Begin With A Question
Zack Even-Esh posted an article recently called 2 things every man should do. He was talking about the huge importance of deadlifts and squats in any training programme, but at the end he posed the question;
“Without talking about lifting or training, what do you think are “2 things every man should do”?”’
Man that’s a good question.
I left an answer on his blog, which you can see there but I’ll copy the pertinent bit here for you;
“Men must lead by example and mean what they say. There is no price on integrity”
As soon as I posted I felt the urge to expand. It’s a topic that demands attention, and it’s also one close to my heart.
Integrity is knowing yourself well enough to be able to mean what you say
You see, not only do I think most people are not living up to these things, I think most people never even think about them.
Most people are so cloistered and numbed in their bubbles of convenience that they never take the time to question “the rules”, and why people are allowed to be deceitful, two-faced, dishonest and without foundations of truth, integrity and virtue. They never get uncomfortable in order to learn more about themselves.
People who do take these things to heart are told not to take things so seriously – “why do you care?”
My answers are ideals… I am not claiming to be perfect or live up to them all the time – but I am trying and that’s the difference between me and other people. Can you say the same about yourself?
The Two Things Every Man Should Do
To begin with, I don’t think that this only applies to men – this shit is important regardless of age, education or whether or not you have a penis.
These two things are the difference between living a fulfilling, rewarding and vital life and languishing in mediocrity; always blaming others and wondering “what if”.
You do not need to be a testosterone fuelled meat-head such as myself to understand the intrinsic benefits of these two things (although it may help, I’m not sure…), and I am going to explain why.
1. Lead By Example
We are not all born leaders. That much is certainly true. But there is a great deal that we can learn from those who are.
Great leaders make decisions and take responsibility for their actions, but crucially they also have done it no matter what that “it” is. Another great example in the world of strength and conditioning besides Zack is the phenomenal Ross Enamait.
As a coach and author he has great and indelible credibility because he can and does practice what he preaches. His book “Never Gymless” (not an affiliate link, I just love the book) has him providing photographic examples of all the exercises included from Pistol Squats to one-arm pullups.
Zack is the same – he will write about a ball-busting workout and then will show you the video of him doing it. It’s no surprise that many the people who comment on his blog also have videos backing up their talk – they are simply following a great example.
Both Zack and Ross know that their word is valuable. Their authority is a steely foundation upon which others might cling because you know that these are men who learned it by doing it.
2. Mean What You Say
Crucify the insincere tonight
-The Smashing Pumpkins
Insincerity is a bane on this earth.
A man is defined not just by his actions, but by how his actions compare to his words. Words are powerful yet often misused – or under-appreciated.
Too many people will say one thing and then do another. Too many people will offer empty promises with a smile on their faces – knowing that they will never back their words up.
These vampires suck the time and energy of others who will demand (rightly) some evidence. Something consistent. They lurk in shadows and innuendo, just as the vampires of fiction – never truly revealing themselves. In the end, that time and energy will never be regained so it is of paramount importance to ignore all those of whom you cannot make an example.
Just as bad though are the people who will never challenge others or take a principled stand and force the insincere to change their ways or be otherwise embarrassed. They will simply complain to themselves or others in private, yet never actually live their words. In this way, they are just as two faced, just as sheltered and just as unwilling to forge a virtuous path.
This is a sorry state of affairs. When people take ownership of their words and understand how they affect themselves and others with what they say and write, then they are taking ownership of themselves.
This will not only improve their lives and render their word an insurmountable fortress, but will inspire others to live with quality and integrity. I have always tried to maintain my personal integrity, but seeing Zack write so forcefully about it only served to strengthen my own, and give me hope that there are others out there like us.
Zack knows the importance of words. You know by the way that he talks and writes that means what he says and this is always backed up with videos of what he is talking about.
That is how it should be – always.
If I claim to have done a thing, you bet your boots there is some evidence of it, or there will be if I am ever challenged. This makes life easier for everyone, because if you call me out I can defend myself, and when I do – you can potentially trust another person. Which is all too rare these days.
The benefit of that scarcity is that it is easier to make true friends. We stand out because we are unflinchingly ourselves, and unfailingly true to our word – and that makes us pretty easy to spot in a crowd.
A man – or any person – who has mastery over their words and who takes responsibility for their actions is an ideal we must all strive for. There are of course a whole host of virtues and traits that all should cultivate; patience, an analytical mind, a capable body, a strong will. But if you begin with the two I have written about here, you will not go far wrong. You will be able to effect a great and powerful change in yourself, and become a person who we all should want to be.
This is the person who will change the world for the better.
This is the person who will live a life of vitality, quality and integrity.
This is the person who will leave a legacy that will outlast them, and that will continue to inspire future generations.
This is the person who I want to be.