If you are a young man and you’re struggling, you are not alone. This article is intended to challenge you to rethink your entire approach to life. If applied, these habits will radically set you apart from the decaying norm.
1. Think Beyond Yourself
Young males, believe it or not look to their parents for all the answers. When they become teenagers they know ALL the answers. Then that's it... Many never mature out of this stage and remain incredibly narcissistic, which is displayed in the following ways:
Believing you are better than others
Exaggerating your talents or gifts
Expecting constant praise and admiration
Failure to recognize other people’s emotions or feelings
Expressing disdain for those who seem inferior
Trouble keeping healthy relationships
Acting as if you have nothing to learn
Interestingly, psychological research on generational differences has found that Millennials are more narcissistic than previous generations.
Moving beyond self-consciousness requires an increase in overall consciousness.
The following are ways to increase your level of consciousness:
Allow yourself to experience your feelings, rather than block them out. Meditation is a helpful way to do this. You experience your thoughts and feelings, learn from them, then let them go.
Let go of framing your idea of what should be and genuinely accept what is. The journey is the end, not simply a means to an end.
Identify the meaningless things to which you’ve assigned meaning. Happiness and security can never be experienced when dependent on the external — they can only be achieved internally.
Explore the world, experience new cultures, and have your paradigm shaken and reframed.
Question your own intentions and motivations.
Be humble about your own humanity.
Act with love, and become aware when you are not.
2. Learn How To Adapt In Different Environments
The industrial classroom model is killing our boys. It is not a healthy environment for them. Young boys need more physical stimulation.
The result is that many are improperly and lazily diagnosed with ADHD. Their natural characteristics, emotions, passions, and gifts are being curbed by medications.
Although it is not a popular notion, boys and girls are wired differently. Girls are often exclusively motivated by praise. They will perfect their handwriting just to have it noticed.
Boys on the other hand, are often motivated by tangible experiences that relate to real life. Thus, many boys see no point in having good handwriting if one day they will spend their time typing. They don’t care as much what other people think. They just want to be challenged.
3. Get Intensive Physical Stimulation
Short and intensive learning spurts, followed by rigorous physical stimulationis a powerful and positive way for boys and men to learn. Rough-and-tumble play helps develop the frontal lobe of the brain, which is used to regulate behavior. Sadly, many public schools are removing gym class and recess, further exacerbating problems among boys.
If you’re living a sedentary life as a man, you’re not getting the needed stimulationyou need. Research has found that males thrive in kinesthetic learning environments — learning through moving.
Healthy Testosterone Levels
Intensive physical activity, like sprinting or heavy weight lifting (followed by extended rest periods) are a good outlet for men’s need of physical stimulation. Moreover, these intensive physical activities can activate healthy levels of testosterone which produce many positive effects — including:
Healthier bone density
Normalized blood pressure
Lower likelihood of obesity and heart attacks
More enjoyment of career and family
Feeling younger, stronger, and healthier
Studies have found that healthy testosterone levels affect men’s cognitive performance, and can improve focus, motivation, and memory.
The Need For Physical Pain
Interestingly, boys and girls experience pain differently. For boys, physical pain can be a stimulant fueling mental clarity. On the other hand, physical pain for girls can be a narcotic, making them feel hazy and confused.
I’ve seen this in myself. Some of my greatest insights have come while pushing myself to the extreme while doing yard work or while exercising. This phenomenon is also seen in endurance athletes who push themselves through pain for many hours at a time.
4. Take Responsibility For Your Life And Set Your Standards High
In his book, Boys Adrift, Dr. Leonard Sax explains that boys need — not want — to be responsible. If they are not needed, they don’t flourish.
Men step down if they’re not needed. And because of society’s message that men are no longer needed, many are staying in their parents basements.
Although most men will not go out of their way to take on challenges and responsibility, this is the very thing they should do if they want to thrive. Indeed, it is becoming common knowledge that perception is followed by physical experience in the form of self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe you will succeed, you often do.
If you set your sights high in life, you will achieve incredible things. In order to do this, you can no longer play the victim to circumstances. Blaming the world, your parents, school, or the challenges you’ve faced in life is not going to solve your problems. It’s going to keep you stuck and bitter.
Instead, take the time to imagine and mentally create your ideal life. Mental creation always precedes physical creation.
You have the inner power to create whatever life you want to achieve. All you have to do is spend the time creating that world with intention. Write down exactly what you want in life. Set your standards ridiculously high. Don’t hold anything back.
Read, rewrite, and reread your ambitions often. These will soon consume your subconscious mind creating new patterns in your brain. Eventually, you’ll manifest the world you’ve been creating in your head.
5. Prayer, Meditation, And Journal Writing
Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and every other religious and spiritual tradition strongly stress the significance of regular prayer. Although the form of practice may be different, the purpose is the same: Gratitude, inspiration, self-realization, deepened connection to God/existence, and the improvement of humanity as a whole.
Prayer (and modifications such as meditation and gratitude journals) are regularly found to increase physical and mental well-being.
Often try to combine prayer with journal writing as a form of meditation. Look to seek inspiration, direction, heightened perspective, and gratitude.
Scientifically supported benefits of prayer include:
People are often turned-off by prayer, believing it is a strictly “religious” practice. Even if organized religion is not your thing, you can still have a positive and healthy relationship with prayer.