When you’re young, you can’t wait to grow up and you know, finally be a mature, free adult instead of staying a kid without any real life experience forever.
This process isn’t always linear, or even easy.
Oftentimes, we idealize adulthood instead of living it.
If you’ve lived a little, you know that not everyone matures on a deep level. People stay stuck in the same self-unaware, egotistic mindsets they’ve had since high school. Turning 18 or 21 or 30 or even 40 doesn’t guarantee personal growth.
People ego-attach to their rites of passage into “maturity” – their bodies, their career, their traumas and their feelings, the hardships they’ve suffered, the sex they’ve had, their boyfriends and girlfriends and spouses and families, the fact that they drink alcohol, legally or not…
We’ve all known immature adults. We’ve all been immature adults. Telling victim-stories about our trauma while secretly enjoying it. “Subtly” flexing how drunk we got last weekend or how we had sex with some sexy fellow adult (who’s really sexy, did I tell you that already? I had sex with a sexually attractive person!) or how our basic-ass minimum-wage job is *gasp* PAYING US! WITH MONEY!
Even the more responsible, successful, emotionally healthy young adults among us have their blind spots and Achilles’ heels, despite their mature, responsible personas. And they will have their mid-life or quarter-life crises.
I get it.
When we’re young and stupid, don’t have life experience outside living under the authority of our parents and teachers, and don’t have an internally-validated identity, we’re desperate to prove ourselves.
This adult immaturity is a natural stage of psychological growth. Before we can define our values and settle into our most natural life path, we need to explore, experiment, and learn. We need to explore realities we don’t prefer to define realities we do prefer.
The problem’s NOT that we go through this stage of psychological growth. We NEED to go through it to gain life experience, and raw material from which to forge an internally-validated sense of self.
Staying in it long-term, that’s a problem.
I’ve known professionally responsible guys with well-paying jobs who’ve become whiny little children when they didn’t get their way.
I’ve met adult women who can’t believe they’re not in their 20s anymore, who think going to the club to hook up with random guys is a better use of their time than starting a family.
I’ve known people twice my age who’ve had less self-awareness about why their lives were miserable than I did in my early 20s.
I’ve known people who’ve experienced worse trauma than I have who’ve been little bitches about it instead of having any moxie.
We can forgive a 20-year-old who acts like a shithead and makes poor life decisions.
We’ve all been there.
We’ve all dated someone we shouldn’t have. We’ve all gotten our hearts stomped on. We’ve all simped over someone we couldn’t have. We’ve all unintentionally hurt someone and deeply regretted it. We’ve all had an “oh my god, my life is OVER” moment after fucking up majorly. We’ve all refused to take action when we’ve come across an opportunity to make our lives significantly more abundant. We’ve all had our insecurities sabotage our relationships.
We can have contempt for an immature, directionless 25-year-old, yet understand that they have opportunities to mature and get their shit together, and they’ll very likely take some.
But the older you get without taking some fucking initiative for maturing, the less patience people will have for you.
The less you train yourself to hold emotional tension, the less patience people will have for you.
You need to grow out of defining yourself by the superficial things. This may be acceptable when you’re college-age, but it’s pathetic beyond that.
Once you’ve explored your capacity to look good, hold up a social life and a career path, attract attractive people, and take care of all your basic survival needs, continuing your personal growth means moving on to a new edge. From this point forward,
Maturity means being able to hold emotional tension.
This is REAL maturity, not the faux-maturity that comes from paying taxes and doing your own laundry.
Tension, victimhood, and projection
Life is painful and uncomfortable a lot of the time. You already know this. It doesn’t get any less painful or uncomfortable the older and more mature you get.
Rather, the more hardship and challenge you face and overcome, the higher your threshold for tension gets. The more CAPABLE you get. The more you can handle your business instead of being crushed by the waves of life.
Emotionally mature people understand that the challenges and problems you face in life are where your power comes from.
Rather than running from tense experiences, mature people embrace them. They lean into the tension instead of avoiding it.
I’m not encouraging an egotistic “my trauma made me who I am!” mindset. This is how immature, emotionally irresponsible people think. Everyone you see ranting about all the tough things they’ve been through, telling their victim-stories ENJOYS IT. It makes them feel seen and validated. These people, despite what they’ve been through, actually have a LOW threshold for tension. Even if they claim “I’m healing and learning to love myself!”
More deeply, they INVITE these complaint-worthy experiences into their lives, and look for excuses to have them. The way they truly see themselves, they project onto other people instead of owning up to it.
Men who complain that all women are hypergamous whores who only care about a man’s superficial social value ACTIVELY SEEK OUT these exact women. These men are hypergamous whores who define themselves purely by their social status too, and despite their claims that they want to be with a “good girl”, they reject girls who have high self-esteem and developed personalities while going for the dumb superficial whores they claim to hate.
Women who complain about men only wanting them for sex, or who have an “all men are potential creeps/rapists/threats!” mindset, same thing. These women treat their own sexuality cheaply and their own femininity as a liability, and rather than owning up to their self-devaluation, they say “it’s men’s fault for treating me as a sexual object, I just go along with it!” This is a problem they enjoy having, as this mindset makes them feel sexually valuable alongside their low self-esteem.
(Don’t be fucking stupid. You know I’m not saying “women who get sexually harrassed or assaulted really enjoyed it!” I’m saying that women who perceive men in general as being shitty people are shitty people themselves)
I see this in the men of the “manosphere” too. They self-perceive as one of the few Masculine™ men with good values left in this world, while the average modern man is a weak soyboy who wants a mommy gf career woman to have him on a leash. And guess what happens next. They don’t find the trad feminine gf of their dreams. They stay surrounded by weakness and ugliness. They focus on all that’s going wrong in this world, morally and culturally, while ignoring all that’s going RIGHT. All the men and women out there who ARE truly masculine and feminine and doing good things in this world, but who don’t give a shit about ranting about that online.
And me, when I’ve had my “every high-quality girl already has a boyfriend!” insecurity, I was seeking out these exact taken girls to confirm my grief over my own wasted youth. This was a “problem” I unconsciously created for myself, not something I was a random, poor, unfortunate victim of. I thought every high-quality girl’s holistic self was bound to who she was at 18-20, because I had the same mindset about MY holistic self at the time.
Telling yourself the honest-to-fuck truth about your bullshit AND HOW YOU’RE COMPLICIT IN CREATING IT is a tense experience, but it quickly stops being painful, as your threshold for tension increases and you take more responsibility for yourself.
Believe me, that shitty thing you went through was indeed painful, but the only way you learn how to handle tension is by handling tension. No one gives a shit about your victim-stories, unless it gives them an opportunity to share their own victim-stories.
Increasing your capacity for tension is the deep source behind you having a happier, easier life. More fulfilling relationships. A greater sense of purpose. High self-esteem. All that jazz.
This is how you become an adult who’s truly mature and capable of taking on the world. This responsibility, this embrace of life’s tense moments, is how you become a man instead of just a boy or a guy.
I want you to internalize the following life-changing mindset, dear reader.
Having problems is a good thing
How do you strengthen your body?
You challenge it and nourish it well, of course. You progressively overload your muscles with weight and tear them apart. You feed yourself well and you sleep well. Repeat. Your muscles won’t grow, won’t give you the physique of your dreams UNLESS YOU CHALLENGE THEM.
You strengthen your mind and your spirit the same way. You progressively overload your mind and your soul with problems and responsibilities. You tear your very being apart, and watch it come back stronger through the tension. You nourish yourself with positive, self-empowering mindsets and soul-decisions.
Facing life’s adversities and problems head-on is how you build your spiritual strength and maturity. It’s how you increase your capacity for tension.
The greater problems you decide to be responsible for, the more powerful you become. The more energy you have. The more gravitas, the more presence and status you have in a crowd.
Are you going to complain about the weights in a gym challenging you? FUCK NO. That’s exactly what you want them to do! That’s exactly what they’re there for!
So when something in your life challenges you and gets you feeling that sweet sweet tension, why would you ever complain about it? That’s why these problems and responsibilities exist.
When someone’s in a victim-mindset, projecting and complaining, this actually gets them closer to Flow than denying these thoughts of theirs does. Their problem is that they can’t see beyond the victim-mindset. They feel like they’re taking responsibility for something, but sadly for their self-unaware self, they’re taking responsibility for the wrong side of the coin – taking responsibility for the world being out of alignment, rather than something within themselves being out of alignment.
A fun little thought exercise I do whenever I find myself complaining or angry at the world is hearing my anger out, then asking myself “how is this true about ME?”
I wasn’t cool in high school and felt like everyone was looking down at me? WELL WELL WELL, IT’S TIME TO REMIND MYSELF OF ALL THE TIMES I LOOKED DOWN ON PEOPLE AND FELT LIKE THEY WEREN’T “COOL ENOUGH” FOR ME!
(I actually enjoyed high school despite not getting my fantasy wishlist of Normal Teenager Experiences™ fulfilled back then. I look back fondly on the grind and challenge of those days)
I feel like I “missed my window” to get on the right track in life? Welp, what have I avoided that’s wrong for me? What if I’ve actually avoided a whole ton of streams that are wrong for me, while going down the stream that’ll lead me to the most fortune and meaning?
What about you? Where’s your next edge? Where can you be taking more responsibility in your life?
If your current problem is that you’re out of shape, useless, and unfuckable, it’s time to get into self-improvement. Learn to handle physical tension in the gym. Learn to handle mental responsibility by learning new skills. Learn to handle sexual tension by quitting porn and masturbation, and approaching real-life girls instead. Take responsibility for your biochemistry by quitting processed foods, eating clean foods, quitting your addictions, and supplementing well.
Grind. Develop yourself. Build something. For some of you readers, this’ll be your edge.
More likely, it’s time for you to learn to handle emotional tension, and overcome your limitations in the spiritual domain.
It’s obvious when you’re limited physically, financially, socially, or intellectually. Overcoming these limitations means getting on your edge in these domains.
It’s just as obvious when you’re spiritually limited. People smell it on you, whether you know it or not. They feel it in the tiniest criticism or complaint, the tiniest ego-wound that you try to hide, in the tiniest transactional bargain with the world, in the tiniest omission of truth…
Maybe your next edge is learning to love. Are you going to be responsible for your capacity to love? Or will you spend the rest of your life getting pissy at the world every time it challenges your heart?
Oh, I can’t tell you how many guys I’ve met who only pretend to be a man. He’s not yet learnt to love.
They get with girls who only pretend to be women. She’s not yet learnt to love.
Read this last bit right now, it may not make sense to you. Read it in a few years, and I hope it will.
This is one of my current edges. And it’s not happening quite like I idealized it. 😉
To progress in the gym, you need to lift weights that are challenging to lift. To progress in business, you need to work on challenging projects.
When you decide to get better at Love, you will manifest people and circumstances that are challenging to love.
Here’s how my own journey of learning to Love has gone ever since I made that soul-decision:
Almost went to court, destroyed all my in-person friendships at the time (literally all of them), laid in bed for a weekend without eating, lived in Canada for the first 10 months of 2021 doing jack shit besides working and lifting and hanging out with family and pretending I’m cool on Twitter, worked on a bunch of projects that went fucking nowhere, befriended toxic people who made my social life disappointing, approached a bunch of girls and got rejected by every single one, watched my home country turn into a soulless segregationist dystopia as the population cheered that on, ran into a seemingly high-compatibility girl who was into me and turned her down (which I beat myself the fuck up over), spent 2 months in Miami without a permanent place to live, lost all my stuff there due to housing fraud and slept on the street before showing up to my day job the next day with a smile on my face, spent 5 months going through the motions in Nashville getting drunk on my couch twice a week fucking my health up with booze and smoking and overall loneliness (I got into the best shape of my life there though)
Then I moved to Boulder and my frustrations continued. I don’t meet people who are compatible with me. I’m not moving forward professionally. I don’t feel capable of retiring my mother. Every time I meet a girl I like, she’s already got a guy…
The current soul-lesson I’m learning is to stop being pissy about what I “lack”, and to learn to Love this “lack”.
Love is easiest when things get tough. I mean, unless you’re a coward.
When I was falling asleep on a concrete staircase with only a backpack’s worth of stuff, I decided to Love. I prayed, thanked God for how my life was going.
When a toxic buddy of mine raged at me for not texting him back quickly enough, I held space for him and let him be angry, which calmed him down. I decided to Love him as he was instead of demanding he change for me (we never talked after that, guess he wanted to keep being a shithead instead of learning to hold emotional tension)
In Nashville, I decided to Love having nothing better to do with my life than working out and getting drunk on my couch. Every time I drank by myself, I made the most of it. I was fully present with all the shows and movies I was drunkenly binging all those nights.
This is my edge. I’m beyond the challenges of fitness, game, or work. They’re all predictable to me now. They’re easy. I know how they all work, and while I’m still progressing in them, they’re not my edge anymore.
What’s NOT easy for me currently is giving up.
I have to be challenged by Fate right now.
What kind of man will I be when no matter how much work I put into my life and my self-improvement, NOTHING goes my way? My blood sugar gets fucked up and I lose my strength every time I work out, even if my testosterone and every other variable are fine? When no matter how much work I do on my business, I work with barely any clients, make nothing off it? When no matter how much I put myself out there, meet people, and game, I barely have a social life or a dating life anyway?
See, me having these problems isn’t accidental. On a soul-level, they’re exactly what I want. This whole time, I may have been frustrated with my circumstances every step of the way, but they’re actually serving me in building up my capacity to Love.
I’m on my edge, facing Fate.
Every challenge or frustration I face increases my capacity to carry emotional tension. I become a more mature, loving man every day. Even if nothing superficial seems to shift for me now, every single day is a massive behind-the-scenes shift in how my life’s going. One day, my physical reality will catch up. I’ll have physical, financial, sexual, social abundance again.
But first, I need to learn to hold this abundance even when everything seems hopeless and like my life ended years ago. I need to embrace tension and challenge even when moving forward seems impossible, even when I don’t even realize I’m being blessed, and let Fate guide me through it all.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you want to be your highest, most masculine, most loving self, you wouldn’t have it any other way either.