Jedah Mayberry asks us to imagine a new kind of ideal man: the competent, un-selfconscious male, who over and over puts himself out there and respects anyone he connects with.
First, I’d like to note that I do not subscribe to any absolute determination of good. Each of us is individually equipped, possessing a wide range in ability and skill. I further assert that there is no singular best, most certainly not best across the board, deemed excellent in every category.
With these guiding principles in mind, I wish to consider an example of the male species who soundly meets the mark in all he sets out to do. He quite possibly excels in certain areas. However, his greatest acclaim is that he never falls short. Perhaps he chooses his challenges wisely. More likely still, he’s not clutching for some imagined brass ring, looking to make the grade. He instead quietly goes about the business of doing, with little regard for who is keeping score. He’s the un-self-conscious male, something we can all aspire to be.
There are those who will argue that this man does not exist. They will label him a myth, dismiss any claims to his existence as pure fantasy. The rest of us would do well to set skepticism aside and consider the possibility of the completely competent male: If he indeed exists, how do we recognize him? Perhaps we’ve rubbed shoulders with this man, have encountered him in the flesh.
We’re not talking idol worship. I’m not asking anyone to “be like Mike.” After all, Mike too has his shortcomings, even before delving into his personal affairs. Graced with immense physical talent, an incredible will to win, he has proven quite inept at spotting those qualities in other players, perennially drafting one high profile bust after another. From that standpoint, he has been exceptionally mediocre–rich in individual achievement yet still working to hit his stride on the management front.
The competent male assesses his relative strengths and weaknesses the same as he might those of an adversary. Uses the insight gained to refine his approach. However well he does, he’ll be that much better equipped the next time he faces a similar challenge. He continually retools, using past missteps like a perpetual learning engine to expand his capabilities.
He eats well, balances occasional indulgence with a conscious eye toward good health, longevity, quality of life. He works to remain fit, lets his heart race confident that the vessel with time will return to rest, no worse for the wear, regardless of how hard he pushes. He believes the body, much like the mind, must be tried regularly in order to remain true.
If ever he were to compliment a woman, he does so with an eye toward even exchange, remarking on whatever it is about her that caused an uptick in his mood, what about her appearance that moved him to smiling. He is simply looking to return the favor. He walks with his chin level, his shoulders square, good posture somehow imprinted on his DNA.
So how does this man get where he’s going in life? Simply by trying. By putting himself out there, over and over again. He is naturally inquisitive, inclined to probe, to explore. He relishes engagement, is never shy to ask when he encounters something he does not know. He accepts that he has lots to learn, respects anyone who will take the time to teach him.
You might then ask why this man has remained so elusive, how someone so prolific can manage to move about largely unseen. I’ll argue that our inability to recognize him is due in large part to our own limitations. We cast him according to conventional notions of how greatness should appear. We wander about gazing up toward pedestals. We record countless false sightings, curse the heavens for hiding him, so cleverly concealed out in plain view.
We allow expectation toward excellence, best of the best without fail, to cloud our view. We dismiss greatness on the rise as delusional, a valiant try amassing yet another failed attempt. We mistake accomplishment without fanfare for lack of ambition, reluctance to stand out, to reach for new heights. We fail to see us in him, downplay the greatness in ourselves reflected in things we’ve seen him do.
I have no doubt whatsoever that this man exists. Every last one of us has most certainly encountered him in one form or another. But you must remain vigilant, must watch with particular care to see him. He might well be out there in greater numbers than any of us suspected. Just maybe, in some small way, he is you.
photo: dominicspics / flickr