Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why I've Stopped Being a Regular Reader of Return of Kings

This one is going to be a bit painful for me to write, but in my opinion, it needs to be said, and I will follow the advice of Victor Pride when he says to write what you feel down to the depths of your bones, and not publish anything less.

I owe much to Return of Kings. It is undoubtedly the source and community that galvanized me last year to get off my ass and make something better of myself. I needed motivation, discipline, and community. The information coming out of Return of Kings - the hard truths and the fascinating truths, not watered down by any ridiculous adherence to political correctness, is a fountain of knowledge from which all men need to drink, and I am proud to have contributed a couple of articles to the site. Over the past year, I have done things I never even conceived of being possible before, including meeting more women than I ever have in my life, and Return of Kings was the foundation that spurred this personal growth. It exposed me to things and people I had not considered.

That being said, Return of Kings is not a perfect fountain, and that fountain's imperfections have sent me somewhat away. I of course have been and will continue to be an avid reader of anything that Quintus Curtius puts out, because his articles are of consistent high quality - illustrating wisdom that continuously helps me to become a better man. The other articles however, have been on the downswing for months.

Personally, I think there is far, far too much bitching about things - particularly women. Yes, all guys need to know the unvarnished truths about the basics of female psychology, how to handle it, what to watch out for, what to do, and what not to do. However, that is among the first things you learn. The fact that articles continue to come out regarding this topic, often with a negative tone, looks more like bitching to me at this point, rather than anything positive that will turn guys into better men. For instance, do I really need to know (again) why your girlfriend is overrated, read yet again why some guys are traveling to Asia to find women, or read yet another article about the nature of women? Do I really need to read (again) about how The Manipulated Man is the supposed red pill bible?

As you can see, for every article such as Quintus' latest, which warns us about the chaotic whims of fortune and shines light on a fascinating historical case study in discipline, there are easily three or four of the ones that are highlighted above, which beat a dead horse at best and just sound like pure bitching at worst.

I've also noticed that as I've done more things to make myself a better man - training, working on my websites, getting my real estate sales license, writing my book, expanding my social circle, going out and meeting women, etc., I have also read Return of Kings less and less overall. And I wonder if it's the same way with other guys out there. Perhaps this is the reason why guys such as YouSoWould, Mark Manson, Steve Jabba, and others have stated that you can tell that guys aren't successful if they do this kind of stuff too often. At what point does the Manosphere become very much like the feminists and other social justice warriors it professes to despise - complaining about things and demanding they change, instead of changing ourselves for the better?

Do you complain a lot about the lack of femininity in American women, or do you spend more time becoming more masculine instead?

There will be imperfections in any community, and this is the biggest imperfection here. Some of these things do need to be said, of course, but the mean needs to be found, and I think ROK has deviated to the extreme, as has much of the community. I will still continue to go to ROK, but overall you will get more bang for your buck at places like Bold and Determined, Good Looking Loser, Danger & Play, Christian McQueen, etc.

ROK's biggest asset is the reach it has. This is also its biggest fault. It wakes more guys up than anything else. But at the same time it requires clickbait articles and therefore lacks quality control. Once you've woken up, it's time to walk the road. I'm not convinced that ROK is the best companion for that journey. It will always have a place, but not the primary one.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Can You Stand?

Over the past month I've watched the Sharpe series starring Sean Bean portraying Richard Sharpe, a soldier that rises from the ranks to eventually receive his Lieutenant Colonelcy during the Napoleonic Wars. Sharpe's rise begins by his saving the life of the Duke of Wellington in the first episode. Sharpe is somewhat atypical - he achieves his status in the army by merit, rather than wealth or blood. In an age where most officers were gentry who bought their commissions, this is unusual, and Sharpe needs to deal with the snobbery of the aristocrats throughout his entire career in the series.

Sharpe also deals with questions regarding the choices he makes with women (many of which are poor), and the strong comradeship he has with his friends, particularly Patrick Harper, who becomes the regimental Sergeant Major and saves Sharpe's life more times than can be counted. The bond between Sharpe and Harper is probably closest to Aristotle's idea of a true friendship.

Overall there are very powerful masculine lessons to be gleaned from this series, and I recommend watching it (I haven't read the books yet). However, the most powerful lesson of all came to me from the second episode: Sharpe's Eagle. Let's let Richard Sharpe do the talking from this point (skip to 5:25):

"This place is called Talavera. There's gonna be a battle here tomorrow. You'll fight in it, maybe even die in it. But you won't see it. There's a lot of smoke in a battle. Our cannon, their cannon. Our shot, their shell. Our volleys, their volleys. You don't see a battle, you hear it! Black powder blasting by the ton on all sides. Black smoke blinding you and choking you and making you vomit! And the French come out of the smoke - not in a line, but in a column. And they march towards our thin line. Kettle drums hammering like hell and a golden eagle blazing overhead. They march slowly, it takes them a long time to reach you, and you can't see them in smoke, but you can hear the drums, and they march out of the smoke and you fire a volley, and the front rank of the column falls, and the next rank steps over them with drums hammering, and the column smashes your line like a hammer breaking glass, and Napoleon has won another battle. But if you don't run, if you stand until you can smell the garlic, and fire volley after volley, three rounds a minute, then they slow down. They stop. And then they run away. All you've got to do is stand and fire three rounds a minute! Now you and I know you can fire three rounds a minute, but can you stand?"

Sharpe later tests his men again:

After the incompetent commander Simmerson falls back, Sharpe rallies the troops with this short, decisive speech:

"Now, I know you can fire three rounds a minute, but what I want to know now is - can you stand?"

I think that this quip, and this analogy, works rather well towards life in general. When it comes to overcoming any challenge, it's often not whether you have the skill to do it, but whether you can stand in the grit.

Here's a personal example. A couple of weeks ago, I was coming back home from a stint outside. I did two approaches earlier in the day and got rejected twice. On the way back home I saw a very beautiful girl - one of the best looking girls I'd seen in a while. She's just my kind of girl too. Blonde, beautiful blue eyes, great body. This was on the street, and not doing street approaches often, I was about to pussy out from approaching.

I walk away.

Miraculously, she changes direction to walk down where I'm walking down.

My mind spins. I see her looking around, almost as if she was exploring. I know that when a girl does this she's usually open to a chat. I second-guess myself and tell myself I should approach.

Still, it's the street, and I walk away again.

As she turns once again, I turn back toward her. My mind spins. I third-guess myself.

My mind and I knew that I could approach girls and start conversations with nearly any of them (including on the street). But could I stand?

I turn back and move toward her. I open her and go on an instant date. Although she had to leave the city the next day (I tend to have this sort of luck), I'm still in contact with her, and she's planning to move here in December.

I had the skills, but what was more important here was that I "stood."

Such is often the case. As Sharpe said: "I know you can fire three rounds a minute, but can you stand?"

I know that you can lift this weight. I know that you can pull yourself up this many times. But then you feel the burn and the pain and your body is screaming at you to stop. You and I know that you can push yourself up again, you have the capability - but can you stand?

You can write more than you do now. I know you have the capability to write 2,000 words a day. But can you stand?

And so on.

"Standing" is probably even more important than ability when it comes to success. You can have all the ability in the world and still lack success because you wouldn't stand. You wouldn't bust your ass in the face of adversity and conflict. You'd run away. That was me in a nutshell until last year, and I still have a ways to go with regards to this.

Take somebody that has half the skills though, and can stand every time, and he'll likely be at least moderately successful in any endeavor he wishes to choose.

Whatever it is you fear, or are hesitant to do, stand for one minute. If you can do this, your fear will vanish, and your skills will be brought to bear. If you can just stand for one minute, you've likely gotten it done.

So, I know that you and I can fire three rounds a minute. What I want to know now is - can we stand?