Alright guys, this is the meat of all my posts. Everything we’ve talked about before leads up to this. Part 1, we talk about the importance of coming up with a vision for yourself. Part 2, we talk about why it’s unproductive to give external opinions too much credit, and why it’s important – especially for Asian men – to focus on self-development. In Part 2.5, I wrote a brief post about getting your financial situation nice and streamlined.
Here, I’m going to attempt to explain how you go about building yourself into the man you want to be, and how it’ll snowball until you become an unstoppable juggernaut of personal growth.
PART 3A: LIFESTYLE (OVERVIEW)
So you’ve sketched out a vision for yourself. You’ve decided that you’re ready to ignore external negativity and focus on you. You’ve got your finances figured out and now you have money set aside to invest in yourself. Now, we can start building, and this is the best part!
The idea of this post is to take your vision, and start making it real. The hardest part about this is taking the first few steps. Initially, it’ll feel weird. Maybe you want to learn guitar, but you can’t figure out what guitar out of all the choices you should buy. Or maybe you buy one, but your friends tease you about it (cough get new friends). There are a myriad of excuses you can tell yourself to put off change, and the mental barriers will be strongest in the very beginning. This is partly why I made a post about money – setting aside a budget helps lower that barrier and makes it easier to try new hobbies. Now, since I can’t speak for everyone, I’ll just show you guys how I’ve personally gotten into the groove of constant self-improvement.
When I graduated college and started working, the past decade of my life had only included one hobby: Chinese martial arts. After I started making money, I decided that I wanted to try some new things (fracturing my ankle was a factor too haha). The first thing I did was to buy the cheapest, but well-reviewed bass guitar and amp combo off Amazon for less than two-hundred bucks. Probably one of the best purchases of my life. Picking up bass guitar gave me a drastically deeper of appreciation for music. I didn’t force myself to practice by any kind of schedule. I just found songs I enjoyed, looked up tabs, and practiced the songs because I enjoyed playing. Since I played for fun, I improved quickly (in the beginning, I would often come home from work and play for hours at a time), and with help from my instrumentally-inclined roommate, even learned some basic theory and how to improvise.
The next hobby I picked up was reading/learning, if that counts as a hobby. I bought a Kindle, which is probably the second best purchase of my life. I used to love reading but stopped reading for leisure in college. Now with a Kindle, I could have an entire library in my hands! I got caught up on a lot of classic books, and if there was one I didn’t enjoy, I just dropped it and moved on to the next book.
This is a concept that I want to emphasize: don’t force yourself into anything. The whole point of this is to find things that you enjoy. If you try out a book and you don’t like it, stop reading it. If you pick up a hobby and you don’t enjoy it, just drop it. Don’t feel obligated to stick with it and ruin it for yourself. Your vision is flexible. Again this, is why a budget is important. Say you buy a cheap guitar and you don’t get into it – keep it, sell it, give it to your little sister; it’s all good because you’ll have a new budget the next month anyway.
You might question yourself at first. Buying that first bass guitar seemed like a silly impulse at the time. “What the hell am I doing with this thing,” I thought to myself. Over time though, the more I found hobbies that I loved and that made my life richer, the less hesitation I had about trying new things, as long as it fit in my budget. Backyard archery? Done. Boxing class? Done. Homebrewing kit? Done. Soon I started to find that I had so many fun hobbies that I didn’t even really want to play video games anymore. Sure I could sit around and get some virtual achievements and probably feel shitty for spending the whole day in a chair, but I could also go out and work on my archery. Getting better at real-world hobbies was straight-up addicting. And the great thing about having so many different options was that I could always be growing as a person – even if I wasn’t in the mood to read one day, I could play guitar. If not guitar, I could listen to some podcasts, or maybe go to the pool and work on my freestyle. Which isn’t to say I don’t play video games for fun every so often as well (my god The Last of Us was fantastic), but I had many other options too.
The point is, you get into a habit of learning new things, simply because it’s enjoyable. Life has so much to offer. You’ll find that the worst feeling the world is stagnating – realizing that your past month or week was totally forgettable because you achieved nothing in your personal life.
Gaining Confidence and Learning to Give Zero Fucks
If nothing else, I would hope you guys read this section. This is why the process of working towards a vision is so important: it gives you real, genuine confidence. It’s hard to explain in words how it does so, and I’m sure many psychology papers could be written on the topic. I personally think it’s a combination of many things:
By getting used to constantly trying and committing to new things, you become less apprehensive about unfamiliar situations. Everything from new sports to different places to meeting new people becomes interesting and an exciting opportunity to gain new perspectives.
Because you witness yourself growing all the time, you realize that you have essentially infinite potential. You can be (almost) anything you want, which has some pretty big effects on confidence.
You realize how few people live this way, and how many people settle for complacency. You start to have a hard time imagining how people can go for months or even years without really changing as a human being. There’s definitely pride to be taken in this, though it’s important to avoid looking down on others.
Other people’s opinions of you stop mattering. Because what do they know? You may even find it laughable, because most of the people who might hate on you have never done anything to improve themselves. Unless they’re well-developed individuals themselves, their opinion of you has zero value.
You know that you’re interesting. You can relate to most people through one of your new interests or another. You always have something to share, and stories to tell. When people ask you what you do for fun, instead of freezing up and feeling self-conscious, your problem now is, “Where do I even start?”
You learn to appreciate how colorful life is. Every activity or interest that you take up will be a world in itself. You approach every person you meet with genuine interest, because they might be able to introduce you to one of these worlds.
I’m probably missing plenty more. You can probably see how this affects the way you approach a lot of the common topics discussed in this sub: racism, socializing, dating, etc. In my first post, I wrote something along the lines of how everything falls into place once you get into this groove, and I wasn’t exaggerating. What we’re doing here is building true confidence out of a lifestyle that takes care of itself in terms of self-improvement. Once you get the ball rolling, it’s all downhill. Of course, you’ll occasionally hit some slumps or lose momentum, and that’s perfectly fine. None of us are perfect, and it’s okay to have moments of weakness or laziness. But get in the habit often enough, and more likely than not, you’ll find yourself wanting to pick yourself up and keep growing. Life is just more fun that way.
In the next post, I’ll give some suggestions for specific kinds of investments that I personally think lay great foundations for being a well-rounded man.
Original Post: https://www.reddit.com/r/AsianMasculinity/comments/2d4wcu/power_leaps_guide_to_manhood_part_3a_lifestyle/
Reposted with permission from /u/Power_Leap with slight modifications