From the time the first cavemen learned to communicate with grunts and hand signals they were warning each other of attacking animals and telling stories of the pending doom that was coming from “the gods” that ruled their lives. There seems to be a never ending stream of bad news and negative commentary in the world, and I think that it has probably always been that way.
Is it all that different today?
We endure a constant onslaught of negative commentary by radio hosts, news media, social justice warriors and any number of professionals who tell us how and why our society is about to crumble. As males we’re reminded on a daily basis that we’re the cause of all the world’s problems and if we were just more like women the great social ills like domestic violence, drug addiction, child abuse and sexual harassment would all go away.
I believe that simply telling men they’re wrong all the time isn’t actually going to help them whether it’s individually or as a group. I want to point out the positive things that a man does and the ways in which we can apply this to our individual lives to create a more empowered man.
Men are generally trained as boys to be team players.
We learn about being a part of something as youngsters, whether in the Boy Scouts or on a sports team. We learn the value of being dependable, and meeting expectations. One of the many valuable lessons that we learn with sport is how to be either a leader or a follower, and how to navigate from one role of another.
My friend Paul and I are very different. He’s a machinist and a prop maker who knows more about engines and cars than I could ever hope to learn. He’s on his feet all day. I’m a lawyer, sitting on my butt most of the day.
When we go jet skiing for a weekend, he’s in charge. If something happens to the jet ski and we have to replace an impeller, my job is to stand there and hand him tools as he asks for them. He’s in charge and I’m a follower then.
There are times when Paul has been in my office with a business issue. That puts me in charge and he’s a follower. The fluidity of our roles does not negatively impact our friendship, in fact, it helps bond us as friends because we have learned to trust the other person when they are in charge. This is a lesson that men seem to generally learn and apply in their lives without even being aware they are doing it.
I think that men are often not recognized for their ability to work together.
Yes the “Alpha Male” is given a title, a paycheck and maybe an office with a window, but those are the trappings of hard work. What I am looking to do is recognize a man’s ability to be in a service position and not take it personally.
I don’t know if men are collaborative by nature or nurture, I just know they work well together and even more so if given a common goal. I often tell a story about my men’s group where one of our members was in an accident and was going to be in the rehabilitation hospital for an extended period of time. He was paralyzed in an automobile accident. One of our members had been to visit,, and came back to report that the tv in our friend’s room was quite small and far from his bed. Our visitor wanted to pass the hat and buy our friend a new, bigger television. The hat went around and in the space of 10 minutes we raised over $500 from about 30 men. It confirmed for me what I’ve always thought.
Given sufficient reason, a group of men will come together to achieve a goal. The key is motivating them with a purpose that feeds their need to feel useful.
Individually, that same need exists and if you can tap into it on an emotional level you have what is now a powerful driving force for a man, even if that man is yourself.
Find the good you can bring to the world and champion that, and I promise the doors of success will open for you in ways that you cannot foresee. When you have your purpose in mind, like the group that is passing the hat, the resources will appear to bring you the satisfaction and inner fortitude to keep going past the negative news you are inundated with each day.
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