Much has been made in recent years of the trouble that men are going through in life.
From financial challenges, difficulty in progressing in their careers, finding a partner, or simply not being left behind in a world that faces ever-increasing wealth imbalances.
The task of doing well in life, reasonably well, is often viewed in relation to bigger questions of fulfilling your potential and attaining the heights of one’s powers and capabilities.
Thus the average guy who is going into life faced with not one, not two but three possibilities:
One of failure. One of success. And one of lifelong mediocrity.
As things stand many, if not most men face the real possibility of falling into the third group. Which, at least in developed economies of the West, is the largest.
The (third) path of failure is well understood.
The many people who spend their lives on food stamps, or worse who live without a place to call their own. With some of those resorting to crime and other felonies to make ends meet.
This is a problem of society and ultimately one of governance. The nature of those actions and their social implications is beyond the scope of this post.
Our focus here is on the countless numbers who occupy that third category:
Those who by choice, or by ignorance or due to the lack of will have come to hold a place in life where little seems to change.
Little seems to improve. And given the state of affairs they never seem to.
The path of mediocrity, paradoxically is the worst from a societal perspective.
Given that many fall into it, often, owing to the inhibiting sense of comfort it provides, and false hope that things will somehow get better, leaves many a man stuck in a rut of his own making.
A hole devoid of hope and inspiration. One where nothing changes. But everything seems (at least for a time) the same and predictable. A comfortable life one could say. But a joyless one.
One that ultimately leaves the person who is leading this predictable, mediocre way of life vulnerable to external shocks, relational breakups, and potential destitution.
Many, arguably most problems that men face in life can be attributed to the problem of failure. Or in turn the lack of success.
A successful man is a happy man. A happy man is a productive man. A productive man is a good man.
Sounds good doesn’t it?
It actually is. That is if you are on the right side of the fence.
The question is: Are you?
What is Success?
There are a number of ways to formulate this question.
From ‘What it means to be successful?’ to ‘How do you define a successful man?’ etc. But the point remains the same. Success, which could be superficially defined as fame, fortune etc. Is about living the good life.
Success ultimately comes down to having the means to meet your needs and wants at the desired time and place.
Now the capacity of a (successful) person to actually do so will vary with time and place and the kind of ‘success’ in question.
In this regard to be successful can be understood in relation to those said factors: fame or status; fortune or money, and by extension access to the kind of human networks that strengthen the previous two.
In other words, to be regarded as a man with success you need to have a lot of money and you need to be well-recognized by your peers and by society at large.
The question is how do you get to that position?
Well unless you have gotten lucky with the lottery, or your parents have bequeathed to you a large trust fund; in most other cases you will have to earn your way to the top.
And mind you, even if you happen to be in a position of a sizable amount of cash, that alone does not guarantee success.
As noted to be successful is to be wealthy and recognized. Which are built on the most important factor your physical and mental health. Thus the success formula reads something like this:
Success = Money + Status + Physical Well being
So to pose the question again: Do you have it?
How Do You Become Successful?
A big question for which there is no simple answer.
Whilst the equation for becoming successful might be simple, the path you must walk, the decisions you take, and the sacrifices that must be made are manyfold.
For starters, when it comes to success, you must recognize the fundamentals. The core aspects of life that any person who has achieved any kind of success will attest to.
These core components take the form of principles. They are:
And holding all of these together is your mindset. A success mindset as we would like to call it. A subject that we have dealt with in detail here.
So the first point note that before anything else happens is that you need to fix your mind to these fundamentals.
The term ‘fix’ could mean a number of different things. But what we are referring to here is the correct alignment of your thoughts and beliefs.
By directing them toward higher goals, that go beyond the immediate concerns of day-to-day life, but yet remain centered on meeting these concerns.
At the same time, it is a mindset that remains focused on the bigger picture, not allowing the challenges of the short-term and whatever obstacles may come your way from overwhelming you.
Thus it is this two-front approach of looking at the bigger picture that connects with your purpose, and being set on meeting short-term/immediate objectives; that is what we mean by getting your mind in the right place.
However, having the right goals and attitude about what you want and how you are going to get there is only one part of a bigger equation that constitutes success.
Next, we will look at a central dogma of the success mindset: Having the right philosophy.
The Right Philosophical Foundation
The 20th-century English novelist John Galsworthy observed that ‘A man is a sum of his actions, of what he has done, of what he can do, Nothing else’.
Interesting words. Our philosophy is somewhat similar. For what we hold true is that a man is the sum of his beliefs and actions.
You see, no matter strongly you commit yourself to a cause, what truly matters at the end of the day are the beliefs that are holding them all together.
For there will come a time-and make no mistake it will-when all you have going for you is what goes in that head of yours. And if what goes on in that head is a confused mix of dictums, ideologies, and beliefs, then things will come apart.
Let’s be real for one moment. Life can get messy. Really messy.
It is no coincidence that suicides are the second leading cause of death for men under the age of 45 in the United States. With male suicides accounting for almost 80 percent of total suicides that took place in the nation (1).
Now this is a rather grim statistic to throw up in a post on attaining success. But it is important for people, especially for men to know what is at stake here.
In life, those who do well economically also tend to well socially, relationally, and so on. Those that fail to hit the mark, and then keep regressing downward, face the risk of real social decline.
And it goes without saying that those (men) are most vulnerable to self-harm and to a host of other social ills like alcohol and drug abuse, crime, and homelessness.
Thus when it comes to the question of success: that is the pursuit of it, a key factor is what you choose to believe in. Or more specifically, the kind of philosophical system that you choose to adopt and live by.
Which in turn will become the guiding force in your life, no matter what happens on the outside or in.
For us the cornerstone of belief is stoicism.
Now there are a number of related but marginally different definitions of this term.
From the principle that calls people to endure hardship and persist through adversity. To the ideas that emerged in ancient Athens where the philosophical school of Stoicism was founded.
Stoicism in ancient Greece had a rather complex philosophical structure impinging on areas like logic, physics, and ethics. But over the centuries it is the ethical dimension that has gained the most attention. At least as far as the popular imagination is concerned.
For our consideration, the main stoic principle that is extolled is that of persistence in the face of hardship and obstacles, and the importance of seeing and critically accepting reality for what it is.
Unlike in The Matrix Reloaded, where Morpheus says to the Merovingian that ‘Everything starts with choice’, the core foundation for your system of belief is that you begin by studying reality:
That is your history, your thoughts, your relationships, your social and economic status, and your prospects and then accept them for what they are.
The good. The bad and the ugly. And then from there, you proceed to make changes, improvements, etc.
Whatever good you may be seeking in life must build on the frank recognition of your present state of affairs. For it is only on this basis can real positive and meaningful changes can be achieved.
It is like this: for a guy who is living on minimum wage, with no hope for career progression in his present job, it would make little sense for him to ponder the idea of becoming the CEO of a company.
A guy who has had one or two or for that matter zero lays, it would impossible for him, at that particular stage in life to think about being a player.
One thing builds on the other. And real change will never materialize if you don’t face reality for what it is.
But once you have done so, then the real work begins.
Do the Work… and Another Thing
This is a point we have written about in a number of posts, so will not get deep into it here. The crux of this point is that success in life is a function of how much effort you put in.
But there is a caveat.
Success in life is not just about working hard (or working ‘smart’ for that matter). Rather to succeed at anything your focus has to be one key factor: specialization.
You see the most successful people in the world are often known for one or two things.
If you take an obvious example like actors: what is notable about them is that they can act. Meaning they are good at what they do, and in turn are able to bring viewers into theatres.
Movies starring the likes of Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt are a virtual grantee of the box office. In the arena of sports, it is the same thing.
Top athletes get paid through the noose not because they look pretty in front of a camera, or because they have a nice singing voice. They are compensated in a highly competitive way because they are only a few people around who could do what they do.
Returning to the level of an average bloke who is going through life trying to find a way to make it big in life, the first step to consider is that you need to have some stream of income at all times.
Think of money as a kind of fuel that helps keep the wheels of your life moving. So whatever you do, or hope to do, make sure that you have a way to stay afloat and better.
In the fortunate instance what you do for a living also happens to be your passion and what you like to see yourself doing long term, then more power to you.
However, if that is not the case (which is most of us at some point or the other) then the next course of action would be to keep working on whatever helps pay the bills and then work, and I mean WORK like crazy in whatever time you have left on this other skill(s).
And don’t tell me you don’t have one. We all have one or two or more of that special something. Thay only if it was worked, improved, and tweaked, it would potentially be a world-class skill.
One that could act as the basis for your future career. Bringing in the money, recognition, and in sum success.
Now at this point, you may be wondering, if this is the formula for success-which, if one leaves out time and a lot of handwork-seems rather straightforward on the face it, why aren’t more people doing it?
Why aren’t there more, far more success stories in the world today?
Or in the least, why aren’t there far fewer failures? This is a pertinent question. And it is good, for now we are getting to, what can be considered the X-factor in the success question.
One that almost every single success story in the world had to his benefit.
The X-Factor in Success
In the course of posts, we have engaged a number of different factors that correspond to positive things like financial security, attaining greater status, improving your dating life, and becoming financially free.
Everything from hard work. Persistence in the face of obstacles. Developing your skills and getting out of your comfort zone.
As important as these elements are in the formula for success, there is another, somewhat less known variable: a secondary factor almost, that virtually all who have managed to succeed in life have had to work in their favor.
A factor that often becomes part of the development process of athletes, top performers, actors, and even politicians.
Before we tell you what that x-factor is, know this about life.
No one gets ahead on the sole basis of their efforts. It is impossible. No matter who you talk to (success stories) these men and women who have made it, at some point in their lives, and often at most points, got help.
Support in other words. A group of friends. Faithful aids or relatives. Or in modern terms, a tribe of mentors who helped them along their way.
Talk to any world-class athlete and ask him the secrete of his success, and he will tell you (if he is willing, to be honest, and if you get that far) the indispensable aid of coaches.
Coaches who helped train him. Guide him. And most importantly recognize areas of weaknesses in his game, and worked to improve or correct them.
Coaches are not limited to the playing arena. Today there is a coach for pretty much any skill you wish to master. In fact, the old idea of the teacher is now increasingly giving way to leaders, mentors, and coaches.
No matter the task or problem, from:
Finding a better-paying job,
Overcome social anxiety
Increasing the number of reps and weights you lift at the gym
Kicking bad habits.
Or building a multimillion-dollar business
There is almost always a coach to suit the task.
When it comes to the question of success, which as you may now know is the outcome that waits at the end of a series of positive, constructive steps that lead you towards your goal. The role of a personal or dedicated coach is almost indispensable.
To become successful at anything you need the guidance and support of others. The saying ‘no man is an island’ is true for more reasons than one. For what is a success but to be recognized in the eyes of your peers and society?
So to rise up, you are best served by men who have been there and done that. Men who can guide you and coach you towards success.
This is what you stand to gain with us. A community of men who are working to grow and improve in all areas of life.
To reach our goals both personal and professional, to become the best version of ourselves. This is what you get with Bulldog Mindset. The mindset that gives you the processes to achieve success.
- Heads Up Guys, (2023), STATS ON SUICIDE IN MEN. [ONLINE] Available at: https://headsupguys.org/suicide-stats-men/#ref. [Accessed 2 May 2023].