Saturday, February 6, 2010

Silas Reinagel - Challenges and the Masculine Soul*uj0nGLOyFHrrJu72*1BeyrPUWWHEHrZjFnmCeYTe7zlKE99pUUqBMM2hM0LBSJkQWsc/3128082407_099d1fea5e.jpg

A nice article about the need for men to have challenges in their lives. I'm not sure if this is a genetic thing related to testosterone (which is shown to be correlated with risk-taking behavior) or if is a cultural thing that shapes the way men understand themselves. Likely, it is both.

Disregarding the author's "conversations with God," I think this is an interesting post.

Challenges and the Masculine Soul

One thing that I have consistently noticed about most of the men I admire is their enjoyment of challenges. There is something intrinsically enjoyable for a man in testing his own strength in various ways. For that reason, manly men frequently seek out opportunities for competition, push themselves to their limits, and enjoy the feelings that arise whenever they are confronted with risk or danger. Indeed, even experiences that are especially painful become something to brag about once the crisis has been overcome. It seems that masculinity, in many ways, thrives off of challenges. Women may derive some enjoyment from challenges, competition or crises, but it seems to be more the exception, rather than the rule. They rarely seek out difficult tasks and conflict in the the way that men do.

I noticed this partly in my interactions with my brothers. We have two mantras that we frequently vocalize:

- Everything is more exciting with an element of danger.
- Everything is more exciting if you bet on it.

I don't remember exactly how these two mantras emerged, but both of them are deeply held by nearly all of my brothers. We often speak of them and just as frequently we seek out opportunities to place bets or add more danger and adventure to whatever we are doing. We have a shared delight in competition. For that reason, we are always looking for new ways to compete with each other. In most of our holiday celebrations, we play a family game of some sort. Most of them are quite brutal and militant. We typically play some variant of Risk, wherein we happily assault each other with massive armies in a relentless battle for world domination. Likewise, I have one brother who is extremely smart for his age. I often find myself going to poker nights and competing in various tournaments alongside him. As much as we enjoy competition amongst ourselves, there is a supreme pleasure in unleashing our prowess upon others. Whenever we are competing against others, we primarily adopt an "us against them" stance. After sharpening our skills against each other, it's fun to test our mettle against other worthy adversaries. My brother and I are currently preparing ourselves for an upcoming tournament by considering every possible opposing strategy that we may have to face. The very process of competing or preparing for competition is exciting and invigorating!

Similarly, even within my own life, I have noticed that as I have grown in manliness, I have gained an increased appetite for challenges. I savor new opportunities and relish stepping out of my comfort zone. A couple of nights ago I was lying awake in bed pondering the course of my life. In my heart I felt this question looming up: "Are you able to take on the many challenges of life?" At first, I was filled with uncertainty. "I hope so," I said to myself.
Read the rest.

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