An appendix of truth bombs and bits of wisdom that you can use for your circle of trust (CoT)! You can also receive this automatically, via Slack, by downloading our ‘Ruck Talk’ Slack app/integration.
Lion King (Prompt 001)
In the movie the Lion King, the hero of the story Simba goes through a time where everything is carefree and there are no responsibilities. Simba lives in the jungle and he has friends that enable this lifestyle of no responsibility.
When Nala comes and tells Simba of the ruins the pride lands are in, Simba is torn. This was his home and his father had made it into a great kingdom.
Nala tells him that people are waiting for him to step up into his birthright. Simba denies this saying “no one needs me.”
It was the time when Simba was the most needed person to rescue Pride Lands from Scar and Hyena who were destroying Simba’s homeland.
Sometimes we feel we are lost and that nobody needs us, while the truth is that we are desperately needed! Leaders are always in short supply.
Our friends, family and homeland need us now more than ever. It is the call upon the heart of every man to return to their birthright and stand alongside those they love, fight for what they believe in and LEAD the way. Aye –
Cowboys (Prompt 002)
Cowboys represent such an iconic old American lifestyle; one of discipline, simplicity, hard work, faith and brotherhood.
At American Ruck, it is encouraging for us to learn about the folks of the old West, and the hard work that bled into the dirt and limestone.
Maybe I’m taking it a bit too far, here, but I actually believe that’s how F3 started. A few modern cowboys, like Dredd, saw that something was off in the American post-modern psyche and wanted to re-invigorate leadership and re-orient the masculine heart BACK to something more wild and true.
It counteracts the culture of happiness (a.k.a. goo nation), and offers this raw, wild HIMs alternative to society.
Modern cowboys live free because they live according to their beliefs no matter what externalities threaten them. Police forces, today, call this an "internal locus of control, high self-efficacy."
Live from what you believe to be true and become the kind of man that YOU can respect.
Kinetic Psychology (Prompt 003)
Some of you have likely read Dredd's (founder of F3) Q-source. It'll be a staple on the American Ruck bookshelf for a long time.
For those who haven't heard of it, it's a deep-dive into the elements of leadership and how to get right, live right, lead right and leave right... Mirroring the seasons of our lives and the seasons of growth we have IF we have teachable spirits.
Much of the language used is about movement. How to get someone un-stuck from their current status quo and make the consequences of doing NOTHING more than the pain of doing SOMETHING.
At American Ruck, we thought it sounded a bit like kinetics meets psychology, and how high impact men in motion actually tend to stay in motion. Meaning, once movement happens in the right context of accountability and exhortation, it tends to keep going and even accelerate. This is contrary to what many people in modern society think, with the false assumption that movement requires so much mental and physical energy that it's preferable to stay comfortable and stagnant than temporarily uncomfortable and moving forward.
We've had it as a constant reminder in our garage gyms for the past year: "HIGH IMPACT MEN IN MOTION TEND TO STAY IN MOTION" -- & we think you might benefit from this little nugget of truth, too. If it resonates, write it somewhere you'll see it often, remind yourself and your Circle of Trust and reap the benefits of living it.
Movement is not hard once it becomes habitual.
IN IGNE AEDIFICARE (PROMPT 004)
St. Augustine, a 5th century Christian scholar, believed that anything humans make or build on earth for their own glory is ultimately meaningless. His exact phrasing in Latin was “in aere aedificare” which translates to something like “[people are just] building [castles] in the sky.” He meant it as something manifestly negative - like a head in the clouds type of idealism.
As we've reflected upon this idea, compared it to our experiences and even compared it to parts of the Bible (e.g. Ps. 127:1), we've formulated our version of this: “In igne aedificare" (Meaning: “in the fire, build").
Our intent with this saying is to remind ourselves that anything tangible we make/build independent of God will inevitably be burned up and become ashes (Ps. 127:1). BUT that the things we do FOR God's glory are actually strengthened in the fire (like metal in a forge) and will be refined, kept from flame and remain eternally useful (Dan. 3:1-30).
If you believe in a Higher Power, our guess is this resonates with you at some level. That maybe you get an intuitive sense that the things of this world will pass away but that there are certain things like sacrifice, service and charity that have some kind of lasting impact which echo for eternity.
This warcry is an invitation to reflect upon the meaning of things, go deeper in fellowship with your Creator and allow your masculine soul a chance to be refined in the fiery forge of life... In Igne Aedificare!!
Servant Leadership (PROMPT 005)
Leadership has traditionally been thought of as a function of power. Individuals who are aggressive, domineering and egotistical are often (mis)placed into positions of leadership and management across corporate America and beyond. Using fear-based motivational tactics, these leader-narcissists often create unsustainably fast-moving environments, followed by disorientation and burnout among those they claim to lead.
If in the near-term these leaders get results, but almost always produce long-term instability... is it really leadership?
A paradigm shift, at least in corporate America, emerged in 2001 with Collins' leadership book, “Good to Great.” Instead of leadership seen as a function of power, a new vision for leadership was cast as a function of servanthood. Collins went on to describe elements of exceptional (“level 5”) leadership that described thoe who were “quiet, self-effacing and humble" producing lasting and meaningful results. This came as a surprise to Collins. He expected that companies who were moving from ‘good to great’ were being led by egotistical dictators. He found, instead, that although each leader demonstrated elements of ego, it was channeled into business growth, not themselves.
Since 2001, significant research has been done on this ‘servant leader’ prototype and distinguished from other leadership styles like transformative, ethical or authentic leadership. The latter groups of leadership styles have been deemed ‘too nebulous’ to promote, while servant leadership has “shown promise as a standalone” construct which helps to explain a wide range of positive outcomes in organizations across America. Such organizations include those in the hospitality, clinical/healthcare, tech and food services industries, among others – proving that servant leadership has multidisciplinary application.
In our own lines of work, what does it mean to be servant leader? How can we look ahead AND stay present? Instead of being fueled by praise and performance, how can we learn to humbly ask the right questions, even if we don't like the answers?
The big idea for today's circle of trust is that great leadership is not a function of power. Great leadership is a function of service.
Affirmations of a Leader (PROMPT 006)
I will be the type of leader who values all disciplines and approaches in pursuit of a solution. I do not consider myself a manager or micro-manager. But a sober-minded, imperfect mentor and servant-leader. My tone in addressing subordinates will be affirmative, clarifying and encouraging; building up, not tearing down. Never manipulative.
I will encourage people to review me, helping me understand my predispositions and helping me continually improve myself and my leadership style. My openness will also result in the kind of conversations that are true and real, further enabling me to keep a finger on the pulse of culture and not on my own assumptions or perceptions of it.
Leadership, to me, is not a dogma or type of behavior management, but an opportunity to inspire. By learning who the people around me are, what drives them, how they think and how they communicate, I will derive actionable insight and influence desired outcomes. I will lead by example, from the front.
I will be the kind of leader who is intentional – intentional about people, about interactions, about work-life balance, about family, about making better decisions.
I will voice contentment. I will voice discontentment. I will be honest with God, with others and with self about the feelings and desires heavy on my heart, because they are pathways to my soul. They will reveal, in time, the things most important to me, especially those that are misguided and dangerous. A man of understanding will help me draw these out (Prov. 20:5, ESV).
Small acts of faith will keep me from becoming complacent. Mentors will keep me from becoming ignorant. Friends will keep me from becoming cold or isolated. Family will keep me humble and honest. God will keep me from harm (Ps. 121:7, ESV).
Confidence (PROMPT 007)
Confidence can be incredibly attractive. It is magnetic. If you are a confident person, it often leads to opportunities. Confidence helps you stand your ground and assert your value, whether that is in relationship setting or asking for a raise. It inspires others to believe in you – and for you to learn to believe in yourself.
But as men of faith, we are often told to be humble and be ever-watchful of pride. “A man's pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.” (Prov. 29:23). Can we reconcile the two? Can we become confident while not being proud or arrogant?
One answer is that if you are to boast, boast in something greater than yourself (2 Cor. 10:17). Be an advocate for yourself and for your causes, but also learn contentment with whatever life has given you. Understand WHO you are and WHOSE you are, and a natural set of checks and balances will inhabit your heart.
Other ways to improve confidence:
1: Define your goals
2: Engage your mind
3: Build up your body through fitness
4: Improve your diet
5: Help others
6: Be magnanimous
Do note, that a confident man is open to criticism; he is not afraid of being judged. He is also not passive. He is a doer, not waiting for the affirmation of others in order to act. The confident man takes responsibility for himself, and when things have gone wrong, he takes ownership of his failure and grows from it. The confident man risks being confident, even if he will make mistakes, because he will learn from them.
No one will be a bigger believer in you than you.
Jumpstart Culture Change (PROMPT 008).
Culture change is hard. Especially in slow-moving organizations that move at the speed of red tape.
But if you are a change agent, and willing to face the uphill climb, you can jumpstart culture change by doing something radical – a rock the boat moment – to make people simultaneously aware of their surroundings and uncomfortable enough to act quickly.
To 'rock the boat' is a great metaphor because you can imagine someone idly paddling in a calm lake, unaware that a storm on the horizon will change the elements in a hurry. If you can artificially 'rock that boat' so that the person(s) wake up from apathy, then they (and you) don't have to find out the hard way when the real thing happens.
I won't take the metaphor further, here, so let's get more practical. Let's just say you work for a police department and your desired outcome is to systematically change the media’s (and the community's) negative perception of your unit. The proverbial storm on the horizon is additional scrutiny from the community that actually manifests as less trust, more layoffs, less funding, more crime, less deterrence, etc.
You decide that, to change that view, you need to actually be a force for good in your community. You decide to rock the boat culturally and communally by volunteering services downtown to engage with the community and maybe work a food pantry, to instill an element of service in the officers and establish a baseline of service with and for the community. This would not be done for the sake of image, but to shake up the routine and set clear lines of integration within the unit at large.
You mark the day as a recurring annual event and day of returning to ‘give back’ to the community. You defer attention from yourself and re-direct it to those with proven track records who for years have already been doing this kind of work behind the scenes when no one was looking. You then make it clear to your department that this experience of service is not a single-point-in-time event, but a daily charge to appropriately wield the power vested in you with care and skill.
And boom. You've rocked the boat and the ripple effects are just beginning.
Obviously, this applies much more broadly than in protecting and defending, but it's a good example in our culture that has such charged views (culturally) toward our police forces. There are many other angles to pursue just in this example alone.
Take a few minutes today to chew on how 'rocking the boat' might look in your life and for the betterment of the people you serve. Changing the culture starts with you.
Love & a San Saba Hog Hunt (PROMPT 009)
I once took a trip out to San Saba, TX, for a hog hunt.
A friend had property up that way so we drove a couple hours north from Austin to try and take care of the pests that had dug up acres of his in laws farm land looking for buried tubers. (If you’re in Texas, you’re probably already well aware that not only are wild hogs not native to TX but they are extremely destructive to the wildlife and the bane of many a ranchers’ existence).
Anyway, we had a great time. We ate antelope. Fished. Saw beavers, possums and skunks just riding around on a gator scoping our attack. And after some hominy and desert back at the house got a well wishing from my friends mother in law for the hunt that night to, “have fun and kill them all!” which isn’t exactly what you’d expect to hear from a petite Texan woman, but there we were.
That night we stalked the trails. Took our rifles, scopes and flashlights out and saw a whole lot of… nothing. (Apparently the day before, some tourists had come through with a machine gun mounted on a helicopter and scared off or decimated the population). We saw neither hog nor hope for a long time and shivered for hours listening to that silence, sulking.
But once we got talking, we got TALKING, ya know? About life, love and taxes and shit.
Toward the end we started discussing good and evil which is a classic black hole into which conversations often go to die. What is evil? Does good conquer it? Is good powerful? But we somehow managed to pull up from the tailspin and pull in some truth in the form of a Gandalfism. (My friend remembered it from lord of the rings).
“Power doesn’t hold back evil.”
And for some reason my first instinct to his observation was to say, “you’re right. Love does.”
Whether or not you agree, or whether I understood it fully at the time, there’s a strong Biblical argument to be made that this is both literally and figuratively true.
Love is the most powerful force for good. And because we didn’t kill any hogs that night, I was instead reminded of the beauty of the stars in a rural night sky, my relative insignificance in the cosmos and the fact that I can’t even find a hog on my own power let alone take one out. And that Love holds this whole crazy planet— and all of us — together.
That night, love conquering evil made all the sense in the world to me.
Even if plans don’t work out. ESPECIALLY if plans don’t work out. Take a moment to be present and look for big or little loves that may have snuck into your sulking or been there the whole time. They will change your heart and open your eyes to the murderous hug that evil has coming.
Buffalo Run Toward the Storm (PROMPT 010)
Among Native American tribes, the buffalo is revered. One of the reasons why is its behavior in times of fear and danger. When powerful thunderclouds and thunderstorms gather and pour lightning and rain down on the plains, almost all other animals run away from the storm, seeking shelter or often an unsuccessful way to outrun the storm and its force. The net effect is more fear, more time in the storm.
Buffalo are different.
When they see the clouds and storm forming, they come together as a herd and begin charging toward the storm. They know they will not outrun the storm. Rather, they face the storm, persevere through its winds, rain and lightning. Ultimately, their behavior results in them being the animals to pass through it with the least damaging effects, and the first to get on the other side of the storm to drink water from its rains and experience the sunshine in its wake.
Be the buffalo.
Light the Way (PROMPT 011)
There's a mission among F3 PAX to "leave no man behind, leave no man where you found him."
Meaning, not only do we not leave anyone behind but we come alongside them and help them accelerate, ESPECIALLY in a society that tends to produce sad clowns instead of leaders.
Remember that, with intentionality, there is always an option to go deeper where you’re at and never go alone.
If you are someone who needs that hand reaching out, we think it’s WORTH THE RISK to talk to someone you look up to who MIGHT BE trustworthy in the hopes that you can find healing and hope again.
LOOK for those men and women who light the way out of darkness... and you will find fellowship instead of fear. YOU ARE WORTH BEING KNOWN. And especially among F3 brothers and FiA sisters, we have come to know that the trust built to go deep isn’t built over an obligatory coffee. Or on a lunch break. Or watching football together in silence.
Trust is built in the great outdoors. In real life. Not in a vacuum.
You CAN’T fight it alone, you CAN find fellowship and you CAN learn to light the way for others.
Here’s the thing. We think being extraordinary looks a lot like vulnerability. A lot like service. A lot like being honest, steadfast, consistent and true. Those are the virtues that light up the dark.
LIGHT THE WAY.
Self Discipline (Prompt 012)
How often do you do something and you don’t think about it first? Are you able to control your actions once you have decided to act? Did you consider what will happen as a result of impulsive action?
Poor impulse control is dangerous. It can often lead us to overeating, using and abusing pornography, drunkenness, drug abuse, suicidal ideation. The list goes on and on.
One of the ways we can curb poor impulse control (or reacting impulsively to our circumstances) is by employing some self discipline. Easier said than done right?
Plato says, “The first and greatest victory is to conquer self.”
Frustrating times are often caused by no routine and no accountability. This is why self discipline is best done when you are accountable to your spouse, your workout partners, friends, your doctor, or your pastor. Your friends are willing to help. If you become accountable to someone you are more likely to practice self discipline.
“Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.” – George Washington
Self discipline is prolonged self improvement. It’s making yourself do things that will improve your body, mind, and soul. It is putting off instant gratification for the sake of building a better future you. It is worth it to be constantly improving. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)
Sometimes, we are so pliable, traumatized or ill equipped that we can't just go straight into self-discipline without help and guidance. That's OK! That's normal.
The first step is yours: to ask a mentor or someone you trust to help you build the foundation from which self-discipline can emerge.
Answer the Call (Prompt 013)
On Feb. 24, 1836, the commander of the Alamo, William Barret Travis, knew Mexican General Santa Anna’s army of several thousand would soon overwhelm the small fort, so he wrote a now legendary letter appealing for help.
“I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch,” the 26-year old lieutenant colonel wrote. “I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor and that of his country. Victory or Death.”
Few reinforcements arrived, but of those that did, none drew more acclaim than 32 men from Gonzales, a settlement about 73 miles to the east, who sneaked past Santa Anna’s siege patrols one night to aid the Texian and Tejano garrison, knowing almost certainly the fate that awaited them.
In March 2022, 17 men from Texas set-out on a 76 mile ruck (from Gonzales to the Alamo) to honor Texas Independence Day and the infamous Immortal 32 Texans from Gonzales, TX, who were the only men to answer the call for reinforcements from the Alamo. Two members who started and finished the Immortal 32 ruck, Matt and Graham, are co-founders of American Ruck.
Actions are so much stronger than words. In your own life, be the kind of leader who answers the call.
Self-Reflection & Marcus Aurelius (PROMPT 014)
“Be tolerant with others and strict with yourself.” — Marcus Aurelius
Deceiving yourself is easy. Being ruthlessly honest with yourself is hard.
Two thousand years ago, Marcus Aurelius knew and believed he must examine himself and live within a path of self-reflection in order to live in reality and with intentionality. (Check out his book, "Meditations," and you will be surprised at how appropriate it still is for our context, today).
You may have some good friends, a good support team, a fitness group (e.g. F3), your church, or perhaps a great family structure. But they may not always challenge you in a way that you need to be challenged. Only you know what is going on within you and the mental pitfalls into which you often stumble.
Take an honest inventory of where you are at and where you need to be, without judgment but out of curiosity. Pray, read, meditate, be silent and be present to know yourself. Only then will you be able to start being an aid to those around you, and become the leader that you are capable of being.
Rip Van Winkle (Prompt 015)
In a village in New York lived a man named Rip Van Winkle – a good neighbor but was continually criticized by his wife.
Rip was admired by friends. He had a dog, a daughter, and a son named Rip jr. Rip’s farm was a frequent nuisance for him; he hated work. The only thing that Rip enjoyed was meeting the guys at the pub for a drink, to gossip about the other villagers.
Rip goes for a walk one day up the mountains with his dog, and he hears someone shouting his name to him. The man with tattered clothes tells Rip to follow him and he gets to a hollow of the woods where strange people were playing a game of bowling. The men bowling also are wearing oddly tattered clothing. The odd man that had brought Rip here offered to him a keg of an alcoholic drink. He drinks with the bowlers and before he knows it, he is drunk. He sinks into a deep sleep.
When he wakes, all of his new friends are gone, his hunting rifle is rusted, and his dog is gone. As he is returning home, he notices that his beard had grown at least a foot. When he returns to the village, he sees people he does not recognize, all the homes and shops look different, and his home and farm are abandoned and rundown. He goes to the pub that he and his friends would meet hoping to meet them. He asks the customers at the bar where his friends were, they say they have died. Confused and scared Rip asks the customers if anyone knows Rip Van Winkle. They point to a man that looked like him, his son now grown. Rip’s daughter now fully grown is also there with child. Rip asked her where her father is, she said he disappeared 20 years ago in the mountains. Perhaps Indians killed him, or maybe he committed suicide.
Rip had slept right through the American Revolution and everything was different.
The moral of this story is not told to us. It is left by the author for us to find meaning in it. Among the many different moral lessons, you can draw from this American folktale, I think it means that time keeps marching on. With or without you.
In a blink of an eye, 20 years can pass and everything can change.
As we grow older, we like to think we are growing wiser and not just watching the world pass me. If you retreat to the woods, and to the pub, and retreat to games, or sport, life will pass you by and things will be unrecognizable.
Set your gaze on things eternal, to the divine, to an everlasting King and His Kingdom, dedicate your life to God, to your family, to your country, to something larger than yourself.
You do not know what tomorrow will bring or what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. (Jam 4:14).
Strengthen your friendships (PROMPT 16)
Sometimes during a relationship, a friendship, a friend's gonna have to prove they're your friend, and you're gonna have to prove you're their friend.
- Mike Tyson
Identify your circle of trust. F3 calls this the Concentrica. But whatever you call it, take inventory of your wife, your children, your church, your friends, your coworkers and understand your priorities to them and them to you. After all of your work tasks are done, you may only have a couple hours left in the week. Invest this time on the people you love. Serve them, care for them, and learn from them. Being a friend means being loyal and dependable. Strive to give more of your time to those who already have shown to be a force multipliers in your life.
This comes with some caveats. Not everyone will add value to you, some will actively try to bring you down or seek to use you for some sort of advance. But don’t fear, most times these types of people are just in need. Don’t be swindled or deceived. Be willing to give yourself to those who are needy. And don't forget to listen -- sometimes can learn in the unlikeliest of places and among the unlikeliest of people.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Philippians 2:3
You will find that going deeper with people will ground and connect you like nothing else. Everyone needs an ear to bend, a buddy in the foxhole, and a friend that will grieve with you.
Strengthen your friendships and you will find that you have spent your time wisely.
VIOLENCE OF ACTION (PROMPT 017)
When I (Kyle, Co-Founder, American Ruck) was in basic, our drill sergeant taught us about “violence of action”. The thought is that in order to have a tactical advantage over your enemy you must act, violently and quickly. You need to react faster and with more intensity than your opponent. When you enter a room, move. Remember your training, continue even if you don’t remember the way. MOVE. And with the most important part being that you actually DO MOVE.
Same concept, different delivery from Army combatives. Surprise the enemy! When your opponent and you have struggled with each other long enough, and you are both tired, that is the exact moment that you need to summon the last bit of strength you have to strike or pass the guard. If you make this action and you give a few ounces of effort more than your adversary, you have defeated him. He sees that you still have strength when you are both weak and gassed. This really plays mind games with your opponent.
Hesitation is dangerous. The failure to act is hazardous and -- in combat -- deadly. In our lives, if we adopted this principle it would look like doing the harder thing and spending that extra moment with your family as a loving husband rather than TV and riding the couch the rest of the night after working a frustrating 10hr shift.
When obstacles come, adjust fire and make a decision. If you have that goal that seems just so far away that you’ll never achieve it… ACT and you will get there! Take decisive intentional actions towards your objective. You are moving. Sometimes, you are even falling forward and improving. Always better than yesterday.
DEALING WITH CRITICISM (PROMPT 018)
It may be an oversimplification, but men often take criticism poorly.
Critiques from a spouse, a boss, a good friend can breed resentment. Perhaps someone is trying to insult you, maybe someone calls your work or work ethic into question. Whatever it is, sometimes it gets personal. This produces unnecessary stress and anxiety (which can lead to passivity and fear) and possibly the derailment of your goals.
Epictetus has something to say about this: “If anyone tells you that a certain person speaks ill of you, do not make excuses about what is said of you but answer, ‘He was ignorant of my other faults, else he would not have mentioned these alone.’”
If someone criticizes you, sleep on it, think about it, then respond. Unless you have reason to doubt, give people the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they have something useful to share which will help you continue to grow. Especially a friend, who is loving you by telling you something you need to work on.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful (Prov. 27:6).
Expect a critique. It is how you will grow. Expect to clash swords with the men in your life. As the Scriptures say, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Prov. 27:17).
YOUR OATH (PROMPT 019)
There is a 2005 movie called Kingdom of Heaven. It features Orlando Bloom and Liam Neeson. In the movie, we meet a blacksmith, named Balian of Ibelin. A man enters into Balian’s town and introduces himself as Balian’s father: Baron Godred of Ibelin, a Crusader and knight of the Holy Land Jerusalem.
He asks his son if he would return with him to Jerusalem. After unfortunate life events (and his wife committing suicide after the death of their child) Balian joins his father. On the way to Jerusalem the men are ambushed and Baron Godred of Ibelin is fatally wounded. Having fought well in the ambush he bestows all lands that he owned and looks to his son and knights him. This is the oath that he shares with him.
Be without fear in the face of your enemies.
Be brave and Upright that God may love thee.
Speak the truth always even if it leads to your death.
Safeguard the helpless and do no wrong
That is your oath. Rise a Knight.
Today is about seeking virtue. You may be lost and depressed like the blacksmith, Balian of Ibelin, and/or dealing with your own hurts, harms and hangups. But if you have a code to live by, or an oath, you have a guiding light and a north star. Some of you may have enlisted and taken the oath. Some of you may have been baptized, swearing your allegiance to the Triune God of heaven. Others of you may have entered into an oath with a spouse to remain faithful to love and to protect your wife. These oaths and rituals have meaning, and they are not trivial. If you have committed yourself to an oath, remember that oath and faithfully execute that oath. If you have no guideline or you do not believe that you are committed to an oath, try observing what practices resonate with you from people around you.
Search your soul, put those virtues to paper and let them guide you.
LEGACY (PROMPT 020)
“I’m gonna make sure you talk about me, and your grandkids and kids after that gonna know about me…your great-grandkids will say “wow, wasn’t that a bizarre individual?” – Mike Tyson.
Mike Tyson, a professional boxer, and world heavyweight champion had a drive and a passion to build a legacy. He didn’t care if someone thought he was strange, he was. He attacked the objective in such a way that people would remember him. The average man is not thinking that his name will be remembered for a very long time. Most of us will never be under the limelight like a professional boxer, but we can still leave a legacy. There are great men that build an empire and give all that they have earned to their children. Men who act courageously in the face of a competitor, Men that work hard, husbands that give their entire lives for their wife, are not doing so in vain. These men are actually building a legacy in the eyes of their children, and in the eyes of society.
Those who do not or cannot have children still build legacy with their character and the interactions that they take part in. You can leave a legacy by writing, innovating, achieving at the highest levels, serving at the highest and lowest levels, composing music, developing meaningful art that stirs the emotions, creating products or services, charitable giving and so much more.
Everyone can leave this world in a better place. It is also important that you live an honorable and moral life. Men who live recklessly are not men who will leave a legacy (at least not a good legacy). If you squander the inheritance that has been passed down to you from your father, your teachers, your coaches, our countries’ founding fathers, you are gambling with legacy. You are gambling with country, family and society.
Strive hard an be conscious that your actions and words have lasting impact for the future.
The Tragedy of Male Loneliness
THE TRAGEDY OF MALE LONELINESS (PROMPT 021)
Statistically, men have never had fewer friends. According to a recent survey, the % of men with at least six close friends has fallen by half since 1990, and men today are 5X more likely to say they don’t even have a single close friend than they were thirty years ago.
Even scarier, the rate of suicide is highest in middle-aged white men; In 2019, men died by suicide 3.63x as often as women; On average, there are 130 suicides per day.
One researcher stated recently that loneliness among men is the equivalent of 17 cigarettes a day to the body. Physiologically, it is SO toxic to be alone.
Many organizations are committed to changing this, whether it be at the macro-level -- like F3 Nation -- or at the micro-level -- like a local, community ruck club.
Point is, don't let another day pass without reaching out to a friend or brother who's been quiet lately and resistant to connection. Success = opportunity + desire, so it is incumbent upon us to create the opportunity and pray for their desire to connect.
For Those I Love
FOR THOSE I LOVE (PROMPT 022)
In 2012, there was a horrific shooting in a movie theater during a screening of The Dark Knight. The shooter was a 24-year-old male and many people who were there can still remember his face; further adding to their trauma of reliving that night and subsequent apprehension they feel at the prospect of again going to the movies.
Few people, however, remember the virtue and heroism of three men that day, who, in the midst of the chaos, threw themselves over their girlfriends, using their bodies as human shields to defend the women. All these men were shot and killed, while all of the women survived.
When you have those that look up to you and rely upon you, it is often a no-brainer to lay down your life for those you love, even if the prospect of that sacrifice feels incredibly scary. We are called to protect. Or as Tim Kennedy (and other LEOs) like to say, to be sheepdogs protecting the sheep from the wolves.
“No one has greater love than this; to lay down his life for his friends.“ For those of you who believe in the God of the Bible, this is what Jesus tells his disciples just before he tells them to "love one another, just as I have loved you."
If you simply resonate with the virtue of being a protector, then you may agree that we have an obligation to love, to lay down our lives, to serve and even to give our lives in the service of others. Let us make ourselves available to each other in friendship and in physical, spiritual and emotional care for one another. Let us be people who lay down our lives for our friends, families, and even our enemies.