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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sixteen Principles of the Alpha Male

Many Great Men Throughout History Have Kept a Journal
to Document Their Experiences. 
Friends, 
As I implied in the "About Us" section, and have written of in several of my posts, this is not a blog that is merely dedicated to "guy stuff" such as outdoor adventures, tools, dogs, trucks, cooking meat, manly book and movie recommendations, and beer reviews etc. Sure, all of that is part of what I do here, but this is first and foremost a place that is dedicated to guys who, like myself, want to continue learning and growing and become the best that they can possibly be. For me, The Way of the Alpha Male means making good, healthy, and solid decisions and treating others the right way. It means taking control of your own destiny, never giving up, taking personal responsibility for your own mistakes and failures, not whining when things don't turn out exactly as planned, and having a perpetual commitment to self-improvement. It is about being honest, loyal, strong willed, standing up for what you believe is right, and being a good friend and family member. I also believe it entails following some sort of a moral code. 

In my most recent post, I wrote of Frank Miniter's book The Ultimate Man's Survival Guide ,which you now know is one of my go-to books, and I talked of how in the "Philosopher" chapter Miniter discusses some of man's greatest rules and moral codes. Moreover, I also wrote of how he names Benjamin Franklin's Thirteen Virtues as one of man's greatest moral codes of all time. Earlier this year, back on June the 12th, I also wrote a post about Benjamin Franklin's famous Thirteen Virtues and made the claim that any man could greatly improve himself by merely picking out one or two of Franklin's Thirteen Virtues to apply to his life.  

Today, I have decided to be original, as I am going to share with you my own code, which I have been working on for quite a while, and have entitled Sixteen Principles of the Alpha Male. I can only hope that one day this list will be as applauded as Franklin's Thirteen Virtues. Before you begin reading Sixteen Principles of the Alpha Male, however, I would like to remind you that I am still a young guy, and I am not claiming to have it all figured out already, nor am I claiming to be an expert on the subject by any means. I have merely compiled a list of good habits and behaviors, which I personally believe a self-proclaimed Alpha Male should abide by. It is perfectly fine if your list, and your definition of what an Alpha Male is, differs from mine. Although it is common for men to be classified as either Alpha Males or Beta Males, there are a variety of arbitrary definitions for each of these terms. Below, you will see what being an Alpha Male means to me, and I have written this code as if I had been given the task of teaching someone how to be an Alpha Male.  

Sixteen Principles of the Alpha Male
By: Brad Faber 

1. The Golden Rule: Treat Others as you would like to be Treated Yourself
  • Everyone knows of, and understands, The Golden Rule which is going to serve as the cornerstone of the Sixteen Principles of the Alpha Male. We should all strive to treat others the way we would like to be treated ourselves, and before we put someone down, we really need to stop and put ourselves in their shoes for a moment. Moreover, I firmly believe that individuals who attempt to build themselves up by tearing others down are merely displaying their own insecurities and revealing their true colors. Always remember that blowing out someone else's candle will never make yours shine any brighter. An Alpha Male is calm, confident, respectful, mentally strong, and is the antithesis of a bully and therefore does not feel the need to degrade others. I would certainly like to clear up any misconceptions that an Alpha Male is an arrogant brow-beater. While an Alpha Male may be mean and aggressive in the animal kingdom, it is an entirely different story when we begin talking about human beings.
2. Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin and Take Action to Become the Best Version of YOU
  • YOU are always going to be YOU! Let's face it! Ten years from now, you will still be the same guy you are today. You will just be a decade older. Therefore, you need to learn how to be comfortable in your own skin, and be confident with whom you are no matter what. However, you can always strive to become a better version of you. If there is something you don't like about yourself, YOU and YOU alone have the power and ability to change it. An Alpha Male does not sit around and mope about things. He takes action. For example, if you would like to build up some muscle mass, YOU can go out and join a gym! If you are a little more shy than you would like to be, then YOU can force yourself out of your comfort zone and initiate a conversation with someone new. If YOU are not happy with your job or career, YOU have the power to go out and take the necessary steps towards getting your dream job! Accept who you are, take action, and work on being the best version of you. 
3. Be Respectful of Women
  • Gentlemen appear to be a dying breed and women are noticing. I think it would be for the best if we made an effort to return to the days where most guys would hold the door open for a lady, and help her with her coat and chair, and, in general, just be more polite towards women overall. I know I am bringing it up for what seems like the one millionth time, but once again I would highly recommend reading Frank Miniter's book The Ultimate Man's Survival Guide as he provides great instructions on how to be a gentlemen and how to treat women. Side note: you will also learn from Mr. Miniter in this book that, yes, most women do prefer an Alpha Male who is also a gentleman. 
4. Be Respectful of Your Elders
  • Regardless of how old you are, you should never stop treating those who are older than you with the utmost respect, unless you live to be the oldest person on the planet. An Alpha Male is never a conceited "know it all" and therefore respects the wisdom of his elders. Remember, they have been on the planet longer than you have, and therefore most likely know a little more about life than you do, and there is always something you can learn from them. Listen to them, learn from them, and thank them the knowledge you gain from them.   
5. Honesty & Accountability: Take Responsibility for Your Own Actions and Be a Man of Your Word
  • Everyone has done something in their lives that they wish they could take back or at least have the opportunity to do differently. However, it takes a real man to take responsibility for his errors and not pin the blame on someone, or something, else. If you make a mistake, own up to it, document it, learn from it, and move on. Do your best to not be a finger pointer. An Alpha Male is accountable for his own actions. An Alpha Male also does his best to keep his promises, and truly be a man of his word. 
6. Think Before you Act, Make Good Decisions, and Learn from Your Previous Mistakes 
  • As I said in rule number five, everyone makes mistakes, but you must learn from them, and do the best you can to never make the same mistake twice. As former MSU star and current Washington Redskins reserve quarterback Kirk Cousins says in his book, Game Changer, which I highly recommend, our lives are a product of the decisions we make and good decisions usually net good results. Therefore, before you do something, always take the time to think it through first, because once a bad decision has been made, we can't take it back, and we are forced to deal with the negative consequences. Always do the best you can to make quality decisions. 
7. The Two P's: Persistence and Perseverance  
  • As cliche as this sounds, a smooth sea never made a successful sailor. I want everyone to go out and pursue their dreams, but you need to be aware of the fact that it takes time for everything to come together, and you will most likely encounter setbacks. I will use this blog as an example. When I first started The Way of the Alpha Male, I can honestly say that thought it would be bigger by the time I was four months into it. I have done a lot of experimenting with this blog, meaning that I have written about everything from dogs, to trucks, to beer, just to see what people want to read. I use the logic that the more I throw at the wall...the more likely something will stick. My message here is that there is not a shortcut to success, but we cannot let that deter us. I can assure you that I will continue working on my blog, regardless of how long it takes me to get to where I want to be, and I am convinced that someday my hard work will pay off. Furthermore, everyone faces some type of adversity. That is a fact of life that you cannot change. However, you CAN change how you respond to it. If someone tells you that you cannot, go out and prove them wrong and show them that you CAN. If someone criticizes or hates on your dream, use it as motivation. Allow yourself to dream, and know the road ahead may not always be as smooth as you would like it to be, but DO NOT let that slow you down. Sylvester Stallone's famous character, Rocky Balboa, once said, "Life is not about how hard you can hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward," which is a great quote for any Alpha Male to live by.  
8. Seek Out a Mentor or a Role Model
  • This one is similar to rule number four and is of particular importance to the younger guys such as myself. However, I still believe that you are never too old to have a mentor. Regardless of your age, go and find someone to look up to, see if they can take you under their wing, and try to emulate the traits you admire about them which have made them successful. Moreover, in Jon Acuff's book Start, which I have talked about many times before, he says you should find an "anti-mentor" as well. An "anti-mentor" is someone that you know you never want to be anything like, and therefore you should do the exact opposite of everything your "anti-mentor" does. 
9. Help a Turtle Get on the Fence
  • If someone has been a mentor to you, you should return the favor and BE a mentor to someone else. I find it troubling how self-centered we are becoming as a society, and I think that far too many people are concerned only about themselves. This is yet another cliche, but you should always try to help someone out because you may be the only person who does. Don't be selfish. Look out for others as well as yourself. 
10. Read Books, Be Well Spoken, and Have a Good Vocabulary 
  • As I mentioned in a previous post of mine, which was entitled Read Books and Reap the Benefits, I believe that being well spoken, and having a good vocabulary, are traits that all men should strive for. Reading can help us expand our vocabularies, and if you have been paying attention, you may have noticed the fact that I have already referenced, and provided links to, three different books in this post. You should also remember that you are not going to impress anyone by using gratuitous "filler words" such as "um," "yeah," "you know," and "and stuff," so you should try to keep these to a minimum. If you are searching for a word, thought, or idea it is better to simply take a pause. 
11. Don't Compare Yourself to Others
  • It is easy to want to compare yourself to others, but I would like to ask you to try your hardest to refrain from doing so. Sure, it is natural to want to go to your high school reunion and see how you match up against your former classmates, and show them how successful you have been, but just be the best YOU that YOU can be and forget about comparing yourself to others. Remember to focus on your journey rather than the journey of someone else.   
12. Be a Student of History
  • There is an old adage that "those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it," and I believe that knowing history gives you an edge for your future. I would like to advise you to read and study history and become a true history buff. Trust me, you will appear rather intelligent and sophisticated at a cocktail party if you begin talking about anything historical and you sound even the least bit credible. You should study quotes from historical figures as well. One of my all-time favorite Benjamin Franklin quotes, for example, is "early to bed, and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." The older I get the more this quote resonates with me. 
13. Be a Loyal Friend and Family Member 
  • I am a firm believer in the importance of family and friends, as they have played a tremendous role in shaping my life. I would just like to advise you to try your absolute hardest to be the best son, brother, father, and friend you can possibly be. 
14. Be Positive
  • I would like to believe that my overarching message of positivism is part of what makes not only this post, but my entire blog, unique. I have a genuine commitment to spreading hope and optimism, and I would like to advise you to always do the best you can to be a "glass half full" kind of a guy even though I know that is easier said than done at times.  
15. Be Yourself 
  • Dr. Seuss once said, "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Don't be easily swayed by the opinions of others or by "what is cool" either. What I mean by this, is that if you are a truck guy, be a truck guy. Don't go out and buy a fancy SUV just because it is the latest fad.   
16. The Three L's: Learn, Laugh, and Look People in the Eye 
  • Always remember to learn, laugh, and look people in the eye. As I said in the introduction, this is a blog for individuals who want to be lifelong learners. No one knows everything, and regardless of how old you are, you can always learn something new. The second L, laughing, is something you should never stop doing either. Remember that laughter is, and always will be, the best medicine. Lastly, always remember to look everyone in the eye when you are talking to them, as you will exude confidence by doing so, and convey the message that you are indeed an Alpha Male.  
Again, this is merely my own personal code, and these are the instructions that I would give to anyone seeking guidance on how to become an Alpha Male. It is perfectly fine for your code to differ from mine. Please feel free to let me know if you agree, or disagree, with anything on here and please feel free to let me know if you would like to see any additions or amendments as well.

Till next time,
BF

Monday, September 9, 2013

Review/Recommendation of Frank Miniter's Ultimate Man's Survival Guide: Recovering the Lost Art of Manhood.



Friends, 
Shortly after I made the decision to try my hand at writing a ''man blog" after I graduated from college this past spring, I did a little research in order to find out if anyone had ever had the same idea before it was conceptualized in my mind. I was fairly certain that someone must have thought of something similar in the past. Sure enough, after doing a simple Google search, I discovered that there were, in fact, a couple of different websites, blogs, and books which had already covered many of the same topics I intended to. However, I did not let that deter me, because as far as I could tell, no one had a monopoly over writing about "guy stuff." Therefore, I simply decided to push forward and create my own "man blog" nevertheless. I was determined to offer my own unique approach to the subject, and make each post my own, but began looking to a few of the places I found for guidance and inspiration. One of the books I discovered, while doing my research, was The Ultimate Man's Survival Guide by Frank Miniter. After reading a few reviews, I went ahead and purchased it with little hesitation. Since this book has orbited into my possession, it has essentially gone on to become to me what the movie GoodFellas was to David Chase. For those of you who do not know, David Chase is the creator of The Sopranos, and he has frequently claimed that GoodFellas was his "bible" for his award winning drama series.

Miniter's book is broken into eight different parts which are titled "Survivor," "Provider," "Athlete," "Hero," "Gentleman," "Romantic," "Pal," and "Philosopher." In each chapter, Miniter carefully, and meticulously, offers instructions on how to earn each one of these honorable manly monikers. Moreover, there are also appendices at the back of the book in which Miniter lists 100 books every man needs to read and 100 movies every man must see. Some of the titles on Miniter's movie list match those that are on mine but the vast majority do not. Many of the films he names were released far before my time, and I am not quite as big of a black and white movie aficionado as I should be, and therefore have not seen flicks such as Captain Blood (1935) and Sands of Iwo Jima (1949). 

At the very beginning of the book, however, before these tremendous chapters begin, Miniter has an excellent introduction and it is imperative that we discuss it. He describes an event that occurred during his experience running with the bulls in Pamplona which tells you right off the bat that he is a brave man. In the story, he describes how he, personally, was able to temper his fear during this event, because he had a mentor, who had run before, and had given him the necessary knowledge and training to conquer this trying challenge. After he concludes this story, he describes the notable absence of a "rite of passage" in today's society, which stands in sharp contrast to many cultures of the past, and asks the question of how do we know when we become men when there is simply no longer a test for us to pass? I really liked the answer he proceeds to give to his own question.

Miniter goes on to answer his question by claiming that being a man is not about performing macho acts, but is about being a good citizen, brother, son, and father. He says it is about doing the right thing, even when no one is looking, and when there is nothing in it for you. He also makes a few more points, which I really liked, and can honestly say that I wanted to make focal points of my blog long before I bought this book. They are: "a man is never a bully" and that, unfortunately, some men today no longer live by a strong, manly, and moral code such as the ones that many of John Wayne's characters followed in his westerns. Miniter then goes on to conclude the introduction by stating that it is not necessary for all men to run with the bulls (phew!), but it is necessary for all men to exude self-confidence and possess knowledge.

This introduction resonated with me on so many levels. It was always one of my primary objectives to make my blog a friendly, and welcoming, place and have a large component of it dedicated to how to be a respectful, kind, and caring person who looks after his fellow man and makes good, responsible, and mature decisions. My blog is not only geared towards people who enjoy hunting, fishing, and the same books and movies as I do, but it is dedicated to guys who are committed to self-growth, self-improvement, and flat out want to strive to become the best versions of themselves that they can possibly be. Another reason I was inspired to create a blog such as this, is because I have noticed that far too many men, especially in my generation, seem to think that it is manly, and funny, to try to build themselves up by being mean to someone else. I wanted to be able to explain how and why that is not The Way of the Alpha Male, as I believe that real men help and do not hurt. Moreover, I also believe that there is nothing manlier than putting your own interests aside and helping someone in need. 

Moving on to the review, Miniter's theme of how a man should be an all-around good guy who is strong and confident, but soft spoken at the same time, carries on throughout the duration of the entire book which I really appreciate. I do not want to spoil the book for you, so I will do my best to keep this report as short and concise as possible, and merely tell you a few of my favorite parts of the book. That being said, I really found the "Survivor" segment interesting and important, as he talks about what to pack for survival gear, and provides instructions on how to treat victims of maladies such as hypothermia and animal bites in this chapter, which is helpful to know as the reader will be able to use this information to save his of her life or someone else's. Miniter also tells us what Lewis and Clark packed on their epic westward expedition, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading as I am a big history buff.

I really enjoyed the "Provider" chapter as well. I would highly recommend that non-hunters read this part of the book, because in this section, Miniter conscientiously explains the deep connection that hunters have to the environment as well as their perpetual commitment to conservation. He explains that hunting is a manly activity, because it takes determination and perseverance to track dear sign and sit for hours in the damp woods in order to bag your game, and it "humbles the egotistical" and teaches one to respect nature, and also increases one's knowledge of the environment. He also mentions the various rituals Native American tribes would perform in order to show respect to a fallen animal, and speaks of how the Finns and Afrikaners still place a small piece of food in a fallen animal's mouth to thank it for its sustenance. Miniter also implies that people had a much better understanding of where their food comes from in the past.

To wrap things up, I really enjoyed reading the penultimate chapter, which is entitled "Pal," and I have talked about it on here before. You can refer to a previous post of mine entitled Be a Pal to read what I said about it. Lastly, I really enjoyed reading "Philosopher" which is the eighth and final chapter. In this chapter he discusses some of man's greatest rules and moral codes such as "The Golden Rule," and Ben Franklin's "Thirteen Virtues," which I have also discussed on here before. He also speaks of Cicero's "The Six Mistakes of Man" which may, in fact, be a subject for a blog post of mine on another day. I enjoyed this chapter because it reiterated the importance of being a good guy and following an honorable code.

Other things that you will learn from Mr. Miniter in this book include, but are far from limited to, how to tie a bow tie, how to throw a curveball, how to field dress a deer, and "The Gentleman's 20 Rules of Conduct." He also offers manly profiles of historical tough guys throughout the book, under headlines which read "Portrait of a Man," and writes these for people such as Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt.

Truth be told, this book is actually one of a trio of non-fiction books I have read this summer, which has served to inspire me to continue working harder on my dream. I want to be a writer, who writes about the subjects he is passionate about, and is also someone who can inspire and help others. If you are wondering what the other two books are, the second book in the trio is Start by Jon Acuff, which I have written about at least once or twice, and the third book is Game Changer by former MSU and current Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins which is an excellent tale of perseverance, determination, and following your dreams. I have learned an awful lot from these three books, and I have tried to take everything I have learned, roll it into one, and apply it to what I am doing. I try to write a serious and thoughtful blog and maintain a certain level of humor at the same time which can be tricky. Thank you very much for reading and, as always, please feel free to comment.

Till next time,
BF




References:
Miniter, Frank. The Ultimate Man's Survival Guide: Recovering the Lost Art of Manhood. Washington,          D.C.: Regnery, 2013. Print.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Review


Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout, which is produced in Fort Bragg, California by North Coast Brewing Company, is a delicious craft beer that is made in the spirit and tradition of 18th century British brewers who “supplied the court” of Catherine the Great [1]. A drawing featuring the grizzly face of Grigory Rasputin himself graces the label of this world class beer along with a phrase, which is written in Russian, and translates to “a sincere friend is not born instantly" [1]. According to legend, on a bitter night in December of 1916, an unbreakable Grigory Rasputin survived being poisoned, beaten, stabbed, and shot multiple times by a group of aristocrats before he was finally hurled into the icy Neva River where he would ultimately perish [2]. Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, on the other hand, is exceptionally more polished and cultivated than its namesake. 

Old Rasputin has garnered the reputation of being one of the more flavorful beers in circulation. Old Rasputin checks in at nine percent Alcohol by Volume, and one sip will warm you to your core even on the chilliest of days. Many would argue Old Rasputin is the quintessential winter beer. When poured into a glass, it is as black as the ace of spades with a nice, thick, rich, and creamy head. Moreover, the aroma of chocolate, hot cocoa, and roasted coffee instantly fills one's nostrils once the bottle has been opened as well. After taking the first sip, the impeccably blended flavors of chocolate and roasted malts erupt in one’s mouth, and the finish is as smooth as a glacier stream. However, it is a brew for those who have experience drinking darker beers such as porters and other stouts. Those who have grown accustomed to drinking only light beer, and have a history of depriving their taste buds of full bodied beer, will likely have a different reaction and find Old Rasputin abrasive and heavy.   

Old Rasputin has won several awards, including, but not limited to, winning the gold medal at the World Beer Championships in Chicago a total of seven times, and also taking home the gold medal at Sweden’s Stockholm Beer and Whiskey Festival in 2006 and again in 2012 [1]. Furthermore, Bill Owens, the President of the American Distilling Institute, has also stated Old Rasputin is “the best beer of the world” in his eyes [1]. Therefore, it is needless to say that Old Rasputin has certainly earned the right to be given a taste by any premium beer connoisseur.  

Till next time,

BF   

References 


[1]Old Rasputin Imperial Stout.” North Coast Brewing Co.  http://www.northcoastbrewing.com/beer-rasputin.htm (Accessed Aug 4, 2013)
[2]Rasputin Biography.” The History Channel Website.“http://www.history.co.uk/biographies/rasputin.html (Accessed Aug 4, 2013).

Disclaimer: This is not intended to promote or encourage the use of alcohol. This is merely an evaluation of a product.  


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Mystique of a Pocket Watch



Dear readers, 
I suspected that it may be time for me to write another post about a manly accessory, as a significant amount of time has passed since I published my stories about Zippo lighters, pocket knives, and money clips. As you can see from the photograph above, and tell from the title of this post, the item I have elected to write about this afternoon is a pocket watch. Moreover, the pocket watch in the aforementioned photograph happens to be a Relic brand pocket watch. I have owned it since my 10th birthday. My father bought it for me as a result of my fascination with western movies, and my enthrallment with westerns and pocket watches lives on to this very day even after all of these years. At any rate, in an age where the preferred, and most popular, method of telling time appears to be looking at your cell phone, carrying a pocket watch is a terrific way to cut your own path and stand out in the crowd. Trust me, you will most certainly convey the message that you are a throwback if you are spotted with a pocket watch.   

Till next time,

BF