Habits have a strong influence in shaping who we are and how we interact with life. I think of these regular routines as what gives or takes away from the positive or negative character we display in life. Now what one deems as a positive and a negative may vary, but I cannot think of very many men whom I have met that want to be a bad person. We all make mistakes and stupid decisions at points in life, but I know I want to have a positive impact on this world and be a "good" person. The following four habits are things I believe aren't helping masculinity.
• Disconnection from nature.
I do not consider myself an outdoorsy guy by any means, but something I have realized is this; nature contains a certain solace and serenity that I only find in it. I may romanticize the impact of the outdoors on myself and men at large partly due to reading books about people from the military or the trappers Hugh Glass and Jedidah Smith from the American frontier. So I may be a bit biased.
I used to live in Northern California, and there is something so primal about being out in a forest all alone with just me, myself, and my thoughts. It forced me to face myself on many occasions. I came to love just going for a walk and being outside. There are many reasons to spend time out in nature so if you want to read more on that check out this article which I linked HERE.
Where I think the disconnection from nature is hurting men on their journey is the reality of knowing how small you are in this world, discovering on a basic level of what it would take to survive outside of society. Look at Bear Grylls. This guy is without a doubt someone whom you could label a manly man. Why is that, though? I would like to propose that he has found an aspect of who he is in the wilderness, faced some of his fears, and that bleeds through into his persona. My last example is Henry David Thoreau. This guy went and lived in isolation in nature, faced his inner self and wrote literature that is still read to this day. The impact of this man deciding to go and confront himself has had a continuous effect on the world.
"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."
-Henry David Thoreau
So let's all go outside more!
This one may seem a little obvious and laziness has an overall negative effect on society, but the aspect I want to focus on is the effects it has on essential masculine attributes.
Laziness destroys a man word. If you are lazy, the chances of you making a promise and following through with it is highly unlikely. Chances are a lazy man won't even make a commitment because then he would have to do something and from what I have observed men whose word is worthless usually do not maintain a high level of respect from society. Can you think of any men you know like that?
Laziness makes you apathetic. It sucks the enjoyment straight out of life. It's like the emotional vampire that sucks the joy and happiness out of the world. Men who are like this do not get fascinated by their work or hobbies. They are just surviving day to day, month by month, and year by year. A great book to read on this topic is "The Conquest of Happiness - By Bertrand Russell."
"The degree of one's emotions varies inversely with one's knowledge of the facts." -Bertrand Russell
So let's all start fighting laziness!
• Allowing technology to rule your life.
This habit just plainly comes down to creating balance in life. There is nothing wrong with spending time on your iPhone or playing a video game to relax. It is when you start seeking oblivion through those avenues that it has a downside effect. When I say oblivion I'm trying to implicate checking out from life, pain, and reality. I wrote a whole article on medicating click here for that link.
Finding oblivion in technology will more often than not hold single men from finding a partner, unemployed people from finding a job, or just flat out facing the internal issues that are at hand. I know I am often guilty of numbing myself with scrolling through my Facebook feed and reading pointless articles.
If finding oblivion in something you need, find it in serving the community, starting a new hobby, or getting outside of your comfort zone. There are many other options in life other than binge playing a video game for years.
Let's all find some new things that better us as men to find oblivion in!
• Not caring about personal presentation and health.
Taking care of one's health and putting thought into how one dresses is something I had to teach myself consciously. You see, I grew up in southern Minnesota in a simple Christian culture, where style and looks were summed up into a pair of jeans and my favorite sweatshirt and on Sundays my mom would make me wear a button up shirt. As I have grown up and progressed in life, living in cities around the U.S., I have found that personal presentation and taking care of your health is essential.
For me paying attention to my diet and making sure I am nourished, helps fight off depressive mood swings, gives me more energy, and is just a good habit building. I spent a couple of months paying attention to my diet a couple of years back, and I believe it helped me take steps in the right direction in my life in the long run.
When it comes to self-grooming and presentation, there is this Youtube Channel that has great material on this topic, so if this is something that interests you I encourage you to check out his stuff.
So will you join me on this journey of becoming a more intentional man who is working towards having good habits!?