Monday, October 4, 2010

Jump Start

Start paying far more attention to what people do than what they say.

Walk into the joint like you own it.

Work out like your life depends on it.

Start telling, stop asking.

Have at least one nice suit that you have had tailored to fit you properly.

Take charge. No one is going to give you permission to lead.

Make breakfast for everyone on a Sunday without being asked or told. Designate who will clean up.

Start thinking of yourself as a valuable asset.

Get your hair cut by a real professional stylist at least twice a year.

Forget "equality". Focus on "equilibrium".

Demonstrate courage, even if you're scared. No one needs to know just how scared you are.

Be "the most interesting man in the world".

Walk around like you have a broadsword on your hip.

Be able to listen thoughtfully, even if you think the speaker is full of it. Opportunity can be a subtle thing, and if you don't recognize it before it's gone, it never existed.

Talk to strangers.

Stand up straight. Straighter.

Make your bed, every morning.

Don't be confident -- be overconfident. Irrationally overconfident.

Be able to change a tire or jump a car on demand.

Solemnly thank veterans for their service.

Become proficient at arms of some sort.

Tell your wife where you both will be dining, don't ask her where she wants to eat.

Sing loudly in the shower or car without caring who hears.

Pay more attention to what you wear, even if you're just working in the yard.

Be able to drop a compliment at an instant's notice.

Learn how to tie five new knots.

Do something no one else knows about, and take satisfaction from that.

Get your shoes shined by a guy who does it for a living at least once in a while.

Overtip when the service is truly outstanding. And mention it to the manager.

Know the appropriate occasions and weather in which to wear a tuxedo.

Take guitar lessons.

Know the proper form of address for a sitting monarch, noble, or diplomat.

Be a good loser.

Be succinct. If you can't say it in one sentence, then consider if it needs to be said.

Wait for the idiot to run out of things to say before you get started on why they're wrong.

Pick something off the menu in the first three minutes and don't worry about whether or not you should have gotten the fish.

Be observant of human behavior enough to determine whether or not someone is lying. Bluffing is a great skill to have... and a lousy skill to lack.

Tell her she has beautiful eyes.

Know at least one sport inside and out.

Know how to identify poison oak, ivy, and sumac.

Read at least one book written in the last year.

Sit on your front porch and watch the sun set, just because you want to.

Write a letter to your wife. In longhand. On stationary. Mail it to her.

Read a classic in public without shame or fear.

Stay in the game even if you've got a bad hand, and play it like it's pocket aces.

Show respect to other men for their age, their experience, their reputation, and/or their record. But never mention that to them -- you don't want to look like a brown-noser.

Learn how to throw a punch that lands accurately and with sufficient force.

Learn how to take a punch.

Rock a bow-tie. But only if you know how to tie one.

When someone says "that's sexist!" shrug and say "I'm OK with that."

Practice your free throw.

Call your dad and ask him what he would do, even if you already know the answer.

Sew your own buttons on your shirts. Even prisoners can do it.

Be able to sing one song or tell one amusing anecdote in public and do it well.

When you shake hands, be the guy with the stronger grip.

Know how to drive a nail without looking like an amateur. Practice, if necessary.

When a woman tells you she's a feminist, grin broadly and say "Really? Seriously?" and then shake your head and walk away laughing.

Play a game with a bunch of little kids.

Play cards or chess with an old dude and discover his wisdom. But don't wager -- those old guys are vicious.

Create some art, just because you can.

Tell her she's pretty and mean it.

Build a shed. From scratch.

You know that dude from college you're Facebook friends with, but haven't actually spoken to in years? Call him on his birthday. Find out what he's really been up to.

Stay up all night watching TED talks, and let your head spin.

Tell your kids what you expect, when you expect it, and what will happen if it doesn't happen. Then follow through.

Mean what you say. Say what you mean.

Learn how to say no. Don't apologize, don't sound evasive or regretful, just 'no'. Or 'no, thank you'.

Know who your great-grandparents were, where they came from, and what they did with their lives.

Be able to build a campfire you can light with one match. Practice, if necessary.

Know which way North is... all the time.

Know how to hold a baby and always be willing to pick one up without regard to how expensive or freshly-laundered your clothing is. Baby-spit is invisible.

Always compliment a mother on how her baby looks.

Write your father's eulogy. Then write your own. It's good practice.

Learn at least one simple magic trick you can use to entertain a crowd of 8 year-olds.

Cultivate at least three good heroes from history and know about them, exhaustively. And no, you can't use JFK or Lincoln. Too easy.

Read your state's Constitution, and know how it differs from other states and the Federal constitution.

Learn how to iron, if you don't know how. No man should make someone else iron his shirts.

Prepare your family for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Bargain for something, not just a new car. Learn how to haggle like a middle-eastern spice merchant. Sure, you're gonna get ripped off... at first.

Buy your wife flowers for no reason.

If you're clean-shaven, grow a beard or mustache. If you have a beard, shave it for a few months. Change is good.

Cultivate a good manly nickname.

Know how to insult your best friends good-naturedly.

Make a cheesecake, from scratch, just 'cause.

Spend fifty bucks on something that can make you a hundred bucks. Then follow through. Repeat until you're a millionaire.

Get Red Cross CPR certified. Take a First Aid course, too.

Make someone's wish come true anonymously. It makes you feel powerful and noble.

Practice your smile in front of the mirror. Know how to smile for the camera.

Hug a child, and don't reprove a boy for hugging you for comfort or in happiness. High fives are for home runs and homework -- real achievement requires a properly-delivered manly embrace.

Have a plan when you start the day, and don't revise it unless you have a compelling reason.

Be able to recognize a compelling reason to revise your plan, and do so without regrets or recriminations.

If you don't have a mission, find one.

Make a goal of having something -- one thing -- accomplished by the end of the week that will improve your life or the life of your family. Make that thing happen by the deadline.

If your taxes aren't done, your car needs to be inspected, or your lawn needs to be mowed you have work to do. Structural stability is sexy.

Break your television for a week. See if you really miss it.

Surprise your wife for lunch.

Know how to install a light fixture without calling anyone for help.

Grow a plant and take care of it without any help from anyone, particularly your wife.

Ensure that all of your smoke detectors work and are powered, that your doors and windows all lock securely, and that you have a spare house key stashed somewhere where you can get to it outside.

Learn how to take harsh criticism without being offended, and be able to take an insult gracefully.

Back up your computer, and make a rescue disk.

Buy a pocket knife and learn how to sharpen it. Carry it with you religiously, along with a flashlight and a pocket screwdriver.

Go fishing. Surprise your kid or take your wife, but drop everything and spend a few hours therapeutically drowning worms. If you catch it, clean it and eat it.

Learn how to properly and gently correct the behavior of other people's children without inspiring a challenge to their parenting. This is tricky.

Learn how to lead. It's not a natural talent, it's a learnable skill. If you haven't learned it, you need to. Being bossy isn't leadership. Being indecisive isn't leadership. BE THE CAPTAIN, and people will just naturally start treating you like the captain.

Learn who you are as a man, and inflict that on your personal universe without apology.

Tomorrow is the first day of your journey... are you willing to risk it?

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