How do I set Course for my Manliness?

You’ve had an epiphany, you’ve had a major near miss life and death experience, or maybe you are just tired of being a slob, saying to yourself, “I can be better than this.” As you brush the Dorito crumbs off of your dirty shirt.

Ok. Now what.

In the 1950 Disney classic, Treasure Island, the dread pirate Long John Silver and his mateys are conspiring around the apple barrel. The swabbys are getting antsy to take the ship and the treasure map, leaving the captain, crew, and young Jim Hawkins marooned.

But ole’ Long John Silver is a realist, and cunning, and tells them he’ll order the ship to be took when the timing is right because, and I quote…

“We could all steer a course for home, but who’s to set one?”

So how does one set a course… that he can steer, towards a destination… taking into account, that course corrections will need to be made, that will reveal to himself, as he goes… the emerging man within himself?

Ancient sailors used the sun, moon, and stars provided by God to set a course… to known… and sometimes… unknown destinations.

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:” Genesis 1:14

The last fifty years has seen the image of a man be demolished by a barrage of anti-masculine artillery shelling.

Those who fathered children from around 1970 to the present have not left a next generation for today’s generation to look to and say, “Now there’s a man.

As a writer I look back to manly men like Ernest Hemingway, Robert Rourke, and Jack London for an example to follow. How did they write? How did they dress? How did they work out back then?

But… I have to admit… that they leave me with an incomplete picture due to their mental weakness concerning alcohol. Not that I don’t have that in common with them, I do, but that two, if not all three, died from complications of alcoholism. Hemingway committed suicide, yes, but depression, and the contemplation of using a firearm to end your life… are magnified when you stir in a little whiskey.

One historical figure you will run into in manly circles is Mr. Teddy Roosevelt. He embodies what most of the manliness sites tout as their ideal.

He was born a little frail, a little sickly. His old man built him a home gym and Teddy set his course to become healthy. He continued his “strenuous life” throughout his course of life, calling upon his personally developed physique to moose his way through… ranching, police commissioning, being president, exploring, and most famously… charging up San Juan Hill.

The last one has etched it’s way into everyday American lingo, and movies and references, (and blog posts) right?

People will say, “Well, we can’t go up there like Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders charging up San Juan Hill, for cryin’ out loud.”

He finished well. And lived his life. His vessel travailed great oceans and seas, deserts, prairies, and canoed through uncharted waters in the Amazon… he certainly could steer a course… and he certainly knew how to set one.

So how do we?

Let me ask, “What are you using, if anything, to set your course by?”

I’ve found on my personal emerging man journey that as I progress there has been many minor course corrections as I’ve moved forward and discovered new information. Like the writers I mentioned all being alcoholics.

They met me at the docks, when I was first starting out, and said, “Out there somewhere is your adventure, your battle, your dragon. Set sail! Sally forth! Claim your prize of becoming a man. Have a grand career my boy!”

But that’s as far as they went.

And Teddy… didn’t really say anything. He was too busy… doing stuff.

The only thing he did say, was through his Pince-nez spectacles… “You coming?”

Your destination will determine your steps. I’m fond of saying, “If you want to play baseball… don’t show up in hockey gear.”

Take some time to wrap your mind around a few of the basics that I have noticed seem to be traits of men that seem to be doing well now and they seem to agree on the traits.

I’m keeping it to 3 today. 3 Words to live by. For now.

  1. Belief – where are you with what you believe in?
  2. Strength – being physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually strong.
  3. Reading… you will never have enough advisers if you don’t read. I’ve seen many, many, males that consider reading to be useless, boring, not needed… I could go on and on. Let me just say, “They are wrong.” Do not copy that sort of thinking. Read, read, read… and read some more.

Unlike Long John Silver and his pirate brethren… ONLY YOU can set your course… ONLY YOU are responsible for maintaining and applying course corrections.

The day you decide to set your course you will be one action closer to being able to Encourage, Equip, & Engage as the man you set out to be!

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