EP 35: Aaron Redd and Leading Teams

On today’s episode I ask my listeners and supporters who are able to donate either their time or their treasure, to the Aaron Redd Foundation. I was fortunate enough to be asked by Aaron’s Cousin to sit on the scholarship committee for the foundation’s board and I am honored to help share this man’s legacy.

I encourage you to learn more about Aaron by clicking here to visit the foundation’s website. If you can participate in the #getreddi challenge to support the foundation that would also be greatly appreciated (learn more in today’s episode).

The main topic of today’s episode is leading teams and more specifically dealing with Bad Eggs. This topic was introduced to me by a fan of the show and so I decided to go into a full episode on it. I cover my military experience with leading teams and dealing with bad eggs but I also introduce some specific office tactics I learned from The Asshole Survival Guide by Robb Sutton.

Today’s Brew On Tap

Freedom Roast- Black Rifle Coffee Company

Just Black – Black Rifle Coffee Company

Books Recommended on today’s Show

Diamond Cutter

Fire Your Boss

The Happiness Advantage

Can’t Hurt Me (David Goggins Book)

Why We Sleep (Matthew Walker PHD)

This Weeks Podcast Recommendation

Chasing Excellence: 3×3 Morning Routines, Parenting Tips, and Limiting Phone Usage.

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EP 34: War With Iran!

On today’s Episode I discuss what we should all really be considering when we think about War with Iran. What it may actually mean and where we can look in history to develop an understanding of what we would be signing up for with WW3. I also cover the new format for the show and the specific topics I’m going to share with my listenership.

Important Links from the Show

Death Tolls from wars in history.

American War Dead

The Episode with Rodney Coursey

Book Recommendations

“Can’t Hurt Me” David Goggins

“Talking With Strangers” Malcolm Gladwell

Podcast Episode Recommendation

“Blue Print for Armageddon” Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History

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EP33: The Millennial Millionaire on Health and Wealth

On This week’s episode I had the good fortune of sitting down and interviewing the Millennial Millionaire. Bryan Kuderna is the host of the Kuderna Podcast and author of “The Millennial Millionare: A guide to becoming a Millionaire by 30.” On today’s episode Bryan and I discuss the top 5 money mistakes that Millennials make, we talk about his book and how he looks at finance from a holistic perspective much like a fitness regiment. I really respect Bryan’s approach to finance, life, and his podcast. Please check him out when you have an opportunity.

Here is My Favorite Episode of His Podcast

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The One Leadership Trait That Separates Good From Great.

I recently read an article by a career coach who claimed that she specifically encourages her clients to brag. She correctly points out that our society has become so hell-bent on not offending others that it has become taboo to brag. She went on to claim that being proud of your accomplishments and satisfied with your performance is a way to ensure repeat success. While I agree with these comments, I disagree with the approach towards doing so.

The ultimate goal of any top performer should be to lift up the needs of their organization above themselves. In a world of work-life balance and increasing narcissism this is a difficult concept to agree with. This need for humility was appropriately portrayed to me by one of my former mentors who was a General Officer in the Marine Corps. He mentioned the initial address he received from the Commandant of the Marine Corps (At the time General Neller). My mentor had recently had his first star pinned on his collar and General Neller’s audience was all of the newly minted 1 star Generals.

The school-bus analogy.

General Neller walked in and began telling these gentlemen how special they all were. He had a miniature school bus handed out to each one of them during this speech. General Neller then pointed out that they were members of an extremely elite few. He went on to say that to make it this far was quite an accomplishment. Then he paused for effect and said, “this school bus I have given you is to remind you of something. There are so few of you that I can fit you all onto this one vehicle. If I did, that vehicle could get hit by a freight train today and I would have you all replaced tomorrow.”

The Marine Corps has and continues to win our nation’s wars due to multiple factors. Not the least of which is the humility they embody in their leaders. Historians say that in ancient Rome a slave known as an Auriga was required to follow around victorious Generals and hold a golden crown over their head in military parade. It is rumored the Auriga’s second job was to continuously whisper “memento mori” into the General’s ear. This phrase roughly translates into “remember you are mortal.” It was intended to prevent the celebrated commander from “losing his sense of proportion.”

This requirement for humility in area’s of leadership is not restricted to military or political office. Jim Collin’s pointed out in his book “Good to Great” that there is a requirement for this trait in the commercial world as well. He studied the most successful organizations who made the leap from good to great and tirelessly pursued the single factor that allowed them to do so. Collins found that the one thing that took an organization from good to great was someone known as a Level five leader. He points out that leaders exist across the spectrum from Levels 1-5 but one distinguishing trait elevates an individual into Level 5 leadership. That trait is humility.

So when I read about a career coach telling people to brag about themselves (outside of a situation where you need to sell yourself) to others I turn my nose up in disgust. The greatest leaders I have known and admired did not act for personal gain. Instead they acted out of service to their organization with a fervent desire to leave it better than they found it. Another mentor, an uncle of mine, pointed out to me that it is necessary to take pride in our accomplishments to prevent the belief that we are failing to accomplish our goals. His strategy was a much humbler approach to understanding our previous accomplishments and perpetuating a pattern of success.

How to maintain humility and a winning mindset.

Sit down and write out everything you have accomplished in life thus far. Start small. Waking up today and choosing to be happy is a huge accomplishment. Many people wake up angry and irritated throughout their lives. Ensure you are in an area free of distraction as you develop the list and allow it to build on itself. Come back to the list daily and continue to remind yourself of all that you have done to make it to this point in your life. You most likely have poured your blood, sweat, and tears into certain things in life. To forget all you have done is to do yourself a disservice.

While I think it may be impossible for your list to be lacking in worthwhile achievements there is a positive to this. If you see a gap in your list you have now identified an objective to work towards. I know that for myself prior to writing this list I feared it would breed complacency. I was worried that feeling satisfied with my previous actions would grant me the permission to slow down. To stop working hard. To get old and fat. I have a strategy to combat that but I think we need to first acknowledge that high achievers are not happy unless they are working towards a goal. This list will not force you to grow complacent. If it does temporarily, I promise those feelings will pass and you will begin working toward your next goal.

Preventing complacency.

What is my safety-net to prevent complacency? Five words. You have never made it. While we need to be careful with these words forcing us to question our self-worth and accomplishments they can be the catalyst for continued work. At the Infantry Officer’s Course my class advisor forced us to write these words in our notebook every day. He didn’t do so to make us believe we were worthless. He did it to follow the same steps as Marcus Aurelius and General Neller. I pray we all accomplish great things. That we change the world. In order to continue doing so we must be reminded that there is always another mountain to climb, challenge to take, and job to be done. Bragging to others is for chumps. Taking pride in accomplishments and knowing you must push forward is for winners.

About the Author

John McCarthy is the founder of the Post Modern Patriot blog and the host of our podcast. He is a former Marine Infantry Officer, Husband, father, and son. He is obsessed with individual performance in the realms of health, wealth, relationships, and the intersection of all three. He strives to share that with the world so that he can empower others to live boldly. Let’s leave a legacy!!!

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EP32: Tony Blauer on Knowing Fear

Coach Tony Blauer has been in the martial art, self-defense, defensive tactics, and combatives industry for over four decades. He founded Blauer Tactical Systems (BTS) in 1985 and it has grown into one of the world’s leading consulting companies specializing in the research and development of performance psychology, personal safety, and close quarter tactics & scenario-based training for law enforcement, military, and professional self-defense instructors.His research on the neuroscience of fear and the startle-flinch lead to the development of the SPEAR System  a modern personal defense system based on physiology, physics, and psychology. It has been used by defensive tactics and combative trainers all over the world for over 30 years. 

In Today’s episode Coach Blauer and I discuss all of the things we need to know to not only protect ourselves and those we love but also how to protect our most important asset. Our Mind. Tony Blauer is more than just a guy who can teach you how to dodge a punch. He can teach you how to reframe your entire brain so you can dodge bullshit as well.

I’ve been a fan of Tony’s work for a really long time. Which is why I wrote this article on the blog about his mind-set. It was an honor to talk to the man. I hope that anyone who loves someone and wants them to be safe, will listen to this podcast and share it with others.

More About Tony Blauer

Tony runs an online course that covers understanding the concept of fear and how we should interact with it, from the comfort of your own home. Check that out here.

Tony also has his own podcast where he gives out tons of free advice and information that you would normally spend thousands on.

Here are links to Tony’s:


Instagram training page



Training Calendar in case you want to take a class with him.

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3 Rules to Develop Grit

I have been fortunate enough to this point to interview a lot of people I would categorize as “High Achievers.” I’ve interviewed members of the Forbes 30 under 30, start up addicted entrepreneurs, Self Defense and Tactics Coaches, Negotiations Experts and authors. People who have set out to achieve a goal and who have done so with extreme success. People that many of us look at and admire. Some of them are my own mentors. People I look up to and put on a pedestal.

Much like Plato’s Allegory of the cave, we only know what we happen to see. These are the things we believe to be real. A person makes a post about a major success in their life and we immediately compare ourselves to them wondering what we are doing or failing to do in order to obtain the same success. I am a victim of this incorrect way of thinking myself. I think there are a few things we need to understand about our idols and mentors.

They too face struggle. They too stumble and fall. Very rarely do we meet people who are willing to admit that. My theory after conducting the many interviews I have conducted is that the truly successful people willingly admit and point to their failures. They do not view them as something to be ashamed of. Rather, they view them as an opportunity to grow from. Failures are almost a badge of honor with high achievers. They wear these miss-steps like a medal on their chest. Saying, “look how badly I screwed up. I still made it through and I am continuing to work hard.” The following are my three rules for achieving the same success. While the list is not exhaustive these are the three tactics I always return to when I stumble.


It is best to avoid comparison from the outset. My best friend and mentor is the one who educated me on how awful comparison is for a frame of mind. Yet we are surrounded with technologies and services that almost force constant comparison to exist in our lives. We used to only be forced to compare ourselves to relatives and neighbors. Now, with the swipe of a finger we can constantly compare ourselves to the whole world. Comparison is the seed of negativity. As always, we must be ever on guard at the gates of our mind against negativity. The best defense tactic is to avoid comparison. Elite level crossfit athlete Katrin Davidsdottir attributes her success to this tactic. She constantly cites the fact that she runs her own race, completes her own workout, and does not worry about how or what other athletes are doing.

They are Human

Competitors are the people that at most times we are forced to compare ourselves to. Peter Theil points out that we should not seek to engage in battle with our competitors. Yet when we must, we should always fight hard and win. One of the concepts of competition that is tough for us to consider in many arenas is that our opponents are human. We constantly put them up on a pedestal and make them out to be these super-human entities that are incapable of failure.

My future podcast guest, Tony Blauer, does a great job of putting this into perspective for us. Say we are about to engage in an altercation with an intimidating opponent. Said opponent has a cauliflower ear, scars on his face and knuckles, and he’s wearing a Tapout shirt. We immediately think, “this guy knows how to fight, he’s going to kick my ass.” What if instead we work through our assessment of our opponent in the following light. What if his cauliflower ear is from playing rugby? What if he just likes the UFC and a family member bought him a Tapout shirt for Christmas? Let’s concede for a moment and say that the individual is a fighter. The scars on his face may be intimidating, but they also mean that someone else was able to hit him. Someone else was able to draw blood. Can’t we do the same thing?

Always refer back to your why

Holocaust survivors and POWs alike all have one thing in common (aside from being placed into horrible circumstances). They all admit in interviews or discussions of their time of internment, that you could see when a fellow prisoner had given up. When they had decided to throw in the towel. They claim that in most cases it was only a matter of hours or days afterwards until the person would pass away. What is the difference between these individuals who give up and those who survive the worst of situations and ultimately triumph?

Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor, claims it is that the people who survive never lose their sense of purpose. They never lose sight of their “why.” This theory would become the basis of his own version of psychological treatment known as Logotherapy. The entire treatment process focuses on providing individuals an opportunity to find their purpose in life in order to get over whatever is ailing them. This was how Frankl survived the concentration camps of the holocaust. It is how people survive POW camps. It is also how many of us find the will to carry on even in the tough times.

We All Stumble

Ensure that your next scrolling of Instagram, or dinner with friends does not result in you making negative comparisons. When forced to compare yourself to a competitor remind yourself that they are human. They are fighting in the same environment you are and they are not the boogey man. Never lose sight of your why. Write it down somewhere. Look back at It frequently and allow it to drive you when you stumble, as we all do. High achievers are not super-human, they just respond differently to failure. The men and women who charge metaphorical machine-gun bunkers understand that they risk taking some shrapnel in the midst of doing so. They charge on anyway.

About the Author

John McCarthy is the founder of the Post Modern Patriot blog and the host of our podcast. He is a former Marine Infantry Officer, Husband, father, and son. He is obsessed with individual performance in the realms of health, wealth, relationships, and the intersection of all three. He strives to share that with the world so that he can empower others to live boldly. Let’s leave a legacy!!!

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EP31: Sober October is Over!!!

Missed the first Episode? Check it out here
Sober October is over and we do the wrap up show to recap:
– What it was like
– Who Won?
– Who Lost?
I cover what it was like to partake in fitness, meditate, and avoid alcohol for 30 days. It really was an awesome experience and one I am going to repeat next year. My guest on today’s show is my life-long friend Matt Petzold. Matt has known me since I was a wee-lad and he is quite the Character. His creative genius is something I’m extremely excited to share with my audience. Don’t be surprised if you see him back soon.

Links To What We discussed

General Mattis’s Book

The Whoop Strap

The Oak Rise Meditation App

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Finding Purpose In Being a Father.

I was about 6 months into becoming a platoon commander when I sat in for a brief on the upcoming Battalion Physical Training event. We would run 13 miles from the battalion headquarters to the beach. We would do some type of workout in the surf, and at the end, there would be a family barbeque and celebration. The exercise would be conducted so that platoons would move together and compete with each other. The icing on top was that each 12 man squad (3 to a platoon) would be carrying a man on a stretcher. There were 6 or 7 checkpoints along the route where we would be tested on some skill required of an infantry Marine in combat. How we performed in that test meant either a penalty or reward before being allowed to move forward.

I was talking to a friend from home who had been training for the New York City Marathon and I told him about the event we had coming up the next day. After listing all of the information above, I mentioned the fact that we would be making the movement in combat boots and utilities (camouflage uniforms). My friend was very familiar with my fitness experience and even though I was a big runner, prior to that day I had never run more than 7 miles consecutively. My friend asked me, “John how the hell are you going to run 13 miles tomorrow in combat boots, having never trained for it before?”

I quickly responded, “That’s not even a question.” What he didn’t know was that the first thought that had flashed into my head was that of my platoon running behind me the following day. I hadn’t given the distance of the run a second thought when it was mentioned in our opening brief. I knew a couple of things. Number one, the body is far more capable of anything than the brain allows it to believe. Number two, there is no greater motivator on earth than the understanding that there is a single individual looking up to you and depending upon you to lead them.

I personally believe there are few things on this earth that give us a greater sense of purpose than being an Infantry Platoon Commander, Platoon Sergeant, Squad or Section Leader. The drive, motivation, and passion the position gives you is indescribable. It’s like being on some super drug that gives you the ability to operate on extremely limited sleep, move at 1 million miles an hour, all at your maximum mental and physical potential. It’s as though that drug has a hardline directly to a vein in your arm and every time you step up in front of your platoon your IV bag is topped off.

When you leave your platoon, that bag slowly fades, and the effects of the drug wear off. You start to fall back into the old habits of your past. The ones that accepted laziness, procrastination, and over-indulgence in vices. These traits allow you to flirt with increased feelings of melancholy. My willingness to stay out late, to press the snooze button, and to fall into bad habits increased due to a lack of sense of purpose in life. I began wondering if I would ever again find something in my life that drove me to move at the same pace I carried on at when I was a platoon commander. Was there anything out there that could match the same drive I gained from knowing I had a platoon of warfighters looking onto my every move?

I looked at my wife about three months after our son was born and I almost had tears in my eyes. I brought up the fact that after I left the Infantry, I wondered for a long time about where I could find a similar sense of purpose in life. I had finally found that same level of purpose and belonging after my son was born. I’m still new to the parenting game. I hear a lot of people talk about how hard it is. How it completely changes your life. I agree it does completely change your life. It makes you realize that your life is no longer about you. A tough, but worthy lesson in today’s age of increasing narcissism. I have on more than one occasion left myself spent in support of a worthy cause. Those times have consistently been the happiest times in my life.

I don’t know why I’m always so happy in those times. It is possible that the sadist inside of me enjoys the punishment of such a cause. I believe the stoic inside of me enjoys the fact that these worthy causes require us to delay gratification. To veer away from indulgence out of fear of failure. The Infantry taught me to appreciate a warm bed, hot shower, A night of uninterrupted sleep, and a peaceful meal. Being a parent teaches you to appreciate a lot of similar comforts that you become deprived of. Things like time to yourself, a night without responsibility, uninterrupted sleep, remembering to shower and brush your teeth (only in the early days).

While having children radically changes everything in your life and alters your own existence, it is in fact a worthy cause. One that elevates your performance, and makes you push past limits to be a better person. Why? Because there is a tiny pair of eyes looking up at you and saying, I need you to be better than you are, because for the next 18 years (at least) I’m going to be watching your every move and it will make me the person I am going to be one day.

EP 30: Micro-Influencing and The Move For Hunger with Max Lowy.

On Today’s Episode I interview Max Lowy. Max is the VP of Business Development and Director of Marketing for Lowy’s Moving, a commercial and residential moving company. During his time at the company he managed to grow annual revenue 1.5 million dollars a rate higher than the company had ever reached in their 95 year history. He is also the Co-founder of attention trading, a marketing company that focuses on micro influencer marketing at the macro level. He spent close to six years working as the Development Director for Move For Hunger, where he developed relations with Fortune 500 companies like Berkshire Hathaway and Jet Blue and he oversaw initiatives that led to the fundraising of 1 million dollars.

Links to things mentioned in the Show

Move For Hunger– The philanthropy project started by Max and his brother that has to date donated 15 Million (yes Million) pounds of food to the Monmouth County Food Pantry.

Attention Trading– The company that focuses on using micro-influencers who have greater impact in order to market for smaller businesses.

Lowy’s Moving Company– The company that has been in business for four generations and 95 years that started Move for Hunger.

AP Wood Worx The side Hustle Max run’s to let loose and generate some coin in his spare time.

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You Get What You Deserve

The Movie.

This past weekend, I went to see Todd Phillips’ new movie Joker. I had high hopes for the film after watching the trailer, especially considering that Joaquin Phoenix is one of my favorite actors. While it’s hard for me to gather my thoughts on the film as a whole, there are a few things that I can say. For starters, it was unlike any superhero universe movie I have ever seen before. It was dark, gritty, sad and creepy. There were scenes that made my skin crawl. It had an incredible commentary peering into the lives of marginalized people today. I can’t quite put my finger on what was so gripping about it, but I also can’t stop recommending it to people. The closest thing that I can compare it to, is a modern-day version of Taxi Driver.

But this is not a movie review. This movie provided me with an opportunity to consolidate many of my recurring thoughts into a cohesive post on the internet, using Arthur Fleck’s story as a backdrop.

Joker is a movie about a man named Arthur Fleck who is completely alone and suffering from mental illness. He was raised by a single mother, abused as a child and has never had a steady career. Consequently, he has not developed any serious relationships and has no real direction in the world. Throughout the movie, you watch as every aspect of his life falls apart, while his internal pressures build and build.

As I sat in the theater in awe of Joaquin’s portrayal of this miserable soul, there was a quote that kept echoing through my head. It was a quote that I had heard Dr. Jordan B. Peterson say in an interview a year or two ago. The gist of the quote was essentially, “if you think that strong men are dangerous, wait until you see what weak men are capable of.” In my humble opinion, this quote could not be more fitting for the character of Arthur Fleck. He was weak in every sense of the term: physically, emotionally, mentally and morally. His character was a perfect depiction of a weak and dangerous man.

Like many weak men who become dangerous, Fleck was downtrodden. He had been dealt an unlucky hand in life, and he could not catch a break. Some of his situation may have been the result of his own actions, but the film also really emphasized a horrible truth: life is a not fair and the world is unforgiving.

While that may be true, strong men are able to push through hardships and find purpose, truth, beauty and direction in the world despite how horrible it can be. However, Arthur Fleck is not a strong man. He shares the same mentality as most high-profile serial killers and school shooters: weakness. People like this may agree with me that the world is horrible and unfair, but they crumble under the pressure of these thoughts. They get lost in the despair and hopelessness of this notion. For some reason, all of these people one day decide that they should take on the role of God, casting judgment and sentencing. They should deliver justice with their own hands. They are responsible for punishing those that caused their despair. They decide that you get what you deserve. What a terrifying thought.

Many of these weak people lack the self-awareness to realize that they have no ground to stand on and judge others, much less to stand on and act on their judgments. They are driven by revenge and blind to themselves, two critical factors that make them so dangerous.

Perhaps the scariest part of this entire movie is the fact that we all know someone that is like Arthur Fleck. Maybe it was someone who was going through a dark time and came out of it, maybe it was someone who you had to separate yourself from because of how far down the hole they went. I had one person in my mind during this movie, and most people that I have spoken to about the film did too. Someone who is beat down emotionally, whether from the world or from their own actions, and can’t deal with it anymore. Someone, I think, that is struggling with their masculinity.


The aforementioned quote from Dr Peterson rings truth into the culture of today’s men. I see posts daily about “toxic masculinity” and would like to challenge that concept. Obviously, I would never argue that there are men who do unspeakable and horrible things to others. However, what I would offer is that these men are simply not masculine. They are weak. They are pathetic. They are gross. They are an embarrassment to strong men.

I believe that masculinity is good. I believe that femininity is good. I believe that they complement each other perfectly and can work together to create a more perfect world. Each has their own special and equally important virtues.

The virtues of masculinity are regularly debated, and many of them are also applicable to femininity as well; The point of this isn’t to compare and contrast those qualities though. Masculine men are physically strong. They are mentally sharp and morally sound. They are in control of their emotions when they need to be. They are open and honest when the need to be. They value hard work. They protect those that are weaker than themselves. They treat others with respect. They are in pursuit of becoming better men.

That is a masculine man. When you are not aligned with those traits, you are not a masculine man. You are a weak man. Therefore, I believe that the term “toxic masculinity” is inaccurate and nonsensical. Many of the acts described by that term are not guided by masculine virtues at all. They are guided by the selfish traits of weak, pathetic people. Just because someone is a man, doesn’t mean that their actions are masculine. In the same sense as this, horrible acts committed by woman are not “toxic femininity.” They are merely horrible acts.

I believe that young men need to be encouraged to be strong men. They need to be encouraged to be masculine. They need to know the virtues of masculinity. Someone needs to show them what they can offer to this unforgiving world. They need to understand that they can’t be toxic and masculine. They can either be toxic or masculine.

A Way Forward.

Personally, I have always believed that anybody with two eyes and half of a brain can point out problems. Celebrities do it all the time to “raise awareness.” But strong leaders are actually able to present a viable solution. Weak men like Arthur Fleck, or a mass shooter, are unable to offer tenable solutions, so instead they force death and destruction upon the world.

It’s easy to feel hopeless about the world and its future once you identify large-scale problems. There’s so much out there that you are unable to affect. I have spent many nights thinking about this. It can be a bleak thought to resonate on. You can think until your head hurts, but eventually you need to realize that rather than worrying about the world as a whole, each person should worry about two things: themselves and their sphere of influence.

By allowing yourself to be honest and self-reflective, you permit yourself to identify shortfalls within yourself that can be fixed and addressed. This is good for two reasons. The first is that it enables you to seek self-improvement and continue to become a better person than you already are. It shows that you believe in the potential of the person that you could be. And no journey can begin without a starting point. The second point is once you realize how many shortfalls you have, you become much more forgiving of the shortfalls of others. Nobody is perfect. Nobody ever will be. But if you aren’t perfect, you certainly can’t be the one to sentence and deliver mortal justice for someone else’s shortfalls. This lack of self-awareness is something that is lacking in the Arthur Fleck characters of the world. To them, all that matters is that they have been wronged and someone needs to pay.

An interesting historical example of someone who was self-reflective is the 1970 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. As an officer in the Red Army in 1945, Solzhenitsyn was arrested by his own government for writing letters that were critical of the Communist Party’s recent actions. For his crimes, he was imprisoned in the gulag system for 10 years. During his time in prison, his wife divorced him, and he was diagnosed with cancer. Rather than spending his 10 years devastated by the absurd unfairness of his situation, he spent time writing and reflecting on every single thing he had done in his life that led him to that exact moment in time and what he could have done better or differently to change his situation. Even in the most unimaginably unfair state of affairs, Solzhenitsyn was finding some way to take responsibility for his actions.

Similarly, in TS Eliot’s play, The Cocktail Party, a character is speaking with her psychologist and tells him that she hopes that her suffering is all her own fault, and not the world’s. When the baffled psychologist asks why she feels this way, she informs him that if it is a result of her own actions, then there is something she can do about it. But if it is the world’s fault, then she is hopeless.

It takes a strong person to take responsibility for their life and their actions. This first step can be the difference of becoming someone horrible on the front page of the newspaper or becoming someone amazing that you never thought you could become. After this, every step you take moves you in a direction, whether that means forward, backward or in a new direction. Unfortunately, many people believe that they are remaining the same, and this is simply not the case. Because of this, individuals need to adopt thought patterns of responsibility and conscious decision-making.

This new train of thought also enables growth, maturity and forgiveness. Many of us have had people in the past who have wronged us. Some of us look back on old relationships and friendships with anger and bitterness. Once you begin to rethink your past with this new mentality, you will start to realize that the old saying, “it takes two to tango,” has some truth to it. Maybe you were wronged by someone you cared about. However, you may be able to recognize small signs that you ignored, or even opportunities where you could have put your foot down and stood up for yourself, reconciling or even preventing the whole situation. You may be able to identify times that you wrong them too and played a part in the cycle of mutual mistreatment. Once you realize that there was probably something you could have done differently, you can take a deep breath and let go of your anger toward the other person. You have learned from your mistake, grown as a person, and won’t make the same mistake again. After this, there is only one direction to move: forward.

From here, you can start to think about your sphere of influence. This is the piece of the world that you can affect. It might mean encouraging one person who needs it, picking up a piece of trash on the street or making a deliberate effort to not be negative in your daily speech. While this seems small in the grand scheme of the world, it allows for the opportunity of exponential growth as you inspire and encourage others. You don’t have to worry about changing the entire planet because frankly… you never will. But you might be able to change one or two other people’s worlds. And they may be able to do the same for two or four more people and so on, and so on, all because you decided to change yourself.

An Ending.

We need to encourage the next generation of men to be masculine and strong. The world is full of weak people who need help. They need to understand how they can use their virility to help others, rather than believing that their masculinity is toxic. By taking responsibility for your life and your actions, you are showing that you are strong and you are starting a great journey.

In the final scenes of the movie, Arthur takes full form as the Joker. During his triumphant breaking point, he exclaims, “You get what you fucking deserve!” as the punchline to a joke, before shooting someone in the head on live TV. This was his way of playing out what he thought justice should be, from the perspective of a weak and broken man.

While his actions were clearly wrong, his punchline might not have been. The Bible tells us that you reap what you sow. The Buddhists believe in the concept of Karma. There are many books on the law of attraction. We all know that what goes around comes around. The message is the same. By being strong and embodying the masculine virtues, men are able to make the world a better place. More times than not, you get what you deserve. Make sure you deserve something good. Sometimes, unfortunately, you get what you don’t deserve. But you are better now, and you have the strength and virtue to persevere through. Besides… That’s Life!

About the Author

Daniel Rogers is a native of the South Shore of Massachusetts. He attended Norwich University in Vermont and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Financial Economics. After graduating, he commissioned into the Marine Corps and became an Infantry Officer. As a platoon commander, he deployed to Europe and Southeast Asia. He then deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, where he worked as an advisor with Officers in the Afghan National Army.  He spends his free time practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and exploring the vast catalogs of the Grateful Dead. As a writer, he is interested in discussing the topics of self-development and personal responsibility, while also encouraging conversation about the current and future states of the modern man.

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