In his book “Wild at Heart”, John Eldredge wrote “Deep in his heart, every man longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.”, and he couldn’t have hit the nail more squarely on the head. Men yearn to be the hero of their own story. They want to save the day, to stop the bad guys, and of course, to get the girl before the credits roll. It’s part of who we are and there is but one singular question that burns within our hearts when we begin to play the role of the hero.
Do I have what it takes?
That’s the question that every man asks of himself during his life. He may not even be aware of the fact that he is asking himself this. As men, we have this inherent competitive nature that drives us to find out exactly that. Do we have what it takes? But why are we constantly trying to measure up to or out perform our peers? Some would suggest that it’s because in our masculinity we exhibit “toxic behaviors” to the detriment of society…..or whatever the hell that means. Others, whom I tend to agree with, theorize that men have always had to compete with one another for access to the best resources be it land, food, or women throughout our evolutionary history so it has been biologically ingrained within our DNA. This makes sense to me.
Today, we live in a world of convenience and abundance. You want something to eat? Hit the drive through and a hand comes out the window with your meal ready to eat. If you’re too hot or too cold, all you have to do is turn a knob or press a button and the room itself is warmed or cooled to your comfort level. For the most part, we no longer have to depend on our ability to track and run down an animal, kill it, and then carry it back in order to eat. It seems to the naked eye that we no longer live in a society where it’s survival of the fittest so why are we still compelled to compete?
Are we motivated by greed and pride? I don’t think so. I believe that we are hard wired to compete with other men on an evolutionary level. Think about it. When we go out to bars, or social settings we puff up our chests and develop a really bad case of ILS (Invisible Lat Syndrome) all in order to try and impress the females in the area. Why is that? It’s because we are seeking a mate. Maybe not on a conscious level, but that’s what our biology is telling us to do. We are feeding the need to survive, to procreate. We, at a biological level, are driven to ensure by whatever means necessary that our bloodline is continued, that it survives.
Ever since we realized the principal of strength in numbers we have been drawn to like minded individuals with goals similar to ours. You see it in military units, sports teams, and cliques of childhood friends where the members have developed bonds with each other that equal and in many cases even surpass those created by familial relation. Those within the group have transcended traditional friendship and have become a tribe. Each member contributes to the whole of the tribe in order to ensure that the tribe not only survives but thrives. There is however a price for admission if you will, to become a member of that tribe.
YOU HAVE TO PROVE YOURSELF
The Mohawk Indians used to do the same thing. They adopted people from other tribes, outcasts, and the like into their own tribe on the condition that they passed a gauntlet. This gauntlet usually consisted of the “applicant” getting the crap kicked out of him and still be standing afterwards. Whats more, I can name off the top of my head at least a few dozen times when I’ve gotten into fist fights with my best friends as a young man.
Even more so, I can recall the fights we got into with other kids that were not initially a part of our group that became a part of it AFTER we fought. As a young man I never understood how this transpired but looking back, I can see that deep down we were testing them and that we ourselves were being tested. We weren’t going to just let anyone into our tribe. No. They had to prove themselves worthy. Had they not fought back and just ran or crumbled, we would have never allowed them to be friends with us.
We didn’t realize it at the time but we gained a sort of respect for them when they knuckled up and stood up to us. They had paid the price of admission. And so had we.
Tribe’s don’t let just anyone in. Those admitted must first prove their worth. They have to prove that they will be a valuable member of the tribe, an asset should push come to shove. Why? Because again, we are looking to survive.
Finding Your Tribe
It’s no longer necessary for our survival that we be the smartest, the fastest, or the strongest. Or is it? When faced with crisis, the world turns to us to fix it. They don’t seek out children, They don’t seek out women. At the end of the day, when the SHTF the world looks to us and says DO YOUR JOB.
Today you can lead a mediocre solitary life and make plenty of money to get by on. But is that what we are meant to do? If so, then why are we as men drawn to other groups of men? Why do we feel the most in our natural state when we are with those like us? It’s because we are meant to be a part of something bigger than just ourselves. We crave the camaraderie of other men of value. We use it to measure our own worth.
We need to know. We need to know if we are up to the task. If we could make it when the chips are on the table and those that we care about are relying on us. That’s why it is important that we seek out men of value to align ourselves with. We can’t measure ourselves against the mediocrity of the masses. We absolutely must compete with the elite to gauge our own aptitude should we be put to task as a man.
Asking am I enough is the most important question we can ask ourselves. How we answer it is solely dependent on how far we are prepared to go to become the best versions of ourselves. Are we willing to put in the time and the sweat to become a valuable member of a tribe? We have to be. We were not meant to exist without a tribe but no tribe is going to accept a man with no value. That value can either be measured in physicality, intellect, resourcefulness, or virtue but we must have something worth contributing.
We also have the obligation to the tribe to hold the other members accountable as much as we do ourselves. So seek out your tribe. Fulfill the most primal part of yourself. Be the man you were meant to be and ask yourself,
Are you enough?