Consolidated efforts to give both genders equal opportunities, close the pay gap and literacy levels have been largely successful. Sadly, this progress has also led to a neglect of the human male species. Phasing out of initiation rites that saw older men inculcate important life lessons in the younger generation coupled with deteriorating economic fundamentals that plague the modern man who is still expected to be a provider and protector has left him feeling frustrated, disillusioned and emasculated.
With his position in the society threatened, his identity lost and afraid of being branded a misogynist the modern African man can no longer speak out his mind, choosing to suffer in silence. This ends today. The following are 13 harsh truths about life every man should know.
Unconditional Love is an Illusion
Men across the globe are obsessed with finding someone who will love them unconditionally, stick by them through thick and thin. A woman who will stand beside them in both good and bad times. A friend who will always come to their aid when in need. Men are capable of loving someone unconditionally. Devoid of reason or logic they would gladly put their lives on the line for those they care most about. Sadly, this kind of love is rarely reciprocated.
People will always love you so long as you meet a certain need in their lives. Your woman will stick with you during tough times not because she loves you unconditionally but because she can see that you have the potential to overcome the hurdles and take back the reins. Your friends will hang around because of the perks that come with your friendship. Even your blood relatives will abandon you if they think your situation is hopeless.
Love is an illusion. Don’t destroy yourself in pursuit for love. Society will only tolerate you so long as you are useful otherwise discard you without a second thought.
A Man is Never Appreciated
Being a man is a thankless job. Gender roles may have shifted but men are still expected to fulfill their traditional roles just like in the cave days. Fail to provide for your family and you will be branded a deadbeat. Provide without fail and nobody appreciates that because you are simply doing what is expected of you. If you were hoping for a pat on the back for effectively undertaking your duties then you are in for a big disappointment. If lucky you will get an oversize suit or a pair of socks as tokens of appreciation for the years you toiled to ensure none of your loved ones lacked anything.
Man is a Lonely Creature
As a man, you are bound to spend a huge chunk of your life alone. It is hardwired into our genetic code. You may have lots of friends but most times when you want to make major strides in your life or are in trouble your first instinct is to retreat back into your mancave. You pull back from everyone in order to think clearly, restrategize and work on how to meet your objectives.
Having a partner doesn’t change a thing. By the time you hit fifty all you want is to take things slow having achieved most things you hoped to in your lifetime. Meanwhile, your woman will be rediscovering herself to make up for lost time since the kids now are all grown up. She will probably go back to graduate school, pick up new hobbies or travel when all you want is to chill having done it all. Your kids will only reach out to you when they need help. Therefore, you have to learn how to enjoy your own company because a man is a lonely beast.
When You Fall Everyone Flees
Life is full of ups and downs. There are times when things will be great. Business, careers, health, and family all perfect and other times your life will crumble. Everything you touch will turn into dust. The people you consumed copious amounts of alcohol and munched roasted goat ribs with, men & women whom you thought were ride or die friends will disappear from your life. They will stop picking your calls and duck when they see you from across the street.
Your woman will lose the respect she had for you, say nasty things and treat you like an intruder in your own home. Your family & relatives will treat you with disdain, gossip and laugh at your misfortunes. 99% of the people you helped out when they were in need will not come within a 5 km radius. Your kindness will be repaid with scorn. That’s just how the world works.
Since tough times are bound to happen, diversify your investments, have an emergency kitty stashed somewhere to cushion your fall because nobody will come to your aid. If anyone comes to your aid rest assured it will be someone you least expect. Never forget them.
When you cuddle up with the woman you love everything feels magical. You look into her eyes and your heart is filled with boundless joy. Her delicate features and graceful movements suppress any doubts you might have about her loyalty. A man may be strong, intelligent, well-connected or influential but when confronted with evidence of his woman cheating his first instinct will be to rationalize it.
The harsh truth is that women cheat and unless she wants you to know, you will never suspect it. Sadly, most if not all men cannot comprehend this fact or even entertain the idea of it. Women are scheming and conniving more so those who cheat. In the event you catch her red-handed she will still spin it around and blame you. She will hit you where it hurts the most. Your manhood.
“I cheated because you hardly spend time with me or even satisfy my needs.” She will blame you for working extra hours to give her a better life. If you satisfy all her physical needs she will find something else to blame. It’s a rigged game.
Prepare yourself for this so that when it happens you don’t kill yourself or end up in jail for murder. Do your best to do right by her but let nobody lie to you that you can satisfy your woman in all spheres. She human and human wants are insatiable.
Sometimes You Have to Be a Madman
People around you will always have expectations. Some will want to dictate how your life should play out. This can be a doting parent, overbearing elder sibling or someone you are romantically involved with. Deep down there are things you want to do with your life. Dreams, aspirations and goals that are contrary to what those around you think is best for you. Most men choose to suppress these instincts so as not to antagonize the people they care about. They go about their lives faking happiness when deep down their souls crave to exploit their true passions.
The first step to achieving true freedom is to disappoint those you care about if what they demand of you is against your innermost convictions.
Everyone thinks you are insane to invest in a business idea because it looks far-fetched yet in your own analysis you can see a way to make it work? Screw what they think! Your mother doesn’t want you to marry that girl? Well, she will have to live with it. Always listen to sound advice but at the end of the day, make your own decisions. It’s better for you to follow your gut feeling and fail than suppress your truest urges only to regret for the rest of your life.
People Will Always Disappoint You
People you put on a pedestal will always disappoint you. Those you trust the most will at some point betray you. Family, siblings, lovers, business partners, kids etc. Some choose to live in a fool’s paradise instead of facing reality.
A mentor you look up to for years only to later find out they are not what they pretended to be. Kids you give everything, sacrifice your comforts to accord them a better life only for them to trash it all. Business partners or employees you treat like blood-relatives only for them to stab you in the back.
Betrayal has happened since time immemorial. When you accept that people will always disappoint, you stop placing unrealistic expectations on them instead put in place contingency plans. When it happens the betrayal does cut you deep. In addition, it helps you see the positive aspects in people while still aware of their faults.
Religion is a Yoke of Slavery
Religion acts as a de facto moral code preventing society from falling into pure anarchy. However, the structure of most religions is founded on the beliefs of things that are intangible. Faith. Since questioning these beliefs is considered blasphemy, religion is the oppressor’s favorite tool of subjugation.
Throughout history villains riding on deliberately misinterpreted parts of holy scriptures have committed atrocities on fellow humans. Holy war crusades, forced conversions, witch trials and slavery were condoned by most religions. Even colonizers came to Africa with a bible in one hand, taught us how to pray with eyes closed as they stole our land, plundered our natural resources, raped our women and pushed our forefathers to abject poverty.
Presently, charlatans masquerading as servants of a higher power continue to take advantage of their followers through indoctrination by conning the poor, offering hope and consolation to troubled souls. Other clergies do unimaginable things to innocent boys and desperate women.
As a man you should be able to hold on to your beliefs, live according to the teachings of whatever religion you profess without falling into the traps of shameless men and women who are out to take advantage of your beliefs while hiding behind religion and threatening you with eternal damnation.
A Man’s Sense of Self-worth Comes From Achievement
A man’s sense of self-worth comes from achievement. Being able to do something from scratch, spend sleepless nights finding ways to make it work and finally succeed is what gives a man self-confidence. Lazy people are quick to attribute other people’s success to mystic powers in a pathetic attempt to justify their own failures. Some blame politics, harsh external factors, education systems or even parents for their predicament, relishing in self-righteousness by blaming everyone else for their failures but themselves. External factors only contribute a small percentage of your overall life achievements, the largest portion comes from factors only you have control over.
Nonetheless, there is a clear distinction between achievement and happiness. Many men think accumulating titles, wealth or power will make them happy, it never does. Otherwise, men who have achieved the level of success Anthony Bourdain & Tim Bergling (Avicii) did, wouldn’t commit suicide. The three factors are important in making your life comfortable thus you should pursue them but true happiness comes from within. It comes from really accepting yourself. Positively touching lives, spending time with people you care about, taking care of your mental health, accepting your flaws, loving and forgiving yourself.
Bad Things Happen to Good People
Films, fables, books, and religion all follow the same script. Good always trounces over evil. Evil people always end up paying for their mistakes while the good ones ultimately win after enduring pain. This theory is important in holding together a civilization.
The harsh truth about life is that the world is unfair. Bad things happen to good people all the time. Evil people don’t always pay for their mistakes if anything they repeatedly trample over the good people.
You may follow all laws of the land, dutifully pay your taxes, take care of the environment or donate half your earnings to the less fortunate, however, someday a drunk driver crashes into your car killing all your loved ones. Or a terrorist blows himself up at a restaurant you are having dinner with your family maiming you in the process. You did nothing to offend them but they still destroy your lives despite being a law-abiding citizen.
That’s life. There is no award for being an upright guy. Do it because it is who you are and not because it will protect you from evil.
You Will Die and So Will the People You Love
We often overlook our mortality. If you live long enough you will lose your parents, siblings, friends, colleagues and sometimes your offspring. Nothing can prepare you for such loss. Nothing can blunt the pain. There is no getting used to death. It will sting every single time yet you still have to accept it.
We men have a penchant for constantly working, hardly taking breaks to enjoy life. Mostly scared that everything might fall apart the moment we take a break. Guess what? The world will not stop even for a minute when you are gone. Others will quickly fill into your shoes. The only people who will miss you for a very long time is your immediate family and a handful of friends. Therefore, spend more time with the people you love. Do right by them. Tell them how much they mean to you. Forgive them for the wrongs the did to you because life is too short to keep grudges.
Remember to empower everyone around you so that when you are gone there will be others to take over the mantle. Don’t make the mistake of spending your entire lifetime building an empire without teaching your people how to manage it all because few years after you are gone all your sweat will be in vain.
Kids Learn Through Observation Not by Listening
Men have a duty to take good care and prepare the younger generation to be better than they were this includes juniors and kids. These two categories of people learn through observation. You can shout yourself hoarse or hold endless discussions on how they should act, however, by the end of the day they will end up emulating what you do not what you say.
As a man, you have to lead by example. If you want them to be people of integrity then start practicing it in your own life. Don’t just tell, show them how it’s done.
In addition, teach your kids about the value of work, how to speak for themselves, let them have a taste of failure & disappointment and learn how to be independent. They will forever be grateful to you for these lessons long after you are gone.
Getting Rich is Easy, Staying Wealthy is Harder
How many neighbors, family friends or relatives do you know that were once wealthy only for something to happen along the way and they lost it all? How many highly-talented people, fellas you revered, have now sunk into substance abuse and alcohol addiction? More than you can count, right? Getting rich or succeeding in your career may seem like a tumultuous journey but it’s not, staying on top is the hardest part.
Shrewdness, hard work, intellect, right connections and a touch of luck can propel you to great heights but once you get on top, financial literacy, discipline, and wisdom are what keeps you there. Success draws lots of envy, leeches, and animosity albeit subtle hence the need to be discerning. Being able to see beyond the fake smiles and praises will enable you to keep those who are trying to pull you down at bay. Discipline helps you avoid self-destructing.
Many successful men have been dragged down by their oversized egos, unbridled greed, love for the bottle and women yet almost every newly successful man follows the same path thinking he can tame vices that pulled down his predecessors because he is smarter. Find a man who is older, more successful than you are, hang around them so as to learn from their mistakes.
Rejection and Failure are Prerequisites for Success
Mainstream and social media is littered with endless stories of wildly successful people. Men and women who have accomplished amazing things. Funny how these tales follow a similar storyline. Someone starts small, fail, learns from their mistakes, works hard and boom they end up on the covers of Forbes magazine.
As a young man, you try your hand in lots of things only to fail spectacularly every single time. No matter how hard you try success comes painfully slow. You get rejected from all directions. Nothing seems to work for you. No light at the end of the tunnel. With time you give up because your breakthrough is taking way too long. The reasons most of the success stories are sketchy when it comes to details on their transformation process is because the individuals are applying survivorship bias.
What nobody tells you is that rejection and failure are prerequisites for success. Every rejection and pitfall you encounter teaches you something. And this could go on for years. Life doesn’t get easier, it’s the lessons you acquire that enable you to easily surmount obstacles in your path, ultimately enabling you to realize your dreams.
What are some of the harsh truths about life you have learned?