I have been talking about something called the 4 pillars for a little over a year now. I have talked about them on my About page, in responses to group questions, I have even talked about them in the podcast. These pillars though basic are often overlooked. They are burying themselves in productivity hacks and seeing that the world is still just as overwhelming as before. Men want that quick fix, the magic pill that will make their life earlier and more fulfilling. Sadly that magic pill doesn’t exist. You have to put in the effort to earn the reward, and that is simply no fun is it?
Well, it’s not if you have that type of attitude. You can see these pillars as standards in your life or you can see them as something you have to do. You can approach any task with the attitude of this is what I need and I like the challenge or you can look at it as a hindrance. That choice is yours. Make it what you want.
What Men Struggle With
No matter what phase of their life. Men need to have these pillars set and reinforced. When they don’t, that is when they start to have struggles in their life. They resist the change or obstacle that they are facing and then the stress starts to show up. With that stress comes the other problems the lack of exercise and eating for satisfaction. This creates more health problems. With health problems, you don’t have the energy to be present with your kids or your spouse. Then they turn to other people for the support they need.
Men struggle with many aspects of their life. From work to family and the balance between the two. Men struggle with having and keeping friends. Then there is a society that is beating them over the head saying they are being toxic and horrible humans simply for being born.
There are times it seems as if life is coming at us from all sides wanting to make us cave and stop being successful, and happy. You know what you are right. Life is a struggle, and if you don’t have your ramparts set and ready, life will wash you down the river. Then you will drive yourself insane wondering where you went wrong.
Many of the vices men turn to are because they have let one of their 4 pillars get weak and start to crumble. They try to shore up the pain and discomfort with other substances not to fix it but to kick the problem down the road just a little further. They will “deal” with that situation at a time that is more convenient. Yet that time never shows up and they let one pillar go and then another. This repeats till their wife has left them. Their kids don’t talk to them, and they are bitter because they want to think the world gave up on them. When in reality they gave up on themselves.
Men struggle with the same things that women struggle with. Self-confidence, body image, the day-to-day anxiety you will feel when you are called into the boss’s office. The main difference between the two is how we address the problem.
These pillars do several key points for a man. First, they allow a man to relax. When they are prepared they can take on any task and not get overly stressed about it. This helps keep burnout to a minimum. This keeps men alive in this mortal realm for a longer amount of time. The man who practices these 4 pillars is going to avoid the burnout and subsequent crises they face when they are in a high stressed environment.
Why do these pillars work?
Why do these 4 pillars of a relaxed Male work? Because it is the basics of what you learned as a child. We all have to review the basics even when we are seasoned veterans. Going over the basics regularly helps you with your more advanced skills. Now, these 4 pillars aren’t the end all be all. They are the foundation for you to be in the right mindset so that you can take on life in a more relaxed and ready for anything frame of thinking.
These 4 pillars cover the most common problems that men face. They are often out of shape and not able to have the needed energy for a fulfilling life. They aren’t learning and growing to be ready for new challenges that they may face. They are often not working in their zone of genius and are feeling the resistance and burning out way too fast. Then they don’t have the needed support group of like-minded men in their lives.
So what are these 4 pillars and how do they need to be applied.
The Man’s Mind
The Man’s mind is the learning pillar. There is a saying by Robert Kiyosaki
The moment you stop learning you’re dyingRobert Kiyosaki
Sadly many men start dying the moment they leave school. Some after they get out of high school while others start dying after they get their degree.
The average successful CEO reads 5 books a month. That is a lot of reading but one of the main reasons they are successful is because they are reading. You don’t have to start consuming 5 books a month not even 1 book a month. Start with just 10 pages a day. I have heard many guys say they fall asleep when they read. The reason why? They are used to the brain overload of mobile devices that are always telling you of a new notification. Books don’t do that.
Another reason so many people fall asleep when reading is because they tell themselves that they fall asleep when reading. You can change that bit of programming by simply stating that you are an avid reader each time you find yourself making the wrong proclamation.
What do you learn?
So if you are wanting to get started in learning again the big question will probably be what do you learn? This is completely up to you. What do YOU want to learn about? You may have to work on your thoughts a bit. Because you may say “nothing really interests me”. When starting that could be true. You may very well not have any interests, but more than likely you have just suppressed your interests because they were deemed impractical or dumb or something else to that nature.
You might need to make a list and see what interests you. Look at your Facebook video feed what do these videos all have in common? If you look at mine you see videos about video games, woodworking, and some coaching videos.
How do you build Your Mind?
To build your mind’s pillar you need to learn. Now the best information is from books. That’s not the only channel of learning you have at your disposal. You have several avenues you can take and I actually recommend them all. Don’t limit yourself to just one or two. Try to use as many different learning platforms as possible.
Now reading is excellent and you need to read. The world’s knowledge is resting comfortably in the pages of books. Read about different details that you are curious about. Want to know how to take care of your guns? Then pick up a book about it. Are you wanting to start a business? There are hundreds of books just waiting for you to crack open.
Reading is fundamental in your learning. Whether it is in book form or a blog post or an article from a magazine. As you read and you gain knowledge your passion for that topic will grow. As long as you keep a curious mind about that topic you will continue to learn.
If at some time you find yourself forcing the reading or you are getting tired of a particular topic then step away from that topic and pick up another. There isn’t any rule saying you have to stay in one lane for your whole life. You can change at any time you like.
With there being over 2 million podcasts in the Apple podcast directory and over 700 new podcasts added each day. There is a good chance that you will find a podcast to your interest. There are business podcasts, woodworking podcasts, Photography podcasts, Anything your heart desires there is a good chance that there is a podcast right up your alley.
There are a few benefits to listening to podcasts, and one of the reasons I am a huge fan of podcasts. The biggest is that you can consume podcasts while walking, doing the dishes, mowing the lawn, or driving. If you are doing a lot of driving, Automobile U is one of the best classrooms you have available. Yeah, there are a lot of podcasts out there that have pod faded but there are new ones that are out there to stay and keep you up to date on your industry trends, News of your business, and then podcasts that help you change your mindset.
Best of all podcasts are predominantly free. Yeah, there are paid shows and even those are fairly inexpensive.
Do you learn better in a structured class? Then go to your local college and sign up for the classes you are after. You don’t have to go for a degree many times professors are happy to have people who just want to learn.
Then there are online classes and workshops you can take to help you gain more knowledge about your topic of interest. Right now I am doing a good bit of learning about copywriting. There are even free college classes you can take from MIT, Berkeley Harvard, and more.
There are advantages to taking classes because you can ask your teacher questions specific to your problem. You can ask other students who can also help you to understand the subject even more.
Oh the conferences, Many people missed these in 2020. Thankfully people are starting to climb out of their homes and conferences are starting up once again. There are conferences on every topic you can think of. From podcasting to podiatry, to cosplay.
Now, this is great for actually 2 of the pillars the first is that you can learn more about your field of interests but also you get the Community aspect of benign in a sea of people all interested in the very same thing you are. So you know you will have something in common with other folks.
You get the latest information about your passion and this allows you to stay ahead of the curve. That way you can help others who are entering the field behind you.
There are always special interest groups and clubs that will provide an intimate setting for learning. You are able to learn from those who have been doing stuff longer than you and you in turn can help those just starting to come to the same level of passion about your field as you have. This also has the benefit of growing your network and finding new friends which help in the 4th pillar, your community.
Finally, one way you can learn is by doing daily reflections of your day. This can be tough because when we get home it is just good to zone out for an hour or two before going to bed and starting the whole cycle over again.
Yet, one of the best learning tools you have is with yourself. Just being alone for 15-30 minutes and reviewing your day. Where did you excel? Where did you mess up? How can you correct that mess up so it doesn’t happen? Doing an after-action review is powerful in making sure you stay successful in your day-to-day life.
Start reading. Read what you are curious about and as you find a topic that really lights you up then start looking for podcasts, and see if there are classes you can take to help you expand your knowledge. Start making it a point to go to at least one conference in that area. Then when you are done there. The important part is to apply that knowledge. It does you no good to amass all that information if you are not going to use it.
The Man’s Body
This is the health pillar. If you are out of shape eating garbage and not exercising you are not long for this world. You will eventually have a heart attack, stroke or, Diabetes. None of these are good. Many times you get a slight warning and you can pull up out of that dive and save yourself. Then again man men just give up and they have another one after that and they often crash for good. I don’t want you to suffer like that.
What does building The Man’s body mean?
It means that you have to start loving who you are. We often see ourselves in a very critical light. We are overweight, we don’t like anything about our face. We had a hard childhood and believe that we are broken. It starts with something. From there we start to really dog on ourselves. Eventually, we start to find ways that will numb the discomfort we have of looking at ourselves in the mirror. For many of us, it is food. While others it is drink or other drugs. Some work themselves to the brink of exhaustion and even burnout. None of these are healthy.
Our health is one of those parts of our lives that we simply don’t focus on. We think we still have the ability to burn off all that energy as though we are 15 again, and that’s simply not the case. We get those subtle reminders that we aren’t as young as we believe by waking up with new pain. Yeah, many times we just accept it and keep going.
We men have to take care of ourselves. Our life is already shorter than women and we need to be there for our spouses for as long as possible. That means we have to eat and get enough sleep. We need to do physical exercises with an element of controlled violence mixed in.
How do you build this pillar?
There are many different ways to shore up this pillar. The first is eating more green vegetables. Now I am never going to say you need to go vegan. I firmly believe we are omnivores and our body needs the nutrients that are only found in animal meat. The fats found in meat are important to our skin and muscles.
Yet we also need to knock out the processed meats, and for god’s sake stay away from vegetable-based meats and soy-based products. The estrogen in these is way too much. With 44mg of plant-based estrogens and that is more than what a birth control pill has. No, it won’t grow breasts as some people claim but when your body isn’t designed to have that much estrogen plant-based or not has got to be doing something to a man’s body and very well could be one of the reasons for the decrease in Testosterone on average.
Exercise and try to have an activity that is some type of controlled violent sport. Be it Brazillian JuJitsu or what It needs an element of violence. You can run bleachers in a pissed-off way this often has the same effect.
If you aren’t very active right now I will say see a doctor and let him clear you for exercise. If you don’t have a doctor then start slow. Just walk. That is all you have to do, to start. If you are severely overweight and you are trying to get your life back. First off good job on the determination. Start with what you have. That might mean that you are doing bodyweight exercises for a while. Burpee’s are a great all-around exercise that you don’t have to have a lot of space. Whatever, you do get moving.
Exercise is important you are getting your health back but so is fasting. This isn’t so much about weight loss as it is about knowing that certain food and other substances don’t have control over you. There are other benefits to doing intermittent fasting or even short fasts for a day or two. You don’t have to do the Angus Barbieri fast yet that does show that the fat on your body is almost all the nutrients you need. Yet it is good to know that you have that type of control over your body. Just do it in a healthy way.
This pillar is the easiest in that you eat right and exercise. That is it in a nutshell, but you have to come up with the why.
The Man’s Soul
If Man’s body is the easiest to actually implement. Then this pillar is the most challenging but the most rewarding at the same time. This is the man’s soul pillar. This pillar has one function feeding your soul.
We often neglect our souls, we do what we believe is needed and don’t take our souls into account. This is often the cause of all the burnout and much of our mental illness.
The premise is simple. If you are a Christian you have heard that we are created in God’s image, God is a creator. That means we are creators too. What are you creating? That is the rub. I have no idea what you are supposed to create. It could be a business, could be a blog, a Youtube channel. A community organization that helps boys without fathers. It is up to you.
The important part is that it is in your zone of genius. What is that? It is a concept created by Gay Hendricks and is talked about in his book, “The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level”. This is one of those books that will help you grow. It will help you change your view on life and how you approach it.
When you are feeding your soul you find yourself in the zone. That point where time does not affect you. You may be working for 5 hours and that time has flown by. The feeding of your soul taps into your passion. Mine is helping people I have always been drawn to people who needed help. It took a while and the help of a mastermind to find my passion and to figure out my why.
Tapping into your why is the catalyst for your passion. Suddenly it’s not just something you take interest in it is why you get out of bed in the morning. You can’t wait to start tackling the day because you can mess with the problems you have. The biggest sense of distress is the very thought of not being able to do what you love. I actually tried that thought on a couple of weeks ago and the pain I felt inside was so intense I knew that being a coach was my calling.
Feeding your soul allows for you to grow an abundant mindset. With this mindset, you can tackle more challenges and have those challenges be almost fun. You approach it with the curiosity of a child and you learn so much about what you are able to do what you aren’t. You find your strengths and you accept your weaknesses.
When you are feeding your soul you can be happy in so many different aspects of your life. You see challenges as inconveniences not as earth-shattering disasters.
How do you Build up This Pillar?
This is where the difficulty spike happens. It’s not something you just choose one day. You may have a good idea about your calling and passion. While many may not have the slightest clue as to what they are called to do. People go to college thinking that being a doctor or lawyer is what they were meant to be, and within a year of being in the field realize that it isn’t. They feel stuck because they sank a load of cash into their degree only to find out that it wasn’t a good fit.
Because they are working in their zone of competence or even their zone of excellence these men feel the pressure of not doing what they are supposed to do. They fight against their calling and slowly become depressed start drinking and sometimes they even choose the final solution and check out completely. There is a reason suicides happen predominantly on Sunday evenings and Monday mornings. This is what happens when you aren’t feeding your soul.
So building up your soul pillar is paramount. To do so you will have to be willing to make mistakes and get a good way down a road and learn that it’s not a perfect fit. Yet each time you try you will earn more and more about yourself. Celebrate those wins. Yes, celebrate those failures.
The key is to try things. Especially if you have no idea what your passion is. Try painting, sculpting, carving, try all sorts of stuff if you don’t like something and you have a lot of equipment involved then sell it off to someone who might use it. Try a blog or a youtube channel. Look at different topics that you find interesting. Passion is not what you are looking for right now. Your passion for something will grow as you get more into it.
There are several ways to find your calling. One way is to ask your friends what your superpower is. You will be surprised to see that it is the one thing you would believe others think is boring. Yet here they are bragging about how well you do it. That is because it is your talent and it is a huge clue to what you are able to do.
Another way to find out your talent is to talk to your family find out what you use to love to do as a kid. Yeah, there may be a lot of talk about Star Wars toys but what did you do with those toys? Did you create stories? Did they have incredible adventures? These are all clues. It will take a lot of souls searching to find what actually feeds your soul. Yet when you do you will be surprised at how natural it is to you. From there the fun and adventure really begin. You start looking at all the possibilities of your talent. You may find that there is a huge calling for what you do, or you may find a new way to do something everybody else thought they knew.
When you tap into your soul by feeding it. You will open up so many possibilities that you will often find a very lucrative business opportunity you can pursue
Does it have to be a business? No, your passion may be painting pictures. They may not be good enough to go against Monet but in your eyes they are good. You may carve wood. Or build coffee tables for fun. If it feeds your soul then do it. Have a hobby. You need to downshift from time to time. That is why even if you have a calling find a hobby that allows for you to slow down and breathe from time to time. Mine is, I like to go camping.
One way you can also feed your soul is by being a part of something bigger than yourself. So you might join a charity, or start a charity if you fail to find one in the area you would like to help.
The Man’s Community
This is probably the scariest of the pillars to work on. This is because so many men don’t realize how few friends they have till it is too late. This is your band of brothers. A group of masculine men who are there to support you. Now the man’s community also includes their marriage, their neighborhood, their city.
This pillar is just as important but even more neglected than their soul, especially when a man marries. Suddenly their wife and children become the only thing important to them. So they let their old friends go and see strong bonds weaken. Now does that mean marriage is bad? No. Marriage is very important to men in that, men who are married live longer and have happier lives. So unlike what red pill folks think men are happier when they are married and need to be married.
Now, these communities are not only a close group of men who you see weekly, but also civic groups, church groups, and clubs. Each provides value as you return value. Besides marriage having a close nit group of men. Is also needed for a man. This is who you turn to for advice and masculine influences.
How do you build this pillar?
You get out and you meet people. That easy. It is scarily true. You fear that you will be rejected and you will, but guess what? You won’t die from that rejection. You will actually start to get over any anxiety you feel when meeting new people. Once you start meeting people you will find people you like a little more. Invite them over to your place for cards or talking. As you meet new people you can add to the group. See if you can grow your group to about 10 or 12. Have it where yall go on a trip together. Maybe hunting or just camping, it really doesn’t matter you want to be able to spend time with these guys.
In essence, this becomes a mastermind of like-minded men. These men will help you when you are having trouble. That way you don’t have to bother your wife with the negatives of life. You can shower her with positivity and help encourage her in her endeavors.
Another way you can build your community pillar is to join a church. Yeah, church. It’s not the manliest place but it is where men do gather. You can go to a men’s bible class or even a married couple’s bible class. Here you can find men who are honorable and want to work on themselves. You can get to know them at the ease of a church gathering. You can also join civic clubs, for instance, there is a metalsmithing club in the town next to me. There you can join up and start learning the basics of blacksmithing. There are often woodworking groups and other such clubs around. You can take painting classes and learn how to paint and find other men who would like to paint too. Look for clubs on Meetup.com If you can’t find something in your area then start a group. What? Why not? If you want a group of men to meet up you have to tell them that there is a place and if you can’t find it you actually are the best person to start it. You can be a leader.
So start looking into how you can implement these 4 pillars into your life. You will find that you can take on those annoying challenges a lot easier when you have a good firm foundation. That foundation is your body, mind, soul, and your community, So men, get to work and make things happen.
If you want to activate your community pillar I do have a men’s group that can be a good place to start. Interested? Join The Brotherhood of Men