I’ve said it before, then said it twice, and I will say it again for an audience in the back… A man is nothing without a code. This code is a set of personal and interpersonal rules that he abides by. This man isn’t a cog. He is a man that sets his place in the universe and defines what he represents. Not what others choose for him. He is a man of his word and understands why he prioritizes what he does over your feelings. He does not awkwardly laugh to ease the tension. His manliness is his core philosophy and although it may differ from a modern perception of the former term, he’s quite alright about being different. His path is his own and he never strays from it to belittle or demean his fellow man. He is a warrior with a garden and protector of his castle. He can be of any race, shade of color, nationality, height, and culture.
Most importantly, he can be you.
Below are my ’10 Laws of Manhood’.
1. Be the best version of yourself — Not follow trends of the best versions of others:
Napoleon Hill once said that “it takes half of your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project” and Bruce Lee said “Absorb what is useful. Reject what is useless. Add what is essentially your own.” You know yourself better than anyone else does. You should not succumb to the pressure of the ignorant when they’re also the sum of their past and present. Boldly represent your personality in your dialogue, wardrobe, and achievements. Observe your own environment and ponder if “this is all that there is”. You will find that it is not. You will find yourself watching films that you never imagine bringing yourself to view and traveling to locations that your peers are afraid to because they are stuck in their bubble of influence. When, or if, you return to your old neighborhood(s), you will find that there is absolutely no reason to stay around for longer than you have to after the possible feeling of familiarity wears off.
2. Do not let your brain go to waste:
We are essentially energy. If there is no activity, there is no progress, and there is no evolution. The average adult reads twelve books a year, which in my opinion is a very small amount, and statistics do not go into detail regarding what books they are. Engage with what you are passionate about and what you believe you should know more about. I am fascinated by psychology, quantum physics, sexuality, self-improvement, and bio-hacking, so books of the aftermentioned nature are what I often seek in a library. I read one book a week because seeking knowledge is habit-forming when you would like to rewire your brain to desire an increase in dopamine that benefits your overall ending. You might find yourself course-correcting because what you thought you knew or didn’t know, is not the truth of your reality.
3. Always strive to make better decisions to stand by:
The name of the game has been and will always be about evolution. The evolution of the universe and everything in it. That includes you. Fools too stubborn to improve themselves will attempt to disrupt your goals because they do not align with their repetitive cycle and the belief system that spawned from it. Knowing that you’re not perfect and that every interaction or experience is a chance to grow will mentally set you ahead of the pack. Holding yourself accountable and being transparent with your flaws while openly striving to correct them will disarm judgemental critics and make yourself more relatable to individuals with an open mind. Every king is still only a man. Your word isn’t law. It is just “your law”.
4. Trust consistency and don’t take shit:
Many people, no matter what their native country is, are passive-aggressive and are sheep. That is simply a fact about humans who follow their programming after being indoctrinated into a system. “They not know what they do” and that should not be a concern of yours. Envy is a natural and emotional response, but it can be also destructive if you allow weak links into your inner circle. As Robert Greene states in the book ‘The 50th Law’, your friends and family may hide behind objective opinions. I noticed that the less I associated with certain people and disregarded their thoughts, the more progress I made. Disrespect will be shown to you in an effort to make you want to act on the impulse to prove yourself to them. This is a sign of their character and not your skill. Make a conscious effort to ask yourself if you would trade places with the man or woman giving you advice. If the answer is “No”, then what they say truly does not matter. Trust your instincts enough to push forward and shut down negative mortals or crabs that wish to keep you back, for the purpose of living comfortability in their own little universe.
5. Choose friends, lovers, and allegiances that reflect who you are:
I have roughly five childhood friends in my life and I would not doubt if there is only one left after a couple of decades. I’ve ended relationships with women who could not keep up or obey, and other than family, where I am aligned, politically, is not always clear because I do not agree one hundred percent with every organization and group to represent my best interests without my involvement. Although temporary “crossovers” might open doors for me, I care more about how my legacy and lineage will be remembered throughout this timeline to risk staining it without control of where the paint flies. Don’t be afraid of reinventing yourself and let the chips fall where they may. Crush the solipsism of women, lead your friends to victory or drop them, and watch the territory that you walk through. You’ll never know the intention of a snake until they bite you, and you will never know how poisonous the bite or long-lasting the stain is, until after you assess the wound.
6. Expand your vocabulary:
I’m the “last person” who should be lecturing someone on refraining from the use of swear words, slang, and letting loose verbally, but I do believe in a balance of the three with the extensive knowledge of The King’s English. My mother was a history major and happened to be the worst grammar nazi that you would ever meet in your lifetime. Not only will studying proper English garner you respect and immensely help you raise the probability of “getting a break”, but you’ll also be able to maneuver through communities that would have never given you a chance if they had not heard your intelligence through speech. Don’t worry about those who “call you out” on your ability to code-switch. You can reach a lot more people when you can speak about how they do. My favorite example of this is an episode of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ titled “72 Hours”. In this episode, Will bets Carlton Banks that he can’t survive in “the ‘hood” and not only does he, as “C-Note”, but Will’s friends also become interested in networking, Deutsche marks, and Schwab accounts. When in Rome, or anywhere you can think of, you want to adapt to the environment, and that is what Carlton was capable of doing, in the show. You are too, in your reality.
7. Acknowledge your vices and destroy the habits that formed them:
I can’t think of a single person that I’ve known who doesn’t have a vice or two. A vice can be anything that doesn’t serve and harms your well-being. For many, it is alcohol. For myself, it was pornographic content and sex. I’ve been open about how I’ve conquered it through semen retention, karezza/coitus reservatus, and meditation, however, the final nail in the venomous coffin that I built to kill the tendencies was replacing the vices with reading. As I discussed in my second law of manhood, the dopamine increase that I receive when completing books is a much healthier substitute. I briefly play excessively violent first-person shooter video games, every now and then, but anything that involves strategy against another opponent, such as checkers, is my go-to.
8. Place every aspect of your health, first:
Don’t wait until your thirties, forties, fifties, or sixties to sculpt your body, and fortify your mind. Time is relative, but what it does not have is patience. Your motivation should be the man in the mirror. Learn to cook and continually try to cut out processed food from your lifestyle. If you cannot afford a gym membership, then work out at home, and there are plenty of free libraries or unethical options to acquire literature on the internet. Ignore the shame from any bums and plebs who choose not to reflect because they fear the pain of accepting who they are at the moment. While I do not promote the use of drugs because becoming dependent upon them may also become your reality or the end of it, I do share my journey with edible cannabis such as Delta-8/9/10 THC. They have assisted me with forgiving my past, reconnecting with myself, and psychologically making fundamental changes that have put me back on track. Occasionally, I practice Mouna for twenty-four hours, which requires that I refrain from speaking the entire time and let waves of thought flow, for the purpose of introspection. No matter what you choose to do, you should always do your due diligence, spend time heavily researching anything that you might do, and focus on happy longevity.
9. Learn the code of your reality and manipulate it:
As I started to approach the age of thirty, I ditched brand names and t-shirts based on intellectual properties that I do not own in favor of professional attire, whether business or casual. As a Black man in America, I immediately noticed that the attitudes of those in the congregation of people around me changed. I felt respected and important. They did not inquire if I owned a company before. Like it or not, the perception of everybody you meet is different and you want to make the best impressions in order to open doors to better rooms instead of begging the system to change. It may, slowly but surely, but you want to maximize your success. This is not a contradiction to my first law. It is an extension of code-switching and every race in the corporate world does it. If you feel like a monkey in a suit, strut like King Kong, and witness many that are programmed to worship or fear you. You can even apply a personal style to it or a lax variation. If you dress up and you still feel out of place due to how you want to completely express yourself in society, you can revert back to your old fashion statements after you make the Forbes list.
Please note, that this route is not for everyone. Wearing a ‘Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers’ t-shirt, grey sweatpants, and a pair of running shoes that were falling apart just didn’t vibe with how I wanted to be seen.
10. When you have an opportunity to do so, pass it down:
Not everybody starts on the same step of the ladder to success and fulfillment, but you can best believe that there are people just like you who could appreciate a helping hand. Regardless of age, race, or sex. Do not add to the discouragement that they face, and if they, like yourself, want to put in the work, mentor or bring them into your fold when they’re ready. Teach when they arrive at class. Remind them that you will say “deuces” if excuses are heard when they need a kick in their rear, and provide support when necessary. Do not lie, and don’t be their parent or caretaker. It’s their job to pull themselves up by the bootstraps that you’ve gifted them. If being a mentor is too much, you can extend a hand through other means, but a work-in-progress is still risky. Be hesitant about offering financial backing beyond what you can spare. Education is free.