|What It Means To Be A Man – Part 2|
|Posted by Khiem in: Articles|
A lot of people responded very well to that article but we forgot to post part 2.
So today, I’m posting part 2 as I shared my own personal experience looking for role models as I transition from boyhood to manhood.
I’m sure a lot of you guys can relate to it.
As originally posted on David Wygant’s blog:
About two weeks ago you read a blog about being a man, and what being a man is all about. Of course, now it’s another one of those late nights in my house – which, by the way, I’m looking for a bigger house now, because part of being a man is realizing that you have friends at your house all of the time and you want a playroom. Even though you’re a man, you still like to be a boy, and we tend to hang out so much in my office – I’d love to have a killer den and a guest room.
A lot of guys who take the Bootcamp come and stay with me, clients stay with me, and friends stay with me at my house. My ex-girlfriend Alison said to me the other night that my house is like Camp David. That’s pretty funny – I’m certainly NOT George Bush! – but I wouldn’t mind if my house was actually Camp David.
I like opening my home, I’ve always been about opening up my home to my friends. And it’s fun – I like having people over. I have a cool pad, great furniture, fun toys in my house, lots of computers for people to play on, and a killer dog that everybody likes to hang out with.
So we were talking a little bit more about being a man. A couple of weeks ago we talked about what I feel it is to be a man. Khiem wanted to add something that I thought was really fascinating…
Khiem: For me, I really enjoy talking about being a man, because it’s a topic that is not very widely or often discussed among boys and men nowadays. Society and your family expect you to be a man, but nobody ever really tells you how to be one.
Or, you’re taught: “don’t cry,” “be strong,” “be a man!” But what does that mean? How do you be tough? Does that mean that you become stoic and hide your emotions from everybody? Or does it mean that you can raise your emotions, but not let them effect you?
When I was young, I was always close to my dad, so I don’t have an issue with that, but I remember when I was 15 and older, he was always really absent in my life. Now, looking back, I realize it was a big void because in your late teens when you are maturing, how do you transition from a boy to man?
David: You know it’s interesting – when I grew up, my father was my anti-role model. I didn’t respect him. When I was growing up, we would play football in the backyard, and sometimes my dad would fade back to pass, or go over to the middle to catch something that one of my friends threw, and he was like 6’4” and not muscular at all, and I would go to tackle him and he’d break like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. You’d hear him tumble down.
I never respected my father. I always said if I ever had kids (which I haven’t – at least none that I know of yet! And I wouldn’t be able to have all of my friends over to my house if I had kids because the extra room would go to my kid…) I’d get their respect. I remember why I didn’t respect my father, and why I wanted to become a ‘real man’ – when I would run into my dad, he’d topple over!
And to me, a real man is about being strong. My dad didn’t teach me how to be a man. I had to teach myself how to be a man. And it’s hard to teach yourself! As a boy, you need a strong man to guide you – to tell you that it’s okay to cry, it’s okay to feel and have emotions – to guide you in business, to guide you with women, in so many different ways.
Your dad should be your role model – if he isn’t, you’d better get a good uncle or something! It’s interesting that there are a lot of lost guys out there that never had father figures, or man figures. They don’t know what it’s like to express themselves. I see it a lot – we both see it a lot in this business.
I think a lot of guys that come to a Bootcamp are guys that basically need a father figure. Not that I’m so old, but you can have a father figure of any age – a guy could be one year older than you and be your father figure – it’s just somebody stronger than you that can teach you the ways to become a man.
Women talk all the time about men being weak. And men think that it’s the pickup lines that are going to get women – but it’s not. It’s their strength of character that attracts a woman.
Khiem: And you’re right – women learn how to be women because they have very strong bonds with each other – they learn from a very young age to share a lot of their inner thoughts and dialog with each other. And this is how they grow.
With men, we are taught to be that one, individual man, who can do it all and really do everything. The more I see it; I realize that is not how it really is. Yeah, as a man you want your own purpose, and to fulfill your own destiny, but you need other people around. This is something that I think people don’t realize.
To use an analogy, to me, being a man is like being grounded like a bamboo tree. You’re very grounded – solid as a rock – but you are flexible, and you can bend with the will of nature without ever breaking.
David: That’s an interesting analogy, a bamboo tree. And then at night when the wind whips through, the sounds that it makes. I know from traveling through the Philippines and other places – especially in the Philippines I spent a night with a client and his girlfriend in Bolho, which is a beach island in the Philippines – at night all you hear is the monkeys and the bamboo. And there’s a sound that’s almost like – well it’s like it bends, but it doesn’t break.
Khiem: And it’s not like a rock. You should never measure yourself as a man like a rock. Rocks don’t move or adapt. But the bamboo adapts to its surroundings. It is so grounded that it bends without ever giving way.
David: Rocks don’t bend – you don’t want to be a rock. Rocks don’t feel. If you think about the analogy this way, rocks don’t feel. Take a rock, throw it on the ground, what happens? The rock gets a little chip on it, that’s about it.
Too many men are rocks. If you want to be a man that women respect and love, be the bamboo. Don’t be a rock!
The interesting part for me is that there is no unanimous definition of what being a man means. It’s such a vague and multi-faceted topic that everyone has their own idea of what it takes to be a man. I really cracked up at Russell Peters’ take on the topic.
If you haven’t heard of him yet, Russell Peters is this incredibly funny Indian comic stand-up guy. Watch his video if you want a good laugh.
On a different note, I’ve had people whining that I haven’t updated the blog in a while. I’m very sorry!!!
I haven’t gotten lazy, I swear. I’ve just been super busy with car accident stuff, family visiting from out of country and working on new things for you guys.
However, stay tuned for upcoming articles as I’ll write my impressions of some of the gurus I’ve met recently in the past month.