For the Fellas
Quit taking gym selfies.
Quit posting shameless topless photos of you in your bathroom.
Quit helping the girl at the gym that obviously doesn’t want or need your help.
Quit leering at her too.
Quit training like an insecure frat boy.
The celebration of blatant and shameless narcissism is a cultural disease. How many likes can I muster if I draw attention to the fact that I’m at the gym every day? How many likes can I get if I pose topless in this toothpaste stained mirror? Our purpose for strengthening our bodies amounts to little more than our desire to have somebody double tap our picture on Instagram, just as they did for every other near-stranger’s post in the last hour.
We are on a downward spiral of pale bathroom photos and gym creeps because a ritual once purposed for war, competition, and self-preservation has been hijacked and repurposed for mating and self-promotion. Lacking challenge or purpose in life, young men, in their infinite idiocy, have prioritized attracting women as their number one goal. This female-centric mindset has turned our once honorable Men into female-chasing frat boys, devoid of virtue. Consequently, men spend less time actually training towards higher goals and more time puffing their chests and inflating their own self-worth.
This post isn’t supposed to be about relationships, but I’ll let you in on a little dating advice: be the person that the person you want to be with deserves. Be formidable. Be a competitor. Be a protector. Don’t be the Bro that sells his body for stranger’s attention. It’s weak and the English language has words for that.
Train With The End In Mind
You caught me.
I bit this off Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits and remixed it a little. But it drives the important point of PURPOSE. You have to have a purpose to what you’re doing. The purpose is everything. If you’re training to look good in the mirror or to attract a partner, you’re chasing by-products. Your reasons are weak and don’t foster any inherent virtue or competitive spirit. If you are training with the goal of becoming stronger (healthier falls under this), competing, or contending in the arena, you are naturally going to look better, feel better, and develop some virtue along the way.
A good example is Brazillian Jiu Jitsu. What attracted me to BJJ was the fact that you are constantly contending in the arena against another force. You are consistently rolling with people of different experience, size, strength, body type, etc. Along the way, you’ll get used to tapping out. A lot. Big guys tap to small guys. Small guys tap to females. Every roll you have to get your mind right. Folks new to Jiu Jitsu are notorious for making excuses after they tap:
“I was trained more for street fighting, so this really isn’t my thing.”
“Yeah this is cool, but it’s never going to work in a real fight…”
Or they take it personally, request a rematch, and go into an energy-exerting tizzy, only to tap a second time. Or, if they’re stubborn enough, they’ll refuse to tap when they’re inches away from a dislocated joint…
But… if they stick with it long enough, chances are their narcissism will fade and they’ll learn a few lessons along the way, chief of which is to stay humble. Or better put:
Nobody cares what story you tell yourself about how tough you are or what you look like in the mirror. Strip or Retire.
Training With A Higher Purpose
Train with a higher purpose.
Train to sacrifice some of your present form on the alter of suffering to transform yourself into a more complete person. Train to compete against others. Train to contend with nature. Train to protect. Whether that is lifting, boxing, running, or cycling it’s up to you. There is lasting virtue in these endeavors. You’re going to learn to deal with suffering. You’re going to learn your own limits. And you’re going to become a stronger person, inside and out.
Don’t train so you can leer at women at the gym, or so you can take pictures of yourself as you desperately seek approval from others. There are already enough men peacocking about, basing their life on the approval of strangers. We don’t need anymore. Rise above it.
What there aren’t enough of is Men in the Arena. Men who are willing to challenge and be challenged. Men who are criticized from afar because their reach is deadly. That is what we should be encouraging, fostering, and celebrating.
At this point I’ve probably upset a few people. Maybe you enjoy taking a lot of topless photos of yourself. Maybe you enjoy broadcasting your gym experience daily. Maybe you’re proud of your physical progress. Maybe it makes you happy. I get it. If you disagree at this point, I’m not here to change your mind. All I’d say is to look at your own purpose and honestly ask yourself:
If I was to make a deliberate effort to be less self-glorifying, what would that look like?
If nothing would change, then you’re the exception, and most of this doesn’t apply to you. I’m more concerned with the rule, which is the biggest problem.
The celebration of blatant and shameless narcissism is a cultural disease. Train with a higher purpose.