Sunday, February 8, 2015
The Four Pillars!
Hey All! About that time again!
Since there are now a few new readers of this blog and viewers of the video, it's only fair that I reboot the central purpose of these writings. So here's the very first blog post I wrote, edited and updated for today's audience.
As I've grown older and reflected on the course my life has taken, I have realized that every young man, in order to survive into adulthood, must accept and adopt the following Four Pillars of Life:
(1) I Exist.
(2) I Matter.
(3) I Belong.
(4) I Deserve.
It would appear to go without saying that we exist. Cogito Ergo Sum, for all the Latin speakers out there. But this first element is too easily taken for granted. There are too many young men who fall short of their potential and resign themselves to lowly or insignificant roles in life because they have incorrectly resigned themselves to the role of a "nobody." They think they're just someone's son, someone's brother, someone's husband, someone's father. They either stopped trying to attain dreams, or failed to dream new ones, or both.
When boys are small, they are very aware of their existence. In fact, it's what they're most aware of in life. However, through no fault of their own, these boys sometimes are deceived into believing that they either do not, or should not, exist. I’m not concerned with how it happens, but only that it happens. If that tragically incorrect belief is not corrected in short order, confusion envelopes the boy's mind. This confusion leads to guilt, doubt, shame, self-loathing, and other emotions that can stunt his growth and destroy his self-worth. Otherwise, when that boy becomes a man, he must re-learn the value of his existence, and understand that he is here for a reason. Unfortunately, this is sometimes made more difficult when the boy, now a man, finds himself attracting people who do think he does not, or should not, exist.
Even if these boys come to terms with their existence, they still may not be convinced that their existence is relevant. Someone may have told them they were "slow," "underachieving," or the worst euphemism of all, "special." They may have their weaknesses shoved in their faces by predatory elements, reinforcing the notion that they are "losers" or "useless." If his strengths are not reinforced during childhood, and they don’t receive sufficient positive affirmations to build confidence, the boy will be convinced that he does not "matter," and must again convince himself otherwise during adulthood. He may find himself attracting those who continue to convince him he does not matter, making the process even more difficult.
Belonging is something that only the boy can decide for himself -- not only that truth that he belongs, but where and with whom he belongs. However, if the boy does make that decision at the right time, he will "settle." He will associate with those who do not help him achieve his potential, but instead merely "accept" him and allow him to occupy space within their ranks. He will not develop as a participant, or even a leader, but will only be a follower, unable to think or reason in a manner different than the rest of the "herd." Or worse, he will associate with individuals who are toxic towards him, and derive pleasure from continuously rejecting, abusing, and bullying him, or forcing him to continuously fight a losing battle. Resigned to a mistaken belief that those who truly would accept him will only reject him instead, and vice-versa, he sabotages this component of his development and fails to make valuable contacts and friendships that would otherwise serve him well.
Again, this must be reinforced during childhood. If not, the boy will either (a) become a recluse, believing that he cannot make any friends; or (b) ONLY associate with the wrong people. If this is not remedied, the future will include not only difficult, but disastrous consequences.
The final Pillar, to deserve, simply cannot stand if the first three have not been properly erected. To deserve is to use the faith, belief, and courage needed for plain and simple success. This is the underlying theme of everything that our friends Anthony Robbins, Joel Osteen, and Dr. Phil have been telling us for years in their own words -- beyond just being, mattering, and belonging, in order to ADVANCE, you must BELIEVE that you DESERVE to have what you want! Don't write yourself off saying "it never happened" before you even tried! And even worse, don't just go around telling people you're doing it when you have no intention of doing so! DON'T LIE TO YOURSELF OR OTHERS ABOUT IT! DESERVE IT, PERIOD!
Why state the obvious? Don't most guys already know this? Not if they're faking it they don't! As for those of us who grow up with one or more of these Pillars missing, we tend to wait on longer lines than the ones our more well-adjusted neighbors occupy. And it HURTS. And since all four Pillars are interdependent, you can't have one missing. For a plane to fly you can't have three out of four engines working!
And why am I focusing on these Pillars for men and boys, but not for women and girls? Because life and nature are not politically correct. Even if this is the 21st Century, society does not cruelly punish women for having low self-esteem or confidence, but it certainly does punish men. Very harshly.
If a woman does not have all Four Pillars, she can most likely depend on a husband, a partner, or a family member to support her while she takes all the time she heeds to wallow in self-pity. MEN CANNOT AND DO NOT HAVE THIS LUXURY!
So how does a man with low self-esteem survive? Childhood is over. Pointing fingers at our parents and their failures is not effective. Repeating these Four Pillars, contemplating them at your job or at school, feeling them during your social interactions, and just plain living them WILL WORK.
Let's review, gentlemen:
I EXIST. I MATTER. I BELONG. I DESERVE.
This is not the grunt of an animal who cannot respect those around him. This is also not the wail of a spoiled child who is granted everything without earning it, and only becomes more and more demanding. This is the battle cry of a young man who seeks to live and profit from life. This is the song of redemption, fulfillment, and self-actualization. This is the eviction notice to the thoughts of defeat and rejection that have been squatting rent-free in men's subconscious minds for decades. This is the death sentence to the ill effects of bad childhoods, worse adolescences, and unpleasant adulthoods. Again!
I EXIST! I MATTER! I BELONG! I DESERVE!
Don't just say it, USE it!