"I have always believed that motivation is a gift to be shared with everyone. Over the years I have read literally thousands of books and articles on the subject. I have come to the conclusion that inspiration is an art that breeds familiarity in every message - a constant reinforcement to our own truth within."
COACH DALE BROWN
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
The True Measure of A Man
By: Richard E. Simmons III Here is what I hear from men all the time: They struggle with feelings of 1) insecurity, 2) inadequacy, 3) isolation, 4) loneliness, and 5) fear washed in anxiety. Why? They have the wrong set of dreams—all wrong—and they don’t know who they are. It is heartbreaking to see men waste their entire lives trying to convince other people that they are someone they are not. This is why men’s souls do not grow mighty in spirit and courage. They spend their existence covering up and living in fear they will one day be discovered as a fraud. There is a voice inside them that keeps telling them that in spite of all the ornaments they collect in life, they are still not OK. The results are a lifelong tension with guilt, shame, and anxiety. Jerry Leachman, Chaplain of the Washington Redskins (1995-2007) There is one question we men are always asking ourselves. It often seems to be the central question that must finally be answered before we will make certain decisions or take a definitive course of action. It is a question, I believe, that haunts many a man’s life: What will people think about me? Men so often define themselves by what they do, who they know, or what they own. And when they do so, they unwittingly set themselves up for a great confusion and failure in their personal lives. When we equate our worth as human beings with our individual performances, we put our identities at grave risk. Any type of perceived failure from the perspective of an ego built on such a shaky foundation can easily lead us to conclude that our lives are not worth very much. Many men are no longer concerned with lives of excellence. Instead, no matter how much a man accomplishes, he does not believe he is successful unless others know about it. We now regard success as achievement plus proper recognition of our achievement. The recognition is what makes us feel worthwhile and that we measure up as men. Christopher Lasch, author of The Culture of Narcissism, has perhaps said it best: [Men] would rather be envied for their material success than respected for their character. When all is said and done, we must accept that we have a radically unstable, temporal foundation on which we have anchored our identity and that something is fundamentally wrong with this approach to life. What would happen if we let the person who determines our worth be God? Fear and shame are a primary cause of depression in men during times of trouble. Too few men know how to share with others their fears, the pain in their lives, and their struggles, particularly if it makes them look weak or like a failure. So men naturally clam up and silently carry the load on their backs. In the process they withdraw from others and live very lonely, isolated lives. This withdrawal, of course, has a significant impact on our relationships with other men because what we really fear is how our failure will appear in the eyes of our peers and especially those we consider our friends. This explains why we always try to maintain the appearance that our lives are flourishing and that we really have it together but have no lifelong deep relationships. If all I can offer you is a superficial image of my true self, why should I expect to end up with anything but superficial relationships that have no real depth? Fear of failure and our inability to deal with that fear create shallow personal relationships. The great lesson of human history is that people are always looking for something else, anything else, to give them significance and security. For so many men in the world of business and commerce, God is not an option. What too many good men fail to realize is that this approach to life is utter foolishness. The ball field, the bedroom, and the wallet are merely outward experiences that fail to translate into permanent inner fulfillment and contentment. Furthermore, as time goes by, the ball field, the bedroom, and the wallet are never able to convince us in our innermost being that we truly measure up as men. Character, wisdom, and love make up the essence of what it means to be an authentic man. When we think of manhood and masculinity, we should recognize that character, wisdom, and our ability to love others are at the heart of being a man. I believe at times we all find ourselves subject to the pull of comparison, the yearning for admiration and fame. After all, these are the measurements of worldly success. Arrogance and pride, however, unlike true and humble contentment for a job well done in the service of others, lead us down a slippery and destructive path as we try to impress others. They often cause us to inflate and embellish our successes and accomplishments in the process. Have you ever thought about how much different your life would be if you did not fear and worry about what others thought of you, if you never had to impress anyone? If we cannot be transparent with ourselves and also cannot be transparent with others, then who are we? * All of us, without God’s help, live lives of illusion. We spend almost all of our lives trying to prove to other people and ourselves that we are something other than what we really are. Humility comes powerfully into our lives when God becomes the audience we perform for. When this happens, human opinion becomes less and less important to us. One of the main reasons we are so discontent with our lives is because we are always comparing ourselves with others. We measure how well we are doing in comparison with others. We make mistakes and we feel inferior; we experience success and we feel superior. As we have seen, our emotions and our confidence moves with the market and flows with the opinion of others. Helen Keller, a woman born deaf and blind, knew and understood that the only thing in life worse than being blind was not to have a vision for your life. A vision for life truly changes a man and his response to the world around him; it changes him dramatically.