Hacking Masculinity: 12 More Hacks for Awesome Men
We couldn’t help ourselves.
After the overwhelmingly positive response to the first edition of Hacking Masculinity, we’re at it again.
12 more experts working in the field of men’s personal development. 12 more responses to the question “what’s your #1 masculinity hack to help men be awesome?”
Because the time is now for an open celebration of men and healthy masculinity. To support and encourage men in their innate awesomeness. To counter the damaging messages about ’toxic masculinity’ we’re constantly fed and instead remind men that they’re not broken and don’t need fixing.
To say men, YOU ARE ENOUGH.
This is a conversation that’s rarely had in our culture. And it’s time for that to change.
Some of these hacks encourage you to explore what lies outside of your comfort zone. Others invite you to surrender into the acceptance of who you already are.
Our invitation is to explore these ideas from a balanced and integrated perspective – allow yourself to be challenged and expanded while simultaneously honouring your boundaries. Implement what works for you and ignore the rest.
For you already are your own greatest authority.
And when all is said and done, no-one can tell you ‘how to be a man’.
You already are one.
HACK #1: Solve For Fire
“You must work long and hard. Then, someday, maybe, you’ll get what you want.”
THAT is the success formula they’ve told you since you were a boy.
And THAT is why you are surrounded by billions of men all pulling at the harness in neat little rows.
But yesterday’s formula is tomorrow’s dead-end.
For the world has changed.
The things you’re after… they cannot be attained the old way.
Man’s “secret weapon” of hard work has been commodified.
There will always be someone working harder, longer, faster, and cheaper than you.
To gain the freedom, the power, the MEANING you long for, you must slip the harness.
The world doesn’t need more “hard working men.”
It needs men who are on fire.
It needs the foundations and enterprises and art and family cultures that can only be borne of inspiration.
From this day forward, in all you do, solve for fire.
Live your life however you must live it to keep your flame alive.
It is not an escape from work. It’s an escape from WASTED LIFE.
It’s re-diverting your life’s blood from drudgery to the deepest, most daring work you are capable of.
HACK #2: Fuck Hacking, Go Deep
The world doesn’t need another shortcut to mastery.
Depth can’t be hacked. Sorry.
It comes from years of commitment to something larger than yourself.
Deep sex, or deep stillness, deep openness or the creation of great art is the result of repeated practice, especially when we don’t want to. Depth comes from facing death in the form of not only physical challenge, but possibly financial failure, emotional collapse and ego dissolution.
The trait of depth, versus a temporary state of depth brought on by a practice, is developed over time. It comes from dedicating ourselves to a modality that makes us stronger, more available to the world, or to another human being.
“Depth requires us to face the part of us that wants to quit or take short cuts and to open through our natural fight or flight impulses to a place that is untouchable.”
Hacking cuts us off from the possibility of exponential growth that comes once we have passed the point of saturation. Like a tree rooted far into the earth that can’t be unearthed by a storm, commit to consistently reaching for the sun while surging deeper into unknown territory.
Think of anyone you know who is truly artful at what they do or who they are. My guess is they have committed to one spiritual, physical or embodied practice that has served as a foundation for whatever else they have added.
I have been practicing Buddhism since I was seven and only now am I able to grasp concepts that eluded me even 3 years ago. I have practiced with one sexual yoga and spiritual teacher for over 8 years and only now am I learning to transmit the teachings, versus simply repeating or regurgitating them. That transmission could not have come had my own practice not been forged by challenge after challenge, stretch after stretch.
If you are reading this blog, fuck hacking, go deep.
Find one man (or woman) in this group or outside that inspires you and study with them for at least a year. Follow them around. Commit to mastering one modality – be it meditation, sexual practice, Yoga, martial arts or physical fitness.
Stay longer than you want to.
Deal with your childhood programming getting triggered that tells you “fuck this, I can do better on my own”. Only then will the teaching wind its way into your nervous system so that you automatically respond in a way that inspires others and allows you to Be a certain way, rather than simply act a certain way.
If you want your life to unfold as a work of art that expresses the boundless expanse of your consciousness, of who you truly are as a man, Fuck Hacking, Go Deep!!
For the better part of a decade, John Wineland, an LA-based speaker, teacher and workshop facilitator has been guiding both men and women in the realms of life purpose, relational communication, sexual intimacy and embodiment.
HACK #3: Get Your Ass To A Men’s Circle
I get it.
Sitting around for a couple hours with a bunch of dudes, talking about vulnerable shit, really doesn’t sound that awesome.
Trust me, over the last decade that I have been doing Men’s Work, I have asked myself plenty of times, “What the fuck am I doing here?” That resistance is a natural part of the process of bringing your authentic, nervous, depressed, heartbroken self to the table and showing that to other men. Being ruthlessly honest with them. Asking for support.
There is some part of me that would ALWAYS rather be doing something else. Usually in the presence of the intoxicating energy of women. But I show up, again and again. Because my men do two things for me that I used to rely solely on my girlfriends to get:
They have my back.
Like, seriously. I know that there are seven men that I can call any time. They know me. They give a fuck about me. I trust them. I can confide in them.
They call me on my bullshit.
They help me extract my head from my ass when I have gotten so used to the view I forgot it was up there. They help me see myself and hold me accountable to my commitments.
If your romantic partner is the only person you are having vulnerable conversations with, and the only person calling you on your bullshit… you’re fucked.
This work has given me so many opportunities to gain new perspective on my life and challenges. To find new possibilities where I was bottlenecked or stuck. This work has taught me to trust men in a way I never had before. Not to compete. To trust.
Perhaps most importantly, I have come to better understand and actualize the principles of Integrity, Commitment, and Accountability in my life. Through the process of making commitments to myself and my men, and being accountable to the group for keeping those commitments or accepting the consequences of my error, I have gained invaluable insight into myself and my relationship with integrity. I have become a more trustworthy man. Not because I always succeed, but because when I fail I know I can count on my circle of men to kick my ass and love me anyway.
Get your ass to a Men’s Circle and see what you discover. The lady and the beer will still be there when you are done. And, you just may be more able to appreciate them.
HACK #4: Know the Rules
Men get told all their lives, in many ways and from a very young age, how to be a man. The end result is a very narrow range of performance. So it’s important that ‘masculinity hacks’ don’t simply become another set of rules added to that burden.
You may need to use a notepad or a journal for this activity. The task is to reflect on all of the messages you have received or observed over your life about what is okay for a man, or what is expected, or what a “real man” is like or what he does.
Like: Don’t cry. Don’t have feelings. Don’t show your feelings. Don’t talk about your feelings.
Or: don’t be weak. Harden up. Don’t let girls beat you. Don’t be (like) a girl. Don’t be gay. Don’t give or receive touch from other men.
Size matters: height, muscle size, penis size, wallet size.
Real men can drink hard. Real men can hold their alcohol.
To dig deeper into the exercise, consider the messages you might have received that include a threat or implication of de-gendering or re-gendering. So a de-gendering message is one that says “you’re not a man if…” (insert performance activity here). A re-gendering message is one that says “you’re a girl if…” or “only girls…” (do whatever).
It’s important to know the rules, so they don’t RULE YOU.
Identifying the rules is the first step in breaking their control over you. And you can even – where it’s safe to do so, start calling out the rules when you encounter them in social situations.
In determining which rules don’t serve you, or make you feel that you have something to prove, you take back the power to decide if or how your masculinity is defined.
HACK #5: Approach With Boldness and Sensitivity
The one life skill most men don’t have, but need, is simple: learning to approach women.
If you can’t do it, your dating pool is limited to the sheer luck of your social circle and who happens to be single at any given time. This leads men to see sex and intimacy as a scarce resource and jump from relationship to relationship out of desperation, instead of finding the woman that really rocks their world.
I’ve coached combat veterans, MMA champions, multimillion dollars CEOs, former drug dealers – all the most ‘macho/alpha’ jobs you could think of, and approaching women still scared the shit out of them.
At the other end of the spectrum I’ve coached ‘embodied, conscious’ men who meditate and read David Deida… and yet that terrifying moment of starting a conversation with a woman keeps them locked in their cage. Stops them from sharing their masculine energy with the world.
Approaching a woman is the ultimate mirror. You must transcend social boundaries, get out of your comfort zone, and risk looking like a fucking idiot.
It’s easy to meet people when you’re relaxed with your friends at a party. What about at a bus stop – where you could look like a creep, a sleaze, a weirdo? Can you handle that pressure, take that risk – if the reward is an amazing connection, a woman that will draw you into your fullest potential as a man?
It’s also the ultimate test of your presence, awareness and empathy. Can you get out of your own head enough to feel HER energy, see what mood she’s in and react in real time to how you are making her feel?
“This combination of the boldness to approach, and the sensitivity to her reaction – the awareness of what impact you have on her and being able to perceive how receptive she is to interacting with you, puts you in a different class of man”
Women want a man with the courage to approach AND the empathy to respect her boundaries.
During the approach she becomes a mirror, feeding back to you your fears, insecurities and paranoid delusions. Learning to overcome this and connect with a stranger is liberating. Learning to sit in social pressure is a life skill.
Go and approach someone today!
HACK #6: Own the (Mind)Fuck Out of Your Life
As men, we spend way too much time stuck in our heads and spinning our wheels.
Being stuck in our thoughts is actually a way of avoiding how we feel and prevents us from being more present with ourselves and others.
It is my experience that if we want to step into our potential as men, we must make a full commitment to getting 100% real and honest with who we are.
How do we get real with it and stop mind-fucking ourselves you ask?
On a fundamental level this means learning how to love and nurture that scared little boy inside of us. By making a commitment to complete self-honesty and self-responsibility for our choices and perceptions, we are able to take full ownership for the ways in which we show up in relationship with life.
By doing this inner work, we learn how to become more present with ourselves by decoding the why-we-do-what-we-do in our day to day experience. Through this process, we also gain more clarity around what it is we do and don’t like, what it is we want out of life, and finally how we can go about the pursuit of actualizing the truest self-expression of who we are and experiencing the quality of life and relationships we desire.
“Your experience is equal to your highest personal potentials minus your limiting beliefs.”
In order to step into our Point of Power as refined mentally, emotionally and spiritually conscious balanced men, it is imperative that we focus on working through our limiting belief systems and stepping into our feelings. It is through this powerful space of self-love that we learn how to open up and live from our hearts.
On my journey, I have come to recognize the spiritual necessity and power behind taking complete self-responsibility for how I choose to interpret my life experiences and show up in the world. As I see it, “life doesn’t happen to you, you happen to life.”
HACK #7: Live With Your Heart Open. And Closed. And Open. And Closed.
Wouldn’t it be nice to live with an open heart all the time?
To feel love all the time, connected to your purpose all the time, compassionate and understanding all the time…
But you won’t.
Your heart will close. Expect it.
And this is beautiful.
Because life is beautiful and this is how life works. You will open and you will close. Denying this fundamental operating principle of the universe would be like reaching into your chest and forcing your physical heart to stay open. Controlling it. It would be painful and you would die.
“The more you stop trying to control things and allow your heart to simply follow its rhythm, the more alive you become.”
Throughout the ups and downs of the cycles keep doing your healing work. Do it like your life depends on it. Because at the level of the soul it does.
If you have people in your life that you love, especially children, their lives are at stake too. You WILL pass your pain and fear on to those you love the most, it’s just a matter of how much.
The only “hack” is to allow it all. Feel it until it has been felt through. Released. Surrender to life. This is the work.
Every time your heart opens it creates more space for the deeper pain to rise to the surface. Each time it does you have been given a new chance to deepen the work, release the next layer of pain, and come back to even more openness.
When you commit to the work your capacity to be with love AND pain grows and grows. Until one day you realize that you’ve created so much space in your heart that it now holds an experience of life beyond what you’d ever dreamed possible.
HACK #8: Prevent Burnout – From the Bedroom to the Boardroom
For many men, fatigue and lower libido is a normal part of life. We have demanding careers, businesses, and personal lives, as well as the expectation to ‘step up’ and be King/Warrior/Lover/Magician. We’re expected to always be expressing our yang nature.
What often comes with this is an erratic diet and a lack of self-care. Too often men know they need to visit their primary healthcare provider, but it’s always on the cards for ‘tomorrow’. This is evidenced by extremely low rates of early detection for chronic male health problems.
Addressing patterns of physiological disharmony early on is vital. It also means that you take the time to pause and check in with your embodied experience. Ask yourself, how often are you:
- Feeling tired in the late afternoon?
- Finding it difficult to wake up or get out of bed in the morning?
- Finding it hard to get motivated and get shit done?
- Passing on sex, and having trouble finding your passion and desire?
- Feeling bloated?
- Feeling tired after you eat a meal?
These are all signs of some kind of physiological imbalance that may lead to a serious chronic illness later on.
Taking the time for self-care helps you embrace your yin nature. This is where you can receive help and assistance from another, to take the time for yourself and prevent burn-out, fatigue, and chronic illness. Here are just a few of the things I find are helpful:
– Eat regular meals during the day. Our digestion is at its most efficient in the morning and early afternoon. Fuel your body at these times, not late at night, and eat appropriate for your constitution and activity levels.
– Regular cave-time. It may be your shed, your studio, the boat or the forest. Either way, you need time to just be who you are without constraints or deadlines.
– Ask for what you need. Modern masculinity teachings inspired by Neo-Tantra talk about the man being present for others around him (especially his lover). But do you ever get the opportunity to have someone hold space for you? You deserve it bro – ask for it!!
– Social connection. Go out and enjoy time with people – male or female – who see you, get you, and you can just have a great time with, in a healthy manner. You know who these people are – they’re the one that don’t need any social lubrication to have a good time.
– Regular body-work, such as massage or acupuncture. Sometimes just the opportunity to do nothing for an hour while receiving this kind of treatment is replenishing enough, as well as addressing any specific health needs. Sensual & erotic massage (without the happy ending) is great for unwinding, and acupuncture certainly helps maintain energy levels and libido.
HACK #9: Make an Empowered Decision
People often ask me what changed in my life?
I made a decision.
I DECIDED to be a man of value. I decided that nothing can stand in my way when I decide I want something.
Is this true or false? I don’t care to validate or invalidate that reality, it’s just the ‘reality tunnel’ through which I choose to express myself in the world.
Meditate on this: How would you carry yourself, interact with the world, and express yourself, if you knew for a fact that everyone absolutely loves and respects you, that women find you irresistible, and that there are literally no barriers to your greatness?
The most profound thing a man can do is meditate on this – his highest ideal.
Self-acceptance is rooted in this. Discipline is rooted in this. Action and success are rooted in this.
This is not some ‘woo woo’ new-age hippy advice I’m talking about. Action is always required. However, when you take action from this reality tunnel, it will not feel like work. It will not feel like you’re dragging your feet. Quite the opposite actually, you will be begging the world to challenge you! My entire way of interacting with the world is “I DARE you to say no. I dare you to reject me!”
People misunderstand the essence of confidence. The masculine energy is nurtured through challenge. Ever since we were boys, our friends would say ‘I bet you can’t jump over the creek!’ and we would master our fears and do it. Nowadays we have a generation of men who have surrendered to mediocrity.
“Just give me the girls/money/success/looks and then I’ll feel good about myself”. That’s putting the cart before the horse!
You won’t be confident and at peace in yourself once you get the hot girl on your arm and the big bank account.
You grow as a man by striving fearlessly and then going ‘holy crap that was cool!’ By virtue of striving, your confidence grows, which will THEN get you what you want.
So you can either go “ughhh I guess I have to” and drag your feet, defeated (which is why most people never get successful, never get good with women, never get the inner peace they want) until you just burn out and give up.
Or you can make a powerful decision – here and now, to welcome challenge and dare the world to keep you down.
Patrick is a scoundrel, rogue, vagabond and founder of THE CENTERED MAN PROJECT. He teaches men how to overcome their social anxiety and fear of rejection by unleashing their unshakable self-confidence.
HACK #10: Feel the Fuck Out of Your Triggers
The art of direct experience is a powerful personal development tool to engage whenever we find ourselves triggered by something in our lives.
These ‘triggers’ are old beliefs that are being activated by external stimuli, such as a partners behaviour or a perceived need not being meet. Often these old beliefs are just part of our ego structure which formed to help us survive in the world as a young child. But as an adult they commonly no longer serve us. They tend to cause us to act out and retaliate or withdraw when they are activated.
A great way to lessen their sting and power is to stop and “feel the fuck” out of what is happening in your body. Without allowing the sensation to empower any negative story in your mind.
You can break free by simply feeling the reaction as best you can in your body until it subsides. This allows your nervous system to re-regulate itself and through the science of neural plasticity allows the cellular memory of your nervous system to abate over time, leading to your triggers having less potency and power over time. It’s also a great way to learn to “know thyself”. The fundamental adage of personal growth and development.
So next time you’re triggered try a “stop and drop”.
Stop what you’re doing.
Don’t distract or numb yourself with screens, food, alcohol, sex or porn and drop into the feeling.
Do nothing but let it percolate and do its thing whilst you simply feel it until it subsides. Simple but not easy. It’s a skill to be practiced and will improve over time. Try it.
HACK #11: Come Into Your Own Authority
A mind begins to mature when it takes responsibility for its own conditioning. If we do not re-program our own mind, we abrogate that responsibility to our childhood and never grow up. Coming into one’s own authority then is an awakening to power.
While ever a man relies on the opinion of those who share his prejudices, he will NEVER come into his own power.
The collective mind is easy. It gives us a sense of security. A sense that is false. So the ability to discriminate one’s own mind from the cultural consciousness is a measure of one’s development.
To come into one’s own authority is to reject all other authority
Operating out of one’s own authority gives vitality and energy!
Develop congruence of word and feeling to become impeccable in your word
Disobey, disobey, disobey! Not in reaction, but out of a responsiveness to the moment.
Allow the simplicity to yearn
Open to wonder and awe
Choreograph your environment carefully
A man of intelligence operates in the present, not out of past experience.
Harmony has power
Stand innocent before the great mystery
Never apologise for speaking the truth
Fall in love with your people and with the earth.
Indeed, once a man comes into his own authority, he begins to drive the culture rather than being driven by it. No-one can fuck with him.
So move into your own authority – and take the consequences, everything else is smoke.
HACK #12: Forget About Your ‘Purpose’
It doesn’t exist.
There is no career, business, or work-life balance specially assigned to you by an existential taskmaster. There is no code to crack that will see you leap effortlessly out of bed each morning, finally secure in the feeling that you are justifying your existence.
It is just a myth sold by spiritual con men and entrepreneurial almost-yogis who tell you that your ‘don’t know’ and ‘not sure’ is some kind of problem. It is the way of the superior snake oil salesman who assures you the reason the special sauce isn’t working is because you’re just not doing it right.
Beware of those who’s ‘purpose’ is telling you how to find yours.
The truth is, you cannot be anything other than you – you are never anyone else. It is impossible to be anything other than 100% ‘in integrity’.
You are comprehensively, unwaveringly, and forever perfect. You simply have no choice in the matter.
You cannot do anything other than your best. You are incapable of doing any better, or any worse, at any point in your life, than you are already doing.
And what is better anyway?
There is no ‘purpose’.
You do not need a justification to be alive.
Your decision making process is colour commentary. The main event has nothing to do with your personal narrative.
Don’t worry, you are not in control (and neither is your men’s coach).
Live the open question that is the heady rush of THIS. Dissolve the illusion of your fixed position by paying attention to what is actually in your experience.
When you honestly say ‘don’t know’, you are finally ‘right now’.
Life is impossible to fuck up.
Want to contribute?
The next edition of Hacking Masculinity is open for submissions. If you’re an author, coach, healer, practitioner, facilitator etc. working in the field of men’s personal development and have a hack to share, get in contact here.