When one wants to begin improving himself, to make himself better than he is now and thus make his life better than it is now, many people ask me where they should start. My answer to that is twofold: When it comes to action, I would say that you should start with physical training, as it is something you can do entirely on your own and thus you won’t get judged and made fun of by anybody watching when you inevitably mess up (as all novices do).
However, if there is a single mindset or concept that I feel is vital to self-improvement, more than anything else I would say that the idea you need to internalize to accomplish anything is:
Stop Demanding A Reward For Basic Decency
Or to put it another way, if you want people to notice you, and respect and admire you, you have to do more than just the same shit that everybody else is doing, the same stuff that’s just barely enough to keep people out of prison and keep food on their table.
Or to put it in the terms of a famous joke: “Nobody ever talks about all the times I DIDN’T murder someone!”
The prime example of this I can think of is the recent push to publicize “virtuous pedophiles”.
(You thought I was going to talk about the stereotypical “nice guy”, weren’t you?)
Websites like Salon and the allegedly conservative National Review have discussed these virtuous pedophiles, how they have an ingrained urge to molest children but they heroically fight off these urges and avoid that repulsive behavior, thus making them not only virtuous, but heroic and worthy of praise and publicity.
Just to make something very clear, I am not a callous monster, and I do have sympathy for somebody who unfortunately has those urges and chooses to fight against it and not act upon them. However, can we all agree that “not fucking children” is the absolute lowest, bare minimum standard of decent human behavior? If the greatest thing you can say about yourself is “I CHOSE not to molest a child today”, I think you’re setting your standards way too low. And I’m certainly not going to respect just because you did the bare minimum.
Similarly, the stereotypical “nice guy” mentioned above, the bane of both neo-masculinists AND feminists—finally, something we agree upon! Everybody talks about how much they hate this guy for being a creep, for being entitled, for being duplicitous, but the reason I hate him is, again, because he demands rewards for (superficially) acting like a good person. Even for those men who are genuinely nice, I always have to ask them: “What else are you?”
So you don’t go out of your way to impede people’s day to day lives? That’s fantastic, what else do you bring to the table? Do you have any talents, or skills, or knowledge, or contribute positively to anyone’s life in any way? And as I mention in my popular “What Women Want” article, even men who can objectively be stated to make people’s lives worse (like drug dealers, lawyers, and the like) are still likely more popular, successful, and sexually active than Joe Nice Guy because at the very least they’re interesting, and have a wealth of illicit knowledge—and those things give women the giney tingles, and in a woman’s eyes, that is indeed a positive contribution to society.
A related phenomenon is the idea that “I’m putting on a lot of effort, so I SHOULD be getting results”—and I admit there was once a time when I had this mindset: when I first started working out and I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. I hate to say it, but you can put in a lot of effort and not get a damn thing in results, and merely putting in the sweat equity isn’t enough. Either you’re not doing something right and your gameplan needs to be changed, or you’re not good at it and should consider another line of work.
And when you get down to it, when we complain about “virtue signaling” and “slacktivism”, isn’t that just a form of demanding rewards for basic decency? “I gave a thumbs up to people who protest animal abuse, look at how good I am!”
Personally, I don’t know when this sort of thing started—I blame the Self-Esteem movement of the 80s and 90s myself. But it seems to me that if not only men want to improve themselves, but the entire country wants to improve itself (and it certainly needs it), then this is a good place to start—to convey to the entire nation that “you need to do something extraordinary, or at least above average, to get praise and reward for it”.