By default, we boys come into this world selfish. As we become more aware, we take cues from Western society that our manhood is achieved by our pursuit of profit and pleasure. This self-absorbed combination creates a frenzy of boys clamoring to prove our manhood by what we accomplish and find pleasure in.
Despite the best efforts of caregivers to train us boys to be selfless, we still have some degree of that selfish boy influencing the way we think and behave. Our selfish lifestyle is further entrenched by a marketing system that honors super achievers but also encourages us to flaunt and cater to our every pleasure. Many boys will stay boys because they can never escape this cultural self-absorption for profit and pleasure. But there are some who escape its gravity and become men, although it is not an easy road.
Our Western culture values a man by his:
Brilliance, education, credentials, title.
Financial success, net worth, salary.
Social competence, status.
Image management, looks.
- Competence, entrepreneurial spirit, drive.
Tech, cars, trucks, bikes, boats, vacations, houses.
Tough image-tattoos, piercings, physical strength.
An active sex life with whoever whenever, sex appeal.
Autonomy. Answer to no one.
Travel to exotic places.
Social scene, drinks, restaurants, entertainment.
Why does our Western culture promote men to live primarily for profit and pleasure? The phrase “the boy with the most toys wins” seems to be our male cultural mantra whether we pay attention to it or not. Is this really how we men want to be evaluated?
I have a suspicion that there are a lot of us guys who want to live for more. Deep down we know that profit and pleasure have their limits as the primary things that give us worth. We long for a purpose beyond ourselves, to become the men our world desperately needs. What if we men realized that we are given certain talents and positions uniquely suited to provide for, protect, defend and serve others instead of only profiting and pleasuring ourselves?
A selfless man applies experience and knowledge, and makes good judgments for the benefit of those around him, not just his own promotion or pleasure. A man learns he is not the center of the universe. He has been entrusted with the capacity to nurture a lifetime relationship with a woman, to win the hearts of his children. He knows how to conduct himself in friendship and business in a way that is enduring and builds trust. He is a contributor.
Our culture promotes men who are professional and pleasure-seekers. Work hard to be successful so that you have status, but party hard and live a life of self-indulgence because you have earned it and it feels so good. We associate success with pleasure.
We are told to become someone through power, sex, and money but we were made to become men the world desperately needs through transformed selflessness.
None of us are selfless. But is it possible to become more selfless as men? We can’t become more selfless on our own. We are by nature selfish. Our Western culture is not going to change any time soon. Where do we go to become the selfless men we need to be for our world? I take my lead from the most selfless man who walked the planet.
Journey with me to my next post to discover divine power to make us a selfless man.