Exploring the Alpha

For all of you fellow bloggers out there reading this, have you ever got to the point where there is so much in your head you want to get down on ‘paper’ that once you start writing it starts going all over the place? I just spent 90 minutes writing a piece that started to be about motivation, or lack thereof, and got so off track that when I re-read it (something I rarely do since most of my better efforts tend to be brain dumps) it was so confusing I trashed the whole thing. I have a serious case of the monkey mind … flashing from one thought to the other with little connectivity (if you listen to Vinnie Tortorich you know what this is like … God Bless him). I also have gone through my last four or five posts and have seen that my recent posts have not been very positive in nature, and that is worrisome. This blog was meant to be a journal, a personal one at that, so they tend to veer off at times into the dark places … I apologize …

I am currently reading a book called “Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha” by John Romaniello and Adam Bornstein which has been a very interesting read. It’s meant for men, but after reading portions I can see how women can benefit from this as well. The authors are editors of Men’s Health magazine, which was concerning at first because that publication is one that continually puts out information that is actually detrimental to the truth (i.e. high carb is best for athletes). Where the book brings it back in is right at the start by admitting that they are part of the problem, and that by writing the book they are hoping to correct their own course. It is also written in a style that most men can relate to … lots of four letter words, in the manner of other books such as “Skinny Bitch” and “Skinny Bastard” (both vegan centric reads but good information). The book has been eye opening for its abrupt writing style and its message:

“Having High Testosterone is NOT about being an asshole … it’s about NOT being a Little Bitch!”

In any case the book is very ‘in your face’ with what is wrong with men in these times and how to reclaim the Alpha that is in us. This is assuming we are all Alpha’s inside, which I don’t agree with, but nevertheless most of the points made are valid. It explains that an Alpha is not what we picture in our head’s, using Tyler Durden as the example of what the inner depiction tends to be (Google ‘Tyler Durden’ if you want to know who he is. Most men know the name well. It’s a guy thang!). The authors explain that a TRUE alpha is not an asshole, and gives 7 TRAITS. They are:

#1.  A True Alpha is Helpful – but NOT condescending. An Alpha gives advice and encourages others, but does not DO things for them. Believing that you are the only one that can do a task, as is stated in the book, is the height of egotism.

#2.  A True Alpha is Confident – but NOT cocky. The preconception of the Alpha is someone who puts others down in order to elevate themselves (you know the kind). Overt cockiness, which is usually a mask for some insecurity, is not the same as true confidence, an honest assessment of ability and strength.

#3.  A True Alpha is Vain – but NOT conceited. Wanting to take care of yourself is not the same as conceit. We all know the conceited types. Look on Facebook. They’re the ones posting pictures of themselves in unnatural settings or poses, or professional pictures. They are also the ones that cannot seem to take a post race training picture or race picture without taking their shirt off to show off their abs. You know who you are. The true people, the REAL people, are those that have no problem looking a bit “goofy” (Kate … I am talking to you). The people who are not afraid to show their real selves, goofiness, warts, blemishes, and all, are more trustworthy and honest.

#4.  A True Alpha is Prideful – but NOT arrogant. If you want to see examples of arrogance take a read through the forums on Slowtwitch. You will find tons of entries from triathletes basically stating that if you cannot do a sub 12 Ironman you “have no business on the course” or runners who state that anything over 5 hours for a marathon is unacceptable (the same people who refuse to run Disney races because there are “too many walkers in the way”). These are arrogant people, and really give their sports a bad name. Having pride is knowing you can do the race, and wanting to help others succeed as well … which leads into …

#5.  A True Alpha is Humble – but NOT self loathing. I get accused of self loathing a lot because I put myself down, underplay my accomplishments, and hell, go by the moniker “Fat Slow Triathlete”. Let me be crystal clear here … I do NOT hate myself. I don’t like certain things about myself, but I am working on them (even at the ripe old age of 50)

#6. A True Alpha is Tolerant – but NOT weak. This is one of my favorites. It states within the paragraph that “Determine your morals and values. Remind yourself that every disagreement is not a point of contention. But remember that being tolerant is not an excuse to sacrifice the core of WHO YOU ARE. The Alpha inspires the world around him to become better, and that can’t happen if you’re too fearful to voice your opinion and settle for a life where you are always the bitch!” Great saying, and one not just men need to hear and live by.

#7.  A True Alpha is Dedicated – but NOT obsessed. What is the difference? An Alpha recognizes that being dedicated is a sprint, approaching goals in bursts of concentrated effort. Obsession is a marathon; a life spent endlessly chasing the carrot with no hopes of ever reaching the goal.

As I said, the book is pretty amazing in what message it puts out there. We, not just as men but all of us, need to recognize the “call to adventure” and accept the journey. There are things written here that I wish someone had pounded into my head when I was 15. We are ALL wired for greatness, but it is up to us to accept the call and move forward. I posted something on twitter yesterday that I hope everyone saw and took to heart, especially a specific person rather close to me that has a hard time in this area:

“Do not give the people who don’t like you the satisfaction of giving a shit”

People are out here to bring us down, either because they feel the need to be better than everyone else, or they are the wrong kind of Alpha. As the first quote stated, being an Alpha is not about being an asshole. Being an Alpha is about being comfortable with who you are, being accountable for your mistakes, loving your friends and family, and helping anyone and everyone that needs help.

I am trying to live up to these ideals. I am not successful all the time, but I try. In the end, all that  matters, all that remains, is the impact you made on others while you were here.

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