Just stumbled onto the Art of Manliness blog weeks ago, and I have to say that it really changed me. Long hours of Dota 2 have thickened my once-soft skin against harsh words and raging emotions, but never have reading a blog clarified so many things for me.
After some reading, I do agree with one sentiment the AoM blog perpetuates: our society is now safer than ever, men have much greater choice in freedom and opportunities, but all these come at a cost of most men turned into directionless, driveless pussies and hipsters. That's expected, when there's a pro, there's a con. It's just the way the universe balances itself. What I like about the blog is that it doesn't just whine like most others do; it actually attempts to fix and offer solutions. Noble effort.
From AoM I encountered entries writing about a specific, valiant man: Theodore Roosevelt, the man who many agreed to be the one of the most badass presidents ever lived. He has an interesting take on purpose of being, at least for himself:
"I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph."
A strenous life, well put. It was a good start, but the quote that really caught me was this:
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."
If the man who people considered badass said that making mistakes and striving no matter what are all part of being a man, what does that say of laymen? To think that more than 100 years have passed since this man lived. Really inspiring. I may have wasted a lot of time in things, but I'm happy that I've persevered long enough to see new wisdom.
Let's make things happen today. It is the man in the arena that makes things happen, not the critic that sits in his armchair pointing.