If you flash back 50 years, men lived a different life. We wore suits to the office or to church, drank bourbon or scotch, didn’t have air conditioning, we read newspapers, and sometimes we just sat there and did nothing. Somewhere along the line we have traded it for sweat pants, sugary drinks, and constant iphone or TV stimulation. Now we must always be entertained, comfortable, and everything we eat or drink must taste good. I once heard someone refer to this as the “yummy” factor. While much of what has happened in the last half century is progress, I think we need to return to our roots on a few items.
Not everything we eat should taste good. I know, this sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. Some tastes should be acquired. Your first bite of 85% cacao dark chocolate or your first sip of bourbon might not be delicious, but as you learn more about the chocolate or bourbon (or scotch) and start to learn the intricacies of the flavors you gain more appreciation for them and they become even more rewarding than the Snickers bar or the sugary rum and coke. Find something that you can enjoy that requires an acquired taste, and work toward refining your taste of that item.
Netflix gives us 8 straight seasons of our favorite show. We can watch episode after episode with no commercials and no waiting for the next episode. When men watch a game they are on twitter at every break in the action. We worry about texting about events more than watching them. Men need to stop with the constant stimulation and instant gratification. A real man knows how to enjoy sitting in peace and quiet. Some time should be sent in reflection and in thought. It’s okay to enjoy a good TV show or a good movie, but there is no need to watch 9 episodes straight. Practice some delayed gratification and develop patience and enjoy a bigger payoff.
In this current generation men always want to be comfortable, even if it is at the expense of looking unkempt. It is an age of slippers, sweat pants, and soft t-shirts. Comfort 24/7. There are some blurry lines around men and “fashion”. If a man cares too much about fashion he is seen as a bit too feminine. If he cares too little he is a slob. The sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. A man should have some understanding of fashion. I’m not advocating that everyone should walk around in a three-piece suit, but every man should have a decent suit that fits. There is also no need for a $1,000 suit, but know how a suit fits, get it tailored if need be, and wear it where appropriate. We do not need to always be comfortable. Learn how clothes should fit, skip the t-shirt on occasion, and shine your shoes.
Lastly, it seems everyone needs to be stimulated at all times. A TV show or game goes to a commercial and we change the channel. We stop at a red light and we pick up our cell phones. The stimulation is nonstop. Real men take time to reflect and to think. Soctrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living”. Take time, embrace the quiet, and do a little thinking every once in a while.
Four simple things…acquire a few taste, practice delayed gratification, keep up your appearance, and do a little thinking. Four simple things can make life a little bit more enjoyable over the years.
Do you do any of these things? What have you learned from them? Have you noticed a payoff?
photo credits: grepsy