Monday, May 2, 2022

Five pieces of advice for a young man.

1. Be capable of making friends.

2. Be capable of great pleasure.

3. Be capable of making money.

4. Be capable of great violence.

5. Be capable of making a decision.

When asked by a young poet about why he should write, Rainer Maria Rilke answered;

"Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write?"

I've been teaching and learning in many capacities for decades. I've had the great good fortune of being guided by wise men, and giving advice to young men. I continue to help people find their passion, purpose, and pursuit. Here are five pieces of advice I've given, sometimes singly, and at other times, all five, or even more! If you are a young man, I give these to you freely. Take what works for you, leave behind what doesn't.

1. Be capable of making friends.

"Friends should provide their friends with weapons and clothing.

This kind of generosity shows.

Generous mutual giving is the key to life long friendship."

-Havamal 41

10,000 years or more, as men we relied on each other. Our hunting partners, our fellow warriors, our teachers and guides, all the men who had our backs and who we trusted to protect and alert us, all of them played a huge part in our surviving, and our thriving.

Our bonds with other men extended beyond family to fraternal relationships, various groups and societies, to spiritual communities and warrior clans. Our social circles and national ties made bonds and brothers as well. We learned about who were our true friends, our enemies, and those in between. We still need this!

As a young man, you need to learn how to make friends, how to keep friends. and how to vet friends.( If you don't know the meaning of "vet" outside of animal medicine, look it up.) Make friends with men who you look up to. The Sufis say to be careful with who you make friends with because you will have the habits of your friends. Find men who are doing what you want to be doing, know what you want to know, and are who you want to be.

Learn how to give gifts as an exchange. You are not buying friendship, you are simply repaying until you are your best self, and then your friendship is the balanced return. Until then, give of yourself, your time-energy-attention, small gifts and tokens, and your friendship. Be someone your friend can rely on, and seek friends you can rely on as well.

You are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with, so choose carefully. Would you die for your friends? Would they take a bullet for you? Will they betray you and steal from you? Will they defend you in your absence as well as in your presence? You need to ask yourself these questions and get the answers from your friends, and your potential friends, by their actions.

2. Be capable of great pleasure.

"On the other hand, if a man reduces and regulates his ejaculation to an absolute minimum, his body will be strengthened, his mind at ease, and his vision and hearing improved. Although the man seems to have denied himself ejaculatory sensations at times, his love for his woman will greatly increase. It is as if he could never have enough of her. And this is the true lasting pleasure, is it not?"


Young man, you have to know how to please people without being a people-pleaser. What is the difference? 

People pleasers are looking for something. They want to get something for the pleasure they provide. Some are looking for a reward, some for an advantage, and others for validation or to be liked. You are not to please like this.

You want to be able to give great pleasure with your body to your lover. Give pleasure to your family with love and devotion. Give pleasure to your friends with gifts and council. To everyone with compliments, attention, and a smile. Unless you are going to harm someone, or are getting harmed, walk the earth bestowing pleasure and kindness on all.

Your pleasure giving comes from your strength, power, confidence, and awareness.  The pleasure you give increases your energy and never takes away from you. If it does, you are a people-pleaser.

3. Be capable of making money.

"Too many people spend money they earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people that they don't like."

-Will Rogers

Money is an energy exchange. I exchange my time, knowledge, ability etc. for your money. I pay you money for your services, We use money to reflect that energy. You need to know how to make money. It's just like learning how to make energy.

The first step to making money is to truly value yourself and your time. Time is really like saying your life, your lifetime. You don't know how long you'll be here, how long you get to be alive, so every second, minute, hour, day, year counts!

One way to make money is not to spend any. Buy what you need first. Buy what you want last. Figure out what comforts your life and decide to buy based on the time and energy it took to make the money, versus the comfort the bought thing gives to you.

Have more than two or more sources of income. Don't rely on one money source, because it could go away and you'll be stuck. Work by the job, not by the hour. Your time is your most valuable commodity. When you limit how much that time can earn you, knowing you can never get that time back or make it more valuable, is the slowest and costliest way to make money.

Learn to value and cherish experiences above materials. Taking a walk on a sunny day is free. Buying something you really want loses that magic once you get it. Think of the day after Christmas or after your birthday.

If you can, be your own boss. Own your own business. Be the master of your own time and mobility. These are the true signs of wealth. Many people with lots of money are stuck, unhappy, unhealthy, and miserable. Money is a tool. Make it work for you, not you work for money.

4. Be capable of great violence.

"You can't truly call yourself peaceful unless you're capable of great violence. If you're not capable of violence you're not peaceful, you're harmless."

-Stefan Grant

As a man, you need to be able to protect yourself, and that includes being able to inflict, pain, injury, harm, and death. If you are called upon to defend yourself, a loved one, an innocent or vulnerable person, a friend, or even a stranger, you'll find that words don't go very far with irrational, violent people.

If you are being oppressed, bullied, intimidated, or outright attacked, you need to be able to stop that behavior or die trying. You are not looking for trouble. If trouble comes to you, wishing and hoping it goes away is a poor strategy.

Learn how to fight with your body. Learn how to fight with your mind. Learn how to fight with bladed and blunt weapons. Learn how to shoot firearms. Go to a dojo. Learn fencing at a fencing club. Take a firearms safety course. Take up archery. Throw knives and axes. Lift weights, eat right, sleep well, and be strong and capable.

You may never need, or even use, your self-defense skills, but that is no excuse not to be able to in a split second. The more you are able to inflict damage, the finer line you walk of awareness and responsibility.  Again, because you are capable of great violence doesn't mean that is your only answer to conflict. The Art of War states that knowing your opponent and yourself is a strategy for victory.

5. Be capable of making a decision.

"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing."

- Theodore Roosevelt

Procrastination is the paralyzing curse of the information age. You have the world's knowledge and experience at your fingertips, but you can't decide what to do. Sometimes having too much choice is no choice at all!

There are stages to a decision. Figure out what you want or need. Research. Ask for advice. Write out pros and cons. Leave it alone for a while. Meditate on it. Sleep on it. Ask your deep, innermost self. 

At some point you have to decide. You can't be wishy washy about it, it could be a serious decision or action you must take. When you have done all you can, within a reasonable amount of time, not hurrying yourself, or taking forever, then you have to act. Trust in yourself. Trust you are making the decision with everything you could do, within a reasonable time. THEN DO IT!

The Sufis say you should make decisions with the idea that you will not live past this day, or you have the next forty years ahead of you. You have to be quick and slow. Detailed and intuitive. Stand by your decision. If you can do this, you will be way ahead in your life.

There are lots more I have to say, and share, and give. For now, know yourself, love yourself, teach yourself, strengthen yourself, and test yourself.

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