-measures. They have given the reins of their lives over to their ego instead of their mission.

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The Real Reason Modern Men Are Aimless

So, a couple evenings back I watched the Divergent movie with my wife (don’t judge).

It was actually pretty good, and I felt myself getting swept up in the story.

It struck me that a good movie is enjoyable not just because it’s a chance to “veg out” but because it lets us experience vicariously what it’s like to have a clear, narrow purpose.

In the movies, some evil villain pushes the hero of the story to the breaking point, until their back is against the wall and they have no choice but to fight back.

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How Men Fail Their Ideas

Do you love starting new projects?

I know I do.

And I know it can be both blessing and curse.

My past is littered with art and business projects I quickly launched… and then just as quickly abandoned because they weren’t the immediate “home runs” I’d hoped they would be.

My mentality was this:

1. Get an idea
2. Launch the idea
3. See how it works
4. If it doesn’t knock it out of the park… shut it down and move on

The result of that mentality? A long string of failed projects.

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Stop Hoarding Your Best

When I was in high school, I had this idea for a novel.

I forget the details now, but it was something about a section of the Garden of Eden that had somehow been preserved in its prelapsarian state and then discovered.

This idea captured me at a deep level. I thought it could be the seeds of something great.

But I didn’t start writing.

I didn’t dare.

You see, I told myself I should wait until I was a better writer. Wait until I was “ready” to do the idea justice.

Deep down, I felt this was my “big idea.” Perhaps my one shot at writing the next great American novel.

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Don’t Do What You Love

Should you follow your passion or follow the money?

I’ve tried both.

And I say the answer is NEITHER.

When you follow the money, you’re only half-heartedly invested in your work, which means you will likely fail at it, and do so unhappily.

When you follow your passion and “do what you love,” you radically limit your impact because you’ve defined your work by your own feelings and wants instead of the feelings and wants of your audience.

It means you’ve chosen work that makes you feel good instead of work that stretches and breaks you to the next level the way a worthy mission should.

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Why Dads Should Be “On Or Gone”

One of the hardest things about fatherhood is the pressure to be “on” all the time.

Often, on a family road trip or while running errands with the kids, I’ll feel my emotional energy glug glug glugging down the drain, and before I know it, my tank is empty.

I’ve got nothing left to give and I know it’s just a matter of time before I “go zombie”… before I become physically present but emotionally absent to my family.

Maybe you can relate.

There’s no shame in having a dry well.

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