Throughout my journey of searching for what it means to be a man, I have observed a common thread or attribute that seems to be admired and essential to the masculine self. It appears to be facing and surviving the adversity that life brings to the table. William Shakespeare put it elegantly "Let me embrace thee, sour adversity, for wise men say it is the wisest course." How accurate this quote seems to be. When I think about the great men of history, I do not recollect people who had lives full of fluff and comfort. No, the men I respect, admire, and wish I could have their counsel are men who have faced great adversity and overcome it. From your classic Abraham Lincon to the less well known Jedediah Smith these are men whom I perceive as masculine because of the adversity they faced and how they persisted and overcame it.
The tenacity and fortitude that comes from conquering adversity is a commodity and attribute I desire. Yet, I realized when the occasion demands me to rise and face difficulty there is a part of me which wants to run away as fast as I can. There is this part of my essential self that does not believe in my ability to survive and overcome that which stands before me. How is it that the very thing I intellectually desire to defeat is the very thing I emotionally want to run away from. There is this dichotic struggle in my life of knowing what will develop me into a more society contributing man and knowing that I just want to be a lazy, apathetic person who does not rise to the occasion, rather, sits back and passively lets others conquer life.
Do you think men need to stop running away from the adversity life is dishing out to them? Are the men of today even equipped to handle that which is set before them? Does the lack of fathers and mentors for younger men set them up for failure since there is not an example or equipping taking place?
I have been pondering upon this topic with an odd sense of desire. It is as though I fear that what life will put on my plate will be more than I can handle. Yet, I look back on the life I have lived so far, and all that I have been confronted by, it appears I had the ability to overcome and learn from it. I find it fascinating in reflecting back upon this. There is a sense of strength and self-belief that no matter what life hands me somehow someway I will make it through it. The biggest thing I need to do is show up. I am beginning to think that overcoming the struggles of life is just showing up and not running away. What if you knew you could win a battle if all you had to do was show up and not run away. What if it was a powerless monster who was nothing but a big show and yet it was standard practice to run away from it just because that is what has always been done.
This is a sensitive and yet good topic for me. In writing this article, it is forcing me to think about and confront inner insecurities I have. It seems I have large amounts of self-doubt and disbelief that I will not make it to where I desire.
I am done running. I am done not believing in myself. I am done waiting for others to give me all the answers and solutions I need. I want to be a man who is known for tactfully overcoming the adversity which is in my life. I find the idea of the struggle to be worse than the reality of any situation. I guess I want to write three ways to overcome adversity, so here we go.
1) Show up.
That's right; it is this simple. To start the process of overcoming adversity all that is needed is to be present. What does this look like? Not just going to the job you are stuck in momentarily but figuring out a way to become excellent at that job. It is a sort of embracement of the process at hand. Also, this is just practical. Think about it in this way, if you were building a dining room table and you got to a part of the project that was difficult. If you decided to stop going to the workshop and try and figure out the problem, the progression of the project would come to a screeching halt, but, if you decide to "show up" and work at it even if the movement is exceedingly slow it is movement that would not have happened if you did not show up.
2) Fight back.
Adversity is meant to be fought. How do you do this? I fight it with finding counsel in my friends, books, and looking back upon previous "battles." This is a "take life by the balls" type of mentality. If something attacked you physically would you just sit there and take it? NO! Your survival tendencies would kick in and you would instinctively fight back. I wish facing adversity was just as instinctual, but alas it is not. There is a cognitive decision that needs to happen when facing adversity. I am unsure how else to articulate this point other than look at the situation you are confronted with and fight for your life like you just got attacked by a bear.
3) Do not isolate.
Even if your friends or family may not be able to relate or understand your situation, they are a fundamental role in one's success in life. Even if you have one friend or one family member do not allow yourself to go through this struggle of life alone. I could not quantify the amount of turmoil I would still currently be in if it were not for my family and friends. Let people into your life, and I believe one will not just survive through life but rather thrive.
I hope you found life in this article. Reach out to me if you want to discuss this more or you have input for me! Also if you like this article please take time to share it with your friends.