A positive word is easy to digest. Hopefully your ears are filled with deserved praise and earnest well-wishes. Often however, the most valuable messages arrive as advice. The good news is that it’s free.
The bad: it’s sometimes tough to take.
Here are 10 examples of things men need to hear at least once in their lives:
1) Fight the Bully
Sadly, bullying is still a common occurrence. For whatever reason, some kids get hassled by others who are hell-bent on displaying their dominance.
You can preach understanding and tolerance, but often youngsters feel the only way to build themselves up is by pushing others down. I saw this years ago as a karate instructor and now, with social media, the issue has only proliferated.
While perhaps an unpopular notion, sometimes a young man needs to face his fears and fight the bully. It’s a last resort, of course.
Thinking your way out of a tough spot is always better than resorting to schoolyard fisticuffs. But if given NO alternative, stand your ground. Doing so will enable you to side step a world of regret and a lifetime of self-doubt.
The parents of my religious students would counter the advice, offering the option of “turning the other cheek.” It’s a respectable sentiment to be sure, but only if you are unafraid and are doing so to spare the aggressor injury and embarrassment.
If avoiding the confrontation is your only recourse, it’s a self-serving, fear-masking action of convenience…not a pious act. Kids should learn to defend themselves. Only then do they truly have the option of not doing so.
2) Kiss The Girl
Throughout your single life, moments will arrive. Moments on moonlight-flooded doorsteps during tree-lined strolls, or at coat-checks and cabstands that conveniently mark the gentlemanly conclusion to a date.
If it’s gone reasonably well and you sense a spark…always, always kiss the girl. It’s one of the things men need to hear, especially during that crucial phase of their life. It’s a rarely regretted action and once in a lifetime, it will prove to be the start of something special. Chicken out and you’ll never know.
Bonus points: Once you find “the one” tell her so and then, of course. Always, always kiss that girl.
3) Get Rich Slow
You may end up playing shortstop for the Yankees, launching the next Facebook, or dropping a few mega rap albums that transform you into “a business, man.” For most of us however, the road to riches is a little less exciting.
Want to be a millionaire? First live below your means. Yes, it’s one of the hard things men need to hear at least once.
Treat your savings account like your top employee and pay him well. A leased BMW, bling, and the latest tech gadget may offer instant gratification, but it does little for your long-term financial picture.
Nothing says freedom like a paid-off mortgage, a year in the bank, and an ability to educate your kids. Paying your future self pays off.
4) Dare to Be a Jack*ss
Too often people chase dreams with a halfhearted effort. It’s as if they are almost aching to land in their backup plan.
If you want to make something happen you have to fully embrace the goal and that means ditching all the “should’s” and daring to risk spectacular failure in pursuit of your dreams.
Like Epictetus said:
“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”
I know quite a few successful people. In many cases, calculated risk won the day.
5) Stay Humble
When people achieve a goal or earn success, they sometimes lose perspective. They tend to forget the path and the people who helped them along the way. Sadly, it’s one of the things men need to hear – especially on their climb to the top.
Get in the habit of being grateful in times of victory.
Simply converting “I” language to “we” language will help you remain humble and rooted in the knowledge that your achievements were likely dependent on the inputs of others. It also provides a great jumping off point to the next stage.
After all, there is always more to do and learn. When you achieve a goal be gracious, then set the next one.
6) Beware of the Corporate Pronouns
Your company doesn’t love you. Neither does your boss. I’ve worked for some great people at some fantastic organizations, but still the fact remains. The winds of corporate fortune can change on a dime, and sadly, sometimes there’s nothing you can do about it.
A former colleague and true company man relayed the following sentiment after a merger rocked his world.
“For years I said: We did this. We did that. Then one day, they fired me.”
Like your job. Love your family. Priorities matter.
7) Forgive Fast
If you live long enough someone…maybe even someone close, will screw you over. Most alpha males (heck, even many beta-pluses) will be tempted to hold a grudge or worse, seek revenge. Fight that impulse.
If the transgression was unintentional, accept the apology and move on. If it was purposeful, investigate. Sometimes people do mean spiteful things for understandable reasons.
Your move: evaluate, educate, and then alleviate the tension likely felt by both parties by giving them a one-time pass. Grudges are heavy and a useless thing to tote around.
If, on the other hand, the action was malicious and committed without remorse, see rule #1. In the immortal words of Billy Joel:
“Don’t take no sh*t from no one.”
8) Give More Than You Take
This is one of the most important things men need to hear. You’ll never feel as fortunate as when you are giving of yourself. Money is fine. Time is better. Knowledge and honest, heartfelt emotion are best of all.
When life is treating you well, share the wealth. When it’s kicking your ass, give anyway. There is something magical about the act of assistance that turns the giver into the recipient.
9) This Too Shall Pass
One of the things men need to hear is that NOTHING is permanent – not even happiness.
It seems at times that life has more thorns than roses – that keeping your chin up only dares fate to send an uppercut your way. When the rain clouds come, and they will, remember that everything is temporary. Cuts heal, hearts mend, and broken bits usually get stronger for the breaking.
Remember Dr. Seuss’ The Places You’ll Go? Valleys are a part of every journey. They make the mountain peaks all the more magnificent.
10) Own Your Story
If you’re 30 (heck even 25) and still blaming your past, your parents, or your special circumstance for whatever’s gone wrong…well, then something has gone wrong – with YOU.
Men are accountable. Men own their situations. Men TAKE ACTION.
Remember: we are each the architect of ourselves, the author of our life’s work. Don’t like something? Man up and adjust the blueprints, edit the story. There’s always time for change, but it is fading fast.
Often, what we need to know are the hardest to stomach – at first. But in time, we will recognize its wisdom and importance in our lives.
These things men need to hear at various points in their life may seem challenging. But if you take them to heart, they could help build your character and carve your path to success.