Do you know what the secret fear of most men is?
It’s that they’re not “man enough”, that they don’t measure up in comparison to other men.
Men will go to great lengths to prove their masculinity to both women and to other men, to prove that they are in fact “man enough”.
That they’re tough, strong, powerful, that they won’t back down.
And that leads men to do lots of incredibly stupid things.
I was reminded of this by two newspaper articles this week.
Let me recount those articles to you…
The First Article: A Tragic Death
The first article recounted the recent, tragic death of a man in Texas, a man named Eric Nelson.
Here’s what happened.
Eric and his friend were riding horses when they came across an armadillo by the side of the road. Eric asked his friend if he had a weapon with him and his friend pulled out his semi-automatic pistol. The friend took a shot at the armadillo, which spooked Eric’s horse. The horse ran in front of Eric’s friend who accidentally shot a second time, killing Eric.
Honestly, how stupid is that? What was the point of trying to shoot a completely defenseless armadillo other than some sort of lame attempt to display toughness? And as a result Eric Nelson is dead.
Now I want you to do this.
Picture Eric in your mind. What does he look like, how old is he, what kind of education and/or job does he have?
If you’re like most people, you probably pictured a young kid, maybe 18-25 years old. Someone with a high school education, or a high school dropout. Someone working a manual, blue collar job or perhaps unemployed.
And now get ready to be shocked!
Eric was 55 years old, had a Master’s degree, and spent the past 18 years of his life working a professional job with the Federal Aviation Authority.
Not at all what you were expecting, right?
And now for the second article…
The Second Article: A Strange Video
The second story talked about a recently posted video, a video in which a man fires a machine gun across a lake for 20 seconds. That’s the whole video.
Again, you probably have an image in your mind about what kind of person would record a video of themselves shooting a machine gun across a lake for 20 seconds.
But by now, you probably know that the image in your mind is wrong.
See, the video isn’t just a video. It’s a political ad. The man in the ad, the man firing the machine gun, is Eric Greitens, who was recently chosen to be the Republican nominee for Governor of Missouri.
Again, Eric Greitens isn’t some uneducated person. Eric was a freaking Rhodes Scholar! He wrote one of the best books on resiliency that I’ve ever read, a book that until recently I was recommending as part of my free Path of Inner Transformation Course for men. Fortune magazine named him one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders and Time Magazine named him one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Most importantly, Eric Greitens is a former Navy Seal. He shouldn’t feel any need to prove his masculinity, his manhood to anyone.
And yet, at some level, it appears that Eric doesn’t feel that he’s “man enough”.
After all, what’s the point of shooting a machine gun for 20 seconds other than to try and demonstrate your toughness to the voters of Missouri?
Men…Stop Trying to Prove Your “Man Enough”
When we think of men who try to prove their manhood, men who try to prove they’re “man enough”, we have a certain image in mind. We often picture a young man, or a man without education.
And yet, as both of these examples illustrate, the need to prove you’re “man enough” can effect any man, of any age, of any background.
Neither Eric Nelson, nor Eric Greitens should have felt any need to prove their manhood. They were both over 40 years old, both well educated, both very well accomplished in their professions.
Eric Nelson is now tragically dead. Eric Greitens isn’t dead and his video didn’t kill anyone and he may go on to become governor of Missouri. But it’s hard to watch the video of him firing the machine gun and not think “Wow, how stupid is that???”.
Here’s the thing. You’ll never, ever prove that you’re “man enough”. Never. And the need to prove that you’re “man enough”, that you’re tough, that you’re strong, will never go away. And will probably lead you to do lots of stupid things.
The only solution is stop playing the game. Stop worrying about whether or not you’re “man enough”. Stop trying to prove your masculinity.
You are already man enough just as you are. Period.
I will say that one more time.
You. Are. Already. Man. Enough. Just. As. You. Are.
Embrace the remarkable man you already are and stop worrying about trying to prove your manhood to other people!!!
BTW, the first module of the free Path of Inner Transformation course goes into more depth on the topic of feeling “man enough”.