I have recently been seeing this picture, or a close variation:
Well, I didn’t make the picture, but I have to say, as I have in two previous posts (here and here), this is the essence of the attitude I want to cultivate at HQ Atlanta. Here is another post from 78 Magazine that also embodies the attitude I want to promote.
What is it about guys today that culture assumes we can be so easily bought off by cheap beer, sports, and scantily clad women? I get that those things are fun. I’m not denying it. But here’s the problem with men who are easily bought and sold—it means you’re a slave, a slave to your impulses. No leader ever was easily influenced by his impulses, and when they are it usually becomes their downfall.
David Petraeus, not to mention anything of his politics or any criticisms, is probably one of the most competent General Officers to ever serve. His book written for military officers on counterinsurgency is one of the best primers on field tactics ever written. Petraeus was once shot in the chest accidentally by a private during an inspection, and two days later did fifty pushups and sit ups to prove he was ready to leave the hospital. What a badass! And yet his career was undone over an affair. An affair in his 60s. If there’s ever a time to have an easy time saying no to an affair, it must be in your 60s.
A man’s Achilles Heel is usually his inability to deny his impulses. It brings down the highest overnight. One of the best ways I know to learn self-control is to discipline your mind with education. That’s why I often speak poorly of video games, a heavily time consuming hobby that does little to cultivate personal development. Books, learning, and service ought to be the three staples of a man’s diet, even more than broccoli, steak, and potatoes.
This is why man caves are poor investments in my opinion. It’s not that football isn’t great, or having a beer with the guys isn’t awesome. It’s just that man caves appeal to simple pleasure: beer and sports. But to be far preferred is beer with the guys, football, and then a rousing philosophical discussion about the classic literature you are all reading. Let’s not be the cheap frat guy in a Budweiser commercial. Let’s be renaissance men: athletic, well read, capable, industrious, charming, and charismatic. Being a frat guy is easy; being a man is hard.