the art of manliness

10 Overlooked Truths About Taking Action

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Action is essential in ministry and life.  Action is essential in success.  Action will sometimes end in failure.

Inaction always ends in failure.

The Art of Manliness outline 10 Truths about Taking Action.  These are not spiritual in nature but applicable in our relationship with Christ.  As Kevin DeYoung puts it in his book, Just Do Something: How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, etc., God has already revealed his plan for Christians’ lives: to love Him and to obey His Word.  Now we just need to TAKE ACTION.

10 Overlooked Truths About Taking Action

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Kyle Eschenroeder.

“This is a holy moment. A sacramental moment. A moment in which a man feels the gods as close as his own breath.

What unknowable mercy has spared us this day? What clemency of the divine has turned the enemy’s spear one handbreadth from our throat and driven it fatally into the breast of the beloved comrade at our side? Why are we still here above the earth, we who are no better, no braver, who reverenced heaven no more than these our brothers whom the gods have dispatched to hell?

In this speech from Steven Pressfield’s gripping, well-researched re-telling of the Battle of Thermopylae (Gates of Fire), the Spartan King Leonidas addresses his troops after a victory. He is reflecting on the fact that when you do battle in chaos, Lady Fortuna and skill have an equal say in the outcome. Pressfield explains this dynamic in his equally worthwhile non-fiction work, The Warrior Ethos:

“In the era before gunpowder, all killing was of necessity done hand to hand. For a Greek or Roman warrior to slay his enemy, he had to get so close that there was an equal chance that the enemy’s sword or spear would kill him. This produced an ideal of manly virtue – andreia, in Greek – that prized valor and honor as highly as victory.

Andreia meant that judgment was based on actions taken — not outcomes. Society understood that the outcome was, at least in part, in the hands of the gods. What was in a man’s control was how he acted.

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Every Man Needs a Man Mentor

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A good mentor, specifically a good Christan mentor is not just a good recommendation, but a necessary element in spiritual growth.  If you don’t have one, get one.  Stop waiting for some older, wiser, person in your life to identify the fact that you need a mentor and that they could be your mentor.  Just ask them.

Check out this post from The Art of Manliness that highlights this very point.

Every Man Needs a Man Mentor

by Brett & Kate McKay on February 15, 2009

When I was 15, I met a man who would have a profound impact on my life. His name was Andrew Lester. I first encountered Mr. Lester at church. He was the fun old guy that everyone liked being around. Despite being in his 8os, he had this boyish, mischievous look to him. He also made wearing a Breath-right nasal strip look cool. He wore them all the time. Mr. Lester was an artist by trade. His mother was a Cheyenne Indian, so his art focused on Native American motifs. A tribe called him the White Buffalo, and he made a really beautiful painting representing the name bestowed on him. I have print of it hanging up in my office.

While Mr. Lester dabbled in painting, his real skill was in sculpting clay. He sculpted mammoth busts of great people from history like Martin Luther King Jr., Jim Thorpe, and Western movie star Tom Mixx. When he wasn’t working in his studio, he volunteered in various community organizations aimed at helping underprivileged Native and African Americans. Mr. Lester was very active in the African-American community in Oklahoma and founded the Oklahoma African-American Museum Hall of Fame.

When I first saw Mr. Lester at church, I never thought he would become a mentor and good friend to me. But by chance, I was asked to regularly visit him and his wife to help them out around their home. Little did I know the impact this man would have on my passage into manhood.

A few weekends a month throughout high school, I would drive up to Mr. Lester’s home in Guthrie to visit him. Our visits usually began with me doing some chore around the house or in his art studio. This often involved me pulling some weeds or moving the big clay busts around in his studio. He sometimes had me actually work on his busts. I remember doing some fine tuning to Tom Mixx’s hat and nose with a chisel and some sandpaper.

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Survival Lessons from World War Z

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The Art of Manliness outlines 7 survival lessons from the book World War Z by Max Brooks.

Here are a few of the lessons they mention.

1. It’s not if, but when

2. Zombies don’t care about your PowerPoint skills

3. Practice self-reliance before you need it

Read the article to check out the rest.

Due to some bad language and some pretty intense zombie descriptions, I wouldn’t recommend this book to a young reader.  It will definitely give them nightmares.  I do have to say however that it was one of the more entertaining books I have read and would move it up near the top of my favorite fiction books.  Just like the movie, the article is good, but the book is better.

Survival Lessons from World War Z

by Jeremy Anderberg

Before World War Z was ever a Brad Pitt flick, it was a bestselling book. It tells the story of the zombie apocalypse as a series of interviews conducted by our journalist narrator. These interviews are taking place years after the zombie war has ended, which makes it a unique telling of the popular genre. What really sets it apart from those other cheap zombie thrills is that it focuses largely on how individuals, communities, and governments would react to such a scenario. It’s almost more of a fictional sociology textbook rather than a novel.

Because of that, survival lessons abound. Whether in the actual apocalypse, or just a localized natural disaster (like what we experienced a couple weeks ago here in Colorado), these are lessons that anyone and everyone can start applying.

It took freak flooding in the city I live in to teach me the lesson that being prepared for disasters isn’t just for folks who are hardcore, it’s for people who are smart and want to come out the other end with their families and communities intact.

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The Cure for the Modern Male Malaise: The 5 Switches of Manliness

“The primal elements of masculinity sit within us like a well-trained regiment of soldiers that is ready and itching to fight, but sits waiting restlessly, and endlessly, in reserve. Core aspects of the male psyche lie dormant, and men find themselves as square pegs trying to fit into a round hole. Having butted up against this mismatch over and over again, men are feeling angry and restless, losing their motivation, and giving up.”

PHYSICALITY

CHALLENGE

LEGACY

PROVIDER

NATURE

If these words mean nothing to you, then I suggest you leave your man card at the door.  Check out this and the related posts from The Art of Manliness blog.  While this blog and its contents are not spiritual in nature, the loss of manliness has huge spiritual implications on our country, our families, and our culture.

The Cure for the Modern Lame Malaise: The 5 Switches of Manliness

by Brett on May 9, 2011

A few weeks ago, I caught the premiere of the Discovery’s Channel’s “Human Planet,” a television show about the ways people have adapted to survive in Earth’s most extreme environments. Perhaps a better name for the program would have been “Man Planet,” as the show primarily chronicled the incredible feats of men around the world–men the tentacles of civilization have barely grazed. There were men mining sulfur from an active volcano; men diving dozens of feet and holding their breath for five minutes at a time to spear fish on the ocean floor; men initiating their sons into manhood by teaching them how to train eagles to hunt.  Even seemingly pedestrian tasks like taking your kids to school were fraught with danger; a father escorted his children on a 60 mile journey through the Himalayas, watching for potential avalanches and walking over a frozen river that could have cracked open at any moment.

I was immediately taken in by the show’s spectacular cinematography. But it was the image of these men straining and sweating, risking life and limb to provide for and feed their families that really caught my attention.

And by the end of the show, a bunch of things I’ve been thinking about for awhile had coalesced together.

What’s Plaguing Modern Men?

There has been a copious amounts of hand wringing lately about the state of modern men, about the fact that men appear to be falling behind in life and seem unmotivated and listless.

Why all this concern? The statistics are familiar to anyone who has read this genre of articles:

  • Women are more likely than men to graduate from high school.
  • Only 44% of undergraduates at community and four year colleges are men.
  • Female college students have higher grade point averages than men and are more likely to graduate within four years.

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How to Tear a Phone Book in Half – The Art of Manliness

Find the secret to tearing a phone book in half.  A recent post from The Art of Manliness blog.  I’ve tried and it works!

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Like most people, I’ve long stopped using the phone book to look up phone numbers and use Google instead. But like most people, I still get a giant phone book delivered to my door every single year. I typically just toss it into the recycling bin as soon as I get it, but this year I didn’t.

Instead I tore my phone book in half with my bare hands. And then I recycled it.

Tearing a phone book in half is a classic strongman feat of strength. Old-time strongmen like George F. Jowett amazed spectators in the 1920s and 30s with phone book tearing demonstrations. As a kid, I remember watching the Power Team rip through thick phone books during school assemblies while simultaneously warning us kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

While tearing a phone book in half does require strength, there’s also a trick to it (though some strongmen can tear phone books without using it). Below, our very own Mr. Know Your Lifts — who enjoys ripping things up when he’s not pumping iron — demonstrates how to tear a phone book in half with your bare hands in five simple steps.

Step 1: Grab Phone Book With Both Hands

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Place your thumbs on top and your fingers underneath one of the edges of the phone book (excluding the edge that is the binding). You can either tear the phone book by its length or its width — either way it will be impressive.

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