WHO ARE WE TALKING TO?
Who: Mark Manson
Where is he normally: http://postmasculine.com/
Why should I care what he has to say: Mark’s blog is simply superb. I have become a big fan of it since discovering it lately. Mark takes subjects that we all struggle with and takes the issue down to the core and gives deep, meaningful and intense analysis of each subject, where men go wrong and how we can fix the problem. I enjoy surfing the net but Mark’s site is one of the few that I can become engrossed in for long periods of time. Mark talks from experience and is always willing to help. In short, I feel a better person from reading Mark’s blog – I don’t think I can give him a better compliment than that!
SO WHAT’S MARK GOT TO SAY?
NLG: For those of us who don’t know you, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your journey in life from normal dude to rocking blogger?
MM: My name is Mark Manson. I’m from Boston, USA. I’m a writer, entrepreneur, world traveler and former dating coach. Although the external variables of my life have shifted and improved dramatically, I view my personal journey as an internal one – overcoming my fears, my emotional baggage, creating new and amazing relationships and creating something valuable and unique to give the world. The successes with business, women, etc., are a by-product of this process.
I still have a long way to go.
NLG: I think that’s why I like your blog so much – it seems that we are on similar journeys … but you’re having more luck so far!
Your posts are amazingly insightful, in depth and helpful. Where do your views come from?
MM: I read a lot growing up. I was a smart kid in a pretty cold and distant family, so I was always sticking my nose in books. I started reading a lot about philosophy as a teenager in high school, then later spirituality, psychology and literature. I think the “depth” people see in my posts is just a matter of me being more honest with myself than most. Writing is creating an experience in the mind of others and I feel like if I can be honest with myself to a certain depth, then I can vicariously force the reader to reach that same depth in themselves.
NLG: well it is definitely working. I feel that your posts cut to the core of the problem and really make the reader address the true nature of his problems.
Your site is aimed to helping the modern day man – what do you think it is to be a man nowadays?
MM: It’s a lot murkier than it used to be, that’s for sure. I think the information revolution and sexual revolution have forced men into a situation where they must develop new aspects of their identities. In the past, getting a good job and taking charge was sufficient. Now, it’s not. Women have empowered themselves and the new service and information economy has removed a lot of men’s competitive advantages in society. As a result, to keep up and remain relevant I think men must evolve and get in touch with aspects of their identities that used to be off-limits – empathy, communication, nurturing, etc. The trick is to pull this off without sacrificing the traditional masculine virtues – ambition, assertiveness, drive – to become more integrated, whole, individuals.
Put simply, man are caught in a spot where they need to develop their emotional lives without turning into a pussy. It’s a tricky rope to balance on.
NLG: What a great answer! So what do you think defines being a man and what should they aspire to be like? What are the virtues that an ideal man should adopt?
MM: I think the virtues that define men these days aren’t so different from the virtues that define women: self-respect, strong purpose, empathy, honesty. I think the real major differences between men and women in a post-feminist world remain sexual differences. Women and men express and prefer different sexual expressions (on average), but the virtues of each gender have very much converged because of how connected and efficient society has become.
NLG: If you were to talk to all of mankind at once, what would you say?
MM: You don’t have to prove anything.
NLG: I have learnt so much about myself and view the relationship between men and women differently since I started reading your blog. What do you consider your three best videos/articles and why do you feel they are the best?
MM: I’d choose
A New Masculinity (http://postmasculine.com/a-new-masculinity) – Relates my experiences traveling around the world and meeting women of different cultures and how this affected my perception of both my own masculinity and masculinity in general.
My Life as a Pick Up Artist (http://postmasculine.com/pickup-artist) – Traces my sexual empowerment and experiences as an instructor in the pick up artist industry. Serves both as a cautionary tale and an educational narrative.
Kill Your Day Job and Travel the World (http://postmasculine.com/kill-your-day-job) – An article about the emotional process of leaving the typical 9-5 work world behind and setting off on your own. Also provides some tips on how to do it.
These aren’t my personal favorite articles but have been some of my most popular articles and generated the most inspiration/reaction out of readers.
NLG: Some great content and I loved the ‘New Masculine’ article.You have been very successful in business and relationships. Can you tell me any tips for life or business that you have found that shouldn’t work but do?
MM: Invest in yourself. Products, businesses, jobs, careers, they come and go, but your education and mind are always with you. Most people try to collect golden eggs. Few people bother to learn how to become the goose that lays them.
NLG: How has travelling and meeting men and women all over the world changed you and how you see the world?
MM: It’s affected me in more ways then I could possibly write here. But overall it’s shown me that at the end of the day, people are the same. We all want the same things and have the same needs, we just go about them in different ways and were born into different cultures and circumstances. People are also, on the whole, good.
NLG: A great point to make, we are the same, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation. What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to become more cultured and worldly?
MM: No secret here: travel. Skip the resorts, five-star hotels and hostels. Find an apartment and try to enmesh yourself into the local life as quickly as you can. Purposely go where the other tourists don’t. See how others live. Volunteer. Teach English. Live like them for a while. Understanding of books, movies or politics is nice, but doesn’t get you the real thing.
NLG: You’ve lived some life! What advice would you give to a guy who reads your site and wants to become better, to live with more adventure, to meet more girls and live the life they want to?
MM: If you want to do something new or exciting, and it scares the shit out of you, it probably means you should do it.
NLG: Talking of being scared, I love your take on controlling your emotions. Can you explain it to my readers, why it’s important and more importantly, how they can go about doing it?
MM: Most people assume they’re rational, but the truth is that the majority of thoughts that bubble up in our minds are merely rationalizations and explanations for emotional decisions we’ve already made and felt. Psychologists have shown this time and time again. Your conscious mind and reasoning follow whatever your emotions and sub-conscious have already decided. So getting in touch with that sub-conscious and those emotional impulses, recognizing them and honing them to help you is possibly the most powerful tool you can ever develop.
As far as HOW to manage those emotions, I recently did a podcast about it: http://postmasculine.com/pm-radio-1
NLG: I wish I’d known that a few years back – would have saved me a lot of hassle during a breakup! (Ed: The podcasts also rock!). What three things do most men do that leads them to failing?
MM: I’d say
- Making assumptions about something they’ve never tried or experienced.
- Expecting failure before they even try (self-fulfilling prophecy).
- The only real failure is not trying, so being apathetic or too scared to even bother trying.
NLG: I agree about the not trying part – we all do more than we believe ourselves capable of.
I think we all, myself included, struggle with letting go of past loves and bad behaviour. What advice would you give to someone who wanted to let go their pain/feelings etc and start again?
MM: Invest in themselves. We never completely get over our old loves, but we can move on from them, and the way we do that is by creating better versions of ourselves than the one who dated them. As long as we’re the same person who dated them with the same emotional needs, we’re going to feel the same way.
NLG: Some great advice. On the subject of people staying the same – Why do you think that people are happy with lives of mediocrity? Why are they happy to stay in the shadows when a life of success offers so much more?
MM: Because success is painful. Mediocrity is safe and comfortable. Success requires fucking up repeatedly, making a fool of yourself, being ridiculed, tons of anxiety and stress, and inevitably brings a lot more responsibility than mediocrity. It’s harder. That’s why most people don’t do it.
NLG: As I am finding out trying to build up my website – success has a lot of false starts and pain!
I love the passion and personality that’s in your writing on your blog. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to start or upgrade their website and add their personality (even if nerdy like me) to their website or anything else?
MM: I would just be as honest as possible in portraying yourself. It takes a long time to find your voice and your message. You have to try over and over again. My blog and writing has gotten pretty popular the past year, but I blogged in relative anonymity for years before that.
You have to love it and love what you’re writing about it. And if you don’t, then find a way to love it. If you love getting nerdy, then nerd the fuck out. If you want to write long-winded 5,000 word pseudo-philosophical pieces on all of the places you’ve stuck your penis (like me), then do it. Do what you’re passionate about. Try to find something unique and honest to say and the audience will eventually show up.
NLG: I think we, as men, need to stop feeling ashamed of who we are what we are interested in. We need to be ourselves and act to our true intentions and be congruent with who we are at the core – great advice Mark!
Finally, more to help my own writing, where do you find your inspiration for your blog posts?
MM: My life. My blog is my therapy. It’s my journal. It’s my creative outlet. It’s my dialog with the world. It’s my teacher. A million things inspire me to write, it’s a matter of opening myself up to them. Again, it comes back to that honest expression.
NLG: Thanks for taking the time to speak to me Mark – I thoroughly appreciate your time.
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