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Now we’re stressed out

Yesterday, my bank account balance hit a new low:

$14.51

A few weeks ago, I burned through the family’s emergency cash to repair our Subaru Forester. Blew out the radiator. Temperature gauge was broken. My own fault for not checking the coolant frequently enough.

The week after that, I sent my wife to a health clinic to get some necessary blood tests. It was one of those “sliding scale” clinics for poor people. They told her to get some ultrasounds done at the local hospital.

My wife went into the hospital with the expectation that it would cost around $50 – $100. Nope. They sent us a surprise bill for almost $800. Plus the $200 she already spent at the previous clinic.

And guess what the hospital said after all the expensive work?

“You’re fine.”

(Which is good I suppose. But still…)

Then immediately after that our bank card got hacked and drained out what little cash we had remaining in the account.

So once again, I am broke.

Furthermore, when I’m preoccupied with closing the next deal and paying the next round of bills, my libido plummets. Failure to produce in one area produces failure in another.

It’s a vicious downward cycle.

I say this not to solicit pity. I’ll be fine. I have a couple clients I’ll be invoicing next week. I’ve got several prospective clients “in the pipeline.” I’m all too familiar with how to survive this game.

Add my wife’s part-time income from music teaching and the food stamps and we can just manage to pay our bills, feed our child, and put a mild dent in my student loans (plus my credit card debts from all my naive post-graduation screw up attempts to make money.)

The question always running through the back of my mind is “Why don’t I have my shit together yet?”

Supposedly, I’m a member of one of the most privileged classes in the world: a young educated white male from a middle class background.

Yet I can’t help but feel my first decade of adulthood has been more like the refrain from the 21 Pilots song:

We used to play pretend, give each other different names
We would build a rocket ship and then we’d fly it far away
Used to dream of outer space but now they’re laughing at our face
Saying, “Wake up, you need to make money”
Yeah

Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out

If I’m honest, it was my long string of screw ups that led me to the red pill and masculine development. I had to learn how to recover my dignity as a man, and handle a woman who witnessed a long string of objective “non-successes.”

I had to get her to believe in me again. To believe in my purpose. To believe that I could not settle for being a cog in a machine or living someone else’s life script.

Or at least, if she wouldn’t believe it, I had to believe it myself and become indifferent to her response.

A woman cannot perceive or appreciate the growth that happens in a man beneath the surface. She cares not for the inner boy struggling to become a man. She is not designed to empathize with a man.

Honestly, I can understand why many men give up on life. The burden of performance is unrelenting.

And it’s not just about money. Every man I’ve known feels he doesn’t “have his shit together” in some way.

Bad father. Bad husband. Bad in bed. Bad manager. Bad student. Bad health habits. Bad Christian. Bad at getting dates. etc.

Men are quick to condemn themselves for their shortcomings. And wives, preachers, teachers, and the media are all-too-happy to quickly reinforce this condemnation.

There is no neutral ground for a man. The pressures of life will either make or break a man.

Men today don’t necessarily need more advice.

We need healing.

Heal the boy and the king will emerge.

 

Spot the sociopath

Have you ever felt like your life was ran by a bunch of sociopaths?

If not, you should.

Courtesy of a commentor on the Heartiste:

According to Martha Stout, the author of “The Sociopath Next Door”, the most reliable sign of a sociopath is their appeal to a normal’s person sympathy, despite their abusive, destructive, manipulative, and mendacious behavior.

“If, instead, you find yourself often pitying someone who consistently hurts you or other people, and who actively campaigns for your sympathy, the chances are close to 100 percent that you are dealing with a sociopath.”

Hmm… this sounds strangely familiar. Can you think of any institution that constantly appeal’s to men’s sympathy while continuing to abuse and manipulate them into submission?

Now the spirit is saying explicitly, that in subsequent eras some will be withdrawing from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and the teachings of demons, in the hypocrisy of false expressions, their own conscience having been cauterized… (1 Tim 4:1-2)

As best I can tell, the manipulation and abuse of men at the hands of these religious sociopaths can be summed up by these 4 lines of rhetoric

  1. “Servant leader”
  2. “Every man’s battle”
  3. “God hates divorce” *
  4. “One woman man”

Each of these lines to appeal to a man’s noble sympathies. But the real message is this:

  1. Put away your “selfish” dreams. A servant leader compromises his priorities for the real master, the wife.
  2. Your wife is your only sanctified source for releasing your semen… so don’t you dare offend her
  3. You can never walk away from this woman for any reason. You are trapped. Best to learn to cope with her drama. Lower your standard of happiness if necessary.
  4. This is the only woman you will ever have. Don’t bother improving yourself as a man in order to be attractive to women. Making her jealous is evil. Instead, shower her with confessions of your unyielding love for her. Then come to us for marriage counseling when you’re having “bedroom problems.”

Choose for yourself whom you will follow: the word of God, or the religion of man.

* The scriptures do not say that God hates divorce. Malachi 2:16 says God hates when wives are “sent away” treacherously. This was a common practice in ancient Israel where a man would decide he no longer liked his wife, marry another woman, kick his first wife out while still claiming her as his own (i.e. no other man could legally touch her.) It was treacherous because the man was deliberately abusing the woman by cutting off her food and sexual rights but not allowing her to be free to marry another man.

Apparently, the modern abusive man is much less subtle than the ancient Jew… preferring to just bash her head in the wall or slap her around instead of devising such an elaborate passive scheme of abuse.

Needless to say, this is not the same concept that we call “divorce.”  Check the terms. Divorce was God’s gracious allowance for wives who needed to be released from abusive husbands (Deut 24:1-4). But modern religion has twisted the concept to shame ordinary men into believing he has no escape plan from a rebellious woman.

God himself sent Israel away many times without treachery. He even divorced her in the end. An exit is rarely needed, but it gives a man power to know he has the option.

Male vs. female values

An interesting survey done back in the ’70s comparing the privately ranked values of men and women:

(Screenshots from Mind Access by Kevin Hogan.)

It’s interesting to note that the value rankings were similar with one major difference:

Women care little about a comfortable life and value salvation instead.

As 60 Years of Challenge put it, “Women are comfortable being uncomfortable.”

A woman can thrive in discomfort and even take pleasure in pain. This is confusing to men who place a high value on comfort.

Just remember:

A woman does not necessarily want a man who will make her environment comfortable. She wants a man who will save her from herself.

My Antifragile Finance Plan

I talk a lot about the importance of being “antifragile.”

The concept comes from Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s book. And, admittedly, the book is a difficult read… even if you consider yourself an intellectual. The concept is simple in theory. But the nuances are complex. The challenge is recognizing how the concept applies to whatever area of life you’re trying to analyze.

One of the most important areas of life to be antifragile in is finances. This is my weak area right now.

I’ve managed to learn a valuable antifragile skill (copywriting), but I’ve done a terrible job at monetizing it. Part of this was due to my own ignorance and lack of initiative. The other part was a common 21st century problem: an overwhelming number of options combined with a lack of guiding principles.

Antifragility is the guiding principle that allowed me to sift through the noise and cut out what’s not worth pursuing. After pondering the concept for almost a year, I’m finally starting to get it on a personal level.

To that end, I’ve constructed a financial plan for myself that fits the antifragile criteria. You can follow it if you wish. There’s no guarantee it will make you (or me) extraordinarily wealthy. But it is carefully designed to avoid mistakes that could lead to poverty.

(Recommended resources are embedded in the list.)

  1. Learn the basics of copywriting and negotiation.
  2. Identify your “skin in the game” value proposition(s) (i.e. what are some important problems you have first-hand experience solving?)
  3. Practice writing copy every day for a future product you will create (or someone else’s product you’ve successfully used)
  4. Leverage your skill and examples to get clients as a freelance copywriter*
  5. Pay off your debt and build a “screw you fund” as quickly as possible
  6. Start growing your audience and/or network
  7. Build a “10-Minute Workday” business
  8. Build another “10-Minute Workday” business
  9. Take a monthly income of about 3x your housing cost
  10. Invest extra cash using the “Triangle Investing” strategy
  11. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to invest in a “Star Business

The fun stuff is at the end. But the boring fundamentals are required to get the money needed to do the fun stuff.

You could also make money doing other kinds of freelance work like coding or design. But I don’t know the market or how well it pays. Regardless, if you ever need to send an email or talk to someone, you need to learn basic copywriting and negotiating.

 

Advice for Young Single Men

I remember my first few years of adulthood anxiety came from 3 urgent questions:

  1. What’s my calling in life?
  2. What do I need to work on now?
  3. How do I get a wife?

In a way, these are just variations on the questions a man asks all throughout his life. The main difference being that question #3 often becomes “how do I revive my wife’s passion?”

Being an early twenty-something was not a fun time in my experience. My angst was at an all-time high, I was horny all the time, and I had a perpetually guilty conscience (mostly due to my porn habit and “lusting” after women.)

So if anyone reading this is in that position in life, I’d like to offer a simple solution that has potential to resolve all three questions. It can be summed up as this:

Money Before Women

Every young guy wants a girlfriend. I get that. I was there.

But you have to realize that getting a girl doesn’t solve your problems. It exacerbates them.

Yes, you have the “new love” phase and it’s fun. But after you get married, your unsolved problems will compound.

Now, I certainly picked a good wife. But the big mistake I made was that I didn’t establish my career first. Women simply don’t understand the amount of time and “failure” that it takes for a man to get himself established.

She’ll hold every unsuccessful plan against you. She’ll pressure you to stop taking risks. She’ll guilt-trip you into thinking you’re a bad husband or father.

And she’s not being malicious. It’s just that women value the immediate perception of security above almost anything else.

Most men give into this pressure and settle for a mediocre life that slowly neuters them. Then their wife will ditch them for a man with more “passion.”

I let myself slip into this passive role for a few years. Had I stayed on that course, it probably would have ended the marriage… or at least led to a completely dead bedroom.

I have a stronger frame today, so I can more effectively handle the pressure. But I’m still dealing with the consequences of marrying before I was ready.

As the Proverbs says:

Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house. (Prov. 24:27)

Dealing with Your Sex Drive

There’s a lot of pressure on young Christian men today to marry as early as possible.

Most Christian men believe that they are sinning every time they look at a woman with sexual desire. They think they need to rush into marriage because that will solve their “lust” problem.

It won’t.

The reason you look at women with sexual desire is because you are a man. And men are polygamous by nature.

This is very different than the sin of lust. I’ve written in more detail on this elsewhere. But the short answer is this:

Lust is synonymous with coveting. It means you’re obsessing over another man’s wife. Simple as that.

Ironically, expectations create reality. If you believe you are committing the sin of lust. You are more likely to actually lust for another man’s wife. You’ve already created the identity for yourself. Now your mind is just meeting the goal you set for it.

So, yeah. Do some studying on that and cleanse your mind from all that B.S.

In terms of masturbation, I recommend keeping it to a minimal but not trying to abstain.

Masculine energy can be transferred towards goals other than sex. Anything involving risk and intensity is enough to keep a man focused. But once in awhile, you may need to rub one out to calm down or something. Do you what you need to do and don’t waste your energy worrying about it.

And no. The Bible does not prohibit masturbation. Anyone that says otherwise is either delusional or illiterate.

Pornography is tricky. God never prohibited erotica, so we can’t categorically say it’s wrong. But the porn industry isn’t exactly your friend. You’ll get a lot of false beliefs about sex if your “education” comes from watching porn.

My best advice is to start by avoiding masturbating if you’re looking at or reading anything that arouses you. That will reveal your true intentions (i.e. art appreciation vs. settling for bad sex). Beyond that, you can let your conscience decide how much or little you want to expose yourself to such material or whether or not it’s okay for you to use the “self-release valve” during such times. There’s really no biblical standard on this.

OK. So that’s what do avoid. Now on to what to do.

How to Go About Building a Career

[Disclaimer: I’m still in the middle of my career journey, so take this with a grain of salt. This is just what I’ve learned so far.]

It’s critical to think about how you want to make your living. You don’t want money to be your master. You want it to be your slave.

For me, I value creative freedom. So my goal is to make a sufficient income (not get super-rich) with minimal time and effort. This means 3 things:

  1. The product or service can be produced and delivered by someone else
  2. I can charge recurring revenue for it (i.e. monthly subscription or invoice)
  3. I can sell it (or pre-sell it) online (i.e. the written or recorded word can do most of the heavy lifting in selling it)

There are many ways to make income that fits the above criteria. The challenge is you’ve got to persevere long enough to succeed.

If you want a simple heuristic, I’d say success is

  • 50% luck
  • 40% confidence
  • 10% skill

You need all 3 elements. Assuming you’re not a sociopath, developing your skill is the best way to get confidence. When you complete a task, you become more competent, and competence gives you confidence.

People give you money for your confidence. They pay you because they are not confident enough to do the job themselves.

I just paid a mechanic $700 to fix my car. I have no idea how skilled he is. But he was confident he could fix my car. And other people were confident in him. Money is a transfer of confidence.

Luck is the other part of it. Most people don’t like to admit how random things are. We have survivorship bias. We look at someone successful and assume if we do what they did, we will be successful too.

But we ignore all the people who did the exact same thing and failed.

In reality, you have no idea how or when you will end up becoming successful.

The main difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is that the successful persevere long enough to get lucky and confidently execute at the opportune moment.

While you can’t control when or how you get lucky. You can avoid getting unlucky and increase your chances of getting lucky. This is what it means to be antifragile.

Don’t make any big mistakes that will devour your time. What these mistakes are depend on your field. In my field (marketing & entrepreneurship) some of the big mistakes are:

  • Not understanding your market’s world
  • Trying to sell a solution in search of a problem
  • Not screening out bad prospects
  • Trying to get immediate sales rather than building an audience
  • Letting your offers and business get complicated (it takes discipline to keep things simple)

Everyone has to market and sell to some extent. So studying those topics is a good place to start.

Beyond that, keep exposing yourself to opportunities to get lucky. Keep your implementation simple so you can “fail fast.”

And best of all?

The same skills and mindset needed to establish a career will help you with women. (In fact, for me it got me laid sooner than a career.)

So to bring it all full circle:

What’s my calling in life?

For now, establishing your career. Efficiency by the Wall Street Playboys is the best introduction to this I’ve found. Then learn how to sell (a.k.a. negotiate). Then, if you want to quit the job market, learn how to write copy.

What do I need to work on now?

Establishing your career.

How do I get a wife?

Establish your career.

Idiocracy was Right

Looks like the West is in for an interesting dilemma:

The human race is approaching the point where it’s no longer reproducing enough to expand the global headcount. In the world’s biggest economies — the U.S., China, Japan and Germany — it’s already happening or will soon. Economists say these countries could see slower economic growth unless they increase their working-age populations by accepting immigrants, possibly from regions with higher fertility rates, like parts of Asia and Africa. Lower fertility rates — the number of live births per woman — could also threaten safety-net programs like pensions and health care.

On the one hand, you have career-oriented women who delay having children. The more intelligent a woman is, the more likely she’ll pursue an education and start a career. That certainly slows down the replacement rate.

But the other side of the equation is simply that modern technology has allowed dumb people to survive and have more babies.

Also, notice how this crisis was leveraged to advocate pro-immigration policies.

It’s a politically charged mess that no one wants to talk about. It seems we’re headed towards one of two outcomes:

  1. Society will become collectively dumber
  2. Some catastrophe will kill off everyone unfit for survival

Scenario #2 could likely be caused by Scenario #1.

We’re in for some interesting times.

In the meanwhile, remember that your responsibility as a reasonably intelligent man is to ensure the survival of yourself and your family. “Survival” is not the same thing as “security.” The more precautions and risks you take now, the more likely you are to survive. Ideally, you want to be anti-fragile.

Antifragility in a nutshell means what will you do if you:

  • Lose your job?
  • Get threatened with violence?
  • Lose your wife?
  • Get disowned by your friends and family?
  • Discover your beliefs are wrong?

Once you can cope with the worst, you find opportunity in every change.

 

The Anxiety Economy

Americans have become so anxious that a new industry is emerging: “anxiety consumerism.”

Fidget spinners, weighted blankets, adult coloring books, aromatherapy, essential oils, etc.

Nothing wrong with these products per se. Entrepreneurship is all about finding what people want and giving it to them. But the fact that this even exists as a viable business opportunity is telling of our culture.

Some of the reasons the “talking heads” have come up with include:

  • phones
  • Donald Trump
  • climate change
  • the recession
  • FOMO
  • divorce
  • social media
  • student debt
  • terrorism
  • the 24-hour news cycle
  • the economy
  • living farther from family
  • toxins in your gut
  • too many choices
  • too little sleep
  • too little sex

Those all may be plausible. But I think the media is unwilling/unable to admit the root cause:

The loss of masculine virtues.

We are facing a time of great change. People want to rely on institutions to direct us: school, media, church.

But these institutions are unable to provide meaningful answers in a chaotic world. The success of these institutions has largely depended on resisting change rather than embracing it.

School does not teach us how to navigate life. It teaches us how to follow orders. But what happens when the rewards for compliance disappear?

The mainstream media does not help us find meaning in life. It tells us what to be afraid of and what to buy.

Church does not answer people’s most personal questions. It tells us what questions to ask and then gives the answer.

And so it is that each individual is left to navigate a world of chaos on their own.

The ones who will survive and thrive?

Men with courage to face uncertainty and risk.

Men with strength to endure difficult times.

Men with skill who can navigate life on their own.

And the women and children who are joined with such a man.

My Marriage in a Nutshell

Introverted intuition is a function that is often described as hard to explain, due to its highly inward and intangible nature. The introverted intuition type has the ability to ‘thread’ multiple sources of phenomena into a certain view or vision. This is contrary to its opposite, extraverted sensation, which sees things as they comes and in a very concrete manner. The lack of this extraverted sensation can often make the Ni type a very dogged character, ignoring what is apparent and focusing on their synthesised worldview.

Wikipedia

My wife is primarily extroverted sensing. I’m introverted intuition.

I’m so future-focused that I typically have little concern for what I perceive to be small speed bumps on the way to a larger vision.

My wife lives in the moment. What’s happening now?

I’m rarely able to explain to her what I’m doing or why I’m doing it. My thought process synthesizes multiple ideas and is evolving on a daily basis.

On the surface, I appear like I’m constantly changing my mind or perhaps have no idea what I’m doing. But inside my head, my goals and strategies are clear.

The challenge for me is remembering to show my wife tangible resources and tools to solve immediate needs. Even if I think the problems are superfluous, taking time to alleviate her fears is important.

During my “blue pill” days, I used to apologize a lot for my lack of results, get frustrated, and even give into self-pity. That’s also about the time we started having some serious marriage problems.

Nowadays, I just repeatedly tell her that I know what I’m doing and that my work will pay off soon. I listen to her share her concerns and acknowledge that they are justifiable feelings.

Like clockwork, I get a “shit test” about finances every month. And also like clockwork, she stops hassling me after about a 30 minute test.

Understanding both the nature of women and personality psychology is a helpful tool to having a peaceful marriage.

 

The Real Problem with Porn

Hello everyone. I’m still alive. And I’m still on my hiatus.

I have a final difficult push to get my “financial freedom” business off the ground. So I need total focus. This is probably the closest thing a man can experience to giving birth to a baby (thankfully.)

Anyhow, I’m taking a break this evening and I’ve had some thoughts that have been percolating through the murky recesses of my subconscious that I wanted to make note of here.

Namely, there was a problem I had been thinking about but never quite reached a conclusion:

What is the real problem with pornography?

(You can find my earlier posts on this topic somewhere in the archives. I’m too lazy to link to them right now.)

On the one hand, I think it’s clear that the church misdiagnosis the problem and uses it as a tool to guilt-manipulate sex-starved men. I’ve written about this earlier so I won’t go into details here.

But, I’m not going to come out and say “pornography is just fine and dandy. Go hog-wild boys!” Intuitively, I know there’s something wrong with it.

But what?

An idea was triggered when I read an email today from A.J.A. Cortes (who I highly recommend following… even if you don’t normally subscribe to email lists).

The title of the email was “We covet what we see, and what you covet is not Real.” It was a lengthy email, but here are a few excerpts [emphasis mine]:

I grew up in the 1990s, before social media took over. When I was growing up, the hottest girl you knew was whoever was the hottest girl in your class/grade/school was.

Maybe you lusted after a female celebrity, but your beauty norms were shaped by who you saw in person.

Obviously that has changed. We all posses the means now to view an infinite number of hot bodies on our smart phones. The commodification of beauty and the body has spawned a massive, massive industry.

Beauty has always been prized, beauty and glamor are persuasive, that is beyond question.

That said, when you are so inundated with beauty, glamor, appearance, you lose your perceptual underpinnings of what is REAL, and what is artificial.

He then addresses the incel/beta problem:

[The incel movement is] representative of a world in which a generation of damaged men have been raised indoctrinated by femininity, pushed into false vulnerability, made subservient to their feelings, and as a result they are truly beta, and helpless with women. Add in being skinny fat, being made to feel guilty for being a man, and raised to put women on a pedestal, and you’ll end up with some truly deranged individuals (its not accident that around 90% of school shooters are all raised by single mothers)

Modern femininity has cruelly and ironically created the very thing it set out to destroy; men that hate women, and don’t understand them (A woman can never raise a Man to be a Man)

I WOULD call that toxic masculinity.

Its delusional
Its dehumanizing

And its made worse by young men scrolling through 10,000 IG skanqs. It traps their maturity into being perpetual betas looking at fake bodies, and probably pornography as well

The problem is not that men like to look at nude women. People have been depicting and looking at artful depictions naked women for a looooong time. (Yet the Scriptures are mysteriously silent on this “sin.”)

The problem is overexposure to glamour.

I define art as taking something ordinary and making it extraordinary. Art highlights the beauty or emotional power of an object or experience by re-framing it in a way that makes it seem new again.

Or, to bring it closer to home:

The first glamorous image of a naked woman you saw was thrilling. The 1,000th image you saw was “normal.”

The first time you watched sex from a third person perspective was intriguing. The 1,000th time you’re just trying to find a video with enough novelty to get excited enough to cum.

The problem with pornography is that it doesn’t offer any new perspectives on the beauty of sex or women. It only normalizes what was once (perhaps) an intriguing frame. Glamour becomes the expectation rather than the rare delight.

Even “Perfect 10s” don’t look as glamorous moment-to-moment as they do in their one-in-a-thousand perfect photographs.

As Cortes has pointed out, glamour has become a commodity. It’s no longer special.

So what’s the solution?

Well, here’s how NOT to solve the problem.

Don’t go around vilifying men for looking at porn. Let’s not be naive about this: porn exists in such abundance because it’s fulfilling an unmet need.

Men (and women) are hardwired to seek out the mystery that is sex.

I don’t think it takes a genius to figure out that if appreciation for truly artistic expressions of sex, such as the Song of Solomon, are not cultivated, then people will settle for the next best thing.

People will continue to consume tasteless porn for the same reason people continue to consume junk food: they are unaware of how sick they are; they just know they need to continue eating something. And they’re probably just too damn lazy to do anything about it on their own.

Of course, to make this analogy fitting for the present-day religious climate, you’d have to say it’s like telling people that eating is bad by pointing out the poor nutritional content of their diet. Then you ban all production of nutritious food and tell people if they don’t get over their “hunger problem” that they’ll be justly burned in hell forever. Then, as a solution, you offer a path of grace that says you’ll be forgiven for being hungry and eating such terrible food. But you really should stop eating… as evidence that you’re truly forgiven.

Yeah, whatever.

Peace out for now.

 

I’ll Be Back

I’m taking a brief hiatus from my blog.

I’m going into “monk mode” for a while to knock out a mission critical project that is unrelated to this blog. Philosophizing about sex would be a distraction.

I intend to return though. Probably in 2-3 weeks or so.

My blog theme is going to expire soon. I suspect my blog will revert to some kind of generic design when it does. Or something wonky will happen, who knows? I’ll fix it when I return.

If you want to be sure you get alerted when I post again, follow me on WordPress or add my blog to your RSS reader.

Peace out (for now.)