We men measure success in funny ways.
Sex. Money. Freedom / security / power (take your pick of those last three).
But how does this come about?
I’ve discussed before how as boys we learn to wear the mask of masculinity: ‘Be a man’, as it were. Essentially, this leads us down a path to constantly proving our manhood and keeping our feelings to ourselves. This mask sees us form the inner narrative ‘I’ll be right’. We don’t ask for help and can struggle to even admit to ourselves that we might have issues. This impacts our physical and mental health, and can create a single-track focus that sends us deeper into a hole.
As teenagers we learn to follow the crowd and model the masculine measures of success: athletic ability/physical prowess, sexual conquests and financial success. These often strengthen as we become men and soon what we seek is a great body (because that will lead to more sex). We chase money and power or a loose concept of freedom; a culture of ‘more’ becomes the norm.
To the average man, more sex, more money and freedom are THE measures of success – because this stuff brings happiness, right? The majority of this is wrapped up in external validation from others as confirmation of that success. Most of us have never questioned this, or asked ourselves what those measures actually mean and why they represent success. Let’s take a look then, shall we?
* Sex: As much as we love sex, what we really want is to be desired, to be significant and to feel accepted. What we actually seek from sex is connection on both a physical and emotional level.
* Money: We want money because it’s been drilled into us that this is synonymous with success, and we realise life will be easier, the more we have. We aim for more but few of us ever identify exactly how much is enough.
* Freedom: Money, in turn, can provide us with a sense of freedom; freedom to travel, to gain experiences, and to buy nice things. This may be true for some men, but when we dig deeper what most humans actually want is personal power. This refers to better control over our time, being able to manage our priorities, and being able to do the things that are most important to us when we want to do them.
So when we say we want sex, money and freedom (security too), what we actually want is to feeling connected, desired and significant; and to be able to spend our time doing what is most important to us, with the people who we are most connected to.
The thing is, it becomes exhausting and entirely unsatisfying hiding behind this faux masculine mask, relentlessly presenting to the world a false version of ourselves. So while many men might seem happy and successful on the outside, in truth many of us are actually frustrated with our lives, feeling stuck and even a bit lost as to what we should be doing. For many men, chasing this ‘success’ feels shallow and directionless.
If there’s one thing I’m personally passionate about, it is helping men break free of this accepted mediocrity, address what is truly important to you and go about making it happen. It’s time to take a look in the mirror and make a change!
Wouldn’t you agree that life is far too short to spend it stuck in a rut, living a life that doesn’t bring you genuine happiness or the feelings you desire the most? Wouldn’t you like to live life content in your own skin, living 100 per cent as YOU, and not some cheapened version of you?
Making the change starts quite simply. Give yourself the permission to head down this bold and brave path; permission to drop this false-self, and get out of your own way so you can break what’s comfortable, in order to grow. Give yourself the permission to work on your own picture of success, and in return, everything will benefit – your health, your relationships, your life.
So who’s with me?
Article by Mike Campbell