The great mistake we have made in our generation is to think we can make a man with words. We need words, certainly. We just don’t need words only. Yet by making words our primary tool in building men, we’ve talked the modern man to death. He is awash in a sea of words. He has language for things he hasn’t even thought about doing—labels from a dozen therapeutic systems, lists and descriptions, and nifty slogans to keep him inspired. Fine. But has it made him a man? Has it made him act in noble, manly ways? Not usually. I think it has bored him to death. Or, worse, it has made him feel like a victim. Or, worse than that, it has made him feel understood, as though being understood is the meaning of life.
Here’s the question: When does he start the doing? When does he act?
Unfortunately, most of modern manhood is perpetually hanging out in the locker rooms—and talking, ever talking. Ultimately, though, you only know who a man is and what he believes by what he does. Not by what he sits around talking about. Not by what he says he feels. It’s only when he acts—when he does something—that we start to know what he is. That locker room sure is a great place to hang out and talk smack! But it isn’t the game. It isn’t taking the field. That requires action.
Hear me, gentlemen: true men do things—manly things. Mere males who want to seem like men just talk. Manhood is in the doing...
To be a man, you have to do man things. You can do other things, even woman things, but you won’t be a man. A man does the things men do. It’s how we know he is a man. It’s how we benefit from what it means for him to be a man...
Take this down as Mansfield’s Manly Maxim #1: Manly men do manly things.
Challenge: What is it that you keep talking about but haven’t taken action on? What can you act on today?