Category Archives for "My Personal Evolution"
Life Mastery isn’t about making a lot of money, although it can include that. It isn’t about being successful in an enterprise, although it can be that. And, it isn’t about being famous, although fame can be a result of Life Mastery.
Life Mastery is about living a good life. What is a good life? A good life is a life of meaning. It is a life during which one creates more than he consumes. It is a life in which one provides more value to his fellow men than he expects to receive. It is a life during which one touches more people by caring for others than caring for himself. It is a life during which one achieves mastery in a chosen field in order to make major contributions to humanity.
You will have lived a good life if you leave a legacy that continues to positively influence others long after you are gone.
Having a good set of core values will ensure that even if you end up making a lot of money or you end up building a successful enterprise, or you end up being famous, you will enjoy a life of meaning while remaining humble, modest, kind and empathetic.
There are 6 major qualities that a man will have to develop in himself before he can say he has mastered his life. These qualities are:
Having a Life’s Purpose or Vision means knowing where you are going in life. It means having a direction. As Brian Tracy says, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” It all starts with your vision.
Health. If you are not healthy you are not going to be living a Good Life. Health is a major requirement. To be healthy you have to master Nutrition, Movement, Sleep and Relaxation, Meditation or whatever method you use to slow down.
You also have to overcome stifling social standards that make you hold back when you feel you need to release your emotions. Having Emotions Release Rituals is directly tied to working towards achieving Authenticity. Being free to express yourself means being free to express your sadness, joy, laughter, anger, wonder, sorrow.
Productivity. Jim Rohn says, “If you don’t produce you won’t be happy.” If you don’t create and provide value to others you will not be living a life of meaning. It’s as simple as that.
Productivity is directly related to your Vocation or Calling or Life’s Task.
Your Vocation has to be in service of you and also in service of others:
Serve oneself: with Ambition, Creativity, and Enthusiasm, while achieving Mastery in your chosen field.
Serve others: by making a Contribution to the lives of others (by Giving back), Significance (the potential to positively influence more people), and Benevolence (the genuine desire to do good to others).
Humanity is characterized by the following virtues: Connectedness, Friendship, Care for parents and elders, Benefaction (conferring a benefit to others). All these virtues, contained in the virtue of Humanity, are vitally important for achieving a good balance between pure ambition and the necessity to live your life of service to others.
Culture is your heritage. Wherever you are in the world and wherever you come from, have you taken the time to record and help preserve the Customs and Traditions of your culture? Do you understand the rituals of your culture? Do you know what
Do you know what Rites of Passage have traditionally been used in your culture to help young men transition into manhood? If you don’t, you should not be surprised if your heritage is lost one day. And, your heritage is a part of your identity – your uniqueness.
And, finally, Spirituality.
You don’t have to believe in God to be spiritual. You can cultivate a Belief in anything that gives you strength and Comfort. It could be science. It could be your mission. It could be anything you sincerely believe in.
Reflection, Ethics, and Awe are important components of Spirituality. Look deep inside, use morality for guidance, allow to be deeply moved, to be in awe with the wonders of Nature. Allow to feel alive.
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This covers all four aspects of the Man’s Life Mastery blueprint. Once again, this blueprint is the culmination of my personal evolution and my understanding of what it means to live a life of meaning. I personally still have a lot of work to do in order to even feel that I’m confidently moving in the direction of Life Mastery.
I think the most important step any man can take is to pledge to avoid at all cost a life of mediocrity and mere existence, and to commit instead to living a life of meaning – a life in service of himself and others, to commit to a life spent in pursuit of objectives bigger than he is.
In the words of Jim Rohn:
“Let others live small lives, but not you!”
I’ll leave you with this timeless wisdom of George Bernard Shaw:
“This is the true joy in life – that being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. That being a force of nature, instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you
happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake.
Life is no brief candle to me. It’s a sort of splendid torch which I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”
Your body is where your mind lives for the duration of your life’s journey. A healthy mind cannot successfully coexist with an unhealthy or unconditioned and incapable body.
If the mind says “do this”, the body has to be able to “yeah, let’s do it”. Otherwise, the mind is crippled.
There is no excuse for mastering the body barring a dis-ease or disability. And, even if a man was struck by dis-ease or disability most of the time he can still master the body to a remarkable degree. That is clearly demonstrated to us by severely injured veterans or people born with crippling dis-eases who go on to become Para-Olympians and achieve physical feats who inspire all of us to an immense degree.
For each man, in accordance with his historical and contemporary roles, there are 6 abilities, which when converted to skills can lead to body mastery.
Strength is of primary importance to each man. Increasing strength means increasing potential to successfully deal with all kinds of challenges a man will inevitably face in his lifetime – physical and non-physical. Diminishing strength is a sign of aging and a descent toward the end of life.
Great physical strength in a male leads to more respect and admiration from other males. On a very primal level, strength is a status thing, especially when it can be readily demonstrated. It has always been that way and that’s how it will always be for all men. Physical strength is absolutely imperative.
Power is explosiveness. It is strength compressed in time. The greater the strength – the greater the potential for power generation. Why is power important? Because in life oftentimes for strength to be of any use it has to be expressed as power. When a man has to jump over a fence to save his life or the life of another it will be his ability to generate power that will propel him over the fence – not pure strength.
If a man has to defend himself it will be the power of his strike that will save him. It will be the power of his skill to overthrow his adversary, it will be the power of his legs that will catapult him into a sprint that will help him escape danger.
Stamina or Endurance has become less and less important in modern western society. But things still happen and sometimes a man will be put on a trial that will test his ability to endure. It might be a life and death situation as it often is. And, if a man’s cardio-respiratory fitness isn’t where it needs to be at the time of this trial he or his loved ones might suffer greatly.
Stamina has another name – Staying power. As such it includes a mindset component. Staying power is the ability to endure without running out of gas in the tank and without running out of a will to stay alive.
Primal Movement Patterns is just a fancy term for being able to use the body for what our ancestors had to use it daily, for what the body was designed to be used anyway – the native, most natural movement patterns that are quickly being abandoned because of the advancement of civilization.
Primal movement patterns are Balancing, Running/Sprinting, Jumping, Crawling, Climbing, Lifting, Carrying, Throwing/Catching. The true skill is not only to be able to do move properly but to be able to move properly and efficiently. You can climb a tree, but can you climb on a tree branch in seconds in order to avoid danger? You can run for a few minutes, but can you run for a half a day if you have to?
Each man has to develop basic combat skills which he can use if ever called to perform his historical and biological duty as the protector. Each man should also cultivate a mindset of not giving up no matter what. Why is the mindset important? If you have the skills to protect but not the mindset to stay in for as long as you have to become a victor, another less skilled opponent with a strong mindset will out-stay you. He lives, you die.
Cultivating a mindset is very, very important. Darwinian natural selection will favor the less strong and less skilled but with a stronger will to survive. And whoever survives gets to pass on his genes.
The best way to cultivate a mindset is to submit to meaningful trials with other males – trials that are meant to increase the level of your skill and the “don’t give up” attitude, but do so in a friendly manner. Men have always had ways to achieve this task throughout the ages. They do so today as well.
“Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.” – Benjamin Disraeli
“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Joseph Addison
There is no successful person that I know of who hasn’t heavily invested in mastering his mind.
There are four components to Mind Mastery:
To master your mind you have to heavily invest in acquiring more knowledge. Knowledge is power. And successful men are powerful men.
How do you acquire knowledge? By reading, listening to recordings, meeting interesting people, having interesting conversations, going to seminars, keeping a journal of your life experiences.
Solitude means to go away for a while, to be alone, to be still. And, in your time alone, in your stillness – to contemplate, to look deep inside of you – to introspect, and to reflect on the past – to retrospect.
Knowledge feeds your mind. Heavy doses of knowledge, combined with deep contemplation is what will produce your Personal Philosophy. Your personal philosophy is like a guidance system all by itself. If you express an opinion that’s not based on your personal philosophy then you are using dogma. Dogma is perusing results of the thinking of other people, but not your own.
Emotional Intelligence is a set of abilities that are absolutely necessary if you are to achieve Life Mastery – if you are to live a good life. Here they are:
The core values are the guiding system of a man. It is a set of principles that allow a man to make decisions and take actions that confidently move him in the direction of living a life of meaning .
The first guiding principle is Honor. Honor is inclusive of other important principles such as Honesty, Integrity, Fairness, and Respect. A man of honor is a man that has been bestowed the highest of esteem and respect. He is a man of integrity, honesty, and fairness. He is a man that other men deeply respect and look up to for guidance and inspiration.
Courage – as Jack Donovan puts it in The Way of Men, “Courage is the willingness to risk harm to ensure the success or survival of a group or another person”. Courage is the ability to not give up when it gets really tough. It is the strength of the mind in the face of adversity (also called Fortitude).
But courage is something else too. It is the capacity to meet the anxiety which arises as one moves more and more confidently in the direction of achieving true authenticity.
Authenticity is the ability to be yourself. Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Authenticity is Freedom of expression – the ability and the courage to express your point of view when it goes against the socially accepted truths.
Authenticity is Non-conformity. It is the opposite of being consistent with social norms. It means not giving in to social pressure. Emerson said: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
Authenticity is also the ability to show your vulnerability, to show your emotions. Not in a disempowering and pathetic way, but in a manly way. Jim Rohn said: “Let happy things make you happy; let sad things make you sad.” You don’t have to be tough all the time. Just be YOU all the time.
Humility is the ability to remain modest and humble no matter the vastness of your achievements and accomplishments. It is the ability to not ever forget where your journey began.
Humaneness is a virtue comprised of other powerful virtues. They are Generosity, Kindness, Empathy, Compassion, and Love. Humaneness is so powerful – it is the hallmark of a human being with a truly big heart.
The virtues Honor, Courage and Authenticity are balanced by the virtues of Humility and Humaneness. All together make for a remarkable human being.
Conservancy – the ability to live responsibly, to treat with utmost respect the resources that are available to you and to make a conscious effort to minimize the damage you will inflict on Mother Nature for the duration you are a guest on this planet.
“You and I live in an age when only a rare minority of individuals desire to spend their lives in pursuit of objectives, which are bigger than they are. In our age, for most people, when they die it will be as though they’ve never lived”. ~ Rusty Rustenbach, in his pastoral article “Giving Yourself Away”
Most people will spend their entire lives wandering aimlessly, without ever pursuing any significant goal, let alone a goal bigger than they are. Most people will live mediocre lives – lives without meaning. And, for most people, this is totally fine.
But, not for you! You are committed to designing your own Life Mastery Blueprint and to living your life by it! You are committed to contributing to humanity. You are committed to living a life of meaning!
My mentor Jim Rohn said:
“When you are laying on your death bed and when the score card of your life is shown let it show that you failed, but don’t let it show that you didn’t try.”
I have a confession to make: My biggest fear in life is that when my time comes and I’m laying on my death bed and the score card of my life is shown, that it will show that I didn’t fail enough times and that I didn’t try hard enough, that I missed opportunities, that I left important things undone. That it will show that I didn’t spend my life in pursuit of objectives bigger than myself.
Now, as I am coasting well into the 42-nd year of my life I am in a hurry to change that. I am in a hurry to get on a steady path to a life of mastery – on a steady path to a life of meaning.
It took me 42 years of trying and failing, and of failing to try, of searching for the ingredients of a good life. I finally designed a template, that I – and any man – can use as a blueprint to master his own journey so that he can pursue goals bigger than himself so that he can contribute to humanity in more than one ways so that he can live a good life.
This blueprint is the result of books I’ve read, wise people I had the fortune to spend time with, of studying the successful lives of others before me. It is a result of my own life experience, my own trials, and errors, of seeing what works and what doesn’t, on spending a good amount of time pondering the subject of Life mastery.
This blueprint is also a work in progress. As I continue to enrich myself as a person, as I continue to study others who I admire I may add or update it. But, for the present moment, this is what I feel is the most thorough representation of values, qualities, abilities and skills a man should possess and master in order to have a richer and more rewarding life experience.
Why “Men’s Life Mastery”? Doesn’t it apply to women?
The only reason why this blueprint is geared toward men is that I am a man and that’s what I have most experience being. There are some core values, skills and abilities that are historically and traditionally considered to be the responsibility of men.
For example, the ability to protect is a manly virtue and obligation. The values of Courage and Honor are to a great degree the core values for this manly virtue. Also, as a man masters his body as a part of mastering his life he has to acquire combative skills and he has to train his mindset to be able to push through the pain. Women do not need to master such skills, as that’s what they have us for.
That being said, with a few exceptions (and maybe with a few additions) this blueprint applies to women as well.
Now, if you ask whether I’ve achieved Life Mastery I will be the first to admit that I have not. I am a student in all this myself. What I know is that I am confidently moving in the direction of a life well spent – a life of meaning.
And, what I also know is that I want to share my journey with you in hopes that you will find it inspiring to seek to live a good life, a life of meaning, a life that’s dedicated to the pursuit of goals bigger than you are.
My latest training in firearms was the 3-day Firearms Instructor Development Course taught by Tom Givens – one of the top firearms and defensive tactics instructor in the US and the owner of the Rangemaster Firearms Training Services.
What an experience!
I am glad I did it!
Although I had previously attended the Combative Pistol 1 again taught by Tom Givens, and although some of the material overlapped the added material and the level of training under stress really took us all to the next level.
In just three days my level of confidence in my knowledge and skills increased dramatically.
Just to give you an idea…
At the end in order to become certified as Firearms Instructors by Rangemaster we had to successfully pass two exams: a shooting exam and a written exam.
The shooting exam consisted of two parts:
The written test consisted of 80 questions with mostly fill-in-the-blanks sentences and a few true/false questions. Time constraint – 1 our.
For the passing of this exam we had to read a 200+ page manual, supplied by Rangemaster, basically after class on the first day, after class on the second day and one hour during the third day while half the shooters were doing the shooting exams.
— FBI Qualification Course of Fire – 100 percent (hard to believe, but that’s what it was – I saw my target)
— Rangemaster Firearms Instructor Qualification Course of Fire – 97.6 percent
— Rangemaster Firearms Instructor written exam – 89.4 percent
No wonder why my confidence went up quite a bit..
There is a two-day advanced Firearms Instructor Course by Rangemaster, which I intend to take as well – if not this year definitely next year.. I hear next year it will be taught here in Austin, TX area. This year it is in Oklahoma.
That’s it.. It’s been two weeks already and I’m still processing what happened..
What firearms courses have you taken and where? Share your experience!
I recently attended the Dynamic First Aid course taught by Caleb Causey of LoneStarMedics.com. The course was taught at the Tactical Arts Academy in Austin where I also train Filipino and Indonesian Martial Arts.
The course was interesting not only because of the material taught but also because my wife attended with me.
I had previously attended a CPR certification course but I didn’t feel confident that if the need arises I can provide first aid to someone – or myself.
It turned out that Dynamic First Aid (more precisely the material taught) is something completely different than the CPR-First Aid taught by the Red Cross… And, I’m glad that I went and got the training!
What I learned:
The course was a half-day long but it could have easily been a whole day. The printout we were all given in the beginning included the material above but also other material that we merely touched upon like drags/carries, impaled objects, broken bones, burns, seizures, heart attack, eye injuries, shock.
What I especially liked was the role-play drills (the pic above). They provided levels of stress, which is what really tested how we would really do in similar situations (we would probably would do even worse since there wasn’t any real injuries or blood, etc.).
Role-play drills are the type of hands-on that is of most value in courses like this. It’s similar to the force-on-force in firearms training. The reason is people break under even moderate levels of stress and what is simply learned as theory isn’t usually what will be applied in a real-life situation if there isn’t any realistic (under stress) training.
I still feel like I need more knowledge and even more practice to really feel confident, but at least now I 1) finally have my own IFAK (individual first aid kit) for my EDC (every-day carry), and 2) I know how to self-apply a tourniquet to stop bleeding from gun shot wound to the extremities… or do that and some of the listed above procedures to someone else.. should the need arise.
Next, I would love to get some training in Tactical Medicine (which is also offered by LoneStarMedics).
What about you – do you have any training or experience with Dynamic First Aid or Tactical Medicine?
This past weekend I attended a 13-hour course at KRTraining, which was comprised of three separate defensive pistol skills courses: Defensive Pistol Skills 2, Advanced Training 2: Force-on-Force, Advanced Training 1A: Low light shooting.
For this day of courses I used my new Ruger LC9s Pro sub-compact pistol.
I have to say that out of all the previous courses I’ve taken at this defensive shooting training school these three were the most impactful. More specifically the Force-on-Force scenarios.
Here are the main things that struck me the most:
I also learned that although sub-compact handguns may be okay as a part of your EDC or minimally uncomfortable for concealed carry, they are definitely not okay for defensive handgun courses. The low capacity (7 + 1 rounds in my case) makes it very stressful and difficult to complete drills. As one of my instructors stated near the end of the day, “You are fighting the small gun syndrome”.
Now, almost a week later I’m still processing the information received that day. And, I know it will take a while to fully process all that happened and all that I was exposed to.
In the mean time, I look forward to my continued education in the area of self-defense with firearms – Combative Pistol 1 with Tom Givens and after that MAG-20 Classroom with Massad Ayoob.