Monday, August 19, 2013

Perhaps I Am A Coward

One of Judo's great masters, Isao Okano, on his fear of competition: 
If I may be permitted a personal confession, never in the countless judo tournaments in which I have participated have I had a feeling of perfect security. I am always pursued by an uneasiness that I can only describe as fear directed toward the opponent I must encounter. When I reach the hall where the tournament is to be held, I always experience a vague sense of bleakness.
Though I cannot ascribe exact causes to the feeling, I am perfectly aware of its manifestations. The blood drains from my face, and tears well up in my eyes. I cannot carry on coherent conversations. Even when I eat nothing in the early part of the day, in the afternoon I am not hungry. I begin to have doubts abut myself: perhaps I am a coward. 
The only thing for me to do is exert my best mental and technical efforts and fight to the last. After concentrating all of my attention on this idea, I assume the attitude that the imminent contest is my last one.  
This has always helped me to reach the point where I can wager everything on winning and losing. Put in extreme terms, my approach to judo can be summed up in the idea of one last meet.
That an iconic figure of a sport suspects his own cowardice before competition proves the truism that anything worth doing is scary. The essential character development resulting from competition, athletic or otherwise, is rooted in facing our hard-wired fear of failure. 

Society's dominant message is to hold equality of ability and opportunity above all other ideals. Resist the temptation to use this as a crutch. Establishing a hierarchy through competition is a quintessential masculine ideal rooted in honor and fairness. You are forsaking a part of your masculinity if you never test your abilities against others.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I Got Fired

Well, not really. Last night I had vivid dream about being suddenly fired from my job. But nobody wants to hear about another person's dreams unless it involves fucking or they personally made an appearance. 

I like my job. I work in a competitive industry in a position that many men would commit light treason to obtain. I spend my day doing interesting and intellectually-challenging work, with a good bit of fun and travel mixed in. Despite the romantic appeal of the e-book writing/traveling/location-independent lifestyle, for now I'd rather be here. How do I know? Because I'm a 20-something person with no spouse, children, debt, or mortgage. I know the possibilities of self-employment and I still punch the clock at 9 every day. It's a revealed preference.

No matter how happy they are, though, everyone drifts into escapism. I've told myself that I'll stay here for a couple years more, saving my money and not falling into the trappings of escalating consumerism that comes from increased income, and then I'll leave without much issue to start the next phase of my life. Sometimes you can only be honest when your subconscious is doing the talking. And I was truly upset and worried for my future when I had this dream.

I didn't like this reaction at all. I believe that if you're a young man and your reaction to losing a job is anything but mild annoyance, you're probably too bought-into the system and not cultivating enough marketable skills.
"Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."  - Heat (1995)
I want to keep my job, but the next time I have this dream I want my reaction to be nonchalant. I plan to work on side hustles that make me less tethered financially and emotionally to the people who sign my paycheck twice a month. This will reduce the number of people who could seriously mess with my life.

I set a goal at the beginning of this year to make $2,000 from various side businesses. This is not life-changing money by any means, but enough to prove that people will pay for goods and services I can provide, and to start a platform for future gains. Scores of better writers than myself have discussed creating small goals and side hustles, like starting a niche blog, writing SEO content, copyediting, etc. I've taken some steps to this and I'm about 1/4 to the goal but I'm lagging behind. 

You have D&P starting a terrific blog about the nascent juicing craze. Robert Koch regularly mines spare dollars from various side hustles. Roosh and Matt Forney have found ways to live off their blogs and book sales. The examples are plain for all of us to observe. I need to determine how to add to it.

The problem that stalls most people in these pursuits is that success doesn't scale linearly. If I put in 20% of the work Victor Pride, Danger and Play, or Matt Forney, I'll probably get 1% of the benefit. Success requires a critical mass of work and preparation, and I haven't put in the work yet to expect any sort of payoff that is significant to my life.

This blog is a space for discussion about topics involved in living the life of a man: game, girls, lifestyle, cooking, money, etc. My dream showed me that I have too long neglected the need to diversify financially. There is money to be made by creating, delivering, and transferring value from willing party to willing party, and I will share this knowledge here as I discover it. Let's make some money. Will you join me?