The Answer: Only when it matters.
We would like to leave it at that. But the reader is likely looking for a more thoughtful answer.
However, the point remains: when it comes to politics and your life, the principle invariably is: the less the better.
Well, that is unless you intend to make politics your career. Which is an interesting point. One that we will get to at a later point in this post. So stick around to find out.
So let us pose the question again: Should men, specifically enterprising, growth-oriented, freedom-loving men, who have their lives ahead of them, concern themselves with the politics of the day?
This is a tricky question. Considering that virtually all aspects of our lives are in some ways impacted by the politics of the day.
And that the idea of living a politically carefree life is practically impossible.
Given that is the case, the question is: what do you do about it? How does a man who wants to move ahead in life approach the political question?
Well, we’re here to answer that question.
Needless to say, our aim here is not to advance the cause of a political party or to critique another. Nor is it our aim to defend a certain political ideology.
However, in line with the values that we espouse here at Bulldog Mindset, and the kind of goals that we help men achieve in their lives, a certain political tone, and in turn policy ideas will emerge in the course of this post.
With that in mind on to the main subject.
The Problem with Politics Today
Let’s start by getting the main but often ignored problem when it comes to politics out of the way: Which is that politics, most of the time is a f***ing distraction!
Think about it.
Why does politics become a talking point in the minds of the masses in the first place? It is invariably because it involves some kind of social problem that needs to be addressed.
One that has, presumably for a period of time gone unaddressed, hence requiring some form of political action to confront and hopefully resolve it.
And when it comes to the political process itself, what this often entails is people of similar beliefs, interests, or in rarer cases, aspirations, coming together to get their collective opinions heard.
A phenomenon that political scientists call social mobilization: Social mobilization, for the political science nerds, can take two main forms (there are others well, but we will leave them out for now).
Civil Society and Political Parties.
The role of civil societies and the kind of effects they have in terms of influencing the popular discourse on subjects that concerns various interest groups is a vast subject area. For our consideration here the main matter is the role of political parties.
When it comes to politics in the modern world, particularly in Western societies which are characterized by republican systems; the political party in question eventually becomes the be-all of social debates.
Since the political party is the way to acquire power in the halls of government: For he who wins the election as a public representative, comes to wield varying degrees of power over the functions of a society, and hence your life.
The issue here is that for the average guy, the matters of political parties and social activism, in general, are ancillary concerns at best, or often simply a nuisance he has to put up with.
And when we say ‘average’ we are talking about the kind of men who are motivated by economic questions of attaining economic security, and in time financial independence; finding a partner; becoming physically and mentally tough; and coming to have greater control over his life.
The pursuit of these goals generally does not contain a political factor. At least not directly.
However, considering that virtually everything a man does in the modern world features a financial component, and since taxes are one of the most significant ways the State asserts control over the lives of people, the political question nonetheless is a pertinent one.
So what does the average guy do?
Since no matter what one may believe or the way of life one chooses to adopt, the effects of politics-vis a vie the long arm of the state-is never too far away.
One strategy for men is to look at the reality of politics for what it is: It is there. It is real. It is inescapable.
Having done so, one can then choose to order and direct one’s actions in a way that the secondary effects of politics which boil down into virtually all aspects of society, be minimized.
That is assuming you are not considering going into politics yourself!
Presuming you are not, the question is: how does one manage this? How does a man stay, not exactly immune, but unaffected to a great degree by the noisy, distracting character of politics?
As noted, the effects of politicking are virtually everywhere in society.
The ‘News’ is a Distraction: Minimize it
The news channels in present times, cable or otherwise, have for the most part become loudspeakers to the political views and sometimes the agendas of the organizations and stakeholders who own them.
Leaving aside rhetoric about the media and new organizations being controlled, and are working against the best interest of ‘the people’, with many such views often bordering conspiracy theories.
What ought to concern the goal-oriented man, who is committed to the task of building himself up and those around him, is the question: What kind of news is actually useful to me?
The kind of News that is useful to me. Today. At this moment.
Frankly speaking, any news that DOES NOT correspond to your immediate or near future well-being or those of your friends and loved ones, should not be worthy of your time.
None at all.
This is a big statement. And no doubt there will be detractors.
How, one may ask, can one ever fully disconnect from the world of news and current events?
How can a person operate in the modern world, without tapping into a steady stream of news updates?
How the tech-savvy may ask, can one function effectively, if one’s line of work and career aspirations are tied to the access and processing of a steady stream of public information (i.e. news)?
These are all legitimate concerns.
With some having more merit than others. However, the key consideration is the pertinence of the information that is getting into your mind.
To put it differently, when it comes to operating effectively in your life: whether it is your job, your side hustle, your fitness goals, and your dating life, and underpinning them all, the development of your mind, there is only that much information your mind can take.
Meaning, when it comes to making informed decisions, decisions that affect the various aspects of life: from the highly technical to the seemingly straightforward, your brain is primed to operate best when it is burdened with less unnecessary data.
Those who have studied or are familiar with information theory would know the difference between data and information.
Data refers to content that is unstructured, complex, uncategorized, and for the most part unusable without some level of outside input. This involves parsing the data, and breaking down parts into more simplified packets of info, that your brain can use.
Like it or not this process is taking place inside your brain all the time. Even right now.
Your job, however, as a conscious agent, who is choosing to live his life in a certain way, is to ensure that only the right, necessary information gets by. And then act on it in the best way possible.
The trouble with politics, in practice, comes down to unstructured political talking points that are meant to draw the listener or reader in, getting them invested, and in time hooked (Just take a look at Twitter) into these such debates.
Debates, that whilst seemingly interesting and pertinent to your life, upon a deeper look, tend to have little DIRECT impact on what you are doing.
This is a key point.
Any news or bulletins that DO NOT have a direct impact on your main objectives and work needs to be relegated as NOISE.
By ‘noise’ this does not mean that the data contained in these reports and updates are useless or are totally not worth your time.
Rather the actual information that is pertinent to you: in terms of aiding or advancing your financial, health, and relational goals is quite small.
Further, if one is to make the argument that in all of this data that there is something useful to be gained, at some level, and that it only requires a bit of research and study-a valid point-that point has to be measured in relation to the time that needs to be spent in uncovering it.
To put it differently, if what you are after is information that is directly useful or beneficial to your life and goals, then the weekly or daily (or worse hourly) news breakdown is not the best source.
This is not to say that these do not serve a purpose. Especially when it comes to emergencies and if they have a certain career significance. A point which we shall get to.
However, when it comes to the career-oriented guy for whom politics and current events are not an academic or professional consideration, these mediums can be safely downplayed.
Downplayed, but not ignored.
Pay attention to these terms. As this difference is key. This takes us to the next section on the importance of politics in the lives of men.
When Politics Do Matter
To start again with an important point: Politics refers to any organized activity that involves a process of social mobilization, activism, online and/or in the physical space, that is aimed towards the attainment of specific ends.
Ends which could be legislative, policy, or regulatory in character.
Here it is important to note that ‘politics’ need not necessarily involve running for office. Whether it is in local government, State, or at the Federal level.
Getting involved in politics could mean writing for a campaign website for a gubernatorial candidate, raising funds for the local mayoral election, or even working for a business lobby group.
Or increasingly these days, working for (certain) corporate news organizations.
The point is when it comes to politics, and the kind of information that you wish to consume in relation to it, the key question you need to ask yourself (and keep asking) is: Does this relate to my line of work?
If the answer is Yes. Then keep doing what you have to.
If the answer is No. Then it is time to take stock and make a serious decision.
And make no mistake this is a serious decision. For when you choose to be, not exactly informed, as many who live on the various news channels think they do, but be captured by it.
When locked in a world of narratives and hot takes, such persons invariably focus less and in time come to have less control over their everyday lives.
Which is problematic on so many levels. At Bulldog Mindset a key principle is that your thoughts shape you.
So if your mind is under constant bombardment from various news sources (Twitter being a key culprit owing to its addictive nature) then the time and energy you will have left for other more pressing endeavors will necessarily shrink.
No two ways about it.
However, if you have committed to a life of public service (the true definition of politics) then do what you must. But those of us who are actually looking at this field of work (and it is work) as a career, are a few in number.
But for those whose work and relationships in some way are affected by the rifts and changes in the political world, it is only right that we are informed of it. But critically, not be affected by it.
This is a tricky matter. But look at it as this way: as the maxim: keep your friends close but your enemies closer say, it is important that as worldly, educated, purposeful men we are aware of the realities of politics.
Particularly those (changes) which could threaten our freedoms and our financial security. And make no mistake, no matter what part of the world you are in, these rights are always at some risk.
Thus it would be wrong to simply ignore the political equation and just carry on with a ‘who gives f***’ attitude.
Further, when it comes to working, given how interconnected the role of the State is with the business world: in terms of laws, regulations, and policy shifts; being up to date with political developments is important.
But the nature and extent of which is up to you to decide.
The Danger of the Politicized Mind
Over the last year or so, arguably one of the most dominant news items has been the conflict in Ukraine.
The Russian invasion of its neighbor, brought on by a host of factors, which we shall not comment on, has captured no and dominated the minds of those in the West. Possibly more than anything else.
And when we speak of the Western mind, we are primarily referring to news organizations, think tanks, academics, and of course politicians.
The conflict that is taking place somewhere in Eastern Europe, a part of the world that many Americans know very little about, has become a pressing concern for many policy heads and political bigwigs.
Driving their converse, dominating discussions, and for many, it has come to animate their very being. Which is fine. Whatever their vested interests and ideological concerns may be, the outcome of this conflict will be of significance. TO THEM.
The question is what kind of effect, the direct effect does it have on YOUR life? This is a serious question that every man must answer.
Not only when it comes to currently hot-button topics like Ukraine (or the collapse of SVB), but virtually any news item that comes to dominate the headlines, and in time becomes part of our cultural discourse.
A good (or bad) example of what happens when people get caught up in the major political debates of our time and get pulled into ultimately fruitless debates, is the pro-Russia vs pro-Ukraine camp on Twitter.
As noted, it is not our business to argue in favor of or against a certain side. Rather our aim is to look at the facts.
And the fact is when it comes to the whole Twitter debate on which side is in the ‘right’, and which side is ‘winning’ or ‘losing’ in the Ukraine conflict, the only real consequence for the countless Twitter warriors is that they are wasting their precious time and critically, a lot of mental energy.
The potential energy that is being drained away as the users of this platform try to one-up the other, and in the process lose sight of the task of working to improve their personal and professional lives.
This is a serious problem. A lot of men today in the United States, as we argued in our last post on the Politics of Standing up for Men, are having a tough time getting ahead in life.
From owning their first home, getting a high-paying job, attracting that cute girl, and having a steady girlfriend. The fundamentals of a good life seem far-fetched for many men.
And in case that person happens to be you, and YOU happen to be plugged into the various news cycles as if your future depended on it, then it is time for a serious rethink buddy!
The Right Kind of Politics: The Way of the Purposeful Man
At Bulldog Mindset we care truly about one thing: Helping people, men and women, achieve their fullest potential in life.
To lead a life of joy, meaning, and success entails hard work, determination, and adherence to the key Stoic principle, outlined by the great Seneca that: ‘The wise man looks to the purpose of all actions, not their consequences; beginnings are in our power but Fortune judges the outcome, and I do not grant her verdict upon me’.
In simple terms, it is the process that matters. It is what you do to get to where you want to be: THAT is what matters.
Whilst the great reward at the end is no doubt the jackpot all of us like to earn. But in the journey towards success, the man of purpose finds his joy in the work that he does in getting there.
And the rewards, as we can attest, in the many men we have helped over the years, are always there.
To lead a life of purpose: one that entails you having control over your finances, having mastery over your thoughts, and being able to take action at the right time for the right reasons. These are things that define a man of purpose.
And when it comes to the politics that you choose to espouse, they must conform to these expectations. If they don’t (they usually do not) then it might be time to throw it away.
This is not to say that you should be apolitical: not vote, not get involved in politics, etc. Not really. The political path is always there. But if you are going to walk it, you better go all in.
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