This is the last and final part of series under the title “The Lost Manhood“. If you haven’t read part 1 and part 2, I recommend you to read them before jumping onto this one. Anyway, this article will provide many practical actions that every man can practice from the moment they finish reading. Many of these actionable steps are what I have been practising for the past few months. Few other precious knowledge and actions are what I have learned from my father and also from reading.
This is not something that we can learn from schools and colleges. This is something that you had to study from the life and history of legendary men walked on this planet. Each element that I have described below is from how our ancestors used to live. It’s a study of what activities and lifestyle that carried the physical and emotional weight in their tough world.
But as I have mentioned in part 2 of this series, to live by the code of manhood in the modern world one has to wed the tradition with the reality of modernity. We don’t have to change our culture or everything around us to embrace manhood. It only requires the desire and determination of a man to live up to his full functionality.
Eudemonia- The Purpose of Manhood
“The purpose of manhood is Eudemonia“- Aristotle
Aristotle, the ancient Greek philosopher argued that the purpose of manhood is Eudemonia. When you google the word “Eudomonia” you may find the meaning as happiness. But it’s a bit misleading. It’s a combination of two Greek words – Eu (means Good) and Daimon (means soul or self). What the philosophy put forward by Aristotle means is the purpose of a man is human flourishment. Achieving the best condition possible in him in terms of virtue, morality and meaningful life.
What leads a man’s life to Eudemonia?
The Balance Among The 3 Pillars
In part 2, I have introduced the 3 pillars of manhood – Protect, Procreate and Provide. In most ancient cultures, men used to live by strengthening those pillars. One should not forget that each pillar is important and they intersect each other. People try to focus on the pillar that suits best to them or is easier to achieve. The truth is when one pillar is weakened, more stress will be applied to the other pillars and will contort his manhood. It is in through the balance among the three pillars that eudemonia is achieved.
Never Neglect The Protect Pillar
As I have mentioned before in previous parts of this series, many of the elements of code of manhood apply to women as well. Some women live life in a hard way and they can have a good deal of overlap in the procreate and provide pillars. But among the 3 pillars what is distinctly masculine is the protect pillar. The fact that men are stronger than (generally) women and have more tendency to risk-taking and exploration geared towards men’s role as warriors.
While considering the other pillars, protect pillar is the one that is harder to achieve in the softened modern world. But in history, it wasn’t a problem. Men had to join either military or had to train martial arts or at least they had some physical activity that kept their bodies strong. It was the protect pillar that deepened and systemized men’s role and status in his society. It’s the same thing that modern man is least focused on and became a choice for him. Protect role is the cornerstone of manhood. It should never be a choice for him.
Activating the energy of protector role is not easy in a very peaceful world unless you are not a soldier. Most men live their life without being in any fight and having any scar on their face. But it’s within his reach. You don’t have to start any fight club for that. The specific steps for living by the code of manliness explained below will emphasize that.
Stop Being a Spectator
We live in an abstraction of an abstraction. We are the spectators of the spectators. Before we all became a victim to the coronavirus, we already were the victims of the plague of spectatoritis.
With the advent of social media, we don’t endeavour in any adventures, we scroll through the adventures of others in our Instagram feeds. We like to watch what everyone else is doing with their social media status updates. We are interested in celebrity news and videos and congratulate them for doing things and idealise them. We can live an entire day by entering the rabbit hole of YouTube and Netflix or whatever. Instead of playing a sport, we watch that sport on TV or play that in a video game.
Men being an abstraction can be found not only in a protector role but also in a procreate role. 70% of online internet traffic in India is people searching for pornographic content. They like to become a spectator of other people involved in sexual acts instead of letting that happen in their real life with real people. Not only in procreating role but also in the provider role men read and research about starting a business or startup than actually starting their own. Even young men move from degrees to degrees, courses to courses, corporate training to corporate training to seek the perfect answer to satisfying work life. They believe there is a perfect answer somewhere in someone’s hand instead of learning anything in a hard way and through experience.
“The machine age has, of course, already supplied an unexampled wealth of leisure and what happens? The average man who has time on his hands turns out to be a spectator, a watcher of somebody else, merely because that is the easiest thing. He becomes a victim of spectatoritis—a blanket description to cover all kinds of passive amusement, an entering into the handiest activity merely to escape boredom. Instead of expressing, he is willing to sit back and have his leisure time pursuits slapped on to him like mustard plasters—external, temporary, and, in the end, “dust in the mouth.” – Jay B. Nash, Spectatoritis, 1938
Training Exercises to Live by The Code of Manhood.
What you will learn below is a framework for practical action to live by the code of manhood. Each of the following training exercises is big enough to have their own blog articles. But in the end, it’s not about how much you read and learn but how much action you took. Therefore, study each concept and do something about it.
1. Live More Manly
The idea of this step is to harness our lost art of living a more manly lifestyle. The lifestyle which our grandfathers used to live. In the modern world, men look for options to increase their testosterone levels even though a healthy lifestyle is enough to boost that.
One should be eating more balanced food and consuming less junk food. Look for more physical activity in a day than sitting behind an office desk (more on this later). Waking up early and taking cold showers was part of the self-discipline practised by our ancestors. It improved their immune system and resistance to harsh environments. Quality sleep is a major issue that most men including women lack. In 1942, 8 hours of sleep was the norm, now 6.8 is the average. India is among the 5 worst countries with average sleep duration. There could be few exceptions with people who can live with 6 or 5 hours of sleep a day. But staring at smartphone and scrolling through online contents before sleep is not at all a healthy habit and has drastically reduced the sleep average among men and also the testosterone levels.
- Eat a well-balanced diet with high saturated fats like butter, coconut oil, eggs, and no junk foods.
- Exercise with an emphasis on high-intensity workouts and strength training.
- Get more and better sleep hours. Do not stare at your phones before sleep. Read a book instead as the old generation did.
- Wake up early and take cold showers. It not only helps to improve health but waking up early improves your productivity.
- Harnessing a better lifestyle not only boosts the testosterone levels but also make someone feel more manly and confident.
2. Build Physical Strength
“No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training…what a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.” – Socrates
Strength is not much appreciated today where most men work in corporate offices and use their private cars to travel between their home and workplace. Nothing is demanding a physical strength in a man as it has done in the old times. But physical strength is a virtue that is vital to manhood. It forms the nucleus of masculinity.
Even in a peaceful and safe environment, physical strength is never a disadvantage. There could come a situation where you may need physical strength to save your own life or the life of people you care about. Or it could be lifting a heavy bag of cement to work around your house or to put an attacker onto the ground. Physical strength is a fundamental factor for the question of whether a man can hold his fight. It is true that a physically strong and fit person is considered more respectable, authoritative and attractive to others.
Physical strength is not mutually exclusive with mental strength. A physically strong man would exhibit mental strength and fortitude. It could improve his quiet confidence and determination.
- Start doing a strength training program.
- Look for more physical activities in your day. It could be chopping woods or digging a pit to cultivate or plant something in your backyard.
3. Improve Physical Toughness
Building physical strength and toughness are completely different. Some men who work out at the gym may be able to lift heavy weights but cannot carry a heavy wood or move a giant rock. Men who take a hundred pull-ups my not be able to climb on a tree branch.
Building physical toughness is improving your tolerance against pain and discomfort. Handling discomfort and adversity without breaking down and showing indomitable will define toughness. Such toughness is respected among women but a great deal is expected from men.
In a world where we can move from the comforts of a house to a climate-controlled car and then to an air-conditioned office is not demanding physical toughness. We can live without getting any mud on our feet or walk without brushing against a plant.
Therefore, one should be seeking and creating chances where he can build his physical toughness by tolerating adversity and pain.
- Workout in a variety of environments.
- Do more physical activities on the outdoors.
- Do some farming activities with tools on a hot day to improve physical and temperature tolerance.
- Develop endurance and flexibility.
- Take cold showers in the early morning.
- Do running on barefoot to thicken the skin of your feet.
4. Improve Emotional Toughness
Staying calm and emotionally tough is the quality of men with quiet confidence and emotional intelligence. They maintain perspective even when things go awry. They never lose temper and fail to act against the adversity.
Being said that there is a misconception about the emotional toughness of men. Most young men or the general public when they think about emotional toughness concerning masculinity, “a stiff upper lip” and a heartless attitude is the one that comes to their mind. That is utterly an impoverished idea the public have.
The stoic understood that it is possible to be emotionally tough and have a rich emotional life. Crying over the loss of people and sad news and being sentimental to family and friends is a quality of being human. Emotionally tough is not about suppressing emotions but choosing them wisely.
One doesn’t have to live like a rock to be emotionally tough but should have access to switch on to their quiet confidence and toughness if needed.
As I have said before, physical toughness can contribute to emotional toughness. Here also, one has to be seeking circumstances where he can take a moment to choose his emotional state before going along with the automated emotional response from the body. Delaying gratification and strengthening will power through discipline would build emotional toughness.
- Continue the work or activity you’re doing a furthermore even if you feel bored or wants to give up.
- Practice breathing exercises.
- Do exercises to strengthen willpower (more on this in future posts).
- Delay gratification and rewarding the positive work you have did.
- Identify your purpose and have a vision for what you want to achieve.
- Learn to self-motivate.
- Stop when things become too much exciting and do the rough work that fills you with boredom.
- Read and learn from the life history of people who faced a great deal of emotional pain in their life.
5. Learn to Fight
“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club
Fighting and violence is the core of manhood. When I say violence, you would have certainly thought about male dominance, rape and oppression. That’s what modern society has taught about being violent. Violence or the tendency to fight is something that we see commonly in kids. Whenever we see them doing that we oppress them to stay back. We never appreciate them for showing great power and energy.
Violence in man is energy inherent to them. Violence is taught to be the problem. Truth is, how it’s being used is the problem. Nobody like violence until terrorist attacks their nation. Nobody like violence until someone attacks and break into their house. In all those moments they need men who can attack them back and take back their lost freedom.
The people who have experienced violence like the soldiers are being humbled by it. It is those people who have introduced to stylized video games and movies, use it for destructive purposes.
I had some experience in Chinese Shaolin Kung-Fu when I was in high school(couldn’t continue it when we moved to a new place) and those were the days in my life when I felt absolutely alive. The master I had was a very humble person. He was very much skilled but never had the tendency to be arrogant about it. He spoke in a low and calm voice while teaching the martial art. But when I look into his eyes one could see his quiet confidence and ability to step up when the situation asks.
Every man is inherent with a fighting spirit and should channelize it to experience his manhood to its fullest form. Learning to fight not only helps you to protect yourself but also teach you to withstand the emotional and mental blows that you may experience in life.
- Learn to fight.
- Join a martial arts or boxing classes near you.
- Learn how to throw a punch and take a punch.
6. Be Self-Reliant and Independent
I have said in a previous post that you must be the master of your kingdom. If you don’t own something you are not the boss. That’s the deep principle of code of manhood. A man should own everything about him. Being dependent on others is not something a man who stands on his feet would do.
Dependency is slavery. A man is not a slave. He should be self-reliant as much as he can. Of course, he lives in a society and mutual help from people around him is necessary. But that doesn’t give an excuse for him to live at the mercy of others.
Independence takes a variety of domains. Economic independence, work-life independence and emotional independence.
If you’re a man in your 20’s then you should be learning skills to become completely self-reliant in your future. Learn to take care of your financial needs. Learn to take care of your vehicle and clothing. Learn to make a budget and save money. Learn to cook and clean up after that.
Live a life of simplicity and minimalism. Don’t be obsessed with lifestyle consumerism. Going after everything that you see in the advertisements will only make your life more meaningless. Never be a consumer of corporate fashion. Dress and walk like a man with quiet confidence and not like a fashion junkie in a fashion magazine.
Be emotionally independent. Never live like your life depend on checking your phone every 10 minutes. Never look for approval from other people or women. Stop being addicted to video games and online pornography. Your Instagram likes or followers doesn’t determine your self-worth. Your decisions should come from your opinions and be your own man.
- Learn basic life skills.
- Look for opportunities where you can lead your men.
- Quit social media.
- Be less dependent on your parents.
7. Gain Mastery
Having deep knowledge of something is important to live in the future economy. I have argued that before. People move from interests to interests without absolutely learning anything. The future economy needs only people who have deep knowledge in some specific areas.
If you have never gained mastery in any certain skill, then immerse yourself and focus your time and energy to gain mastery in it. It’s guaranteed that you will be rewarded later for being a master in it.
- Devote yourself to learn a skill or knowledge in an area that you think will come in handy and is important.
8. Take Risks and Develop Courage
“Choose trouble for oneself in the direction of what one would like to become.” – Nicholas Hobbs
Manliness=Courage. For courage to exist there should be a risk. To develop courage we must court a little bit of danger in our lives. For our ancestors opportunities to exhibit manly courage were plentiful. In a harsh environment filled with wild and sabre-toothed tigers, they didn’t have to look for troubles. Troubles found them.
In the modern world, there is only a little chance of men getting into real dangers. Everything is an abstraction of an abstraction. People don’t argue and fight face to face. They argue through social media and one can avoid it by simply ignoring those messages. The danger of facing them on their feet ends right there.
Exercising risks so as to be rewarded later, it should be taken in the direction of one’s purpose. There will never be a right time for taking any action. As men progress through his age, the less the circumstances motivate him to take risks. You will never be more ready than you are at this moment. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
- Communicate with people directly than through other mediums.
- Start a business, side hustle or a blog.
- Do the thing that you are afraid of the most.
- Learn to give a public speech.
- Stand up to your beliefs and ethics when faced with ridicule.
This has been a long read. But there are more elements that surely belong to living by the code of manhood. Anyway, I have respectfully avoided them and only added the basic ones that are enough to find those on your endeavour of regaining the lost manhood.
You might have got the basic theme here. Whether you’re a man or woman, if you are not living the life you wanted and intentionally forgetting what our culture and history have taught us, so you can immerse yourself in the pleasures of the modern world, it will be the same as you have stopped living and became a mere biological existence.
Would you rather be a fully expressed man or a fully suppressed man? Identify the traits and energy that is inherited gender wise by our culture. To all the brothers out there, man up and claim your history before it claims you. Your ancestors will applaud your boldness and daring.