We are Forerunners. Guardians of all that exists. The roots of the Galaxy have grown deep under our careful tending. Where there is life, the wisdom of our countless generations has saturated the soil. Our strength is a luminous sun, towards which all intelligence blossoms... And the impervious shelter beneath which it has prospered.
At some point in his life, just about every man reaches a critical fork. Driven to that point by his own insecurities, mediocrity, lack of confidence, or perhaps by forces outside of his control, he finds himself staring at a reflection in a mirror that he can no longer recognise as being worthy of respect or admiration.
It is at that point that he has to make a choice.
Either he stays the way he is, and continues to be fat, slovenly, unsuccessful, and unhappy- but he can comfort himself by putting the blame on something or someone else. He can blame "society", or "the media", or "women", or "politicians" for his troubles, and he will likely end up convincing himself that he is right, that he has no need to change and that others are at fault. Many men- most men- choose this outcome.
Some take a different approach. They recognise that the world is what it is, and that no amount of remonstrating is going to change that. They recognise that they alone are responsible for their destinies and their well-being. They take resolve to take charge of themselves and their lives, and refuse to bow down to anyone short of perhaps God Himself any longer.
This latter course is a most admirable one to take. The only issue with taking it is that it is very difficult to figure out how to navigate the roads ahead. There is, after all, a very good reason why, if given the choice in the most stark and terrible terms possible, most people would generally prefer slavery to freedom.
This is where it is not only useful, but necessary to find older and wiser peers who you respect and admire to help you navigate the paths ahead.
In fact, the biggest mistake that you can possibly make when going down that long, dark, difficult road is to ignore the advice and ideas of those who have taken that road before you.
It doesn't matter which aspect of your life needs work- the most important thing is to maintain a beginner's mindset at all times. You always have something to learn, and there is always someone to learn from.
That's gonna leave a mark...
Let's take lifting, for instance. If you've spent any amount of time around sites like this one, you'll have seen the mantra repeated over and over again as variations on the same theme- get strong, get ripped, get laid. Well, it's not quite that simple. The process of actually getting strong is slow, painful, difficult, and fraught with danger if you don't know what you're doing.
I can't even count the number of times I've seen guys in the gym struggling to squat or deadlift weights that I consider "baby weight" with terrible form. Just today, I was watching a bloke deadlifting 335lbs for sets of 5 with a completely rounded back. Now, for me, 335lbs is indeed warmup weight- and unlike most guys at my gym, I can deadlift that much completely cleanly, without rounding my back, and completely raw.
But I didn't get there by accident. It happened through hard work, perseverance- and through the guidance of much stronger men like Mehdi Hadim, Mark Rippetoe, and Johnny Candito. These guys are great at what they do. Their wisdom and their knowledge is absolutely worth your time and your attention if you want to get strong, fit, and healthy.
Or, let's take making and keeping money. There are plenty of shysters out there who will take your money and leave you poor and angry- but there is much wisdom to be found in the words of legendary investors and good men like Benjamin Graham.
This is the man who taught the most successful investor in history, Warren Buffett, what investing really means. He was the man who wrote THE text on the subject, Securities Analysis, and followed it up with the value investor's Bible, The Intelligent Investor. As a much younger man, I read The Intelligent Investor cover-to-cover, and followed it up with books like Stocks for the Long Run by Jeremy Siegel, One Up On Wall Street by Peter Lynch, and a few other great books that taught me, at that young and impressionable age, the sheer power of patient, long-term, no-drama investing. It's a philosophy that has guided me unerringly to the present day- I haven't traded an actual stock in well over 3 years, but day after day, year after year, my constant and quiet dollar-cost-averaged purchases of low-cost mutual and index funds allow me to achieve the investor's dream: low volatility and, over a long time period, high returns.
But I never would have gotten to that point if I hadn't learned from better and wiser men, like the authors above- or from my father, who got into investing far later than I did and yet still made good money from his carefully selected stock picks.
Yeah, I hate Friday nights too, Logan
Of course, most men get into this whole "self-improvement" kick for one reason, and one reason only: to score women. Personally, I think that going down this road solely for the sake of getting some strange is a huge mistake; the road is a long grind, and if you're not careful, or if you started down that road for the wrong reasons, sooner or later you're going to be tempted to give up. It is far easier to resist that temptation if, instead of making women your sole preoccupation, you make them merely a part of your overall quest for self-improvement.
Yet there is no question that the rewards of getting good at scoring with women are sweet and enjoyable. And if that is indeed your aim, then you can't find better teachers than men like Roosh or Halfbreed or Blackdragon. They all confronted the same problems that you're experiencing; they probably confronted them earlier than you did; and they each figured out systems and ideas that work very well for their particular personalities.
This is not to say that you'll be able to replicate their success instantly. You won't. That will take time and effort and not a little pigheadedness. But eventually, with time and patience and hard work, you'll settle down into a lifestyle that works for you, guided by their advice. And you'll be happier for it.
The last thing to note is that one should always strive to avoid being blinded by one's own ego. Ignoring those wiser than you isn't just silly, it can be downright dangerous and can seriously impair your life in ways that you can't even begin to imagine.
Let me give you an example from my professional life. I happen to be very, very good at solving problems related to the technology infrastructure of my firm- to the point where, even though I'm pretty far down the pecking order in terms of rank and nominal power, I've got people in charge of hundreds or even thousands of people and millions of dollars calling me up to ask specifically for my advice on how to do things properly and efficiently.
That didn't happen by accident. I got to where I am now because I am intensely curious about how things work at my firm, and I'm constantly trying to learn more from people who know the technology and the analytics better than I do. I'm blessed to be able to work in a job that keeps me intellectually stimulated, motivated, and learning every day- not many people can say that.
However, the chap at my firm that I actually interviewed as a candidate to take over my previous role has turned out to be lacking in several areas- most importantly in interpersonal and communication skills. As a result, he often gets his back up when I give him advice about what to do in specific situations- even though I used to do his job and still know how to do that job better than he does.
The end result is that, because he lets his ego and his insecurities stop him from learning from someone far more knowledgeable than him, he ends up looking bad in front of his peers, his clients, and his management. And that can only hurt him very badly in the long run.
Don't be that guy. Don't try to mask your fear and your insecurities by attacking those better than you- that is stupid and short-sighted. Instead, admit that you're struggling with something, ask for help, and build relationships with those who know better. Your life will be better for it.