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Sunday, June 9, 2013

A or B -- Why Even Choose?

Hey All -- had a sweet time out east at a few North Fork wineries with some good friends -- and now back to the message and the mission.

With a little downtime this weekend, I read through a few self-help blogs and gender-role sites, and studies up on the issue of alpha males and beta males.  We are led to believe that there are two, and only two, types of men in our society, and their traits are as follows:

ALPHA MALES:

(1).  Get very aggressive.
(2).  Take what they want and reject what they don't.
(3).  Attract females because they're confident.
(4).  Have followers and wingmen.
(5).  Are not constrained by rules, fear, doubt, or guilt.
(6).  Fail to take others' interests into account.
(7).  Are rude, abrasive, and abusive.
(8).  Have no problem disrespecting anyone else, because they usually don't face consequences.
(9).  Don't learn from their mistakes, because they're never wrong.
(10).  Get so many free passes, that when consequences actually do hit, they're destroyed.

BETA MALES:

(1).  Nicest guys in the world.
(2).  Care for others more than they do for their own needs.
(3).  They listen, are attentive, and never forget anything.
(4).  Give to others without even being asked, "just because."
(5).  Respectful and courteous to everyone.
(6).  Allow others to take advantage of them.
(7).  Never set boundaries.
(8).  Never take risks.
(9).  Never confront those who wrong them.
(10).  Never try to improve their situation because they get too comfortable.

As you may have noticed, both groups of men have favorable qualities, as well as undesirable ones.  There seems to be a great debate over which type of man is more acceptable in jobs or families, or even groups of friends and associates.  There are many self-help books and sites devoted to helping betas convert themselves into alphas, but there are also many sources that indicate that betas are somewhat better (no doubt based on ulterior motives).

Since this was originally a blog devoted to assist men and boys with low self-esteem, it would be doing a disservice to abandon the original mission and leave the target audience behind.   My solution?

BE BOTH.

Your Alpha qualities?  I'm not saying you should all bulk up, get tattoos, drink Jack Daniels and get into a bar fight every week.  Nobody dreams about being the toughest man in jail.  That being said, do like the alphas in (a) putting your fear, doubt, and guilt to the side, (b) being confident at every endeavor, even if odds are you'll lose; and (c) demanding what is good for you and rejecting everything that is not.

Your Beta qualities?  Don't be so quick to jettison those, but that doesn't mean you should be a weak, passive, Caspar Milquetoast either.  Without becoming sycophantic and gutless, just start making the needs of a chosen few a priority.  Tune in a little bit more, and try to retain some of what others ask of you - to you, it might be insignificant, but to someone else it could mean everything.  And when you can, smile.  Say hello.  Ask about other people's latest events, and care about them.

Now that I'm looking at this, a lot of these qualities are already contained in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, which many of us memorized.  Lately, the Boy Scouts of America has gotten a bad rap over a single issue that has been drawn out of proportion by individuals who have no clue what Scouting is all about.  But Scouting was right about this message 100 years ago, and it's still right today.  There's no shame in continuing this standard well into adulthood.

The so-called experts out there may say that beta males are the bane of our existence, and must be converted quickly and forcefully lest they be pulverized.  They may also say that alpha males should be partially castrated in some way, in order to become more domesticated and pliable.  I am no expert, but I say they're both wrong.

If you're going to stick with the Four Pillars, you need to be both.  Your alpha qualities will convince yourself that you exist, matter, belong, and deserve.  Your beta qualities will convince everyone else.  At least everyone else worthy enough to receive them, anyway.

Say it with me, troops!

I EXIST.  I MATTER.  I BELONG.  I DESERVE.

Night, all.  Enjoy Game Of Thrones!