Every man has a choice of how he reacts to disaster or stress. He can lose his cool and possibly create a chain reaction that destroys his life, or stay calm and collected and choose to invest his time in something that matters, so he can go to bigger and better places.
Successful self-made men possess traits that enable them to act more consciously and in control. They are low in neuroticism, higher extraversion, open to new experience, agreeable, and conscientious. These are the “Big Five” dimensions of personality according to psychologists.
Neuroticism, the tendency to be worried/nervous; Extraversion, the tendency to be active/sociable; Openness to experience, the tendency to be inventive/curious; Agreeableness, the tendency to be friendly/compassionate; and Conscientiousness, the tendency to be organized/persistent), based on the Five-Factor-Model of personality, and risk-taking propensity have been linked to a multitude of life outcomes and financial behaviors.
Having the right amount of a trait or traits, can indicate you have a good job, are good with money, have status, have better and more significant life events, or are self-employed.
Basically, they can indicate you are successful and have a good life.
The self-made rich are more risk tolerant, open, extraverted, and conscientious, but less neurotic than the general population.
But most importantly, the self-made rich have a higher risk tolerance and lower neuroticism than normal self-made men. The non-rich self-made man slightly differs from the self-made rich man in two primary areas: he has higher neuroticism and lower risk tolerance. Those two personality traits alone can make all the difference.
Neuroticism is a highly toxic personality trait for men to have because it changes his behavior in ways that destroy his quality of life. Chronic neuroticism leads to anxiety, depression, substance abuse, mood disorders, and even early death.
In fact, neuroticism is the total opposite of control, as a strong sense of control is linked to living longer, neuroticism indicates early death.
We’re talking about something that robs men of success and life.
It does this by reducing a mans openness to experience, his extraversion, his agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Left unchecked, neuroticism could be the biggest reason why men are miserable and have not found success in life as it negatively affects all personality traits found in successful self-made men.
Successful Self-Made Men Are Not Neurotic
Neurotic men are consumed by things they cannot control. Successful men are focused on the things they can. They put their effort into things that matter.
Perhaps the single most difficult personality trait men struggle with today is neuroticism.
Becoming less neurotic takes self control, but most importantly, it takes resilience. A resilient man who can bounce back from stress will become even more resilient as he continues making the decision to go forward, forcing growth.
A neurotic man is paralyzed by stress which keeps him from growing so he remains stuck in life. He dwells on painful things, allowing them to fill him with anger, anxiety, and depression, making him less emotionally stable and resulting in his life experiences being overwhelmingly negative.
Neurotic men respond poorly to First World Problems, allowing them to destroy areas of joy in his life till he has none left. They refuse to adapt when life challenges them in new ways. A neurotic man that is sick will be angered by their condition and take it out on others rather than confront it himself. He will refuse to adapt to changes in life like sitting to pee when he cannot stand, for fear of judgement from others because he constantly worries about what people think or because he has a negative idea of aging. This robs him of life, as research has shown men who think poorly about aging and are highly neurotic die younger than self-mad men.
A Resilient man has a positive attitude about aging. He doesn’t worry about his aging face, and adapts to age-related changes well. Men who are not neurotic, who stay open to new experience, and maintain a strong social network end up living better lives in old age. They are resilient.
Having resilience means you make conscious choices to use helpful tools like nature, exercise, journaling, and hobbies to improve mood and mindset, instead of letting stress dictate actions and emotions towards quick-fixes like drugs, the internet, or mental masturbation.
We become more resilient by doing painful things. But the mind doesn’t tend to react positively to difficult things and initially thinks it can’t do it. It isn’t until we do something that our brain changes it’s tone. Getting past that initial discomfort is key to building resilience. Marines do so with the saying “embrace the suck,” which acknowledges that all a person can do to make painful tasks go away is by embracing it and doing it.
Resilience is Key
Successful, self-made men don’t let their emotions or fears control of them, they control them, and they do so because they have resilience.
Resilience comes from pain and struggle, and is the sacrifice we must pay to build it, but once we become resilient we switch from being depressed by stress to being motivated by it.
Resilient men find stress motivating, and that’s why they are able to accomplish so much.
But getting there is a challenge for modern man.
Our lives are so padded and comfortable that modern man has lost the ability to be motivated by stress. It is because we are surrounded by poor sources of arousal, and have little reason to embrace pain. Why “embrace the suck” when you have endless sources of mental masturbation at your fingertips.
But these things do not build our resilience.
Successful men have high resilience because they take on challenges, learn new skills, practice self-control, and utilize performance boosting tools like nature and sex. Resilience makes it easier for them to take risks as they have already taken on challenges and have the experience of getting through them.
To build resilience, we must do difficult things, and we can start doing difficult things by using concepts like “embrace the suck” and “the secret”, which you’ll discover below.
You need to know that resilience is self-made, and requires time and effort. Research has shown this and self-made men exemplify it every day.
Resilience is self-made.
One of the best ways a man can build resilience is by learning and mastering challenging skills.
For men, the reward of skill mastery is confidence and a stronger sense of control in life, which improves his outlook and motivates him to keep going. It also can improve the lives of other men, as it gives him something he can pass on to a younger generation, which gives him an even stronger sense of purpose in the world as he ages.
So, to grow resilience, try learning new skills.
But before you do that, you need to stop wasting time and energy on unimportant things.
Build Resilience By Saying No to Unimportant Things
The energy men have every day is limited. Neurotic men are not careful about the things they worry about or put effort in, as they bounce around with no grand plan or purpose behind their actions other than to react to stress. Men who are on that path must realize that they have limited energy, and that when they spend it all on worry then there’s nothing left for the important things.
This means you don’t let that neighbor get under your skin with his ridiculous complaints or concerns, or that idiotic lady that yelled at you for how you parked even though you did nothing wrong, and then let it consume your thoughts the rest of the day because you can’t understand how anyone could think like that. At the end of the day it will have consumed more energy than you think.
Stressing about little stuff raises Cortisol hormone levels in the body, which in turn destroys Testosterone levels –a source of men’s energy and vigor. It gets worse if you dwell on the event at night before bed because higher levels of Cortisol at night makes you restless and results in terrible sleep. This spills over to the next day as less sleep makes it difficult to control emotions like anger, and then the same thing happens with someone else, but it just keeps getting worse. With enough time and stress, the brain actually shrinks, turning a mans mind from weapon into a can of Spam.
You need to reserve that energy for things that matter. Things that will improve your life and not waste it.
The more neurotic a man, the more insignificant things around him become significant. Neurotic women and men find everything to be a problem. They see how people park being a problem everywhere they go, or how they talk and look. They do this because their focus has been destroyed by their neuroticism. They’ve lost the ability to say no to unimportant things and now everything bothers them. They can’t let it go that someone called them out on their crap and now they go out of their way just to spite that person.
Sometimes what triggers a neurotic person is only in their head. They believe the new person in apartment B is trying to steal their favorite parking spot and disrespect them even though the parking spots are unassigned. They think it’s because they are younger or that they are a different color of skin that they are purposefully out to get them, when none of this is true.
Neurotic men worry about what people think even if they don’t actually think it. They get caught up in notions of justice and fairness, and making sure everyone shows them an unrealistic level of respect they believe they deserve, and let it drain their energy every day. Resilient men know they cannot nor should influence everyone, as doing so wastes time. Their influence comes from the result of their success.
Things we cannot control do not deserve the mindpower and emotions we put into them. Life is so much better when we choose to ignore them and focus on improving the things we can.
It can be hard at first to say no to these things, because we live in a world with little justice and it can feel like you are being attacked from all sides. But that’s just how we perceive things when we are in a neurotic state of mind –everything becomes significant and apart of a larger problem. The way to get out of that thinking is to take action on the important things. Once you’ve started on them, you start to feel better and can see how you’ve kept yourself from feeling better by getting consumed in the little stuff.
Tell the unimportant things:
You’re not worth it.
And then move on.
If that thing happens to be a neurotic person that’s attacked you over something insignificant, saying that to them will eat them alive, so you best make a quick exit.
Build Resilience By Learning New Skills
It used to be that men would be apprenticed by masters and taught skills. Those days are long gone as generational hate has reduced older men’s willingness to teach young men new skills. It is unfortunate because apprenticeship helps men build up a network of supporters to help him on his path to resilience. Now men are forced to rely on peers and themselves to get through difficult times, which has its own problems. The biggest being that it will take longer for him to learn by himself than if he had a mentor. This may be a contributing reason why men are becoming adults later on in life.
Learning a new skill helps build confidence and increases your sense of accomplishment and value. Our mastery of skills helps us feel in control of our surroundings which improves our health and outlook.
When we have skills, we become resilient.
But how does an anxious, depressed, neurotic man become a master of skills?
Build Resilience With “The Strangest Secret”
In the radio and record days of 1956, a highly conscientious man recorded a speech intended to help men open their minds to a new way of thinking. Through word of mouth it spread and went on to sell millions of copies and was the first spoken word record to win an award. It took listeners into the mind of the self-made man, showing curious listeners the key aspect of his mind.
“The Secret” is a key aspect of developing resilience. It’s an idea that can improve your outlook and help you feel more control in your life so you stay motivated.
This concept was before the time of neuroscience and psychological studies of successful men, but as the saying goes, “success leaves hints”, and Earl Nightingale being the success he was, and was himself surrounded by successful men, could see the truth of why some men succeed and others don’t…
We become what we think about.
We don’t make money, we earn money, and we earn money by providing value to others. That value comes from the skills we learn that help us build resilience. The more resilient you are, the easier it will be for you to identify and learn valuable skills.
Other important parts of “The Secret”:
- Earning money is the result of success, and success is directly in proportion to the value you provide.
- You are sum total of your thoughts. so choose them carefully.
- We become success the moment we select a goal and start thinking about it and start working towards it.
- We become a success because that very act builds resilience.
He goes on to call the strangest secret as a law of nature, claiming it never fails, and to this day that still holds true.
When you operate under the belief that you become what you think about, you start pruning your thoughts of the unnecessary and make room for the important things, which you take action towards.
Having the traits of a successful self-made man; being more risk tolerant, openness to experience, extraverted, and conscientious, and less neurotic than the general population; may help men become self-made successes of their own.
Men today will have the greatest challenge of being less neurotic, as our lifestyle enables our neuroticism in many ways, making it easy to become a man who is controlled by negative emotions and thoughts. To break free, man should work on developing resilience to be master of his mind and emotions. Developing resilience requires saying “You’re not worth it” to the unimportant things in favor of doing the important. It takes dedicating ourselves to skill mastery by changing our thinking to we become what we think about.