Day 8: One Man Wolfpack
For a long time, like Alan, I used to think of myself as a one man wolfpack. If you’re a man, I’d wager that at least some part of you feels or felt the same way at some point in life.
But if there’s anything I’ve learned as I’ve grow older, it’s that we’re not supposed to go through this world alone…still, can we take a moment to remember and applaud Flagpole Guy for his lonely rally:
All kidding aside, Rudyard Kipling had it figured out though:
The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.
MANLY MEN BUILD MANLY MEN
There’s more to this maxim than meets the eye… but first, let’s talk about the 2nd week of the Spartan workout.
Last week, I didn’t start sharing the details of the Spartan workout until the first rest day after two consecutive days of the beginner routine. Here is the workout regimen for the first day of the Spartan beginner program:
Focus Areas: Chest / Back / Triceps
Bench Press: 5 sets, add weight each set for a top set of 5 repetitions
Deadlift: 5 sets, add weight each set for a top set of 5 repetitions
Chinups: 3 sets to failure
Close Grip Bench Press: 5 sets, add weight each set for a top set of 5 repetitions
Diamond Pushups: 3 sets to failure
The principles behind the Spartan beginner routine are different from the standard Spartan workout which I plan to begin before my 30 Days are over:
Beginners on the Body of a Spartan routine will need to focus on main exercises only. Beginners will focus on form rather than heavy weight.
The beginner routine will be 3–5 sets per main exercise. Each set will start with light weight for 15- 20 repetitions. Weight should be added to each set and the number of repetitions should decline for each set. For example, repetitions should be:
15–20 for the 1st set, 12–15 for the 2nd set, 8–12 for the 3rd set, 6–8 for the 4th set, set 5 for the 5th set
So as you can see, the Spartan name attached to this workout routine doesn’t mean that you have to be off the set of 300 to make it work. Instead, this is a workout designed to get you comfortable with weights and master the form before graduating to the use of heavy weights and single set repetitions.
The second time around with this workout felt better than the first, and I saw increases in the weights that I was able to use, which is an encouragement. Discipline pays off.
Getting back to another type of disciplne, what does this maxim, MANLY MEN BUILD MANLY MEN, mean?
In his book, Mansfield tells the story of an African bishop posed with a question from an American after describing the incredible things that his churches were doing in a particularly challenging environment within his country: “Why aren’t the things like you describe happening here in our country?”
The bishop replied:
Here is the reason you do not have such things happening in this country. You Americans study your God. We Africans worship ours. You get smarter. We get changed. And then we change the world around us.
By doing rather than merely studying, we create a culture.
Newcomers and the young feed on that culture. They watch. They do. They, too, are changed. Our culture expands.
You Americans create a system of thought. The most you ask is that people contemplate new ideas. You might ask them to give or to sometimes attend meetings, but no contagious culture is created. Nothing is offered to newcomers and the young but thoughts. So they think. They don’t do.
Wow. Profound. Such a simple concept: CULTURE IS KEY. It’s not study, reflection, or thinking things to death, things customarily done in isolation (don’t get me wrong, these are not bad things), but the things that are created by a community that create lasting change in the world.
You can see the truth of the bishop’s words as I’ve asked you to “contemplate new ideas” in this story of my 30 Days.
My purpose, however, isn’t to ask you to think about these things, but to encourage you to do things. To take action, “to be strong and show yourself a man,” as King David charged Solomon in his last words to his son.
Mansfield’s book inspired me at a time in my life where I really needed to step up and be a man, and I hope that what I share by the time my 30 Days are finished, if not already, encourages you to do the same or at the very least, read his book.
If these words and ideas charge one man reading this with the fire and desire to go out and act to create a contagious culture of true manhood, and that man goes out and does the same, then so much good can be done in the world.
Look at the culture that one man, Jesus, created in his life (if you’re groaning and thinking, “Ah maaaaan, he was on a roll, and then he brought up the Jesus thing again…” Bear with me, no preaching today, just historical facts):
Around 2000 years ago, one man from an obscure town in the Middle East with blue collar family roots created a culture where women, children, slaves, and all people regardless of race or ethnicity were included and viewed as equal and worthy of dignity by virtue of their common humanity rather than surface level distinctions. That culture today, however imperfectly it has morphed or played out in the lives of its followers, still exists with an estimated 2.2 billion adherents the world over. (I realize there any many claims in this statement, I don’t have the space here to elaborate, but if you email me or comment, I will lay out the evidence to support my claims).
Disclaimer: None of this is to say that women can’t and don’t create their own wonderful, beautiful, world-changing cultures on their own or in conjunction with men. THEY DO, and often, much better than men do. The audience that I hope to reach here, however, is men, so I speak primarily of men.
So to sum up, men learn how to be men by watching what other men do and doing it themselves. We are not meant to be one man wolfpack, we are meant for much more:
“…[M]anly culture doesn’t require much more than one genuine man living a noble life before other men… All it takes for a contagious manly culture to form is for one genuine man to live out genuine manhood. It creates a model, something for other men to feed upon and pattern themselves after. It also gives other genuine men a vital connection that sustains and extends who they are.” ~Manfield
Be that genuine man.
Quote of the Day
Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
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