This isn’t a narcissistic article about what’s required to be me, nor suggesting that I’m an ideal man. What it is, though, is a collection of thoughts and observations from men I’ve met in life that inspire me to be more than my current self. Being a man, these days, means different things to different men and women, so it got me thinking of how I could do a good job of it. Here are some of mine thoughts on the subject, and I would enjoy yours.
Review your guiding principals
The principals and values I live by get tested most when I’m doing very well, or really badly at life. My Dad had a great set of values that he passed on to me, which I find simple and sound:
- “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.”
- “Women first.”
- “Give everything your damn best shot.”
By understanding what success means to you, not only helps inform what you should, and shouldn’t be doing on a daily basis, but also what is it that you’re working towards.
Start competing in the Human Race
It’s called the Human “Race” for a reason. It’s supposed to be competitive, on every level. If I’m slacking, others out there are sweating away at my discipline and will beat me. By competing amongst my peers, I improve my skills, learn and grow.
Muhammed Ali said “The fight is won or lost away from witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before the dance under the lights.” I do my best to keep training for life. Less complaining, more action. And obviously, the best part about fighting your own dragons, is that you come out a dragon-slayer.
The world is way bigger than me and my worries, successes and toils. As a man, it is my obligation to concern myself with family and community. By looking broader than your inner self, one can, and should, take an interest in things like parent’s retirement one day, a friend’s fledgling business, or that person battling a terminal illness or setback that could do with some help.
My good friend Mark Fox’s father in law told me that one of the foundations that he built his marriage on was to inspire other relationships. How’s that for keeping yourself on the straight and narrow!
Invest in your own retirement
Men shouldn’t rely on their children. Most especially, for money. Each month, I put money aside and deploy it into an investment strategy for my future. It’s easy to pass the bucks and the responsibility to your retirement fund manager, but I try as far as possible to take an active interest in my own investments. If you don’t already own shares, go and execute a trade on the market. You’ll find yourself thinking more about the consequences and your initial decision.
Grow your own STEM cells
Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths are the building blocks of human progress. By taking an active interest in a passion point that allows me to build something, my inner caveman feels satisfied.
Appreciate good food
I want more than the average bowl of chicken noodle soup. Whether eating out or making a meal at home, I’ll always try something new, find out how its prepared and where it comes from. Obviously, this provides a great reason to connect with friends..
Subscribe to an international weekly
My view of the world grows as I travel. One of my favourite feelings is arriving in a new city, and feeling absolutely insignificant there. You, your worries and your life just don’t matter as much as you imagine they do. To proxy for this when I’m not travelling, I read avidly about the dynamics and events that shape the world. Time, Bloomberg Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Business Day and Fortune magazine help keep my current and, where possible, interesting.