Notes on an excerpt from The Stellar Man by John Baines.Read More
Sincere personal affirmation reinforces belief in oneself. Belief in oneself makes one far more likely to succeed at achieving desired goals. These are the things I sincerely believe and affirm about myself.Read More
Raw emotions, put into writing. Musings about the woman I’m attracting into my life.Read More
This is the speech Howard Roark delivered while on trial for using dynamite to demolish a building he built.
It’s worth reading my intro to Roark to understand the significance of this character.
I’m taking notes on this for my own comprehension. The emboldened sections particularly resonated with me.
Here we go.
“The judge looked at Roark.
“Proceed,” he said. His voice was gentle.
Roark got up. “Your Honor, I shall call no witnesses. This will be my testimony and my summation.”
“Take the oath.”
Roark took the oath. He stood by the steps of the witness stand. The audience looked at him. They felt he had no chance. They could drop the nameless resentment, the sense of insecurity which he aroused in most people. And so, for the first time, they could see him as he was: a man totally innocent of fear.
The fear of which they thought was not the normal kind, not a response to a tangible danger, but the chronic, uncontested fear in which they all lived. They remembered the misery of the moments when, in loneliness, a man thinks of the bright words he could have said, but had not found, and hates those who robbed him of his courage. The misery of knowing how strong and able one is in one’s own mind, the radiant picture never to be made real. Dreams? Self-delusion? Or a murdered reality, unborn, killed by that corroding emotion without name — fear — need — dependence — hatred?
Roark stood before them as each man stands in the innocence of his own mind. But Roark stood like that before a hostile crowd — and they knew suddenly that no hatred was possible for him. For the flash of an instant, they grasped the manner of his consciousness.Each asked himself: do I need anyone’s approval? — does it matter? — am I tied? And fo that instant, each man was free — free enough to feel benevolence for every other man in the room.
It was only a moment; the moment of silence when Roark was about to speak.
“Thousands of years ago, the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light. He was considered an evildoer who had dealt with a demon mankind dreaded. But thereafter men had fire to keep them warm, to cook their food, to light their caves. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had lifted darkness off the earth. Centuries later, the first man invented the wheel. He was probably torn on the rack he had taught his brothers to build. He was considered a transgressors who ventured into forbidden territory. But thereafter, men could travel past any horizon. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had opened the roads of the world.
“That man, the unsubmissive and first, stands in the opening chapter of every legend mankind has recorded about its beginning. Prometheus was chained to a rock and torn by vultures — because he had stolen the fire of the gods. Adam was condemned to suffer — because he had eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Whatever the legend, somewhere in the shadows of its memory mankind knew that its glory began with one and that that one paid for his courage.
“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received — hatred. The great creators — the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors — stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced.The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered, and they paid. But they won.
“No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers, for his brothers rejected the gift he offered and that gift destroyed the slothful routine of their lives. His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way. A symphony, a book, an engine, a philosophy, an airplane or a building — that was his goal and his life. Not those who heard, read, operated, believed, flew, or inhabited the thing he had created. The creation, not its users. The creation, not the benefits others derived from it. The creation which gave form to his truth. he held his truth above all things and against all men.
“His vision, his strength, and his courage came from his own spirit.A man’s spirit, however, is his self. That entity which is his consciousness. To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions off the ego.
Although extraordinarily heroic, inspiring, and unique, I also believe Rand’s philosophy is fundamentally flawed because her understanding of the human spirit is very limited and narrow-minded, being conserved ONLY to the realm of the ego.
A person’s ego is fartoo limited to properly define their spiritual condition. In my opinion, we are much, much more than just our conception of self in relation to the world – although I also believe that the primacy of the self absolutely cannotbe overlooked if one is to lead a fulfilling life. Anyways, we’ll continue right where we left off. Roark continues:
” The creators were not selfless. It is the whole secret of their power — that it was self-sufficient, self-motivated, self-generated. A first cause, a fount of energy, a life force, a Prime Mover. The creator served nothing and no one. He had lived for himself.
“And only by living for himself was he able to achieve the things which are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of achievement.
“Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. Man has no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons, and to make weapons — a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man — the function of his reasoning mind.
“But the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought. An agreement reached by a group of men is only a compromise or an average drawn upon many individual thoughts. It is a secondary consequence. The primary act — the process of reason — must be performed by each man alone.We can divide a meal among many men. We cannot digest it in a collective stomach. No man can use his lungs to breathe for another man. No man can use his brain to think for another. All the functions of body and spirit are private. They cannot be shared or transferred.
“We inherit the products of the thought of other men.We inherit the wheel. We make a cart. The cart becomes an automobile. That automobile becomes an airplane. But all through the process what we receive from others is only the end product of their thinking. The moving force is the creative faculty which takes this product as material, uses it and originates the next step. This creative faculty cannot be given or received, shared or borrowed. It belongs to single, individual men. That which it creates is the property of the creator.Men learn from one another. But all learning is only the exchange of material. No man can give another the capacity to think. Yet that capacity is our only means of survival.
“Nothing is given to man on earth. Everything he needs has to be produced. And here man faces his basic alternative: he can survive in only one of two ways — by the independent work of his own mind or as a parasite fed by the minds of others. The creator originates.The parasite borrows. The creator faces nature alone.The parasite faces nature through an intermediary. The creator’s concern is the conquest of nature.The parasite’s concern is the conquest of men.
“The creator lives for his work. He needs no other men. His primary goal is within himself.The parasite lives second-hand. He needs others. Others become his prime motive.
“The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed, or subordinated to nay consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary.
“The basic need of the second-hander is to secure his ties with other men in order to be fed. He places relations first. He declares that man exists in order to serve others. He preaches altruism.
“Altruism is the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self.
“No man can live for another. He cannot share his spirit just as he cannot share his body. But the second-handler has used altruism as a weapon of exploitation and reversed the base of mankind’s moral principles. Men have been taught every precept that destroys the creator. Men have been taught dependence as a virtue.
“The man who attempts to live for others is a dependent. He is a parasite in motive and makes parasites of those he serves. The relationship produces nothing but mutual corruption. It is impossible in concept. The nearest approach to it in reality — the man who lives to serve others — is the slave. If physical slavery is repulsive, how much more repulsive is the concept of servility of the spirit? The conquered slave has a vestige of honor. He has the merit of having resisted and of considering his condition evil. But the man who enslaves himself voluntarily in the name of love is the basest of creatures. He degrades the dignity of man and he degrades the conception of love. But this is the essence of altruism.
“Men have been taught that the highest virtue is not to achieve, but to give. Yet one cannot give that which has not been created. Creation comes before distribution — or there will be nothing to distribute. The need of the creator comes before the need of any possible beneficiary.Yet we are taught to admire the second-handler who dispenses gifts he has not produced above the man who made the gifts possible. We praise an act of charity. We shrug at an act of achievement.
“Men have been taught that their first concern is to relieve the suffering of others. But suffering is a disease. Should one come upon it, one tries to give relief and assistance. To make that the highest test of virtue is to make suffering the most important part of life. Then man must wish to see others suffer — in order that he may be virtuous. Such is the nature of altruism. The creator is not concerned with disease, but with life. Yet the work of the creators has eliminated one disease after another, in man’s body and spirit, and brought more relief from suffering than any altruist could ever conceive.
“Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man who disagrees.Men have been taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the man who goes against the current. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to stand together. But the creator is the man who stands alone.
“Men have been taught that the ego is the synonym of evil, and selflessness the ideal of virtue. But the creator is the egotist in the absolute sense, and the selfless man is the one who does not think, feel, judge, or act. These are functions of the self.
“Here the basic reversal is most deadly. The issue has been perverted and man has been left no alternative — and no freedom. As poles of good and evil, he was offered two conceptions: egotism and altruism. Egotism was held to mean the sacrifice of others to self. Altruism — the sacrifice of self to others. This tied man irrevocably to other men and left him nothing but a choice of pain: his own Paine borne for the sake of others or pain inflicted upon others for the sake of self. When it was added that man must find joy in self-immolation, the trap was closed. Man was forced to accept masochism as his ideal — under the threat that sadism was his only alternative. This was the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind.
“This was the device by which dependence and suffering were perpetuated as fundamentals of life.
“The choice is not self-sacrifice or domination. The choice is independence or dependence. The code of the creator or the code of the second-handler. This is the basic issue.It rests upon the alternative of life or death. The code of the creator is built on the needs of the reasoning mind which allows man to survive. The code of the second-handler is built on the needs of a mind incapable of survival.All that which proceeds from man’s independent ego is good. All that which proceeds from man’s dependence upon men is evil.
“The egotist in the absolute sense is not the man who sacrifices others. He is the man who stands above the need of using others in any manner. He does not function through them.He is not concerned with them in any primary matter. Not in his aim, not in his motive, not in his thinking, not in his desires, not in the source of his energy.He does not exist for any other man — and he asks no other man to exist for him. This is the only form of brotherhood and mutual respect possible between men. “Degrees of ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree of a man’s independence, initiative, and personal love for his work determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man. Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value. What a man is and makes of himself; not what he has or hasn’t done for others. There is no substitute for personal dignity. There is no standard of personal dignity except independence.
“In all proper relationships there is no sacrifice of anyone to anyone. An architect needs clients, but he does not subordinate his work to their wishes. They need him, but do not order a house just to give him a commission. Men exchange their work by free, mutual consent to mutual advantage when their personal interests agree and they both desire the exchange. If they do not desire it, they are not forced to deal with each other. They seek further. This is the only possible form of relationship between equals. Anything else is a relation of slave to master, or victim to executioner.
“No work is ever done collectively, by a majority decision. every creative job is achieved under the guidance of a single individual thought. An architect requires a great many men to erect his building. But he does not ask them to vote on his design. They work together by free agreement and each is free in his proper function. An architect uses steel, glass, concrete, produced by others. But the materials remain just so much steel, glass, and concrete until he touches them. What he does with them is his individual product and his individual property. This is the only pattern for proper co-operation among men.
“The first right on earth is the right of the ego. Man’s first duty is to himself. His moral law is never to place his prime goal within the persons of others. His moral obligation is to do what he wishes, provided his wish does not depend primarily upon other men. This includes the whole sphere of his creative faculty, his thinking, his work. But it does not include the sphere of the gangster, the altruist and the dictator.
“A man thinks and works alone. A man cannot rob, exploit, or rule — alone. Robbery, exploitation and ruling presuppose victims. They imply dependence. They are the province of the second-handler.
“Rulers of men are not egotists. They create nothing. They exist entirely through the persons of others. Their goal is in their subjects, in the activity of enslaving.They are as dependent as the beggar, the social worker and the bandit. The form of dependence does not matter.
“But men were taught to regard second-handlers — tyrants, emperors, dictators — as exponents of egotism. By this fraud they were made to destroy the ego, themselves and others. The purpose of the fraud was to destroy the creators. Or to harness them. Which is a synonym.
“From the beginning of history, the two antagonists have stood face to face: the creator and the second-handler. When the first creator invented the wheel, the first second-handler responded. He invented altruism.
“The creator — denied, opposed, persecuted, exploited — went on, moved forward and carried all humanity along on his energy. The second-handler contributed nothing to the process except the impediments. The contest has another name: the individual against the collective.
“The ‘common good’ of a collective — a race, a class, a state — was the claim and justification fo every tyranny ever established over men. Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive. Has any act of selfishness ever equaled the carnage perpetrated by disciples of altruism? Does the fault lie in the men’s hypocrisy or in the nature of the principle? The most dreadful butcheres were the most sincere. They believed in the perfect society reached through the guillotine and the firing squad. Nobody questioned their right to murder since they were murdering for an altruistic purpose. It was accepted that man must be sacrificed for other men. Actors change, but the course of the tragedy remains the same. A humanitarian who starts with declarations of love for mankind and ends with a sea of blood.It goes on and will go on so long as men believe that an action is good if it is unselfish. That permits the altruist to act and forces nothing for themselves. But observe the results.
“The only good which men can do to one another and the only statement of their proper relationship is — Hands off!
“Now observe the results of a society built on the principle of individualism. This, our country. The noblest country in the history of men. The country of greatest achievement, greatest prosperity, greatest freedom. This country was not based on selfless service, sacrifice, renunciation or any precept of altruism. it was based on a man’s right to the pursuit of happiness. His own happiness. Not anyone else’s. A private, personal, selfish motive. Look at the results.Look into your own conscience.
“It is an ancient conflict. Men have come close to the truth, but it was destroyed each time and one civilization fell after another. Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy.The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.
“Now, in our age, collectivism, the rule of the second-handler and second-rather, the ancient monster, has broken loose and is running amuck. It has brought men to a level of intellectual indecency never equaled on earth.It has reached a scale of horror without precedent. It has poisoned every mind. It has swallowed most of Europe.It is engulfing our country.
“I am an architect. I know what it is to come by the principle on which it is built. We are approaching a world in which I cannot permit myself to live.
“Now you know why I dynamited Cortlandt.”
“I designed Cortlandt. I gave it to you. I destroyed it.
“I destroyed it because I did not choose to let it exist. It was a double monster. In form and in implication. I had to blast both. The form was mutilated by two second-handlers who assumed the right to improve upon that which they had not made and could not equal. They were permitted to do it by the general implication that the altruistic purpose of the building superseded all rights and that I had no claim to stand against it.
“I agreed to design Cortlandt for the purpose of seeing it erected as I designed it and for no other reason. That was the price I set for my work. I was not paid.
“I did not receive the payment I asked. But the owners of Cortlandt got what they needed from me. They wanted a scheme devised to build a structure as cheaply as possible. They found no one else who could do it to their satisfaction. I could and did. They took the benefit of my work and made me contribute it as a gift. But I am not an altruist. I do not contribute gifts of this nature.
“It is said that I have destroyed the home of the destitute. It is forgotten that but for me the destitute could not have had this particular home. Those who were concerned with the poor had to come to me, who have never been concerned, in order to help the poor. It is believed that the poverty fo the untrue tenants gave them a right to my wor. That their need constitute a claim on my life. That it was my duty to contribute anything demanded of me. This is the second-handed credo now swallowing the world.
“I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy. Nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim, how large their number or how great their need.
“I wished to come here and say that I am a man who does not exist for others.
“It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing.
“I wished to come here and say that the integrity of a man’s creative work is of greater importance than any charitable endeavor. Those of you who do not understand this are the men who’re destroying the world.”
A couple of years ago, I read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. It’s a genius piece of literature, and Howard Roark, the book’s hero, is one of the most epic characters of any story I’ve ever discovered.
On trial for demolishing a building he designed himself, Ayn Rand’s hero Howard Roark receives extraordinary hatred from society. This hatred sets him up to make one of the boldest and most righteous speeches ever made.
Before I dive into his speech, it’s important to establish the hatred that general cultural mentality that precedes his commentary about the society he lives in..
There’s a lot to learn and digest from the hatred he receives, as well as Gail Wynand’s commentary on that hatred and defense of Roark.
I’m writing notes on it here so that I can revisit it later.
Here are my notes on what some pathetic bystanders had to say about Roark.
It was a sensational scandal, and there was the usual noise and the usual lust of riighteous anger, such as is proper to all lynchings. But there was a fierce, personal quality in the indignation of every person who spoke about it.
“He’s just an egomaniac devoid of all moral sense” — said the society woman dressing for a charity bazaar, who dared not contemplate what means of self-expression would be left to her and how she could impose her ostentation on her friends, if charity were not the all-excusing virtue —
— said the social worker who had found no aim in life and could generate no aim from within the sterility of his soul, but basked in virtue and held an unearned respect from all, by grace of his fingers on the wounds of others —
— said the novelist who had nothing to say if the subject of service and sacrifice were to be taken away from him, who sobbed in the hearing of attentive thousands that he loved them and loved them and would they please love him a little in return —
— said the lady columnist who had just bought a country mansion because she wrote so tenderly about the little people —
— said all the little people who wanted to hear of love, the great love, the unfastidious love, the love that embraced everything, forgave everything and permitted them everything —
— said every second-hander who could not exist except as a leech on the souls of others.
Ellsworth Toohey sat back, watched, listened and smiled.
Gordon L. Prescott and Gus Webb were entertained at dinners and cocktail parties; they were treated with tender, curious solitude, like survivors of a disaster. They said that they could not understand what possible motive Roark could have had, and they demanded justice.
Peter Keating went nowhere. He refused to see the press. He refused to see anyone. But he issued a written statement that he believed Roark was not guilty. HIs statement contained one curious sentence, the last. It said: “Leave him alone, can’t you please leave him alone?”
Pickets from the Council of American Builders paced in front of the Cord Building. It served no purpose, because there was no work in Roark’s office. The commissions he was to start had been canceled.
This was solidarity. The debutante having her toenails pedicured — the housewife buying carrots from a pushcart — the bookkeeper who had wanted to be a pianist, but had the excuse of a sister to support — the businessman who hated his business — the worker who hated his work — the intellectual who hated everybody — all were united as brothers in the luxury of common anger that cured boredom and took them out of themselves, and they knew well enough what a blessing it was to be taken out of themselves.The readers were unanimous. The press was unanimous.
Gail Wynand went against the current.
“Gail!” Alvah Scarret had gasped. “We can’t defend a dynamiter!”
“Keep still, Alvah,” Wynand had said, “before I bash your teeth in.”
Now that we’ve basically established the depravity of Roark’s critics, I’ll focus on Gail Wynand’s scathing commentary of the depravity of a society that seeks to find a righteous genius like Roark guilty.
“In the filthy howling now going on all around us,” said an editorial in the Banner, signed “Gail Wynand” in big letters, “nobody seems to remember tha tHoward Roark surrendered himself of his own free will. If he blew up that building — did he have to remain at the scene to be arrested? But we don’t wait to discover his reasons. We have convicted him without a hearing. We want him to be guilty. We are delighted with this case. What you hear is not indignation — it’s gloating. Any illiterate maniac, any shrieks of sympathy from us and marshals an army of humanitarian defenders. But a man of genius is guilty by definition. Granted that it is vicious injustice to condemn a man simply because he is weak and small. To what level of depravity has a society descended when it condemns a man simply because he is strong and great? Such, however, is the whole moral atmosphere of our century — the century of the second-rater.”
“We hear it shouted,” said another Wynand editorial, “that Howard Roark spends his career in and out of courtrooms. Well, that is true. A man like Roark is on trial before society all his life. Whom does that indict — Roark or society?”
“We have never made an effort to understand what is greatness in man and how to recognize it,” said another Wynand editorial. “We have come to hold, in a kind of mawkish stupor, that greatness is to be gauged by self-sacrifice. Self-sacrifice, we drool, is the ultimate virtue. Let’s stop and think for a moment. Is sacrifice a virtue? Can a man sacrifice his integrity? His honor? His freedom? His ideal? His convictions? The honesty of his feelings? The independence of his thought? But these are a man’s supreme possessions. Anything he gives up is not a sacrifice but an easy bargain.They, however, are above sacrificing to any cause or consideration whatsoever. Should we not, then, stop preaching dangerous and vicious nonsense? Self sacrifice? But it is precisely the self that cannot and must not be sacrificed. It is the unsacrificed self that we must respect in man above all.”
I admit, upon first reading this, I greatly struggled with the concept of self-sacrifice being bad. I still, in some ways, struggle with it. I believe this is because of my programmed view of the world as a Christian that believes service to others to be the highest form of love.
I believe there’s truth in both viewpoints. I’ve struggled to reconcile what that truth is, and where the line is drawn, but I trust that in time I will develop the wisdom to be able to discern.
Anyways, before I move on, here’s one last bit from Gail Wynand’s passage that absolutely fascinated me and spoke deeply to my masculine soul.
The editorial was quoted in the New Frontiers and in many newspapers, reprinted in a box under the heading: “Look who’s talking!”
Gail Wynand laughed. Resistance fed him and made him stronger. This was a war, and he had not engaged in a real war for years, not since the time when he laid the foundations of his empire amid cries of protest from the whole profession. He was granted the impossible, the dream of every man: the chance and intensity of youth, to be used with the wisdom of experience. A new beginning and a climax, together. I have waited and lived, he thought, for this.”
Check out Roark’s righteous and epic speech about truly heroic creativity and parasitical “self sacrifice” in my next post.
Howard Roark is the protagonist of Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead.
Roark is one of the most genius, fearless, powerful heroes to emerge in American literature in the past hundred years.
Roark works as an architect in New York City in the early 20th century. In his work, he displays a stoic and unwavering commitment to his artistic and technical ideals, and he creates massive controversy as a result. Regardless of the hatred he receives for blazing his own path and refusing to conform to social and artistic norms, he remains convicted in his ideals.
He has disdain for cowardice, conformity, and the ordinary man’s decision to bend and break under the pressure of critical judgment.
Roark also manages to catch the eye of Dominique Francon, one of the most beautiful and intelligent women in the world. Similar to Roark, Dominique is a woman that has disdain for the cowardice and subservience that most men in her day exhibit, and as a result, she finds herself attracted to no one – until she meets Roark.
Because of these qualities, Dominique is a dominant woman, typically in control of every social situation she finds herself in. In her love life, she’s always aloof and completely uninterested in every man she meets – no men impress her. However, when she meets Roark, Dominique finds herself helplessly attracted to Howard Roark because of his intense, his raw masculinity, and his refusal to be enslaved by the pathetic men and opinions of their society.
Despite being attracted to Roark, she also despises Roark – arguably because he makes her feel out of control. Throughout the story, she seeks to discover and exploit any weakness she can find within him – so that she can renounce her attraction to him, so that she can test the limits of his strength, and (in my opinion) so that she can continually sharpen the sword of his spirit.
Of course, she doesn’t find any weaknesses. Ayn Rand made Roark emotionally, intellectually, and artistically invincible. As far as heroes go, Roark represents an ultimate ideal.
I learned a ton about myself while reading this novel. Viewing Roark’s unwavering commitment to his ideals gave me a lot of confidence and reassurance in the side of myself that judges the world as not all that it could be.
In my own life, many weaker men have hated or resented me for relentlessly pursuing my own ideals – and succeeding at making significant progress towards them.
I’ve felt guilty for not acquiescing to the weakness of the world or the men around me. I’ve allowed myself to feel guilty for outshining them. Ultimately, Roark’s character reminded me of the genius and strength within me.
As an artist and an intellectual that holds extremely radical ideas that absolutely do notseem to fit within the politically correct, sexually neutered, and sterilized cultural context I’ve found myself within, I was incredibly inspired by Rand’s character descriptions of Roark, his dealings with other characters, and his romance with Dominique Francon (what a sexually intense relationship the two of them have – wow).
This is a practice I believe all men should engage in regularly. It will improve every aspect of their lives, and the world at large. The world is full of too many weakened, sterilized, impotent men that are afraid to boldly stick their chests out and assert their excellence. We needmen like that! Women want men like that! As a man, I want to be surrounded by men like that!
I believe every man ought to read this book, so that he can be reminded of the strength and genius within himself, too.
This is a practice I believe all men should engage in regularly.
I’ll be posting some of my favorite quotes from Roark and about Roark in future posts.
In my efforts to work with my genetics in order to create a constant and sustainable state of peak performance, I’ve done many experiments with my diet over the past three years.
Eating a diet comprised of mainly vegetables and meat has given me the greatest performance.
Recently, I heard of the Carnivore Diet (a meat-centric version of Keto), which really intrigues me.
In order to further solidify my understanding of whyeating this way makes me feel so good, I’m returning to a book I read this past year: Eat Right 4 Your Type: The Individualized Blood Type Diet Solution by Peter D’Adamo.
The book takes an anthropological approach toward clarifying why people with different blood types will respond to different foods in different ways.
Peter D’Adamo, author of the book, claims that people with the “O” blood type respond best to a diet comprised mainly of meats and vegetables.
My intention with this post is simply to take some notes about what the book says about O blood types, so that I can understand myself better and leverage this information to KICK MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF ASS, BABY!
Lol. Here we go.
The Basics of Type-O: “The Hunter”
Meat EaterHardy Digestive TractOveractive Immune SystemIntolerant to dietary and environmental adaptationsResponds best to stress with intense physical activityRequires an efficient metabolism to stay lean and energetic
Type O: The most widespread early mutation and most basic blood type, the survivor at the top of the food chain, with a strong and ornery immune system willing to and capable of destroying anyone, friend or foe
Type O thrives on intense physical exercise and animal protein. The digestive tract of Type O retains the memory of ancient times. The high-protein hunter-gatherer diet and the enormous physical demands placed on the system of early Type Os probably kept most primitive humans in a mild state of ketosis.
The combination of ketosis, calorie deprivation, and constant physical activity made for a lean, mean hunting machine – the key to the survival of the human race.
Your genetic inheritance offers you the opportunity to be strong, lean, productive, long-lived, and tenacious.
When a Type O’s wiring gets crossed, as a result of a poor diet, lack of exercise, unhealthy behaviors, or elevated stress levels, you’re more vulnerable to negative metabolic effects, including insulin resistance, sluggish thyroid activity, and weight gain. As a Blood Type O, you may also be predisposed to certain illnesses, such as thyroid disorders, which can impact weight control. It is not uncommon for Type O to experience thyroid instability, and you often exhibit insufficient levels of iodine, an element critical for proper thyroid activity. Imbalanced thyroid function can cause many negative health effects such as weight gain, fluid retention, hair loss, and fatigue.
I’m going to stop right here and just say that my thyroid has alwaysbeen a pain point – I’ve leaned towards the hypothyroid end of the spectrum for as long as I can remember. It’s something I’ve band-aided by using therapeutic doses of NDT (natural desiccated thyroid), but it’s interesting to read it clarified as something someone with my blood type is predisposed to. Anyways, back to it…
The key to your optimal diet is embedded in the historical imprint of your blood type.Blood Type O is wired for action, and this quality is reflected in your metabolism, your digestion, and your immune system. When you eat a diet of lean, chemical-free meats and healthy fruits and vegetables, your body maintains a lean physique and you have lots of energy.
You will succeed by incorporating plenty of high-quality protein in your diet. This increases active tissue mass and raises your metabolic rate. A high-protein diet will boost your weight loss and burn off any excess fat.
How can Blood Type O lose weight by eating meat? The secret is in your genetic memory of the Paleolithic paradise. Your genetic ancestors’ reliance on meat, an early key to the survival of the species, is coded into a variety of genes controlled by your blood type. You possess a secret weapon not available to all blood types: higher levels of stomach acid that allow you to efficiently digest and metabolize meats and fats. In particular, you have three times the normal level of an enzyme called intestinal alkaline phosphatase, which helps break down protein and fat, allowing for easier digestion and metabolism.
Your Blood Type O ancestors’ primary path to survival depended on maintaining a high state of active tissue mass and a low percentage of body fat. That’s your nature as well – as long as you maintain the right diet for your type. You are vulnerable to insulin resistance and weight gain when you veer from this path, eating foods with dietary lectins that prevent their being used as a source of energy. These foods signal your body to send those calories to the storage shed and lock the door to utilization. The result is that your energy levels become depleted, and stored fat causes fluid retention and a sluggish metabolism.
Type Os are leaner when their muscle tissues are in a state of slight metabolic acidity. In this state, they use calories more rapidly.
Blood Type O also has a tendency to have low thyroid hormone, a condition called hypothyroidism. This can result from imbalances in your gut flora – your microbiome. Excessive levels of yeast (Candida) overgrowth or certain strains of non-blood-type-friendly bacteria in the gut can actually cause the immune system to attack the thyroid by mistake. I’ve seen many cases of autoimmune thyroid disease resolved in Type O patients by a simple change in diet. The Type O diet features foods that support thyroid function and discourage the growth of antagonistic bacteria in the gut.
Type O individuals also have a tendency toward inflammatory conditions. The reasons are not completely understood, but may have to do with their double barreled anti-blood-type antibodies, or as previously discussed, imbalances in their microbiome. Scientists have found that inflammation is directly related to weight gain in that it compromises the hormone leptin, which is respondible for energy balance. So a Type O weight loss plan is also an anti-inflammatory plan.
Short Term Stress, Catecholamines/Neurotransmitters (page 82)
Studies have shown that Type O has a stress response that centers on fight-or-flight.The reasons are a bit complicated, so I’ll describe it simply here. Dopamine is a major neurotransmitter made by the brain that plays an important role as a chemical messenger and central element in what is called the brain’s reward-motivae=ted behavior. Most types of rewards increase the level of dopamine in the brain, and most addictive drugs increase dopamine activity and levels. Dopamine is converted to another neurotransmitter, called norepinephrine (also known as noradrenaline), by an enzyme known as dopamine beta-hydroxylase (DBH).
You can visualize this as two buckets, one high, one low, connected by a tube. The upper bucket is dopamine, the lower bucket norepinephrine, the tube connecting them is DBH. If you’re Type O you have a very, very large tube (a lot of DBH), which means that under stress lots of dopamine flows from the upper bucket to the lower one (norepinephrine). Dopamine tends to make us happy and content while norepinephrine tends to make us anxious and prepared for fight-or-flight. A surprising amount of norepinephrine is made in the gut where, in excess, it can disrupt digestion and assimilation and even the balance of flora.
So under even mild stress, Type O will have to work harder at maintaining dopamine and blunting norepinephrine.Fortunately, there are lifestyle and dietary habits that can accomplish this. For example, vigorous exercise tends to block DBH and narrow the tube a bit, as does a high-protein diet. Wheat, unfortunately, tends to widen the tube, draining dopamine and causing the norepinephrine bucket to overflow.
The higher level of catecholamines can increase feelings of anger and aggression, perhaps explaining why ironically “Type A behavior” is in fact associated with Type O blood.
Stress is not in itself the problem; it’s how your body responds to stress. As a Type O, you want to do whatever you can to increase dopamine(and its accompanying feelings of satisfaction and well-being) and decrease norepinephrine (and its accompanying feelings of anxiety and stress).The ability to reverse the negative effects of stress lives in your blood type. Healthy Type Os are meant to release the built-up hormonal forces through vigorous and intense physical exercise. Your sytem is literally suited for it. If you are Type O, you have the immediate and physical response of our hunter ancestors. Your blood type carries a patterned alarm response that permits explosions of intense physical energy.
When you encounter stress, your body takes over. As your adrenal glands pump their chemicals into your bloodstream, you become tremendously charged up. Given a physical release at this time, any bad stress you are experiencing may be converted into a positive experience.
Exercise is especially critical to the health of Type O, because the impact of stress is direct and physical. Not only does a regular intense exercise program elevate your spirits, it enables Type O to maintain weight control, emotional balance, and a strong self-image.
Type Os who do not express their physical natures with appropriate activity in response to stress are eventually overwhelmed during the exhaustion stage of the stress response.This exhaustion stage is characterized by a variety of psychological manifestations caused by a slower rate of metabolism, such as depression, fatigue, or insomnia. If there is no change, you will leave yourself vulnerable to a number of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, type 2 diabetes, consistent weight gain, and eventual obesity.
Remember, your goal is to counter stress with action. For Type O, the best antidote to fatigue and depression is physical work. Think of your metabolism as a fire.You start a fire first by using little pieces of wood called kindling, and then gradually add larger and larger pieces of wood until you have an inferno.
Depression (both unipolar and bipolar) is in part associated with low dopamine levels and has been shown to be more common in Type O.
The belief that personality is determined by one’s blood type is held in high regard in Japan. Termed ketsuekigata, Japanese blood type analysis is serious business. Corporate managers use it to hire workers, market researchers use it to predict buying habits, and many people use it to choose friends, romantic partners, and lifetime mates. Vending machines that offer on-the-spot blood type analysis are widespread in train stations, department stores, restaurants, and other public places. There is even a highly respected organization, the ABO Society, dedicated to helping individuals and organizations make the right decisions, consistent with blood type.
The idea that your blood type may relate to your personality is not really so strange. Indeed, if you look at each of the blood types, you can see a distinct personality emerging – the inheritance of our ancestral strengths.
The Candida organism appears to use its own lectins to attach to cells by binding to the sugar fucose. Fucose is the antigen of Type O, and it is perhaps not surprising that studies have shown that Type O carries more candida than the other blood types. Perhaps because of this, Type O tends to develop more of an allergic-type hypersensitivity to the candidiasis organism, especially when eating too many grains. this has been the basis of a theory called the yeast syndrome and a variety of candida diets. These diets stress high protein intake and the avoidance of grains, but they tend to be generalized across blood types, when it is only Type O who appears to have this yeast sensitivity.
On Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Licorice
In recent years, I have treaded many people who suffered from the baffling disease called chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The primary symptom is great tiredness. The most important thing I’ve learned from my research and clinical work is that CFS may not be an exclusively autoimmune disease at all, but rather a detoxification issue, caused by poor liver metabolism and the inability to neutralize harmful chemicals. To my reasoning, only this sort of liver problem could produce immunological effects as well as effects characteristic of other systems, such as digestive or musculoskeletal.
I’ve found that Type O CFS patients in particular do very well on licorice and potassium supplements,in addition to the blood type diet. Licorice has many effects in the body, but in the liver it really shines. The bile ducts, where detoxification occurs, become more efficient, offering greater protection against chemical damage. This preliminary removal of stress to the liver seems to positively influence the adrenals and blood sugar, increasing energy and producing a feeling of wellbeing.
I’ll be looking into liver supplements. I suspect that D’Adamo hit the nail on the head with his point about CFS being linked to inefficient liver metabolism – my liver has been a pain point, and the many different supplements I’ve used that target and support liver function (especially uridine, NAC, and glutathione) have made the biggest impact in my fatigue, digestion, etc.
I’m especially fascinated by the connection between Type Os and the dopaminergic system within the brain. I can say for sure that when I’ve been honoring my Type O nature with my diet and exercise habits, dopaminergic activity in my brain is at its height, and I feel the most in control and most powerful.
I’m going to explore the dopamine system in my next blog post, and what the book The Edge Effect by Dr. Eric Braverman has to say about it.
In a previous blog post, I went in-depth on the benefits of eating for my Type O bloodtype.
One of the hallmarks of a healthy blood type O individual is a fully functioning dopaminergic system, complete with motivation and drive.
Curious to further define the dopaminergic system, I decided I’d re-open a book I bought three years ago titled The Edge Effect: Achieve Total Health and Longevity with the Balanced Brain Advantage.
In the following passages, Dr. Braverman outlines the basic influence of a person who’s brain is dominated by dopaminergic function (out of the four total primary neurotransmitters that effect cognition). Interesting stuff.
Check it out.
The Powerful Dopamine Nature
Associated with high-voltage beta waves from your brain, dopamine affects the power of your body and mind. High-dopamine individuals like yourself are often powerful, reflexively fast, and quick-witted. When feeling well, people with dopamine natures have a very sharp edge.
As a dopamine nature, you are among approximately 17 percent of the world’s population. You thrive on energy. When your dopamine production is balanced, you are likely to be a strong-willed individual who knows exactly what you want and how to get it. You’re fast on your feet and self confident. You’re highly rational, more comfortable with facts and figures than with feelings and emotions. You are able to assess yourself critically, yet you generally do not respond well to criticism or accept negative feedback from mothers.
You focus intently and persistently on the task at hand and take pride in achievement. Strategic thinking, masterminding, inventing, problem solving, envisioning, and pragmatism are exciting, and you function well under stress. These skills lend themselves to positions requiring complex knowledge and/or detailed planning. A majority of doctors, scientists, researchers, inventors, engineers, generals, and architects are likely to be dopamine-dominant.
With a dopamine nature, you’re most likely to be interested in activities related to knowledge and intellect.
You relish competition. You’re tireless, perhaps hyperalert, and might require less sleep than your friends or family.
When it comes to physical activity, you find great satisfaction in anaerobic, weight-bearing exercises. You may also enjoy competitive individualized sports such as tennis, swimming, or skiing.
Because rationality is your primary trait, you are more adept at establishing relationships than nurturing them. You’re not overly sensitive, so you tend to miss the fact that others may believe their feelings are more powerful than reason.
The dopamine Edge Effect occurs when you’ve maximized your dopamine nature. These are the times when you experience total sensual enjoyment, you derive pleasure from everything that you do, and your reactions are sharp. All of your senses are heightened: you relish sexual relations, your food tastes fantastic, and you feel powerful and admired among your friends and family.
Notes from King, Warrior, Magician, Lover by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette.
The Basics of Warriorhood:
We live in a time when people are generally uncomfortable with the Warrior form of masculine energy — and for some good reasons. Women especially are uncomfortable with it , because they have often been the most direct victims of it in its shadow form. Around the planet, warfare in our century has reached such monstrous and pervasive proportions that aggressive energy itself is looked upon with deep suspicion and fear. This is the age in the West of the “soft masculine,” and it is a time in which radical feminists raise loud and hostile voices against the Warrior energy.
What is interesting to notice, however, is that those who would cut off masculine aggressiveness at its root, in their zeal, themselves fall under the power of this archetype. We can’t just take a vote and vote the Warrior out. Like all archetypes, it lives on in spite of our conscious attitudes toward it. And like all repressed archetypes, it goes underground, eventually to resurface in the form of emotional and physical violence, like a volcano that has lain dormant for centuries with the pressure gradually building up in the magma chamber. If the Warrior is an instinctual energy form, then it is here to stay. And it pays to face it.
Basic History of the Prevalence and Importance of Warriorhood around the World
All we have to do is glance over the history of our species, a history which has been defined in large part by war. We see the great Warrior traditions in nearly every civilization. In our century, the whole globe has been convulsed by two world wars. A third and final one, despite the recent East-West thaw, still hangs over our heads. Something is going on here…
… We believe that the warrior should not be identified with human rage in any simple way — quite the opposite. We also believe that this primary masculine energy form (there are feminine Warrior myths and traditions too) persists because the Warrior is a basic building block of masculine psychology, almost certainly rooted in our genes.
When we examine the Warrior traditions closely, we can see what they have accomplished in history.
For example, the ancient Egyptians were for centuries a very peaceful, basically gentle people. They were safe in their isolated Nile Valley from any potential enemies; these enemies were held at bay by the surrounding desert and by the Mediterranean Sea to the north. The Egyptians were able to build a remarkably stable society. They believed in the harmony of all things, in a cosmos ordered by Ma’at. Then around 1800 B.C.E. they were invaded through the Nile delta by bands of fierce Semitic tribes, the Hyksos. These Hyksos warriors had horses and chariots — in those days, efficient and devastating war machines. The Egyptians, unaccustomed to such aggressiveness, were pushovers. The Hyksos eventually took over most of Egypt and ruled it with an iron hand.
In the sixteenth century B.C.E. the hardened Egyptians eventually fought back. New pharaohs arose from the south who united their native King energy with a newfound Warrior energy. They drove northward with tremendous ferocity. Not only did they crush the Hyksos power and take Egypt back into Egyptian hands, but they continued northward into Palestine and Asia and built a vast empire. In the process, they spread Egyptian civilization — its art, religion, and ideas — over a huge area. By their conquests, the great pharaohs Thutmose III and Ramses II not only secured Egypt again, but brought the best of Egyptian culture to a larger world. It is because of their discovery of the Warrior within themselves that Egyptian morality and ethics, as well as such fundamental religious ideas as judgment after death and a paradise beyond the grave in which righteous souls would become one with God, became a part of our own Western system of ethics and spirituality. A similar story can be told about the civilizations of Mesopotamia, which also, through the energizing of the Warrior, carried important human knowledge and insights into future civilizations.
Spiritual warriors abound in human history. The religion of Islam as a whole is built on Warrior energy. Mohammed was a warrior. His followers are, to this day, still drawing on Warrior energy as they wage jihad against the powers of evil as they define them. The God of Islam, even though he is addressed as “the Merciful” and “the Compassionate” is a Warrior God.
We see this same Warrior energy manifested in the Jesuit Order in Christianity, which for centuries taught self-negation for the sake of carrying God’s message into the most hostile and dangerous areas of the world. The man who is a warrior is devoted to his cause, his God, his civilization, even unto death.
In India, a Warrior class, the “kshatriya,” conquered and stabilized the Indian subcontinent and set up the conditions for India to become the spiritual center of the world. Their cousins to the north in Persia — the Zoroastrian warrior-kings — spread the religion of Zoroaster throughout the Near East. This religion had a profound impact on the emergence of modern Judaism and Christianity and on many of the values and the basic worldview that inform and shape even our post-religious modern world. And through Western Civilization, as it has come to be known, Zoroaster’s teachings in modified form now sweep across the planet and affect village life and personal morality as far away as the South Seas.
The biblical Hebrews were originally a warrior people and followers of a warrior God, the God of the Hebrew scriptures, Yahweh. Under the warrior-king David, the benefits of this new religion, including its advanced ethical system based on the Warrior’s virtues, were consolidated. Through Christianity, which drew heavily on its Hebrew heritage, many of these Hebrew ideas and values eventually were carried by the European warrior classes to the four corners of the world.
Notes on King David’s battle analysis and understanding of his own capacities:
In the Bible, King David, up against the superior force of the armies of Saul, at first avoided direct confrontation with Saul’s troops, allowing Saul to wear himself out pursuing him. David and his ragtag band were guerrillas, living off the land and moving fast. Then David, evaluating his situation clearly, fled Saul’s kingdom and went over to the Philistine king. From this position, he had the force of thousands of Philistine soldiers behind him. He had put himself into position to checkmate Saul. Then, again through his accurate assessment of the situation at the time, David reentered Saul’s kingdom, gathered his own troops, and waited for Saul’s collapse. Sometimes, the maxim “Forward, always forward!” means shifting tactics. It means a flexibility of strategy that comes from razor-sharp evaluation.
The Roman emperor-warriors, like the learned philosopher and moralist Marcus Aurelius (161-180 C.E.), preserved Mediterranean civilization long enough for the Germanic tribes to become semicivilized before they finally succeeded in invading the Empire and rewriting all of Western history, a history that from the fifteenth century on increasingly become the history of the world.
Let’s not forget the tiny band of Spartans — the Greek warriors par excellence — who at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.E. defeated the Persian invasion of Europe, and saved the budding European democratic ideals.
In North America, Native American men lived and died with the Warrior energy informing even the smallest of their acts, living their lives nobly and with courage and with the capacity to endure great pain and hardship, defending their people against an overwhelming foe (the invading white people), and leaping into battle with the cry, “Today is a good day to die!”
Perhaps we need to look with an unbiased eye at the great twentieth-century warriors, among them, the generals Patton and MacArthur, great strategists, men of great courage, and men devoted to causes greater than their own personal survival…
On General Patton’s aggressiveness, from the movie Patton:
In the famous opening scene of Patton, the general, in full battle gear, pearl-handled revolvers on his hips, is giving a motivational speech to his army. Patton warns his troops that he is not interested in their holding their position in battle. He says, “I don’t want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position… We are advancing constantly… We are not interested in holding onto anything — except the enemy! We’re going to hold onto him by the nose, and we’re going to kick him in the ass! We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time, and we’re going to go through him like crap through a goose!”
And then we may need to revalue the great Japanese samurai tradition and the ascetic, disciplined, utterly loyal men who built the nation of Japan, ensured the survival of its culture, and are today in business suits conquering the planet.
The Warrior energy, then, no matter what else it may be, is indeed universally present in us men and in the civilizations we create, defend, and extend. It is a vital ingredient in our world-building and plays an important role in extending the benefits of the highest human virtues and cultural achievements to all of humanity.
The essential questions about the Warrior:
We still have to ask ourselves why it is so present within us. What is the Warrior’s function in the evolution of human life, and what is his purpose in the psyches of individual men? What are the Warrior’s positive qualities? And how can they help us men in our personal lives and in our work?
The Warrior in His Fullness
The characteristics of the Warrior in his fullness amount to a total way of life, what the samurai called a do (pronounced “dough). These characteristics constitute the Warrior’s Dharma, Ma’at, or Tao, a spiritual or psychological path through life.
We have already mentioned aggressiveness as one of the Warrior’s characteristics. Aggressiveness is a stance toward life that rouses, energizes, and motivates.
It pushes us to take the offensive and to move out of a defensive or “holding” position about life’s tasks and problems. The samurai advice was always to “leap” into battle with the full potential of ki, or “vital energy,” at your disposal. The Japanese warrior tradition claimed that there is only one position in which to face the battle of life: frontally. And it also proclaimed that there was only one direction: forward.
(see notes on General George S. Patton’s aggressiveness in the movie Pattonbelow)
Proper aggressiveness, in the right circumstances — circumstances strategically advantageous to the goal at hand — is already half the battle.
How does the man accessing the Warrior know what aggressiveness is appropriate under the circumstances? He knows through clarity of thinking, through discernment. The warrior is always alert. He is always awake. He is never sleeping through life. He knows how to focus his mind and his body. He is what the samurai called “mindful.” He is a “hunter” in the Native American tradition.
As Don Juan, the Yaqui Indian warrior-sorcerer in Carlos Castañedas “Journey to Ixtlan,” says, a warrior knows what he wants, and he knows how to get it. As a function of his clarity of mind, he is a strategist, and a tactician. He can evaluate his circumstances accurately and then adapt himself to the “situation on the ground,” as we say.
The warrior knows when he has the force to defeat his opponent by conventional means and when he must adopt an unconventional strategy. He accurately asses his own strength and skill. If he finds that a frontal assault will not work, he deflects his opponent’s assault, spots the weakness in his flank, then “leaps” into battle. Here is a difference between the Warrior and the Hero. The man (or the boy) accessing the Hero does not know his limitations; he is romantic about his invulnerability. The warrior, however, through his clarity of thinking realistically assesses his capacities and his limitations in any given situation.
See notes below on King David’s knowledge of limitations and changing battle tactics.
Modern fencing uses this kind of flexibility. Not only does the fencer train his body, he trains his mind as well. He learns to think with lightning speed, to look for the unguarded points in his opponent’s stances and lunges; then he parries, attacks, and scores his hits. A young college man reported that after he took up fencing his classroom performance improved. He was able to spot, with lightning-swift clarity, the major themes in a complex lecture, evaluate the weaknesses in the supporting arguments, challenge statements with a sharpness of vision and a self-confidence he’d never known before, and force his professors and fellow students to either talk sense or drop their arguments. He knew then what he wanted to learn. And he knew how to get it.
The Warrior traditions all affirm that, in addition to training, what enables a Warrior to reach clarity of thought is living with the awareness of his own imminent death. The Warrior knows the shortness of life and how fragile it is. A man under the guidance of the Warrior knows how few his days are. Rather than depressing him, this awareness leads him to an outpouring of life-force and to an intense experience of his life that is unknown to others. Every act counts. Each deed is done as if it were the last. The samurai swordsmen were taught to live their lives as if they were already dead. Castañeda’s Don Juan taught that there is “no time” for anything but meaningful acts if we live with death as “our eternal companion.”
There is not time for hesitation. This sense of the imminence of death energizes the man accessing the Warrior energy to take decisive action. This means that he engages life. He never withdraws from it. He doesn’t “think too much,” because thinking too much can lead to doubt, and doubt to hesitation, and hesitation to inaction. Inaction can lead to losing the battle. The man who is a Warrior avoids self-consciousness, as we usually define it. His actions become second nature. They become unconscious reflex actions. But they are actions as he has trained for through the exercise of enormous self-discipline. This is how Marines are made. A good Marine is one who can make split-second decisions and then act decisively.
Part of what goes into acting decisively in any life situation, along with aggressiveness, clarity of thinking, and the awareness of one’s own death, is training.
The Warrior energy is concerned with skill, power, and accuracy, and with control, both inner and outer, psychological and physical. The Warrior energy is concerned with training men to be “all that they can be” — in their thoughts, feelings, speech, and actions.
Unlike the Hero’s actions, the Warrior’s actions are never overdone, never dramatic for the sake of drama; the Warrior never acts to reassure himself that he is as potent as he hopes he is. The Warrior never spends more energy than he absolutely has to. And he doesn’t talk too much.
Yul Brenner’s character in the movie The Magnificent Seven is a study in trained self-control. He says little, moves with the physical control of a predator, attacks only the enemy, and has absolute mastery over the technology of his trade. That is another aspect of the Warrior’s interest in skill, his mastery of the technology that enables him to reach his goal. He has developed skill with the “weapons” he uses to implement his decisions.
His control is, first of all, over his mind and his attitudes; if these are right, the body will follow. A man accessing the Warrior archetype has a “positive mental attitude,” as they say in sales training. This means that he has an unconquerable spirit, that he has great courage, that he is fearless, that he takes responsibility for his actions, and that he has self-discipline.
Discipline means that he has the rigor to develop control and mastery over his mind and over his body, and that he has the capacity to withstand pain, both psychological and physical. He is willing to suffer to achieve what he wants to achieve. “No pain, no gain,” we say.
Transpersonal commitment (something touched upon in Gates of Fire:
The Warrior energy also shows what we can call a transpersonal commitment. His loyalty is to something — a cause, a god, a people, a task, a nation — larger than individuals, though that transpersonal loyalty may be focused through some important person, like a king. In the Arthurian stories, Lancelot, though fiercely devoted to Arthur and to Guinevere, is ultimately committed to the ideal of chivalry and to the God who lies behind such things as noble quests, “might for right,” and the lifting up of the oppressed. Of course, because of his love for Guinevere, Lancelot unwittingly acts to destroy the beneficiary of his transpersonal commitment, Camelot. But he does so because he has encountered the paradoxically personal and transpersonal goal of romantic love. By then, he has already lost his access to the Warrior energy and has ceased being a knight.
This transpersonal commitment reveals a number of other characteristics of the Warrior energy. First, it makes all personal relationships relative, that is, it makes them less central than the transpersonal commitment. Thus the psyche of the man who is adequately accessing the Warrior is organized around his central commitment. This commitment eliminates a great deal of human pettiness. Living in the light of lofty ideals and spiritual realities such as God, democracy, communism, freedom ,or any other worthy transpersonal commitment, so alters the focus of a man’s life that petty squabbling and personal Ego concerns no longer matter much.
The Warrior’s loyalty, then, and his sense of duty are to something beyond and other than himself and his own concerns. The Hero’s loyalty, as we have seen, is really to himself — to impressing himself with himself, and to impressing others. In this connection, too, the man accessing the Warrior is ascetic. He lives a life exactly the opposite of most human lives. He lives not to gratify his personal needs and wishes or his physical appetites, but to hone himself into an efficient spiritual machine, trained to bear the unbearable in the service of the transpersonal goal.
This devotion to the transpersonal ideal or goal even to the point of personal annihilation leads a man to another of the Warrior’s characteristics. He is emotionally distant as long as he is in the Warrior. This does not mean that the man accessing the Warrior in his fullness is cruel, just that he does not make his decisions and implement them out of emotional relatedness to anyone or anything except his ideal. he is, as Don Juan says, “unavailable,” or “inaccessible.” As he says, “To be inaccessible means that you touch the world around you sparingly,” with emotional detachment.
This attitude is part of the clarity of the Warrior’s thinking, too. He looks at his tasks, his decisions, and his actions dispassionately and unemotionally. Samurai training involved the following kind of psychological exercise: whenever, the teaching went, you feel yourself afraid or despairing, don’t say to yourself, “I am afraid,” or “I am despairing.” Say, “There is someone who is afraid,” or “There is someone who is despairing. Now, what can he do about this?” This detached way of experiencing a threatening situation objectifies the situation and allows for a clearer and more strategically advantageous view of it. The warrior is then able to act with less regard for his personal feelings; he will act more forcefully, swiftly, and efficiently with himself out of the way.
Often in life, we need to “step back,” we say, from a situation in order to gain perspective, so that we can act. The Warrior needs room to swing his sword. He needs separation from his opponents in the outer world and from his own inner opponents in the form of negative emotions
The Warrior as the Righteous Destroyer:
The Warrior is often a destroyer. But the positive Warrior energy destroys only what needs to be destroyed in order for something new and fresh, more alive and more virtuous to appear. Many things in our world need destroying — corruption, tyranny, oppression, injustice, obsolete and despotic systems of government, corporate hierarchies that get in the way of the company’s performance, unfulfilling life-styles and job situations, bad marriages. And in the very act of destroying, often the Warrior energy is building new civilizations, new commercial, artistic, and spiritual ventures for humankind, new relationships.
When the Warrior energy is connected with the other mature masculine energies something truly splendid emerges. When the Warrior is connected with the King, the man accessing these powers is consciously stewarding the “realm,” and his decisive actions, clarity of thinking, discipline, and courage are, in fact, creative and generative.
At this moment we need only to think of Mikhail Gorbachev, warrior and king, struggling against the inertia of the Soviet system, standing in the Center, making war on the old and inefficient, generating new and more vigorous, shepherding his people into a new era they themselves would not have the courage to face without his leadership, without his access to these two mature masculine energies.
The Warrior’s interface with the Magician archetype is what enables a man to achieve such mastery and control over himself and his “weapons.” It is what allows him to channel and direct power to accomplish his goals.
His admixture with the Lover energy gives the Warrior compassion and a sense of connectedness with all things. The Lover is the masculine energy that brings a man back into relatedness with human beings, in all their frailty and vulnerability. The Lover makes the man under the influence of the Warrior compassionate at the same time he is doing his duty.
Alliance with the Lover produces other humane influences in the Warrior energy. Marcus Aurelius was a philosopher. Winston Churchill was a painter. The Japanese artist-warrior Mishima was a poet. Even General Patton was a poet; he recited one of his eulogies to General Bradley at the site of the ancient North African battlefield upon which two thousand years earlier the Romans had defeated the Carthaginians. Patton claimed in his mystical poem that he had been there then, and had taken part in the battle.
When, however, the Warrior is operating on his own, unrelated to these other archetypes, the results for the mortal man accessing even the positive Warrior (the Warrior in his fullness) can be disastrous. As we have said, the Warrior in his pure form is emotionally detached; his transpersonal loyalty radically relativizes the importance of a man’s human relationships. This is apparent in the Warrior’s attitude toward sex. Women, for the Warrior, are not for relating to, for being intimate with. They are for fun.
Being out of touch with the Warrior energy:
If we feel that we are not in touch with the Warrior, we will be possessed by his passive pole. We will be cowardly masochists. We will dream but not be able to act decisively to make our dreams come true. We will lack vigor and be depressed. We will lack the capacity to endure the pain necessary for the accomplishment of any worthwhile goal. If we are in school, we won’t get our assignments done; we won’t get our papers written. If we are in sales and we are assigned a new territory, we’ll sit and stare at the map and the list of all the contacts we need to make and not be able to pick up the phone and start calling. We will look at the task ahead and be defeated before we start. We won’t be able to “leap into battle.” If we are in politics, instead of being able to face the issues and the public concerns “frontally,” we’ll duck and dive, seeking a way out of direct confrontation.
As we do with all of the archetypes described in this book, we all need to ask ourselves in what ways we’re failing to access properly the masculine energy potentials available to us.
Properly Accessing the Warrior Energy:
If we are accessing the Warrior appropriately, we will be energetic, decisive, courageous, enduring, persevering, and loyal to some greater good beyond our own personal gain. At the same time, we need to be leavening the Warrior with the energies of the other mature masculine forms: the King, the Magician, and the Lover. If we are accessing the Warrior in the right way, we will, at the same time that we are “detached,” be warm, compassionate, appreciative, and generative. We will care for ourselves and others. We will fight good fights in order to make the world a better and more fulfilling place for everyone and everything. Our war-making will be for the creation of the new, the just, and the free.
Thoughts and in-depth notes and historical examples regarding the Divine King Archetype, as outlined in the book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover.Read More
Thoughts on playing small vs being bold and playing to win in life.Read More
I’m a bit conflicted today.
I feel as if I’m about to do something that goes against my convictions, and I want to write out my thoughts and see if I can make sense of it.
Recently, I’ve been feeling fucking awful. I’ve been trying to function as “naturally” (without the use of pharmaceutical or supplemental augmentation) as I possibly can and switch back to a natural metabolism. I’ve been doing this in order to bring my body into a more alkaline, healthy, natural state, but it hasn’t been working.
I began vaporizing cannabis sativa recently in an effort to further cleanse, restore, and revitalize all of the tissues in my body, and to freshen my mind’s creative ability.
Although I’ve felt great anti-inflammatory effects from the magical plant, it’s also made me feel very congested (not sure of the mechanism here yet).
This congestion is something I’ve dealt with for most of my life, and the past couple of years it has scared me terribly into thinking that I may suffocate to death.
Last night, while falling asleep, my congestion was absolutely terrible. I could hardly breathe through my nose. At one point, I thought to myself, “Man, if I was in some sort of emergency situation and someone had duct taped my mouth shut, I’d probably die of suffocation because thatis how badly I can’t breathe out of my nose.
When I awoke today, I could barely breathe, my nose was clogged, and my oxygen saturation was at a terribly low 93%. While dreaming, there were periods in time when I would drift completely unconscious due to how low my oxygenation was – this is something that has happened frequently throughout my life. I can vaguely remember it happening when I was a kid.
After waking up, I lay in bed incredibly fatigued. “This is familiar,” I thought to myself.
It got me thinking.
HERE’S THE PROBLEM:
Whatever pathogens in my system are notgetting beaten, as I originally intended.
Instead, they’re gaining dominance and sucking my life force beyond an acceptable level.
I’m not clearing mucus from my system.
My mind has been weak.
My ability to focus has declined, my ability to set goals and follow through with them is almost entirely diminished.
I’ve been scatterbrained, all over the place, failing to respond to people’s texts and messages, failing to remember appointments… the full nine yards.
My heart has been weakening, as has my entire body and all of my organs.
I’m not resetting and purifying and detoxifying my gut – it’s going backwards, actually. Despite consuming massive quantities of glutamine and stuff, I’ve experienced intense food allergies reminiscent of food particles escaping into my blood stream due to gut permeability. I’ve been incredibly inflamed recently, too.
As my digestion has weakened, my body has weakened, too. I can’t digest my food, so I can’t recover from my workouts. As a result, an average workout will leave me sore for many days afterwards – a few years ago, I would have been able to recover from the same workout in a day or two, tops.
I’m not making any gains in the gym – I’m actually falling significantly backwards and losing muscle mass – I’ve lost 10lbs of lean mass since 2016, and all of my lifts have significantly lowered.
My immune system is weakened greatly.
My internal ability to generate heat (thermogenesis) has been weakened to the point where my body isn’t strong enough to spend time in the Pacific Ocean when it’s cold (very bad).
I’m not making significant career moves with my wedding filmmaking business – partially because I don’t have enough energy and focus – and that’s concerning to me.
Ultimately, I’m not making any of the concrete forward progress that I’ve been intending to make in my current timeline. I’m behind. At my current trajectory, all of the things I’ve just mentioned will almost undoubtedly get worseas I continue to move forward into the future, doing everything I’m doing now.
I’ve been filled with anxiety. I’ve been filled with confusion and pain. I feel like I’m living at 5% of my total capacity right now, and I do not like it.
One thing could change all of this. There’s one lead domino.
I have an unopened vial out in my desk. It’s almost two years old, but it’s airsealed and has been kept in a cool, dark place. I’m not even sure if it’s good anymore.
I’ve thought about using it prior to now, but it’s been so old.
Up until now, I feel like I’ve made so much forward progress that it would be a step backwards to use it again.
But what other choice do I have?
A voice in the back of my head tells me, “Trust in God, don’t use the testosterone.”
I like that idea. I really do. I like the idea that the Lord would support me in my frailty if I continued on the path that I’m on. But I REALLY don’t like the idea of further falling into frailty.
I want to gain an extremely strong footing in this life. I want to be a rock, for myself and others! I want to be a rock spiritually, physically, financially, emotionally, and personally. I want to be grounded in my ability to physically, mentally, and emotionally persevere. I want to be the strongest human I can be. I want my cup to runneth over, for the benefit of everyone around me.
And while I’m in this continually weakening state, I feel like I have almost nothing to give. I do not like it.
“Go use the testosterone,” you might think to yourself.
Here’s the thing: if I use the testosterone right now, I don’t want to fall into the same patterns that I’ve had in the past. Testosterone is a POWERFUL hormone, and it has historically influenced my decision making process towards an overly-consumptive, ego-driven, self-centered approach towards life. In the past, it’s strengthened the immaturity within my character.
I don’t want it to do that this time. I don’t want to slip into the same ego-gratifying patterns that the testosterone boost has pushed me into in the past. I want to continue developing spiritually, so I recognize I need to be very intentional about using my testosterone vial.
So, here are my intentions:
1. I will use testosterone to support the healing of my body. I will first and foremost specifically use the powerful increase in my metabolism to support a shift towards ketosis, to generate increased amounts of internal heat, and to increase my digestion so that I can eliminate any pathogens that may be hiding within my digestive tract.
2. I will use testosterone to support the development of my career.I am at a pivotal moment in time right now with my wedding filmmaking – a make-or-break point, if you will. There is still plenty of time to shoot plenty of wedding films throughout the rest of this year, and to make enough money to spend the upcoming winter months either in A) Australia, enjoying their summer weather down south, or B) Hawaii. This is very, very important for my health, my momentum in life, and for my relationship with my grandmother – I cannot and will not spend another year at her house. The opportune moment to make my massive career leap has come, I’m extremely fortunate to have had this opportunity to create my own career path, and it’s up to me to see it through to full liftoff.
3. I will use testosterone to create abundance in my life, and I will appreciate that abundance and recognize it as the gift from God that it is.
4. I will do my best to stay away from refined carbohydrates, sugars, and other mucous-producing foods during this time. My body may have cravings for sweet potatoes and other sugars, but it’s important to contextualize them – those are, most likely, a response of pathogens dying in my system and needing further sustenance so they can stay alive, and continue sucking from my life force. I CANNOTindulge them. The most ideal mode of functioning moving forward would be a state of nutritional ketosis – by far, this would best support my mitochondria, the generation of new and healthy mitochondria, my brain health, and my longevity. However, it may not be totally realistic. We’ll see.
5. I understand that exogenous testosterone is a crutch, to be sure… but it is also valuable tool. I intend to use it as a tool.I will use the testosterone to “get back on my feet,” so to speak. I will use my increased willpower and motivation from testosterone in order to develop a greater understanding of how to use different tools and methodologies to support health within my body, so that I can eventually completely get off the testosterone once again, and function like a normal, healthy male.
I’ve done this before.
What I Can Expect:
First, I’ll get a surge of energy. All of my muscles and organs will feel vitalized. My mind, my motivation, my linear thought-processing, my drive, my creativity – all of these things will be significantly enhanced.
In the past, when I’ve restarted dosing testosterone, I’ve begun feeling “manic,” in the sense that I get such a burst of creativity and drive that my imagination begins creating scenarios in which I’m influencing the planet with my content, etc.
This isn’t impossible – I believe that I will create content that will massively influence humanity in a positive fashion – however, at this moment in time, it isn’t productive to fixate on those visions and fantasies.
Instead, it’ll be important to breathe, and to continually ask myself: how can I maximize this energy towards my mission of making my body healthy, documenting and sharing my progress, building a solid career, and creating art that lights my soul on fire?
These are the important questions. These are the questions that will allow me to make maximal use of this powerful hormone.
Further, I will also likely have a huge craving for carbohydrates. It’s important to ignore these as best as I can – carbohydrates will not serve my mission. My mission is to become adapted to ketosis so I can reap the full benefits of it. There is a lotto be gained in that regard, and I want to take advantage of this.
If I indulge in carbohydrates, I can almost certainly assure that my mitochondria will not become fully fat-adapted, and I will not be making significant forward progress. I can expect that my gut will grow and become less efficient, too, which is not ideal. I’ve spent a lot of time getting rid of the useless junk in my gut, and I don’t want to go back to adding a lot more to it.
Edit: I stopped writing this blog post because I wasn’t sure where to take it. I made the decision to go back on the testosterone – I’m writing this less than 24 hours later.
Testosterone and “God Mode”
Around 36 hours ago, I reapplied exogenous testosterone for the first time in 2 years.
I was very conflicted before doing so (read my last blog post to see why).
I feel happy with my decision to do it. I think I made the right decision – although there was a voice in the back of my head that was telling me to be patient, allow things to run their course, and not put the T back in my body.
I didn’t listen to that voice. The implications would involve a lot of suffering, and they didn’t make sense to me. So I chose not to listen to it.
Upon applying my testosterone cream, the effects set in within a number of hours.
All of my anxieties melted away, replaced instead by calmness, confidence, and sureness in myself.
My heart palpitations instantly went away. My shortness of breath disappeared.
My muscles began swelling as the full potential of blood flow and strength returned to them.
My mind’s capacities expanded – all of a sudden, I could see much farther into my own future. Almost as if someone had removed a blindfold from my cognitive power, I could once again clearly and precisely extrapolate my actions many months into the future.
I could feel what I interpret as my “magnetic charge” begin to increase. The sheer gravity of my presence around other people felt much stronger and more powerful.
I felt back in the driver’s seat of the super high powered vehicle that is my mind-body-spirit matrix. By reintroducing the testosterone to my system, I’d turned the keys in the ignition.
The engine roared to life.
I’ve been hovering in first and second gear for the past 36 hours.
Testosterone is a fascinating thing, man. Describing it with its clinical definition – as “primary male sex hormone” doesn’t do it justice. It’s the fucking foundational spiritual and molecular component to manhood.
On managing the ego’s disposition towards seeking “godhood”
One remarkable thing frequently happens when I have very high testosterone:
As I look and feel closer to my full potential, I begin seeing visions of myself in the future in what I imagine to be my “full potential,” and my ego becomes huge.
It’s something to be very cautious of.
My intentionality in testosterone usage (which I touched on in my last post) is very important. A big ego isn’t necessarily a bad thing – but when it becomes destructive, it can be a very bad thing.
I’ll write more on this in the future. Just dumping some thoughts for now.
I’m not sure I want to continue using the TRT right now. I haven’t used it in a couple days.
It seems that my body is struggling to detoxify the excess estrogen from the TRT, the thyroid meds I’m on, and my body’s own natural production. I’m feeling pretty soft and not super driven. My detoxification systems have already been super burdened the past several months, but right now they feel especially weak, and I could normally just take uridine and eat a lot more broccoli and garlic in order to take care of the estrogen (no problem), but I’m not going to do that right now because I’m trying out this carnivore diet. It seems so promising.
I am, however, going back to my doctor next week to go refill my TRT prescription. It’s always handy to have on-hand in order to jumpstart my metabolism when things get slow.
I’d rather be at my peak as naturally as possible, instead. But it is good to have on hand.
I’m going to begin this post as vulnerably and truthfully as possible by being very straightforward with you.
Throughout my life, I’ve struggled with depression. Often.
Mental health is notand has never been my forte,ever since I was a little kid.
I’m not cool with feeling depressed, or hopeless, or like I have no shot at living the life of my dreams.
I owe it to myself, my family, my friends, and the world to do as well as I can. I owe it to my little brother.
There are so many things that can help a person deal with feeling depressed and hopeless – meditation, exercise, proper nutrition, good sleep habits, spiritual development, proper connection with other people, and a million other things.
Although all of these things are essential, there’s one thing I’ve been spending a lot of time contemplating something in the past year:
Specifically, properly communicating with others what’s on my heart, and learning how to honor my heart.
I’d like to share a quote with you from a book:
“We aredesire. It is the essence of the human soul, the secret of our existence. Absolutely nothing of human greatness is ever accomplished without it. Not a symphony has been written, a mountain climbed, an injustice fought, or a love sustained apart from desire. Desire fuels our search for the life we prize. Our desire, if we will listen to it, will save us from committing soul=suicide, the sacrifice of our hearts on the altar of “getting by.” The same old thing is not enough. It never will be.
~John Eldridge, The Journey of Desire
My heart is my engine – it drives me. My heart is also the conduit of my soul – it connects me to the people and world around me.
My heart’s interior is defined by the unique dreams and desires that I have, and that I was born with.
I fundamentally believe every single one of usis born with unique dreams and desires within our hearts. I also believe a life dedicated to fulfilling those dreams and desires can be a life verywell-lived.
I’ve experienced this firsthand – many of the times I’ve chased the dreams and desires of my heart have been the times I’ve felt the mostalive, in-flow, and engaged with the world around me!
I LOVE feeling like this. It’s what I live for!
These times of intense flow, passion, and engagement have also been the times I’ve learned the most about myself!
It takes time to discover our unique dreams and desires, but once we do, it’s important that we make a conscious decision to 1. define them, and to 2. honor them.
When we’ve defined our dreams and desires, we become clear about three things:
What we want
Where we’re going
Why we want to go there
For a long time, I didn’t know what my desires were. Over time, and as I exposed myself to different, scary, or challenging experiences, I slowly became clearer and clearer, but they were sort of just floating in my subconscious.
I’m crystal clear. And I’m honoring this clarity and myself by taking massive action.
First, I’m defining them in writing via a simple exercise.
I’m writing about them because it’ll hold me accountable to them, and I’m writing about them because I hope that it may inspire others to develop similar clarity and direction in their own lives.
This writing exercise is very simple, and the goal is this: clearly, concisely, and directly state the desires of your heart.
What do you want?!
Sky’s the limit. Err, actually, mankind is going to space very soon, so there are actually literally zero limits.
This isn’t “What do you want in the context of society?”
It’s not “What do you want within reason?”
No. Be unreasonable.
Allow yourself to be as limitless as possible in this exercise. Be courageous with your heart!In the past, I’ve been cowardly with my heart, and I’ve rarely allowed myself to “be limitless” in my thinking, but I through introspection and the help of wise mentors, I realized that this wasn’t serving me, my life, my purpose, or mankind as a whole.
Write your list, and don’t worry if the desires of your heart change on a daily basis. That’s healthy and totally okay. Writing this list will give you a better sense of who you are, and self knowledge is incredibly valuable, on both a personal and global level.
The list you’re about to read is the direction Iwantto take my life, and by honoring these desires, I’m making the conscious decision to turn up the volume on my life, honor the heart that God intentionally gave me, and do my best to be me, for the sake of myself, my loved ones, and for humanity.
I want to be the healthiest, happiest, most productive and alive version of me that I can be. Period!
I want to become more skillful in amplifying love and truth on a daily basis
I want to become much better at both singing and dancing – I find so much joy and flow in these activities.
I also want to be extremely physically fit, with an impressive shredded physique that’s capable of great feats of strength, agility, and endurance. I want to develop an extremely healthy gut microbiome, and I want a body as free of the toxicity of the modern world as possible. I want to develop an extremely high oxygen saturation of the cells and mitochondria within my body, minimizing my risk for disease and maximizing my performance abilities.
Specifically, I’d like to get to the point where I can do at least 40 push ups on one breath hold using the Wim Hof technique, or hold my breath for 4 minutes continuously.
I also want to develop the strength and endurance necessary to become a competitive Spartan Racer
I want to be capable of running a mile in 5m45s or less, I want to bench press 250lbs, I want to squat at least 350lbs, and I want to deadlift at least 450lbs
I want to practice yoga and martial arts (I’m thinking jiu jitsu and krav maga)
I want to solve the riddle of the mysterious physical health issues I’ve dealt with throughout my life, so that I can use this information to educate others on their own journeys of healing from similar affliction.
I want to heal my heart, mind, and subconscious of the traumas of my childhood and adolescence. I want to reach true peace and reconciliation about the relationship I had with my mother. I want to dive deep into the scarier memories of that relationship, and therapeutically work to heal them.
Upon developing such a high level of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, I want to do my part to coach students that desperately and earnestly want to learn to improve themselves, too.
I want to develop my communication skills, and come to an appreciation of the true power of my voice! I want to hone and develop my rhetoric and public speaking abilities so that I can express myself as clearly, truthfully, and persuasively as possible. I want to use the power of my voice to create positive order in the world wherever possible, to increase the health of our planet, and to similarly heal and inspire people.
I want to live an adrenaline-filled life chock full of action and adventure. I want to get skydive certified and jump out of airplanes. I want to fly in more helicopters, surf more epic waves, and attract incredible opportunities to do epic things into my life. Furthermore, I want to develop the social influence necessary to become one of the most sought after photographers/filmmakers/content creators in the world, paid to produce the content that Iwant to produce! I want to partner with brands like McLaren, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Ducati, Tesla, Space X, H&K, Sig Sauer, Devolro, athletic apparel companies, destination resort companies, helicopter tour companies, skydiving companies, Formula 1 racing groups, and more.
I want to produce the most epic photo and video content around these subjects, so that I can inspire others to believe that it’s possible to live and adventurous life as a real-life action hero! I want to be soactively engaged in creative projects that excite me that I actually forget to eat food or go to sleep at night!
I want to create a clothing company that manufactures high quality, super cool, mission-driven athletic apparel. I want to use my skills in branding, social media marketing, networking, and communication to make this brand a success, and I want a portion of our profits to go towards measurable social good.
Specifically, we manufacture activewear with an emphasis on superhero themes, as well as classy, minimalist, high quality design elements. Camo is a must, too. White camo, Black camo, grey camo, blue camo, etc… and in epic digital camo variations.
I want the social influence necessary to be able to create opportunities for my friends to similarly share their gifts with the world, and to be compensated in return.
I want coastal properties in Hawaii and North County San Diego that I can share with my friends, and whomever I choose to creatively collaborate with. I want these to be sacred spaces for contemplation, creation, and connection.
I want to be surrounded by an awesome and powerful tribe of highlycreative ad skilled people that are similarly committed to bettering themselves, supporting one another, and using their gifts to better humanity. I want to build incredible things with them, explore the sacred sites of the world with them, uncover and expose global corruption with them, and I want to make the most epic videos, movies, and content possible with them.
Last, but certainly not least, I want a relationship with a woman that is similarly committed to courageously developing herself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I want to attract a woman in my life that, like me, is of course super nerdy. I also want her to be beautiful, intelligent, athletic, and passionate about the wellbeing of mankind and planet Earth. I want to be able to run through jungles, climb mountains, wade through rivers, and jump off cliffs with her around – and I want to make movies with her about all of it! I want a relationship with her that will create a powerful upward spiral in our lives, and is centered on relentless improvement of ever aspect of our being! I want a woman that is acutely aware of my capacity to be heroic, and will push me and hold me to this high standard. Perhaps this woman is already in my life, or perhaps I’ve yet to find her… time will tell.
Also… I want to go to fucking space.Yup. That’s a big one. I want to travel to space, and potentially even visit other planets in our solar system once we’ve developed the technology necessary to do so. I definitely want to visit the moon, and maybe even mars.
Whew. There we go. That’s my list. Pretty extreme. It’s liable to change. Who knows… a year from now, I might have hair past my shoulders, a robe, and membership in a buddhist temple somewhere in Nepal… but it’s unlikely. I’ll most likely be jumping out of an airplane instead.
I encourage you to write your own. Seriously… do it. Get clear on what you want.There are no limits. Don’t be reasonable or rational in your dreaming or desiring.
After all, clinical psychology reveals to us that joy and happiness aren’t necessarily achieved by attaining goals, but instead in the process of striving towards them.
Write this for you… not necessarily for anyone else. You don’t have to post it online, but you can. I’m choosing to, because I know I’ll love looking back at it someday, and the “public factor” is some nice added motivation for staying on track.
If you feel called to post your desires in the comments, I encourage and ask you to do so. I would love to read through and be inspired by your passion. You can set yourself to anonymous.
The desires within your heart are yoursto honor!
Pay attention to them.
Be honest with yourself about them.
This life you’re living is yourdream.
Live it, baby.
Much love. I wish you all energy, action, good health, and peace.
This past year, I was speaking with one of my friends that had recently picked up a gig as a cinematographer at a big ad agency. We were discussing some fascinating nuances about how the advertising agency is changing, and eventually we got onto the topic of how agencies are embracing working with social media influencers.
“It’s so cool for the influencers,” he said. “There are influencers out there getting paid so much money by these agencies.”
“Really? How much are we talking?” I asked.
“It depends on the influencer, but typically they’re paying five to ten thousand dollars per post.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “Are you serious?!” I asked.
“Yeah! I mean if you think about it, it makes sense. Ad agencies are moving past billboards and TV ads and stuff because it just doesn’t make sense anymore and it isn’t cost effective – if you can spend five thousand dollars on an influencer that has several hundred thousand or a million followers, then you’re getting way more bang for your buck as an agency.”
“That’s insane. What an awesome gig for the influencers. I want to do that,” I said.
“I know. Me too. It’s nuts.”
A few months later, I read this article written about a couple of famous social media influencers, @gypsea_lustand @doyoutraveland was similarly astounded by the fact that they can sustain their adventurous lifestyles through Instagram. They even said that they wouldn’t post a photo for a brand unless it was for more than $3,000. How crazy is that?! What an incredible level of abundance – I’d do anything to be able to make that kind of money just for posting a picture on Instagram.
This whole “social media influencer” idea really started to pop out to me. I’ve thought to myself about how I’d be happy to do it. I love traveling, I love creating epic images, and I love sharing with people via social media. I’d love the opportunity to do all the cool, exclusive things that influencers get to do. Sounds awesome. It’s the dream lifestyle I’ve had in mind for years now.
An influential social media presence can also be used to communicate with a large audience, leverage social good, and promote products or ideas that can improve people’s lives (and the world).
In our digital age, social currency is as valuable (if not more) than paper currency, and the opportunity to capitalize and create social capital seems like a damn good investment of my time. One of the best investments possible, in fact.
Still, I’ve had little idea how to actually do it– that is, how to go from having a relatively small-time to the big leagues. That was my question… how on earth did my favorite social media influencers get so huge?!
Sam Kolder, Taylor Cut Films, Jay Alvarrez, Morgan Maassen, etc… how did they do it? Obviously, they each post awesome, quality content. That makes sense. And I know Jay Alvarrez got really big through tumblr, and then continued to explode as he dated supermodel/Instagram Alexis Ren, but I couldn’t imagine how the rest of them got big.
Anyways, I stopped thinking about it.
Until this past September, when I sat on a flight next to a social media influencer.
She’s “small time,” so to speak; she has almost 28,000 followers (I say “small time” because I typically think of people that have millions of followers when I think about the term “influencer”)
Despite having only 28,000 followers, brands reach out to her and pay her to sport their stuff all the time, and she’s turned it into her living.
Curious, and keen to learn how she’d gotten to that point, I asked her for her best tips to get to “influencer status.”
She was more than happy to share her methods. Surprisingly, they were pretty simple!
Her exact methods (plus a few I added that I’ve heard elsewhere) are as follows:
1. Pick a niche and do your best to stick to it.
Her niche could be described as “being an horse-riding babe that looks cute, shoots guns, and rides off into glorious sunsets,” or whatever. On a basic level, I suppose you could describe my desired niche as “classy and badass photographer/filmmaker that does adventurous and action-packed shit with cool people, and also travels the world.”
2. Follow people that follow other influencers in that niche.
So, in her case, she goes onto the pages of other influencers in the equestrian-babe space, clicks to see who’s following them, and then follows those people. By doing following people in the same niche as her targeted influencer, she’s essentially exposing her profile to more people that are likely to find it interesting, and are therefore likely to want to follow her. Very smart. She does this in the thousands. There are bots that will follow people for you, but it allegedly makes you more likely to get banned, as opposed to doing it manually, which is safer.
3. Download an app to track followers/unfollowers.
For example, this free app would work perfectly (it’s the one I’m using).
4. Use the app to track who follows you back and who doesn’t, and then stop following the people that don’t.
The app I listed above will show you who doesn’t follow you back, and it also has the option to bulk-select and unfollow the people that aren’t following you back. Personally, I think this is a very valuable tool. If you’re mass following people in the thousands, you’re gonna want to be able to clean up your feed, and you also don’t really want to look like you’re following thousands of people just to get more followers… that would make your strategy (and the fact that you’re likely to eventually unfollow them) very, very obvious. They probably won’t want to follow you back, as a result.
5. Continue following your new followers for at least a few weeks, at which point it’s safe to unfollow them (if you want to).
It isn’t wise to follow someone, wait till they follow you, and then instantly unfollow them. According to her, it’s important to give it time, otherwise people will just unfollow you instantly as well. If you give it a few weeks, people might not notice. (side note: to me, this feels very manipulative, but there’s a ton to be gained from status as an influencer and it’s really not that big of a deal, so it’s more than worth it, in my opinion)
6. Build relationships with your new followers, and add value to their lives.
Adding tangible value and actually interacting with all these new followers is a great way to get followers for life, but at the end of the day, this is about more than the number of followers I have. This is about adding value to people’s lives! When I started doing this method, a bunch of amateur photographers started sliding into my DMs for photography tips and tricks. I did my best to help them, and I imagine that now, I’ve earned a bit of loyalty and social capital with them, and they’ll probably be stoked that they have an ally that’s a bit further ahead than they are on “the path,” so to speak. That’s awesome!
7. Use relevant hashtags to your niche.
This is pretty self explanatory.
8. Network, collaborate, and create stuff with other relevant influencers.
This is something I’ve observed my friends inadvertently do. A few of my friends are friends with TJ Hunt, the über famous YouTuber, and because they’ve simply made brief appearances in a few of his videos, they’ve gotten thousands upon thousands of new followers. By intentionally collaborating and creating images, videos, and content with other influential content creators you merge your audience with their audience, and vice versa. In another example, I had no idea who Sam Kolder was until I saw content put out by Beautiful Destinations. When I discovered Sam, I instantly started following him. After following Sam for a while, Sam introduced Taylor Cut Films in one of his videos, and I instantly followed him, too! By collaborating with other influencers, it allows you both the chance to give each other a lot of exposure.
9. Post qualitycontent.
This isn’t a hack by any means, and it probably goes without saying, but if people are going to follow you, you need to elevate your content creation game to the highest level you possibly can. Invest your time into learning photography, developing your style, and creating quality content that’s relevant to your specific niche. It takes a lot to stand out on social media nowadays, and it will not pay to have mediocre imagery. Check out some of my other blog posts if you’d like more info on upping your photography game.
10. Post consistent content.
Stick to your look, style, and niche as best as possible. If your work is dark and moody, like Sam Kolder, stick with that! People will know what they’re getting. If your work is bright and airy, stick with that, too!
11. Post on a regular basis.
According to my new friend, the equestrian-babe influencer, posting regularly can have a huge impact on the amount of engagement you get on your posts. You want to stay top-of-mind, so that you’re relevant and so that people are talking about you and bringing you up in conversation with their friends. If you post once a month (or even just once a week), you’ll become basically irrelevant to all the new followers you’ve earned!
12. Consider sharing your story and letting people in on your life.
My friend also mentioned that people love to hear about her journey, her stories, what’s going on with her horses, and what’s going on in her life in general. I can definitely confirm this in my own experience, too! When I’m sharing my goals, my aspirations, and my vulnerable side, people feel much more connected to me and my story. That’s huge! I know from personal experience that I love discovering more about my personal heroes, what their lives are like, what their dreams are, etc.
Again, our intention here isn’t just to get a bunch of followers so we have an impressive looking number on our profile. Our goal (or my goal, at least) is to connect with more people, more experiences, and more opportunities to grow and discover what life has to offer.
As of recently, I’ve been exploring all sorts of methods diving deeper into growing my photography/cinematography/filmmaking brand and presence online. I also saw that Jay Alvarrez literally just purchased a home on the North Shore of Hawaii (at, what, 22 years old?), and considering that being an influencer is like, his sole source of income, that was pretty much the last straw for me.
I had some free time while traveling from Utah to California today, so I decided I’d try these methods.
They seem to work.
Here’s what I did:
I went onto the instagram accounts for @samkolder, @taylorcutfilms, @jayalvarrez, and @arniewatkins (four huge influencers that are operating in the same space I want to fill), and I followed almost 800 of their most recent followers.
In the past 8 hours, I’ve gained over 100 followers from those 800 people I followed.
Pretty awesome results.
I expect that as more of them re-open their instagram app and discover that I followed them, more of them will follow me. Cool! For the ones that don’t follow me, no worries, I’ll just bulk-unfollow them later using this app I described earlier.
At this rate, for every 8,000 people I follow from those four niche-specific accounts, I’m estimating I should get about 1,000 followers.
At this rate, if I spent 45 minutes on a daily basis to follow about 800 people, I could theoretically have 1,000 new followers within ten days, or 3,000 new followers within 30 days, etc.
Plus, as I gain more followers and post more cool content, I’m sure it’ll have a snowball effect, and more people will discover my account from the increased exposure I’ve earned.
It’ll take a lot of time, and it’s a process, but in my mind, it’s definitely worth it. Like anything, it all comes down to repetitions. Small, daily, consistent action taken over long periods of time. It’ll add up.
Edit: I stopped the follow/unfollow technique after about a month or so cause I felt guilty. My feed was extremely lit during that time frame though and I did gain about 700 followers from the method, though, so that’s cool.
I won’t judge you if you do it. It’s useful.
So, I’ve reached the end of my 30 day blogging challenge through Praxis.
It’s a brilliant challenge, and the core of the Praxis curriculum in month 2 of its professional bootcamp. It’s designed to help Praxians become better writers, develop their thoughts with clarity, and create the foundations of a valuable digital paper trail with a basis in honesty and authenticity. There are a number of serious practical advantages to this:
After a month, I’m far more comfortable writing than when I began the challenge. Writing can be a scary thing. Writing about personal things is even scarier. I feel pretty comfortable with it all, now.
I now have even more evidence that I can deliver on interesting, valuable projects. Blogging for 30 days is hard. Valuably blogging for 30 days? Even harder. Completion of this project and creation of valuable content says a lot about a person.
I’ve developed a far deeper framework for my personal brand. After spending about 10 minutes visiting my blog, a total stranger can gain a damn good idea of my interests, values, and personality. As a creative type with ambitious professional goals, specificity in my interests and activities has far-reaching benefits. There are seven billion people in the world, the majority of whom are connected via the internet. Developing a deeper framework for my brand increases the chances of meaningfully connecting with like-minded people that have similar values, interests, and goals.
As you can see, my most recent post on a breakup and what it did to me was my most successful… it had almost a thousand hits in a day, far more than any of my others throughout the past month. Also, my least popular post was my reflection on my first week of blogging. I think that’s funny (it was a waste of a post… I needed something to write about that night).
It’s been a journey – by working hard at openly and honestly sharing with others, I’ve had a challenging and rewarding month. Here are more specifics on what I’ve learned and gained through the process:
I worked hard at being truthful and authentic in my writing. As a result, I’ve identified the roots of a truthful and authentic voice within myself. This is deeply liberating.
People need more authentic and honest communication. The outpouring of support I received throughout this process was mindblowing. I deeply feared putting a few of my posts out there, and after publishing them, the number of people that went out of their way to let me know that my words really resonated was so heartwarming. I intend to continue writing from the heart.
If you’re being truly, brutally honest in your writing and your thoughts, you will polarize people. Your words will sting some of your readers, and they’ll resonate deeply with others. This is good. Human beings grow through challenges. Writing openly and honestly about personal topics gave me the chance to connect deeply with people. I was even reduced to tears after writing a post one night. Overall, It’s been a cathartic, emotional, spiritual, enlivening process. Who knew smashing away at keys on a keyboard could be so exhilarating?
People really like it when you write honestly and openly about relationships with the opposite sex. This post (on a breakup and what it did to me), and this post (on why girls cheat and what to do about it) were my two most popular posts this month, by far. None of my other posts even come close. I think that’s interesting.
If you’re writing to provide your readers with value, speaking from personal experience (particularly personal experience that’s close to the heart) often hits home for readers. This seems to be universally true for myself and for my fellow Praxis participants who have also undergone this month-long challenge.
Trying to provide serious value using the technique in #4, every single day, for thirty days straight, is an emotionally and mentally draining activity. For me, it’s important to know when to retreat, and when to aggressively move forward. There were days throughout this month where I just did not have the emotional and mental capacity to write a truly valuable blog post (in my mind they wouldn’t have been truly valuable). As a result, I failed to reach my initial goal of 30 blog posts. That sucked. On the bright side, by allowing myself a few nights to mentally recuperate, I gained the clarity necessary to produce some of my best work in the days following.
Let’s be real, sharing intimate details of your life can be scary. as. fuck. In the beginning of this challenge, I really struggled to do it. My ego was a huge barrier to overcome. I naturally don’t want to share my struggles, or that I’m struggling. I don’t like giving an indication that I don’t have my shit together, despite it being totally normal and a very human quality. Human beings naturally try to save face. There is a way to overcome it though, which brings me to my next point.
I believe that our struggles are gifts, and the process of sharing those struggles becomes far easier when we’re human enough to admit them, and generous enough to share how we overcame them. As TK Coleman recently shared with us, the intimate details, experiences, and trials that we experience are what make us unique, interesting, and valuable as individuals. Without trials and tribulations, without struggles, without successes, and without drama… we’d be boring and we wouldn’t have stories to tell. Those stories deserve to see the light of day. Those stories can be our gifts to those around us.
By openly sharing our struggles & triumphs over those struggles, we encourage people to “come out of the woodwork,” and reach out to us. Candid and honest blogging has connected me with people I never I’d be connected with, and I’ve been fortunate to form extremely close and honest bonds as a result. How incredible is that?!
Regarding post analytics: I publicized all of my posts on facebook, but the posts that I didn’t publicize on Instagram and Twitter tended to do the worst. When I posted stuff to my instagram story, and shared stuff to my twitter, they tended to do better. This is obvious but interesting, nonetheless.
I’m not done blogging. It’s 11pm as I write these – tomorrow at 6am I’m waking up to begin a two day long drive to Charleston, South Carolina. I’m moving to Charleston for my job with Praxis. The process will take the next few days, so I won’t be writing much in the very near future, but I have a hell of a lot more writing I’d like to do. This has been fun. Thanks for following along. I’m stoked to continue this journey. Much love.
In the Spring of 2014, I fell for her.
She was a foreign exchange student at my school, Santa Barbara City College. She was brilliant, confident, mysterious, and drop dead gorgeous. Tall, blonde, in fantastic shape, and with these piercing, bright blue eyes. I think the best part were wide pupils, deep pupils – they had the power to make a guy feel like he was the only thing that mattered on the planet. It was intoxicating.
She also happened to be from Denmark, and her time in the US was limited. Very limited. Regardless, we began dating.
After dating for a few months, we fell madly in love. The entire time it was happening, we both knew it was a huge mistake – she was leaving soon, we’d be split up, and a long distance relationship was absolutely not an option. Copenhagen, her hometown, is a world away from Santa Barbara.
In the time before she left, we grew closer than I imagined possible, and closer than I intended. On the day we were sitting in the LAX airport together, 20 minutes before her flight, holding each other’s hands and trying to block the pain of separation out of our minds, I told her I loved her for the first time – I couldn’t let her board the plane without her knowing. I loved her too much to keep that truth inside my heart – even if we couldn’t be together, I wouldn’t let her go without telling her exactly how I felt.
She said the same. It was the first time we’d told each other, and at that point, we were pretty much totally screwed. This all happened about 20 minutes before she was to board her flight.
Separating from each other became a whole lot harder.
She flew home. We kept talking, FaceTiming each other every day. It got more and more difficult as the days passed. The entire time, a question asked to me months prior kept bouncing around inside of my head:
“If a doctor told you you’d be dead in 90 seconds, what would you immediately wish you had done?”
I knew exactly what the answer to that question was. If I were to die, I’d have wished I could hold her in my arms, kiss her, and tell her I loved her one last time (in addition to telling the same to my family and friends, of course).
I looked in my savings account, and I had a little over $2k saved. I asked her what she thought about the idea of me flying out to spend some time with her. With her eyes wide, she said, “You should totally do it. You can live with my family and I for a month, and go on vacation with us. We’ll take care of you and everything.”
I called my boss, quit my job, and was on a flight to Copenhagen a week and a half later.
I arrived June 29th, 2013, and stayed until July 31st. I grew close to her wonderful family and friends. We explored Copenhagen and the Spanish Island of Mallorca together. Our love deepened more than I thought possible in such a short span of time. On my deathbed, when I’m visualizing my life’s highlight reel, July of 2014 was easily stand out as one of the best months of my life.
It came to an abrupt end when I had to fly back to California at the end of July.
We agreed to break up. Remember the distance between Copenhagen and Santa Barbara?
The heartbreak was worse than I could possibly imagine, and the feelings of frustration and inadequacy were even worse.
I was powerless to be with someone I loved. No matter how badly I wanted our sweet relationship to survive, it couldn’t, and it wouldn’t. If we were to see each other again, it wouldn’t be for a long, long time. I simply couldn’t afford it. It severely painful for both of us – her heart was broken, and mine was, too. Knowing her heart was broken because we simply couldn’t afford to be with each other made mine break even harder. Hearing her describe her difficult healing process cut me deeply… “If only I could hold her in my arms,” I thought.
I felt powerless and totally inadequate. I had a total lack of control over the situation, and a complete inability to be with the person I loved. Having accepted the situation, she slowly move on with her life, as any person should do, and eventually began speaking with other boys.
I tried not to watch, but I witnessed snippets of the process from afar. A picture here or there. A snapchat. The experience sparked an inferno within me. and I silently grew furiously and indescribably angry…
Angry at no one other than myself.
The anger still exists within me. Anger is a powerful emotion that can be used for enormous productivity and motivation. I took it out in the gym, initially… my workouts after our breakup were among the angriest and most aggressive in my life. Although it helped me blow off steam, it wasn’t enough.
I needed a plan of action. I never wanted to be in a similar situation ever again. I have a tendency to fall for foreign girls, so I needed to make some serious moves.
I knew I needed to begin making money, and I knew I needed to take my passion for photography to the next level in order to be able to do it. I enrolled in Brooks Institute a few months later, one of the best photography schools in the world (and thus began my journey with professional photography to a far higher level). The rest is history.
The experience crystallized a goal, and a non-negotiable standard by which I hold myself to.
Until I can afford to be anywhere in the world at nearly any given moment, I refuse to fall in love again (not an easy task).
This is both a necessary and realistic standard.
I will not subject my heart, nor another girl’s heart, to another breakup of cataclysmic proportions.
So, how do I reach that standard?
By developing a valuable skill-set, attaining a well-paying job, and earning flexibility over one’s own hours and location. Each are necessary components in order to achieve this goal.
So, this is exactly what I’m striving towards. I’m far closer than I imagined I’d be by 21 years old, and I gotta tell you… it feels really, really good. The process has required sacrifice and discipline. The heartbreak was excruciatingly painful, but immensely valuable. I’m grateful for the powerful personal development it catalyzed.
Love is a powerful emotion. Anger? Just as powerful.
Here’s to heartbreak, pain, and the growth that arises as a result of both. What blessings they can be.
My father always pushed me in sports growing up. It wasn’t because he was a dad that needed to live vicariously and find validation through his son’s achievements… he had a far deeper purpose. Sometimes I hated it all, personally. I wasn’t very good at most of the sports that I did, and this frustrated me. In my barely-developed child brain, my measurement of “being good” was whether or not I could score goals. I often thought that my dad measured me by whether or not I could score goals – I thought he’d be disappointed if I wasn’t really good.
Not only was I wrong – there was so much more to it than that.
In basketball, I sucked. I rarely scored points. In hockey and soccer, I sucked. I culdn’t score goals. In Cross Country, I sucked – I wasn’t quite fast enough to win any serious medals. Same thing with Track and Field. I had athletic ability… but with each failed attempt, my ego was continually battered, more and more. I continually lost passion for the idea of athletic pursuits. Yeah, it was fun, but what was the point of it all if I couldn’t score?
My dad saw it. I didn’t. So he kept pushing me.
One sport in which he relentlessly pushed me was skiing. This was when it first truly clicked.
By nine or ten years old, my family had taken me skiing four years in a row. On one particularly brutally windy and snowy day, my dad declared we were taking the highest, hardest lift on our mountain – Ninety Nine Ninety at the Canyons ski resort in Park City, Utah. I thought maybe we’d be skiing a black run. “I can do this,” I thought to myself. “I’ve done this plenty of times before. Piece of cake.”
We rode the lift up. It shuddered in the wind, snow beating violently against our faces. This was some of the most intense weather we’d had all season. When we got to the top of the lift, he declared we would not, in fact, be taking a black diamond. Instead, we would be skiing Charlie Brown, one of the most difficult double black diamonds in the entire ski resort.
I couldn’t believe it. I was terrified. Initially, I wanted to protest, but I knew that would be such a weak move, and this was my dad – I didn’t want to look like a total pussy in front of my dad. Rather than let me complain about it, or stand around deliberating, coming up with excuses, he simply told me “let’s go!”, clicked his ski boots tight, and pushed forward. Moments later, he was 10 yards past me, and I could hardly see him anymore in the thick blizzard.
I pushed with my poles to keep up. I’d never been on this side of the lift before. In front of me, I saw my dad – he was carefully poling forward, across a steep, narrow ridge. I shuddered with fear – there was a very, very steep drop on both sides, the wind was howling harder than ever, and I probably didn’t even weigh 90 pounds. Nonetheless, he didn’t stop. My only choice was to move forward.
Eventually, we came to a stop. We were at the edge of the ridge, and above us was a sign that read “Charlie Brown” with two black diamonds next to it. My dad told me I could go first. I looked down, and couldn’t believe my eyes; in order to even begin the run, I’d need to drop into a frighteningly steep angle into a thick crowd of trees, with little room to maneuver and turn.
I spent a solid five minutes at the top. He patiently waited. The only move to be made was… drumroll please… forward.
So I did it. I did it with him. I did more than I thought possible. We made our way down the run, slowly, and surely. Each turn I made, he was just a few turns behind me, there to bail me out if I messed up.
Eventually, we finished.
The feeling I had was indescribable. I had committed a bold act of bravery, and even more: my dad was there to see it, to witness it, and to validate it. At ten years old, I was a conqueror. I had mastered nature with my skis, yet more importantly, I had mastered the fear inside of me.
I was addicted. We went back up the same lift several times over that day, experimenting with many of the other double blacks on the mountain. I grew more and more confident with each run.
When I came back to my elementary school, I was beaming with pride. In my mind, I had successfully done something few adults had the bravery to do. I was beaming with confidence. No one could take the experience away from me. More than that, it elevated the energy and vibration that I brought back to school with me. My friends were all amazed with the stories I brought back from the mountain. Of course, this was in Arizona – had I been raised in a mountain town, I would have needed to be doing backflips and 360s off of huge jumps in order to be considered impressive at ten years old. Fortunately, my ego was blissfully unaware.
However, the lesson had been made: I was capable of more than I thought possible. My limitations existed solely in my mind. The process of conquering nature through determination, athletic prowess, and skill is immensely rewarding. I found something that I was good at, and developed a swagger.
When we moved to California, the swagger grew. He pushed me to join the Junior Lifeguard program, which I also was initially terrified of. I found solace in my own athletic ability to overcome nature, once again. In Junior Lifeguards, I learned how to surf, I learned lifeguarding rescue techniques, and I learned how to swim in rough ocean conditions.
It was pretty scary, at first. One week during the program, we had to contend with five foot waves. Have you ever seen a five foot wave, up close and personal, when you haven’t had much experience with the ocean before? It’s a sight to behold, and a force to be reckoned with.
Yet soon I realized that I had strength, and speed, and I could in fact powerfully overtake waves. My body transformed from a lame, 11 year old boy’s body into a powerful tool I could use to glide and cut through the water with swift precision. I became obsessed, and soon I was one of the fastest, most-able kids in my junior lifeguarding groups.
Through constantly pushing me, my dad planted and slowly grew a seed within me. That seed grew into a vibrant vine of of life and strength within my soul, a source which I could tend to at any time. How? By pushing myself, and my limits, and testing myself physically.
He never pushed me in sports so that I could find a sport I was good at, just so I could score a bunch of goals. He pushed me until I found arenas in which I could develop my own self confidence.
Between skiing and junior lifeguards, that’s exactly what happened: I was in an environment in which I could develop serious confidence in myself. It wasn’t really about scoring goals anymore. It wasn’t about being better than others – these things didn’t matter. What mattered was that I had been pushed to do things I was fearful of, and upon doing them, I overcame them and rapidly grew into a far better version of myself. I eventually cultivated and developed skills that the vast majority of my peers didn’t have – hell, most adults couldn’t ride the slopes or waves I was conquering at 12 years old! By overcoming my fears (with the integral help of my dad), I had grown to be able to do things that others cannot and will not do. In a sense, these abilities felt like superpowers.
I changed, mentally and physically. I approached social interactions differently. I spoke to girls differently. I approached all of life as a whole differently. I had proven myself, time and time again, against mother nature, but most importantly… against myself. Overcoming myself has been massively empowering.
It’s all been possible through my Dad. I’m very grateful. I’ll be paying it forward with my own kids, someday. Everyone deserves to be pushed like this, and to discover their depths.
I’m gonna go call my dad and tell him I love him.
Over the years, it has slowly become one of my all-time favorite four-letter words. The other one is “Pain.”
I’ve already written about pain, discussing its place as one of my favorite tools for growth.
Fear is my other favorite tool. I won’t be so bold as to claim that I conquer all my fears. The reason why fear is my other favorite tool is because it always points true north. I’ll explain that in a bit.
I’ve seen fear cripple great people who have chosen to submit to it. I’ve seen it destroy the dreams of dreamers, silence would-be heroes, and stifle passion and love in the hearts of the truly passionate. I’ve seen it turn those with great potential – potential toinspire and change the world – into pitiful cowards. I’ve seen it destroy lives and hurt people immeasurably.
I’ve been there myself, on many occasions. It’s something I struggle with daily. It’s also something I’m actively choose to overcome.
This is how I’ll proceed.
The first step to overcoming fear: admitand ownyour fear.
“Okay, that’s great, Chase. You can talk the talk, why don’t you walk the walk? Admit your fears.”
Fine. I will.
I’m terrified to move across the country at the end of this month. I’m moving to Charleston, South Carolina to pursue furthering my job with Praxis. I’ve never done anything like this – moving from California to Arizona for my work with Joel Grimes was a piece of cake – I used to live in AZ, and one of my best friends lives there. I’m not super close with anyone on the East Coast. For all intents and purposes, I’m moving 3,000 miles across the country, straight into the unknown.
I’m afraid to continue writing these blog posts. The stuff I’ve written has been valuable, but easy. I haven’t been diving into the nitty gritty details that I said I would… the important stuff that requires me to reveal the things I’m ashamed of, the things I try avoiding on a daily basis. The deeply dark history in my family, as well as my own struggles with pride, ego, cowardice, and health issues I’ve dealt with that have caused me shame over the years.
I’m afraid to finish my Quotes Worth Considering series. Like my above point, it requires me to delve deep, to commit my thoughts to the camera/microphone, and to own the fact that I haven’t done it on a reasonable timeline, the timeline I initially wanted to.
As silly as it sounds, I’m even fearful of doing something I’ve wanted to do far more than photography – creative and communicative filmmaking. I’ve been a total coward, and haven’t followed through on releasing any of the many films I’ve started and never finished in the past few years. I’m working on it.
I admit it – I haven’t been man enough to face these things.
The second step to overcoming fear: Identifying the value of what truly lies in the unknown…
Truth is the thing that we’re most afraid of. The critical factor.
Truth reveals us for what we really are, as opposed to what we make ourselves out to be.
The fact of the matter is that by actively choosing to deprive ourselves and those around us from truth, we serve no one – not even ourselves. By choosing to embrace our fears and our most authentic selves, we open up the opportunity for connection with compassionate individuals that will help us and support us in embracing our fears. What a beautiful process!
The truth does indeed set us free. To live our lives as our most authentic selves, operating from a place of love, compassion, and courage… this is a life well-lived. It’s something to be proud of.
The third step in overcoming fear: Action.
I’m taking a stand against my fears.
I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees. I’m making a commitment to set my ego aside, and to move forward while operating from that place of love, courage, and truth, and to be as forthcoming as I can in my creation from here on out. I’m tackling the fears I listed above head on. Rather than telling you how I’m going to do it… I’m just going to show you. Walk the walk… don’t talk the talk.
Here’s my first step: Let me tell you exactly why overcoming fear is so important to me.
My mother? She killed herself when I was 16, because she couldn’t face the reality she’d allowed to happen in her life. She chose fear, not truth. She ran.
My biological father? He has a family – a family that literally doesn’t know I exist, because he refuses to admit had an affair, and that’s how I was created. He’s choosing fear, not truth. He’s running.
I am deeply, deeply ashamed of these truths… but they are a part of my story.
Those choices are their own. Both of them have deeply wounded their loved ones as a result of their actions. I am their son, and because of their inherent inability to overcome their own fears, I almost feel destined to do the same.
I will not choose fear.
I choose to be the antithesis of their destructive actions.
I will choose truth, love, and courage, the tools my true Father has blessed me with. I will walk continue walking forward, boldly and assuredly, alongside Him.
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
– Psalm 27:1
This post is my sixth post in a month of blogging that I’m doing, as an exercise in my Praxis curriculum. It’s an exercise designed to push me as a writer and a thinker, to help me get beyond my fear of shipping content, and to begin developing content that’s true to me as a person.
Hey. This is a post for guys, for clarity on relationships with women, and I am not going to waste time tip-toeing or being politically correct. This post is from a man’s perspective, for other men, about a topic that I’m deeply concerned about because I hate seeing my friends’ hearts broken.
I’ve spent countless hours on the phone with a friend of mine in the past few months. He recently had his heart absolutely destroyed by a girl he’s been in a committed relationship with for a very long time. These two loved each other deeply, and swore that they’d be together always. She recently decided to enroll in a college in another state, and the two were left with a decision: to break up, or not to break up. A funny thing happened.
A week after she went away to college, all of a sudden she declared that they needed to break up, and that she needed to “go find herself.” Guess what happened? She had started having sex with another dude almost instantaneously – in less than a week! And she wanted out of her relationship with my friend. And that’s her choice. She can do whatever she wants. It’s a reflection of her, but it’s a reflection of my friend, as well.
In fact, this pattern of girls cheating on their boyfriends was one of the most common things I saw when I was in college in Santa Barbara. My friends and I would go out to parties, and I’d see countless girls cheat on their boyfriends. An attractive boy would hit on a girl, and give them the feels, and the next thing I knew I’d see the girl being led away into a bedroom or a bathroom to go do their thing. It was disturbing. It completely ruined my view of committed relationships.
I’ve seen wives cheat on husbands – “Christian” wives, even! How crazy is that?! I’ve literally witnessed the mother of a friend of mine cheat on her husband with a ripped young man in a parking lot late at night. I know supposedly “Christian” women that have had affairs on their husbands.
Of course, it goes both ways; guys cheat as well. I’m not discounting that. It’s just as common. But that’s not what I’m concerned with at the moment. I’d like to take a closer look at why women tend to cheat on men, and what we can do to stop it from happening to us.
Here’s a truth, an undeniable principle of life: if, as a man, you put a woman above all of your other priorities in life, you just began a timer on a ticking time bomb in your relationship. It is literally only a matter of timebefore she loses interest in you, leaves you, or (God forbid) cheats on you (Not all women will leave their partners, or cheat on them… but you can be certain that he won’t be getting laid… not until he attracts her again.)
Read that again, and read it very carefully. No, I did not write “if you make a woman a priority in your life…”
I wrote “if you put a woman above all of your other priorities in life…”
Women deserve to be priorities in our lives. They deserve our attention, and our love, and our adoration, just like we deserve theirs. This is the natural way things work, and it’s certainly the way God intended it.
But they are not meant to be the focal point.
I’ve seen studs, total alphas, guys on top of their shit and seemingly untouchable, get cheated on.
Cause here’s the truth about our world: People cheat on the partners. A lot. A fucking lot. There is almost zero emphasis in our society on the value of commitment, perseverance, and dedication in relationships.
Human beings have primal urges, and just like men are undoubtedly attracted to women with wide hips, big breasts, and any number of other traits, women are biologically hardwired to find (and fuck) alpha men. It’s simply in our DNA. We’re hardwired to seek certain traits in a mate. Women do not want lovers that are weak, powerless, and passive doormats. Why would they? Women want confident, dominant, focused men, men that are on top of their shit, alive, and full of passion on a daily basis. Men that do not care about what others think, men who are ready to embrace life’s challenges. Men that have testosterone and passion practically leaking from their pores.
We have this weird, screwed up societal narrative that women are attracted to nice guys who simply treat them well and will do anything to save their beloved damsel in distress. No, this is a lie – in fact, it’s total bullshit. Couldn’t be less true. Is it good to be chivalrous? Absolutely, that’s awesome. But there’s more to attraction than simply kind intentions.
For a man to be in a place like that, he needs a mission. He needs to be drawn towards something that occupies his attention, makes him feel alive, and helps him tap into the endlessly passionate energy that exists deep within him. It’s very easy to tell when a man is connected to his mission and purpose. They’re hard to find in this world, and they’re incredibly easy to identify, because they stand out like a fire in the night.
And when women find men like that, they’re often magnetically drawn. It’s an amazing thing to watch. It’s so predictable, and it’s a beautiful sight to behold.
In fact, men are often in this state when they end up finding a woman and falling in love with that woman.
After that point, one of two things happens:
The woman slowly becomes the focal point in that man’s life, because she unfortunately provides a stronger attraction than whatever it is that the man’s into
A healthy relationship ensues, because the woman’s met a man who is so totally committed to his journey, that he’s simply bringing her along. She isn’t the journey, she’s just a part of it.
Let’s go back to my original example, my friend. When he met this girl, he was a stud that was in touch with the things he was passionate about, he didn’t give a shit about anyone’s opinion of him, and he was the man. The funny, charismatic guy that was often the center of attention. This is obviously deeply attractive, and these traits attracted his girlfriend. However, as time went on, he slowly lost touch with those things that he was passionate about (part of this is because his life circumstances changed, outside of his control), and he became more and more focused on their relationship with each other. In this process, crucial and attractive elements of his personality slowly faded away. Soon, their relationship was the thing that made him feel alive – not the other things in his life. And then the relationship was doomed.
I’d like to insert a couple quotes here, from the book The Rational Male, by Rollo Tomassi. There’s some seriously powerful truth and wisdom to be found here:
“Women should only ever be a compliment to a man’s life – never the focus of it… this is a position that most women will find endearing at first, but suffocating in the end.”
“Women want to ‘want’ their men. Women want a Man who other men want to be, and other women want to fuck. She doesn’t want a slave to her intimacy since this puts her in the masculine role. Rather, she wants a decisive mature man who has the confidence to put her off, to tell her ‘No’, in favor of his ambition and passions, as this serves two purposes. First, it sets his frame and his direction as the one of authority, and his development as the primary; the results of which she and her potential children will benefit from. Secondly, it puts her into a position of chasing after him – essentially his legitimate ambitions and passions become the ‘other woman’ with which she must compete for his attention.
A man should never make a woman the central focal point in his life, just like a woman should never make her man the central focal point in her life. That’s far too much pressure to put on a relationship. It’s unhealthy. Focus on your own goals, the things that make you want to wake up in the morning. Focus on serving other people and making the world a better place. Focus on bettering yourself as a person, as much as you can. If you’re into it, make room for God and His love in your life. These things are insanely attractive features, when properly implemented.
If you have a romantic partner, take them along with you on this journey. Don’t make them the journey. So let me ask you, my friend… have you been making her your journey? I certainly hope not. Continue to love her, and keep her by your side. Keep your priorities straight. Take her along on your journey… don’t make her thejourney.
Spring of 2015.
It was in this season that I found my way back to Christ (It’s a story I’ll tell later. I’m spending a lot of time praying and consulting with the Lord and my friends regarding how I tell the story). Regardless, despite having found my way back to Christ, the battle for my heart was not entirely won – in fact, it’s a battle still being fought. I’ve come a longway, though… the kid I was when I started college had a very different heart compared to the person writing these words right now.
In the past year and a half, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to guard my heart from the forces that threaten my faith on a daily basis. I know and understand Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, and I’ve tried to fortify my own mental stronghold within the Lord.
It’s been a really difficult battle to fight. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to be a Christian guy in Santa Barbara? Try balancing a healthy relationship with the Lord with an insanely high sex drive, an environment filled to the brim with beautiful girls, and plenty of friends living the college lifestyle. It’s madness. The process that has tested my faith tremendously, more times than I can count. And I’ve failed to uphold the Lord’s will far more times than I’m proud to admit (thank God for His forgiveness).
I also knew that the Lord lifted me out of a deep, dark hell that I’d been in for a while (more on that later). I knew His power to transform my life was tremendous, and I knew that my relationship with the Lord was something I needed to develop. He didn’t bring me out of my own personal hell on earth just so that I could go back to my sinful ways. I knew I needed to deepen my relationship with God, regardless of the strong pulling forces around me.
So, in order to deepen my faith, my hope, and my relationship with the Lord, I spent a ton of time pouring through the Word in order to get in touch with his desires for me. After a month or two of searching, I formed a rough list of guiding verses that shaped my philosophy through Christ. I wrote them down on a piece of paper, and kept them in my Bible. I have far more verses in my mental arsenal, now, but these were the raw foundational pillars of my faith for a while.
Here are the verses that have strengthened me in the Lord.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Matthew 10:32-42 (Jesus speaking)
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn
“a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”
Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
John 15:5-8 (Jesus speaking)
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
It is written:
‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’
So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
1 Samuel 18:14
In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him.
I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.
Blesses is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire – but my ears you have opened – burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come – it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.”
I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, Lord, as you know. I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly.
Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. Be pleased to save me, Lord; come quickly, Lord, to help me.
May all who want to take my life be put to shame and confusion. May all who desire my ruin be turned back in disgrace. May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!” be appalled at their own shame. But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!”
But as for me, I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; you are my God, do not delay.
Because of my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever.
The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, even then I will be confident.
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.
May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord, when they hear what you have decreed. May they sing of the ways of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord is great.
Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me.
The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever – do not abandon the works of your hands.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord…”
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
Proverbs 16:3, 16:5, 16:9, 16:12, 16:13, 16:18
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.
The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness.
Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks what is right.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-8
It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.