8 Life Delusions Most Men Buy Hook, Line & Sinker

life-delusions-men-buy-hook-line-sinker

Last week, I asked our community here at Uncompromised Men to share what they considered the top delusions we men tend to buy into.

As I sorted through response after response, I noticed several themes developing – a core set of delusions that nearly ever response touched on.

So here they are – a collection of community-identified delusions (with a few of my own added in) – 8 delusions that most men (obviously not including you) have bought hook, line and sinker.

1. You will naturally be an amazing or awful father.

It seems like around half the pre-fatherhood guys I talk to assume they will be amazing fathers, because duh.

Maybe they had an awesome dad and think it’s easy, or maybe they had a rough childhood and are determined to do better for their kids. Either way, they are convinced they will be great dads.

And then there’s the other half – the half who are convinced that they are not cut out for fatherhood. They look at the prospect of kids with a mixture of fear, insecurity, or downright despair.

Here’s the truth.

Regardless of your self-evaluation, your parental success will have little to do with your natural abilities.

Being a great father is 80% intentionality.

If you intentionally prepare yourself going into parenthood – and if you continue that intentionality throughout your kids’ lives – you WILL be an amazing dad.

It’s really that simple. Father’s who are intentional about fatherhood end up being amazing fathers.

Sure, there’s another 20% consisting of having the proper tools, outlooks, and strategies, but the best parenting strategies in the world won’t make up for the most important piece of the puzzle.

The father who takes being a father seriously – who prepares as best as he can – who stays present as often as he can – who loves as well as he can – that’s a great dad.

You’ll make mistakes. 100% of all dads, ever, have made mistakes. And that’s 100% okay.

But if you are intentional about being a great dad, you WILL be a great dad.

2. Hotter wife/girlfriend = better life

Few of us would ever say this out loud, but let’s be honest. We’ve all thought it at some point.

In some ways, I really don’t have a place to talk about this, because my wife is pretty hot. And honestly, being attracted to one’s wife is definitely a major positive.

But here’s where the delusion strikes. For most single guys, finding an attractive girl is priority numero uno.

You don’t realize that once you enter a long-term relationship, the hotness of your significant other will drop to like #100 on the “How awesome my life is” scale.

Here’s just a handful of wifely qualities that have WAY more influence on your life enjoyment than her looks.

  1. She is fun to chill with
  2. She is easy to talk to
  3. She can intelligently process her own emotions
  4. She can clearly communicate what she’s feeling
  5. She stands up for herself
  6. She respects your boundaries
  7. She can cook like a boss
  8. She has similar hobbies
  9. She wants sex about as often as you do
  10. She’s hot

 

As you can see, hotness is ultimately quite low on the list. Regardless of how hot your wife/girlfriend is, over time, the newness will wear off and the dopamine will chill out… and then you are left with nothing more than an actual person.

No more facades. No more distracting hormones. No more let’s-ignore-this-obvious-dysfunction-cause-sex.

Just two people spending ALL their time together.

Don’t be deluded! If her looks are your favorite thing about her, you’re gonna have a bad time.

 3. Retirement planning is for later.

I’m not sure how you were raised. I’m not sure how your parents treated money. I’m not sure how you think of retirement.

But here’s the deal.

The best time to start planning/saving for retirement was a decade ago. The second best time is now.

It’s simple math, but so few understand the time value of money.

Here’s a quick example and then I’ll send you to the experts.

“If you begin saving for retirement at 25, putting away $2,000 a year for just 40 years, you’ll have around $560,000, assuming earnings grow at 8 percent annually. Now, let’s say you wait until you’re 35 to start saving. You put away the same $2,000 a year, but for three decades instead, and earnings grow at 8 percent a year. When you’re 65 you’ll wind up with around $245,000 – less than half the money.”

In other words, your actual monetary investment was only $20,000 less, but since compound interest had less time to do its thing, your retirement payout is now $315,000 less than it would have been if you’d starting saving 10 years earlier.

For the parents out there, the BEST gift you can give your kids is for YOU to possess the financial ability to fund your own retirement.

Feel free to tweet that.

For you young people, here are some great retirement planning strategies.

4. You can do it on your own.

There is no such thing as a “self-made man”.

This concept is the hopelessly deluded product of individual-centric Western culture. There is no success in isolation.

Even if you could make the argument that your world-famous business was the sole product of your dizzying intellect and shark-like market acumen, the fact remains that your success is made possible only by the construction of modern society, a society millions have invested in creating and upholding.

You can’t do it on your own.

The sooner you embrace this, the sooner you will start succeeding, and I’m not referring to the hollow success of riches or prestige. I’m talking about the type of success that makes you excited to wake up each morning. The type of success that fulfills while simultaneously motivating you to keep moving forward.

There are few things more fulfilling than passionate collaboration among a diverse, yet like-minded team.

We see this in sports. We see this in business. We see this in family.

Fulfillment is far more about WHO you are doing life with than what or where you are doing it.

When you are determined to have a chip on your shoulder, you discourage others from partnering with you. But when you understand your need for others, you’re like a magnet, drawing in people who want to build something meaningful.

Think about your own family. The concept of inheritance means that you will receive something you never had to earn. It means you don’t have to start from ground zero.

When men embrace the understanding that it’s okay to receive what they haven’t earned and it’s okay to invest without personal ROI, their families and associates benefit.

Society, as a whole, benefits.

You can do it. You can absolutely do it.

But not on your own.

5. You’ll really be a man when you _______.

For whatever reason, we men seem to measure ourselves against our own arbitrary standard of manliness.

Each of us has a different standard, but nearly all of us, at some point or another, have looked in the mirror and found ourselves falling depressingly short of that standard.

Perhaps we are too soft-spoken.

Perhaps we still don’t know how to change a tire.

Perhaps we aren’t as muscular as we’d like to be.

Perhaps we don’t have a sexy woman on our arm.

Perhaps our career isn’t anything to brag about.

Perhaps our kids are misbehaving at school.

Perhaps every other dude we measured ourselves against today seemed way more manly then we are.

Regardless of the specific reasons for today’s batch of insecurities, many of us have bought into the delusion that we aren’t quite there as men. We keep reaching for this elusive feeling of arrival that never seems to come.

The bad news is that you will never arrive, because manhood isn’t earned; it’s imparted.

There’s a reason every traditional culture had a significant “coming of age” ritual for boys to become men. You don’t truly know you’re a man until fathers and grandfathers in your life affirm you as a man.

And there’s a reason that our fatherless generation is waiting for that affirmation.

The good news is that you ARE a man. What you do or fail to do can’t change that. You have everything it takes to be the man you’ve always wanted to be.

The good news is that there are men and women right now who are insanely grateful for how you’ve been a strong, kind, caring man in their lives.

The good news is that it’s not too late to bring”fathers” into your life who will give you the affirmation you need.

And the greatest news of all is that you’ve always had a Heavenly Father.

Of course, if you want to be better in certain areas, do it!

Speak up for yourself.

Learn how to change a tire.

Work out.

Ask her out.

Invest in making your career dreams a reality.

But don’t buy into the delusion that you’re less of a man until you _____.

Because that’s straight bull#&%@, and ain’t nobody got time for that.

6. You’re right.

While we can be insecure at times, we men often like to balance that out with the unquestioning assertion that we are ALWAYS right!

We delude ourselves into thinking that our view is THE right view, whether we’re talking about:

  • politics
  • work
  • family
  • theology
  • history
  • science
  • life
  • etc.

But here’s the truth.

You’re right sometimes. And you’re wrong a lot of the time.

It’s pretty much that simple, and yet so few of us are able to approach life from that viewpoint. We grasp at being right, and we even delude ourselves into thinking it’s possible to always be right.

Everything you know and understand is based upon incomplete and often incorrect information.

There is virtually nothing in existence of which you have a 100% perfect view… not even yourself.

So don’t be deluded.

Your political stance is not 100% optimal.

Your understanding of your family members is a work in progress.

Your knowledge of history is based on heavily biased records.

Your view of God isn’t even close.

And you know what… that’s okay.

7. It’s your responsibility.

One of the central elements of manhood is the role of protector. Every man has a desire to protect his family members and those who look to him for covering or protection.

In fact, we often feel more useful, needed, and yes – manly – when others are looking to us for solutions.

Unfortunately, this often leads into the delusion that everything is our responsibility.

We take ownership of problems that aren’t ours to solve. We spread ourselves thin. We waste our time on the trivial matters of others, at times leaving our own “priorities” unattended.

The solution to this responsibility delusion is good boundaries.

We need to understand that every time we say “Yes” to one thing, we are automatically saying “No” to ten other things. When you say “Yes” to helping that friend of a friend move to his new house (because, I mean, you have a truck), you are saying no to spending that Saturday having quality time with your kids.

You don’t want to help. Not really. But you feel obligated.

And so, without realizing how serious this is, you trade 5 nonrefundable hours of your limited life, replacing something you really want (time with your kids) with the fulfillment of a nondescript obligation.

If you think that’s a good strategy, you’re deluded.

As men, we are certainly called to be servants to our communities and our fellow man, but good boundaries mean that YOU decide how and when you serve, based on your own values and priorities, rather than letting the needs of others dictate your life.

Good boundaries mean that you aren’t attempting to take responsibility for other people’s lives. Others are free to make their own mistakes and suffer the consequences. If they come to you for help, you are willing to help in whatever way you feel is appropriate, but good boundaries mean you are NEVER investing more in fixing someone’s problem than they are.

Good boundaries mean that your “yes” means “yes”, and your “no” means “no”. You say yes only when you believe that is the right decision, and then you honor your word.

If you’re feeling worn out and run ragged, you probably need better boundaries.

8. Opportunity comes once in a life time.

Our last delusion is one of the most important on this list. It can rob us of our peace, and yet I so rarely hear anyone talking about it.

For so many men, the default is “onward and upward.” It’s a given in life.

If you have a chance for more – if you an opportunity for something better – you TAKE IT.

End of story.

Opportunity for promotion? Done.

Job offer with a higher salary? Take it.

Invitation to speak? Go.

Opportunity to _____? You’d be a fool to miss out.

Many of us have bought into the delusion that opportunity is once in a life time. We think that if we don’t take advantage NOW, we’ll miss out.

We live from a place of lack, striving for what society tells us is “the next step.” And because of this, we aren’t at peace.

Now, I’m not here to tell you that less is more, or a minimalist lifestyle is what you are actually searching for. What I’m here to tell you is that every single one of us is unique.

What makes you come alive is different than what makes me come alive.

Some people are strategists. They hate the trenches. They love to view the big picture and orchestrate large-scale collaboration. For these individuals, promotion is the pathway to career fulfillment.

But for so many others, strategy is neither a passion nor a skill. They would be miserable in a board room. They want to be hands-on at the front lines. And yet they can’t see through the paychecks, prestige, and pressure that lead them miserably up the ladder.

We are all vastly different, and just because the market puts a higher dollar value on something doesn’t mean you will find it more fulfilling.

Just because an opportunity arises doesn’t mean it should be taken.

For men of excellence, there will ALWAYS be another opportunity.

When we realize this, we can stop grasping at “more” and start intentionally heading where we want to go.

What’s the worst delusion you’ve been able to overcome?

The best part about delusions is the moment we identify them, we are no longer deluded.

Yes, sometimes these shifts in perspective take time. We have to train our minds to perceive differently. But we are deluded no longer.

What’s a delusion you’ve been able to personally overcome?

Let us know in the comments, and be sure to share this article on your Facebook wall!

 

Jacob McMillen

Jacob McMillen is a professional writer, preacher, and the chief editor of Uncompromised Men. In addition to throwing down sweet lines on manly topics, he enjoys writing about theology and will absolutely steal your dignity on the basketball court. Follow him on twitter @jmcmillen89... if you dare.

  • http://www.writerstoauthors.com Jason McColly

    Greetings, Jacob.

    Delusion 1 is one that I have had to work hard at with regards to being intentional about my parenting. Assuming it will come natural is a sure recipe for frustration when the times are tough. It takes intentionality in order to grow, both in wisdom and understanding.

    I’m convinced that the word “parent” should be considered a verb instead of a noun. It is something you do not just who are are.

    Thanks for an insightful post.

    • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

      Thanks Jason!

      “I’m convinced that the word “parent” should be considered a verb.”

      That right there is the quote of the year.

    • Lissandro Jonas

      Hello, Jason! WOW! I’m not a dad, but I agree with Jacob’s quotation of yours! And I add the last part of it: “It is something you do not just who are are.”
      #PERFECT

  • Lissandro Jonas

    Hello, brother! Well, I think I’ve already been deluded by myself in one thing: not wanting to receive advice when I needed. It was different of wanting to be (always) right. What I faced was that I knew I was wrong, I knew I needed some advice, but even with that, I didn’t want to receive any help… Thank GOD I’m already free of that!
    By the way, this article is GREAT! Congrats (as ever), man!
    GOD bless you.

    • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

      Haha yeah, sometimes we can be too stubborn to admit when we’re wrong.

      That would have been a great point! Well said, Lissandro.

  • GC Atassi

    Great article, really appreciated all the points! Just wanted to add something about #7, with regards to boundaries. If you’ve just taken a hit to your spiritual, mental/emotional, or physical health, take a good hard look at yourself before you get involved in trying to help others with their lives.

    It’s like coming back to the gym, after having torn a ligament and done the physical rehab to fix it. Yes, you might think you can handle the same weights you did before, but 9 times out of 10, you need to build back up to it.

    Other types of health are the same way. I took a pretty hard hit to my emotional health a while back, and as soon as I started getting better, I got involved with trying to fix several peoples’ issues. Long story short, I didn’t have the reservoirs of emotional/spiritual energy I’d had before, and because I didn’t focus on myself and build back up to it, I made some costly mistakes in those other relationships.

    Don’t let your pride get in the way of a full recovery. Even if you think you’re ready to take on more responsibilities, sometimes it pays to keep the boundaries stronger and longer than you think they need to be. Especially when dealing with the lives of others.

    • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

      Fantastic point! It’s kind of like the in-flight directions for oxygen masks – you have to put your own on first before helping those around you with theirs. Well said GC!

  • Doug VanDyk

    Hey Jacob!

    Thought provoking post, thank you! #7 and #2 stuck out at me the most.

    #7 – It seems the older I get (mid 40’s as of this post) the more I realize how much I don’t know and therefore can’t possibly be right. I look back at when I was younger and chuckle a bit at my false confidence (confidence does NOT equal competence). I really like your comment ‘Your view of God isn’t even close.’ So true…. I’m involved in a study now that I really appreciate because all the guys aren’t afraid to really question their doubts and questions. So refreshing….

    #2 – Sometimes getting your wife to believe that you don’t place her ‘hottness’ at #1 is a challenge! My wife is beautiful, but that isn’t by far the most important thing to me, however, she doesn’t always believe me. 🙂

    Thanks again!

    • http://jacobmcmillen.com/ Jacob McMillen

      Haha well said Doug! I think the older I get, the more I realize how little I know!

  • Brian

    Jacob, great post. I have had to overcome #6 and #7-thinking my way of thinking about life was right and that everything was my responsibility. (OK, I’ll man-up and admit to #2 as well!) To me, #6 & #7 boil down to pride.

    I believe we remain frustrated until we truly surrender to God, and trade our “perceived” identity for our “actual” identity in Him. I found that as God healed me and transformed my thinking, I replaced what I THOUGHT “a man” was with what HE SAYS “a man” is. At Christmas we celebrated the birth of Jesus, the man who showed us all how to live and destroy #1 through #7! Have a great 2016 and keep up the great work at uncompromisedmen.com!