Perspectives on goals, values, and what defines them are as different from person to person, as people are unique unto themselves as a group. That being said, as different as we all are, common threads of experience run through all of our lives. Some of those threads are fact-based, while others are meaning-based. It is at the boundary between those two areas where life gets interesting.
“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.”
—Robert A. Heinlein
Men, you are human beings too. You are imbued with a dignity that you can tap into if you recognize it. There has been a great deal of discussion about what makes up a contemporary “gentleman” and after polling numerous professional woman who are confident in their own dignity and their own professions, here are some suggestions for men today to keep in mind.
I am often asked why I changed from agriculture to coaching, particularly when you consider how much I simply loved every part of growing trees.
I read a book the other day that made these suggestions and/or asked these questions of the reader:
- “Consider your circumstances
- Start small
- Have you taken full advantage of the opportunities offered to you?
- Are you working hard on your career, or even your job?
- Are you letting bitterness and resentment hold you back and drag you down?
- Have you made peace with your brother or sister?
- Are you treating your spouse and your children with dignity and respect?
- Do you have habits that are destroying your health and well-being?
- Are you truly shouldering your responsibilities?
- Have you said what you need to say to your friends and family members?
- Are there things that you could do, that you know you could do, that would make things around you better?”
Not so fast….
If you are 30 or younger you are currently living in a unique historical situation. You are the first generation that has been simultaneously taught two completely contradictory ideas about morality. This contradiction has left many of you uncertain or maybe disoriented in a way that, deprived of guidance that many of us had over the years, leaves you unable to enjoy the depth of a world of which you fail to even be aware.
You might think that being human, you are a member of the alpha species. However, when you use the word “human,” people often think of traits such as faulty, fallible, or guilty. It might just be that we are at our most fallible when we get in our own way.
We all cultivate a voice inside our heads that criticizes, chastises, and judges us and what we do, no matter what it is.
Have you ever tried to change a habit? Maybe tried to start losing weight by not thinking about food? Have you tried to play the cool one and not call—or email or text—a romantic interest by blocking out your thoughts about that person? How about trying to stop smoking by trying not to think about smoking?…
Do you ever feel like the people you work with don’t really get you? I know you have, because likely as not, they probably don’t. But the real question is: Why?
Someone asked me recently what I do. For the sake of simplicity, I said that I work with people so they can learn to focus on what’s important in their lives. I ask them questions, get them to think, get them to wrap their minds around the real stuff of life.
No one is ever going to pay you what you are worth. They will only pay you what they think you are worth. But you can change their thinking and no magic is involved at all.
Few of us would argue that habits have a huge impact on our lives. Habits can make monkeys out of us all…For better or worse, they can shape our destiny.