In follow-up to last week’s blog that focused on the female mindset, today we will turn our attention to the male mindset. Compared to last week’s blog, I feel a little more secure in talking about this area, but nonetheless I will be making some generalizations based on the available research and my own life experience. I appreciate your understanding if I fall short.
As a reminder from last week, the importance of an upbeat, learning and growing mindset is not only critical to our overall emotional and physical health, but as we view those around us with an initial impression of open and honest compared to secretive and deceptive, we begin to build the foundation for healthy relationships.
What we see in our mind’s eye is the first step in reaching our full potential.
If I were to synthesize all of the academic research, the influence within most families, and the impact of our society on the development of our mindset, it would be this:
We are more than we think we are
Regardless of how we answer the perennial question, does art imitate life or does life imitate art, there are some clear examples of art describing the mindset of most men.
In 1986, The Fabulous Thunderbirds release their hit single “Tuff Enuff” (I am sure a few of you are singing along right now). The song’s chorus of “Ain’t that tuff enuff?” asked the question that lingers in the minds of men. The question of, “Am I man enough?” For many common, every day occurrences, there is the continual question of do I measure up to being a real man.
Rodney Dangerfield was part of a unique set of comedians who paved the way for so many in today’s comic circles. Rodney’s signature line was “I get No Respect!” (I am sure many of you can see Rodney fidgeting with his tie as he said that famous line). Similar to the man enough question, the idea of being respected is a predominant part of the male mindset.
The issue of being man enough and being respected does not go away with the transition off of the middle school playground. These thoughts just migrate into the workplace, the community, and most certainly our family life.
Although there has been a fair amount studied and written about these issues, the reality is most men address these lingering concerns like we unfortunately do with most things, silently alone and in the backdrop of our thoughts day to day.
Even with outward success (define that as you wish), most men will reach a certain milestone and these issues will continue to linger and result in the quest for another milestone in the hope that these issues will finally be adequately addressed…and if we can’t reach it, maybe our children will and we attempt to live peacefully in the backdrop of our offspring’s accomplishment.
As we continue on our journey to build and strengthen our character, an important aspect of reaching our full potential is to understand the attitudes and behaviors of the environment we live in, understand how those attitudes maybe deep seated in our subconscious, and continually work to rise above a limiting mindset to see a more fulfilling, productive path to reach our full potential.
Similar to the initial statement above that “we are more than we think we are,” if I was to consolidate all the research, family influence, school yard (and workplace) dynamics just for the mindset of a man, I would say:
You are strong and courageous and more respected than you think you are.
Below are some thoughts to help raise our sights on these important realities:
- As our world and our homes continue to grow in complexity and uncertainty, just being consistent in climbing back into the ring each and every day to fulfill our responsibilities is a sign of genuine strength and courage.
- There is most often a thin veil of respect from others because of our achievements or possessions. Sustained, healthy respect and admiration from others is most often achieved when our thoughts, decisions, and actions are not about “ME,” but about serving others. Serving others starts first in the home which sets the tone for service that can have significant impact in the world around us.
- One additional thought with regards to what seems like a lifelong journey to accomplish “things” to satisfy these concerns of being a real man and being respected…satisfaction and peace come through having a clarity of purpose beyond material attainment that can guide and direct our day to day efforts. As men, we need to own that effort to find purpose. If you have a man in your life, I would respectfully ask you to encourage an open discussion and an eventual decision around finding that purpose that could direct his ways. Start today.
As we work hard to proactively build an effective mindset that we are stronger and more courageous than we think we are, we will continue to build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® to reach our full potential. I wish you all the best on your purposeful journey.