Life is hard enough as it is, and sometimes we men make it harder than it should be. This was not an easy blog to write because it is written in a negative tone. I like to be constructive and positive in my language so bear with me while I work through the eight things that we as men do to fuck up our lives. In my defense, I do offer some positive guidance to assist in the process of course correction.
1) We Stumble into Toxic Relationships The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said you are the average of the five people with whom you spend the most time. If we hang around toxic, manipulative, entitled, and negative people we will soon start to adopt these traits. As we grow older, we start to spend less time with our friends and more time with our significant others - girlfriends and wives. They start to have a disproportionate influence over the way we act and behave. Our choice of romantic partner is one of the most important decisions we will make in our life. In a perfect world, we will make one great choice and we are done. Other people, myself included, need to make this choice a few times and hopefully, we eventually make the right one. What are we looking for in a partner? In my twenties, she had to be hot and available but as I have moved past my half-century, my priorities have changed. Sure physical attraction is important, but as you mature you realize that there are other key qualities such as intellectual, emotional, and lifestyle comparability. But let's get back to the red flags that toxic people exhibit.
The first red flag is someone who looks to you for constant validation. We know the motivation of the majority of women that are active on social media. They are looking for validation. When you enter into a relationship with them you will become an additional source of validation. I would therefore recommend spending some time on the social media accounts of your prospective partner, and if they are super active in posting pouty selfies, you may want to steer clear.
The second red flag is if she is always negative about current and past relationships. She may complain constantly about her parents, previous boyfriends, or current girlfriends/colleagues. A friend of mine once gave me some interesting advice. When your girl gets home from work and starts rattling off about her shit day, the winning strategy is the following: every 45 seconds say "that bitch is crazy!". Another strategy is to avoid these kinds of women. Sure, even the good ones need to rant a little, but when this becomes part of her daily afternoon routine, you want to run for the hills.
The third red flag is when your partner competes with you. You want your partner to support you in your endeavors, your goals, and your ambitions. After all, she is your partner - you are supposed to complement one another and not work against one another. Competitive signs in a relationship include constantly trying to outdo your partner, feeling excited when your partner fails, and finding yourself secretly jealous when they succeed. Does your partner attempt to win every argument? Is there no excitement and pride from your partner when you tell her you just closed a big deal at work? Does she belittle what you have achieved? Does your partner make you feel guilty when you need to work late? Does your partner like to point out what is wrong with you? Does your partner scold you as if you were a child? If you answered yes to any of these questions, there is a high probability that she is competing with you and you need to try and fix this or get out.
The fourth red flag is whether your partner is a single mother. This comes with a few caveats because not all single moms are like this, but the majority are. A single mother will always put the interests of her children above you, and that is perfectly natural. In fact, it would be another red flag if she did not. I am amazed by how highly single mothers value themselves in the sexual marketplace. I have seen profiles of single moms on dating sites where they have a long list of things they demand from a man. The reality is that their market value is not nearly as high as they think for the following reasons. They are experts in exit strategies. They have done it at least once before, and they will do it again. If you get involved with a single mom, you need to know this. The sex is going to be great, she will do everything she can to get you hooked on her, but when that attraction wanes or she comes into contact with a better option, she will drop you like a wet sack of potatoes. Trust me - I have experience in this area. Single moms stand by the finish line and pick the winners. In fact, all women do that but single moms are more viscous because they have their own and the children's interests far above your interests. You will be left scratching your head wondering what the fuck went wrong. If you get into a relationship with a single mom, you will observe how she tolerates bad behaviour from her kids against you. When the kids are well-behaved, they are her kids. When they don't, they are "our" kids and she will never take your side against them. Relationships are hard enough - taking on a single mom means taking on a new layer of complexity that will handicap the relationship from the offset.
The fifth red flag is the woman's sexual history. Women are concerned about men's futures while men are concerned about women's past. Sex is not simply a physical act. There is a strong emotional aspect to it, and by sex, I am referring to physical penetrative sex between a man and a woman. I am not talking about only oral sex, phone sex, or tantric sex. A woman with a high notch count has given a bit of her soul to each man she has fucked, which means she has less soul to give to you. A woman with a high notch count is like a car with a couple of hundred km on the clock. It is loose, and rattles, things below the surface are broken and it is going to give you a handful of problems in the future.
Red flag number six is the lack of shared values. This is a bit of a no-brainer but many men look past this flag, especially if the woman is hot and or is great in bed. Common values are loyalty, openness, prudence, resilience, responsibility, self-respect, and honesty. Out the gate, you can see why the failure to value honesty should be a deal breaker. The problem is that dishonesty is not something that women put on their business cards. Neither is a lack of transparency and impudence. You will need to test for these qualities, and the quicker you can get the blood back to your brain from your penis, the happier your life is going to be. You need to remember that deceptive and manipulative women are experts at what they do. They have been mastering these evil skills their entire lives and you will need to work hard to find the truth. Values also go hand in hand with lifestyle. Does she place a high value on staying in shape, having an active lifestyle, and eating healthily, or does she prefer to party all night, sleep all day and binge on junk food? This kind of relationship will in likelihood lead you to abandon your healthy lifestyle in favour of hers - especially if she is hot and or great in bed. Men are terrible when it comes to compromising their values and lifestyle for attractive women.
Red flag number seven is when people you love do not like her. This is a great test because when men are in relationships their thinking and emotions tend to be impaired. There is an old joke that a man's IQ is cut in half when faced with female cleavage - a 50 percent decline per breast! Given this impaired judgment, you need to seek out independent and impartial arbiters, and no one is better suited to this job than people who love you - friends and family. If these arbiters have reservations about her, this is a monumental red flag and one that should be taken seriously. Another red flag linked to this is when your personality changes when around her - it means you are not yourself around her and feel the need to put up an act.
Red flag number eight is a victim mentality. There are women in this world who believe the world is conspiring against them. They do not take ownership of their failures, they blame ex-boyfriends or husbands for breakups and do not own their mistakes. She will never admit when she is wrong, will never apologize and her victim mentality is her way of avoiding accountability. You will spend the entire relationship apologizing to these women for things you never did and trying to justify your actions - this is not a happy place to be in.
Red flag number nine is that she loves drama. Women tend to be more dramatic than men - this is part of the reason why the majority of soap opera watchers are women (although a recent New York Times article indicated the number of male watchers is increasing!) Women who love drama always have something upsetting happening in their lives and this emotional upheaval is part of their daily routine. They are always fighting with someone, be it a work colleague, a sibling, a friend, or a parent.
The final red flag is that she is a toxic feminist and this is where I am going to get into hot water. She will call your masculinity toxic, she will make you feel bad about traditional masculine qualities like confidence, courage, provision, and protection. She will be more than happy for you to pick up the bill at the restaurant, but then make you feel guilty when she washes the dishes, cooks for you, or does anything that falls within the typical female stereotype. Getting into relationships with toxic feminists is too much like hard work, and the sex is unlikely to be great because you will be wrestling each other over who needs to be on top. 2) We Cannot Verbalize Our Intentions and Feelings Men are both powerful and very ineffectual communicators. We are good at motivating other people, at communicating external elements like business plans, strategies, objectives, and goals, but we are terrible at communicating our personal goals, objectives, and strategies. We like tangible things that can be easily measured. We like sales targets, sports scores, and training plans. We can spend hours communicating on these and developing strategies to achieve them, but we are fucking useless looking internally and verbalizing what is happening in our heads and our hearts. We are unable to communicate this to ourselves and to those closest to us and this is exceedingly problematic. There are a number of reasons why we are so chronically bad at this communication. In the past, our rules were clearly defined. Our purpose was to go out and hunt, fight wars, or be fathers/providers/protectors for our families. No one really gave a fuck about how we felt. We didn't have time to deal with these issues because we had no option - we had to be brave, courageous, in control, and focused on the job at hand.
These days, most of these roles are evaporated. We have supermarkets, and professional soldiers fighting the wars, and many of us are either single or divorced with limited access to our kids. This means we need to ask the questions - what is my purpose, how do I feel? The truth is that the world does not care how we feel. We form part of the most privileged half of society. We are part of the male dominance hierarchy which means we are not afforded the luxury of having feelings. We have been taught that boys don't cry, that we should suck it up and grow a pair. unless we learn how to communicate our intentions and feelings, we are going to be left behind crippled by our demons. So what is the way out of this? We need to find a safe space within which we can communicate. What does a safe space look like? We need to find a place where we can be completely vulnerable where there can be no fear of judgment and nothing that is said can be used against us at some future date. How vulnerable can we afford to be in front of our partner? This is where things in my opinion get a little tricky. Romantic partnerships are built on many of the same things as non-romantic relationships - trust, honesty, shared values, and vulnerability. There is however one element that is peculiar to romantic relationships and this is desire, and desire is one thing that cannot be negotiated. The desire that a woman has for a man is primal - it goes to the very core of her biological needs, and many men have trouble understanding this.
Women will tell you what they are attracted to. If you ask ten women they will get back to you with similar responses. They like someone who is well groomed, confident, interesting, has a good sense of humour, and has a positive economic future. Ask them for the kind of men they desire, there will be an overlap but they typically will have someone like Ragnar from Vikings in mind. That raw physical and sexual appeal of a strong man that doesn't take any shit from anyone and gets things done. Women are often attracted to the bad boy. This has been distilled into the term the dark triad personality traits. The term was first coined in 2002 by Delroy L Paulus and Kevin M Williams. The traits are as follows: narcissism (characterized by grandiosity, pride, egotism, and lack of empathy), Machiavellianism (characterized by manipulation and exploitation of others, and a sense of morality, lack of emotion, and a higher level of self-interest) and psychopathy (characterized by continuous antisocial behaviour, impulsivity, callous and unemotional traits, and remorselessness). Studies have suggested that on average, those that exhibit dark triad personality traits have an accelerated mating strategy reporting more sexual partners, more favorable attitudes towards casual sex, a tendency to steel mates from others, more risk-taking in the form of substance abuse, limited self-control, and a pragmatic and game-playing romance style. These are the men that most women lust and fantasize over.
One also needs to understand rape fantasy. Studies have found rape fantasy is a common sexual fantasy among both men and women. The most frequently cited hypothesis for why women fantasize about being forced and coerced into some sexual activity is that the fantasy avoids societally induced guilt- the woman does not have to admit responsibility for her sexual desires and behaviours. So what does this have to do with men having to find a safe space to communicate honestly and showing vulnerability? When you are in a relationship, you want to maintain a healthy balance of attraction and desire. In other words, you want your woman to both be attracted to you and to desire you. I am not saying you need to adopt dark triad traits, but you need to be able to understand that these traits do create genuine primal desire. It also stands to reason that the opposite traits will detract from desire. This means being overly weak, vulnerable, and agreeable may force your woman to have less desire for you. What many men don't understand is that desire cannot be negotiated. Men know that women love men who are handy around the house - guys who can unclog the drain, repair the garbage disposal and fix the washing machine. Men also need to realize that these actions, although they may increase attraction because it shows you are capable and conscientious, they are not going to make her lust after you. My point is this, if you feel your woman's lust for you is waning, unblocking the gutters of the house is not going to get her desire up. Telling her how anxious and vulnerable you feel about the future will do the exact opposite. I am not advocating for extreme stoicism in your romantic relationships, but I don't think complete honesty about your deepest fears and insecurities is a winning strategy. You need a tribe.
For 99% of human existence, we lived in communities. These were groups of twenty to thirty people who lived together, worked together, and died together. Then we started living in apartments, condominiums, and suburbs. We started working with people with whom we did not share the same values. We started eating alone. In 1954, Swanson invented the TV dinner. Millions of lonely people set up their folding tables in front of their TVs. Urbanization and urban densification officially put an end to our tribal existence, and we are now paying the psychological price.
So what happens to life outside of this tightly-knit community? The first thing that happens is that we become acutely aware of being lonely, and therefore become very concerned about finding that special something/someone that will complete our lives and make us eternally happy.
Our need for connection can morph into a strong desire for success, fame, and recognition when maybe all we need is some good friends. Million Man is a tribe – it is a place where we can regroup, lick our wounds, bitch and moan about the women in our lives, and then work on a collective plan to get ourselves out of this hole we are all in. The trick is to unteach ourselves from all the lies we have learned about being a man.
Here are FOUR reasons you should join the Million Man tribe.
1) Being Part of a Group
There is strength in numbers. When you are part of a tribe, you are accountable to other people. This sense of connection helps to build your sense of self-worth. You become recognized. Your contribution is valued. You feel supported. It takes the pressure off you because you realize you are part of something bigger than yourself.
2) Sense of Purpose
Men today are battling to find purpose and meaning. They have no interest in religion and the traditional purpose of being the breadwinner in a family is fading as fewer young people are getting married. Million Man is founded on the purpose of building high-value men. It is this common purpose that will provide you with direction and a sense of purpose.
“Boys don’t cry”. “Take it like a man”. All these cliches have a place. We are men. We are strong and you can rely on us. But men also need support. We need people to talk to and we need a non-judgmental place to do this. We need a manly tribe.
4) Battling Loneliness
The modern world is lonelier than the world that preceded it. We have never been more connected, yet we have never been so lonely. Loneliness is the disease of the 21st century. Million Man aims to put an end to that.
3) We Lack Discipline and Consistency A man can have the greatest skills in the world. He could be endowed with masterful powers of persuasion, ungodly charisma, and unlimited talent when it comes to closing business transactions, but if there is no discipline and consistency, he will always operate below his potential. This goes back to the age-old debate of talent over hard work. Talent can only get you so far if you are unable to couple this with discipline and hard work you will never be more than an also-ran.
In the Bible, you will find the parable of the talents in the book of Matthew. The master of a household is about to leave on a business trip and he decides to entrust his property to three servants. According to the abilities of each man, one servant received 5 talents, the second received two, and the third received only one. In this parable, talent refers to an amount of money and not to a physical talent. We also know that at that time, eight talents represented a large amount of money. Upon returning home after a long absence, the master called his servants to account for their activities during his absence. The first two servants proudly announced that they had put the money to work and they both had doubled the money entrusted to them. Servant one returned 10 talents and the second servant returned four talents. The master congratulated them for their conscientiousness. The third servant however had merely hidden the talent. He was risk averse and did not want to incur the wrath of his master should something happen to the money. The master rebuked the servant, calling him lazy and slothful. The master then took one talent away from the last servant and gave it to the first servant. The third servant was then cast out of the household into the darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. This final reference is believed to be referring to hell.
The takeaway from this parable is that it does not matter what talents you have been given, it is what you do with these talents that are important. We live in a world where talk is cheap. There is no shortage of talking heads on social media telling people what to do, and there is no shortage of people that spend most of their time talking about this information. They acquire the knowledge and skills but they seldom implement what they have learned. The self-help industry is built on this need for repeat business. The gurus are more interested in selling their next book, next course, or next training session than truly helping their customers go out into the world and execute the knowledge they have acquired. This is not unlike the healthcare industry. Pharmaceutical companies have limited interest in curing their customers. They have a stronger interest in treating the symptoms for as long as possible. After all, if the customer can find a way to treat the core of the problem, he will no longer need the drugs that the pharma companies manufacture and then lose a loyal paying customer.
Someone with lots of time on their hands conducted an interesting study on LinkedIn profiles. They analyzed a large set of professional profiles and focused on two keywords - namely "strategize" and "execute". They noticed that the former verb appeared 100 times more frequently than the latter. This indicates that people spend more time thinking about what they are going to do than they actually spend executing what they need to do. There seems to be an abundance of talent and good intentions out there - but we seem to be a little light on the hard work of putting plans into action and executing them.
Men fuck up their lives by failing to get things done. They are not prepared to put in the hard work. They are afraid of discipline and consistency, and there are two reasons for this - the lack of patience and the fear of the thought of hard work.
So what can we do to address this? Firstly we need to change our relationship with time. We are impatient. In a world where you can order a taxi off your phone, stream any movie you want in seconds, and access all your favorite songs in one place we have become accustomed to instant gratification. It is a low-value man who is not able to delay his gratification until sometime in the future. It is a weak and ineffectual man who is unable to appreciate the need to make small changes in their life every day and wait for these changes to compound into wonderful transformations in years and decades. Bill Gates said that we overestimate what we can do in one year and underestimate what we can do in 20 years.
If you hit the gym now after a sedentary life, will you get jacked in a week or a month? Of course not. It may take you six months before you feel comfortable looking at yourself naked in front of the mirror. Worthwhile things are hard. If they were easy, they would not be worthwhile. Hard things require discipline and consistency, and patience. Let me tell you something that many people fail to understand. The journey is more exciting than the destination. If your goal is to develop a body that could be thrown onto the cover of GQ magazine, how do you think you will feel when you achieve your goal? Sure, you will be stoked to see yourself on the cover, but now that you have reached your goal, the game is over. You now need to find a new game. The real fun was all the workouts, it was the progression, the first sight of developing a six-pack, it was the cute girl walking past you when you were doing leg extensions, it was someone coming up to you in the locker room asking for help on his routine, or a kid asking you to spot his technique on lateral pulldowns. You need to fall in love with the journey and never take your eye off the prize. You need to take delight in not pulling up to the Mcdonald's drive-thru and instead choosing to cook boiled chicken breast and veggies for dinner. The reason we procrastinate is not that we are afraid of hard work, it is because we are afraid of the thought of hard work. Our bodies are made to work long hours, pick up heavy weights, run long distances, and do the hard stuff. Our bodies and minds react well under stress. We need to consistently put ourselves under pressure because this is how we grow and evolve. Humans are not suited to paradise - we need to be moving towards a goal. This is when we feel most actualized and happy. You need to find your purpose and work consistently and diligently towards the goal.
4) We Talk Shit to Ourselves
What is the quality of your internal dialogue - those little conversations you have with yourself in the quiet lonely hours of the morning? Do those voices say you are a worthless piece of shit, that nothing good will come of your life, and that you don't deserve to be loved? Or do they say that you rock as a human being? If you are honest with yourself, you have both. Even the most evolved, confident, successful, and fulfilled men in the world are faced with moments of self-doubt, anxiety, and uncertainty. The difference between winners and losers in this world is where you locate these inner selves in the car journey of your life. We all have two selves riding along with us - the one is your inner god and the other is your inner devil. The biggest challenge we face is that your inner devil loves to talk and he loves to talk shit about you, your loved ones, and the people you deal with daily. If he is riding shotgun with you, then you are fucked, because he will drown out your inner devil. The good thing is that he is predictable, in that he seems to tell the same lies to everyone. These lies can be divided into two categories - major league and minor league lies. Let's start with the minors.
These are those soft and self-deprecating whispers that seem to be innocuous. The most common is forgetting where you put your keys, or you leave your phone on the roof of your car, or you go away for a weekend, leave the milk out and when you get home it has left a rancid odor in your kitchen. That little voice says you are a bloody idiot. You may even verbalize these incidents to friends, or tell self-deprecating jokes and everyone laughs with you. These small harmless voices are the gateway to the major leagues. Pretty soon you start to build on these negative messages. You go back to events in your childhood. Maybe your maths teacher said you were stupid, or an ex-girlfriend said you were ugly, and then the mind starts to run wild. Your inner devil jumps out of the trunk and is riding shotgun with you. It tells you your mother never loved you, that you are lazy and stupid, and that no one will ever love you. These internal conversations are going to mold your self-esteem. Your job is to master those voices, and the way you do that is simple- make sure it's your inner god riding in front with you and your inner devil is gagged with duct tape and tied up in the trunk. Sure, there will be days when he weasels his way out of the trunk and gets back into the front seat, but you need to be a mercenary and get him back where he belongs. Your internal dialogue has to sound like this: I am awesome, I am the top dog, I am the master of my emotions, I am the master of my money, people want to be around me, I am an important member of my family and community, I can be counted on when things get tough, I stand up for what I believe in, I speak out against injustices, I am fiercely loyal to those that I love, I am not a victim of my past, I am writing my future. You will notice that not once did I use the word deserve. I hate to break this to you but you don't deserve anything. You are not entitled to anything- everything you have is the fruit of your hard work, dedication, discipline, and perseverance. The best way to take charge of your internal conversations is through getting out into the world and getting shit done. The worst way to control the internal dialogue is by being passive, procrastinating, and numbing yourself with comfort and pleasure. Put yourself in difficult situations - instead of scrolling mindlessly through TikTok, hit the deck and do 400 push-ups. Instead of binge-watching on Netflix, hit the gym or go for a run, or cut the grass in your yard. Make your bed, clean your house, walk the dog - fuck, do whatever it takes to be active, and productive, and make a dent in the universe. The Bible says you should despise not the day of small things - small actions repeated over time compound to extraordinary things over the medium to long term.
5) We are Spectators in Our Own Lives
I love sports - any sports. As a kid, I used to watch for hours and it didn't matter what sport was on. I would watch five-day cricket games - for those unfamiliar with the colonial sport of cricket, it is like baseball but games can last for five days and it is still possible to end without a result. As I grew up, I watched less sports and started to execute my mission. Now, I hardly watch any sport - I might go to the odd live rugby game in Cape Town, or catch highlights of the Tour de France, or the Ironman World Champs, but now the algebra has changed. I want to be out there executing. I want to do more sports than I watch. There is no time to numb yourself out in front of a TV screen. One massive problem we have today is that there are too many distractions that lead us off the path to fulfillment and the execution of a full life. Sometimes, these distractions are obvious - binge-watching a series on Netflix is an obvious waste of time. Sometimes, the distraction is less obvious because we have convinced ourselves that what we are doing is helping us get closer to our goal, and I often fall into this trap. I am a type A personality. I need to be busy to be happy - I need to be moving forward toward a goal to feel satisfied. When I lay my head on the pillow at night, the only way I can feel satisfied is if I feel physically exhausted. The problem is that often I look back at my day, and I am mortified by the missed opportunities and time wasted watching self-help videos on YouTube. At times I find myself having substituted my love for watching sports, with a love for watching videos about self-development, self-realization, coaching, and motivation. Self-help videos are not necessarily bad things - there is some great content that can be extracted, but let me tell you when they can be bad - when they are used as a tool to distract and delay you from the task of executing your mission. If you want to start a coaching business, you will go online and start consuming content. The algorithm will pick up on this, and start pushing your content. Up until now, all is good. The problem arises when you convince yourself that consumption of this content is part of the strategy and you slip into the role of spectator. Being a spectator is a passive exercise. You will soon pick up that all the content is the same. It is all derivative - it is all based on a few sore principles packaged in a different wrapper. You are wasting your time, and the worst part of it is that you think your time is being productively spent. Strategizing is easy - anyone can sit down and write a business plan. The hard part is execution. Very few people can execute a business plan because that requires hard work, and humans are chronic procrastinators. We are not afraid of work, but we are afraid of the thought of work because our feeble brains will quickly invent ten reasons why we should remain spectators. This goes back to our caveman biology. We are risk averse - we all default to self-preservation mode when faced with a challenge. When our cave-dwelling ancestors were walking through the savannah and came across a pride of hungry lions, they would course correct and give the savage cats a wide berth and pray they would not find themselves on the dinner menu. Why is it that we found it so challenging to make those ten sales calls? Why is it that we are afraid to be more aggressive in answering the objections of a prospective customer? Why is it that we don't speak up when someone makes a racist comment? We are afraid of rejection. We are afraid of what people think about us - we are people pleasers and we will go to the ends of the earth to make sure we are liked. This means we don't like to rock the boat or challenge the status quo. That is why we prefer to be passengers on the outside watching life unfold. But at the end of the day, how does being a passenger make you feel? When you wake up at 10 am on a Sunday morning after binge-watching Netflix until 2 in the morning, do you feel like a winner, or do you feel your time would have been better served by hitting the sack at 10 pm, waking up at 6 am and going for a 10-mile run? There is nothing less satisfying than being a passive passenger in your own life, and not executing your mission. You know that you are destined for greater things. We all have a strong underlying belief that we were put on this earth to do great things - to serve others, to be pillars in our communities and families, and to enrich the lives of others. It has never been easier to be a spectator because, in the history of all mankind, we have never had so many distractions. Take a look at the breakdown of global Internet traffic - 14.9% is Netflix, 11.6% is YouTube, 4.5% is Disney, 3.9% is TikTok, 3% is Playstation downloads, 2.9% Xbox live, and 2.8% Prime Video and Facebook respectively. This means that almost half of the total internet traffic is dedicated to spectator or gaming, neither of which are useful activities. It is then estimated that 35% of internet downloads are pornographic in nature. These are terrifying numbers. The only conclusion is that never before in the history of the world have we been more passive and more distracted, and this is making us miserable and anxious. The best antidote to anxiety is action. If you want to feel small, insignificant, anxious, and depressed, the best thing to do is stay at home behind your laptop scrolling aimlessly through social media, YouTube, and TikTok watching other people run their lives. If you want to be fulfilled, realized, and happy, get out into the world and get shit done without any apologies and free of the fear of what other people think about you. Self-consciousness is your biggest waste of time. No one cares about you, about the car you drive, about the watch you wear, or how much money you have. The world is so wrapped up in its own shit that they have no interest in you. No one cares about that stupid comment you made last month in the sales meeting, no one cares that there was a large piece of spinach lodged between your front teeth when you greeted the boss in the elevator, no one cares about how long it took you to run the New York marathon. They only care about their own shit, and the sooner you realize this, the happier your life will be.
6) We are Not Financially Educated
Modern education is a problem for men. The education system is controlled by women. The majority of teachers are women which has both positive and negatives. On the positive side, we learn much about empathy, emotional intelligence, and self-awareness. On the negative side, we learn nothing about traditional masculine traits like providing financially for your family and community. Financial education is never taught in school. Maybe governments, who control the education syllabus and narrative, have no real interest in empowering their citizens. It prefers to preside over a sea of weak, uneducated, and ineffectual idiots. What use is it for me to learn about the difference between igneous and sedimentary rocks when I could be learning about starting a business and the art of selling?
Most men are clueless when it comes to money and it fucks up their lives. There are ten steps you need to take to be financially educated and exercise mastery over your money.
You need to realize that almost everything you know about money is wrong. You were taught to buy a house, get a job to pay the mortgage, save for retirement, and live paycheck to paycheck. You were taught to work for money. As Robert Kiyosaki said in Rich Dad Poor Dad, you need to make money work for you. The way you do that is to get a career, maximize your earnings capacity, earn more than you spend and invest the surplus in high-quality assets that provide you with a reliable flow of income. So how do you do that?
Step 1: Understand the difference between a job and a career.
A job is something you get to fund your lifestyle. Let's say you want to live by the beach, drive a luxury German sedan, go away every second weekend, play golf every Wednesday, and build a collection of red wine. With that in mind, you will look for a job that will enable you to make your monthly mortgage payments, make auto loan payments, pay your rates and taxes, pay your country club membership fees and green fees, enable you to travel, and subscribe to Wine of the Month Club. You may earn a million bucks a year and you may spend a million bucks a year. Are you financially free? No, you are a slave to your employer who could fire you at any time, you are a slave to your bank who foreclose on you if you miss a few payments on the mortgage, you are at the mercy of the finance company that is leasing you the Mercedes Benz and you are beholden to the people that expect you to take them away every second weekend. Let's now look at the other side of the coin. After working a job for five or ten years in an area that aligns with your skillset, interest, and passion, you acquire enough skills and contacts to either rise to the C-suite of your company (CEO, CFO, CTO, COO, etc) or you start your own business. Sure, you can still get fired from the C suite, but you may have equity in the company and they will need to compensate you handsomely for the retrenchment. You have maximized your earning capacity. In the case of your own business, you are the top dog. You rent a house by the beach that is well within your budget, you drive a sensible car that gets you from A to B (and you don't look like a university student), you play golf at the local public course, and until the business is up and running you only go away once every quarter. You make half a million a year and you spend 300,000. The surplus 200,000 is either invested in the stock market or other financial assets, or back into your business as you scale and grow. Who is richer? Person 1 or person 2? I can happily accept that person 1 appears to have a better life. You could say that his life is more Instagrammable. On the surface, he has all the trappings of wealth, but his money is not buying him freedom. He has fallen into the wealth trap. The more money he makes, the more things he acquires and these things end up owning him. His scope of choices is made smaller. He is married to his job because his job funds his lifestyle. Let's assume he hates his job. Assume he comes from a long line of lawyers in his family. His great-grandfather was a lawyer, as were his grandfather and father. It was therefore expected he would follow up the family tradition. After his second divorce, he hits a midlife crisis and realizes that he hates being a lawyer. He still had a massive mortgage, three years left on the lease of his car and there is no way out. He has no option but to power through day in and day out in a profession he hates. Let's assume he has lived within his means. He has earned more than he spends, his car is paid off and he has no mortgage. He gets divorced, his kids have graduated from university and he now wants to follow his passion for restoring vintage motorcycles. He has been investing in the stock market religiously for 30 years and his account is worth a couple of million bucks. He has the freedom to follow his passion and live a fulfilled life. He has flipped his relationship with money - instead of focusing all his energy on working for money to fund his lifestyle, he has become a master investor and is now in a situation where money is working for him. He is the rich dad, not the poor dad.
Step 2: You need to understand the power of compounding.
Albert Einstein said that compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn't, pays it. What the hell is he talking about? Compound interest defies the laws of nature and the best way to understand this is through an example. Let's say you invest 1000 bucks in the stock market every month and the annual return is 10 percent per annum. After 10 years, you will have 204,845 bucks. If you double the term of your investment from 10 to 20 years, what would your return be? Most people would say if you double the term, you double the return. In other words approx 410,000 bucks. The correct answer is 759,368. What happens if you triple the term from 10 to 30 years? Again, simple laws of nature would say 205k x 3 or 615k. The correct answer is 2.2 million! That is crazy. What is happening here? Why are our feeble brains getting wrong? We are ignoring compound interest or compound returns. We are reinvesting our returns. When we earn that 10 percent return, we are throwing it back into the pot. This means that not only are we making money on our 1000-buck monthly contributions, but we are also making money on our profits. Think of this as a snowball that gets bigger and bigger with time. The reason why most people don't understand compound interests is that it needs time to work its magic, and most of us are impatient and we need instant gratification. We are unable to invest today and enjoy tomorrow. This explains why so few people are financially free.
Step 3: You need to know the difference between an asset and a liability.
This also comes out of the teachings of Robert Kiyosaki. The definition is simple - an asset outside money in your pocket while a liability takes money out of your pocket. Most people think the house you live in is an asset, but it takes money out of your pocket. You pay rates, taxes, insurance, lights, water, and utilities and you may also pay a mortgage. Sure, it gives you a place to stay but that is the only benefit. People may say that house prices always go up. Ask people who bought property in the US in 2007, in Tokyo in the 1980s, the list goes on. Property does not always appreciate in value. If that is your view, then you are speculating and history teaches us that not all bets pay off. Now, if you buy a house and rent it to a third person, then it becomes an asset. Using the same logic, your car is not an asset unless you put it to work in Uber.
Step 4: You need to know how the banking system works.
Banks do not want you to be financially free. How do banks make money? Through transactional fees and by lending money. The more lending transactions they enter into, the more they can charge in fees and interest. The biggest money maker for them is the mortgage bond - the loan sizes are large and the terms are longer. The compound interest they earn is mindblowing. If you buy a house for 5 million, and finance it over 30 years at 10 percent, you will pay more than 11 million in interest alone. You will pay more than twice the current value of the house in interest. That is a great business for the banks but a pretty shit deal for you the homeowner. The word mortgage comes from an old French term that meant death pledge - need I say more? Banks also facilitate the purchase of stupid shit through credit cards. This is not to say that debt is entirely bad - it does have its uses. If you can borrow money at 10 percent and invest that money at 15 percent, then you are golden. Very few, however, are savvy enough to find these sweet investments, and any investment yielding 15 percent has to be risky.
Step 5: You need to understand the concept of risk and return.
Risk is not necessarily bad. It depends on your age. The younger you are, the more risk you should take. If you are j your twenties, you are embarking on your financial journey. You have limited wealth and your objective must be to build as much as possible. You are looking for high-return investments which means you are looking to embrace risk. You want to invest in the stock market, cryptocurrencies, new businesses, and new technologies. You do not want to stash your money under the mattress. The reason why even the young are risk averse is that our caveman's brain is wired towards self-preservation. The fear of losing money is greater than our joy of making money. Not even gamblers like to lose money. If you stand outside a casino at 6 am and watch the high rollers leave, you will not find the losers delighting in their losses. Now that we have highlighted the importance of chasing high returns when you are young and being more conservative as you get older, we need to define what is a high return. Every country has a risk-free return. That is the interest rate at which you can invest and the risk is zero. The lowest-risk institution in any country is the government because they normally have the ability to print money. Any return above the risk-free rate requires risk to be taken. So, if the risk-free rate is 5 percent per annum, and the investment offers a return of 6 percent, there is some risk but not that much. An investment of 15 percent is three times the risk-free rate and therefore three times riskier than the government. You need to now be careful of people that guarantee high returns. If someone comes to you and guarantees an investment return above the risk-free rate, you need to know that there is risk in the investment. The best way to manage investment risk is through education. Investing in anything blindly is risky. It is believed that consumers do more research before buying a household appliance than they do research an investment in the stock market. Before you invest in any business, you need to understand basic accounting. Financial statements contain the most important financial information of the company. It shows solvency and earnings capacity - in other words, it will tell you how long they are going to be in business and how profitable they are. You also need to research the market in which the company is operating and the prospect for that market. Blockbuster, before they went bust, was operating in a dying market. Netflix was eating Blockbuster's lunch. People were no longer taking the time to drive to the video store. They were streaming content live. There was no way Blockbuster could compete against these winds of change. You want to avoid investing in a dying sector and you want to invest in sectors that will flourish. What are the sectors of the future - renewable energy, mental health and wellness, e-commerce, financial technology, supply chain and logistics, sustainable business, and disintermediation.
Step 6: Do not trust anyone with your money.
Humans trust other humans too easily. When they deposit money into their banks, they blindly believe these banks hold their money in a safe box on their behalf. Banks do not operate in this fashion. They operate on a system known as fractional reserve banking and it is perfectly legal. This gives them a license to lend out the money you deposit. So as soon as your money is deposited, it flies out in the form of a loan to another client or even used to buy risky assets like bonds and shares. As long as everything is normal and there is no panic, this system works well. Problems however arise when a rumour surfaces in which the health of your bank is called into question. In this digital age where everyone is so connected, rumours move at the speed of light. If someone influential believes your bank is having liquidity problems, and lots of people hear about this, what is everyone going to try and do? They are going to try to remove their money and this is where the shit starts. Your bank goes into a panic and tries to call back the loans it has made. This is easier said than done and the bank is forced into liquidation and goes bust. The financial system is based on trust. Even the currency issued by the government is based on trust. Do you trust banks and governments? Do you think they have your best interests in mind? Do they want you to be strong, independent, courageous, and questioning everything, or do you think that maybe they want to keep you in the dark, manipulate you, violate your human rights, and enslave you? Before the pandemic, I had my doubts. After the pandemic, I am pretty certain that governments cannot be trusted, and the more corrupt they are, the less they deserve your trust. How do governments control us? Through information and money. If they control your money, they control you. The scariest thing that is happening at the moment in the world of money and finance is the creation of central bank digital currencies and digital IDs. Let me explain to you the end game. Governments want everyone to have a digital ID. It is all your details - your name, age, ID number, tax number, photo, and address. In other words, everything that makes you you. It will be stored on your phone which means they will find a way to track your movements. If they can do that, they could give you a carbon score. Everyone is being made to feel guilty for being a human on this planet. If we travel a lot, we are destroying the planet. It is therefore conceivable that if we get around too much, suddenly we have difficulty buying airline tickets or filling our cars with petrol because all our spending will now be linked to our digital ID by way of digital currencies. Your ID will have a record of all your assets, liabilities, and bank accounts. If they see you are buying lots of red meat, they might cap the amount of money you can use to purchase ribeye steak every month. Or the amount of alcohol, cigarettes, or any other substance the government may be trying to clamp down on - or promote on the other end of the spectrum. This is scary shit, but if you want to get financially educated, you need to take control of your money and trust no one.
7) We Seek Comfort and Avoid Doing Hard Things Men look for comfort. They look for the easy route - the path of least resistance. This is natural. We live in a world that wants to kill us. Volcanos, earthquakes, poisonous snakes, lightning, psychotic drivers. We live in a world where cars pass us by a few inches - the space between life and death is narrow. It is perfectly natural to seek shelter and comfort. Companies know this and they seek to exploit this basic human condition. Food companies get us addicted to fast food, liquor companies get us addicted to booze, tobacco companies to nicotine, and pharmaceutical companies to opioids and sleeping pills. Whenever we have a headache, we pop a pill. When we feel stressed we crack open a can of beer. When we want to escape the world, we go for a movie or turn on Netflix. We spend our lives seeking out numbness and this is making us miserable because it leaves us feeling unfulfilled, guilty, self-hating, and anxious.
What is the antidote to this? We need to do hard things. We need to seek discomfort, and we need to use this suffering to build our character so that we can be useful to ourselves and our loved ones when danger presents itself. One of the core functions of a man is to protect those that he loves. He needs to have the courage and the balls to stand up for those that he holds dear. If he has spent his life in comfort, avoiding tough situations, getting fat and out of shape, going with the flow, and numbing out his senses, what fucking good is going to be to himself and more importantly to those he loves? If a war breaks out in his country and he doesn't know how to react, what good is he? He needs to have skills. He needs to be able to contribute to defending his home, his neighbourhood, and his country. He needs to have the balls to lift his hand and say, yes, I am here to serve. I am scared out of my fucking mind, but I have what it takes to rise to the occasion and do my duty. Only men who have tested their limits, who know how to suffer physically and emotionally have the tools to be of service to others.
So what does it mean to put yourself in difficult situations? I am not talking about standing in front of a freight train and playing a game of chicken. I am talking about exposing yourself to situations that will make you antifragile. This is a term coined by Nasseen Taleeb. He poses the question - what is the opposite of fragile? Most people argue that it is resilience - the ability to survive under harsh conditions. If fragile is the act of getting weaker under pressure, how can the mere act of surviving under pressure be the opposite? We are looking for something that gets stronger under pressure. Something that flourishes. There is a character in Greek mythology known as Hydra. It is this scary ocean-dwelling monster. Every time you cut its head off, it grew additional heads. It got stronger under pressure. When you put yourself in high-pressure situations, they either kill you or make you stronger. The most famous quote from German philosopher Frederich Nietzsche was that that which does not kill me makes me stronger. This does not refer to resilience, this refers to antifragility. You must find uncomfortable situations every day. If you are afraid of being rejected by women, go out and get rejected as often as possible - soon the sting of rejection will be removed and you will be able to approach anyone - women, prospective clients, prospective investors. If you feel vulnerable physically, hit the gym and learn how to fight mixed martial arts. This is going to be hard and pressurized, especially if you have hitherto lived a sedentary life playing video games and downloading porn. The physical form you create and the fighting skills you develop will make you antifragile. Once a month, do something hard. Walk or run for 42km, carry a backpack full of rocks up a mountain, or swim in the freezing ocean. At the time of doing these things, you are going to be tempted to quit. Power through and you will come out stronger on the other side. You will test your physical and mental limits. It will make other smaller challenges look like a piece of piss. You can start today - when faced with two options, choose the path of most resistance. Take the stairs to your apartment on the 8th floor, walk to the grocery store and back, stop to fix the puncture for the lady in the parking lot, volunteer your time at the homeless shelter, pay the maid for the day but clean your own house, learn how to change the oil in your car, learn to play the guitar. All these things are hard - if it was easy everyone would be playing the guitar like Slash from Guns n Roses. Everyone would have six-pack abs, everyone would be jacked. Find the result least likely and work towards that because in all likelihood that work will make you antifragile.
Comfort will kill you. You should never seek it out in your life. There is a reason why immigrants thrive in the United States. They are forced into difficult situations - they have no choice. They need to learn the language, suffer xenophobia, work three jobs, and be creative in adapting to their new environment. Studies show how these immigrants enjoy a disproportionately higher level of financial freedom when compared to their local brethren who were born in the United States. These immigrants find themselves with their backs to the wall - they are thrown into a pressure cooker and what is interesting is that they don't just survive, they thrive and flourish. Look at the list: Albert Einstein, Sergey Brin, Arianna Huffington, Oscar de la Renta, Madeleine Albright, and Arnold Schwarzenegger to name a few. Arnold stands out as a great example- the can hardly speak English, became world-famous for lifting weights, then became a Hollywood movie star, married a Kennedy, and then became the governor of a state of the United States - but not just any state, the biggest state by GDP and the name of which he could not even pronounce. If Arnold is not like Hydra, then no human that has walked the face of this planet is like Hydra.
8) We Go with the Flow
Humans are biologically designed to go with the flow. When we lived in villages it was not in our best interests to rock the boat - our long-term survival was predicated on our ability to ingratiate ourselves with the leaders and be team players. This worked well for us thousands of years ago, but everything changed. We no longer live in tribes and small communities - we are globalized, connected, and influenced. Our sovereignty is under threat, and this may sound like a conspiracy theory, but stay with me on this. Have you ever wondered why when you open a bag of cookies, it is difficult to have just one - you end up demolishing the entire packet? When you go to the doctor, he is quick to prescribe a pill to heal your symptoms. When you look at the label of foods, everything has sugar in it. When you wolf down a Big Mac burger, it gives you a hit of dopamine. Banks are throwing credit cards at you, your phone is listening to you, Google is pushing you to travel destinations, and YouTube knows exactly what videos you will find interesting. We live under the notion that we have free will, and that we are in control of our lives, yet we are being hacked every day. We are being told what to eat, what to think, what to believe, what pills to take, what to buy, what to sell - and let me clue you into something, the entities that are ramming this information down our throats do not give a shit about our well being.
Think about this for a second - does Mcdonald's care about your cholesterol, does your bank want you to be financially free, does the pharmaceutical industry want you to be healthy, does your government want you to be prosperous? Hell no - they want you to be weak, addicted, enslaved, and controllable - it is good for business and it is good for politics. They are the enemy and nothing gives them greater pleasure than seeing you go with the flow they are carefully constructing. The devil must be looking at the current state of humanity with a huge grin on his face. He has done a masterful job in turning men into a bunch of distracted, feminized, passive, overweight, ineffectual pussies who are ashamed of their masculinity, afraid to go against the flow, and living lives of quiet desperation. They do not have the physical skills to protect their families, communities, or countries, Hollywood makes them out to be a bunch of bumbling idiots, and worst of all, they seem to be ok about it.
What is the answer to all this? Men need to question everything. I am not saying we should always go against the consensus, but we need to question the consensus and if the consensus does not make sense, we need to go against it. It is so easy to be seated at a dinner party, and the host makes a racist joke for everyone to laugh at. That is the path of least resistance. The hard part is standing up against injustice. Racism is born out of fear and prejudice. It is born out of ignorance and weakness. Racists are small, scared, and pathetic - they are like the bullies in the playground. They need to be confronted and called out. If you stand up to the host at the dinner party, sure, an awkward moment is going to follow, but I can guarantee you that unless everyone is a card-carrying member of the KKK, the majority of people will applaud you (either audibly or loudly). That may be the last invitation you get from that host, but who gives a fuck. Edmund Burke is often attributed with saying “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.
Sometimes the cost of standing up against injustice is low - as is this dinner party example, but sometimes it is higher. A prospective client, on the point of closing a lucrative deal with you, may also drop a racist slur, and by speaking out you may lose the deal. You need to ask the question, do I want to do business with a racist, or do I want to do business with people that share my values? On a macro level, are you not a little concerned by how easily you were prepared to let the government strip you of your basic human rights during the pandemic in 2020? I am by no means an anarchist, but forcing people into conditions of quasi-house arrest, and everyone complying without even a small bleat of protest sent a strong and terrifying message to governments all over the world. It told them what they may already have suspected - that they were ruling over billions of weak and insipid men who were not prepared to stand up for their basic human rights. What is the government going to do with this newly acquired knowledge? I suspect they are going to do a whole host of things, and none of these things are good. They are rolling out digital IDs and digital currencies. They are going to track your movements, your spending, your investing, and your saving. This opens the doors to social scoring, carbon scoring, and a dystopian future in which our personal freedoms are so curtailed that you will look back favorably to the time when you were a hamster on a wheel that still had the option of jumping off. High-value men question, and they push back against injustice that is not only perpetrated against them but also against others.