Category Archives: Manliness

Strong Like Bull


Dear Jack ~ Today’s topic is going to be short and to the point.  Here are some ideas, tactics and strategies that the mentally strong use.  Embrace them, implement them, and life will never be the same:

  • They move on.  They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves.
  • They embrace change.  They welcome challenges and see them as opportunities.
  • They stay happy.  They don’t waste energy on things they can’t control.
  • They are kind, fair and unafraid to speak up.
  • They are willing to take calculated risks.
  • They celebrate other people’s success.  They don’t resent that success.

There you have it.  Keep your intestinal fortitude strong, battle armor hardened and ax sharp.

Above the Snake Line


Dear Jack ~ There is, in nature, an invisible, yet very real and definite, line above which you will never find a snake. Early settlers in America referred to this line as “the snake line”. Often, when they were purchasing a property, they would ask the seller where the property was in relation to the snake line.

They knew the land on the mountain was rockier, harder to clear, and not as fertile as the land in the valley. But, they also knew the land in valley was infested with rattlesnakes, adders, and copperheads. Many settlers chose to raise their families on the higher ground, above this line, rather than risk snake bites for themselves or their families.

In a similar way, we must also rise up.  Just as these early settlers knew the altitude at which risk was measured, so too do we need to evaluate our potential risk/reward and shift vertical on the playing field and enter a land of certainty and fortune.

There is no doubt that we’ll miss it from time to time but let’s make it a habit of pitching base camp above the snake line.  That simple act alone can limit our failures and maximize our opportunity and that is something we should take any day of the week.

Failing Forward


Dear Jack ~ In life you will stumble, trip, fall down, get beat up (both literally and figuratively), take blows and hit brick walls but our goal is to slide across the finish line head first.  Dust yourself off, get up, and carry yourself forward.  Progress not perfection.  It’s this, that’s separates the men from the boys.

Life is one giant experiment and you hold the beaker in your hand.  It’s up to you which direction you take your life but I implore you to make it a productive and fun filled journey.  Life is too short to be boring and it’s not meant to be meandered through.  Learn from your failures.  Tuition is free to The School of Hard Knocks and is one of life’s most potent antidotes.

Carry yourself with enthusiasm and approach life with a light hearted mentality and any setbacks you are dealt are just trials and small tribulations the likes of which are easily surmountable.  Look to the sky and remember this too soon shall pass.

The Only Way Out Is Through


Dear Jack ~ The buffalo is an amazing creature.  In the rolling Flint Hills of Kansas storms form quickly. Cattle join together, birds form a flock and sheep look for their Shepard; but they all run East from the storms and impending weather.  What makes the buffalo unique, both in our home state and others, is it senses the barometric pressure change, looks a storm in the eye, and barrels it’s way through.  It knows that the intermediate pain will pail in comparison to the alternative.

This is how we must approach life.  Instead of rolling with, we must bury our heads and plow through. The human psyche is motivated by one of two things; either to avoid pain or gain pleasure. Think about it.  It’s the former that we must tackle head on.

When things seem tough, the obstacles insurmountable and we are overwhelmed beyond our wildest dreams, tuck your head in, eye your obstacle and charge your way in.

The only way out is through.


Sharpen Your Slingshot


Dear Jack ~ You’ve got to know that you know there is nothing you can’t overcome.  Reflect on the story of David and his rise to victory with his tiny frame, a slingshot, and 5 small smooth stones.  He declared that day he would feed his foe’s head to the birds of the air.

He did.

You will do the same.

There will be times in life when the problems in front of you seem insurmountable.  Sickness, doubt, depression will come; but know they are temporary.  They did not come to stay.  Deep down, you’ve got to know that you know.

Just like David you will face trials and tribulations that tower over you.  I’ve found in my life when faced with a problem, there is nothing that deep reflection, constructive rumination and a thoughtful plan can’t overcome.  Sometimes the most daunting circumstances can be “chunked down” into bite size pieces digestable by the strongest of human spirits you possess.

In the words of the great Ronald Reagan, IT CAN BE DONE.


My Hut’s On Fire


Dear Jack ~ what follows is a true story.  Several years ago a shipwrecked gentlemen found himself alone washed up on a small island in the South Pacific.  Not trained in the art of survival he was surely doomed as he had not the skills to equip him for this daunting plight.  He foraged for food, attempted to create fire, and occupy his mind while awaiting his fate.  He scavenged for branches and leaves to build a small shelter to protect him for the frosty night air and countless potential predators.

After a few weeks, with his bony face sunken in and in complete despair, he through his hands in the air asking “why me?”  As his stomach panged, he entered the wooded landscape in attempt to find microgreens or small edibles and when he returned, the small hut he constructed of palm branches and fig leafs, was engulfed in an inferno the likes of which he had never seen before.  How is this possible he asked?  He threw himself on the beach, the taste of saltwater in his cheeks and sand in his gums.  After some time, he looked up and saw a Coast Guard boat.  As the vessel beached and the Captain approached the man hugged him and clenched him in his arms.  “How on earth did you ever find me?,” muttered the man.  “I followed the smoke.”

What’s my point?  You know my point.  It’s in times of complete despair when things seem hopeless, the grind is painful and the heat is turned up that we grow and thrive.  We all go through seasons of pruning; it’s how we react that creates achievers.

No Whining On The Yacht


Dear Jack ~ today’s episode is brought to you by the “you have no right to whine because you have no idea how good you have it,” channel.

The medium worldwide household income is $9,733.  You may not know what that means yet but that tells me the rest of world wants what you have.  You no doubt will have days when things are tough, outcomes don’t seem fair and your problems seem insurmountable.  Let me assure you, the sun will rise tomorrow and you have royalty in your bloodline.

Your mother and I took the image above on a sunrise safari at at Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, India in 2012.  It truly was a pivot point for me.  Spending time in a third world country is something everyone should do and, if possible, on a regular basis.  It has the unique ability of keeping one grounded both intellectuality and spirituality; at least it has for me.

What was so fascinating about India was how familial and pleasant the culture was.  These are people who have been destitute for centuries, many who have lived without power and/or running water, and up until a few years ago, had not seen a caucasian person.  We’re talking off the grid here.  Yet, despite all that, when they could easily feel under appreciated, undervalued, and neglected, they do not.  They are a happy people.  They smile from ear to ear and are just genuinely positive on life.

We learned a lot on that trip; more to come.  I call it the “Red Dot Principle” (Lord, please forgive me).  Eat well, be happy, enjoy life, love people.

Fight On Your Knees


Dear Jack ~ this is a two-part crash course on both mortal combat and spiritual nourishment.  First, you come from a long lineage of fighters.  Your great-great-grandfather was a prize-winning boxer (believe it or not his nickname was “Blotty” aka “Bloody”) and your dad (me) was known to go a few rounds himself (and was on the receiving end of his fair share of blows too).  Point being, and this may be met with some controversy, never start a fight but don’t walk away from one either.  There is tremendous valor and honor in ending a fight.  When you find yourself in over your head, act a little loony and 9 times out of 10 the situation will diffuse itself.  People don’t mess with the crazy guy.  It’s a fact and I’ve field tested and battle hardened it.

Secondly, and far more important, do your fighting from your knees.  Not literally, of course, but spiritually.  I learned this concept from Dayton Moore, GM of your hometown Kansas City Royals.  He is a man of tremendous faith and is worth studying if you find the time.  He enlightened me on the concept of placing your house slippers under your bed at night (yes, real men wear slippers) so each day you must begin, knelt, remembering why you’re here and that you are the custodian of your own destiny.  You may very well have not found your calling yet, remember there is no road map but success leaves clues, and it takes many people a lifetime to figure it out, but the time you spend on the ground each day will give you a line of sight most others don’t have.