I don’t know about the reader, but before the manosphere came along, I was at a bit of a loss as to how to improve myself as a man. Following the prescriptions of society works for a few things, like getting an education and working hard – although the caveat must be added that these things used to work, but are perhaps not as effective anymore, at least if the education comes with a high price tag and the hard work is on behalf of an employer who doesn’t have your best interests in mind. But in other areas, such as the arena of relations between the sexes, social prescriptions are, or have become, fairly useless, and listening to women themselves discuss what they really like is as well. One needs to watch what women do, not what they say, when it comes to men, since they fall prey to the need to speak soothing advice that conforms to what society thinks they should want.
The term for a man who is a leader, who has high status, and is attractive to women is “alpha”. There’s a lot of misinterpretation of this term; some think it means a big, bad guy who brooks no opposition, a lug, or an impossibly wealthy and accomplished man. In his The Book of Alpha, a guide to self-improvement for men, David de las Morenas, is at some pains to describe what he means by “alpha”. The alpha is not, he writes, a man who is aggressive, disrespectful, or unintelligent.
The real alpha male is confident, charismatic, physically strong, experienced, and successful. More importantly, he doesn’t feel the need to prove himself or show off any of these characteristics. He carries himself in a calm, cool, and collected manner. His presence alone demands respect – he doesn’t need to do so verbally or physically. He’s a truly dominant and respected individual.
A few years ago, David found himself “lost”. While he had achieved all the things society had told him to, he felt a lack of confidence, his job was boring, he had no sense of purpose, and was striking out with the girls. Almost by chance, he discovered and took up weightlifting, improved his body as well as his sense of confidence, and from there, his quest for self-improvement was born. He found a number of venues for self-improvement, and a number of techniques with which he did so, and he set out in his book to share, as the subtitle has it, “30 Rules I Followed to Radically Enhance My Confidence, Charisma, Productivity, Success, and Life”.
The chapter on weightlifting comes first – and indeed David has written an entire book on the topic, Shredded Beast – as it should, since the physical is the foundation of all else. It’s my contention, though of course not mine alone, that this one step can radically enhance any man’s confidence, charisma, and mental outlook, not to mention improving his health, and that in some cases it can be a literal lifesaver through better mental health.
David goes on to list 29 further steps that he found greatly enhanced his life. One reason that these are so useful is as a compendium of what a young man, or even a not-so-young man, like yours truly, needs to know. Let’s highlight a few of his items.
He discusses “game”, the art of attracting women, or as some have called it, applied charisma. David believes in the approach, that is, talking to women, as the basis of game. Just overcoming one’s fears of rejection can make a powerful antidote to lack of confidence. This reminds me of an anecdote I once read about Albert Ellis, an influential American psychologist who was involved in the development of cognitive therapy. Ellis was very shy, and to try to overcome it, he decided that every day he would go to the park next to his house and talk to whoever might be sitting on the nearest park bench, and he did this with at least 100 people. He ended up marrying a woman with whom he talked there. Even if he didn’t change his personality, he got results.
David discusses how “having a mission” can be the most important thing in one’s life. I think this is quite true, now more than ever, since society seems to have so little use for young men. If one has a mission, one re-invents oneself.
He believes that learning a martial art and “how to fight” is not only a necessary part of being a man and able to defend oneself, but can instill great confidence. He says that “taking full responsibility” is a quality that all leaders have; it’s also a way to make great strides in self-improvement, since you won’t be blaming others for your problems, but instead will take steps to correct them.
David thinks, as I do, that porn should be off-limits, calling it an activity that “will ruin your life”. He doesn’t specifically discuss this, but porn is a form of supernormal stimulus, i.e. one that appeals to basic drives, like for food and sex, and is more stimulating than the natural object which the drive targets. With food, the combination of sugar and fat (a dessert) is a powerful one that is potentially addictive. Porn, especially of the broadband variety, presents instant access to a vast array of women (appealing to the Coolidge effect) which part of our brain cannot distinguish from real women. It then can become more appealing than real life, be addictive, and can rewire the brain. It’s the mental equivalent of heroin.
David has many more actions and techniques on his list that can help any man become more confident and improve his life all round. They’re especially welcome in this era in which young men are adrift and wonder why, if they followed society’s advice, things went so wrong.
“The Book of Alpha” by David de las Morenas is available at Amazon.