I think to understand what it means to be a man is more of a battle within. What we know is how we were brought up, and how society portrayed the image of men at that time. Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials all had different lenses that they viewed life through as a male.
Evolution Of "The Man"
Somewhere through out the generations there was a disconnect between the man and his son. When I really think about this it goes back to before industrial revolution. The man didn't leave the house to go to work in the morning, he took care of his family or himself by hunting, farming and gathering. The young men would learn what it takes to be the man by watching and participating in these daily work activities around home.
The Industrial Revolution - Late 1700's
With the development of steam engines, mechanisms, and weaving looms both mom and dad sometimes began leaving the household for work. Kids began to entertain themselves and learn behaviors elsewhere. Of course the parents would still try to teach their children how they need to be when they grow up or become a "man". Before the industrial revolution, a man did what was needed to make sure there was a roof over their head and food to eat. Today we still need those exact things to survive, but we go about achieving it a whole different way.
Mass Production and Assembly Lines - Late 1800's
At the beginning of the industrial revolution only a small number of Men left the house for work, but this would begin to explode with mass production and assembly lines. This multiplies the number of families that spend much more time apart, and the boys begin to learn how to be men from a variety of people, except their dads. What they did learn from their dads often was that you have to work hard and this usually means long days in the factory or office.
Electronics and Automation - Late 1900's
Not only is man evolving in this scenario, but machines are as well. Some of these were replacing humans on the assembly line but making business owners very wealthy. Fancy cars, big houses, and flashy things started to redesign our ideas of success. This also seems to be when skilled trades began to be stigmatized in a negative light somehow.
Artificial Intelligence and Video Games - Early 2000's
Three things come to mind when I think of today and our current state of technology.
- This could be the generation that save's us
- It's Too Late, The Damage Is Done
- The Terminator
The third one is just too weird to think could be possible, but the first two are what is really concerning.
With boys spending tremendous amounts of time with screens and video games, it is clear that the way we play has evolved too. Look at how ESports has grown, and you can be a terrible athlete but an amazing gamer and earn a living. So this generation has figured out how to uses these same tools they have been ridiculed for using too much to earn a very good living. The internet has provided a new way for anyone to start a business, and some can be massively successful and others would rather find a specialized career but use the same tools for success.
Both of these groups of working men can now collaborate and earn a living as entrepreneurs and partners. The small business has the opportunities again to achieve what big corporations took away from them many years ago.
Social Media wasn't much of a thing when Walmart starting closing down mom and pop shops across America. Where as today, a small business owner can narrow down their target customers with social media ads and influencers.
What does all that have to do with being a man?
I see it as almost going full circle, as the need to spend on unnecessary items is being replaced with experiences and working hard for happiness instead of show. Remote working, entrepreneurship, and family business once again allows you to be the "evolved man" from before the industrial revolution. There is a recipe for for having it all, but only if you put in the work.
Work or Business, Physical Health, Pleasures, and Mental Breaks this will allow you to be present for yourself, your family, and your happiness. As I write this I know very well myself that this is much easier said than done and it is incredibly hard work.
You just need to do the work!
- Build Your Career or Business
- Maintain your body and health
- Give time to yourself, family, and friends
- Take mental naps, some call this meditating but a nap sounds like less work.