There’s a quote that I came across a lot of you are probably familiar with, and it’s from Jordan Peterson. He says, “A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very dangerous man who has that under voluntary control.” That quote stuck out to me. I think it’s stuck out to a lot of guys who have heard, repeated it and shared it. So, I thought we could talk a little bit more about that today, specifically what it means to be a dangerous man. Then, how to make ourselves more dangerous, and why this is important in the first place. I’m going to take this in a slightly different direction than maybe you would think because, obviously, we think about martial arts or firearms training. Listen, I’m not undermining that, it’s critical. I participate in martial arts, specifically Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I’ve done a lot of firearms training. I’ve been in the military. Situational awareness is huge. When I’m out to dinner with my family or society in general, I’m situationally aware. In fact, I’ve got a firearm with me 99% of the time.
However, what I want to talk about today is how we utilize what I would call, ‘soft skills’ to make ourselves more dangerous. The reason I want to share this with you is that I think it’s something that we overlook a lot of times when we think about masculinity. We think about being tough and strong and athletic and capable. When it comes to martial arts and firearms training, we think about that stuff. And again, that’s important, but very rarely do we think about these softer, interpersonal communication and dynamic skills that I’m going to address with you today. Again, the quote is “A harmless man is not a good man.” That’s the first part of it. Let me break that down for you. I think there is too much emphasis in society on being a good man. If you’re a good little boy, according to your society standard, it might just be that you’re weak. Jordan Peterson says, “A good man is a very dangerous man who has that under voluntary control,” meaning he has the ability to be dangerous, and yet voluntarily and consciously decides not to be dangerous or, probably more accurately, use that dangerous skill set that he has in a controlled environment, in the right situation, when it’s appropriate.
We see a lot of men who don’t have this under control, specifically, because they haven’t had the male mentors, role model, coach, or fathers to teach them how to harness this raw masculine energy that’s coursing through these young boys veins. Then it comes across as violent and tragic and horrific in a lot of cases as well. It’s our job as men to learn how to control this ability to be aggressive and competitive and violent at times, so that we can use it in a controlled manner that it will be more effective and that will be using it appropriately, so doing that for ourselves. And then also teaching our young men and the people that we have responsibility for, how to harness those same characteristics to produce effective outcomes for themselves, whether that gets them out of a dangerous situation of violent encounter, or to face some sort of natural disaster, or even a car wreck, or even just something as simple as competitive sports with some guys around town, a pickup game of basketball, or softball or whatever it is you’re doing by those ways to harness, harness the power that you have within you.
That makes you, according to this, a good man. I don’t use that term necessarily because I think again, it comes back to morality only and that’s important but if it’s only morality, we’re missing this critical component of it, which is capable. We’ve got morality, good man, then we’ve got our proficiency at skills, which makes us capable. Good men don’t change the world. They might be nice to talk with and women might like them for a short period of time or put them in the friend zone. But the men who change the world are the ones who are capable. So, when I think about that word, capability, and I think about dangerous, I think those two things go hand in hand. If you want to be a capable man, capable of providing, protecting and providing, which is our motto, and not just motto but our way of life, then you need to be willing and able, willing and able to be dangerous in the right set of circumstances.
That’s why it’s so important that we as men learn how to harness this. So again, martial arts, firearms training, situational awareness, tactical training, a lot of you guys have military training, maybe even some medical training. That’s just all important but that’s not what this discussion is about today, this discussion is about again, ‘soft skills’ that we need to develop that will allow us to be more dangerous, and more capable in order to produce the type of outcomes that we’re after. And the people who we have a responsibility for are after.
So, let’s break this down. Now, these aren’t in any order, necessarily, they’re of equal importance. I think all of us could do well to incorporate these four ‘soft skills’ into our lives in order to make ourselves more dangerous.
1. Develop Self-confidence
I know that most of you realize that you have to develop confidence or have a desire to develop confidence. Guys, it is so critical. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen who are so weak and so passive, and lack any level of confidence in their lives. And of course, when they’re faced with a violent situation, or a natural disaster, or even just as something as simple as asking for a raise or asking a woman on a date, they have no ability to do this, because they don’t have any confidence in themselves. And what these guys believe is that somehow that some men are just born with high levels of confidence, that’s not the case, there may be pride, there may be an over-inflated ego, and a sense of arrogance, but you don’t get to be confident just because. It has to be earned.
So, you have to go out and do the things that are going to make you confident, you have to go out and earn that. As you’re sitting here listening to this podcast and thinking to yourself, “Well, man, I’m just not as confident around women, or I’m not as confident around my boss around highly successful people?” Then the next question should be “what can I actually do in my life to develop more confidence?” Now, some of the things I’m going to share with you as we progress are naturally going to help you become more confident, but if you feel fear towards any conversation, any engagement, any action activity, any hobby, then that’s probably a pretty good indicator that you could develop a sense of confidence, by tackling that thing, by facing that activity head on and getting it done anyways, you don’t need to be confident to develop confidence.
What you need is to be courageous, and any one of us in the right set of circumstances with the right mindset can exhibit courage. When we exhibit the courage to go do the things that we’re afraid of, we get done with that thing. And we realized that maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was, or that it was bad, but I did it anyway. And it’s through developing skill sets is through developing the ability to overcome the things we’re afraid of that gives us the level of confidence that we need. And when we’re confident we can be more dangerous. We have more capability to face what needs to be faced and to do what needs to be done in the face of the fear that we might be experiencing. Too many men cower, they tuck tail and they run because they don’t have any level of confidence and when they’re faced with a difficult circumstance. They can’t be dangerous or capable men because they haven’t developed that confidence.
2. Develop Assertiveness
These next four points will certainly help you develop more confidence in your life. There are four communication styles that I want to point out.
Passive Communication: The passive communicator is weak. He doesn’t share his ideas and when he does share an idea, he makes excuses or apologizes for those ideas. Very rarely is he taken seriously.
Passive-Aggressive Communication: The passive-aggressive communicator tries to pretend like he’s passive or good in some way and yet he’s actually a very aggressive individual. He’s just good at disguising it. This is the individual who can’t take anything seriously. They’ve got a joke for everything. They’re sarcastic, they undermine, they mock, they ridicule, they put others down, but they do it in a sly way.
They give underhanded comments and compliments, this is the passive aggressive communicator. And while they may be funny, for a short period of time, it becomes extremely, extremely exhausting dealing with these individuals because they don’t know how to deal with difficult or awkward or uncomfortable conversations. And so they make light of everything, and they mock everything. It’s ridiculous, that’s a passive-aggressive communicator.
Aggressive Communication: An aggressive communicator wants to railroad everybody. It’s a type A dominant red personality, who’s a driver, who doesn’t take no for an answer, who isn’t willing to communicate with other individuals or take other things into consideration. And he just dominates and bulldozes everybody in every circumstance, obviously, we don’t have good success with this individual and people don’t like these types of individuals. So, they don’t make great leaders.
Now, you might look at and think, “Well, this is a great leader.” A dictator is not necessarily a great leader. They may be able to produce results for a short period of time until people catch on and realize that they don’t want to be led by this individual. And so they stop following voluntarily. An aggressive communicator might be able to get things done but can’t do it long term.
Assertive Communication: What we should all be working towards is being assertive in our communication. In other words, you’re willing to take on new ideas and new perspectives, and you’re taking other people’s thoughts and ideas and feelings into consideration. And yet you have a very clear idea of what you want. You’re willing to and capable of sharing your ideas with other individuals. When you see that there’s a problem, you don’t push that off. You’re not passive about it. You’re not aggressive by bulldozing it, but you’re taking all of the stimuli into consideration to figure out the best way forward. The most assertive individual is going to get the job done, the majority of the time over the longest period of time.
Don’t put the blindfold on. Don’t pretend like threats don’t exist when a conversation needs to be had. Don’t bury your head in the sand and think that if you just keep it there long enough that somehow this thread or this conversation or this circumstance will go away. It won’t. In fact, it’ll get worse and so a dangerous and capable man is able to recognize conversations and situations. And then he addresses those as quickly as possible, as efficiently and effectively as possible to a) neutralize the threat or b) to get a further to advance the cause whatever that may look like.
Try to be assertive in all of your dealings and interactions. A couple of resources I’d give you is a book titled No More Mr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover. It’s a great book that addresses “nice guy syndrome” which is what he’s dubbed it and how to be more assertive.
The second book is The Assertiveness Workbook which will actually walk you through how to address scenarios and situations in a more assertive manner without feeling like you’re being too aggressive or being too weak. It’s the balance that somewhere in the middle.
3. Know What You Want
Knowing what the ultimate objective is. I know that if I asked 100 men tell me what you want, most would probably say something like, “Well, I want to make some more money, or I want to have better relationship or I want to be fit.” And although that is good. I think that’s a worthy objective that you should be striving towards. I think that if you’re not specific enough, that you’re probably not going to accomplish that thing. And you’re not going to know how to get there and you’re not going to be able to smash through the barriers that will inevitably present themselves.
Now, if you’re crystal clear, if you are hyper-focused very, very specific on what you want to accomplish. I don’t want to get healthy, I want to be to 10% body fat. I don’t want to be strong, I want to be able to bench 300 pounds or deadlift 450 pounds. I don’t want to have a good marriage. Instead, define a good marriage. I don’t want to be wealthy. Rather, I want to have $10 million in my bank account. This is a huge distinction and difference. When you know what you want, whether it’s career advancement, or in your relationship with your wife, or your kids, whether it’s your health or your bank account, then you can smash through those barriers, you can overcome the hurdles and obstacles and the challenges. You can also call upon resources that you’ve identified as needing to be able to incorporate into your life to achieve those objectives and to overcome the hurdles that again, present themselves.
You’ll know when you do these types of things, that you are capable, you have confidence in being able to do it because you know exactly what you want. So, ask yourself this, “What do you want?. Is this specific? Is this crystal clear? Is this laser-like? Is it so specific, that a five-year-old could understand it?” If not, then maybe you aren’t clear enough on what you want, which will keep you from ultimately having it. So, number three is knowing what you want.
4. Be An Effective Communicator
This kind of ties back into assertiveness, but there’s so much more that goes into communication. Ultimately, you need to learn how to communicate effectively with others. So, if you’re negotiating a raise or proposing to your soon to be fiance and wife if you’re disciplining your children if you’re engaged with a would-be attacker, then you need to be able to communicate effectively towards that individual to produce the outcome that you’re after.
If you can’t open your mouth and use your sounds and use your words in a way that will illustrate exactly what you’re all about and exactly what you’re after, then you’re probably not going to achieve your objective. One of the interesting things about the topics and the points that I’m making with you today is that they’re all intertwined. If you become a better communicator, you are naturally going to develop more confidence because when you say something, it’s going to be followed through, and then you’ll realize you’re capable of doing that. Assertiveness requires your ability to communicate and vice versa. Your ability to communicate requires that you have some level of assertiveness. So it’s not like these things can be taken out and isolated. These decisions can be made in a vacuum. They’re all interdependent of each other. When you improve one area, whether it’s communicating or knowing what you want, and getting specific with that, or assertiveness or developing confidence, if you improve just one area, all other areas elevate and improve as well.
You’ll see compounding returns when you start to take some of these things into consideration and then incorporate them in your life and get better and these soft skill sets. So again, number 4 is learning to communicate effectively,
I would say the best way to do this is to put yourself in situations where you need to communicate. If you know there needs to be a difficult conversation with you and your kids, have that conversation. If there’s an opportunity to present to a group of people in something like Toastmasters, or Rotary or Business Network International, then take advantage of that opportunity. If you’re feeling a little nervous about putting yourself out there, but you want to do some public speaking and you know, there’s an event coming up, then reach out to the event organizers and and throw your hat in the ring and give yourself a chance.
It’s not going to feel comfortable. I should say, you’re going to feel awkward and out of place and inadequate but this is how we develop the ability to communicate effectively, which makes us more capable, which ultimately makes us more dangerous. That’s number four is learning to communicate effectively.
5. Educate Yourself
Guys, you got to educate yourself. Knowledge alone is not enough. You can’t read a book and assume that because you read it that somehow you’ll be able to apply this effectively in your life. You’ve got to be knowledgeable. You’ve got to know some of the harder skills like martial arts, like firearms training, like situational awareness and these tactical situations. You’ve got to know how to be assertive, you’ve got to know the information that you’re going to be communicating to other individuals, you’ve got to gain new credentials and new designations and new degrees.
This is how you make yourself knowledgeable, which will, in turn, make you more capable. It will help you become a more effective leader. And ultimately, it will put you in a position where you are dangerous, where you can actually move the needle when you say something people listen when you do something people are inspired. That’s where I want to be and that’s what I’m trying to do here within this podcast and of course, other elements of my life. And I think, I continue to improve I hope so that’s the ultimate goal, is that I can educate myself on the topics of masculinity so that I can then come and communicate these to you. We can enlist you in this cause of reclaiming and restoring masculinity. It certainly builds up my level of confidence because I can communicate effectively.
I have other skills that I’m developing, whether it’s something as simple as playing the guitar, which is something that I’m doing, archery which is something I’ve been doing for about a year and a half, almost two years now. My ability to hunt, of course educating myself on physiology and biology and how the body and the mind work so that I can make myself into a more effective tool. Jiu-jitsu is something I’m educating myself on so that I can use this tool as a weapon in the right circumstances. And again, that comes back to being dangerous, is using it in the right circumstances and having under voluntary control.
Then, ask yourself, “How can I incorporate these into my life? What I think I’ve seen is that there’s a gap between what I’m trying to share with you guys and maybe to some degree, what you’re actually implementing into your life. It’s easy to do this while you’re at the gym or mowing your lawn or exercising on a run whatever it may be. And then we forget about it, right? We get distracted with other elements of life, or we get listening to another podcast and we forget about the points that I’m trying to share with you guys.
These are all critical components of being a man in general but being a dangerous man. Let me recap with this quote from Jordan Peterson. He says, “A harmless man is not a good man. A good man is a very dangerous man who has that under voluntary control.” So, guys, I would encourage you to not follow what the American Psychological, recent quasi study said. They said that competition, aggressiveness, assertiveness, and stoicism are a threat or a danger to society. Men, it’s only a danger when we don’t know how to get that under voluntary control. It’s only a danger when we don’t focus on it, and we pretend it doesn’t exist. And we aren’t able to harness the power of being dangerous in the right circumstances. It’s also critical that we focus on these ‘soft skills,’ which will help us develop and become more dangerous and more capable as well.