A Rugged Individualist is a man who sets his own agenda. He is unrelenting in this agenda and unyielding in the constant pursuit of self-improvement.
This is an individual whose primary enjoyment in life is simply being his own man. He does not care for the common or easy path, but cuts hard to make his own way. Independence is its own reward.
Nor does he look to others for validation, but only to himself. He has confidence in who he is and what is right. His agenda is clearly defined, it is good, and to hell with anyone who gets in the way. Only the Creator may dissuade him when necessary.
Through the ups and downs that inevitably occur in his life he will handle them all; for he is indeed rugged and hardy. He is aware that all men can get bounced around by circumstance but that the answer is to always get back up and continue the chase.
There is a legitimate pride in handling it all. Not running from challenge, conflict or circumstance, but standing tall and constantly pushing forward.
Yes, pushing forward and breaking new ground – this is Rugged Individualism.
No matter where you stand or what your circumstance, you must take responsibility. There will be no more excuses or the blaming of others. For acting as such hands over your power to random events and other people; past, present and future.
Put a stop to this type of thinking right now. No man is perfect. And every man is the recipient of misfortune and the victim of his own bad decisions.
There will surely be more misfortune to come, as well as a few more mistakes. But resolve that it is your life and it is your responsibility to handle it all.
And handle it all you will as a Rugged Individualist. It will be a matter of pride from now on. You have committed to never ending Self-Improvement so you will need to toughen up. Take pride in your ruggedness through personal responsibility in all that you do and all that happens to you.
Keep your power and put it to work.
Realize that you are a free man with a blank slate from this day forward. Each day from now on is yours to do with as you wish.
Think about that for a minute. Outside of immoral action, there is nothing stopping you from creating a whole new life for yourself starting tomorrow.
As tough as your situation might be, what if you resolved to give a Herculean effort from now on? As I often say, assume your life is on the line because in reality it is. You are not getting any younger and the time for action is now. No one else will look out for you anywhere close to the same level as you will.
It is all up to you.
Ask yourself how far you could go if you took full responsibility for your life. What if you decided that come hell or high water you are going to maximize your potential? How far could you go if you didn’t quit?
My bet is that it would be pretty far. The Creator doesn’t waste His time creating trifles. But He has left it up to you to tap into your own greatness. Such is the natural order of things on this planet.
Make the decision to remove yourself as the main obstacle in your life.
Find your purpose. Set your Life Mission and carve out your Life Vision. Set them both in Armor.
Resolve that no matter what happens you will roll the ball forward a little each day. Challenge yourself to become a little bit better man every morning.
Don’t stop and never quit. This is Rugged Individualism.
Become a Rugged Individualist and live your life up in the High Country where you belong.
Being emotionally rugged is probably the most important underlying trait necessary to become your very best. Even the best laid plans will falter and fade away without a solid emotional foundation. Life has a habit of getting in the way and breaking us down, if you let it.
Face it; life is tough so you will always need to be tougher. If you can maintain your emotional state as it needs to be, you’ve cleared one of the main obstacles out of your path toward living life in the High Country.
A man allowing his emotions to dictate his behavior and motivation is his own worst enemy. He becomes his own primary obstacle. Sound familiar?
Resolve to rise above it all. Refuse to suffer. Be proactive and set the tone of your day, every single morning you arise. Strive to stay out ahead of negative emotions. Make it a matter of pride from now on.
Reprogram your attitude toward life. Set the bar high; set it to the ultimate standard you can conceive. Carry yourself at the highest level.
Be it relationships or circumstances, tell yourself what you would tell someone else; someone else who mattered to you the most in the world. Make that someone a person you would die for.
How would you have this special person handle their predicament or daily struggle if you were asked to provide the advice? This would be some serious business right? You would give it everything you had, leaving nothing out. You would empty your heart. And nothing on this earth would feel better than being the genesis of tremendous positive change for this special person.
Make that special person YOU.
Get your Life Mission and Life Vision on paper. These are your reasons, your motivation.
Next, write down every positive affirmation it will take to get you there.
Read the affirmations from paper every morning and evening before sleep. Memorize them and repeat them to yourself while driving or during any other quiet period during the day. Become an affirmation nut, freak or whatever. Do what you have to do.
Reprogram your brain through the stubborn never ending, day after day repetition of your affirmation statements. Take proactive action consistent with your Life Mission and Vision each day without fail.
Resolve to have no more ZERO days.
The next thing you know, you won’t have time for negativity. When the flack of life comes at you, it will be ruggedly brushed aside.
You will recognize your old emotional habits as they try and take hold. You will crush them and replace them with the appropriate affirmation.
Enjoy the ride and enjoy the weight of your new character.
Yes, life will be good and full of promise.
Suggested 1st affirmation statement: “I am a Force of Nature.”
Needless to say, as a Rugged Individualist you will need to be a physically rugged specimen to pass muster as such. There is no way a man who is serious about becoming his very best can walk around in a permanent state of physical decay.
Look around you next time you are at work or in public and all you will see is weakness and fat. Here in the United States, 69% of the adult population is either overweight or obese. This is a pathetic state of affairs; especially for a man.
Have a look in the mirror for an honest assessment. If you’re not sporting a six pack, you’ve got some work to do. Don’t doubt me; if you’re serious you will be able to get those abs back. It may take going hard core, but the results will be absolutely worth it. You can thank me when it’s done.
Make sure to take special note of the fact that being overweight, especially with lots of visceral or belly fat, will produce excess estrogen in a man and decrease his testosterone production; not a good state of being if you enjoy your masculine traits. And may I add, not a good place to be if a certain level of masculine “performance” matters to you.
Have some pride and get yourself to where you need to be. We are not talking about being in world class physical condition here, but having a decent level of functional strength and explosiveness.
You should be able to drop and do 50 push-ups, 50 crunches and sprint 100 yards without killing yourself and go on with the rest of your day. It would also be nice if you caught women checking out your arms, chest and abs when sporting a snug fitting t-shirt. That’s probably a solid standard as well.
To become the best you can be will require a proper diet for weight control and the hard driving energy you will need to perform from now on. Learn to Eat with Purpose and Precision.
To keep it simple try this for starters: no alcohol, sugar or wheat. What’s left you ask: how about beef, chicken, fish, vegetables, fruit, eggs, cheese, nuts and dairy? In other words, stay away from wheat and other simple carbohydrates and eat whole food. While you’re at it, limit beverages to water and black coffee.
Tell me you couldn’t make significant gains eating as above in six months. Remember, you do have 100% control over what goes in your mouth.
Next on the agenda is to start lifting weights and doing sprints or bag work. Educate yourself, start slow and make sure to get enough rest between workouts to heal properly.
The vast majority of your weight loss will come from eating the above foods at a caloric deficit, but the added muscle mass and new explosive levels of energy you’ll experience will come from consistent workouts.
As you develop a decent level of fitness and maybe even begin to excel, make sure to challenge yourself. Take comfort in the discomfort of your regimen. Life is very soft in today’s western society. It will take a conscious decision on your part to enjoy a rigorous physical existence.
If your employment does not include a physical component, put your newfound physical prowess to the test. Get outdoors and do the physical type of work that all men used to do. Shovel the driveway, cut the grass, chop wood and run sprints to impress the neighbors.
On top of that, once and a while go hardcore and test your physical limits. Since we are not triathletes, try 50 forty yard sprints, 1000 push-ups in a day or 15 two minute rounds on the heavy bag. No need for fanfare here. Do it for your own benefit. It is good for a man to know he can take it to the limit while 95% of those around him would probably pass out or vomit from the attempt.
And if you do vomit as I have done, get back up and finish off your quest.
Consider it a shining badge of ruggedness.
One of the most important areas for a man to consider in this world is money. It’s just a hard fact that you’ve got to have a plan for and control over your finances. Financial control and prosperity is attainable for all men who will make it a priority to live a life of financial discipline.
After all, if a man is going to consider himself a Rugged Individualist he cannot be a slave to money and his employer. Certainly, each man must pay his dues over time to attain Financial Independence, but there should always be an end goal and defined markers or levels of attainment along the way.
So what does it mean to have financial control and prosperity or to attain financial independence?
The first metric of interest here is Control.
Find your break even number. This is the amount of money it costs you to live at your current standard of living each month. If you don’t track your expenses, get started. Get the software (Quicken) cloud based service (mint.com) or phone app (You Need a Budget) and record every dollar you spend for at least 3 months.
If you are able to download a year’s expenses from your bank statement all the better. Have a look at each category of expenditures and study how you spend your money. From there, create a new disciplined break even number that will allow for aggressive debt service or savings.
The plan here is simple: spend less than you earn, avoid debt and invest the rest. This is Financial Control. A Rugged Individualist must have control over his finances.
Structure your monthly budget so that you can improve your net worth every month by paying down debt or adding to your savings. Don’t be soft here. Make the decisions that need to be made to gain control. Distinguish yourself from the undisciplined masses who are slaves to their jobs and slothful in their spending habits.
Next, look to Prosperity.
There are different levels Prosperity. In my mind the first is to eliminate all consumer debt. The second is to add to your savings or investments each and every month.
There is a certain level of satisfaction knowing that each day’s hard labor is adding to your financial security. If a man is going to spend the best hours of the day, five or more days a week at work, he might as well have the satisfaction of knowing that he gets to keep a portion of his earnings for himself.
The next metric of interest is having a year’s expenses all cash in the bank.
Do yourself a favor and go hardcore to get to this magic number; the first gold standard of financial ruggedness. It will add a measure of Outcome Independence and resilience to your character each day at work. Knowing that you are not living hand to mouth and have the ability to survive without a paycheck is a fantastic feeling and will add immeasurably to your morale.
To me, this is Financial Prosperity. It is a measure of success that every man who works can attain. Set your living standard, add to your savings every month and have the ability to survive for at least a year without a penny of earned income.
The final metric for consideration is Financial Independence.
Financial Independence is never having to work another day in your life. Does this mean you are rich in the traditional sense? Not necessarily. What is does mean is that you have enough in savings that you can live off of a 4-5% yearly draw of those savings, adjusted for inflation in perpetuity.
In other words, take your break even number and multiply it by 20 or 25. This is the magic number you are looking for. If it costs you $40,000 a year to live, you will need $800,000-$1,000,000 in savings to never have to work another day in your life.
A man with zero debt and who lives a life of Spartan Minimalism can live like a king at 40K per year. A king who is free from the trifles of labor and financial worry – a truly free man.
Unless you are 6 feet under, many years are still to pass in your life. Give some serious consideration to how you can put the magic of compounding interest to work for you over this time.
In my opinion, any savings number you can attain is worthwhile even if it won’t allow for complete Financial Independence. Any sum that you can draw 4-5% from that will take the edge off your living expenses is a worthwhile number.
Do yourself a favor and become the master of your money.
Get started along the path of becoming Financially Rugged as a man.
Strive for Control, Prosperity and Independence.
All the best,